Question/Answer 2001

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1.   I just wanted to write and thank you for the information you've put on your website.   I also have a career in baseball and though my current job is much more focused on scouting, I enjoy reading up on the art of hitting and pitching.   What has been lacking in the past was a real scientific analysis of either.   I've read Tom House, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, etc on pitching and felt I learned from them.   But as good as they are, they don't have the scientific background that you have and are hence limited in their ability to really examine pitching.

     I have also read the more scientific exercise physiology articles about pitching and throwing and it was too dry and not always practical.   You've combined those aspects extremely well with your experience in both fields and I have a feeling I'll be spending the next month or so trying to take in all the information you've put on your website.   It absolutely amazes me you haven't found a publisher.   Simply put, you have a lot more to offer than anyone else I've come across in the art and science of pitching.

     Strangely enough, I'd seen your advertisements many months ago, but was too lazy to follow up.   This afternoon, I was watching the 1974 All-Star game on ESPN-Classic and seeing you close the game inspired me to look up your information.   If you have a chance, I'd like to ask you your opinions on two aspects of pitching that I'm unsure of myself:

1)   Why are there so many more elbow injuries today and so many Tommy John surgery patients?   It used to be the rotator cuff, now it seems like the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow goes first.   Is it the cut-fastball or the slider that's doing it, as you've alluded to?

2)   In your day, there were still pitchers, like Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Fergie Jenkins, etc, who could pitch 300+ innings a year.   I'm too young to have seen them in their prime and am in disbelief when I look up their stats.

     My question, I guess, is how did they do it for so many years?   Why can't pitchers today approach that with the improved technology we have?   Did Perry and Carlton have anything left in the ninth innings?

     There is definitely no urgency and I appreciate any input you can give me on your time.   Again, I thank you for sharing this outstanding information and hope to be able to buy your book one day.   Seeing that we live within 30 miles or so, I would also love to see your pitching school some day.


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1.   Pitchers injure their ulnar collateral ligament when they place more stress on it than it is able to withstand.   That means that two factors contribute to this injury either independently or in combination.   When pitchers have insufficiently trained their ulnar collateral ligament, they succumb to low levels of stress.   When pitchers use incorrect force application techniques, they place unnecessarily high levels of stress on their ulnar collateral ligament.   Therefore, the problem relates to poor training and/or improper technique.

     With regard to technique, pitchers injure their ulnar collateral ligament whenever their forearm moves backward when their upper arm moves forward, such as when they use the 'high guard' force application technique.   With regard to training, the treatment of the pitching arm as fragile contributes to insufficient fitness.

     The cut fastball and slider pitches improperly taught or taught before pitchers have sufficiently trained their ulnar collateral ligament can cause this injury.   The problem lies in the tendency of the forearm to 'bounce' backward and downward at the moment when pitchers turn their forearm inwardly (supinate) at the end of the transition just when they start to forwardly accelerate their upper arms.

2.   With regard to the great starters of the 1970's regularly pitching 300+ innings a year, there was this relief pitcher who even pitched 208 closing innings in a year.   We accomplished these innings mainly because we retired batters.   If we could not retire batters, we never would have pitched so many innings.   I am not trying to be funny.   Today, pitchers cannot retire batters with sufficient ease to continue to pitch.   They do not know how to throw pitches of sufficient variety and quality to retire batters out with ease.   Therefore, they have to throw the baseball past batters harder and harder.   Nobody teaches quality non-fastballs and the radar gun as their scout only reads velocity.

     The reason why we retired batters for so many years is because we did not try to throw every pitch as hard as we could, we made the baseball move, we pitched.   I do not know what you mean by improved technology.   I have not seen any indication that professional baseball has any interest in true research and development.   I did my high speed film analysis in 1971 and nobody has ever replicated the research.   It was from that research that I made force application adjustments that reduced my ERA from 4.58 to 1.78 between 1971 and 1972.   It appears to me that professional baseball would rather send radar gun carrying people around the world searching for the physical freaks who can throw one hundred miles per hour than find competent people to train and teach their pitchers.

     I cannot speak for Carlton or Perry, but I had many pitches left and continued to pitch competitively for eighteen years after professional baseball.

     You are welcome at any time.   Drive north on Hwy 301 off I-4 eight blocks past the stoplight at Chancey to Vinson Avenue on the left or west side.   My pitchers training center is on the northwest corner.

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2.   Thank you for your response and the well-thought answers.   I didn't mean to sound condescending at all against pitchers or technology of the 1970s, only that I just didn't know why things were so different and was hoping to learn from someone who saw and experienced it.   It honestly didn't occur to me that pitchers back then used something other than "might" to get hitters out and could have so much left to pitch into the ninth inning when the major leagues I've pretty much grown up watching is so much different.

     I'm pretty stunned myself at the lack of scientific research in baseball even though the game has been around 160+ years.   Someone, somewhere is going to discover scientific things about hitting as well as throwing that will change the way we look at all mechanics and training.   When I referred to the increased technology of today, I was more thinking of everything else on the periphery, ie. stairmasters, weights, jobe-bands, fax machines, the internet, etc that just makes training and the exchange of information more readily available.

     At any rate, I would like to take you up on the invitation to watch your school in action.   Can you give me an idea as to what the schedule would be like this weekend?


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     I never took your comments as condescending.   Professional baseball is the problem.   They do not even have people who have baseball playing experience in charge of skill development.   In years past, if they wanted infielders to learn how to field better, they brought in someone who used to field well, asked him to demonstrate and, then, hit a high number of ground balls to the infielders.   Today, they pay the infielders more money and expect him to field better.   It is not the infielders' fault.   Of course, what they should do is hire a qualified biomechanics expert with experience in baseball fielding to analyze the best way for infielders to combine their visual sense with their musculoskeletal 'muscle' sense to field baseballs and to design a sequence of drills from simple to most complex to enable fielders to practice and perfect the proper fielding techniques.   They should use the identical approach to all baseball skills, including pitching.   The problem lies in the scarcity of qualified biomechanics experts with experience in the specific skills.

     When you get deeper in reading my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, you will realize that all training must be specific.   Stairmasters, weights, jobe-bands and so on have no specificity to baseball skills.

     We train seven days per week from the third Saturday in August through the fourth Saturday in May and from the first Saturday in June through the second Saturday in August.   At present, we are about one-third of the way through a forty week program.   Depending on what you want to see, it may be a good time to visit.   The young men are using twenty-five pound wrist weights and eight pound iron balls.   They continue to struggle with the force application techniques.   Some find the first three weeks interesting, others prefer the final three weeks.   In any case, we presently train from about 9:00AM until 11:00AM.   Within a couple of weeks, we will change to starting at about 10:00AM and ending at about 12:00PM.   Anybody may visit any time.

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3.   I continue to appreciate your efforts in helping pitchers to maximize their ability and minimize their injuries.   Thanks again!!!!

     I have one pitcher who is in the fourth week of the two week training program.   I am trying to be as true to the instruction as possible with my level of understanding.   The pitcher's comments and feedback are so positive.   "I don't have the soreness and stiffness I've had after workouts in the past; I feel so much stronger and I can really tell if I do not apply the right force on the ball" are some examples.   As an instructor, I have so much more confidence that I am helping pitchers maximize their talent and pitch injury free.

     My questions concern inseason workloads and maintenance:
1.   What would be the maintenance during a competitive season?
2.   Would it be different for a starter, setup or closer?
3.   What approach do you recommend for a pitcher who leaves your program to return to his college program and pitching coach (especially with the pitching coach who thinks you are too far away from the current mainstream of pitching approaches)?

     We recently conducted our state high school coaching clinic.   One of our speakers was a respected hitting instructor, Harvey Krupnick from Mass.   He gave a great presentation and gave you credit for developing his approach with the high speed motion studies you did at MSU.   Many coaches ask me for help and I always mention that I have gained so much insight and information from your website.


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     It is nice to hear Harvey's name again.   He came to Michigan State University from Adrian College, which is a college in my home town.

1.   With regard to what training to do during the season, pitchers must maintain the skeletal development that they achieved with their training.   Fortunately, it is much easier to maintain a level of fitness than to attain a new level of fitness.   I recommend one-half of beginning training repetitions and at least one-half intensity.

2.   With regard to maintenance training for starters versus relievers, starters get to cerefully plan their workouts, relievers do not.   Therefore, relievers can only do one-halves as I stated above except when they know that they are not going to pitch, such as with off-days.   Starters can go hard the day after they pitch and do maintenance as they approach their next start.

3.   With regard to returning to coaches who disagree, don't.   If your present coach does not believe in your program, then go to someone who does.   They will only look for what they perceive as flaws and try to pick you apart.   The program can be perfect, but pitchers trying to execute the force application cannot.   It takes a long time, several years, to perfect the pitching skills even with the greatest program and the greatest guide.   Nobody needs negative and misinformed people holding them back.

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4.   I have been bantering back and forth for a few weeks now with a reader with whom I believe you are having some interesting email exchanges.   The latest from him seems to imply a collaborative effort between you, though I'm not sure what the planned end result is.   What caused me pause is when he stated "So far there are three major differences in pitching mechanics where he [meaning Dr. Marshall] is absolutely right and everybody else is dead wrong."

     I assume that to be his absolute statement not yours as he also states that you "refuse to look at or read other books etc." and I really doubt that you'd say "everybody is wrong" without knowing that through research.

     Anyway I just wanted to make it clear that while I told him that I might be interested in a contribution from him, I was neither soliciting it nor suggesting to him that he could represent himself as doing this for my web site.   I don't imagine he has, but I am only concerned because he has come across as working cooperatively with you on this.

     If I may be personal, I value the answers you have provided for my web site visitors, and I hope that I have made a few more people aware of the valuable content on your site.   I really don't want to see a third party create a communications barrier between us, but if you are comfortable with having this gentleman, reinterprete your conclusions or combine them with others in new content, then just let me know with a quick "okay" from you.


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     I am unaware of anything that this gentleman has written with regard to my materials.   He wants me to more aggressively promote my books, starting by slamming everybody else.   He said that he was told by someone that that is the best way to get attention.   It may be, but I do not want my name associated with it.   What he writes is his opinion.   It is a free expression country and he can say whatever he wants in comparison of what I teach and what others teach.   However, I did not mean in my name.

     I do not have any interest in reading what others have written about how to pitch.   I am a research scientist.   This means unless someone has conducted quality research with results on which I can rely, I am not interested.   What opinions people have from their observations have no scientific merit.   Therefore, in that regard, what he said is true.   However, when someone brings a theory to me, I will examine it and give my analysis based on the relevant science.

     If you could provide this disclaimer to whatever he writes, I see no problem.   I would prefer that he not overstep his bounds and claim that I am a party to what he writes.   Nevertheless, I would never do anything to prevent friend and foe alike from stating their position.

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5.   Over the Christmas Holiday, I downloaded and read from cover to cover your Coaching Adult Pitchers and the Questions & Answers.   Thank you for making this resource available to the public, and at no charge.

     I have a son who is currently a high school senior.   Until I read you book, our plan was that he go directly to a university and continue his pitching there.   He is currently going through the application process, hoping to gain admittance to a school that is strong in academics and baseball.   Your 40-week program intrigues me, and I now wonder if perhaps it might be better for my son to postpone college for one year so that he can first learn from you.   I understand that space is limited.   But, if you have any openings left, I would like to discuss the idea with you further.   I would also be happy to provide any information you would like concerning my son (pitching or otherwise) in order to determine whether he would significantly benefit from your instruction.

     One concern I would have were he to defer college for a year is that he not discontinue some formal education.   I would like him to continue, at least part-time, with his academics, but without cutting into his four years of NCAA eligibility.   One thought is to see if there is a private school within driving distance that allows "post(HS)-graduates" to enroll in one or two AP courses per semester.   That way, when he does enter a university the following year, he could be credited with all or some of his "post-graduate" studies.   Any thoughts you have on this concern would be greatly appreciated.


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     Thank you for your kind words and interest in my forty week program.   I offer my forty week program for highly committed young men because I believe that they should prepare themselves fully for their college baseball experience.   Then, instead of trying to learn how to pitch while in college, they can be learning how to get batters out.

     I agree with the young men attending college courses while here.   I recommend that they take six hours of easily transferable basic courses from Pasco-Hernando Community College during the fall and spring semesters.   In this way, they will have twelve hours of credit before they start college which will in all likelihood keep them academically eligible through their junior years.   All athletes are eligible for their freshman season.   To be eligible for their sophomore year, they have to pass twenty-four hours with typically a 2.0 GPA.   To be eligible for their junior year, they have to pass forty-eight hours with the same GPA.   By earning twelve hours before they start, they need to pass only thirty-six hours in four semesters, or nine hours per semester.

     I require all young men to work during their forty weeks.   In the past, SaddleBrook Golf and Tennis Resort has hired all my young men to work in their banquet department setting up tables.   Of course, they may work wherever else they want, but they will not sit around as though this is a vacation.

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6.   I am very interested in your teachings and agree whole heatedly in your approach.   To get a better perspective on your descriptions, will you be making a video anytime in the near future?

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     I had conversations this past week with someone who wants to help me make a videotape.   I want to proceed slowly.   I want put together a quality, scientifically sound videotape of my basic force application technique.   I will not provide anything that does not fully explain why we do the how.   I hope that this meets with your approval and that we have something available soon.   However, as usual, I am not in control of the time frame.   Please continue to visit my website, I will first announce its availability there.

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7.   I understand and agree with these statements which are based on science fact.   Can you please explain how my 13 year old son can do your drill to increase his drive line distance "Hidden Velocity technique" by up to two feet?

"To achieve their maximum release velocities, pitchers must uniformly apply their maximum forces over the greatest displacement or time period possible.

Pitchers must extend the length of the driveline between leverage and release.   High speed cinematographic studies show that pitchers release their pitchers about five and one-half or six feet in front of the pitching rubbers.   They release their pitches behind their stride foot, beside the heads.   I teach a technique that enables pitchers to extend their drivelines up to two feet farther out front.   I call this concept, ‘hidden velocity.’"


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     The concept of 'hidden velocity' relates to my force application technique permitting pitchers to release their pitches as far forward as possible.   I instruct pitchers to move their body ahead of their front foot before they start their forearm acceleration through release.   This action lengthens the distance between leverage and release.   Since other force application techniques have pitchers release their pitches behind their front foot, the distance between their leverage and release points are shorter.

     Suppose two pitchers accelerate their fastballs at release to the same velocity.   If the pitcher who uses my force application technique release his fastball two foot farther forward than the other pitcher, my pitcher has two feet less for the baseball to arrive at the same location that is appropriate for batters to properly hit the ball.   If the two pitchers released their fastballs at the same point, for one of the pitchers to have the baseball arrive at that batter contact point two feet faster requires additional release velocity.   That is the 'hidden velocity.'

     The actual towards-home-plate distance that pitchers release their fastballs with my force application technique versus whatever they presently use relates to several factors.   I believe that the most important factor is motor skill.   Pitchers have to learn a new pitching rhythm where they carry their forearm in the leverage position until they feel that they can push backward with their front foot.   They have to learn to forwardly rotate their shoulders until the pitching shoulder points towards home plate.   Naturally, pitchers can reach farther forward when they have longer limbs, but I believe that technique can nearly overcome limb length disadvantages.   Of course, all other factors being equal, highly skilled tall athletes have mechanical advantages over us highly skilled height-challenged athletes.   I am 5'08 and 1/2" tall and I want that 1/2"

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8.   My son is an 18 year old, left handed pitcher and has been asking me to purchase some of the new products out with Glucosamine and Chondroitin in them.   These products are suppose to protect the joints.   Would you recommend a young pitcher using these products as a preventative measure?   If it is a good thing to use these products, what dosage would you recommend and would you recommend long term usage?   Are there any side effects to these products?

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     I have no special knowledge of this supplement.   Nevertheless, I do not recommend any non-doctor ordered substance.   I believe that a properly designed diet will take care of his needs.   However, I doubt that this product has any bad side effects other than making for very expensive deficate.

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9.   Do you have any openings for the 40 week program?   If you do, what is the cost of the program?   Could a high school senior move there and participate, providing a guardian was with him?

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     Thank you for your inquiry.   Because there are many more factors and inevitably response questions to discuss than cost and whether I can accept high school seniors, I recommend that we talk on the telephone.   If you will email me your telephone number and a good time to call you, I will call and we can discuss these and many other questions.

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10.   I was looking at many different websites for information regarding elbow pain and discovered your website.   I'm really glad I did because I need to ask you some questions.   I know my boyfriend should really be the one emailing you of course it's me that is more concerned.

     My boyfriend has been pitching since he was a little boy.   Now, at the age of 21, he is pitching for a well-known college team and doing well.   His dream of course is to pitch professionally and is willing to ignore the pain he feels in his elbow in order to keep pitching.

     I am worried that he will permanently injure himself and was wondering if you know any alternatives to surgery to ease his pain.   He tells me that the pain is in his tendon and that it hurts worse to ice it.   I know that without knowing the location and extent of his injury it is hard to give advice but I also know that you know the feeling determination to reach a goal.

     If there is any advice you can give me or people you can refer me to I would really appreciate it.


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     Elbow pain can mean many things.   For example, he could have an incomplete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, he could have strained any of the five forearm, wrist and finger muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle process of his upper arm bone (humerus).   I would guess that he has strained one of the medial epicondyle muscles, probably his flexor digitorum superficialis.   I know that this does not mean anything to you and probably him, but this pain results from improper force application technique as does most all pain pitchers suffer.

     There is NO reason why any pitcher should experience pain or even discomfort from baseball pitching.   He is either improperly trained or uses improper force application techniques.   My Coaching Adult Pitchers book discusses what I believe are the proper force application techniques and proper training program for pitchers.   If he cannot properly utilize the information in my book on his own, then I also offer personal training.   I offer a ten week beginners training program that starts the first Saturday in June and a forty week training program that starts the third Saturday in August.   I also hope to have a videotape available in a few months.

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11.   I noticed your advertisement in Baseball Weekly, and it intrigued me.   I went to my baseball encyclopedia to refamiliarize myself with your career.   You certainly were a DOMINANT pitcher of the 1970's.   This was when I grew up, and you were right up there with Sparky Lyle and Rollie Fingers, yet you escape most media recognition.

     I have a question for you.   I have been a novice collector of memorabilia since I was a child, and I recall you did not sign many autographs.   What reason do you have for this, and do you still hold to this theory.   Would there be any price for you to do an autograph appearance? I ask you this question because Tony Kubek, who I understand was impossible to gather a signature from, is now appearing at a show.


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     Please pardon me, but at the time of year where they elect players to the Hall of Fame, I become sensitive. I am not sensitive that they did not give me sufficient votes to remain on the ballot, but that they continue to keep other closers with lesser accomplishments on the ballot.   I listened to someone trying to compare the closers of today with my era with regard to what statistics were important and he said the number of innings pitched in a season and the number of appearances.   He lamented that today's closers pitch less than one hundred innings and appear in only sixty to seventy games.

     Did Rollie Fingers or Sparky Lyle or any other closer ever pitch in 208 innings in a season?   Did they ever pitch in 106 games?   Did they pitch in thirteen consecutive games?   By the way, who placed second in these true measures of the value of closers?   I was not right there with them, they never came close to what I did.   I submit that the media forgets about my career because they would have no one with whom to compare with me.   They prefer to dismiss me as a physical freak.

     I am sorry, but I do not attend autograph sessions, but please say 'hi' to Tony for me.   I hope that your son learns from my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books what he has to do to insure that he does not permanently injure himself and becomes the best pitcher that he can become.   That is what I did.

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12.   Can I realisticly be back within ten and half months from Tommy John surgery.   I had the surgery on July 25, 2000 and I want to pitch again on June 10.   Is it possible?   I need to be ready for the summer season.

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     Tommy John surgery repairs a ruptured ulnar collateral ligament.   Surgeons take the tendon from the palmaris longus muscle from the non-pitching arm and thread it through holes that they drill in the medial epicondyle of the humerus and the proximal end of the ulna and tie it off.   All patients have to do is wait until the sutured ends of the new 'ligament' heal and strengthens.   Therefore, from a medical standpoint, you would have no difficulty with your ulnar collateral ligament in ten and one-half months.   However, you have forgotten the most important factor.

     The force application technique that you used caused you to rupture your ulnar collateral ligament.   You must examine your force application technique and correct the serious flaws.   I recommend that you read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book for the proper force application technique and use my wrist weight and iron ball training programs to strengthen your ulnar collateral ligament.   I do not know why June 10, 2001 is so important, but if you have not corrected your technique and properly trained, then you could suffer the same consequences.   Ask Tony Saunders.

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13.   Six months ago, our 13 year old pitched 80 pitches in a game and felt pretty good.   The next day, his coach put him in centerfield and on his first throw, felt pain in his shoulder.   He stopped throwing and over 4-5 months the pain went away.   Now, when we stretch in him in abducted external rotation, we can feel a palpable pain-free clunk in his shoulder.   What could this mean?   Could it be capsular instability, a SLAP or Bankart lesion?   Can rehab help him?   What is his prognosis for pitching?

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     Whenever I hear about pitchers aged 10 through 14 with long term persistent pain, I think of growth plates.   The growth plate in the shoulder for the greater tuberosity attaches to the tendon for the subscapularis muscle.   If pitchers leave their elbow behind their acromial line (the line between the lateral-most aspect of the scapula that makes up the shoulder), then they unnecessarily stress this attachment.   During adolescence, the injury can occur to either the subscapularis or the greater tuberosity.

     In Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I discuss Dr. Joel Adams' article wherein he provides several examples of adolescent pitching injuries to the shoulder.   I do not have Dr. Adams' slides on my web site, but, with the reference that I provide, maybe you can locate a copy of his original article.   As I recall his material, I believe that he did not find any serious long term difficulties from these shoulder injuries provided that the youngsters stopped pitching until their growth plates matured.

     I assume that you have visited an orthopedic specialist.   However, growth plate damage does not readily display on X-rays unless the damage is extreme.   Nevertheless, the remedy is rest from pitching or throwing in general until your son's growth plates mature.   I have the average data on when growth plates mature in Chapter Six of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.

     As I have written before, sounds eminating from pitching shoulders and elbows when placed in different positions and manipulated do not concern me.   In the elbow, there is a chance of loose cartilage getting between bones and preventing range of motion, but sounds indicate tendons moving across body ridges, swollen hyaline cartilages opening such as when one pops his fingers and so on.   However, growth plate trauma is serious and requires the same treatment as Osgood Schlatter's disease of the tibial tuberosity, rest without throwing.

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14.   Are your books currently in print?   Can they be ordered directly from you?   Or could people order from some other source?

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     I placed my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books on my web site.   Everybody can go to my web site and download whichever chapters they want for free.   Unfortunately, I do not have any illustrations, so they will have to try to understand what my words mean.

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15.   One of my best pitchers received a shoulder injury during football season.   He continued to play and finished the season.   His family doctor recommended rest until the first of the year (first mistake).   We have now begun spring training and he now complains of pain in the anterior of the shoulder.   I suspect the inflamation is in the tendon of the subscapularis as that is the tender area to the touch plus he can feel it on medial rotation of the humerus.   I know inflammation moves from muscles to tendon to bone and is caused by a lack of fitness for the task involved.   Medication masks the problem until proper force application is learned and used.   I'm trying to avoid trial and error solutions.   We are using the two week training program working to tolerance.   Any thoughts on a specific plan of action to follow?

     Also, in training my pitching staff, I become frustrated in my inability to get pitchers in a throwing position so there energy is delivered in a straight line.   From the balance position they have a hard time stepping in a straight line.   Their front foot lands in a position that they throw across their body or around their front foot.   Like forearm flyout it reminds me of lead leg flyout.   I understand the concepts and the teach, but am not proficient in my action plans.   Help!!

     Would this statement be appropiate to use as an "Effort Rule" in delivering a baseball?   90% of your maximum effort will get you 100% of your velocity and location whereas 100% of your maximum effort will get you less than your maximum velocity and poor location.

     One more question.   Some pitchers seem to rush through a delivery where some seem to be more slow and mechanical.   What would be your teach as to the rthymn and tempo of a delivery.   I'm not sure that even makes sense to you.   Sorry.


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     Pitchers injure the subscapularis attachment when they leave their elbow behind their acromial line.   I agree that he should complete my two week program.   However, it is just as important that he focuses on keeping his elbow ahead of his acromial line.

     The problem lies in having the pitchers use the balance position.   The balance position guarantees unnecessary subscapularis stress.   I recommend that you teach my rock-back technique where the pendulum swing starts the motion and pitchers do not start their body forward until their pitching arm achieves my downward forearm head pat position.   From this position, pitchers should step forward while they rotate and raise their pitching arm to leverage.   By the time that their pitching arm achieves leverage, they should have their front foot on the ground and a strong push-off by their rear foot should propel their body ahead of their front foot.   Again, they must always make certain to keep their elbow ahead of their acromial line.

     My technique does require a different pitching rhythm.   They must stay controlled until they get their body ahead of their front foot.   Then, while they push-back with their front foot, they rapidly accelerate their forearm through release.   I have my guys practice this rhythm without throwing baseballs.   They can succeed only if they stop using the balance point nonsense.

     With regard to your 'Effort Rule', "90% of your maximum effort will get you 100% of your velocity and location whereas 100% of your maximum effort will get you less than your maximum velocity and poor location." I understand what you are trying to say, however, I believe that pitchers should throw every pitch with 100% intensity.   After about ten thousand throws of this intensity, they will achieve 100% accuracy.   I know that you have to play games and, therefore, you do not have time to wait for this accuracy.   But, if they train at 90%, then they will never achieve 100%.   I know that I needed everything that I had to succeed.

     As usual, you have shown insight with your 'lead leg flyout' comment.   I call it, 'front foot float'.   Front foot float occurs when pitchers start forwardly rotating their hips before their front foot contacts the ground.   It is the clearest indication that these pitchers remain 'rear leg pitchers' rather than the desired 'front foot pitchers'.   They will not have consistency with their release points, but, more importantly, they will release their pitches at only about five and one-half feet ahead of the pitching rubber.   These pitchers must practice getting their front foot on the ground before they start forwardly rotating their hips.

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16.   My daughter is a dancer who has been having recurring ankle problems.   The physiotherapist actually "moved her ankle bone" and taped it in its new position for better alignment.   As I understand it, she did this to correct a problem in which the bones were locking into alignment causing a loss in flexibility and recurring pain on toe lifts.   It was not to correct a dislocation.   It will be a week before she can dance again.

     Is this a common foot/ankle correction method and are similar adjustments done for other joints?   Would you recommend a particular program to strength the foot or prevent recurrence?


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     The lower leg has two bones, the Tibia and the Fibula.   The Fibula does not contribute to vertical support.   Therefore, when standing, the Tibia accepts the total weight of the body.   The bone on which the tibia rests is the Talus.   The Talus spreads the weight forward through the Navicular, Cuboid and first, second and third Cuneforms and then through the metatarsals.   The Talus rests on the Calcaneum through which it spreads the weight downward and backward.

     We do not have an 'ankle bone.'   The medial and lateral malleoli are the distal ends of the Tibia and Fibula, quite separate from the foot.   All bones have hyaline cartilage on their surfaces.   When stressed, hyaline cartilage swells with fluid and becomes irritated.   This swelling presses these compacted bones tighter together.   Then, like pulling on your metacarpals causes a popping sound, manipulating the bones of the foot likewise causes popping sounds.   This action my temporarily reduce discomfort due to the offending surfaces no longer impinging so tightly on one another, but it does nothing curative.

     Like with all human movements, there is a correct way for persons to accept force through their feet.   To increase the ability of feet to tolerate greater and greater forces without injury, persons should learn the proper method with which to accept the required forces and gently increase the number of repetitions and/or the amount of the force.   They should start below the persons present fitness level and systematically apply greater stresses at sufficiently gentle increments as to permit the affected areas to physiologically respond without breaking down.

     Lastly, there is no hocus pocus, only a properly trained person should design this program.   Of course, my definition of properly trained probably well exceeds most in that field, just as it does with baseball pitching.   Remember, I had to properly train myself to properly train myself.

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17.   Are there issues related to the posterior leg and landing leg? I have always thought pitchers should try to turn on their posterior leg (not drop and drive, but fall from tall) and try to land on a soft landing leg, with the weight coming down more inside on the ball of the foot rather than the toes.

I had an odd situation a couple of weeks ago. I flung my arm out laterally towards the dog (no contact) and my arm "bit back" with extreme disabling pain caused by the backlash action. I recently heard about "Bullwhipping", i.e., where pitchers put the brakes on their arm during the follow through. Yet, we also speak of whipping in the sense of the muscle groups (legs - torso - upper body - arm - wrist) triggering in sequence during the pitching motion. What would you suggest?


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     With regard to how pitchers should use their rear leg:

1.   I have pitchers turn their rear foot to forty-five degrees to the pitching rubber to prevent excessive reverse body rotation.   I define too much reverse body rotation by the acromial line, which is the line from the tip of the throwing shoulder through the tip of the non-throwing shoulder.   I recommend that the acromial line never go past home plate.

2.   I agree that pitchers must stand tall on their rear leg and never drop and drive.   That action only serves to lower the baseball's release height and diminishes the quality of non-fastball pitches.

3.   I teach pitchers to drive hard off their rear leg as soon as their front foot step contacts the ground simultaneous with forwardly rotating their hips and shoulders.   Pitchers must drive sufficiently hard to move their body ahead of their front foot.

