I coach a 10U team. All 11 players on the roster are expected to pitch. We expect to play our first game at the beginning of April. Voluntary winter workouts begin once a week in December and then we go to two workouts a week in January through February. Mandatory workouts begin in March. Among other things, we want to use the workouts to teach the kids how to pitch and develop their control and velocity through proper mechanics. I am looking for advice on the workouts, particularly the amount of throwing they should do each workout. For example, how many pitches should they throw from the mound each workout? Should the number of pitches increase as we get closer to the first game? Should they throw at full velocity or some lesser percentage? Should they throw from the mound once or twice a week? Thoughts along these lines are appreciated. Thanks!
Last Edit: Nov 17, 2014 10:53:22 GMT -6 by JohnnyG
Post by Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. on Nov 17, 2014 13:13:24 GMT -6
How long will your season be? How many games during what months? Are any of the kids playing on multiple teams?
An important aspect of a good program is no overhead throwing of any kind for at least 2-3 months per year (4 months is preferred). No competitive baseball pitching for at least 4 months per year. This statement, based upon years of research, can be found on the ASMI Position Statement: asmi.org/research.php?page=research§ion=positionStatement and the new PitchSmart website: www.PitchSmart.org. If you have your 10-years-olds throwing year-round, they have a significantly higher risk of serious arm injury on your watch and in later years.
Our season will run from April through mid-July. We will play around 55 games, probably averaging 3-5 games a week. The kids do not play for any other teams. We gave the kids four months off (mid-July through November). Most of the kids play organized basketball or football. A few played recreational fall baseball. During our four month layoff, we had five voluntary practices that focused mainly on baserunning and base coverage. There was some throwing but pretty limited.
Johnny, There are many factors that can go into your team planning for pitchers. For the basics, I would have pitchers doing a 4 week throwing program, with emphasis on basic throwing mechanics to develop arm strength before the season. Then, proceed to working in some flat ground work. Then, progressing to bullpens once a week and maybe two a week for the week or two preceeding the season. I would throw 30 pitch bullpens, which would be broken down into 2 15 pitch sequences, making sure to include proper rest time between bullpens. (This could also include some scrimmage games). I would start the season on a 30-45 pitch count and progressing accordingly over the course of the season. However, and I cannot stress enough, to have the players be as honest as they can about their arm and listen to their arm. Usually some of your best pitchers will be catchers and shortstops who tend to throw more than others in practice. This also must be taken into consideration. Following the guidelines from the Pitchsmart link above should also be used as guidelines. Hope this helps.
I'm interested in how people define proper throwing mechanics.
I don't think it's worth having a long conversation online here about what proper throwing mechanics are. The point is that teaching throwing with proper mechanics is good advice for JohnnyG. If ThePainGuy, Daque, or GeauxPlay want to post links to their websites or other sites that teach throwing mechanics, have at it. They can even send their phone number to JohnnyG by posting it here or by private message. Furthermore, if JohnnyG wants to post here what city he is in, then perhaps one of us can recommend a good coach in his area.
I personally like pitching.com for learning and teaching mechanics. It seems that you don't necessarily have to have been a pitcher in order to analyze mechanics. It's a matter of knowing what you are looking for and using tools such as videotaping to slow the process down and see the minute details that are difficult to see in real-time (I am not in any way affiliated with pitching.com other than as a dad that enjoyed scientific based instruction).