Throwing training management
We’ve had a lot of questions about what we do when we train adolescent throwers for increased velocity and in particular what we did with the athlete in our upcoming case study. While we did not test batting velocity we know from experience this workout regime will enhance bat acceleration and hence velocity.
The following is a general description of our training process with specifics about the case study with our 13~14 year old athlete. (Through out this reported training period our athlete stood 63 inches tall and weighed 103 to 105 pounds… in early May he suffered from Osgood-Slatter hence a growth spurt followed)
We start with the stabilization program as the only developmental exercise program. We omitted the serratus leg raise exercise where the pulley is at the ankle position from the very first session on. The program was executed on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday regime in the late afternoon. The weight on the sled is always 7.5 pounds. The program begins with each exercise performed for 30 seconds periods with STAR as the prerequisite. Allow no more than 5 seconds between each exercise. Intensity of exercise is not important during this period of training.
The reps per second (RPS) are not really important at this point in the training as form of motion is the most important criteria. However expect about 1.5 RPS for most exercises with someone weighing over 100 pounds. The tonic technique is incorporated in all exercises and well as when testing.
In my coaching technique I incorporate visual and verbal cues to redirect the athlete back to proper form. I stand or sit well within his range of motion so he can pick up cues with his periphery vision. I don’t want him to lose his targeting. If he loses his targeting I’ll say “target”. When he fails to keep the balls of his feet nailed to the ground I point my index finger repeatedly at the ground like I’m driving a nail with it. I slouch my back and bring it to good posture when his posture and head position slack. If his hand moves off his head or his elbow moves forward I’ll mimic the correct position.
Testing: The first day the subject was introduced to the Impulse, and its technology, we tested our athlete using our FMS and the IET in a sports specific throwing action where peak force would be generated at the ball release position prior to teaching the Stabilization Program, with STAR. The motion was from the back of the cock with the hips opened entirely and through hip rotation up to the release position of the ball. The hand appliance was our high performance strap. We then tested this same test every 2 weeks. The test was performed with no weight on the sled to maximize acceleration forces. The test consisted of 30 seconds of repetitions. Within 4 days of each FMS test our athlete was tested for throwing velocity by radar gun, throwing at a catcher pad target from approximately 66 feet away with the gun just behind and off the right side the athlete pointing at the target. To view power charts, data, and start to end test positions go to:
The rules of performing the stabilization program were as follows: Stance must be preformed with foot weight distribution of 80-20 front to back on each foot. Stance is the first priority in STAR and it is very important to observe and develop the athlete’s skill in maintaining this. With the exception of the scapular lift, press and core rotation exercises all exercises performed with the foot stance position heel to toe and in line as if walking a tight rope (Example, when using the left arm the right foot will lead the left and vice versa). The athlete must be careful to keep the heel of the rear foot on the ground with a 20 percent load while maintaining the 80 percent load of the leading foot.
When the athlete can perform the entire program flawlessly the regime is changed to 30 repetitions per exercise. This is a judgment call on the part of the coach (Depending on the athlete this may take 3 sessions and as many as 12…maybe longer…when it happens it will happen quickly…one day he won’t have it and the next he will). Generally the two areas of failure will be scapular mobility (protraction and retraction) and knee mobility (balance during hip adduction and abduction). Good stance, posture, targeting, activation and release while performing the exercises in the correct type of motion for each exercise is the rule. Cheating on this motion development will deprive the athlete of the benefit of the art. Don’t be in a hurry and you’ll get there faster. With our case study our athlete mastered the program in 9 sessions and we moved on.
With the 30 rep program again perform the entire program with form as the most important aspect of exercise for the first 30 rep session. With this foundation behind you the next session is where the real work begins. Have the athlete add power to each rep during these sessions (this will increase his reps per second). Expect his form to fall apart. There is a lot going on in his head just now so I always remember what Yogi Berra said… “Think! How the **** are you gonna think and hit at the same time?” At this point we are training the motion to be natural, automatic, and correct in form for each exercise. Use your coaching cues during each exercise but don’t stop for corrections of motion just finish the exercise. If he gets it ok if not move on to the next exercise. If he continues to lose form, back off of the power to the point he can maintain form. RPS will vary with each exercise (ie. Shoulder adduction at 90 will be about 1 RPS) but expect about 2.5 RPS over all. Continue each session pushing the power envelope right up to the edge without losing form. As each session passes, new power skills will develop. When testing expect the RPS to be about 2 ~2.3 RPS.
When testing for the first 4 tests I always remind the athlete about good form. The front foot toe should point at the target (stance)… with the hip leading the shoulder… which leads the elbow… with the head held high…and elbow level or just above the shoulder… and eyes locked on the target. This assures the power will come from the core and the arm will just follow.
Some interesting test results
Tested 11/19/2008 rotation forces of 23.4 pounds and throwing velocity of 61mph
Tested 1/26/2009 rotation forces of 53.4 pounds and throwing velocity of 71mph
Tested 3/23/2009 rotation forces of 79.7 pounds and throwing velocity of 74mph
Tested 4/23/2009 rotation forces of 102.5 pounds and throwing velocity of 79mph