     With regard to how pitchers should use their front leg:

1.   The front leg steps forward rather than strides.   This somewhat decreases the distance between the front leg and the pitching rubber, but it gives increased body control.   Like all steps, pitchers land on their heel and roll across the entire plantar surface of their foot.

2.   As soon as the center of mass of their body moves ahead of the front foot, pitchers push backward powerfully with their front foot to continue the forward movement of their body.   Shortly after pitchers initiate this front foot pushback, they start their forearm acceleration through release.   This concept is called force-coupling where two parallel and oppositely directed forces summate.

     The purpose of my recommended leg actions is to lengthen the distance over which pitchers apply force and to increase the equal and oppositely directed force.   Since release velocity equals the amount of uniformly applied force times the time hence the distance over which pitchers apply that force divided by the mass of the baseball (0.01), the greater the length of the driveline, the greater the release velocity.   Of course, for pitchers to perfect this technique, they must greatly strengthen their ability to apply force.   My forty week pitcher training program develops the required strength.

     With regard to 'bullwhipping':

     I use that word to explain how pitchers decelerate their pitching arms.   I attended a biomechanics seminar where a researcher used the force equals mass times acceleration formula of Newton's second law to determine the tremendous amount of force required for pitchers to safely decelerate their pitching arms to stops.   This researcher inappropriately assumed that pitchers have to decelerate the entire pitching arm in the very short time between release and when the pitching arm reaches as far forwardly as it can.

     I pointed out that by the time pitchers release their pitches, they have decelerated to a stop all segments of the pitching arm, except the fingers and they do not weigh that much.   I described this action of decelerating the scapula, the humerus, the radius and ulna, the wrist and the hand to stops, while the remaining portion of the pitching arm, the fingers, continue through release as emulating a bullwhip where the bullwhip handle stops and even moves backward while the remainder of the whip continues until the tip snaps to a stop.   Anybody can read this explanation in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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18.   Our high school baseball program is doing your training program.   I was wanting to know if we could implement it to our softball program and how?

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     If you are training non-pitchers, then you could teach them with my techniques.   I would use the maxline fastball technique for outfielders and both maxline fastball and torque fastball techniques for infielders and catchers.   I do not have a program for the underhand throwing technique of fastpitch softball pitchers.

     I would train them with five pound wrist weights and the six pound iron ball.   If any want to increase the wrist weight and/or the iron ball weight, then I would have to write a more detailed program.   I would not start the accelerated program until after their season.

     Good luck and please keep me updated on their progress and any difficulties that you and/or they may encounter.

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19.   I am the outfielder living in Toronto.   You have answered a couple of my questions about a month ago, and I have two more to ask.

     This week I took video footage of myself throwing, and it's clear that I have too much trunk rotation between the hand pat and leverage.   My shoulders swing too far in a clockwise direction (I am a right handed thrower).   It appears my elbow stays ahead of the acromial line, but the acromial line is shifting well to the right of the target.   I am not sure if this factors into the equation, but being an outfielder, most of my throws are made from a running start.   Do you have any advice for correcting this?

     Also, I read in your Q&A section that you teach a technique that helps batters avoid being hit by pitches, but you didn't provide any details.   I would love to learn what your thoughts on the subject are.


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     The action of the shoulders that you describe, I call reverse rotation.   You must not reverse rotate your shoulders beyond where your acromial line points to where you want to throw the ball.   You should be using my maxline fastball technique.   The way that you learn to not reverse rotate too far is to train with the wrist weights watching yourself in the mirror.   Then, with your iron ball exercises, you will need an observer as with your baseball throws.

     I do not teach batter how to not get hit by pitches, I teach batters how to correctly get hit by pitches.   The technique involves the reverse rotation batters use while they step forward with their front foot.   If they recognize that the pitch is coming inside where they can get hit by the pitch, they reverse rotate with the pitch such as to permit the baseball to hit them in a well-muscled area.   Of course, if the pitch is at the batter's head, I teach batters how to reverse rotate their torsos and their heads and to drop their heads downward to look at the heel of the rear leg's foot.

     I train batters with tennis balls and shovel handles as bats every day with only a few tennis balls thrown where they can hit the batters.   Later, with elbow pads protecting the elbows and obviously wearing helmets, I have teammates throw forty to fifty mile per hours short tosses of about twenty-five feet to batters in the same way we did the tennis ball drill.   Batters soon learn that a five and one-quarter ounce baseball is not to be feared, but controlled.   Batters unafraid of the inside pitch baseball is very difficult to eliminate.   We especially love two strike non-fastball pitches that get away from pitchers inside.

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20.   Have you completed your research/thought process on whether pitching utilizes fast twitch muscles?   I live in Southern California and my son is a 16 year old Sophmore pitcher on Varsity for the second year.   He is about 6'2" and maybe 165lbs. He has a tendency to be somewhat slow and methodical in his delivery.

     My question is really related to what transpires after the front foot plant and how he might transition from slow/methodical to explosion towards home.   Does this explosion utilize fast twitch muscles?   There are a number of fast twitch training facilities in our area that many athletes use, but I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

     Also, can you give me a ballpark price range for your 10 week camp?   When you say for juniors and seniors, does that mean going into the junior year?   I recognize you've answered the price question by saying you'd like to discuss it on the phone, but a rough range would work for me for now.


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     My question regarding whether pitching requires fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscles relates to the production of lactic acid.   When athletes use their fast-twitch muscle fibers, they metabolize muscle glycogen and produce lactic acid as their waste product.   For example, when track runners run 440 yards, they produce high amount of lactic acid that results in their decreased ability to use their running muscles and they breath very heavily.   My pitchers do not produce lactic acid, they do not breath hard.

     I do not believe that the percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers explains pitching success.   I know that the strength of their skeletal system including the attachments of muscle to bone play a strong role in how powerfully pitchers apply force.   I have seen pitchers who can move their pitching arms very fast and this is an advantage.   However, I am not certain that it is totally attributable to the type of muscle fiber.   I believe that nerve conduction velocity is another factor as is mastery of the motor unit firing pattern.

     In the end, I believe that until pitchers gain the required strength and skill (motor unit firing pattern), they can never know what quality of pitcher they can become.   While we definitely want pitchers to move their pitching arm fast, I would not attribute that ability only to muscle fiber type.

     I set up my summer ten week program to introduce to be High School Juniors and Seniors to the program with an eye toward them returning for the forty week program.   However, I have found that the forty week graduates want to return for the ten week summer to continue with my advanced programs.

     Rent in the furnished apartments is one hundred and fifty dollars per week and I expect them to work.   I have jobs with Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort's banquet department waiting for them.   It is not ten weeks of laying around looking for mischief.   The reason that I did not answer the other gentleman's question regarding costs related to other concerns that he had, not the matter of costs.

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21.   I am a minor league catcher that has had Tommy John.   I was wondering if you have any advice on how to alter my tthrowing mechaincs to minimize medial elbow stress/torque.   My ATC is not really helping me that much with this aspect of my rehabilitation.   Any ideas would be much appreciated.

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     I believe that I may have already addressed this question.   Nevertheless, Tommy John surgery means that you ruptured your ulnar collateral ligament which attaches your medial epicondyle of your humerus bone with your ulna bone.   This injury means that you placed greater stress on the ulnar collateral ligament than it could withstand.   Consequently, while the surgical procedure will provide a stronger ulnar collateral ligament, you should adjust your force application technique and train your new ulnar collateral ligament to withstand greater stresses.

     With regard to adjusting your force application technique, you must immediately stop the raise your elbow to ear height with your forearm pointing forward technique.   This technique insures the you place the maximum force that you can generate directly on your ulnar collateral ligament.   The reason is that from this position, when you start driving your upper arm forward, your forearm has to move backward one hundred and eighty degrees until it is again horizontal only this time pointing toward second base.   Then, after moving backward while your upper arm powerfully moves forward, your forearm has to stop going backward and start moving forward.   This action places incredible stress on your ulnar collateral ligament and the medial aspect of the elbow in general that adds nothing to your throwing ability or release velocity.

     Therefore, you must permit your arm to pendulum swing as I instruct pitchers only severely abbreviated. Before you start driving your upper arm forward, you must have your forearm horizontal pointing backward.   In this way, you insure that when you start your upper arm forward, you also start your forearm forward without any unnecessary stress on the ulnar collateral ligament.

     With regard to training your ulnar collateral ligament to withstand greater forces, you should use the wrist weight and iron ball exercises that I have outlined in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   You should learn the force application techniques for my Maxline fastball and my Torque fastball.   You will use the Maxline fastball force application technique to throw to first and second bases and the Torque fastball force application technique to throw to third base.

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22.   Just a quick note on my progress.   I wanted to say that what you have been talking about has finally hit home.   I was practising this morning and experimented with positioning my rear foot at approximetly 45 degrees towards the target.   I have always had my rear foot perpendicular to the target.

     With that adjustment, the acromial line did not sway to the right of the target, I could feel the front foot push off, and my throws felt "fluid" and much more accurate.   The beautiful thing about this approach is that as an outfielder, when I run to charge a ball, it is much easier to get into throwing position since I do not need to change my foot position and rotate my trunk as I used to.

     I am really looking forward to visiting your facility in late March 2001.   I would like to see how closely what I interpret from your readings matches what you preach.   In additon I'd like to see the exercises performed with my own eyes, to ensure I am doing them correctly.


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     It sounds as though you are making the adjustments.   I'll see you in March.

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23.   Since you don't have illustrations, I need to clear up some points on the pitchers footwork when using Sir Issac Newton 3rd law of motion.   When you go back to 2nd base with the pitching arm is, the push off foot in contact with the toe or heal at the 45 degree angle and also the 90 degree angle.   Please put these motions of the foot in the correct sequence.   Is it inversion when you start back to 2nd base, then eversion after the stride foot is planted and then planter flexion after the rotation is completed.   My pitchers are buying into your Newton theory, however, we have to get the rhythm and timing coordinated.   Which do you prefer, dorsal or planter flexion at stride landing?

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     While standing on the pitching rubber, either the set position or the windup, pitchers place their rear foot on the pitching rubber with their foot at a forty-five degree angle.   During the rock-back, pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arms back to the downward forearm head pat position.   Simultaneously, they shift their body weight from their front foot to their rear foot.   Also simultaneously, they reverse rotate their shoulders to point their acromial line toward home plate.

     After they outwardly rotate their humerus and begin to raise their upper arm and move their forearm to horizontal, they strongly push off the pitching rubber with their rear foot.   To push off, pitchers must plantar flex their rear foot.   Because they plantar flex primarily with their great toe side of the foot, the foot action is eversion.

     Pitchers must step with their front foot straight to the required location and contact the ground before they start to forwardly rotate their hips and shoulders.   Because pitchers have to support their body weight with their front foot, they must plantar flex their front foot.   Pitchers need to have pushed off the pitching rubber with their rear foot with sufficient strength to move their body ahead of their front foot.   Once their body moves ahead of their front foot, pitchers should powerfully push backward simultaneously powerfully accelerating their forearm through release.

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24.   At what age is is safe for a child to start pitching from the stretch?

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     Whether from a windup or from the set position, I do not recommend competitive pitching until thirteen years of age and, then, only one inning per game.   When their growth plates mature, they can pitch from the windup or set as much as they want.   However, I do believe that youngsters can practice the skills of pitching prior to thirteen years of age and I would train them ONLY in the set position.   The windup creates forces that interfere with proper technique.

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25.   I remember it was either Bob or Ken Forsch or maybe both of them, who used to put their heel up against the rubber, but I can't remember at what angle.   The only question is, does the pitcher contact the rubber with just his heel or with as much of the foot as possible at the 45 degree angle.   You explain the push off beautifully, I don't want to screw it up by not understanding how to place the foot in contact with the rubber.   I don't want to guess anymore.

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     The rules of baseball require pitchers to contact the pitching rubber with their entire foot.   Therefore, I teach my pitchers to place their entire foot on the pitching rubber with only the forward cleats ahead of the front edge of the pitching rubber.   However, another interpretation could be that pitchers could contact the pitching rubber with only that aspect of the heel of the rear foot.

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26.   In a society that for some strange reason vilifies intelligence, and in a sport whose most famous spokespersons (Berra and Stengel) attained fame because of their anti-intellectual musings, you have always been a man I have admired.   Never a fan of the Expos or Dodgers, I was always a fan of Mike Marshall because you were a thinking man's baseball player and it's a thrill to be able to converse with you via the Internet.

     My 10 year old son is very slight of build (4'7" 72 lbs) and not very strong.   Like his dad, he loves baseball.   He has made a select baseball team, (USSSA) but I he'll be low man on the totem pole.   The kids and coaches are great; no problems there. I think he'll have more fun being a big fish in rec ball, versus being the last man in the game in select ball.   What do you think?

     Second, I just purchased a conditioning program for kids from Mike Vinson's web site http://www.superkidsathletics.com/. What's your take on this sort of training for a 10 year old?


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     I think ten year olds should learn several activities, not all necessarily sports, such as hiking, camping, fishing.   I recommend that until their growth plates mature, adolescent pitchers not even train for pitching for more than two months per year.   I recommend that they do not competitively pitch more than one inning per game until they are thirteen years old.

     I would never vigorously weight train train youngsters until their growth plates mature.   I would teach them as many skills as possible in as many activities as possible.   You will serve him better to broaden his skill base and not jeopardize his skeletal structure.

     Please read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question/Answer 2000 for more information.   Your son needs to understand the physiological maturation process and where he stands.   He needs to know whether he is a delayed, equated or accelerated skeletal maturer.   There is no good or bad, just what is and youngsters cannot develop the correct self-image during adolescence without this knowledge.

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27.   What do you think of the Throw Max for my 10 year old?   The theory is that it keeps his arm from bending more than 90 degrees, which will force him to raise his elbow above his shoulder which will keep him from short arming the ball, which he does.   I ask the question first about general throwing as a second baseman or centerfielder and secondly if he were to pitch.

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     The Throw Max inventor sent me his training device.   It does not force pitchers to raise their elbow above their shoulder.   However, it does alert pitchers to their elbow angle.   Pitchers and throwers in general should not permit the angle between their forearm and upper arm to decrease below ninety degrees.   This device helps.   We had to reverse how the inventor recommended we wear it, but we use it, especially when learning the curve because pitchers tend to bring their forearm too close to their upper arm when they throw the curve.

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28.   I note that your name is used on the webball.com baseball site, but a lot of the mechanics they teach are from Azam Shah, whom I've never heard of. Do you subscribe to the content of pitching pages at webball.com?

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     I have never visited the Webball site.   I have no idea what it recommends.   I have no idea who or what Azam Shah is.   Webball regularly asks me to answer questions that he feels unqualified to answer.   I gladly do that in exchange for him placing my web site on his web site.   I subscribe only to what I have on my web site.

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29.   After sending these E mails, I read some of your book on adolescent pitchers.   Your book is a tough read without illustrations.   I will devote more time to it soon and probably hit you with more questions.   Fortunately, I have access to good anatomy charts and regularly depose orthopedists, so I'll have other resources.

     I'm more interested in your take on the superkids web site.   The author is the strength and conditioning coach at Ole Miss and has a son who is two days older than my boy.   As I understand his program, the kids don't train like older athletes, but there are plyometrics and lots of running and some resistance work.   I should receive the program this week and when I can be more specific with questions, I will.   He gives a good deal of detail on his web site.

     And your advice does not fall on deaf ears.   We also Cub Scout, and my son is an excellent student, and we look at stars through a telescope and he will be in band next year.


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     I want to make certain that you understand that I am interested only in making certain that adolescent baseball pitchers do not ruin their pitching arm before they have a chance to find out what quality of adult pitcher they can become.   I believe that I understand where the line is between what is valuable and what is injurious only for baseball pitching.   Beyond that, I advise that prior to completed skeletal maturation, youngsters develop a broad base of skills, some athletic, some otherwise.

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30.   I assume you have the illustrations for the book.   Can I send $5 or so for copying and get them from you?

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     I know what I want in each illustration and many could readily come from anatomical and physiological texts.   Unfortunately, I do not have illustrations.   I wish that I did, I would share them freely.   It would require a team of illustrators hundreds of hours to produce the illustrations I want.   That is probably why publishers do not want my books.   Sorry.

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31.   Webball received a question directed at me but pertaining to you.   "Do you also subscribe to Mike Marshall's belief that kids shouldn't pitch more than an inning per game until they are 13?"

     Frankly my own answer disagrees with his ascertion ascribed to you (I couldn't locate the specific one-inning reference in your books.   Then, it occurred to me that a) perhaps you didn't say this or b) if you did you had some supporting information that I also am missing.   Please advise.

     Here was my answer: No to one inning a game only because I believe it is a meaningless yard stick.   It takes 50-60 pitches to warm up properly not counting the typical 8 you get on the mound.   But an inning could go for 3 pitches or 24.   So why not base it on game-pitch count not number of innings.   You see the danger in thinking "he's only going to pitch an inning" is that the warm up would get shortened from 50 pitches (why bother for just one inning) which could, over time, do more damage than having him throw 30 game-pitches instead of 10 or less.

     I welcome your comments, rebuttal, whatever.


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     This is one reason why I decided to have my web site, healthy debate.

     In my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I show the tremendous differences between adolescent males not attributable to chronological age.   I did this to help the early maturing youngsters as much as the later maturing youngsters.   I am not only concerned about the growth plate injuries that needlessly ruin youngsters pitching arms for the rest of life, but also about the inappropriate self images that this phenomenon creates.   Early maturers believe that they will always be bigger, faster and stronger than the later maturers and the later matures believe that they will always be smaller, slower and weaker than the early maturers.

     The adolescent consequences of these erroneous beliefs can, in and of themselves, adversely influence these youngsters during adolescence and throughout their lives.   I hope that the information that I provide will help youngsters and their parents to appropriately determine their physiological age and what they can expect in terms of future growth and athletic success.

     With regard to baseball pitching, it does make a big difference if adolescent pitchers pitch one inning every game versus entire games.   As the growth plates, notably the medial epicondyle, fatigue with repeated competitive pitching stress, they become more susceptible to injury.   I would prefer that no youngster pitch competitively until their growth plates fully mature.   However, as a compromise and because I believe that game experience learning is important even before fully growth plate maturation, I would permit youngsters at age thirteen to pitch only one inning per game.   These youngsters are taking a lifetime risk with their pitching arms, but it is far less than at present and directed toward an appropriate benefit.

     If after reading Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I do not believe parents would risk permanent, irreversible injury to their children's pitching arm.   It only takes one pitch too many and their arm is finished for life.   However, this is not my total message.   Chapters Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven educate youngsters and parents about the physiological maturation process and what their sons can expect.   I personally never train any pitcher whose growth plates have not completely matured.

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32.   I understand your study of early and late maturation and your legitimate concerns with regard to early pitching.   I just couldn't find the one-inning reference. But, I am also looking at it from the psychological aspects which you acknowledge. Those parents with stars in their eyes, cannot often read past the dream to see the problems clearly.   Realistically, most amateur coaches are parents first and foremost.

     Do you see the likelihood of coaches minimizing warm-up pitches if game pitches are limited?   Or, are you saying that warm-up can be equally damaging?   As a side note I was at a conference last weekend in which a coach who strongly subscribes to your pitching approach also pointed out something to me. He said that kids are going to try to throw curveballs anyway at extreme risk.   Therefore, which is the better tactic, to try to dissuade them or to teach them properly then call pitches so that the curve is seldom if every used.   This is the same concern with warm-ups, I think.


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     I have no difficulty with ten, eleven and twelve year old pitchers practicing fastballs, curves and screwballs.   Curves are no more dangerous for them to throw than fastballs.   But, this means that fastballs are dangerous, not curves are less dangerous.   I am opposed to ten, eleven and twelve year old pitchers pitching competitively.   It is the competition that results in youngsters stressing their growth plates beyond their limits.   Further, I recommend that, until completed growth plate maturation, youngsters should not train for pitching for more than two months per year.

     I understand the fantasies of parents with regard to their sons pitching skills.   I want them to understand whether that fantasy is real or a product of early maturation.   If the fantasy is real, then they should know what they can do to protect the pitching arm and that means do not destroy it during its growth and development stages.

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33.   I am the father of a talented young pitcher, or at least potentially so, and I have a very important question on videotaping and counting frames.   On another site, it has been suggested by some, without any credentials or cite to a credible scientific study, that there is a relationship between velocity and the amount of videoframes from the highest point at leg lift to release, that all hard throwers are in the range of 20-22, on a 30 frames per second taping system.

     I am certain that once the foot lands, it is important to quickly move the arm through the arc to generate velocity. But what about moving quickly to foot plant?   Should a pitcher attempt to increase tempo to foot plant to gain velocity?   Put differently, if a pitcher is slow to foot plant, will velocity suffer assuming he is able to nonethless get the arm through the arc within acceptable frames?


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     The difficulty lay people have when trying to conduct what they think is scientific study is that they think that studying successful performers advances knowledge. It does not.   It only explains how those persons perform a skill, not what the laws of physics require for improved performances.   Therefore, the number of videotape frames from the highest point of the leg lift to when the front foot contacts the ground does not satisfy any scientific principle.   In fact, I oppose the high leg lift.   I recommend pitchers rock-back and step forward.   In this way, my pitchers would have a very short time between their lifting their front foot and placing it down again.

     The variables that determine release velocity are the force that pitchers uniformly apply to their pitches from leverage (the moment when the baseball first starts moving toward home plate) to release and the time over which they apply this force.

     Lastly, if pitchers apply force through an arc, then baseball will try to fly off in a straight line tangent to every moment of the arc.   Pitchers should drive their pitches in straight lines, not arcs.

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34.   I have two boys, now, one turning 8 this summer and the other 5.   My 8-year-old will play Little League for the first time.   Heck, while I got ya, do you offer any training materials for Little Leaguers?   He has a stellar arm, but no desire to play the game.   He just wants to play Nintendo.   He does try when he gets on the field.   If you do have training materials for little leaguers, let me know.

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     On my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com, I have posted my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   I don't know that you will think that it contains training materials for Little Leaguers, but it is the best advice that I can give parents on how to best prepare their pitchers.   If you have any questions after you read that book and my Question/Answer 2000 and 2001, please email me. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

35.   My son is 16 yrs old.   He is 6-4 and weighs 205 lb.   He has been pitching for about 6 yrs, through little league and last year on the varsity baseball team as a freshman.   He is throwing in the upper 80's.   He has always said that he is sore during the first part of the season and we have never thought anything about it.

     This week we had taken him to the team doctor for a sprained thumb, and while there had him look at his elbow.   My son is on the floor a lot chasing balls in basketball.   Anyway, his elbow has been bruised all season long.   I thought I would get the orthopedic surgeon to take a look at it.   He has been throwing during basketball season after basketball practice.   The doctor advised that we needed to take some x-rays of the elbow.   He is telling me that the tendon on the inside part of the elbow has pulled away from the bone taking part of the bone with it.

     He started off with no throwing and rehab.   Today, he has advised that my son cannot hurt it any more, but that surgery is in the future, and that rehab is useless.   Everyone has said this is the Tommy John elbow.   Can you tell me a little about it and if this sounds like the almost career ending injury that Tommy John had.


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     I want to first deal with the statement attributed to the doctor.   "The tendon on the inside part of the elbow has pulled away from the bone taking part of the bone with it."   The inside part of the elbow is the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone of the upper arm.   The Ulnar Collateral Ligament ties the medial epicondyle to the proximal end of the ulna bone of the medial side of the forearm.   It is not a tendon.   Tendons are the ends of muscles that attach to bones.

     Consequently, I have two choices of what the doctor found.   The ulnar collateral ligament may have pulled loose at one end from either the humerus or the ulna.   I do not know which one.   Or, the attachment of the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle may have pulled loose from the medial epicondyle.   However, since the flexor digitorum superficialis injury would cause strong pain, I lean toward the ulnar collateral ligament injury.   I then am lead to believe that the ulnar collateral ligament has pulled loose from the ulna bone.

     If your son has totally avulsed the distal end of the ulnar collateral ligament, then he has no ligament stability on the inside of his pitching arm, he would have to use the pronator teres muscle to hold the medial side of the elbow together.   If this is so, he must immediately stop pitching.   The repair of the ulnar collateral ligament is straight forward, but if he were to injure the attachments of the muscles that attach to his medial epicondyle; pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and part of the flexor digitorum superficialis, then, with the possible inclusion of injury to the ulnar nerve, he would have a difficult rehabilitation.

     Tommy John surgery replaces the ulnar collateral ligament with the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from the non-pitching forearm.   Surgeons drill holes in the medial epicondyle and the proximal end of the ulna and thread the palmaris longus tendon through the holes and sew the ends together.   When the ends heal sufficiently to withstand stress, he is ready to go as good as new.   However, I disagree with the doctor that 'he cannot hurt it any more.'   He can do all that I outlined above.   If his diagnosis is a ruptured ulnar collateral ligament, he needs immediate surgery.

     Ulnar collateral ligament replacement is not a career ending surgery.   Tommy pitched well for many years after surgery.   Of course, he used my training program and force application technique to assist in his rehabilitation which might have helped some.   I worry more about the incorrect force application technique that your son must use that caused this injury than the injury.   If he does not correct his pitching mechanics, then he will injure the weakest of the remaining structures on the inside of his elbow.

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36.   I have been avidly reading your "free" books. I e-mailed you earlier re: COUNTING FRAMES AND VELOCITY.   Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

     In reading your material I have finally found a source from which I can begin to understand how and from what sources pitchers achieve velocity.   What a goldmine of scientific study, and what a relief to read a credible baseball study based on scientific principles and the experience from an enviable baseball career.   I just wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.


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     Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to any questions that you might have while reading and implementing my books.

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37.   I am a college pitcher, who has just undergone Tommy John's surgery.   I have been out of the surgery for three months.   The rehab I have been doing has made my elbow feel so much better.   I wish I would have done the tubing exercises and plyometrics before I was injured.   My question for you is when I start my throwing program, do I need to change my pitching mechanics to put less stress on my elbow?

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     I doubt that the tubing exercises and plyometrics would have prevented your injury.   Those training devices do not result in the skeletal changes required to overcome the unnecessary stresses that your pitching mechanics placed on the inside of your elbow.   You have to stop using the 'high guard' forearm position.   You have to stop turning your back to home plate.   If you do not change your pitching mechanics, you will have the same problems as before.   The repaired ulnar collateral ligament is stronger than the original, but do not let that deceive you into thinking you cannot destroy it or the other tissues that assist it.

     I placed my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my web site just for you.   You need to learn everything that I have written.   You need to change how you apply force to your pitches.   You need to do my wrist weigh and iron ball exercises.   My training program will teach you how to apply force without unnecessary stress and strengthen the requisite skeletal structure.   I understand that reading requires effort, especially when you do not have pictures, but give it a try.   Your future in pitching is in your hands.

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38.   I read your free book of the web site and was unable to grab some of your concepts and theories without Illustrations.   I was wondering when you would be adding some illustrations to the web site?   Is there a complete version of your book with pictures or illustrations somewhere?

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     It is a drawback that I do not have illustrations for my books.   However, it would cost thousands of dollars to pay illustrators to make those drawings and I have not been able to interest any book publisher to undertake that expense.   The best that I can offer are my ideas.   I have to leave the rest up to the readers.

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39.   I have been reading your free books on your web page.   I had no clue what I was missing out on with my mechanics.   Some of the words you use are over my head though.   Please write me back about the high guard, and leverage.   I do not understand those two words.   Everything else I can get a picture of.   Oh yeah, I was turning my back a lot away from home plate when I pitched.   I also have a very high leg kick, and my coach tells me that I land on my heel a lot.   Please write back,and tell me how to correct these problems.

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     I define 'leverage' as the position of the arm when the baseball initiates movement toward home plate.   I recommend that, at leverage, pitchers have their forearms laying backward toward second base horizontally, that they have a ninety degree angle between their upper arm and forearm and that their shoulders are level.

     Some other pitching coaches recommend that pitchers place their arm in a 'high guard' position when the arm initiates movement toward home plate.   They describe 'high guard' as both arms like football goal posts with their upper arms horizontal and their forearms vertical.   I strongly disagree.   If pitchers assume this 'high guard' position immediately before they start moving the baseball toward home plate, their upper arm will move forward and the forearm will move downward to the height of the upper arm.   In this way, they will unnecessarily stress the inward rotators of the shoulders and potentially injure the subscapularis attachment.

     With regard to your high leg kick, I strongly recommend that you stop.   A high leg lift is part of holding a balance position from which pitchers start their body forward while their arm starts moving backward.   This moves the pitching elbow behind the acromial line and further unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis attachment.   Additionally, a high leg kick unnecessarily interferes with proper body balance and, more importantly, prevents pitchers from moving their body ahead of their front foot which shortens the driveline and eliminates the additional force-coupling force that pitchers require to achieve their maximum release velocity.

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40.   My young man's elbow is improving quickly and the only problem we really have is holding him down from throwing too hard too quickly.   However, his new pitching coach on our provincial team is trying to get him to try a system to build up his arm that he read about somewhere.

     It involves warming up thoroughly, then throwing a softball 12 times, followed by a tennis ball 12 times, then a regular baseball 12 times.   Supposedly it is the overload principle, followed by trying to increase the arm speed with the tennis ball, then trying to maintain the arm speed with the regular ball.   My young man said his arm tired quickly, and he is pretty nervous about hurting it again, so he is easing his way into this.   Does this sound like it would do any good?


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     No.

