Analyzing Spin Rate and How to Incorporate it into Training Pitchers

By Robbie Aviles (RHP Cleveland Indians, Pitching Lab Coach)

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There is no doubt that the pitching world is begin taken over by new information.  MLB’s Statcast system, Trackman radars and Rapsodo cameras and devices are showing up everywhere measuring velocity, spin rate, spin axes, among other things.  And pitchers and coaches are digging in to see how to include all this information in their preparation and training. [Read more…]


Protecting the UCL (Tommy John Ligament)

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

Elbow Image

A recent study in The Physician and Sports Medicine showed that 29% of youth baseball players up to the age of 12 reported episodes of shoulder or elbow pain.  Another report in the Journal of Arthroscopy noted 31% of pitchers up to the age of 22 have experienced an arm injury as well.  Over a third of Tommy John procedures performed are done on youth pitchers.  Here is a graph showing the rise in Tommy John surgeries performed on youth each year by Dr. Andrews:

UCL surgery chart

Today, I want to touch on three things we do here to help stabilize and protect the UCL (Tommy John Ligament):

  1. Strengthen the “Flexor / Pronator” Groups
  2. Improve Shoulder Mobility
  3. Controlling Excessive ROM During the Season

1. Strengthen the “Flexor / Pronator” Groups – These are some of the muscles that help stabilize and protect the elbow, especially in the “layback” position:

  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis
  • Flexor Carpi Ulnaris
  • Pronator Teres

The flexor digitorum superficialis is an extrinsic muscle that allows the four medial fingers of the hand to flex. These fingers include the index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers.

flexor digitorum superficialis

The flexor carpi radialis muscle is a relatively thin muscle located on the anterior part of the forearm. It performs the function of providing flexion of the wrist and assists in abduction of the hand and wrist.

flexor carpi radialis

The flexor carpi ulnaris arises along with the other superficial muscles, from the medial epicondyle of the humerus. These muscles flex the wrist and adduct it (move it laterally in the direction of ulnar).

flexor carpi ulnaris

The pronator teres muscle is located on the palmar side of the forearm, below the elbow. its function is to rotate the forearm palm-down. This is also known as pronation.

pronator teres

Here are a few of the exercises we do to strengthen the flexor/pronator group.

  • Stretch – Wrist flexion/extension Stretch (x 20-30 sec/side)
  • Strengthening Exercises (1-2 sets ea / 2x per week)

(Isolated DB Wrist Curls – x10/side)

(Grip Strength – x3/ea way)

(Pronators – x8 reps)

2. Improve Shoulder Mobility – A lack of shoulder flexion has been shown to place stress on the medial elbow. Improving shoulder mobility will go a long way in helping to take extra torque /stress off the UCL.

(Band Res. Shoulder Flexion)

(Side Lying Windmill)

3. Controlling Excessive ROM During the Season – Gains in external rotation (ER) happen naturally from throwing during the season, but excessive gains in ER can create an unstable shoulder, forcing the elbow to have to take up the slack and placing added stress on the UCL. Monitoring throwing volume as well as participating in a good strength training program complete with shoulder stabilizations during the season can be a career saver.

See ya in the gym…
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Parents… Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 2

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

Toilet Paper Dollar Bills

When I wrote this article on ball players wasting their money, I didn’t think that there would be a Part 2 (click here for Part 1) or a Part 3.  But then we were provided with several years of showcase results and data by a showcase operator.  So, here we go with “Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 2” related specifically to pitchers (Part 3 will cover position players).

[Read more…]


Pitching Lab… How We Merge Pitching and Strength Training

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

Collusion Pic (2)

The Pitching Lab is a unique training program specifically designed to produce the “complete pitcher”. It is truly a merger of strength training (in the weight room) and pitching (inside the nets).  Most players that haven’t trained with us probably don’t appreciate how intertwined our strength training is with our pitching / throwing program.

[Read more…]


Training Explosiveness with Plyometrics

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


When most of us think of what comprises a great strength training program, we think of training force production.  While this is crucial to enhance performance, the dissipation (absorption) of force is vital not only to performance, but for reducing the risk of injury as well.  We can’t talk about either force production or dissipation without talking about plyometrics. Numerous studies have shown that performing plyometric training:

  • Improves soft tissue quality
  • Helps reduce the risk of injury
  • Increases throwing velocity

[Read more…]


Training Athleticism in Pitchers – Part 2

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

Training Athleticism in Pitchers - Part 2 Top

In Part 1 of this series on training athleticism in pitchers (click here for Part 1), we talked about some key points in the delivery as well as the importance of being able to identify some lower half and rotational issues I see in many young throwers.  Today, we’ll dive in a little further and look at some physical factors that come into play when designing a throwing/strength training program. [Read more…]


Pitching Lab… Inside the Nets

By Robbie Aviles (Pitching Lab Coach, RHP, Cleveland Indians organization)


As we get close to the start of the Pitching Lab, I am getting really excited to put to work what we have mapped out for our pitchers.  The Pitching Lab allows for 19 sessions of training inside the nets.  That means we will throw and pitch a good amount.  It will encompass everything from pitching correctives, to simulated long toss and extensive instruction on how to throw different types of pitches in different situations.  We will work on a variety of pitches including 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, change-ups and breaking balls. [Read more…]


Pitching Lab Video Series

Lower Half Engagement

(Pitching Lab Tip #4 – Lower Half Engagement)

Pitch Tunneling

(Pitching Lab Tip #3 – Pitch Tunneling)

Sliders vs. Curveballs

(Pitching Lab Tip #2 – Curveballs vs. Sliders)

Pitching Lab Video Series


(Pitching Lab Tip #1 – Change-up)


Training Athleticism in Pitchers – Part 1

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

Training Athleticism in Pitchers - Part 1 Top

In order to effectively train a pitcher as a complete athlete we first need to:

  1. Understand the key points in the delivery and how to develop effective power by training it in the weight room
  2. Identify and fix energy leaks (mechanics / disconnects)
  3. Be able to assess what “type” of pitcher we are dealing with in order to effectively train them to produce optimum power to throw a baseball

In the next two articles, we’ll review each of these independently. Let’s get started. [Read more…]


Training Strength / Throwing… It’s All About the Right Place Right Time

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

Top Joint


The increases in pitching velocity and the distance guys are covering when they go yard tells one thing for sure… Guys are getting in the gym and getting bigger, faster and stronger. Period.

That’s great. As a matter of fact, nothing could make me happier as a strength and conditioning coach. But let it be said, with training comes a responsibility on educating athletes as to how and when is the best way and time to incorporate it. This gets especially tricky when it needs to be integrated with a throwing program. What I’m really saying is that a great program should incorporate throwing and strength training as ONE program and not viewed as two separate entities. This is the premise of the closed loop training which we provide at the Pitching Lab here at RPP. Let me try and briefly explain why one hand washes the other. [Read more…]