10 Musts for a Great Throwing Program

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

10 Musts 1

Velocity is the one thing that seems to be the most sought after, yet few know how to deliver it effectively.  Everyone thinks they know how to do it.  But, not so fast guys…. There are many different threads that need to be weaved into a safe and effective throwing program.  Today, we’re going to go over what I believe to be some of the key points to look for in an effective throwing program and honestly, they should ALL be present. Here we go…

1. Full Movement Assessment – Any significant physical constraints that may negatively affect the athlete’s “movement strategy”, such as pain or extreme tightness, should be addressed prior to the start a throwing program. The Assessment will also help us better design an individualized program with respect to mobility/stability work, weight room programming (it may even identify the need for a PT and whether training needs to be put on hold altogether).

10 Musts 2

2. Power Testing – Testing to see how well the athlete develops rear leg power (concentric force) as well as accepts force on the front leg (eccentric force) will tell us a lot about what kind of “engine” is under the hood and guide us towards specific training exercises in the weight room. It is also extremely helpful when analyzing video for mechanical disconnects.

3. Full Video Analysis – Using high definition video helps us to find any “disconnects” in the delivery where the athlete may be leaking energy and robbing himself of valuable mph. The use of throwing correctives will teach the athlete how to re-tension the throw and find the quickest most effective path to the plate.

10 Musts 3

4. Adequate Warm-up – This should account for at least 25% of total session time (approximately 25 minutes), including soft tissue work, mobility and stability work, cuff activations, stabilizations (if laxity is present) and movement.

10 Musts 4

5. Adequate 2-3 Week Ramp-up – You wouldn’t just jump into a huddle and run a route on the football field. Well, throwing a baseball is no different. Workload needs to be slowly increased in preparation to throw with high intent. This includes 2-3 weeks of throwing at 50-70% RPE (rate of perceived exertion).

6. Adequate Amount of Recovery – Recovery should reflect 25 % of total session time (approximately 25 minutes), including additional soft tissue work and lower body mobility work. Remember, “work hard-rest harder”.

7. Complete Strength Training Program – Much of the velocity that is developed in a throwing program comes from developing lower half power. This can only be accomplished through a thorough strength and conditioning program. Any velocity program that doesn’t include a thorough strength training is selling you snake oil. Period.

10 Musts 5

8. Varying Weighted Balls and Dosage Within Each Session – This helps keep the proprioceptive learning environment rich in variation by forcing the arm to adapt to various stressors (different weight balls) in short periods of time. Strict attention MUST be payed to the “dosage” being used. Heavier balls are used for shorter “decel” patterns to help engrain correct movement and when a big “lay back” isn’t present. Lighter weight balls are used on high intent days only to improve arm speed. The dosage (volume) of the programs are paramount and tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual.

9. Command and Control Must be Maintained – Throwing hard is great, but of no use if you’re not hitting your spots. This is why, with the exception of high intent days, all throws are directed at a target.

10. At Least 2 Recovery Days and 1-2 Days Off/Week – Recovery days involve cuff activation and stabilization drills as well as light catch. As for days off, this not only gives the athlete a physical and much, much needed rest, but it’s a great mental break as well.

We have spent the last 18 months developing our throwing program and there is a tremendous amount of scientific research behind it and driving it.  Here is a brief video on the program:

Also, please feel free to click here for additional details on our Throwing Program.

See ya’ in the gym…

 

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