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41.   I typed in Sport Psychologists in Florida and your resume came up.   Do you do any one-on-one counseling (Psychology) of prospective professional players?   Our son was drafted, opted for college and now would like to be drafted again.   I am wondering if a Psychologist might be able to help him with "what to focus on".   If you don't, maybe you could recommend someone.

     I was so impressed with your experience.   You have really been able to keep you obvious love of baseball alive and helping others to live the dream.   Our family loves the game also and would like to help our son however we can.


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     I offer a forty week training program that I designed to get pitchers to sufficient strength to enable them to pitch every day without discomfort or injury.   The program also shows the young men how to throw the pitches required to succeed at the highest level.   I teach and they are responsible for mastering the skills.

     When pitchers throw pitches and hitters hit them, pitchers do not know on what to focus.   The best sport psychology for pitchers is high quality pitches of sufficient variety that hitters cannot hit them.   Your young man should visit my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book cover to cover.   Then, he will know what he should do to become the best pitcher that he can.

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42.   I've been a catcher since I was about 11.   When I started playing in a higher team I had to catch balls coming in at a higher speed, which one time caused a sprained thumb.   Ever since this thumb hurts whenever a ball comes in at the top of my thumb.   This also happens when I use a normal fielders-glove, not just when catching.   I'm 21 now and this injury is still bothering me, sometimes making it very painful to complete a game.

     My question is:   What could be the cause of this returning injury?   And what should I do to get rid of it?   I already tape my thumb before practice and games, but that not always helps.


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     Any time I hear of an injury that occurs during the adolescent growth period, I always suspect growth plate damage.   However, not all growth and develop ent damage occurs in growth plates.

     The thumb is an unique digit.   It does not have a middle phalange and it does have a sesamoid bone.   The thumb's sesamoid bone operates like the sesamoid bone in the leg, the patella (knee cap).   Sesamoid bones develop in tendons.   They protect tendons from excessive wear while they rub against the edges of two bones across joints.   By changing the angle at which tendons cross joints, sesamoid bones also increase leverage.   In males, the thumb's sesamoid bone starts to calcify at about age thirteen.   Before that, it is cartilage lying in the tendon that flexes the thumb.   It is possible that you injured this sesamoid bone while it was cartilage such that it developed incorrectly and irritates the tendon in which it lies.

     The obvious first step is to see an orthopedist for X-rays.   In addition to checking the status of the sesamoid bone, you need to check for bone chips and spurs and the status of the tendon attachments to the distal phalange.   But, learn the facts and get professional advice.

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43.   I have two questions.   Does throwing sidearm or low 3/4 put the elbow at greater risk than a high 3/4 slot?   In your literature, you talk about pronation which I know occurs naturally on all pitches.   If a pitcher does this intentionally in order to create movement instead of letting it happen naturally can this increase the risk of an elbow injury?

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     To eliminate the harmful effects of 'forearm flyout', pitchers must have their forearm vertical while they forearm accelerate through release.   I strongly oppose sidearm and three-quarter throwing motions.

     The pronator teres muscle strongly influences baseball throwing.   Pitchers cannot use it too strongly.   I train my pitchers to powerfully pronate their forearm with my maxline fastball, my maxline curve and on all reverse breaking pitches, i.e., sinkers and screwballs.   When pitchers intentionally use their pronator teres, they decrease the possibility of injury.

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44.   If a pitcher is threatened by a career-threatening injury and is dominant in one arm, are there any procedures or exercises he can take in order to pitch with the other?   I recall a Yankees prospect named Gil Patterson who underwent Tommy John surgery in his right arm, tried to pitch with his left arm, and was able to reach the Double-A level.   With today's technology, would a pitcher in Patterson's case be able to reach the majors?

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     Pitching at major league quality is an extremely complex motor skill.   It requires hundreds of hours of perfect practice and above average anatomical and physiological advantages.   It does not involve today's technology in any way that I can find meaningful.   The individual has to work, work and work.   If someone has the desire to do the work and they have the genetic advantages, then it is possible.

     I do not believe in career-threatening injuries with the exception of blood clotting diseases that end careers without muscle or bone injuries.   I believe that no pitcher properly trained with proper force application techniques should suffer even any discomfort during or after pitching.

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45.   I was playing in the minor leagues when I requested a release.   I would throw in the mid-90's and my next start would be in the mid to high 80's.   I constantly complained of arm pain to no avail.   Their answer was that I wasn't hurt because I would throw too hard on those other outings, it was all mental and lack of focus.   I figured if they released me I could get the medical attention I felt I needed.

     Two months later, on June 12, 1996, I had surgery to repair a 80% torn rotator cuff.   After 11 months of rehabilitation at HEALTHSOUTH, I was back to throwing hard, but I literally couldn't raise my arm after a bullpen session without pain.   The pain was a different pain from the pain pre-surgery.   Pre-surgery pain was sharp quick bolts of pain while throwing.   This pain would last a few days.

     Tendonitis would be the diagnosis and they would shut me down.   It would get better and I could throw again.   When I started throwing again, the vicious cycle continued.   My wife became pregnant and I decided to retire.   I now have infant girls and I still feel at the age of 28 I can still pitch with the proper training.   I live not far from you and would like your opinion.

     Yes, I have gained way to much weight (80 lbs) since playing, but I'm willing to do everything I can to play again.   Do you think it's a waste of my time to attempt to play again?   Will the tendonitis I encountered be something I will always fight?   Please give me some advice.   I would greatly appreciate it.   I know that I gained my weight out of depression and anger.   Although I don't show my depression, it eats me up inside.   It manifested itself with my gaining weight.


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     There are many variables that you left unsaid.   The best way for me to give my advice would be for you to telephone me at (813)783-1357 between 11:30AM and 1:00PM or between 8:00PM and 10:00PM.

     In general, I believe that we only live once and we should have no regrets.   You have a limited time during which to pitch professionally.   If you do not do everything you can to find out whether you can pitch without pain, you will wonder the remainder of your life about what might have been.   I am sure that you have heard all this before.

     I have a training program that when I guide pitchers on how to perform it has never failed to eliminate pain.   However, I require a minimum of 280 consecutive days of training.   If you would make that commitment, I would do everything to help you.

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46.   I play baseball in college and I have run into some bad arm trouble.   I have had a MRI and X-Ray done on my arm.   The X-ray looked good, but on the MRI it showed a slight tear and it showed that I one time dislocated my shoulder.   I have been told to rehabilitation it and strengthen the girdle of my shoulder for a month.   It is a deep pain in the front of my shoulder.   The pain started about 2 years ago and I figured it would just go away on its own by just taking care of it and always icing it.

     It really started getting bad during our fall games this year, but I still pitched fine and was successful even though I was pitching in pain, but I just could not throw as hard and I relied on my pitch location everytime.   After Christmas break we started practice again and, eventually, started intersquading.   My second time intersquading is when I really started having serious pain and could not put any kind of speed on the ball.   I have pitched the last 2 years with pain and finally got enough sense to get it looked at.

     I came out of high school throwing 83-85 from the left side with never having any kind of shoulder trouble ever.   If you could help me out in any way possible I would really be thankful for it.   We have already played 11 games this year that I could have been very much involved in.   If you could just give me some advice, or exercises for my girdle area or anything.


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     The MRI showed a slight tear of what?   When someone dislocates their shoulder, the head of the humerus usually moves posteriorly and inferiorly out of the shallow glenoid fossa of the scapula.   This stresses the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue capsule and more on the anterior aspect of the shoulder.

     When physicians tell someone to strengthen their girdle, they are referring to the shoulder girdle which means the muscles that attach on one end to the scapula and on the other end to the rib cage and vertebral column.

     The shoulder joint means the muscles that attach on one end to the scapula and on the other end to the humerus, the bone of the upper arm.   Injuries to the front of the shoulder is a shoulder joint problem, not a shoulder girdle problem.

     You describe the location of the pain as the front of the shoulder.   Because you mentioned that a shoulder dislocation precipitated your ongoing discomfort, I assume that the dislocation caused the pain in the front of your shoulder.   When pitchers tell me of front of shoulder pain, I suspect the subscapularis muscle attachment.   With the MRI report of something torn, I could include all front of the shoulder non-muscular structures.   Since the doctor did not see the need for surgery, whatever tore is not serious.

     The reason why pitchers experience discomfort in the front of their shoulder relates to unnecessary stress during their throwing motion.   You permit your elbow to go behind your acromial line.   The acromial line is an imaginary line from the middle of the tip of your right shoulder through the middle of the tip of your left shoulder and on outwardly.   Pitchers should never permit their elbow to go behind this line.   Therefore, the first thing that you have to do is change how you apply force to your pitches.   As for exercises to strengthen the muscles on the front of your shoulder, please read Chapters 24 and 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.

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47.   My son will have "Tommy John" surgery over spring break.   Where can I find the proper technique for him to throw a baseball from the catchers position.   And is there something I can help him with in his rehabilitation over the summer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      'Tommy John' surgery repairs torn ulnar collateral ligaments.   Ulnar collateral ligaments tear during throwing because someone placed too much stress on them.   Coaches inappropriately teach catchers to throw by bringing the forearm of their throwing arm up to their ear with the forearm horizontal pointing forward.   When catchers start their throwing motion from their position, their upper arm moves forward while their forearm moves backward changing from pointing forward to pointing backward.   Then, for catchers start their forearm acceleration, they have to stop the forearm's backward movement and start its forward movement.   At that moment, they place considerable unnecessary stress on their ulnar collateral ligament.

     The proper technique for the throwing arm of catchers requires not bringing the forearm of their throwing arm up to their ear with the forearm horizontal pointing forward.   Instead, their must start at all other throwers of baseballs should start, with the forearm swinging backward and the elbow raising to shoulder height with the forearm horizontal pointing backward.

     I teach pitchers.   However, all other baseball throwers should use similar arm actions albeit abbreviated.   Therefore, I recommend that you and your son read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book for the appropriate force application technique for my maxline and torque fastballs and the training program I designed for how to throw them.

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48.   I love the site.   I have twin boys that are 15 years old.   I have been told that they have pretty good baseball talent.   I am quite concerned about their health and longevity though.   They both love the game so much and hope to play through college.   They dream of going to ASU someday.   I would love to see them accomplish this dream someday.   The info that you have provided is dizzying.   My printer is still smoking.   I'm going to begin reading the material tonight.   I'm sure that I will have some questions.

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     Knowledge is power.   The more that you know about any subject of interest, the better the decisions that you can make.   However, at fifteen years old, your boys have already passed the years of greatest concern.   I hope that they have done so without any long-term negative effects.

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49.   On your page explaining the formulas for baseball flight, in the following excerpt, what does the capital V mean?

1.   Total Horizontal Distance Formula d = (vr)2(cosOr)(sinOr) + (vr)(cosOr)V(2)(g)(syi) + ((vr)(sinOr))2 / (g)
2.   Substitute d = (132.5)(1)(0) + (132.5)(1)V(2)(32)(4.62) + ((132.5)(0))2 / (32)
3.   Solve d = 71.22 feet


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     Thank you!   You are the first question that I have received regarding how I derived my ballistic projectile formulas.   The problem that I had is that I do not have the typewriter keys for the theta symbol or a way to make the square root symbol.   The bolded capital V represents my attempt to make the square root symbol.

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50.   I wanted to know at what age you start tutoring youngsters?   Do you just work with High School level kids or do you work with young kids?   If you offer a program for children (9+) I would love to know about it.

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     At present, I only work with high school seniors that summer before their senior year for ten weeks and with high school graduates for forty weeks.   However, because of requests like yours, I am considering weekend clinics for the younger ages.   Unfortunately, I suspect that only youngsters who live in the Tampa, FL area will attend.

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51.   I'm 15 years old, 5' 9", weigh 140 pounds, and I would like to ask you how I can increase my velocity quickly.   I pitch in the lower 70's and I would like to gradually train my arm to reach the upper 80's or even in the 90's.   I would appreciate it if you could give me as much advice and training plans as possible to help me increase my fastball's velocity.

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     The release velocity that pitchers achieve relates to how much uniform acceleration force they can apply to the baseball in a straight line toward home plate for how long.   Release velocity equals force times time divided by the mass of the baseball.

     Pitchers must learn how to apply force from leverage (the moment when the baseball first starts moving toward home plate) through release in a straight line.   Pitchers must learn how to extend that distance between leverage and release to the maximum distance that their body dimensions permit.   Pitchers must learn how to uniformly accelerate the baseball throughout this distance.   If pitchers learn the technique as I outline it in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, then they will have maximized the effect of the force that they can generate.

     With regard to the force that pitchers can generate, they can train to achieve greater force.   I also describe the training program that I believe will enable pitchers to generate their maximum force.   Having said all that pitchers can do, there is something that they cannot do.

     Pitchers cannot change their genetic heritage.   Genetic heritage determines the percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers that pitchers have available for muscle contraction.   Genetic heritage determines the precise location of muscle attachments.   Genetic heritage determines nerve conduction velocity.   I know of no way for pitchers to increase these parameters.   Some pitchers simply have genetic advantages.

     Nevertheless, I have seen hard work and skill achieve greater success than superior genetic advantages.   Maybe that happens because those who have genetic advantages do not feel the need to work hard to achieve their potential.   But, whatever the reason, I have seen directed hard work achieve pitching success and greater personal satisfaction.   That is my story and it could be yours.

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52.   I don't know if you can help me.   I am a Personal Trainer and one of our members is a old school Steve Carlton fan and told me about this training program is used to do.   This member wants the program so he can do it.   I have had no luck finding it so far and I was wondering if you would happen to know of it and how I can obtain a copy of it.   If you can help me out I would greatly appreciate it.

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     I have no idea what training program Steve Carlton used when he pitched.   Although I did hear that he used to put his hand in a bucket of rice and try to force his hand down to the bottom of the bucket.   If memory serves me, I think a trainer with the St. Louis Cardinals designed his program.   Try contacting the St. Louis Cardinals.

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53.   On Monday, February 26, 2001, Paul Nyman, owner of Setpro.com sent me an email that contained a newspaper article about a young pitcher with whom I have worked for the past several years.   This young man came to me as an unsuccessful college pitcher with elbow troubles and today has an opportunity to earn a bullpen spot with the New York Yankees.   While I will not provide the lengthy newspaper article, I will provide the comments that Mr. Nyman wrote before and after the article.

     For those interested in the article, I will provide the address with which Mr. Nyman provided me:   www.setpro.com/ubb/Forum2/html/000738.html

     I have spoken with Mike Marshall a number of times.   He and I do not always see 'eye to eye" on pitching "science."   But he is a very knowledgeable and "out spoken" individual (rocks that boat), so ya gotta "luv the guy."   Here's an "interesting" article from this mornings Hartford Courant that I think has "relevance" to what we do here.

     I found the following (from Mike Marshalls web site, www.drmikemarshall.com "amuzing:


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33.   I am the father of a talented young pitcher, or at least potentially so, and I have a very important question on videotaping and counting frames.   On another site, it has been suggested by some, without any credentials or cite to a credible scientific study, that there is a relationship between velocity and the amount of videoframes from the highest point at leg lift to release, that all hard throwers are in the range of 20-22, on a 30 frames per second taping system.

     I am certain that once the foot lands, it is important to quickly move the arm through the arc to generate velocity. But what about moving quickly to foot plant?   Should a pitcher attempt to increase tempo to foot plant to gain velocity?   Put differently, if a pitcher is slow to foot plant, will velocity suffer assuming he is able to nonethless get the arm through the arc within acceptable frames?


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     The difficulty lay people have when trying to conduct what they think is scientific study is that they think that studying successful performers advances knowledge. It does not.   It only explains how those persons perform a skill, not what the laws of physics require for improved performances.   Therefore, the number of videotape frames from the highest point of the leg lift to when the front foot contacts the ground does not satisfy any scientific principle.   In fact, I oppose the high leg lift.   I recommend pitchers rock-back and step forward.   In this way, my pitchers would have a very short time between their lifting their front foot and placing it down again.

     The variables that determine release velocity are the force that pitchers uniformly apply to their pitches from leverage (the moment when the baseball first starts moving toward home plate) to release and the time over which they apply this force.

     Lastly, if pitchers apply force through an arc, then baseball will try to fly off in a straight line tangent to every moment of the arc.   Pitchers should drive their pitches in straight lines, not arcs.

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     According to "Dr. Mike", studying the best pitchers in baseball (past and present) will not advance our knowledge of pitching.   As far as Dr. Mike's "understanding" of physics, he, like so many, suffers from "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing."   Other than a nodding acquaintance "with elementary physics, (Newtons "Principles"), he has in my opinion "no clue".   I will publish a summary of a study done by Feltner and Dapenna (spelling) that totally, and I mean totally "shreds" his statement:   "Lastly, if pitchers apply force through an arc, then the baseballs will try to fly off in straight lines tangent to every moment of the arc.   Pitchers should drive their pitches in straight lines, not arcs."   As in, "he has no clue."

     But then again what can you expect from someone who boastfully says:   I don't have to read studies about principles of physics that researchers, including myself, have resolved many years ago.   If new studies offered some new scientific principle, then I would read it to determine whether I agreed.   When I earned my doctoral degree, my doctoral committee made certain that I researched my field extensively and I conducted numerous specific investigations in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.

     I see nothing inconsistent with my position.   When someone without proper academic training advises youngsters how to perform motor skills, they risk serious injury to those youngsters out of ignorance.   When someone exposes theories that are at variance with accepted scientific principles, they also risk serious injuries to those youngsters who follow that advice.   I have nothing against reading any research, but I do not need to reinvent the wheel.   That is, I have the appropriate academic training and I do understand what the theories mean and interret them within accepted scientific rigor.   I thoroughly understand the principle of equal and opposite reaction of Sir Isaac Newton's third law of reaction.   Another research study on that topic would not add to my knowledge base.

     I stand ready and look forward to defend my pitching theories, respond to questions and alternate theories.   Let us keep our focus on the pitching theories.

     Poor Dr. Mike doesn't understand or "see" that he and Tom House are woefully ignorant of the role of rotational forces in throwing a baseball.   For someone who "proports" to know so much about skeletal and muscular anatomy, Dr. Mike can't see that the body is constructed of hinges and ball and sockets and that the most effecient and effective movements are rotational in nature.

     That the physiology of the bodies construction "weights"(counts) in importance just as much as Newton's Principles.   In other words, Dr. Mike for all of his proported knowledge of kinesiology, anatomy and physics, seems to suffer from the same "affliction" as you feel Dr. Tom House suffers from, and I quote:   Tom House does not understand the academic training he received or his teachers did not know what they were supposed to be teaching.   Mike, please get ready to "defend" your theories!!!


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     Thank you.   I did enjoy.   I look forward to defending my theories and assure whoever wrote that I "suffer from "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing," will learn that they are the person who so suffers.   Anybody that things rotational forces cannot generate straight line forces or that pitchers who apply force in arcs can compete with similar pitchers who apply force in straight lines does not understand inertia.   Maybe an example that I use to demonstrate the error of this theory, they will understand.

     Suppose two sixty yard dash track runners who regularly achieve identical times were to race against the clock.   However, where one runs on the regular straight track, the other runs on a sixty yard circle. Now, who do you think will achieve the better time?

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     After a night's sleep, I decided that I needed to answer Mr. Nyman's comments more thoroughly.

     When I briefly responded to your email last night, I was rushed and could not give it more time than to say that I welcome all discussions relating to the scientific basis for baseball pitching.   I want to take the extra ten minutes with which I find myself this morning to address another aspect of your email.

     I stand behind everything that you quoted that I said relating to scientific rigor.   I do not read what persons without proper credentials write.   That is, I do not go to the book stores and search for their materials.   However, if someone wants my opinion on something someone has proposed regarding pitching, I will answer.   If you have something to say of a scientific nature, I will happily provide my input.   If you have relevant research, I will gladly review it.   I have reviewed research articles that persons have submitted for publication in scientific periodicals for many years and enjoy seeing how others approach teaching motor skills.

     I do offer that mean-spirited rhetoric does not enhance someone's theories.   I request that all conversation remain civil and professional.   "He has no clue" only serves to demean the person making the statement. Your opinion that I have only a "nodding acquaintance" with elementary physics (Newton's "Principles") requires substantiation.   Newton's three laws of motion may be elementary physics, but they are the basis for all human movement.   I await your explanation how you resolve the requirements of Newton's three laws with regard to baseball pitching.

     Let the fun begin.   I look forward to a civil debate.   I will not spend my time searching for the clever putdown, but rather the scientific merit in your ideas.

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54.   Last August my son (15 years old) was in a Tournament.   He pitched two innings on Monday and a complete game on Saturday.   After the game on Saturday he complained of elbow pain.   If he put his arms out straight in front of him with his palms facing up the pain was on the side closest to his body kind of in-between the two bones.   He also felt pain when he put his hands together and pushed.

     We had him rest for about a month. He went back to pitching in the winter.   Was pitching for about a month and the pain came back after pitching one inning.   He rested again for three months, started pitching, about one month later...pain came back.   He has had x-rays and MRI.   Ligaments and Tendons all look O.K. What the doctor did say that he is having is a "stress reaction".   He sees some "white" on the bone which means stress.   He did not say he had a "stress fracture" but maybe the beginning of one.   Told him it was O.K. to play 2nd, he feels no pain in normal throwing, but no pitching for a while and keep the arm strong.   He did not prescribe any physical therapy or any particular exercises.   What are your thoughts?


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     When pitchers have discomfort on the inside of their arm, it indicates that he has forearm flyout.   This means that your son takes his arm laterally behind his back such that when he starts his upper arm forward, he first takes his forearm medially to his pitching arm side before he can drive his arm toward home plate.   This force causes his forearm to flyout sideways and unnecessarily stress his medial epicondyle area.

     I recommend that your son change his force application technique and follow a training program designed to teach the new technique as well as strengthen his arm.   He should read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my web site.   It contains both how to apply force and how to train.

     Rest only causes muscles and bone atrophy which leads to more problems.   However, if he throws incorrectly, the problem will persist anyway so he might as well stop.

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55.   Thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with the rest of the world.   I am becoming a more effective educator as a result of the information on your website.   I appreciate your patience as you respond to so many questions presented to you.

     I have a pitcher who has been doing the two (now three) week throwing program for two months(with great results).   This past week he mentions stiffness in the middle of the anterior deltoid.   Of course, a young person seems to always panic and I do not think it is related to any of the work we are doing.   Somehow he has put the muscle in a position it was not prepared for.

     I know exercise that promotes blood flow and oxygen also promotes healing in the quickest and most efficient manner.   For example, on the shakedowns when the thumbs turn up he can feel the tightness.   We have been conducting workouts as usual and throwing to tolerance.   Is there anything additional exercise movement I could be doing to expedite the healing process?

     Concerning anyone (mainly pitchers) who seem to lose complete control in their delivery of a baseball.   The media and many "quote" knowledgeable baseball men will approach the problem as a mind game.   If the player is well known as with out latest example, his very self-esteem and worth seem to be questioned.   Sports psychologists, coaches, friends and everyone attempts to analyze his subconscious fears and insecurities.   To me with our latest example, his delivery does not allow him to deliver force in a straight line.   Until that happens, all the tips, suggestions, etc. will only compicate the situation.

     Is this approach too simple, or is it much more complex than I think it is?   When pitches are delivered I tend to evaluate them as correct/incorrect force applications in lines of direction without tying emotion or value to them.   A pitch that sails over the catcher's head is only a pitch in which throwing principles were violated.

     Thanks again for all your help!   I know you are making a difference in the enjoyment of pitching for so many people.


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     Discomfort in the middle deltoid area is common and no problem.   It tells the performer that his forearm is moving downward when he starts his upper arm forward.   This little 'bounce' in his motion not only unnecessarily stresses his supraspinatus attachment, but it also greatly interferes with his consistency.   Straight line drive requires all three dimensions.   If you watch from behind, the driveline from leverage through release should be straight.   If you watch from the side, the driveline from leverage through release should be straight.   You could also watch from above, but that would only repeat what you already saw.

     My pitchers also come to me with their tales of discomfort.   In almost all cases, they have normal training discomfort and need to continue.   I tell them to maticulously follow the proper force application.   I tell them to look into a mirror with their wrist weight exercises.   I tell them to have a friend watch their iron ball and baseball throws.   I tell them to decrease their intensity to a level of slight discomfort.   I tell them that when they wake up their musculoskeletal system will either get stronger if they train or get weaker if they do not train.   I tell them that for every day that they do not train, they will need to train for one and one-half days to get back to where they were before the day that they did not train.

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56.   I wanted to ask you if becoming mucular in the upper body would affect a pitcher's mechanics and how I should treat my arm after a long ballgame.

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     To enhance an activity, the training must be specific to the activity.   If pitchers are muscular in the upper body from training to pitch, then the muscle development will not influence their force application technique.   However, if the muscular development came from other activities, then pitchers need to train as pitchers to develop the smoothness of their throwing motion.

     After long ball games, pitchers who experience discomfort should assist recovery with artificial means.   They can 'ice' their arms which causes increased blood flow to their arms when applied correctly and they can receive deep muscle massage to increase blood flow.   There are other means for stimulating blood flow without muscle contraction, but these are the two easiest and are readily available.

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57.   I was reading one of your letters on the kid with the medial epicondyle problem.   I am now a freshman pitcher, and last year I was a side-arm thrower.   Near the end of the season, I started getting elbow pain and I have spent the last 8 months trying to fight my elbow back to pitching strength, and I think I'm finally back there, but I no longer throw side arm which has increased my velocity.

     My one question is that my coach now has me throwing a slider instead of a curveball.   I was checking another internet side and it said a slider was a much more dangerous pitch on the elbow.   My coach says it's the other way around saying I'm not doing anything with my elbow and I'm only allowing my hand to give it the spin and break.   Is he correct or should I find some other pitchers to ensure I'll still have a good elbows for the rest of my college career??


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     I am not a fan of the sidearm throwing motion.   I oppose it, not because I do not believe that pitchers cannot drive their pitches in a straight line from leverage (the moment that the baseball first starts moving toward home plate) through release, but because their release points are so low that they cannot get their pitches to move downward without first moving upward.   When hitters see pitches move upward before they move downward, they get extra time to make adjustments.   Also, sidearm pitchers are easy for opposite sided batters to see.

     Injuries to the medial epicondyle result from the forearm moving backward and downward when the upper arm moves forward.   This happens whether pitchers throw overhand or sidearm.   In overhand pitchers, the common cause is the 'high guard' position where their forearm points upward when they start accelerating their upper arm forward.   When the upper arm starts accelerating forward, the forearm should be nearly horizontal such that it smoothly follows the upper arm forward until its time comes to accelerate through release.

     Sliders are curves that pitchers throw with triceps drive.   That means that pitchers keep the forearm to upper arm angle at near ninety degrees when they throw curves and fully extend their elbows when they throw sliders.   Curves have a horizontal spin axis that is perpendicular to the flight of the baseball toward home plate where the baseball rotates in a twelve o'clock to six o'clock manner.   Sliders have a slightly downward tilted spin axis that is parallel to the flight of the baseball toward home plate where the baseball rotates in a ten o'clock to four o'clock manner.

     Curves are dangerous for pitchers to throw because they require that pitchers rotate their forearms two hundred and seventy degrees to the palm facing the head position at leverage.   Pitchers frequently try to accomplish this with elbow flexion which brings the forearm less than ninety degrees to their upper arm.   From a less than ninety degree position at leverage, when pitchers start their upper arm forward acceleration, their forearm is centripetally thrown laterally outside of their elbow.   Now, pitchers have to fight this forearm flyout while they attempt to forearm accelerate through release.   This unnecessary stress on the muscles of the medial epicondyle can cause injury.

     Sliders are dangerous for pitchers for the same reason as curves plus another variable.   With sliders, pitchers not only have the two hundred and seventy degree forearm rotation with which to content, but when the upper arm finishes accelerating the arm forward, pitchers must extend their elbow with a powerful contraction of the triceps brachii muscle (I call this action, triceps drive.)   If they have forearm flyout, the triceps drive places even great unnecessary stress on the muscles of the medial epicondyle.

     I love sliders.   I teach sliders.   However, I make certain that pitchers can throw their curves without forearm flyout and that they have strengthened their medial epicondyle muscles before I teach sliders.   Sliders are the most dangerous pitch to learn and can cause injury more easily than any other pitch.   The force application technique for sliders is neurologically very complex.

     I disagree with your coach that sliders are easy and natural and advise that you proceed with caution.   As with learning any new motor skill that requires high intensity muscle action, some training discomfort occurs.   You have to know that you do not have any downward bounce of the forearm in back and no forearm flyout in front before you can dismiss medial epicondyle discomfort.

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58.   Paul Nyman wrote:   In the past, I have on the whole "ignored" your short sighted" and "know it all" attitude of the pitching process because it did not directly affect me.   But when you choose to take the same myopic approach and make statements about my efforts, efforts which I can support with scientific rationale and thousands of hours of efforts, I will respond "strongly" and will also do everything in my power to show the absurdity of your comments and "attitude".

     At this point in time (the amount (lack of) and type of available pitching research that has been done), anyone who thinks that the pitching process can be relegated to the "black and white", "correct and incorrect" "absolutism that you seem to view it with, is in my opinion a person living in a "fools paradise".   And anyone who thinks that we can't learn as much from carefully, dare I say "scientific", observation of the great pitchers of the past and present in action, as we can from "scientific research", is in my opinion, a fool.

