Today’s post by Paul Nyman is filled with topics that will interest every pitching coach.
How many times have you asked about?
If you’re like me, you’re constantly searching for information concerning these “hot” pitching topics!
That’s why I’m extremely excited to share with you the following post written by Paul Nyman.
After reading the post, make sure and check out all 16 of Paul Nyman’s articles inside Nyman’s Corner.
It’s time to get started with the first topic….
“Athletic Pitcher” throwing specific functional training.
In 2002 and 2003 I did a series of lectures/presentations on:
- How the intent to throw the baseball is key to developing a players maximum throwing potential.
- That existing instructional methods had created pitching robots whose intent was not to throw the baseball but to pitch the baseball i.e. throw strikes which hopefully then would win the baseball game.
The Intent To Train:
Throwing a baseball efficiently (greatest results with the least amount of effort) requires the combination of:
- kinesiology (body movement)
- neural activation (intent)
- physiology (actions of muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue).
Throwing a baseball with velocity requires high rates of Rate of Force Development (RFD).
There is more acceptance that in order to properly recruit muscle fiber muscles must be pushed to their maximum effort either through resistance exercises that require efforts corresponding to 80% of a one repetition maximum and/or Olympic (explosive) type lifting.
Overload and underload training are, my opinion, consistent with the principles of neural recruitment of muscle fiber (rate of force development).
As stated from a physics perspective, the 5.25 ounce baseball has a “dynamic weight” of 22 POUNDS when thrown at 100 mph!
Consistent with the principles of SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand), activities that create additional stress specific to the movement pattern of throwing would be highly desirable. Specific to the principles of motor learning and control in particular coordinate of structures, the body parts learn how to coordinate themselves based on the goal as well as physical stimuli.
In the case of throwing a baseball one of the stimuli is the weight of the baseball and the body will adapt itself accordingly when it throws not only to:
- Achieve the goal but also…
- To protect itself from injury.
And if we add physical adaptation in the form of stress which is necessary to the development of connective tissue; we can then make a reasonable case for the use of overload and underload training specific to throwing.
Only in the world of baseball instruction and training can so much be made of something so obviously simple and straightforward as long toss. The ASMI spent considerable time and effort in studying long toss and came to the conclusion hat when you throw a baseball a distance greater than 60’6” feet that there will be changes and how the body achieve the goal of throwing greater than 60’6″. Anyone who has ever tried to throw baseball greater than 60’6″ knows that you throw the ball somewhat differently.
The implication of the ASMI study being; that doing long toss will somehow corrupt one’s ability throw strikes off the mound.
Think: If such were true then by the same reasoning, walking should compromise our ability to run and running should compromise our ability to walk.
Also anyone who has even the most rudimentary background in motor learning and control understands how the body will make movement adaptations based upon the goal presented.
All of which is to say that long toss is simply a mechanism to get the body to understand what its like to exert maximum effort to throw baseball. The goal being to throw it as far as you possibly can as opposed to throwing the baseball at 60’6″ and throwing strikes. Stated differently, long toss is an intentional way of decoupling pitching mechanics from throwing mechanics. Long toss is consistent with Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
When a player reaches the training to win and training to compete level of performance, he needs to have a comprehensive program that embodies the following:
1. General conditioning and flexibility what might be termed functional training.
2. A periodization strength training program consisting of acclamation, hypertrophy, and power (plyometrics).
3. Functional sport specific training such as overload/underload training.
4. Specific practice to develop optimal movement patterns for throwing (practice).
6. Recovery and start all over again.
The 10 Year Rule
The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals’ prolonged efforts to improve performance; while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortfill activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement.
Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.
There are two key concepts and the above, TIME and DELIBERATE PRACTICE.
I think most understand/recognize the importance of time it takes time develop high-level capabilities. For example a it would not be surprising that a player drafted in the first round out of high school (typically 18 years of age) has been playing baseball since at least the age of eight.
What is not really understood by many is the concept of deliberate practice.
- Deliberate practice according to the deliberate-practice framework, the way to reach high levels of expertise is to carry out practice that is consciously intended to improve one’s skills.
- Deliberate practice involves goal-directed activities, which tend to be repetitive and to enable rapid feedback. Preferably performed individually, these activities tend to be effortful and not enjoyable. They can be carried out just for a few hours a day (but not so often that they become inefficient or even hurtful) This framework limits the role of inherited factors to motivation, general activity levels, and height in sports. No role is given to talent with respect to cognitive abilities. The deliberate-practice framework has been influential in the field of expertise research, and a large number of studies have been conducted to understand the role of practice in areas such as sports, games, the arts, and the professions.
There have also been controversies surrounding this framework. Critics of the 10 year rule and deliberate practice methodology believe that innate “talent” has much more role than simply putting the time in with effective practice (deliberate practice). My personal experience is that putting a time in along with effective throw training has yielded velocity gains far beyond most players dreams.
It is impossible to cover the total “state of pitching instruction and player” with a few articles. The best they can be hoped-for is to provide some insight as to different throwing development approaches and reasons for those approaches. And hopefully raise questions and promote constructive discussions and debate. An important distinction needs to be made in the difference between coaching a player to pitch and coaching a player to throw a baseball.
It is my opinion, the opinion of an “baseball outsider”, much of the pitching instructional process is steeped in tradition and belief systems. And that attempts to “scientize” the pitching process has in many cases failed because the methods used to apply the science were not/are not capable of handling something as complex as a human body throwing a baseball.
The best that science has achieved to date is motion capture, EMG muscle activity and inverse kinematic analysis. All of which do nothing more than to produce data/ numbers. These numbers still rely exclusively on interpretation for meaningful “results”. We can only see what we are capable of seeing.
Get the best of Paul Nyman, click here to read every article written by Paul!