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Old 05-08-2010, 11:43 PM   #1
Ryan Smith
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Default Training to throw a baseball harder

So my youngest brother is graduating high school in a couple weeks and making the jump up to college ball. He's an outstanding and talented player and a great athlete. He's a big kid (both naturally and from working out) and really strong. His weakest point however is his throwing. He's not a pitcher or anything, but he needs to simply start throwing harder. Obviously he practices a lot, does long toss, is working on his mechanics, etc; BUT I'm curious - what are your experiences and suggestions from a training perspective as to what he can do in the weight room to specifically improve his throwing?

His college coach (he's already committed to a school) has suggested my brother quit pressing and going overhead with lifts to loosen up his arm a little bit more (he said having overly muscular shoulders wasn't beneficial for ball players - I strongly disagree). I was thinking about just adding an enhanced shoulder routine in his warmup (maybe something like Diesel Crew's) and still have him train as usual (I still have him in a linear SS type progression on PL and Oly lifts - he does sprints and an occasional GPP type workout too).

Suggestions for helping him throw harder? I'd love to hear any other sport specific considerations/training ideas you have too.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:12 AM   #2
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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Let me just say that I don't know ANYTHING about throwing and don't know if this has any relevance to throwing a ball but I used to train with (more like train around) a couple of track and field throwers and for them it seemed to be all about power cleans and bench presses.

They would power clean weights for reps that I couldn't even deadlift at the time and bench press ridiculous amounts.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:13 AM   #3
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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Also, if DeFranco doesn't know his stuff when it comes to preparing athletes for sports, I don't know who does.

Check out myth #9:
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:50 AM   #4
Derek Simonds
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When it comes to baseball players Eric Cressey is the guy to read. For pitchers he allows them to press with DB's in a neutral hand position (if there is no reason not to) I think but go check out his blog and website. Mucho information there.

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin

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Old 05-09-2010, 05:14 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Strong shoulders, especially posterior shoulders, help stave off the dreaded shoulder injuries... like SLAP lesions.

There is no way you should drop overhead strengthening, as long as proper shoulder mobility is maintained and proper attention is paid to the posterior shoulder especially external rotator cuff muscles.

That said, most of throwing power comes from using the hips, and the arm like a whip much like you would use a catapult or trebuchet.

Strengthening the hips and making sure he has correct technique is all important. Tim Lincecum on the Giants is a perfect example of a kid who throws extremely hard whos not heavy. Watch his throwing mechanics.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:26 AM   #6
Jay Ashman
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strengthen his shoulders using neutral grip presses, work on rotational strength as well as the posterior shoulder as Steven said.

Invest in a device called the shoulder horn as well, it works.

I give my pitchers lots of squats and jumps to build up lower body strength and power because that hip drive is so important for a strong throw and will save the arm later.

I wouldn't bench press, and I never give my pitchers the bench to do. There are other, safer ways to increase upper body strength for a pitcher that has less negative effects on the shoulder.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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Originally Posted by Derek Simonds View Post
When it comes to baseball players Eric Cressey is the guy to read. For pitchers he allows them to press with DB's in a neutral hand position (if there is no reason not to) I think but go check out his blog and website. Mucho information there.

I second the Eric Cressey recommendation.
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
Pain is your companion, don't go hide from it."
-Kelly Starrett
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:30 PM   #8
Blair Lowe
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Yep, there is actually a HS kid on my IM/FB through GB who is going to Cressey soon. I can't wait to hear what he starts doing. He actually knows Tim Lincecum's dad and is hoping to hit high 80's/low 90's after Cressey besides putting on some mass as he is only about 145 now.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:14 AM   #9
William McDaniel
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A lot of good responses already so I will try not to cover what's already been said. Throwing for a pitcher and throwing for a position player are two related, but different skills. A pitcher is throwing the exact same distance, from the exact same position, with the exact same mechanics every time. His goal is pin point accuracy, repetitive motion, and deception. A position player throws from an almost infinite number of distances from a wide variety positions and usually on the move. His goal is general accuracy and a quick release. Think of it this way, a pitcher is like a cannon a position player is like a quarterback.

Since the OP was asking about a position player I will refer my answer to that type of throwing. Overhead pressing, although not harmful, is still only marginally helpful. Throwing hard is a result of power in the legs and hips being transferred into the whipping action of the arm. If a position player wants to increase his arm strength he should focus on powerful legs and hips and a supple and durable shoulder. This means squat, deadlift, power clean, presses, and shoulder mobility work.

In addition to this, he must train his ability to repeat the proper throwing motion every time from a wide variety of stances. This means many hours of the following: throwing from one knee, long toss, and lots of infield and outfield practice. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:27 AM   #10
Chance Adams
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I have a little experience with strength & conditioning for baseball. My younger brother was drafted out of HS by the Royals last summer. He's an outfielder. Anyway, like many have mentioned before any lifts that promote hip drive/leg&core strength are good for baseball players. For throwing though, you have to get your arm in shape. All the shoulder/bench/etc. work will not help much if you don't throw. We would go through 45 minute throwing sessions a few times per week during off-season. Start just by throwing short distances and gradually work out to long toss (as far as possible while still able to reach a target) then throw at that distance for a few minutes. From long distances, it's natural for most players to put quite a bit of arch on the ball, that's fine. After a few minutes of toss at a close to max distance, gradually work your way back to a short distance (90 ft or so). This is where all the work comes in. Try to keep the same velocity on the ball that you were applying from the longer distances but work on releasing the ball later in the movement. Think of "pulling" the ball down from the release point of a max distance throw, to allow for accuracy and less arch on each throw as the distance decreases. This really helped my brother. He didn't pitch much but it also increased his mound speed by a consistent 7-8 mph.

Lengthy explanation. I hope it helped.
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