     Your "black and white" (absolute) view (my opinion) of the pitching "process" and your "quickness" to find "fault' with anything that does not "fit" your "perceptions" makes you and "easy target".   Especially when you offer your "opinions" with such "conviction".

     I have degrees in both physics electrical engineering.   I have spent 25 years developing control systems, using simulators of all types.   Over the past 15 years I have spent thousands of hours studying the human body performing golf, soccer and baseball activities.   Over the past six years I have spent thousands of hours studying on the computer the best pitchers and hitter that I could find video of.   I have spent an equal amount of time finding and reading every study on pitching that I could find.   And reading many books on physiology, motor learning (I now have a very extensive library).

     My work in the real world has taught me that designing control systems is as much of a heuristic process as it is "scientific" (you must have the 'experience" to know when and how to use the "formula's and equations and their "limitations" (gut feel)).   I have read your "on line books".   And your on going commentary to questions that people send you.   There are a number of holes and out right fallacies that you "promote" (my opinion that is supported by "reasonble" scientific fact).

     As an example, you have made statements showing your ignorance of the visioelastic properties of the muscle and connective tissue.   It is absolutely impossible for me to understand how anyone who lacks this knowledge and or understanding of this key concept can consider himself an authority on physiology or the kinematics of pitching.

     As to your frame counting critique, anyone who has a reasonable understanding of higher level physiology, physics and motor learning would understand that their may be a "relationship" to the rate that a pitcher develops momentum and energy DURING the entire pitching process.   Your commentary also shows little or no understanding of the kinetic chain, sequential tranfer of momentum and the tranformation properties that only rotary actions (lever/whip) can produce.   In other words, frame counting or how long the delivery or portions there of takes, may have relevance from the ability to develop and transfer momentum and power (two separate processes).   For you to "dismiss" this possibility with such absolute finality is to me, an example of both ignorance and arrogance. Something that I have absolutely no tolerance for.

     As witnessed by my taking every opportunity to shred Dick Mill's pathetic attempts to promote himself as a "pitching expert".

     In short, it is my opinion that you don't know as much as you think you do.   And please get ready for a dose of "reality".


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     Thank you for taking the time to write this thought-provoking response.

     It appears that I responded to a reader's question that referred to one of your concepts.   I did not know that and I certainly did not intend to question either your knowledge or integrity.   I gave my best analysis.   I do understand the kinetic chain and the value of rotary actions.   However, I believe that pitchers can achieve them without jeopardizing either balance or straight line drive.   At any rate, if I offended you, I apologize.   That was not my intention.

     With regard to studying how successful pitchers apply force, I disagree that we can advance motor skills without understanding how we must answer for Newton's three laws of motion and applied anatomy and more.

     With regard to your opinion that I should search the research literature for relevant material, I understand your attitude.   I started taking high speed film of baseball pitching and batting in 1965 before Richard Nelson, an earlier graduate of Michigan State University's research lab, came up with the term, Biomechanics.   I analyzed thousands of feet of this film and adjusted my force application technique before I earned the Cy Young Award in 1974.   Theory is great, but when theories successfully work when practiced, it is better.

     I do understand muscle tissue.   While I respect and admire your academic background, I question that you understand actin and myosin protein filaments and the limitations of contractile units.

     I will again attempt to appeal to your professional integrity and request that you keep your rhetoric civil.   I am not a fool and I will not call you a fool.   I know that you are trying to sell something and that does bring your motives into question, but I will speak of you kindly and only give my opinions of your theories.

     Again, thank you for taking the time to write.   I look forward to any dose of reality that you can provide.

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59.   Thank you so much for your quick response.   You are now the second person that believes this is caused by my son's mechanics.   I would like to get your thoughts on this.

     My son's ball has a lot of movement and has been very successful in getting batters out.   My husband believes this is because of the way he throws (obviously).   This might be a real stupid questions and I'm not sure I know quite how to word this and make sense, but hopefully you know what I'm talking about.   Can he change his mechanics without changing the way he throws, or delivers the ball.   Like I said, I'm not quite sure how to word this.   My husbands fear is he changes his mechanics then he's just like any other pitcher.   What do you think?


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     How baseballs move on their way to home plate relates to how the seams of the spinning baseball contact air molecules.   How your son releases the baseball causes the spin on the baseball.   How pitchers apply force to their pitches is separate from how they release their pitches.   Therefore, to directly answer your question, your son can change how he applies force to his pitches and still keep how he releases his pitches.

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60.   I am 18 years old and had Tommy John surgery 10 months ago.   At the time of my injury I played catcher, but I am going to switch to 2nd base to take it easy on my arm.   Right now, I'm throwing 40 throws at 127 feet(home to 2nd) every other day.   I am supposed to eventually get to 45 throws.   My lifting includes about 10 different rotator cuff exercises every day, shoulder, tricep, bicep, and forearm exercises, and bench presses.   I do 15 reps each of the rotators, and 25 reps of every other lift.   My arm feels fine and I think I am throwing at about 90-95% of my former velocity (80 mph).   Every time I throw my arm feels better and stronger.   My tryouts are in 2 months.

1.   Should I continue throwing every other day, or throw more often?

2.   Obviously, in a game I am going to have to throw shorter distances.   Should I start throwing shorter distances after I throw my required 45 throws at 127 feet?   How many throws?

3.   Is my lifting sufficient or should I add exercises?

4.   My doctor said that he doesn't recommend that I bench press but said that I could if I felt a need to.   I believe that benching is important because it builds core strength and that it will help me swing harder.   What do you think?

5.   This question may seem a little stupid.   I think you said that the reason Tommy John tore his ligament is that his muscles around his elbow cramped because of loss of fluids in them which put tremendous stress on his ligament.   When I hurt my arm, I was throwing in a hot gym and was wearing a long sleeve shirt.   I was drenched in sweat and was probably dehydrated.   I didn't tear these muscles like he did but they were strained.   Could the same thing have happened to me or do you think that I just have poor throwing mechanics?


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     The reason that you ruptured your ulnar collateral ligament relates to your force application technique.   I doubt that an electrolyte imbalance caused your problem.   The loss of potassium through sweating increases the presence of sodium which causes muscle cramps.   The tearing of Tommy John's medial epicondyle muscles was the clear sign that muscle cramping caused the 'knife clasp' reflex that shifted all elbow force to his ulnar collateral ligament and resulted in its rupture.

     The first thing that you have to do is change how you apply force to your throws.   You need an abbreviate transition similar to what I recommend to pitchers.

     With regard to the rehabilitation program that you outlined, I see nothing wrong, but it certainly is not specific to baseball throwing either.   I recommend that you read my wrist weight and iron ball training programs.   They are specific to baseball throwing and will bring about the desired results more rapidly.

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61.   Have you ever heard of the term {he or she throws a heavy ball} feels like your catching a 2lb ball whenever you play catch with them.   There are 3 people that I have played with, 1 in highschool, 1 in college and also my son that throw a heavy ball. Can you tell me your theory on throwing the heavy ball.

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     Since we all know that the five and one-half ounce baseball does not change weight, we have to search for this answer in how the receivers of the baseball perceive that the baseball is heavier than normal.   The answer relates to the final few feet of the baseball's flight to the glove.   Our eyes cannot actually focus clearly on the baseball throughout its entire flight path.   Early research states that batters last clearly focus on pitched fastballs approximately sixteen feet in front of home plate.   I would suspect that catchers clearly focus somewhat closer.

     When fastballs spin with straight back four seam rotation, the aerodynamics tend to lift the baseball.   Therefore, catchers would tend to catch this pitch higher in their glove than they might expect.   However, when fastballs spin with reverse spiral spin as I discuss with regard to sinkers, the aerodynamics tend to push the baseball downward.   Therefore, catchers would tend to catch this pitch lower in their glove than they might expect.   In this case, the baseball collides with the heel of their hands and jars their wrist and they perceive the baseball as heavier than usual.

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62.   When you talk about "hidden velocity", in terms of learning a new pitching rhythm, what does that mean?   Do you mean, fast, slow or what?   I understand having the ball in the leverage position, but for how long?   A split second?   Or longer?   And, does the arm come up at the very last second from the "hand pat" postion?   Please explain this crucial portion of the delivery.   This part is the crux of the issue, as far as I'm concerned.   If you can explain this, I will fully understand yourmethod.

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     In order for pitchers to extend their driveline and uniformly accelerate throughout, they must 'carry' their forearm in leverage position until they move their body ahead of their front foot.   After they feel the 'front foot push back', they can initiate their forearm acceleration through release.   'Hidden velocity' refers to throwing the baseball a shorter distance to home plate than others who release their pitches behind their front foot.   Because we release pitches approximately one foot farther forward than others, if we have the same release velocity, our pitches reach home plate one foot sooner.

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63.   I am having two problems:   1) I can't throw consistent strikes, 2)   I throw harder off a mound than on one.

     A buddy of mine has a nagging elbow injury.   He's been to a million different "specialists" and nobody knows what the problem is.   I keep telling him to talk to you, but he won't even look at the website because he thinks I throw funny.   I even told him to give you his MRI and X-Ray so atleast he would know whats wrong with it.   He's about to get surgery and red shirt his freshman year at college.   What can I tell him that is easy to comprehend and explain, and make him stop being so stubborn.


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     In order to throw consistent strikes, you must have consistent leverage positions, consistent drivelines and consistent releases.   Without seeing you, I cannot determine with which you remain inconsistent.   Only perfect practice of these variables can result in command.   With regard to throwing harder from flat ground rather than pitching mounds, you must introduce some variable when you are on the mound that you do not have when you are on flat ground.   I suspect too much reverse shoulder rotation and taking your arm laterally behind your body.

     Pain on the inside of the elbow results from forearm flyout or forearm bounce.

     Forearm flyout occurs when pitchers take their arm too far laterally behind his body such that when they start their upper arm drive forward, they has to first go laterally back to their pitching arm side before they can drive his arm toward home plate.   The change in direction to toward home plate unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow.   Forearm flyout also occurs when pitchers move their forearm to less than ninety degrees of their upper arm at leverage.   In this case, when they start their upper arm forward, their forearm circles outwardly and unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow.

     Forearm bounce occurs when pitchers point their forearm vertically immediately before they start their upper arm drive forward.   The forearm moves downward toward horizontal and 'bounces' back upward when pitchers forearm accelerate their pitches through release.   This forearm bounces unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow and the front of the shoulder.

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64.   I understand extending the driveline, carrying the arm in leverage position, having a shorter distance to throw, when to release the ball and all; but, is the rhythm of the complete windup fast, "last second" jerky or slow, but methodical?   You said pitchers would have to learn a different rhythm.
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     From leverage through release, pitchers must uniformly accelerate the baseball.   Uniform acceleration differs from uniform velocity.   Uniform velocity means at the same velocity.   Uniform acceleration means ever increasing velocity until pitchers achieve their maximum through release.   While pitchers need to come into leverage with some toward home plate velocity, it should not be much.   As they move their body ahead of their front foot, they should increase their velocity but not by jumping forward.   After they feel their front foot push-back, they need to explode their final shoulder rotation and forearm acceleration.   The purpose of the strengthening from the wrist weight and iron ball exercises is to enable them to apply this final explosive drive through release.

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65.   First, thanks for all your help you have provided myself and others since you have been online.   My high school club is off to a good start.   I am positive a big reason is the force application principles I have learned and applied to my pitching staff.   I am positive I have not interpreted as accurately as in your books but am confident I am getting better.   Thanks so much again.

     My professional pitcher has reported to spring training with what was diagnosed at the physical with biceps tendonitis.   Nothing was considered serious and was ordered a viox prescription for inflamation (which he has not started).   The first thing I checked for was forearm flyout, but really think he has a good driveline.   I think it maybe was irritated doing some other type of activity.

     At first he was not going to tell anyone, but thought it was the professional decision to make.   He reports it is stiff upon loosing up then goes away.   As a young pitcher without any results yet, he has no leverage to make decisions upon how to deliver the baseball.

     For example, I see where your potential major league pitcher is being allowed to deliver the baseball as per your instruction.   I really thought that was an open minded approach by the major league staff.

     How concerned should I be with the biceps tendonitis?   I know the biceps was not prepared for the task involved and the inflamation has moved into the tendon.   We need to continue to throw to toleranace to get blood and oxygen to the area.   If you would please offer any suggestion, I would certainly appreciate the information.


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     All discomfort result from either improper force application technique or inadequate training preparation or a combination of both.   For sure, rest will not remedy the situation.   However, if the force application technique is incorrect, he can make the situation worse.

     I need to know precisely where he experiences discomfort.   Biceps tendonitis should have discomfort in the bicepital groove toward the head of the humerus.   I find that this irritation is rare and I doubt that this is his problem.   I suspect that he has discomfort in the anterior aspect of the upper arm near the elbow joint.   This discomfort is not rare and is not a problem.   While the latter discomfort relates to improper technique, even if he continues with the technique, he can continue to train and it will go away.   This problem relates to forearm flyout, probably with a less than ninety degrees between his forearm and upper arm when he throws his curves or sliders.

     If I could learn for certain where he feels the discomfort, I will be better able to advise.

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66.   You asked for a more precise location of the biceps tendonitis.   The discomfort is in the deltoid area.   I first thought it was in the anterior deltoid muscle.   From what the pitcher tells me and from the team doctor's statement, I think it is in the tendon of the bicepital groove towards the head of the humerus.   Does this change the concern versus the inflamation in the anterior part towards the elbow joint?

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     I continue to disbelieve that he has irritated his biceps tendon.   I now believe that he has irritated his subscapularis attachment.   It is possible to irritate the biceps tendon, but it is rare and he would complain about a specific activity bothering him.   If he has irritated his subscapularis, then he permits his elbow to go behind his acromial line, probably at the end of his transition.   He either takes his arm too far laterally behind his body or he starts forwardly rotating his shoulders before he starts his upper arm acceleration.

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67.   I have spent an embarrassingly long time searching for photos and film(video) of you pitching in MLB.   Can't find anything.   I understand that you teach, at least in part, different mechanics than you used, but I can only look at your accomplishments as evidence that you were doing something right.   And I'm not just talking about your ability to get hitters out.   The number of innings you threw, many with little recovery time, suggests that either your mechanics were far more efficient than most major league pitchers, or God blessed you with extraordinary genetics.

     With that in mind, is it possible to obtain some video or film of you pitching?   Again, I understand you do not care for the mechanics you used back then but maybe you could point out what you were doing right?   When desperate I start to beg.   It's ugly but it works occasionally.


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     I wish that I had used the techniques that I presently teach.   However, I have learned over the past twenty-five years how to apply force much better than I did.   If I had known what I know now, I could have been great.   Please stop searching for old videotape of me, I would hate to see it and it would not teach the force application techniques that I recommend today.

     I attribute what little success I had somewhat to my force application technique, but more to the training program I developed and even more to the statistical analysis I did on pitch sequencing.   If I cannot show young men with greater genetic attributes than I had, after all I am five foot eight and one-half inches tall, then I am wasting my time and certainly theirs.   I want them to far surpass the quality and variety of pitches that I threw.

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68.   Do the publications on your web site detail your training program?   When you speak of statistical analysis of pitch sequences are you referring to sequences in general, or was your analysis geared toward sequences on specific hitters, situations, etc.?   Or both?   Are those ideas in the publications?

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     In Section Seven of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I have provided Chapters Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five to explain the Training Facilities, Training Methodology and Training Programs that I recommend.   Because I am continually learning how to better accomplish these tasks, I have updated some chapters and need to update other chapters.   However, they are a good basis from which to start training.

     In Section Eight of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I have provided Chapters Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine and Thirty to explain how I collected my pitch sequence data, what I learned that changed how I adjusted my pitching strategy, how I used Michigan State University's computer to analyze my 1973 and 1974 seasons, how I organized the computer data and how I arrived at my pitch sequence theory.   I did not write these chapters as some form of self-aggrandizement, but as a way to teach others that it is not enough to throw quality pitches, pitchers must understand when to throw which type of pitch to which type of hitter to achieve the most favorable result.

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69.   I was showing the hand or head pat to my troops the other day and a little controversy came up.   Is the hand or head pat to a small child, a medium child or a grown child sort of like Benny Hill fame.   What level is the pat?   I assumed it was to a little child or a dog.

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     When I demonstrate the proper position for the pitching arm at the 'downward forearm head pat', I pendulum swing my arm straight back toward second base until the arm reaches a forty-five degree angle from vertical.   When the arm achieves 'head pat', pitchers first start outwardly rotating the head of their humerus in their glenoid fossa followed immediately by simultaneously moving the forearm to ninety degrees from the upper arm and raising the forearm to horizontal with the ground.   Also, they are simultaneously stepping forward to place their front foot on the ground at the appropriate location depending on the force application technique they have selected.   Once their front foot contacts the ground, with their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line, pitchers simultaneously powerfully push off their rear foot, start the forward rotation of the body and start the front arm pull-back.   I probably have gone farther than you need with this answer.   If not, please email me again.

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70.   Bear with me on this one. After the throwing arm is cocked and everything seems to be in perfect order, when does the transition take place in the throwing arm from 90 to 45 degree angle in relationship to weight being transfered to stride leg.   My interpatation of your writings is after all the weight is transferred.   Once again thank you for your time and expertise in instructions.

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     I interpret 'after the throwing arm is cocked' to mean after the pitcher has moved his pitching arm to leverage.   After that, I do not know what you are asking.   'When does the transition take place in the throwing arm from 90 to 45 degree angle' does not mean anything to me.   The downward forearm head pat position has the pitching arm at a forty-five degree angle from vertical.   The forearm to upper arm angle never goes to less than ninety degrees.

     When pitchers rock-back, they pendulum swing their pitching arm to the 'head pat' position and bring their front leg back toward their rear leg.   After pitchers achieve the 'head pat' position, they start their forward movement.   They step forward with their front leg.   They also rotate the head of their humerus and raise their forearm to horizontal.   They must keep their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   They do not start to forward rotate their shoulders until after their front foot contacts the ground.

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71.   From point of leverage, after stride foot has landed, does pitcher immediately lead with his throwing elbow when he start his arm forward or does he lead with the elbow later in his rotation?   I was taught that leading with the elbow was a 45 degree angle however now that you corrected me I realize that you are correct it still is 90 degrees.

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     Now, I see what you were saying.   Please excuse my denseness.   You are absolutely correct that after the front leg contacts the ground, pitchers start the forward rotation of the shoulders with the olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   This definitely places the elbow in a lead position.   However, the olecranon process should be only slightly ahead of the acromial line and the upper arm is locked with the thorax such that they rotate as one.

     The skill occurs when pitchers complete this one-hundred and eighty degree shoulder rotation, but they apply force to their pitches in a straight line from leverage through release.

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72.   I look forward to reading your materials and trying to apply them with my sons on the field.

     Are there MLB pitchers who, perhaps only in part, use good mechanics in your opinion?   I'm trying to clearly understand the mechanics you teach which can be difficult without a visual example.   How about students who have attended your pitching camp?


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     I hope that my pitcher training center graduates would perfectly demonstrate my force application techniques, but each has their own uniqueness.   I do not expect perfection, only that they drive their pitches in a straight line from leverage through release.   However, the farther that they vary from the technique, the greater the loss in potential release velocity and the greater the inconsistency.

     I am working on putting together a video that would explain and demonstrate.   The company with whom I am working want to put together more than I want and want to charge more than I want, but they are in business and my proclivity to give my knowledge for free does not fit their profit requirements.   However, I do have quality control.   It will teach what I want.

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73.   It is not your denseness Dr Marshall, its mainly my lack of communications skills as a writer.   I have 3 more emails to go, so I hope I'm not taking up too much of your valuable time.   But, I want to cover one point from your book at a time on each email and I'm making progress in my understanding of your book each time.

     How does the glove hand play into your schemes of things?   For example, when does it point straight out toward home plate, if it does at all, and when does it go to chicken wing position if it does at all.   Is it high, low or medium height in the chichen wing and straight forward motion.   Man, I hope I didn't confuse you here, I ask this because I couldn't seem to locate anything on the glove hand, if I missed it in your book, just tell what chapter it is in.


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     I prefer only discuss the action of the pitching arm and leave the other arm to what the pitchers do.   Then, if the front arm causes a balance problem, then I talk about what the non-pitching arm should do.   The front arm points toward home plate when the pitching arm starts to rotate in the glenoid fossa.   Pitchers should consider the front arm as reaching forward and grabbing a pole with which to pull themselves forward.   I accept your chicken wing description.   With regard to high, medium or low, the only variable with which I am concerned is that pitchers keep their shoulders level.

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74.   I was not able to read all the Q and A, it is pretty long.   Let me get to the point.   I am a catcher playing in semi pro ball in Europe.   In a game in October 2000, the runner at first tries to steal.   I come up throwing as I normally do, at the release a GOD AWFUL POP that the outfielders could hear came from my throwing arm.   I broke my humerus, a spiral break in the lower third.

     My docs conclusion was, I possibly had a hairline fractue there to begin with.   But due to it being so small I really couldn't feel any pain previously.   I was in a co-aptation splint for 5 weeks, a clampshell for another 6 weeks.   Always in a sling for that time.

     Now, I am nearly 6 months down the road.   I have a awful clicking and grinding in the shoulder blade area.   I assume it as a problem with the rotator cuff?   I can hit live BP at about 80mph, but some pain on the inside of the elbow area.   I threw a ball for the first time last week about 30 feet, 30 times.   I am in the gym 4 to 5 days a week.

     Do things sound like a decent recovery is taking place?   I also have therapy 1 time a week.


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     I am sorry to hear of your difficulties.   However, the throwing technique that catchers use places unnecessary in their humerus.   You have to change your throwing technique.   You must use an abbreviated pitcher transition.

     I am very concerned about the atrophy of your humerus during the time that you could not use your arm.   You need to train your arm before you ask an atrophied humerus to withstand the stresses that it could not withstand when it was considerably stronger.   I recommend that you use my wrist weight exercises for my maxline and torque fastballs.

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75.   I have pain on the inner part of my pitching arm mainly in the elbow-forearm elbow, and the bottom of my bicep.   Would this be due to forearm flyout?   Or maybe bicep tendinitis?   What would you suggest?

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     When pitchers experience discomfort on the inside of their elbow, the medial epicondyle area, and on the lower, anterior aspect of the upper arm, they have forearm flyout with elbow drop under, probably on their slider.   When I am working with young men, I continually remind them that they cannot have any forearm flyout and they must never drop their elbow under on any pitch, but definitely not the slider.   This is a relatively easy incorrect force application technique to correct, but pitchers typically need someone to tell them when they are doing it correctly.

     For you to correct this on your own, you will have to do your wrist weight exercises while looking into a mirror.   You have to keep your forearm to upper arm angle greater than ninety degrees.   You have to have your forearm vertical when you forearm accelerate through release.   You cannot permit your elbow to drop or move inward through the forearm acceleration phase.

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76.   Are sprints or long distance running more beneficial to pitchers?   I would guess and say that sprints would be because of the explosiveness?   Anaerobic or aerobic?   Both?   Whats a good way to get rid of lactic acid (heavy feeling)?

     When doing easy leverage throw in the start position, the arm is basically out to the side with thumb pointed up right?   Then do i go to the leverage position, like a backwards "L" position with arm, then accelerate forward the same time as pushing forward with stride foot?

     Could the iron ball pronation spins also be described kind of like bowling except your not throwing a straight ball and releasing at the ground, is this the same type of arm movements?   Should I be doing the wrist weight throws and the iron ball throws before I will be throwing a baseball that same day?   If so would the wrist weight throws and the iron ball throws be to get my blood flowing and my arm working the right way and or strengthening as well.   If for strengthening should I do the day after for stengthening, and just do a few on the same day as what I will be throwing a baseball for blood flow-muscle memory?   I dont want to be fatigued or broke down before I actually start to throw a bullpen, right?


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     Sprints versus long distance running for pitchers:   Neither will make you a better pitcher.   Only improving pitching fitness and pitch quality makes you a better pitcher.   However, I jogged aerobically to metabolize any lactice acid or other performance waste that I might have generated with pitching and because I enjoyed jogging.   As I said above with regard to running, I recommend jogging aerobically.   If you are talking about whether pitching is aerobic or anaerobic, that is a question requiring scientific investigation.   Most would say anaerobic. However, many of the anaerobic signatures are not present.   Jogging rids the body of lactic acid although I cannot support the heavy feeling definition.   Heavy feeling can result from other sources.   Nevertheless, jogging satisfies those needs as well.

     I now refer to the easy leverage as force-coupling because I want pitchers to pushback with their front foot before they forearm accelerate through release.   The hand is in position for whatever pitch the pitchers are throwing.   When they have their palm facing upward, they are throwing fastballs.   When they have their palm facing toward their head, they are throwing breaking balls.   Whey they have their palm facing away from their head, they are throwing reverse breaking balls.

     The iron ball spins train the tip of the middle finger.   Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their middle finger.   The exercise is to use the tip of the middle finger to impart maximum spin, yes, similar to bowling a strong hook ball, to the iron ball while tossing it straight upward to a height slightly above the head.   Please do not let it hit you on the top of your head.

     During training, pitchers should complete their wrist weight exercises, then their iron ball exercises and then their baseball throws.   During competitive seasons, I recommend that pitchers complete their maintenance level wrist weight exercises before they go to bed, their maintenance level iron ball exercises first thing in the morning and their maintenance level baseball throws during their team's batting practice time.

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77.   What are your thoughts about the weighted balls for increasing arm speed?   I've also heard of this program as well for arm speed:   Heavy Ball (6oz) for 10 throws, light ball (4oz) for 10 throws, regular baseball for 12 throws; 32 throws times three sets for a 96 throw total.

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     Heavy balls of the weights that you describe are of no value.   If your force application technique is flawed, then these weighted baseballs will increase your opportunity for injury.   That is because they are too light to demonstrate the flaws in your force application technique.   Heavy balls of these weights do not help pitchers recruit more muscle fibers when they throw baseballs.   Like the medicine ball does not help basketball players pass basketballs when they switch back to basketballs because the arm do not need all the muscle fibers to pass basketballs as they do medicine ball, the effect of throwing these heavy balls quickly dissipates without lasting results.

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78.   Any preference to landing on heal or ball of foot at initial contact?   Do you prefer landing with toe pointed toward home plate or slightly slanted to 3rd for RHP or 1st for LHP?   Does landing foot land a little off centered past straight line to batter?

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     I draw a line from the 'ball' of the rear foot that I have turned slightly forward on the pitching rubber straight forward.   On my maxline pitches, I have the pitchers step to the glove side of the line.   On my torque pitches, I have the pitchers step to the pitching arm side of the line.   I use the word, 'step', because that is what I want the pitchers to do and emulate.   When people walk, they step forward with their heel landing first and smoothly roll across the entire surface of the foot and push off with their toes.   That is what I want pitchers to do with a great deal of body control.

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79.   In regard to your statement in Answer 65, what do you mean by "front foot push back"?   Does this mean the resistance felt when the front foot plants?   Isn't this the "opposite reaction", rather than the arm going towards second, which you refer to in your book?

     In order for pitchers to extend their driveline and uniformly accelerate throughout, they must 'carry' their forearm in leverage position until they move their body ahead of their front foot.   After they feel the 'front foot push back', they can initiate their forearm acceleration through release.


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     'Front foot push back' means that AFTER pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot they apply force backward toward second base to increase the equal and opposite requirement of Newton's Law of Reaction.   Since pitchers have to move the center of their mass from near the pitching rubber during the rock-back start of the pitching motion to ahead of their front foot, pitchers must delay their forearm acceleration through release until AFTER they initiate their front foot push back.

     If pitchers plant their front foot as you describe, they would apply force toward home plate and decrease the equal and opposite force.   In an earlier life, I supported this action because I felt that powerfully stopping the forward movement of the lower body permitted the upper body to snap forward.   However, while this is true, it also limits the length of the driveline as well as decreases the equal and opposite force.

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80.   This e-mail is about the weighted balls I mentioned the other day.   Basically, you are saying that the weight balls I mentioned, 6 ounces, do not help because they are too light.   Is this why we throw the iron ball, to recruit more muscle fibers?   If so why wouldn't passing a med-ball for basketball help passing a basketball?   You say the arm doesn't need that many muscle fibers to pass a basketball.   Why do we for baseball then, is this why these two sports are different?

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     I have my pitchers train with a six pound shot in order to learn the force application technique that least unnecessarily stresses the arm and to stimulate the osteoblasts of the affected muscle attachments and skeletal trabeculae to lay down new skeletal tissue.   It has little to do with muscle hypertrophy.   Pitchers increase their release velocity because they apply their force better and/or they have strengthened their skeletal foundations such that they can apply greater force without discomfort or fear of injury.

     School is still out with what microanatomical changes occur at the cellular level of the affected myofibrils.   This means that I cannot explain how pitchers increase their muscle contractility.   However, I know that pitchers have a finite number of muscle fibers available in the directions of the forces that they need to generate when pitching.   I suspect hypertrophy and, possibly, splitting, but without muscle biopsies, I can only suspect.   I have no evidence, but neither does anybody else, so we evaluate the results rather than the cause.

     With regard to the medicine ball, athletes require more muscle action to hold up the ball against gravity as well as to horizontally accelerate the ball when throwing.   When they pass a basketball, they do not require the same muscle fibers, so they do not use them.

     Lastly, I believe that throwing six ounce baseballs rather than five and one-quarter ounce baseballs is dangerous.   It may seem ironic that throwing a six pound ball is not dangerous, but throwing a six ounce baseball is, but it is.

