It’s a golden age for pitching, sports fans. Fastball velocity has been steadily climbing for the last ten years, and that little number on the back of the Stalker radar gun is in the driver’s seat. Like it or not, it’s reality. If you want to be on the bump with the ball in your hand longer than the guy in the next locker, you’re going to have to work at it harder and harder.
Hand in hand with the velocity increase has been a decline in untrained arms. More and more, pitchers are reaching out to kinesiologists and biomechanics experts to put together throwing programs that squeeze out every iota of speed available. The days of phenoms stepping off the family farm and into the spotlight are fading fast.
In a nutshell, here’s why:
This is why scouts carry radar guns. Velocity matters. pic.twitter.com/zG9Rh5liQx
— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) February 19, 2016
The harder your pitchers throw, the less damage gets done to the box score.
What are you going to do about it? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself, and I’m in the middle of looking for an answer I can live with. I’m not a pitcher, but I’m raising one. Right now, it’s still my job to filter through an endless mountain of bullshit to steer my kid in a direction that he can take that will do him the most good, if that’s what he chooses.
Relax…I’m not hopping into my helicopter to fly him to Gold-Plated Sports Training, inc. I’m trying to sort through some of the hype and self-promotion that is clogging up an emerging scientific field. The biggest reason is that the only thing that seems to be tracking with the increase in velocity is the increase in TJs. Like I said, the science is really new here, and no one seems to have definitively figured out how to throw harder and not increase the TJ risk.
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
- That “One Weird Trick” will probably make your dick bigger before it increases your velocity.
- Be careful not to focus too hard on strength training your upper body. Ripped traps and delts can reduce velo.
- There are plenty of programs that throw stats and studies like rice at a wedding. Remember, there are “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” There are some snake oil salesmen out there tossing big words and charts that don’t mean a damn thing.
What I’ve found so far that seems to make sense:
- Most everybody respects Jaeger’s combination of bands and long toss.
- There are a number of guys advocating adding weighted baseballs into Jaeger’s program.
- Whatever you do to increase your balance and overall athleticism will probably help.
I’m just starting to scratch the surface here, and looking at everything I can. What are you going to do?