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81.   I am 6'2", 220 lbs. with a size 13 shoe.   I was wondering how long my stride should be?

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     I recommend pitchers step forward with body control rather than stride beyond where they can control their balance.   I recommend that pitchers land softly on the heel of their front foot, roll across the entire plantar surface of their foot and push off their toes.   Obviously, the longer the legs, the longer step pitchers can take with balance.

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82.   What are the maintenance levels for the wrist weight, iron ball and baseball exercises?

     Can you please explain the iron ball spins exercise?   In the start position do you have your elbow bent with your palm up holding the iron ball (kind of like a bowling ball), then walk forward or stand still and spin the ball to the other hand at head height, or do you kind of swing the arm back then spin to other hand, or do you do the spin the iron ball the opposite way like snapping your fingers?

     What are your thoughts on the rubber tubing exercises for the rotator cuff, etc.?


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     In Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I have provided a sample training program that provides the number of repetitions I recommend that pitchers complete during the training cycles.   For maintenance levels, I recommend one-half of the minimum training number of repetitions.

     When pitchers complete my finger spins, they spin the iron ball toward their glove side.   I do not recommend the rubber tubing exercises because they are not specific to baseball pitching in how they generate force.   Your heavy feeling is your proprioceptive awareness.   Maybe you do not have your body ready to move, maybe you have carbohydrate overloaded, maybe you are retaining water, maybe you have the start of Lou Gehrig's disease, I don't know.   However, if it persists, you should see a doctor.

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83.   With the forearm extensions, my arm is at leverage and then I rotate it forward right?   I do not rotate it backwards then forward, correct?   Just from leverage to out in front then back to leverage and so on, right?

     With the iron ball spins, I realize I have to spin the ball to my glove hand then back, but I dont understand how I should be holding the ball and at what height, waist level, chest?   And spin it to my glove hand like I would be throwing a strong hook ball in bowling, right?


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     With the forearm extensions, pitchers gently lay their forearm back to horizontal and then raise the forearm back upward, but not to vertical.

     With the iron ball spins, pitchers do not use a glove, they start with their hands at about waist height and powerfully spin the iron ball upward to slightly above the head.   Yes, the spin is similar to throwing a strong hook in bowling, but you should put all force to the iron ball with the tip of the middle finger.   Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their middle finger.   Strength to fully transfer force to the ball and skill to achieve the proper spin axis.

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84.   In chapter 20, page 2, section d, 1st paragraph, last sentence, you wrote "pitchers have to safely stop their pitching arms before their arms have reached the FULL LIMIT OF THEIR LENGTH."   How much of an absolute is this statement?

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     If pitchers have no safely decelerated their pitching arm to a stop before their arm reaches it full limit of their length, then what happens.   The arm cannot go any farther forward without coming out of its glenoid fossa.   This may result in decelerator muscle on the back of the shoulder or holding the scapula from moving farther forward tearing.   This is why I developed my wrist weight exercises.   I make certain to powerfully train the brakes of the pitching arm before I train the accelerators of the pitching arm.

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85.   When you pitched in the big leagues did you use the same type of mechanics that you are now teaching?   Do you think that hitters will start to pick up my foot placement being different on different pitches?   Could you please explain the acromial plane to me?   With the force coupling throws and the power leverage throws you say the forearm should be horizontal.   I need to know if the forearm should be horizontal backwards, like a goal post that is bent back, or horizontal forwards with fist pointed towards target, almost as if you would be pushing the ball?

     Also with the force coupling and power leverage throws you say to have the feet side by side shoulder width, are my feet pointed to the target?   I don't start with my feet closed to the target and squared up with the pitching rubber, right?   With any type of throwing whether it be the wrist weight, iron ball or baseball throws my feet shouldnt be closed to target they should be at 45 degrees or less, right?

     Do you know what a good time would be from stretch to homeplate, 1.2 or less?   What would I use for a quick step or slide step with a runner on base?


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     If you see that pitchers take their pitching arms laterally behind their body so that you can see the baseball from the catcher's view, then they are not using my techniques.   If you see that pitchers raise their front leg to waist high and start their body forward before they have taken their pitching arm backward fully, then they are not using my techniques.   If you see that pitchers point their forearms vertically before they start their upper arm acceleration, then they are not using my techniques.   There are several other smaller, but critical differences between what I recommend and what major league pitchers do.   However, this should give you sufficient visual cues to answer this question yourself.   Lastly, if you see pitchers injure their pitching arms, then they are not using my techniques.   None of my pitchers have ever suffered a pitching arm injury.

     With regard to our different foot placements for maxline and torque pitches, I hope that the hitters are trying to watch for that.   It gives them one more variable with which to concern themselves.   Even if they did notice a difference, they still do not know what type of pitch you are throwing and you can throw maxline and torque pitches to both sides of home plate.

     The acromial line passes through the middle of the tips of both shoulders.   Therefore, this line is from side to side of your body.

     Force-coupling and power leverage have the forearm in leverage position at their starts.   Leverage is the position of the arm when it first starts meaningfully accelerating toward home plate.   The upper are should be at shoulder height, the shoulders should be level and the forearm should lay back to horizontal.   If you are practicing fastballs, then the palm should be facing upward.

     My set position rock-back technique provides for the shortest time for pitchers to powerfully release their pitches to home plate.   I want pitchers to simultaneously pendulum swing their pitching arm backward toward second base and bring their front foot back to almost touching their rear foot.   After their pitching arm reaches the downward forearm head pat position, I want pitchers to start their forward step with their front foot and appropriately raise their pitching arm to leverage.   After they step down with their front foot, I want pitchers to start their hip and shoulder forward rotation.

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86.   It appears very clearly to me on my 1/2000 shutter speed camera at stop freeze frame action that every one of the 25 amateur pitchers that I film this year, reach the full limit of their length, before their arms stop, and then snap backward, yet to the naked eye at normal speed it looks like a perfect follow through.   Also, every one of their shoulders lean to glove side, but none any closer to 3 to 9 o'clock with most of them I would say at 1 to 7.   As a instructor, I show them where I would like them to be with my electronic chalk board 3 to 9 o'clock.   However, I have not decided how to correct this problem.   I trying to see if not being square is a major player in their arms reaching full limit before stopping.   Am I assuming too much here or do I have to do more taping?

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     If pitchers allow their pitching arms to reach forward to their limit and they do not suffer injury, then they do not maximally forearm accelerate through release.   Originally, I believed that pitchers should push toward home plate with their front foot and cause a recoil action with the upper body.   However, this recoil action placed too much stress on the shoulder brake muscles and could cause serious back injuries.   As a consequence, I now believe that pitchers should push toward second base with their front foot and forearm accelerate through release with their body continuing to move forward.   This reduces the deceleration requirement and permits pitchers to maximally forearm accelerate through release.

     Level shoulders permit pitchers to rotate fully and lengthen their drivelines.   Level shoulders permit pitchers to consistently release their pitches at the appropriate vertical height.   This coupled with the pitching arm's straight line drive improves release consistency.   I have my pitchers do their wrist weight exercises while looking in a mirror.   In this way, they can verify for themselves that they are keeping their shoulders level.   I have pitchers buddy up when they do their iron ball exercises and baseball throws.   In this way, they and their buddies coach each other to keep their shoulders level.

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87.   Did you use these same techniques that you teach while you were in the big leagues?

     I just wanted to make sure about the positioning of the forearm, elbow in the forearm extensions, force coupling throws and power leverage throws.   Let's say I am facing a mirror with my feet spread shoulder width.   Is the leverage position with my elbow at shoulder height and forearm horizontal backwards with elbow in front of my acromial line?   In the mirror, I would see the bottom of my forearm backwards, the palm of my hand and the baseball in my hand?   Do I bring forearm forward towards the mirror to just before vertical?   I don't keep going with it towards the mirror forward, right?   Is this so that I don't have a (roll-over) in the shoulder?   And, when doing the iron ball spins do I walk forwrd or can I stand and spin the ball to other hand without walking forward?


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     My last major league season was 1981.   With the help of every person who permitted me to work with them, I have learned much more about pitching in the twenty years since.   I wish that I knew then what I know now, I could have been great.   However, as I say in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I made some dramatic changes to my force application technique during the 1971 off-season from information I learned via the high speed film that I took.   Nevertheless, with only one subject, me, I did not discover considerable additional information until I started coaching college pitchers, first at the University of Tampa, then St. Leo College, Henderson State University and West Texas A&M.   Since I retired from college coaching, I have had the great benefit of young men coming to Zephyrhills, FL to train with me for forty weeks.   They have taught me much and I have much more to learn.

     You described the starting position for the forearm extensions well.   The only adjustment that I would ask you to make regards your foot position.   I now ask the pitchers to place their front foot in front of them on the line to where they should step.   On the forearm extensions, you use wrist weights or the iron ball and you keep the elbow position constant while your move the wrist weight upward, but not to a vertical forearm.

     You may walk or stand still when you do the finger spins.   I prefer to walk.

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88.   Could you explain to me why throwing a weighted baseball (6 to 8 ounces) is dangerous?   And, why it wouldn't throwing a 6 pound shot be more dangerous?

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     Even though the six ounce baseball is only three-quarters of an ounce heavier than regulation baseballs and the eight ounce baseball is only two and three-quarters heavier, if pitchers have loops, bounces, flyouts or other inappropriate techniques, when thrown at maximal intensity, the extra weight can push the tissues beyond their limits.   However, when pitchers throw six pound iron balls, they recognize that they cannot throw them with maximum intensity if they have these problems.   By exaggerating the resistance, the six pound ball shows pitchers where they have force application problems.

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89.   I had shoulder surgery (Bankaert Repair), my biceps tendon, supraspinatus tendon, and labrum detached from the bone.   I am very optimistic that I will come back throwing even harder than I was before and that the problem is fixed especially using your techniques.

     Now, I am just making sure again because I want to do them right.   The forearm extensions, force-coupling throws and power leverage throws you say to have forearm back to horizontal.   On the forearm extension, I push forward just before vertical.   When I do these, I am just barely beyond vertical, without the weight in my hand.   Then, with the weight, I am just a little more beyond that.   I am right handed, and that is the shoulder I had worked on.   My left arm goes back farther than my right.   But, when I do the forearm extensions, I really don't have much more than about a 3 inch raise from horizontal to almost vertical.   Will this actually start to make me start being able to go back farther or am I doing them wrong?   Now, if I am facing a mirror and I go horizontal forwards, then back up to almost vertical there is a bigger difference, but I think this is what we don't want?   I did not do the forward ones with my throwing arm, because I thought it was wrong and wanted to get a hold of you first.

     What do you think about the test that they give in spring training for the physical, when they tell you to put your arm behind your back and have your thumb reach up as high as possible.   Because my right arm barely goes above my waist right now.   Do we really want that kind of stretch and flexibility?

     And, when we have our hand in our glove from the stretch position, how should we have it positioned so that we take the ball out of the glove with our hand underneath?   Today, I started having my hand face my target with the back of my hand showing, therefore, my hand would stay under the ball, what do you suggest?


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     The surgical repairs that you had indicate that you had your forearm vertical when you started your upper arm forward, the 'high guard' position.   From this position, your forearm moved backward and downward placing extreme unnecessary stress on the inward rotators of your shoulder, i.e., supraspinatus.   The first thing that you must do is stop that technique.

     The fact that you cannot lay your forearm back more than three inches from vertical is not surprising with this surgery.   However, my training program will correct that in time and I mean time.   It may take several months of properly applied stress of my forearm extensions, force-coupling throws and power leverage throws.   I strongly recommend that you do not try to pitch competitively until you can lay your forearm back to horizontal without discomfort.

     The range of motion test that you mentioned indirectly examines the outward rotation of the shoulder joint.   You do not have any.   They should reject you as an injury candidate.

     When your hand comes out of the glove, you should have your palm facing forward such that when you reach the downward forearm head pat position, your hand faces downward.

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90.   I didn't quite understand how the foot placement should be when doing the forearm extensions, force-coupling throws and power leverage throws.   You said on the forearm extensions to have front foot ahead of back foot to the line I would be throwing.   Let's say I am facing a mirror and my front foot is in front of my back, but still shoulder width, I am not closed up to my target, right?   I would see in the mirror my chest and shoulder to shoulder, not sideways and just seeing my front shoulder?   On the force coupling throws and power throws, I am facing a mirror, are my feet closed up at 45degrees with my forearm horizontal back or am I facing my target with feet pointed straight forward with forearm horizontal back?   If this is right, when I do the power throws and add the small step forward I step to where I would throw the ball?   But not with my feet closed up to 45 degrees?   Then, the force coupling and power throws would be like just a "click" ahead from when I was actually on the mound and getting my sign, coming set with feet at 45 degrees?   And, then its when I do the rock back throw that I put it all together?   I hope you understand I'm just trying to get the right foot placement on each one of these "drills".   Is it kind of like getting a feel for the first two, then putting it all together?

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     You are correct. It is like getting a feel for the first two, then putting it all together.   The forearm extensions lead to the force-coupling throws.   The force-coupling throws lead to the power leverage throws.

     The following is a recent, unpublished change that the kids at my training center are using to great benefit.   With all leverage exercises, i.e., forearm extensions, force-coupling throws and power leverage throws, we stand with our feet on the line that we will use when throwing the pitches.   For maxline throws, we stand with our front foot slightly to the glove side of a line from the ball of our forty-five degree turned rear foot to home plate.   For torque throws, we stand with out front foot slightly to the pitching arm side of that line.   We have the front foot also at forty-five degrees and we pivot the front foot as we move our body ahead of the front foot to apply the front foot push back force immediately prior to our forearm acceleration through release.

     We have also slightly revised how we perform our wrong foot throws and our rock-back throws.   I have yet to make those changes in the book.   The wrong foot throws and the rock-back throws require a transition, i.e., moving the wrist weight, iron ball or baseball out of the glove backward and upward to leverage.

     With the wrong foot throws, we no longer emulate the bowling motion where we start the body forward while we start the pitching arm backward.   Instead, we gently shift our weight backward and start the toward second base pendulum swing of the pitching arm.   Then, when the arm slowly moves backward past our hip, we step forward with our rear leg.   We make certain not to forward rotate our shoulders until after the rear foot contacts the ground.   We make certain to keep our elbow ahead of our acromial line.   The revised wrong foot throws teach how to take our pitching arm toward second base, not laterally behind the body and how to forward rotate our shoulders to get them in proper position to maximally finish our pitches out front.

     We have changed how we perform the rock-back throws after we complete the second training cycle of my training program.   We no longer stand with our shoulders at forty-five degrees from the pitching rubber.   We now stand with our acromial line pointing toward home plate.   However, if pitchers cannot properly pendulum swing their pitching arm toward second base, then they should not make this adjustment.

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91.   I am wondering about your rates and availability, or any more information concerning your ten week course in the summer. If you could please send me some information I would greatly appreciate it.

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     The young men whom I agree to train for ten weeks during the summer pay one hundred and fifty dollars per week plus their share of the electric, about one dollar per day.   They arrive the first Saturday in June and leave the second Saturday in August.   The apartments are fully furnished.   They need bring only what they feel is personally essential.   In order to reserve one of these positions, I need to talk with their parents and them and they need to send a deposit.   You can reach me at (813)783-1357.   If I am not available, please leave a telephone number and a good time to return the call.

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92.   MY DAUGHTER IS 16.   SHE IS A WINDMILL PITCHER.   OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS SHE HAS COMPLAINED OF HER PITCHING SHOULDER POPPING AND ALSO HURTING AT TIMES.   THIS IS NOT CONSTANT, BUT WHEN IT DOES HAPPEN, SHE HURTS DOWN THE BACK OF HER ARM.   WE HAD IT X-RAYED LAST YEAR AND WERE TOLD IT WAS TENDONITIS.   SHE WAS GIVEN NAPROXEN AND TOLD TO ALTERNATE COLD AND HEAT FOR 20 MINUTES AT A TIME.

     THIS WAS AT THE START OF LAST SOFTBALL SEASON. NOW, A YEAR LATER AT THE START OF THIS SEASON, IT HAS STARTED AGAIN, SO WE HAD IT X-RAYED AGAIN BY ANOTHER DOCTOR.   THIS TIME IT WAS DONE WITH A 10 LB. WEIGHT, WE WERE TOLD THAT WITH THIS WEIGHT SHE HAD A 2 INCH SEPERATION IN HER SHOULDER.   I HAD NEVER HEARD OF USING A WEIGHT,ALSO, FROM EVERYTHING I HAVE FOUND ON THE SUBJECT OF ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES IT ALL SAYS WITH A SEPERATION OF THIS SIZE, THAT SHE WOULD BARELY BE ABLE TO MOVE HER ARM.

     HER PAIN COMES AND GOES, SHE SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO USE HER ARM NORMALLY MOST OF THE TIME, SO FOR NOW SHE IS SIDELINED AND THIS IS UNBEARABLE FOR HER.   WE ARE WAITING FOR AN APPOINTMENT WITH A SURGEON, BUT IT HAS NOT BEEN SCHEDULED YET.   I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON THIS.


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     'Pain down the back of her arm' indicates the triceps brachii muscle.   The long head of the triceps brachii attaches on the infraglenoid tuberosity of the scapula.   The glenoid fossa is the shallow indentation where the head of the humerus resides.   The infraglenoid tuberosity means the tuberosity on the underside of the glenoid fossa.   If the head of her humerus moves two inches away from her glenoid fossa, then she has a stability problem.   It is possible that this attachment of the long head of her triceps brachii is no longer attached.

     I have heard of this happening with young men who try to bench press too much weight.   The surgery is simple and straight forward and rehabilitation brings good results.

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93.   The test that I described to you, you said that I don't have outward rotation of the shoulder joint because I can't raise my arm up bebhind my back with thumb pointed up only a little higher than my waist.   You said they would reject me as an injury candidate.   They would say that I am more prone to injury, or that I am ok and not prone to injury, because I don't have that flexibility?   Is it good to not have this outward rotation of the shoulder?   Or is it better to have it?

     I now understand the foot placement for the forearm extensions force coupling throws, and power throws.   Now is my front shoulder poiting towards my target, or am I already open with both shoulders and upper body square to target?

     You say that before my injury I was having my forearm vertical then my body would be going forward then my forearm back then down.   This resulted in the injury, so basically my arm was dragging behind?   With your technique, I have my forearm horizontal, but my elbow in front of acromial line and my head, body behind my elbow and the ball?


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     This test shows the range of motion of the front of your shoulder.   The subscapularis muscle attaches to the front of your shoulder.   I am not overly concerned with this range of motion, but it is thought of as an indicator of shoulder problems.

     On all leverage position exercises, i.e., forearm extensions, force-coupling throws and power leverage throws, pitchers stand with their shoulders facing home plate.   They are emulating the pitching motion after they have started their shoulder forward rotation.

     If pitchers have their forearm vertical when they start accelerating their elbow forward, the force of the forward movement of their upper arm causes their vertical forearm to move backward and downward relative to their upper arm.   I call this, the forearm bounce, because the forearm moves downward, hits bottom with severe unnecessary stress on their supraspinatus and bounces upward again to accelerate forward through release.   It is a very dangerous action and we must stamp it out, no more 'high guard' forearm position!   Pitchers must have their forearm as close to horizontal as possible when they start their upper arm acceleration and the forearm must not move downward at all.   Yes, the elbow is ahead of the forearm, we are not throwing a punch, we are throwing baseballs.

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94.   I wanted to ask you a question about my son's mechanics that came up last night.   He was doing his throwing, at about 80% effort because he is still rehabbing from the elbow injury.   Since he came back, he has trouble flipping out his landing foot so it actually goes toward the left hand batters box at landing.   He is right handed.   His coach says this is from rushing, and last night he did it on one, spun open and his elbow hurt immediately.

     He tossed lightly and the pain dissapated but I have little doubt that this is what caused the injury last year( tendonitis).   I think he actually landing on his heel when he does this and his top half spins open, the ball flies to his right and the elbow hurts right away.   Any suggestions to correct this before he hurts himself again?


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     You have diagnosed the situation very well.   When pitchers permit their front foot to 'float' sideways, it means that they are starting their shoulder forward rotation before they plant their front foot.   This will cause forearm flyout and unnecessarily stress the medial aspect of their elbow.   He is putting too much focus on what he does behind his body.   He has to learn to wait until his front foot contacts the ground before he starts his forward rotation.   I have the same difficulty with the guys who train with me, however, because we are simultaneously strengthening their arms, we have little discomfort.   Nevertheless, they will never be all they can be until they learn to wait until they get their front foot down and their body ahead of their front foot. It requires a different pitching rhythm that focuses on the drive through release rather than the activity behind their body.

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95.   Even when I try to get my left arm to horizontal backwards it doesn't go very far.   I am still confused with the positioning of the forearm, hand elbow with the forearm extensions.   I thought that maybe with the forearm extensions it was more of a side raise from shoulder height with forearm horizontal to side in front of acromial line then raise upwards to almost vertical, like a side raise to get blood flow and warm-up the shoulder.

     If I am having my forearm horizontally backwards, it seems to put alot of stress on my shoulder.   If you stopped a pitcher just before he accelerates forward, the forearm is supposed to be horizontally backwards, but elbow in front of acromial line?   This hurts me just thinking about it.   Or, would it be horizontal out to the side then accelerate forward.   Maybe I just don't understand because I am not getting in the right position?   If my forearm wasn't getting to horizontal backwards, would I be cutting myself off and throwing in to my body?


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     It is absolutely critical that you train your pitching arm to permit your forearm to lay back horizontal when you have your wrist weights on.   I have worked with young men who could not lay their forearm back from vertical at all.   However, with the use of the wrist weights and gently self-prodding, they have trained their shoulder inward rotation muscles to permit their forearm to lay back.   Some pitchers have taken several months to accomplish this range of movement.

     The proper start position for the forearm extension exercise has the pitcher facing the mirror with his shoulders level and his upper arm at the same height with his elbow slightly ahead of his acromial line.   The forearm is nearly vertical.   The angle between the forearm and the upper arm is not less than ninety degrees, nor much greater than ninety degrees.

     The proper end position for the forearm extension exercise has the pitcher facing the mirror with his shoulders level and his upper arm at the same height with his elbow slightly ahead of his acromial line.   The forearm lays backward such that from the side view, it is also at shoulder height.   The angle between the forearm and the upper arm is not less than ninety degrees, nor much greater than ninety degrees.

     The exercise consists of pitchers gently lowering their forearm backward and downward without any other change in body or arm position.   When pitchers have gently laid their forearm backward and downward as far as they can, they gently return their forearm to the start position and repeat the movement.

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96.   I have been pitching since I was 5 years old.   I started experiencing problems though when I was a Junior in high school.   My elbow started hurting me so badly while I was pitching that I could not hold a glass of water in my hand without it sloshing out of the cup because my elbow and shoulder were shaking because they hurt so bad.   It got to where if I threw one pitch one day my arm would hurt so bad the next day that I couldn't hardly lift it.

     But, I kept throwing anyway and eventually I got used to the pain.   I never have had my arm checked out.   I am now a Junior in college.   I pitched at another college for two years and at one time my sophmore year I was throwing 87-88 mph.   Since then my speed has dropped drastically.   I am now only throwing about 76 mph.   Could this be because of my problems in high school?   And, if so, is it too late to fix whatever the problem might be?


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     Until the growth plates of the pitching arm mature into adult bone tissue, I consider all pain related to unnecessary growth plate stress.   While it might not be true, it is the safest way to go.   However, after growth plate maturation, I consider all pain related to improper force application technique and/or improper training preparation.   Unless you suffered irreparable growth plate damage during your early adolescent years, as a college age pitcher, I believe that you can learn the proper force application technique and can properly train for pitching and in doing so, pitch without discomfort.

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97.   I am very concerned about my nephew.   I am a former collegiate athlete (tennis) and unlike other family have trained and recovered from injuries.   My nephew is having surgery, he is 14.   He is early maturer and I do not know if his arm is fully developed.   He has torn ligaments in his pitching arm and is undergoing surgery to place two screws in his arm.   I can find no information that explains why this child should have such invasive surgery for torn ligaments.

     The pressure on him to be a major league pitcher is extreme in his parents and I as the only athlete in the family think he is headed for great disappointment and now with this injury I am very concerned for him.   I want him educated so he can make decisions about his arm and not others for him.   Can you you direct me to best resources or explain what type surgery this most likely is and how long a therapy process will be?


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     I am sorry to hear of the difficulties that your nephew is facing.   It is rare for a fourteen year old to required ligament repair.   I suspect that he has torn his ulnar collateral ligament that is on the inside of his elbow and the surgeons are using the 'Tommy John' technique to repair it.   This means that they are taking the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from his non-pitching arm and using it to tie the ulna bone and the humerus bone of his pitching arm back together.

     In adults, this is a simple surgery with good results IF pitchers adjust their force application technique to eliminate the unnecessary and excessive stress that they placed on the ulnar collateral ligament that caused it to rupture in the first place.   Without changing how they throw their pitches, they are doomed to repeat the injury although they will probably tear the muscles that attach to the inside of the elbow next time.

     In adolescents, I am not as certain about the recovery prognosis.   If he has growth plates in his pitching elbow, he may have suffered some damage and caused the elbow to develop irregularly.   Of specific concern is the groove behind the medial epicondyle for the ulnar nerve.   The fact that you say that he is an early maturer may mean the his growth plates have already sufficiently matured to have avoided this problem.   This is something that we cannot determine at this time.   It will have to wait until he has rehabilitated and returns to pitching competitively and see what symptoms he mentions.

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98.   With the forearm extensions, I am facing a mirror and my positioning of my arms, forearm and elbows would look like a football goal post except with my elbow in front of my acromial line?   If this is the right positioning, then I am having alot of pain in the back of the shoulder and a stretch in the front of shoulder.   This positionong seems that it would put alot of stress on the supraspinatus tendon?

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     You should have your elbow ahead of your acromial line and be attempting to lay your forearm backward and downward.   The discomfort that you have in the back of your shoulder and the stretch you feel in the front of your shoulder is normal.   If you feel stretch or discomfort on the top of your shoulder, then it is probably your supraspinatus attachment.   If you feel stretch or discomfort in the front of your shoulder, then it is probably your subscapularis attachment.   Whichever it is, it is critical to your pitching well-being that you gently apply stress in this manner to enable these muscles to strengthen in this position and permit you to lay your forearm back to horizontal without any discomfort.

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99.   Do all pitchers need to have this forearm extension?   Even pitchers that don't follow your techniques that you teach?   When I am doing the force-coupling throws and power leverage throws, how do I get rid of the bounce that sometimes takes place when I throw?   Is this because I don't have that forearm horizontal yet?   Should I really focus on the forearm being horizontal before I start the throw?   I guess there would be a bounce if the forearm was vertical then was forced back to horizontal by force.   I guess that is the bounce?

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     To maximize their release velocity, pitchers must be able to lay their forearm back horizontal while their upper arm accelerates forward.   When you perform force-coupling and power leverage throws, you start with your forearm laying as close to horizontal as possible.   When pitchers permit their forearm to move backward and downward after they start their upper arm forward, I call that, 'forearm bounce.'   Forearm bounce unnecessarily stresses the supraspinatus attachment on the top aspect of the humerus.

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100.   What is shoulder impingement syndrome as it applies to pitchers?   From what I have read it is less of a problem with young pitchers, but my son has has quite a bit of "needle like" pain when raisning his pitching arm.   This is as very sudden complaint with the possibility he injured his shoulder falling on it while wrestling (goofing around) with teammates.   He said his shoulder felt "funny" after the fall but the pain didn't start until he began to pitch in the game about an hour later.   As I said, now he has trouble lifting the arm without considerable pain.

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     'Shoulder impingement syndrome' refers to the abducted head of the humerus impinging on the undersurface of the acromial process of the scapula.   'Needle-like' discomfort usually indicates nerve irritation, like when somebody hits their 'funny bone', i.e., ulnar nerve, in the back of their elbow.   However, if he means a sharp, stabbing pain, then he probably irritated the hyaline cartilages of opposing skeletal structures.   'Trouble lifting his arm' indicates the muscles on top of his shoulder, i.e., the middle deltoid, trapezius I and supraspinatus.

     In any of these cases, he needs to 'ice' the area and move it gently to encourage blood flow.   If it is merely a bruise-type injury, it should respond quickly, within several days.   If it does not, then he may have done serious damage.   However, because 'the pain did not start until later', I doubt that it is serious.

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101.   Thanks for you prompt reply to my query about my son rushing and his left foot flipping out as he lands.   He had a session yesterday, without his pitching coach and he was flipping again so his foot points at the left batters box.   I noticed this coincided with a definite loss of velocity.

     I asked him about this and he felt he was closed and it wasn't a problem.   I had him freeze after he threw the next pitch and he saw right away what I meant.   I had him reduce effort and he was fine until he got up to 75-80% again.   Something seemed to be happening with his hips so I asked him what he was thinking of as his left foot went down, then started to glide forward.   He told me his pitching coach had been getting him to try to slide his hips forward, creating a V at the hip area on the back side.   His coach told him that this put him closer to the plate and let him get over his front leg better.   I said that made sense but I thought this was probably more of a symptom of staying back and not starting any forward rotation or movement until the front foot was planted.   Of course, as with father and son conversations, he disagreed.   But, when he glided forward and planted without pushing his hips, he landed pointed to the plate, or a little to the right hand batters box.

     Have you ever heard of this pushing your hips forward to form this V?   I tried it and it seems to keep your hips back, but I had trouble with opening up too soon as well.   It seemed better to me to keep my weight back, lead with my hip and rotate late.   Hope this made sense.


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     No, I have never heard of pushing your hips forward to form a V.   I tell my guys to delay any forward rotation of their hips and shoulders until after they have placed the front foot on the ground.   If I find that they have difficulty doing this, then I have them practice throwing without taking a forward step with their front foot.   That is, I have them spread their legs farther apart in the direction that they would step if they were to step and, then, I have them rock-back and pendulum swing their arm to the downward forearm head pat position.   Next, without lifting their front foot, I have them raise their pitching arm to leverage and powerfully push off their rear foot.   Lastly, when they have moved their body ahead of their front foot, I have them push back toward second base with their front foot and forearm accelerate their pitch through release.   After they perform this drill correct with a comfortable feeling, I permit them to shorten their starting foot position and take ever increasing lengths forward steps until they can get their front foot properly down without front foot float.

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102.   Without rambling on, my shortstop who has the best arm on the team, throws harder to 1st base from shortstop than he does to home plate off the mound.   I notice this one coincidental movement in his mechanics throwing to 1st base, he throw with his push off foot at the 45 degree angle which you propose pitchers to throw off the mound.   I see the same thing in my centerfielder who pitches also and my 1st baseman who pitches too, they all throw off their back foot starting at a 45 degree angle when playing a position in the playing field.   So, why it is so difficult for them to bring that angle to the mound?   Am I reading too much into this?   I intend to start filming their throwing in the field if there is something to this.

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     Somebody once told pitchers that they had to put their rear foot parallel to the pitching rubber and they cannot stop.   I commend you on recognizing that position players do not reverse rotate their acromial line past their target and do not take the baseball laterally behind their body.   Now, you have to accept the challenge to get everybody else to stop the reverse rotation madness.   When the correct technique becomes so obvious, isn't it frustrating to watch the wrong technique?

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103.   What is the best thing for a high school pitcher to do after throwing 80 or 90 pitches?   Some coaches say to ice the arm for twenty minutes, but some college coaches have told me they have gone away from the ice and do things like cool down throwing, running, riding stationary bikes, etc.   What do you say?

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     I believe in pitchers throwing a 'taper' bucket after pitching.   This means that they throw twenty-four baseball with gradually increasing intensity up to twelve pitches to a maximum of about three-quarters intensity and then, gradually decreasing intensity to the last two at about one-quarter intensity.   This is like taking the arm for a jog after a high intensity run.

     There is nothing wrong with putting ice around the pitching elbow for twenty minutes.   It passively increases blood flow and helps with recovery.

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104.   One of my pitchers complained that his 4 seam fastball was high in strike zone.   I explained to him that where the 4 seam belongs.   He wanted to know what he needed to do to throw a fastball low in the strike zone.

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     Two seam fastballs belong low in the strike zone.   When throwing fastballs to batters who hold their bats horizontally, pitchers need to get their fastballs down in the strike zone.   I have them use the maxline force application technique and release the two seam maxline fastball with sinker spin.   All this requires is that instead of their fingers being vertical at release, they lay their hand horizontal and permit their two fingers to come over the top of the ball like they should do with the sinker.   It is important that they keep their forearm vertical through release.

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105.   Is there anything I can do to speed up the healing of a broken bone?

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     Bone cells, called osteoblasts, lay down the bony matrix that heals broken bones.   The stress associated with a broken bone site stimulates osteoblasts to get to work.   However, I have heard, not read or seen, that researchers have learned of passive ways to stimulate osteoblasts to work faster.   I recommend that you contact a medical expert in bone healing to learn whether this is true and/or practical.

     I worry more about the atrophy that occurs in broken bones due to their long-term immobility.   While broken bones heal at the break site, they lose density and strength throughout the rest of the bone.   It is important to return the bone gradually to stress to continue to stimulate the osteoblasts to increase the bony matrix where our activity stresses it.   If someone breaks the humerus while pitching, they need to strengthen the humerus beyond it's previous strength and adjust their force application technique or they will break the humerus again immediately adjacent to the previous break.

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106.   Is the underhand softball throwing motion more effective in producing velocity with a baseball than the traditional overhand pitching motion?   Is it a safer way to throw?   Do major league baseball rules prohibit the underhand softball throw?   I have a hunch that the underhand delivery could change baseball the way that soccer style kicking changed professional football.

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     I am sorry to disagree with your hunch about underhand throwing of baseballs.   The overhand throwing motion is considerably superior in producing velocity and when pitchers apply force correctly is a very safe and normal way to throw.   Major League rules do not prohibit underhand throwing and a couple of professional softball pitchers tried to pitch baseballs without success.   For the proper way for pitchers to apply force without unnecessary stress and injuries, please read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my website under Free Books.

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107.   After reading your book a couple of times and exchanging e mails, may I be so bold as to configure the seven danger signs of improper pitching mechanics?

1.   When a pitcher does not press against the pitching rubber with his back foot when he starts his stride foot forward and his throwing arm backward.

2.   When a pitcher fails to execute the head pat maneuver with his pitching hand, as the hand goes to leverage position.

3.   When either the pitching hand moves behind the pitchers back at anytime during the pitching motion.

4.   When the heel of the back foot raises up anytime before the stride foot is fully on the ground.

5.   When the pitcher starts his 180 degree rotation of his body, he fails to start his delivery of the throwing hand with the elbow leading the forearm at a 90 degree angle.

6.   If at any time during the 180 degree rotation the pitchers shoulders are not square or uneven.

7.   If at any time during the follow through, the pitchers throwing arm comes to full extension before stopping and whipping back.


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     The seven danger signs that you have listed are important.   However, I prefer not to short-hand my force application techniques.   I prefer to start at the beginning and carefully explain each aspect.   I also prefer to teach without using the word, not, but rather, discussing what pitchers should do.

     I start with a recommendation that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm toward second base.   I suppose someone could say that a danger sign occurs when pitchers start their pitching arm downward because they hold their hands together at chest height.   I prefer the former.   Someone could also say that a danger sign occurs when pitchers direct their pendulum swing in any direction than straight toward second base.   Again, I prefer what I wrote.

     After reading your danger signs, I have some comments.

1.   The pitching arm goes backward while the pitcher shifts his body weight backward.   It would not be correct to push backward at this time with the rear foot against the pitching rubber.   Pitchers should not push backward against the pitching rubber until the pitching arm reaches the downward forearm head pat position when the pitchers steps forward with his front foot.

2.   The downward forearm head pat position if a timing device for when pitchers should start their body forward and a positional guide for when pitchers should start changing their forearm position from palm down to whatever position the pitch requires.   However, pitchers much change their forearm position without raising their forearm above their elbow.

3.   Pitchers should never take their pitching arm laterally behind their back.   If coaches see the baseball behind the back of their pitchers during the pendulum swing, then the pitchers have misdirected their pendulum swing.   The result of this action is to cause forearm flyout which leads to front of the shoulder discomfort and/or inside of the elbow discomfort.

4.   Pitchers push off the pitching rubber before their front foot contacts the ground.   They have to raise the heel of their rear foot off the ground before their front foot contacts the ground. More important to success is that they do not start the forward rotation of their hips or shoulders before their front foot contacts the ground.

5.   I prefer to say that pitchers must never permit their forearm to come any closer to their upper arm than ninety degrees.   If pitchers permit their forearm to come within eighty degrees of their upper arm during upper arm acceleration, then their forearm with be ten degrees outside of vertical during forearm acceleration.   This unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow and decreases force application.   If pitchers permit their forearm to come within seventy degrees of their upper arm during upper arm acceleration, then their forearm with be twenty degrees outside of vertical during forearm acceleration.   And, so on.

6.   To achieve their maximum driveline length, pitchers must keep their shoulders level throughout upper arm acceleration.   Whenever pitchers lean to their glove-side, they decrease the length of their driveline and they change the axis of rotation of their pitches.

7.   I prefer to tell pitchers to drive their pitches in straight lines toward their target from leverage through release.   I prefer to tell pitchers to get their body ahead of their front foot and push back toward second base with their front foot before forearm acceleration.   If pitchers do these two things, then they will lengthen the distance and therefore the time over which they have to safely decelerate their pitching arm to stops without unnecessarily stressing their brakes.

     I am sorry if I will not support short-hand cues, but I much, much prefer thorough explanations of what pitchers do at every moment in the pitching motion.   Further, if you want to come up with a list such as this, please organize the categories in the same order at pitchers should perform them.   It seemed as though you jumped around.

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108.   On occasion, Webball asks me to answer questions that they receive.   Here is a recent exchange that we had.

     Dr. Marshall, you might get a kick out of this or not, depending on your mood at the moment.   We got a letter at WebBall that had only this comment.   "He is not a medical doctor.   He has a PHD".

     I chose to reply on your behalf (though I expect you can easily defend yourself).   I wrote:   What's your point?   It's not some honorary degree, he worked for it.   He has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, a Master's Degree and BSC, and, oh yes, a Cy Young award.

     Just because he doesn't make you turn your head and cough doesn't make him any less respected in baseball for his knowledge of kinesiology, biomechanics, injury recovery, etc., or any less a doctor.   WebBall has a lot more faith in Dr. Marshall's knowledge on this subject than in the typical medical doctor.

     Just like you to know I continue to value your contribution to baseball and WebBall. :)


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     I liked your answer.   I would have added:
1.   I placed my academic and professional baseball credential on my website for all to read.
2.   On university campuses everywhere, students, colleagues and others address persons with Ph. D.'s as doctor.
3.   Whenever I sign my name to a document, the typed name below always says Ph. D..
4.   With regard to discussing baseball pitching, my Ph. D. involves disciplines directly related to pitching whereas medical doctors study disciplines directly related to health care.

     In the end, your 'what's your point' is probably the best response.

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109.   I was wondering if you could tell me what the best inseason exercises for pitchers are.

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     In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I provide my wrist weight, iron ball and baseball training exercises.   Pitchers start at a minimum number or repetitions and the lowest weights.   To achieve higher levels of fitness, they increase the number of repetitions to double the minimum and then increase the weight and decrease the number of repetitions back to the minimum number.   When pitchers start competing, I have them reduce the number of repetitions to one-half of minimum and their intensity to a comfortable level.   Therefore, to answer your question, the best in-season exercises for pitchers are the off-season exercises that I recommend, but reduced to one-half the number of repetitions at a comfortable intensity.

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110.   My whole purpose in approaching you in this manner is to distinguish the difference between your book and your philosphy of pitching mechanics, from the other books on the market that I have purchased and from which I taught their pitching mechanics and philosphy for over the last 10 years.   These danger areas are areas where you are right on the money, and where the others have failed because I tried their methods and they were incorrect because by using their teachings my pitchers arms were always hurting.

     For over the last 4 years, I suspected bullwhipping as the main cause of these sore arms, I also suspected that not pushing against the rubber was wrong, also uneven shoulders during acceleration was wrong, also I suspected that going to the leverage position without a pendulum swing was wrong.   The other 4 danger areas are new to me thanks to your book.   By pointing out the differences between you and the others, I hope to attract more coaches, parents and pitchers themselves to your website.

     I feel I'm very qualified to do this, in that I have taught the other methods and know FOR SURE that they have many flaws in them, and just don't work effectively I have no intentions of telling people how to correct these flaws I want them to come to you for that.   The other point is this, when I taught the other philosphies on pitching, I always told whomever I was teaching, whose philosphy I was teaching, Tom House, Dick Mills etc.   After all, I wasn't teaching my theory, so I would identify the person's book I was teaching from.   So now, I going to incorporate your philosphies of your book because they make sense to me where I know the others I taught have failed.   So I'm going to identify to new pupils and already have to my troops that I'm a pitching instructor who follows the philosphies of Dr Mike Marshall, and If they want to know more about you to check you out on your web site.   When I tell them of your background, the questions end. case closed.

     I don't intend for you to endorse anything that I do, I just want you to correct me when I wrong or if you disagree as you did with the danger areas already.   I don't intend to shorthand any of your techiques, I just trying to explain to other people like myself the differences between you and the rest of the pitching mechanics pack.   I definitely want to continue our on going discussions because I have more questions on the danger area corrections you sent yesterday.   Number one, please put them in the proper order if you don't mind.


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     I believe that I understand what you are trying to do and I appreciate what you are trying to do.   Independent eyes discussing where one technique differs from others and why one technique achieves better results is good for our discipline.   I strongly encourage your efforts.   In no way was I trying to discourage your efforts.   I am on your side with this, although I cannot be seen to be a participant with you or you will lose your valued credibility.

     There is no doubt that you have identified significant differences between what I recommend and others recommend.   I have a list that I always discuss whenever someone asks me that question.   I do not want to influence yours.   In my response to your last email, I gave my opinion of how to discuss the differences that you noted.   In hindsight, I probably would have served you better had I decided not to answer you at all.   But, I too want our discourse to continue, so I answered.   I am not certain where to go from here, I appreciate your intellectual agreement, but I do not want to decrease your credibility by appearing that we have an alliance.   Nevertheless, since I have an answer that I give to those who ask how my force application technique differs from others, I will provide the same to you.

1.   I recommend that pitchers start with their pitching hand below their waist so that they can start the pendulum swing of their pitching arm backward instead of downward.

2.   I recommend that pitchers have their rear foot turned to a forty-five degree angle so that they can 'lock' their rear hip and help prevent the acromial line of their shoulders from reverse rotating beyond a straight line toward home plate.

3.   I recommend that pitchers direct their pendulum swing directly toward second base so that the movement of their pitching arm is in a straight line away from home plate in satisfaction of Newton's law of inertia that requires straight line force application.

4.   I recommend that pitchers simultaneously start the pendulum swing of their pitching arm with a weight shift from their front foot to their rear foot so that they delay the forward movement of their body and give their pitching arm time to arrive at the downward forearm head pat position before they start their body forward.   This permits pitchers to keep their elbow ahead of their acromial line at all times and prevents unnecessary stress to the front of their shoulder, specifically their subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus.

5.   I recommend that pitchers simultaneously push off the pitching rubber and step forward with their front foot while they raise their arm to leverage.

     a.   I recommend that pitchers do not start the forward rotation of their hips and shoulders until after their front foot contacts the ground.

     b.   I recommend that pitchers initiate the movement of their pitching arm from the downward forearm head pat position to leverage by outwardly rotating the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa.

     c.   I recommend that pitchers next raise the elbow of their pitching arm to shoulder height.

     d.   I recommend that pitchers leave their forearm as close to horizontal as possible while they raise their elbow such that at leverage their forearm is horizontal.

     e.   I recommend that pitchers keep the angle between their forearm and upper arm at or beyond ninety degrees.

     f.   I recommend that pitchers keep their shoulders level and their forearms horizontal throughout the upper arm acceleration phase of the pitching motion.

     g.   I recommend that pitchers push off the pitching rubber with their rear foot with sufficient force to proper their body ahead of their front foot with rhythm, smoothness and control.

6.   I recommend that once pitchers have moved their body ahead of their front foot, they push back toward second base with their front foot and, shortly thereafter, they forwardly rotate their shoulders to replace their front shoulder with their rear shoulder and powerfully accelerate their forearm through release.

     In this discussion, I do not distinguish how I differ from what others teach.   I try to not get into personal matters, I want to keep the discussion scientific.   However, I will say that I strongly disagree with:

1.   The balance position.
2.   The high guard position.

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111.   The material you sent me yesterday was fantastic, it was like a light bulb came on and now I seem to understand more clearly what you are saying to me.   My interpution on the balance position was purely bad assuming on my part and your material you sent cleared that up right away.   However I'm lost on the 'high guard' position.

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     As I understand it, the 'high guard' position has pitchers with their upper arms level with their shoulders, but their forearm pointing vertically upward with their palms maximally pronated outward.   Pitchers are told to assume this position at the end of their transition or preparation phase immediately preceding their upper arm acceleration phase.   From this position, Pitchers are told to start their upper arm acceleration.   As a consequence of this horrible starting position, the vertical forearm moves downward while their upper arm moves forward.   I call this action, 'forearm bounce.'   Forearm bounce unnecessarily stresses the inward rotators of the shoulder joint, primarily the supraspinatus attachment to the top of the head of the humerus.   This also unnecessarily stresses the middle of the humeral shaft and in extreme situations can result in a spiral fracture of the humerus.   The 'high guard' position is extremely dangerous and will always result in serious consequences, not to mention reduced release velocity and pitch command.

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112.   Where in the pitching motion does the high guard position come into play, if it does at all.

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     The 'high guard' position describes the position of both arms immediately before the upper arm starts moving towards home plate.   The vertical forearm of the pitching arm moves downward when the upper arm accelerates forward.   This action unnecessarily stresses the inward rotators of the shoulder joint.

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113.   While trying to get information on the Tommy John Elbow Surgery, I found your site.   My son(4th rounder in 2000 draft) is in the minor leagues and never had elbow problems( he was rated by the scout having a + arm).   In the instructional league last fall, he threw a ball home from left field and the Doctors told him that he had a small tear in his elbow.   He rested and did the rehab program that they gave him and in January of this year another MRI was taken and they did not see any tear.

     He went through the spring training rehabilitation program and last Tuesday while playing a game iin the outfield made another excellent throw home, but re-injury the elbow.   He mentioned that his pinky and ring fingers were shaking.   They iced him and he told me it was hurting specially in the inside of the elbow.

     I would like to know if they tell him that he needs an operation what are the percenatge of recovery for an outfielder with this type of surgery.   I hear that pitchers some times recover to 100%.   But that outfielders have to make longer throws.


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     While the take-off angle for outfielders differs from the take-off angle for pitchers, the effect on the ulnar collateral ligaments remains essentially the same.   Therefore, the recovery from replacing the ulnar collateral ligament with the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from the non-throwing arm remains essentially the same, 100%.   However, there is a reason why your son ruptured his ulnar collateral ligament.   He most likely used poor throwing technique.   Even guys with great arms can use bad force application technique.

     After he has the surgery to replace his ulnar collateral ligament, he needs to change how he applies force to his throws and he needs to complete a more rigorous rehabilitation program than the team trainers will give him.   I recommend that he read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and learn the force application technique that I teach pitchers for throwing the four seam maxline fastball.   I also recommend that he use my wrist weight and iron ball exercises to injury-proof his arm.

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114.   You recommend that pitchers initate the movement ot their pitching arm from the downward forearm head pat position to leverage by outwardly rotating the head of the hemerus in the glenoid fossa.   Does this mean pointing the thumb up or down during the rotation?

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     The position of the thumb at the downward forearm head pat position is palm down.   While pitchers raise their pitching arm to the appropriate position at leverage, they change towards where their palm faces to meet the requirements of the pitch.   For example, on fastballs, the palm faces upward, on breaking balls, the palm faces inwardly and on reverse breaking balls, the palm faces outwardly.

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115.   Dear readers,

     On Friday, March 30, 2001, I received an email from Mr. Paul Nyman.   Mr. Nyman operates Setpro.com.   He takes exception with some advice I give.   Because of professional courtesy and the fact that Mr. Nyman has a link on his website to mine, on Saturday, March 31, 2001, I emailed Mr. Nyman the following.


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Dear Sir,

     To demonstrate my willingness to professionally discuss your disagreements with my advice, I will respond to the first of the disagreements that you sent me.   Thereafter, I request that you present only one disagreement at a time.

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   "I see you continue to spread unsubstantiated propaganda."   Then, you quoted a question that I received and my response.

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77.   What are your thoughts about the weighted balls for increasing arm speed?   I've also heard of this program as well for arm speed:   Heavy Ball (6oz) for 10 throws, light ball (4oz) for 10 throws, regular baseball for 12 throws; 32 throws times three sets for a 96 throw total.

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     Heavy balls of the weights that you describe are of no value.   If your force application technique is flawed, then these weighted baseballs will increase your opportunity for injury.   That is because they are too light to demonstrate the flaws in your force application technique.   Heavy balls of these weights do not help pitchers recruit more muscle fibers when they throw baseballs.   Like the medicine ball does not help basketball players pass basketballs when they switch back to basketballs because the arm do not need all the muscle fibers to pass basketballs as they do medicine ball, the effect of throwing these heavy balls quickly dissipates without lasting results.

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     Mr. Nyman continued, "Especially when your "propaganda" is then used as "proof" to support positions of bias (please see http://www.pitching.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/004518.html ).   Please send me research references that substantiate your above statements.   I have done extensive research on over/under load training for increasing velocity.   I use this technique with over 100 pitchers and have achieved 10MPH or more increase in velocity in a 12 week time frame.

     There are a number of concepts that you promote/advocate that are either velocity limiting and or promote injury.   It is my opinion that many of your responses to question show that you are far behind in your knowledge of current physiological, motor learning and kiniesoligic research.   And I would like to have you defend your views with citations of research and not as someone who received (hides behind) a PhD 25 years ago and apparently appears to have done very little to increase their scientific knowledge since then.   I will show (through research) that statements such as this are utter fiction."


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     I understand how 'overloading' and 'underloading' increases the ability of athletes to perform motor skills.   'Overloading' means to increase stress specific to the motor skill, either weight, length of work interval or length of rest interval to influence the musculoskeletal system.   'Underloading' means to decrease stress specific to the motor skill to influence the motor unit firing sequence, i.e., when agonist and antagonist motor units contract and relax.   Because baseballs weigh only five and one-quarter ounces, I dismiss 'underloading' as a training method.   However, when I teach baseball batting, I use 'underloading' extensively.

     In 1962, two graduate students at Michigan State University conducted a scientific experiment using slightly increased weighted baseballs.   Following scientific rigor, although with a crude velocity measuring device (they did not use radar guns at that time), they concluded that slightly increased weighted baseballs failed to increase throwing velocities.   Because I knew the graduate students, I also know that several of their matched pairs of pitchers had to drop out due to injury.   I believe that they published their results in Research Quarterly during the middle sixties.   Because I had their dissertation and personally observed their testing, matched pair training and their retesting, I do not have the citation.

     Professor Wayne D. Van Huss supervised this project.   We and other professors discussed these results and speculated on the physiological changes required to increase release velocity.   We concluded that to help pitchers achieve their maximum release velocity, we had to first insure that they applied force in a manner to maximize their results.   As a result, they purchased high speed cameras with which I conducted the research that I explain in Chapter Two of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Next, we had to train the foundation of the pitching motion, that is, the skeletal structure, to permit greater force application without distress.   Similarly, we had to strengthen where the muscles attached to permit greater force application without distress.   We hypothesized that we could not directly change the contractility of the affected muscle fibers, but we could perfect the motor unit firing sequence to reduce the time between the agonist contractions and antagonist relaxations which would result in faster limb movements.

     I stand behind my statement that without correcting their force application techniques, if pitchers train with slightly heavier baseballs, they risk injury.   If Tony Saunders can break his humerus with a five and one-quarter ounce baseball, what would he have done trying to throw an eight ounce heavier baseball?

     I appreciate your anecdotal information about the 100 pitchers that you trained.   I would be very open to the concept.   However, without proper scientific methodology, I cannot use the technique or recommend it.   Nevertheless, I welcome your continued research and look forward to a refereed journal publishing your findings.

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116.   After the rotation of the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa, and I'm throwing a 4 seam fastball, my thumbs are rotated up, the next step is to accelerate my forearm during the trunk and body 180 degree rotation, still in the horizontal position at 90 degrees.   When does the forearm or does it ever go back to vertical?   Or to better pharse it when does the forearm attain a vertical position or does it ever attain a vertical position in the accerlation phase?

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     At leverage, the forearm should be as close to horizontal, but not beyond, as possible.   As the upper arm acceleration nears its conclusion, pitchers should start their forearm acceleration.   During the forearm acceleration, the forearm moves from horizontal through vertical in its drive through release.

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117.   On Sunday, April 01, 2001, I received the following email from Mr. Paul Nyman in response to my position with regard to using slightly heavier baseballs for training pitchers.

     Thank you for your prompt reply.   My response will be "spread" over several emails as time (and my typing "fortitude") will not allow me at this time to send a complete response.

     Your "conclusion" based on your cited "research" and I quote: "I stand behind my statement that without correcting their force application techniques, if pitchers train with slightly heavier baseballs, they risk injury.   If Tony Saunders can break his humerus with a five and one-quarter ounce baseball, what would he have done trying to throw an eight ounce heavier baseball?" bears little "resemblance" to your original "declaration" and I quote: "Heavy balls of the weights that you describe are of no value.   If your force application technique is flawed, then these weighted baseballs will increase your opportunity for injury.   That is because they are too light to demonstrate the flaws in your force application technique.   Heavy balls of these weights do not help pitchers recruit more muscle fibers when they throw baseballs.   Like the medicine ball does not help basketball players pass basketballs when they switch back to basketballs because the arm do not need all the muscle fibers to pass basketballs as they do medicine ball, the effect of throwing these heavy balls quickly dissipates without lasting results."

     Let me first state that I agree with your statement: "If your force application technique is flawed, then these weighted baseballs will increase your opportunity for injury."   This is (to me) "common" sense.   But instead of viewing the use of heavy balls as a negative (that they will cause injury), we have found that properly used, heavy balls are a very good way to "uncover" force application problems.   This concept reduces to the simple statement: "if you can't throw a 12 ounce baseball without discomfort, then you may have mechanical problems which may eventually "surface" throwing a 5 ounce (regulation) baseball."   My experience is that throwing a heavier baseball becomes a very good diagnostic tool in evaluating a pitchers mechanics that may actually prevent injuries by exposing force application problems.   You see Dr. Marshall, I prefer to examine issues using an approach (my interpretation of the scientific method?) that asks the question: "is the glass "half full" or is the "glass half" empty?"

     I am also very "distressed" by your mixing your "science" with "emotional appeal" and I quote: "If Tony Saunders can break his humerus with a five and one-quarter ounce baseball, what would he have done trying to throw an eight ounce heavier baseball?"   Your "sample of one" would fail every principle of statistical methodology that even a first year college student taking statistics 101 would recognize as "voodoo scientific method".   If my tone sounds "sarcastic" or "uncivil", it is because I tire of those (see www.pitching.com and www.tomhouse.com )who profess to be experts when in reality they are pushing agenda's.   And when asked to support their "scientific knowledge" or "expertise" resort to "revisionism" or pure fiction.

     Your response has failed to support your original statements and I quote: "Heavy balls of these weights do not help pitchers recruit more muscle fibers when they throw baseballs.   Like the medicine ball does not help basketball players pass basketballs when they switch back to basketballs because the arm do not need all the muscle fibers to pass basketballs as they do medicine ball, the effect of throwing these heavy balls quickly dissipates without lasting results."   I will begin "my response" with the following:

     EFFECTS OF THROWING OVERWEIGHT AND UNDERWEIGHT BASEBALLS ON THROWING VELOCITY AND ACCURACY, Rafael F. Escamilla1, Ph.D., Glenn S. Fleisig2, Ph.D., Steven W. Barrentine2, M.S., James R. Andrews2, M.D., and Kevin P. Speer, M.D.

1Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC, 27710

American Sports Medicine Institute
Birmingham, AL 35205

Running Header: Throwing Overweight and Underweight Baseballs
Re-Submitted September 3, 1999 SPORTS MEDICINE

Abstract

     The purpose of this review was to determine how throwing overweight and underweight baseballs affects baseball throwing velocity and accuracy.   Two studies examined how a warm-up with overweight baseballs affected throwing velocity and accuracy of 5 oz regulation baseballs.   One of these studies showed significant increases in throwing velocity and accuracy, while the other study found no significant differences.   Three training studies (6-12 weeks in duration) using overweight baseballs were conducted to determine how they affected ball accuracy while throwing regulation baseballs.   No significant differences were found in any study.   From these data it is concluded that warming up or training with overweight baseballs does not improve ball accuracy.

     Seven overweight and four underweight training studies (6 - 12 weeks in duration) were conducted to determine how throwing velocity of regulation baseballs was affected due to training with these overweight and underweight baseballs.   The overweight baseballs ranged in weight between 5.25-17 oz, while the underweight baseballs were between 4-4.75 oz. Data from these training studies strongly support the practice of training with overweight and underweight baseballs to increase throwing velocity of regulation baseballs.   Since no injuries were reported throughout the training studies, throwing overweight and underweight baseballs may not be more stressful to the throwing arm compared to throwing regulation baseballs.   However, since currently there are no injury data related to throwing overweight and underweight baseballs, this should be the focus of subsequent studies.   In addition, research should be initiated to determine whether throwing kinematics and kinetics are different between throwing regulation baseballs and throwing overweight and underweight baseballs.

Key Words: Injury, Biomechanics, Kinematics, Kinetics, Underload, Overload, Baseball, Pitching

References
1. Kanishevsky, S. A universal shot. Sov Sports Rev 1984; 19(4): 207-8
2. Konstantinov, O. Training program for high level javelin throwers. Sov Sports Rev 1979; 14(3): 130-34
3. Kuznetsov, V. Speed and strength. Yessis Review 1975; 10(3): 78-83
4. Verkhoshansky, Y., Tatyan, V. Speed-strength preparation of future champions. Sov Sports Rev 1983; 18(4): 166-70
5. Vasiliev, L.A. Use of different weight to develop specialized speed-strength. Sov Sports Rev 1983; 18(1): 49-52
6. Jarver, J. Varied resistance in power development. Modern Athlete Coach 1973; 10(6): 5-8
7. Escamilla, R.F., Fleisig, G.S., Barrentine, S.W., et al. Kinematic comparisons of throwing different types of baseball pitches. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998; 14(1): 1-23
8. Fleisig, G.S., Escamilla, R.F., Andrews, J.R., et al. Kinematic and kinetic comparison between baseball pitching and football passing. J Appl Biomech 1996; 12: 207-24
9. Brose, D.E., Hanson, D.L. Effects of overload training on velocity and accuracy of throwing. Res Q 1967; 38(4): 528-33
10. Litwhiler, D., Hamm, L. Overload: effect on throwing velocity and accuracy. Athletic J 1973; 53: 64-5, 88
11. Logan, G.A., McKinney, W.C., Rowe, W., Jr., et al. Effect of resistance through a throwing range-of-motion on the velocity of a baseball. Percept Mot Skills 1966; 23(1): 55-8
12. Straub, W.F. Effect of overload training procedures upon velocity and accuracy of the overarm throw. Res Q 1968; 39(2): 370-9
13. Van Huss, W.D., Albrecht, L., Nelson, R., et al. Effect of overload warm-up on the velocity and accuracy of throwing. Res Q 1962; 33(3): 472-75
14. Hickson, R.C., Hidaka, K., Foster, C. Skeletal muscle fiber type, resistance training, and strength-related performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1994; 26(5): 593-8
15. Maughan, R.J., Watson, J.S., Weir, J. Muscle strength and cross-sectional area in man: a comparison of strength-trained and untrained subjects. Br J Sports Med 1984; 18(3): 149-57
16. McKenzie Gillam, G. Effects of frequency of weight training on muscle strength enhancement. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1981; 21(4): 432-6
17. O'Shea, P. Effects of selected weight training programs on the development of strength and muscle hypertrophy. Res Q 1966; 37(1): 95-102
18. Reid, C.M., Yeater, R.A., Ullrich, I.H. Weight training and strength, cardiorespiratory functioning and body composition of men. Br J Sports Med 1987; 21(1): 40-4
19. Sale, D.G. Neural adaptation to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1988; 20(5 Suppl): S135-45
20. Popescue, M.G. Weight training and the velocity of a baseball. Athletic J 1975; 55(9): 74,105-6
21. Thompson, C.W., Martin, E.T. Weight training and baseball throwing speed. J Assoc Phys Ment Rehabil 1965; 19(6): 194-6
22. Wooden, M.J., Greenfield, B., Johanson, M., et al. Effects of strength training on throwing velocity and shoulder muscle performance in teenage baseball players. J Ortho Sports Phys Ther 1992; 13(5): 223-28
23. Potteiger, J.A., Williford, H.N., Blessing, D.L., et al. Effect of two training methods on improving baseball performance variables. J Appl Sport Sci Res 1992; 6: 2-6
24. DeRenne, C., Tracy, R., Dunn-Rankin, P. Increasing throwing velocity. Athletic J 1985; April: 36-9
25. DeRenne, C., Kwok, H., Blitzblau, A. Effects of weighted implement training on throwing velocity. J Appl Sport Sci R 1990; 4(1): 16-9
26. DeRenne, C., Buxton, B.P., Hetzler, R.K., et al. Effects of under- and overweighted implement training on pitching velocity. J Strength Cond R 1994; 8(4): 247-50
27. DeRenne, C., House, T. Power Baseball. St. Paul: West Educational Publishing, 1993
28. Andrews, J.R. Bony injuries about the elbow in the throwing athlete. Instr Course Lect 1985; 34: 323-31
29. Andrews, J.R., Gidumal, R.H. Shoulder arthroscopy in the throwing athlete: perspectives and prognosis. Clin Sports Med 1987; 6(3): 565-71
30. Andrews, J.R., Kupferman, S.P., Dillman, C.J. Labral tears in throwing and racquet sports. Clin Sports Med 1991; 10(4): 901-11
31. Carson, W.G., Jr., Gasser, S.I. Little Leaguer's shoulder. A report of 23 cases. Am J Sports Med 1998; 26(4): 575-80
32. Cicoria, A.D., McCue, F.C. Throwing injuries of the shoulder. Va Med 1988; 115(7): 327-30
33. DaSilva, M.F., Williams, J.S., Fadale, P.D., et al. Pediatric throwing injuries about the elbow. Am J Orthop 1998; 27(2): 90-6
34. Fleisig, G.S., Andrews, J.R., Dillman, C.J., et al. Kinetics of baseball pitching with implications about injury mechanisms. Am J Sports Med 1995; 23(2): 233-9
35. Gainor, B.J., Piotrowski, G., Puhl, J., et al. The throw: biomechanics and acute injury. Am J Sports Med 1980; 8(2): 114-8
36. Gore, R.M., Rogers, L.F., Bowerman, J., et al. Osseous manifestations of elbow stress associated with sports activities. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1980; 134(5): 971-7
37. Jackson, D.W. Chronic rotator cuff impingement in the throwing athlete. Am J Sports Med 1976; 4(6): 231-40
38. Jobe, F.W., Nuber, G. Throwing injuries of the elbow. Clin Sports Med 1986; 5(4): 621-36 39. Lombardo, S.J., Jobe, F.W., Kerlan, R.K., et al. Posterior shoulder lesions in throwing athletes. Am J Sports Med 1977; 5(3): 106-10
40. Mirowitz, S.A., London, S.L. Ulnar collateral ligament injury in baseball pitchers: MR imaging evaluation. Radiology 1992; 185(2): 573-6
41. Nuber, G.W., Diment, M.T. Olecranon stress fractures in throwers. A report of two cases and a review of the literature. Clin Orthop 1992(278): 58-61
42. Ringel, S.P., Treihaft, M., Carry, M., et al. Suprascapular neuropathy in pitchers. Am J Sports Med 1990; 18(1): 80-6
43. Savoie, F.H. Arthroscopic examination of the throwing shoulder. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 1993; 18(2): 409-12
44. Timmerman, L.A. , Andrews, J.R. Undersurface tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in baseball players. A newly recognized lesion. Am J Sports Med 1994; 22(1): 33-6
45. Castagno, P.W., Richards, J.G., Axe, M.J. The biomechanics of overload pitching (abstract). Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995; 27(5): S159

     I have only scratched the "surface" of the "informational diamond" that has yet to take form.   As I said, I will be publishig ALL of our correspondance on my web site.   Thank you again for your prompt response and I welcome your comments.

Paul Nyman


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     I received your email response to my discussion of why I do not support using slightly weighted baseballs as a training aid.   I suggest that we establish some guidelines for our discussions of issues.   When someone emails me a question, I give my advice.   I do not write a paper supporting my advice.   I did that when I earned my doctoral degree and spent hundreds of hours researching the literature and explaining where scientific investigations stand on those issues.   I valued those experiences, but as I move into the final years of my life, I have other things more important to do with my time.

     I have agreed to discuss single issues with you as you find that you disagree with my advice.   I believe my offer is generous and respectful.   However, after I explain on what I based my advice, I do not intend to argue what I say sentence by sentence.   When professionals debate issues, they independently put together their positions and on what they base their position and permit the readers to decide of themselves.   This is not the Jerry Springer show or a mudslinging political campaign.   I went first on this issue.   Then, having seen my cards, you want to decide whether you will bet or fold your hand.   I suggest that you concentrate on your advice and on what you base your advice and leave it to the readers to decide for themselves.   Therefore, I will neither respond to your sentence by sentence rehash of what I wrote or what you wrote.   I have offered all I will offer on this issue.

     You may come to me with your next issue and I will give on what I based my advice without referring to your position.   In fact, since you are the moving party on these issues, you will have to present your position and on what you base your position before I will respond.

     For the last time, I respectfully request that you refrain from your inflammatory rhetoric.   There may be some audience somewhat that respects persons who discusses issues in that way, but I do not and neither do the audience to whom I wish to reach.

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118.   Is The High Guard position most dangerous, when a young amateur picher goes to it immediately after breaking his hands in the balance position.   I got 5 guys who do this, thats why I can identify it so fast, and why I jumped all over you with emails about it this past week.

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     The 'high guard' position causes unnecessary stress to the subscapularis attachment and to the ulnar collateral ligament shortly after the upper arm starts forward and the forearm moves downward.   The moment when the forearm stops moving downward and bounces back upward is the moment when this unnecessary stress occurs.

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119.   My 11 year old son fractured the growth plate in his shoulder (Rotater Cuff) last baseball season.   Over the winter there was not much inprovement.   His Orthopedic Surgeon is not very concerned and suggested that he continue to play to the limits of his "Pain".   He has recommended that he continue to play, but limit his pitching.   The doctor told me that he believed that stretching is the only thing that will help.   My son wants to play and has limited pain.   The Orthopedic Surgeon is a personal friend whom I trust.   Should I be concerned? Should I not allow my son to play until his shoulder is completely healed?   Can there be any long-term damage?

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     I need to know which shoulder growth plate to advise you for certain.   You need to refer to Chapter Six of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to learn when the ossification centers for the growth plates in the shoulders appear and when they mature.   I would not permit your son to repeat the activity that resulted in fracturing this growth plate in his shoulder until that growth plate matured, i.e., completely united with the shaft of the humerus.

     When it does mature, he has to learn how to correctly apply force to his baseball throws.   I suspect that he has a terrible 'forearm bounce'.

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120.   I have enjoyed your web site and find your pitching technique very interesting.   I read an article about Jeff Sparks. I read he uses your pitching motion.   Then about a week ago I read that he was released from the Yankees.   Did the Yankees care that his motion was totally different from anyone they have.   I saw his stats from a game or two and they were not that great.   Then I read on the MLB site that he was given his release, does this mean he wanted out of their organization?

     I have been working with your technique while pitching and I like it a lot, it really makes pitching fun.   Its just that I don't throw very hard at all with your technique, but my breaking stuff was awesome.   I have worked with your style for a month or so off and on, even making wrist weights, and throwing shot puts.   I can't break 80 mph with the torque or maxline ways, yet I throw 86-90 with the conventional way, similar to Nolan Ryan.   I have gotten the screwball to work great, especially after using the iron ball.

     I wish I could do your 40 week deal, but thats not possible right now. So I am going to stick with my old way of throwing, but I want to throw the screwball.   Will the screwball work properly with my motion?   My motion is very similar to Ryan's.   Also is their anything I should do with my training?   I am afraid to throw the iron ball without pushing off my front foot.   I do long toss often, do you recommend long toss? if so how far should I throw, ect?


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     Major League baseball is a very difficult business.   I cannot say why the Yankees did not want Jeff.   He pitched in four games.   In one game, he gave up five earned runs.   In another game, he threw nine of ten pitches for strikes and struck out two batters on six pitches.   Obviously, Jeff has quality pitches that major league hitters cannot hit.   However, he did not show the consistency that the Yankees wanted.   Before he signed, the Yankees promised Jeff that if he did not make the major league team, they would send him to their triple-A team as their fifth starter.   Major League baseball is a very difficult business.

     To throw a true screwball, pitchers have to have their fingers horizontal at release.   To have the range of motion and finger strength required to have their fingers horizontal at release usually requires months of proper training and motor skill practice.

     I do not have my pitchers long toss to learn their pitches.   Training is specific.   Therefore, when training to pitch, I have my pitchers throw off pitching mounds.   However, I have no problem with pitchers playing catch at any length that they want.   However, when the baseball leaves their hand at any angle that differs from when it leaves their hand on its way to home plate, it does not train the motor skill required for pitching.

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121.   My son called after he had the MRI.   They told him that he tore the anterior elbow ligament and partially torn his posterior.   He is going to call me tomorrow to see their decision on when they going to operate.

     What are his chance to recover from this procedure?   Will the delay on the decision for the procedure make it worse?   To me the sooner they operate the sooner he can start the recovery treatment.   What should I do or request for my son, if anything?

     Do he has a choice of the doctor that is going to do the procedure?   I want the best doctor to operate in his elbow!   I left a message with the trainer, but he never called me back.

     Why they did not use the dye when they did the previous 2 MRIs (Nov. 2000 and Jan 2001)?   Why did they wait until he blew out his elbow?


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     If he has completely ruptured his ulnar collateral ligament, then he definitely needs surgery to repair it.   I am slightly more concerned about the partial tear of his radial collateral ligament.   With partial tears, they usually do not do surgery, but rather they try to rehabilitate.   And sometimes, the rehabilitation of partially torn ligaments requires more time than surgically repaired ligaments and does not rehabilitate fully.   Nevertheless, I remain confident that with an aggressive rehabilitation, he will recover full use of his throwing arm.

     The delay will not affect his ability to recover, it just changes the time line.   The 'Tommy John' surgery has become so commonplace that most orthopedic surgeons can perform it with equal skill.   I am confident that the team will have a surgeon who can do it well.   I do not know why they did not use the dye in the previous MRIs.

     What your son needs after the surgery is an aggressive rehabilitation program and to learn a better way to throw.   He must do what the team wants him to do.   However, after they have completed their rehabilitation, he needs to learn how to throw without the unnecessary stresses that caused these injuries.   I recommend what I wrote in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book only adjusted for position players.   I await his telephone call and will advise him as I have written here.

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122.   After a double header on Saturday and an afternoon game on Sunday, my son's college coach had the boys come back in the evening to then lift weights.   How soon after a game should a player lift?   Should a player ever lift if their arm is sore from a game?

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     Research has shown that two-a-day workouts do not result in double the training benefits.   So, I would not recommend completing the same workout twice in one day.   However, if athletes train two separate and distinct groups of muscles, they may receive some fitness benefit depending on how much energy source, i.e., muscle glycogen and muscle triglyceride, they have remaining to put forth a meaningful effort.

     If baseball players have sore arms after games from stressing their arms beyond their present fitness level, then some aerobic training might benefit them.   However, if baseball players have sore arms after games from stressing their arms inappropriately, then they need to change their force application technique and train within that technique.   The way that you determine the difference is that the former occurs only early in the season while the latter occurs throughout the season.

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123.   When the pitcher gets his body ahead of his front foot, to me he does that by flexing his stride leg but that takes him forward not backward toward second as you suggest.   So, I'm wrong in my assumption and must be missing some point along the way, be it timing or mechanical.

     One separate point I want to verify is that unless a coach has the expertise that you have, he MUST film the pitchers as I do, with high tech cameras with 1/2000 shutter speed and 30 second freeze frame software on their computer, to be accurate in analizing a pitchers motion.   Regular cam corder and vcr and tv tapes fall short in my opinion, because I would never ever see your point without the new technology.


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     I have a 16 mm five hundred frames per second pin-registered Red Lakes LoCam camera with a 1/2000th of a second shutter speed that takes beautiful film.   However, it is time consuming to set up and expensive.   There is not doubt that if one has to see the precise moment of baseball release, this camera is the way to go.   However, until the upper arm starts forward, my video camera works well and most of the problems that pitchers have occur before the upper arm starts forward.   While it is only luck when video cameras catch the moment of baseball release, it is possible to interpret that moment in most cases or choose the best of several throws.   You need to place the video camera to the side in line with where you expect pitchers to release their pitches.   I have a freeze frame VCR and I am confident that you either have or can find one.

     We do not want the body of the pitchers to move backward toward second base.   We want the body of the pitchers to move forward ahead of their front foot.   To accomplish this, pitchers have to wait until their body is ahead of their front foot and, then, they have to push backward toward second base with their front foot.

     To teach pitchers how to wait until their body is ahead of their front foot before they release their pitches, I use a 'no step' technique.   I have pitchers stand with their rear foot on the pitching rubber at the forty-five degree angle and with their front foot in the proper direction location for the pitch selection, but shorter than their normal forward step.   I tell them to start their pendulum swing with their acromial line pointing toward home plate and when their arm reaches the downward forearm head pat position, they should push off the pitching rubber with their rear foot and keep their acromial line toward home plate until they have moved their body ahead of their front foot.   Once they feel that they can push back toward second base with their front foot such that they continue to move their body toward home plate, they should forward rotate their pitching shoulder and throw their pitches.

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124.   I've been coaching baseball since 1984.   I have a son now who is 13 and is toying a bit with throwing the curve ball.   I refuse to turn him loose to throw the curve at will, insisting that he throw it only with either his coaches approval or my own.   I have stressed to him the importance of not falling in love with that particular pitch, and encouraged a change of the grip on his fast ball, to keep the hitter off balance.   I tell him that when he learns to pick the situations that a curve ball will be effective, i.e., the position of the batter in the box, the count on the batter, etc..   Can you offer any additional advice, in this matter of when I should turn him loose with his pitch selection?

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     I strongly advise parents not to permit their sons to pitch competitively until the growth plates in their pitching arm have completely matured.   Nevertheless, I have modified my recommendation to permit one inning per game starting at thirteen years of age.   However, I have no problem with youngsters of all ages practicing throwing curves, it is the intensity of games that I believe causes the damage.

     I am not a big fan of youngsters learning to throw curves, not because they can damage their growth plates, but because to throw curves requires that pitchers learn to rotate their forearm two hundred and seventy degrees without raising their forearm above their elbow and without decreasing the forearm to upper arm angle to less than ninety degrees.   It is a difficult pitch to learn and with the tenderness of the growing skeletal structure, it is a dangerous pitch to throw competitively.

     In response to when in a pitching sequence pitchers should throw curves, the best answer is when batters are expecting fastballs.   Unfortunately, young pitchers do not have the command of their curves to throw them on fastball counts, i.e., 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 and 3-2.   Further, the best time to throw fastballs is on breaking ball counts, i.e., 0-1, 0-2 and 1-2.   Again, this requires mastery of the pitches that most young pitchers cannot perform.   I cover this in much greater detail in Chapter Thirty of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.

     I would advise parents to help their sons learn how to throw reverse breaking balls, i.e., pitches thrown with the palm facing outwardly.   These are easier to learn because they require pitchers to only turn their forearm ninety degrees and it is easier to keep the ninety degree relationship between the forearm and upper arm.   However, without the thumb's help, it takes time to learn to control the release using only the tip of the middle finger.

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125.   While I have not really read enough to make a comment, I do notice a number of references to you having material you would like to place on the internet, but do not have either the time, ability or resources to do.   If you would like, perhaps we can be assistance to you in this.   Though our time is at a premium also we do have some very talented individuals who are very savey professionals who would love to work with a legend as yourself in getting the word out on how to better protect our children in a sport we all love.

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     I would like to have illustrations for my books to include on my website.   However, I first need illustrators to draw those illustrations.   Since I do not have the resources with which to hire illustrators, I cannot get the illustrations and since I cannot get the illustrations, I cannot include them on my website.   Therefore, while I appreciate your kind offer, I do not see a resolution at this time.   However, I am trying to get a videotape out.   Unfortunately, I have had to sign an agreement with a company that produces videotapes and that means, unlike my website books, the videotape will not be free.   Nevertheless, I will make certain that the videotape contains the information parents, coaches and pitchers need to learn how to safely and effectively pitch.

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126.   You wrote, "I would advise parents to help their sons learn how to throw reversebreaking balls, i.e., pitches thrown with the palm facing outwardly.   These are easier to learn because they require pitchers to only turn their forearm ninety degrees and it is easier to keep the ninety degree relationship between the forearm and upper arm.   However, without the thumb's help, it takes time to learn to control the release using only the tip of the middle finger."   Why does this sound to me like a screwball, something almost everyone else seems to be against - and when has that stopped you?

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     The series of reverse breaking balls includes the sinker and the screwball.   Sinkers have spiral type of spin axis as sliders, except in the opposite direction.   For example, for right-handed pitchers, sliders have clockwise spiral spin whereas sinkers have counterclockwise spiral spin.   Screwballs have horizontal spin axis similar to curves.   The difference lies in the hand position of pitchers when driving these pitches to release.   On curves, pitchers have the palm of their hand facing toward their head.   On screwballs, pitchers have the palm of their hand facing away from their head.

     Structurally, curves have the ulna bone leading the forearm with flexor carpi ulnaris muscle the prime mover muscle.   Screwballs have the radius bone leading the forearm with the flexor carpi radialis muscle the prime mover muscle.   At the wrist, curves require ulnar flexion and screwballs require radial flexion.   With regard to the tip of the middle finger, pitchers drive curves to release with the ring finger side, but drive screwballs to release with the index finger side.   This demonstrates that pitchers have the same anatomical ability to throw screwballs as they do curves.

     The reason why I offer that reverse breaking balls are less dangerous to learn relates to the action required of the forearm when pitchers move their arms to leverage from which they straight line drive through release.   At my downward forearm head pat position at the end of my pitching arm's pendulum swing back toward second base, pitchers have the palm of their hand facing downward.

     To get from the downward forearm head pat position to the proper forearm position at leverage for curves, pitchers have to turn their palm from facing downward to toward their head.   This is a two hundred and seventy degree forearm rotation.   Pitchers commonly move their forearm closer than ninety degrees toward their upper arm in this process.   This causes forearm flyout when they start their upper arm acceleration phase.   Pitchers also commonly bend start this process by bending their elbow rather that rotating the head of their humerus and raising their forearm.   This causes a loop in the end of their transition which leads to a vertical forearm.   When pitchers have a vertical forearm immediately before they start their upper arm drive, their forearm will move downward and this downward action results in a shoulder bounce that unnecessarily stresses the supraspinatus attachment on the top of the humeral head.

     To get from the downward forearm head pat position to the proper forearm position at leverage for curves, pitcher have to turn their palm from facing downward to away from their head.   This is only a ninety degree forearm rotation.   Pitchers find it easier to maintain the proper ninety degrees relationship between their forearm and their upper arm, so they do not suffer from forearm flyout.   Pitchers also find it easier to rotate their humeral head and raise their forearm to horizontal rather than vertical, so they do not suffer from shoulder bounce.   The only difficulty in learning the screwball over learning the curve involves the use of the thumb.   With curves, the thumb goes over the top of the baseball as an aspect of wrist ulnar flexion and therefore helps the tip of the middle finger control the baseball through release.   With screwballs, the thumb goes under the baseball as an aspect of wrist radial flexion and therefore leaves only the tip of the middle finger to control the release.

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127.   I have just read Chapter 26 describing your ideas for youth baseball leagues.   With all due respect, Doctor, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!   You are out of touch with the youth.   At 9 - 10 years old, kids are definately old enough to play regular baseball and if any league were crazy enough to follow your guidelines, then every kid involved, excluding a natural phenom, would be so far behind that they would have almost no chance to make their high-school team or beyond.   I suggest you go out and watch some 9-10 year old kids play and re-think your guidelines.

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     My focus is on the skeletal development of the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm.   I have nothing against youngsters learning motor skills, but if they do so at the expense of the proper development of the growth plates in their pitching arm, they will suffer irreparable damage and that means for their lifetime.   I ask that you read Dr. Joel Adams report in Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

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128.   With your no-step training technique, does the front foot lift back to balance position and that is when the body goes ahead of the front foot? And, do they still point their acromial line toward home plate?

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     When I use the 'no step' technique to teach pitchers how to get their body ahead of their front foot, the front foot stays on the ground.   Until pitchers push off their rear foot to start their body forward, they keep their acromial line pointing toward home plate.

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129.   I spoke with you last September just after my 16 year old had his Tommy John surgery.   He has been doing his throwing program and playing on his high school team without over-doing his arm and doing very well.   His love is pitching and wants to get back.   He needs total re-training on his mechanics and hope you can help.   Please give me dates and cost of your training program.   I feel like I have total confidence in you and your program.

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     Pitchers should arrive for my forty week training program on the third Saturday in August.   They will complete the program forty weeks later on the fourth Saturday in May.   Pitchers pay one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) per week for their furnished housing that includes cable and basic telephone.   However, they have to feed themselves and pay their share of the electric bill, approximately one dollar per day.   I have an understanding with SaddleBrook Golf and Tennis Resort that enables my guys to work in their banquet department.   If clients pay three thousand dollars upon arrival, then the pay only fifty dollars per week for rent, a savings on one thousand dollars.   You will need to send me six hundred dollars as a deposit to reserve a space for this year's forty week group.

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130.   OK, I read Chapter 8 and I understand the potential for serious injury you warn against.   However, I think limiting pitchers innings may be more realistic, maybe only 2 per game and 4 per week.   I just don't see any reason for the "baby" rules for the batters (modified strike counts) and fielders (all hits are singles).

     I like what you have to say, however, I think you lose a lot of the people reading your material when you desribe such a "baby" league format.   I think you could influence more people by promoting more real-world ideas such as strict limits to innings pitched for youths along with a very limited pactice schedule consisting mostly of mechanics and balance rather than any hard throwing.


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     I do not consider my game recommendations a 'baby' league, but a game that promotes skill development without jeopardizing pitching arms.   I have had youngsters play my game and they not only learn the fielding and hitting skills more readily, but they also have a great deal of fun in the fast paced game.   I will never recommend competitive pitching for any youngster under thirteen and only one inning per game for thirteen year olds and over until X-rays show completed medial epicondyle growth plate maturation.   There is no doubt that youngsters who pitch competitively prior to completed growth plate maturation will suffer some pitching arm skeletal damage.   It can be minimal with early growth plate closure or major with complete avulsion of the medial epicondyle ossification center.   I do not believe that youngsters gain sufficiently to offset the damage, even if it is minimal.   The responsibility lies with the parents and the coaches.

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131.   Thank you for the quality responses to my comments.   I enjoyed discussing this with you and I must say, I will drastically limit my son's (9 yrs.old) pitching and eliminate hard throwing practice.

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     I love baseball.   I love pitching.   I want to make certain that youngsters can have the same pleasure that I had for as long as I had.   The worse danger years are twelve and thirteen when the medial epicondyle ossification center has enlarged and it's cartilaginous growth plate has narrowed.   At this stage, repeated strong muscle contractions of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle can pull the medial epicondyle away from the bone, like Osgood Schlatter's in the lower leg.   Please be mindful and careful.   However, I believe that the major cause relates to youngsters trying to get batters out.   I have no problem with youngster learning to throw every type of pitch, although I do recommend no more than two months per year.   I recommend that youngsters learn a broad base of motor skills until their growth plates mature and then, they can specialize.

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132.   Is it possible to increase velocity with a proper weight training regiment?   If so, which muscle groups should a pitcher concentrate on?

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     There are a lot of people that say that they can.   I have not seen any matched-pair blind studies to scientifically verify it.

     I believe that pitchers can learn to properly apply force to their pitches to achieve their maximum release velocity.   I also believe that pitchers can use weights to train the musculoskeltal system directly involved with pitching to withstand their maximal force application.   When pitchers combine these two factors, I believe that they will achieve their maximum release velocity.   I discuss what I believe is the best force application technique and the best weight training program in my Coaching Adults Pitchers book.

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133.   Should a pitcher have any pain after pitching 7 innings and throwing say 100 to 120 pitches, the key word is PAIN?   If so, how long should the pain last?   For example, should pain last 1 day, 2 days etc.?

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     It is not easy to differentiate between normal and acceptable training and pitching pain and unacceptable injury pain that results from either improper force application technique or insufficient fitness or a combination of both.   My pitchers always have to go through normal and acceptable training discomfort and normal discomfort from the higher intensity of game competition.   However, these discomforts are short-lived depending on how much beyond their present fitness level they performed.   After they complete my program, they have minimal competitive pitching discomfort for a couple of days for a couple of outings and, then, they pitch without discomfort.

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134.   Why does it seem lefthanders have a natural screwball movement on their throws?

     I have read most of your information about young pitchers.   It is clear you absolutely do not agree with a young person competitively pitching until their body is physically mature.   However, it appears you do not have a problem with the young person throwing if it is in a controlled environment.   If this is true, what type of practice regimen do you recommend, i.e. the number of throws, the intensity of throws, the appropriate number of days rest, etc.?

     I have also read about a number of position players having similar injuries as pitchers, especially, catchers.   Should the concern be on any position that requires a high number of throws in a game vs. the just the pitching position?   Or even any position that requires a longer throw such as shortstop, third or outfield?   I guess ultimately my question is what is causing the injury?   The number of throws?   The intensity of throws?   Or, a combination of both?   As a coach I am definitely concerned about what I am asking my young players to do. How would you recommend managing a group of young players so their physical health is protected?

     Finally, today one of our 10 year olds complained of shoulder pain after he threw the ball.   He said he felt an immediate twinge in the muscle tissue after he threw the ball.   His shoulder throbbed the rest of the game.   The soreness was in the muscle area located in the back portion of the shoulder.   The players father is not too concerned because he thinks the player just strained his muscle and is planning to allow time to heal it.   Should he be concerned?   Should he be considering a different plan of action?

     I appreciate your information.   I am trying to asses your body mechanic theories with those I have learned to date.   I am looking forward to getting your video, I think it will help fill in the communication gap.   You know, a picture is worth a thousand words.


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     Pitchers get screwball action on their fastballs when they rotate their shoulders well out front, throw the pitches to the side of their body rather than in front and/or strongly pronate their forearm through release.   I see no reason why left-handed pitchers should do these things any more readily than right-handed pitchers.

     I have no problem with young pitchers practicing their pitching skills for up to two months per year.   I disagree with competitive pitching more than one inning after age thirteen until completed skeletal maturation.   I would guess that they should not throw more than one hundred pitches per practice and not more than two practices per week.   I would have to evaluate each pitcher daily and adjust the program accordingly, but I would err on the side of caution.

     With regard to position players injuring their arms, it is no different than for pitchers.   When they use improper force application techniques and their muscles, tendons or ligaments can no longer resist the unnecessary stress, they will tear.   All players must learn the proper force application technique.

     The muscles on the back of the shoulder operate as 'brakes' for the upper arm.   When the upper arm moves forward faster than its brakes can safely decelerate, then the brakes suffer muscle tears.   I would permit the injury to heal with very gentle throwing and, when he no longer feels discomfort, he can gradually increase his intensity and permit his brakes to strengthen over several days of this type of regular training.

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135.   That picture in the SI article of you on the cover tells alot to me.   I know you don't put much emphasis on the glove hand, but the way you had it in 1974 on that picture is perfect in my humble opinion.

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     I have recently asked my students to try something with their front arm to prevent opening their front shoulder and leaving their pitching elbow behind their acromial line.   I need more time to evaluate the results.   I ask that I not be held accountable for the force application technique that I used in 1974.   I like to say that if I had known what I know now, I could have been a much better pitcher.   It does appear as though I left my pitching elbow behind my acromial line.   If I did, I trained my subscapularis to withstand the unnecessary stress.   Nevertheless, I would have been better served to keep my pitching elbow ahead of my acromial line.

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136.   What causes a pitcher to feel like his arm is "dead" sometimes when he goes out to pitch even when there is no soreness or injury.

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     When athletes deplete the muscle glycogen stores in the muscles primary to their activities, they do not have an energy source to metabolize for resynthesis of their Adenosine Tri-Phosphates.   This inability to resynthesize ATP may explain their feeling of 'dead' arm.   Basically, he needs to carbohydrate load to increase his muscle glycogen levels.

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137.   1.   When you say front foot stays on ground does that mean it does not move up down, front, back, or side to side?

2.   I saw the article in sports illustrated.   You were absolutely right on the money, however the writer didn't get it.   The rest of the baseball won't get it either.

3.    I filmed my project pitcher yesterday who pitched 5 innings.   The one who has agreed to pitch from the rear foot's 45 degree angle.   This is the second time that he has tried it.   He is the kid with extreme high guard and I mean extreme.   Six months ago, I filmed him and his bullwhipping went to the glove side and hit his left arm bicep.   Today, his bull whipping almost came full circle in that it has dropped down to his hip and almost contacts some body before reaching full extension.


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1.   During 'no-steps', pitchers place their front foot in either the maxline or torque line and they do not move it in any direction until after they have moved their body ahead of their front foot and they push backward towards second base with their front foot.

2.   I have said the same thing since 1967, but nobody even listened until 1974.   They still won't hear me or care.

3.   When the pitching arm follows the baseball straight forward, it achieves its full extension.   Any movement after that is no longer part of the deceleration phase, it is in the recovery phase.

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138.   In your Sports Illustrated article, they had a picture of you on a 1974 cover.   Are my eyes deceiving me?   It actually looks like both arms are behind your back, or is that position ok in your 2000 standards.

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     I would never advise any pitcher to permit his pitching elbow to move behind his acromial line.   That does not mean that pitchers do not permit that to happen, it means that we tell them not to permit it to happen.

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139.   I am a coach of a 13 year Babe Ruth Prep team in Montana.   I have been working on their pitching and was wondering if you had any suggestions for some pitching drills, or any advice on how to help them become more accurate.   Some pitches look great and others are way off.   I am hoping to help them develop so that they can place their pitches better.   Any ideas?

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     In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I discuss the force application techniques that I recommend.   If you can get these youngsters to start their pitching arm's pendulum swing straight backward toward second base, then they will have a good start.   If you can get these youngsters to start the second half of their transition to leverage by rotating the head of their humerus in its glenoid fossa while they raise their upper arm to the height of their level shoulders without raising their forearm, then they will move into leverage properly.   If you can get these youngsters to keep the angle between their forearm and upper arm longer than ninety degrees, then they will minimize the problem of forearm flyout.   If you can get these youngsters to not forward rotate their shoulders until after their front foot contacts the ground, then they will keep their body in control.   If you can get these youngsters to drive in straight lines from leverage through release, then they have a good chance of throwing their pitches in the direction that they drive their pitches.

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140.   I wasn't really refering to the glove hand behind your acromical line, but to the fingers of the glove pointing straight up.   I feel that movement keeps a pitchers square.   I'll be looking forward to hearing the results of your glove hand experiment as well as your video.

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     At present, I am working on pitchers keeping their glove forearm inside of their glove side and their glove side upper arm pointing straight downward.   It is critical that pitchers do not permit their front shoulder to open sideways.   To do so forces the pitching elbow behind their acromial line.

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141.   I agree with this one.   My expression, which you may not be crazy about, is that it is a chicken wing pointing down.

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     I understand why you would name it that way and I suppose it does describe how the front arm appears.   However, the important aspect is the elimination of the glove-side forearm as an inertial force.   While we should use the glove-side upper arm to help the forward rotation of the pitching shoulder, we cannot permit the glove-side forearm to move the body's center of mass to the glove-side and we cannot permit the glove-side shoulder to open and, thereby, leave the pitching elbow behind the acromial line.

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142.   Although I am not a doctor, physical therapist, or scientist, I am definitely interested in the involvement of youth in sport activities.   Your website has been intriguing and has caused some considerable thought.   I am going to send an email to the local University's Sports Medicine Department to see if anyone would be interested in continuing your scientific studies in the throwing motion.   Also, I want to see if they would be willing to offer some classes that focused solely on the muscles used in throwing.   We youth coaches need more information on this subject.

     I saw the boy throw the ball when he hurt his arm. His throwing technique looked the same as any other throw that he has made.   So, I wonder, did I miss something?   Or, was it a case of just being young and over stressing an undeveloped muscle?   My point is I need to be 100% confident in what I am teaching and why I am teaching it.   At this point, I am not. I know I am not any different than 90% of the youth coaches in this country.   However, if we volunteer for the position, ignorance cannot be our excuse simply because most of the other coaches are just as ignorant.   Again, thank you for your time and your passion.   Your message is getting heard.


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     I agree that youth baseball coaches need to know that what they teach their youngsters will not injure them.   However, other than Professor Vern Seefeldt, retired from Michigan State University, who tried to put together guidelines for youth coaches for several sports, I know of nobody who is even trying to meet this great need.   I put together my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to address this issue.   However, without illustrations, it is difficult to understand not only the dangers, but the best ways to minimize them and maximize the positives.

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143.   What is your terminology for when a pitcher's arm does not follow the baseball straight forward and reaches full extension off to the side of his body.   When he does this is, is he in the deceleration phase or recovery phase?   Most of the amateur pitchers I film do this and I know that it is causee by all of the bad habits that you mentioned before.   I just need a term to identify it.   I have one but it may be inapropriate.

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     Pitchers have until their arm reaches its fartherest forward point in which to safely decelerate their pitching arm.   After that point, pitchers begin recovering their arm.   Except for the forward movement, any movement to the side does not enter into the equation.   My 500 frames per second high speed camera clearly shows that the pitching arm follows the release path of the baseball until it reaches as far forward as it will go and, then, it starts moving to the glove side of the body.

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144.   What is the best way to "carbohydrate load" for pitching?

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     Carbohydrate loading means to eat fruits, vegetables and other complex carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta and so on.   You could purchase a nutrition book that contains a table of the composition of all types of foods.

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145.   1.   What if he hasn't deceleration before arm reaches its full limit of its length or farthest point forward, how can you tell if it decelerated at all?   For example, if a pitcher is throwing with forearm flyout, I can't imagine him decelerating on time.

2.   If he hasn't stopped his deceration before the arm reachest its full limit of its length or farthest point forward where does the torque go, doesn't it have to continue on to the recovery area?

3.   Some kids actually look like they stop their arm and then it sort of snaps back up for a split second and then goes to side.   Is this significant?   Most of them look to me like they just go to the recovery phase without stopping.   What is the best angle to film this from?


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     Pitchers drive their pitches toward home plate.   To do this, they drive their pitching arms toward home plate.   Therefore, after they release their pitches, their pitches and their pitching arms continue toward home plate.   When their pitching arm reach as far forward toward home plate, it is at the end of the deceleration phase.   Thereafter, pitchers are recovering their pitching arms back toward their body.   By definition, unless the pitching arm comes off the shoulder and follows the pitch toward home plate, when the pitching arm reaches as far forward as it can, it has decelerated to a stop.   The question is whether it has safely decelerated to a stop.   Has this action stressed the muscles that decelerate the pitching too much and caused small muscle tears or worse?

     Pitchers whose pitching arms appear to 'snap back' at the end of their deceleration have deceleration muscles more than equal to the task.   That is, not only do these muscles stop the pitching arm, they also, in an excess of plioanglos muscle tension, cause the pitching arm to move backwards toward the body.

     The greatest danger during the deceleration phase is not that the acceleration force will exceed the deceleration capability, but rather that the olecronon process will slam into the olecranon process.   This is especially true when pitchers throw curves and permit the elbow to point downward.   It is critical that this does not happen.

     The best angle to determine the end of the deceleration phase where the pitching arm reaches as far forward as it will reach is from the side in line with the deceleration of the pitching arm.

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146.   You have to understand that I'm Mr Clutz.   But, I now have a passion to get this rhythm of the front foot pushing back toward second base after the body passes it.   Everything else is in place rhythm-wise, the rear foot and glove and throwing arm, this is the one thing that driving me nutso.

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     Think of the footwork of the pitching motion as taking two steps forward off the pitching rubber, but you have to release the pitch before the rear foot contacts the ground.   When you walk, you step forward with one foot and push off the other.   After you move your body ahead of the first foot, you step forward with the other foot and push off the first.

     With baseball pitching, the challenge occurs when you have to learn to not start the shoulder forward rotation until after the front foot contacts the ground and to not start the forearm acceleration phase until after the front foot pushes backward toward second base.   It is a different pitching rhythm, but my pitchers learn it quickly with the no-step technique.

     Pitchers can pitch without this aspect of my program.   It only means that they have shortened the length of their driveline and do not get into the best position to finish their non-fastball pitches.

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147.   I should give you a explanation of where I'm going with this recovery thing.   I fully understand the decelereation process before it reaches its farthest point forward or limit.   I can even see it more clearly now that you and, by the way, ONLY YOU POINTED OUT THE SEPARATION BETWEEN DECELERATION AND RECOVERY PHASE.   But, when I go to show a pitcher that he not coming to a stop before his arm reaches its full limit, I'm looking for a simple movement or sign to point it out to the pitcher and whoever going to question me on this.   I think I spotted a consistency in the recovery phase, but I may be reaching here, I rather go with what you have to say on this.   Finally, I don't want to go to the extreme of getting 500 frames a second software or film to prove that a pitcher is decelerating incorrectly.   I looking for something simple.

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     The only concern I have with the deceleration phase is that pitchers decelerate their pitching arms to stops without unnecessary stress.   To avoid injuries to the decelerator muscles, I train my pitchers to withstand far greater forces than they can generate with arm velocity.   My wrist weight training program plioanglosly trains these muscles to safely decelerate their arm while they lengthen with the increasing joint angles across which they attach.   The idea that pitchers should pull their pitching arms across their body and downward to help decelerate their pitching arms fails to recognize that the pitching arm has already stopped moving forward and to pull it across the body and downward only adds another unnecessary stress.   In other words, pitchers do not have to think about anything with regards to deceleration, they will do it naturally.   The only concern is with whether or not they did it without injury and that is accomplished by my wrist weight training program.

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148.   HOW MANY PITCHES DO YOU BELIEVE IS A SAFE AMOUNT OF PITCHES FOR PITCHERS TO THROW AND FOR WHAT AGE GROUP, 9-10 YR. OLDS, 11-12 YR. OLDS, 13-14YR. OLDS AND 15-16 YR. OLDS?   ALSO, AT WHAT AGE DO YOU FEEL IS SAFE TO TEACH A PITCHER THE PROPER WAY TO THROW A CURVEBALL?

     ONE OTHER ITEM TO PASS ON TO YOUR READERS IN REGARDS TO PITCHING LESSONS:   MY SON WAS TAKING PITCHING LESSONS INDOORS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS AND I HAD TO SLOW HIM DOWN BETWEEN PITCHES.   I WAS OBSERVING HIM AND OTHER PITCHES THROWING AT A RATE OF ONE PITCH EVERY 10 SECONDS.   THAT MEANS AN UNBELIEVEABLE AMOUNT OF 180 PITCHES IN A HALF-HOUR LESSON, WITH NO BREAKS.


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     As I discuss in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I do not recommend that youngsters pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, they should not pitch more than one inning per game until the growth plates in the pitching arm mature at age fifteen or sixteen.   However, I have no problem with teaching any age youngster how to correctly throw curves as long as they do not train for pitching for more than two months per year.

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149.   I thought I would keep you posted on our earlier conversation.   I wrote to my local University's Sports Medicine Department.   They referred me to the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama.   Apparently, ASMI specializes in elbows and shoulders.

     Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D. responded to my email.   His specialty is the throwing motion.   He is sending me some articles of their research and is offering a video on the pitching motion.   Have the two of you crossed paths?   Have you compared your biomechanical throwing model with his?   Do they differ?   His website is http://www.asmi.org.


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     I belive that someone gave me a videotape several years ago that analyzed the then relief pitcher with the Atlanta Braves, Wohlers.   I believe that I recall that ASMI did the analysis.   I did not agree with it.   I have never heard of or met Professor Fleisig or read anything he has written.   He might have been involved with that videotape, I do not know.   Professor Fleisig might be associated with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL.   I do not know.   I prefer to not read what others say.   I would not want anybody to accuse me of stealing their stuff.   However, if someone comes to me with a concept without attributing the concept to someone, I will comment.   I prefer not to challenge any person specifically, but rather to discuss concepts without personal affronts.

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150.   I actually felt something positive with my front foot pushback in that, after the front landed on its heel, I felt my body go ahead of the front foot when I got the whole foot on the ground, all this without moving shoulders or throwing arm.   Because my knee was flexed, I was able to push back toward 2nd base by unflexing it.   Am I getting warm.

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     If your body moved ahead of your front foot, then you are getting warm.   I continue to suggest that you do the pitching motion without taking a step forward with your front foot.   Simply take your pitching arm back to head pat and push off the pitching rubber with your rear foot.   When you find your body ahead of your front foot, continue your throwing motion.   After you feel that you can push backward with your front foot, try taking increasingly longer short steps forward until you get to the proper step length.

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151.   1)   How many pitches do you think 10 year olds can throw in a game safely?
2)   We play alot of tournaments on weekends, and will play 4-5 games in 2 days.   If a 10 year old throws 50 pitches on a Saturday, is it OK for him to throw again on Sunday maybe 20-30 pitches?   He would then not pitch again in a game until the next weekend, playing long catch during the week.
3)   Given the scenario above, if a 10 year old threw 50 on Saturday and 25 on Sunday, I would not have him throw at all on Monday, play easy long toss on Tuesday and Wednesday, throw maybe 25 pitches to a catcher on Thursday, and not throw at all on Friday to be ready for another tournament on Saturday.   Is this schedule OK? Any suggestions to make it safer for the 10 year old pitcher?
4)   Our kids pitch off flat ground in games.   They will get wild high alot.   I think they do not get out over a bent posting leg, striding short with no knee bend. I have them get out a tad more and bend that posting leg some, in order to get them down in the strike zone.   I also have them finish more with their push off leg and not leave it behind.   Is this the correct remedy?


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1.   I recommend that ten year olds do not pitch competitively and train for pitching only two months per year.   Until the growth plates in their pitching arms mature at about fifteen years old, I prefer that no youngster pitch competitively.   However, I recognize the benefit of pitching to competition as it regards composure, self-image and game management, so I accept that thirteen year olds could competitively pitch one inning per game.
2.   No, you will definitely cause damage to his growth plates.   Please read Dr. Joel Adams research in Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.
3.   I would teach ten year olds how to properly apply force to their pitches and how to properly throw fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls for up to two months per years, but I would not permit them to pitch competitively.
4.   Pitchers throw high because they do not have a straight driveline from leverage through release.   It is very likely that they start their upper arm acceleration with their forearm vertical and the resulting downward movement of their forearm causes a shoulder bounce that they cannot control and the pitches go high.

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152.   My 17 year old son has been told that he suffers from tricep tendinitis in his pitching arm.   If this is true, what would you suggest he do to treat this.   Should he rest it or keep on throwing?   He says it is not real painful, just uncomfortable, but it affects the way he pitches.   The discomfort seems to be where the tricep muscle or tendon attaches to the top of the elbow on the inner or medial side.

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     The triceps brachii attaches to the olecranon process of the ulna on the posterior surface of the elbow.   When you write that the discomfort is on the inner or medial side of the elbow, I suspect the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle attachment to the medial epicondyle.   If the discomfort is the medial-most aspect of the triceps brachii, then I am not concerned about the muscle, but I would have some concern about the olecranon process.   If he drops his elbow under when he throws curves, he could be locking his elbow out straight and banging his olecranon process against his olecranon fossa.   That would be serious and he would need to immediately correct it.   On the other hand, if the problem is the flexor digitorum superficialis, then this discomfort indicates either forearm flyout or forearm bounce, both of which are serious and will eventually cause larger problems.

     Forearm flyout means that he is taking his arm laterally behind his body with too much reverse rotation of his shoulders.   This causes him to have to bring his arm back to his pitching arm side before he can drive his pitches toward home plate.   The centripetal force of this action causes his forearm to flyout to his side and, thereby, unnecessarily stress the medial aspect of the elbow.

     Forearm bounce means that he points his forearm vertical immediately before he starts accelerating his upper arm forward.   This causes his forearm to move downward from vertical toward horizontal and, at some time during this action, the forearm stops moving downward and bounces back upward.   This forearm bounce stresses both the front of the shoulder and the medial aspect of the elbow.

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153.   Wow Dr. Mike, You just put out to pasture, a bonafied accepted truth and turned it into an old myth.   Every book, and I mean every book on pitching, insists that a pitcher take his arm across and down to decelerate.   I got to agree with you on this and not because I'm on your bandwagon either, my clips clearly shows added stess when a pitcher can not stop his arm before his farthest forward point.   I like to call it arm whipping, but that's immaterial now.   Also, it seems to me after viewing over 25 amateur pitchers that the more uneven their shoulders are the more stress there is.   Outside of your students and me, who the hell is gonna believe it?   However, I will point it out to every pitcher I give an analysis to, case closed.

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     I agree with your evaluation of my emails versus my book.   When I get time to take another look at my books, I will try to bring my email explanations to the books.

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154.   I am a soon-to-be college graduate and football coach.   I am always on the look out for inovative thinking and ideas and the article about you in the recent issue of Sports Illustrated peaked my interest.   My question for you is do you think that some of your arm and shoulder strength and conditioning techniques could be applied to the art of throwing a football?

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     I have rehabilitated the throwing arms of several professional quarterbacks.   The first thing that I always have to do is to adjust their force application technique.   Typically, they try to throw footballs with the technique that catchers use.   This technique unnecessarily stresses the supraspinatus muscle's attachment to the top of the head of the humerus.   After I explain why this stress is unnecessary and that they can get greater force without it, we start on my wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   I teach them both my maxline and torque force application techniques with the slider release.

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155.   I found your web site and thought the tutorial on coaching adolescent pitchers was very interesting.   Although I admittedly did not completely understand the physic's and biomechanics' of you coaching methods, the depth of your research and career accomplishment at the major league level, certainly give your theories and coaching methods credibility.   I would like to apply your coaching methods to the group of young kids that I am coaching this year.

     The kids are between 9 and 10 years of age and pitching in a game situation for the first time.   What I am trying to instill in the kids at this point in their baseball experience is a good set of fundamentals in all aspects of the game.   I believe that good pitching fundaments are critical at this age, so as to not create arm problems for the kids as they get older and start applying more torque to their arms.

     That being said, the reason I'm sending you this email is to see if you have some illustrations to explain the mechanic's of your coaching method. I believe that I understand the basics of your windup and delivery method, but would like to compare that understanding to the illustrations to confirm or clarify what I believe you are describing.   It would also be useful to be able to give the kids a copy of the illustrations so that they can practice on their own and still use the correct method.

     I am very concerned about teaching the kids the best set of fundamentals, particularly with respect to pitching and any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


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     I am sorry, but I do not have illustrations to go with the written material in my book.   However, I am at the beginning of putting together an instructional videotape that I hope we will complete in a couple of months.   Watch my website for when it is ready.   Unfortunately, I have an agreement with a money-making company such that, unlike my website which is free, we will have to charge for the videotape.

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156.   I was driving today on a long trip and it suddenly dawned on me, I missed the point on bullwhipping.   I may be assuming too much here, but I got to clear this up.   It seems to me now, that bullwhipping may be a way which you stop you arm in deceleration, I got home and made a whip and did actual bullwhipping and it was like the pitcher I saw on my film clips.   What was blocking my brain from accepting or recognizing this was that, when I first heard about bullwhipping, it was in a pitcher's book.

     And everything he said about it was negative, so I was looking at your writings and emails for verification of his negative explanations and not from a new prospective.   It never ever enter my mind until today, when I thought of what you said about pitchers crossing down and through on the follow through that I might be understanding this wrong.   Man, even though I know those books are wrong my subconsious must still have a influence on me.   I don't expect you to endorse the term bullwhipping, but am I'm getting hot or not.   If I'm right, I've got to take more long trips.


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     In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I use the term, bullwhip, as a way to explain the sequential summation of forces with acceleration and deceleration to stops starting with the shoulder girder, through the shoulder joint, forearm, wrist, hand and, finally, fingers.   Each segment accelerates and decelerates to stops before the next segment until the fingers accelerate the baseball through release with the hand already stopped.   This explains how the pitching arm can safely decelerate to a stop without injury in such a short time.   I recall how Dr. Andrews's biomechanist calculated that the pitching arm had to decelerate over six hundred pounds to a stop.   The problem was, he did not realize that most of the pitching arm had already stopped before the pitcher releases the baseball.

     Other than that definition, I do not use the term, bullwhipping.   Pitchers should apply their maximal straight line force to their pitches from leverage through release.   That means the after they release their pitches, their pitching arms will continue on that straight line toward home plate until they decelerate and stop their entire arm.   I like to help this deceleration by lengthening the distance over which pitchers have to decelerate their arms by continuing the movement of their rear leg forward toward home plate.

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157.   I read the recent article in Sports Illustrated on you and wondered if you might have a suggestion for my shoulder problem.   I pitched for many years, from Little League into college.   My arm was never sore and I had no problem from pitching, but I injured the arm on a rubber exercise stretcher in college.   The diagnosis was a torn rotator cuff tendon.   This was in the 1960's and they put me in a sling.   I made the team again but my arm hurt every time I threw.

     Years later after coaching my kids in Little League and while I was working at the US Embassy in Chile, I returned to hard ball pitching from age 39 to 41 in the Chilean leagues (amateur).   Ten years later, in 1994, after I became unable to play tennis I had rotator cuff surgery.   Arthritic bone was cut out and the torn tendon was sewn.   It did not go too well and a recent MRI suggests the tendon sewing did not take.

     I have been looking for ways to try to rehabilitate my arm/shoulder with weights, stretching, and so on for years so that I can play softball or perhaps older baseball.   I did play in an over-48 league last year as a first baseman, but my arm hurts too much to return.   Can you think of anyway I might rehabilitate the shoulder without making it worse so that I would need shoulder replacement - this the doctors say would be the next thing if it got worse?   I am taking Glucosamine and perhaps notice a little improvement.   Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.   I love the game and want to play something, even if its softball.


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     I would suggest that you try swimming.   Swimming is great exercise for the shoulders.   If you have a high discomfort tolerance, then you could try my wrist weight exercises.   Your shoulder will complain vigorously for several weeks, but if you continue it will respond.

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158.   I'm interested in forearm flyout.   I know what it is from your book and emails, now I would like to know the dangers of it.   For example, chapter 22 section c paragraph 2, you say "forearm flyout causes irreparable medial epicondyle damage to the elbow."   Are there any more injuries tha this,that forearm flyout causes?   I like to put all of them on one email if there are more.

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     When pitchers take their pitching arms laterally behind their backs, e.g., when right-handed pitchers take their pitching arms toward first base, they have to take their pitching arms sideways behind their backs back to their pitching arm side, i.e., right-handed pitchers have to take their pitching arms toward third base, before they can start applying force toward home plate.   When pitchers try to redirect their pitching arm to toward home plate, the centripetal force of their arm causes their forearm to move outwardly on a curved pathway. I call this, 'forearm flyout.'

     The biceps brachii and brachialis muscles fight to keep the pitching elbow from completely straightening.   This action prevents the triceps brachii muscle from adding force to the drive with elbow extension.   Because the inside or medial aspect of the elbow is the fulcrum of this action, it places considerable unnecessary stress on the ulnar collateral ligament as well as the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.   When the upper arm drives forward powerfully while the forearm flys outwardly, the force pulls the ulna bone of the forearm and the humerus bone of the upper arm apart in the same manner as a chain of ice skaters skating in a circle.   That is, the ice skaters at the end of the line experience great difficulty holding the hand of the person inside of them closer to the center of the circle.   The ulnar collateral ligament and medial epicondyle muscles pull apart as a result of the same type of force as the ice skaters.   We must stop pitchers from taking their pitching arms laterally behind their backs and teach them to take their pitching arms toward second base.

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159.   I have been trying to work through your material and find that I need the illustrations to understand the concepts.   In the books are lists of illustrations, but I can't find them to view.   Can you help me?

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     Those lists of Illustrations are the names of the illustrations that accompany the text if I had the money to hire illustrators to draw the illustrations.   I hoped that I could interest a book publisher in publishing my books and they would have illustrators to draw the illustrations.   But, since I could not, I decided that the words are better than nothing.   I have contracted with a company to get an instructional videotape out, but I could not predict when that will happen.   Please stay tuned.

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160.   I understand your bullwhipping explanation and it will not be taken out of context, I just wanted to illustrate to you why it took so long for me to get it.   Guess what I came across and now have in my possession.   Can't tell how I got it, but it is a 3d model of Nolan Ryan's pitching motion.   Believe it or not, it clearly shows exactly what you are saying about pitcher's arm going in a straight line, then stopping and, then, gently going down to the side.   I have 8 software to play a clip on my computer and it only played in quicktime, not even in window media player, so if you want one, let me know.   To me, this is great because when I start introducing your position of deceleration and recovery phases, I got something to throw right back into the critics faces.

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     I have several examples of this phenomenon with my high speed camera.   I am glad that you also have an example that shows it.

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161.   From reading your material, if I am understanding it correctly, I believe you're saying that the front foot should not stride ahead as far a distance as possible before the foot itself makes contact with the ground.   Please tell me if I am understanding you correctly.   Are you saying that the front foot should be a much shorter distance than what you usually see in a pitchers stride?   Let's say a pitcher is 6'0".   How far a distance should it be from the pitching rubber to where the heel of his front foot lands?

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     You are correct.   If pitchers stride forward too far, then they cannot easily get their body ahead of their front foot.   If they cannot easily get their body ahead of their front foot, then they shorten the length of their driveline and the decrease the oppositely directed force that they can generate which decreases the force they apply to their pitches.   Rather than give a precise distance measurement for six foot tall pitchers, I prefer to say that they must step forward comfortably without permitting their body to move downward.   You can check this by visually noting the height of the top of a pitcher's head before he steps forward and comparing it with the top of his head as he moves his body ahead of his front foot.

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162.   Are there any big league pitchers out there who you think have really good mechanics?   If so, would you please identify them so we could study them when they pitch on television?

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     I could not recommend that you watch any pitchers as examples of the force application technique that I teach.   I see some that do some of what I teach, but not all.   I suggest that you stay with the basic principles, i.e., pendulum swing toward second base, elbow raises before the forearm raises, ninety degrees between the forearm and upper arm, body moves ahead of the front foot and straight line drive from leverage through release.

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163.   My son is a left handed pitcher.   He is a SR this year and has missed the season with a sore elbow.   The ulnar nerve had become inflamed last year and his Doctor shut him down during the second week of summer ball to rest and rehab for the spring season.   He did physical therapy and lifted light to medium weights during the offseason.   As soon as spring workouts started the pain returned.   We elected to have a transpositon of the ulnar nerve done this past week.

     He will ready to resume throwing in 4-6 weeks after therapy.   He was 2-0 with seven saves last year against top competition.   He was clocked in the mid 80's, but his strength was location and movement.   In the 10+ relief innings he pitched, he gave up 6 walks against 23 strikeouts and a 2.30 ERA.   Needless to say, we had high hopes for this season, but he pitched only one inning where he retired the side on 2 ground balls and a strikeout.

     He is only seventeen and will not turn eighteen until mid August.   He is 6'1 and 130 pounds.   He is not too impressive to look at until he gets on the mound, so we had planned on going to JR. college until he he was more physically mature.   I did not really mature until I was 20.   It would seem that his situation and your school would be a perfect match, his need to rehab, develop physically and redevelop his mechanics after a long layoff.

     He began his pitching training with a local pitching coach.   I have worked with him since then.   He had a lot of natural talent so I did my best to not screw that up.   I did a lot of research and tried to build mechanics that worked for a small, skinny kid ( he grew from 5'2 his SO year to 6' his junior year).   His mechanics are close to what I have read in year work.   Strong front leg delivery and attention to arm/ shoulder position.   We have been concerned about how to continue our growth as a player with the lost season and the surgery.   We want to do things right and if that means taking a year to get stronger and smarter, then so be it.   I would appreciate hearing from you and would be thankful for any advise you may offer.


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     I am sorry to hear about the need to relocate the ulnar nerve.   What did the doctor find in the ulnar groove behind the medial epicondyle that convinced him that he had to move the ulnar nerve?   Did he injure his medial epicondyle growth plate during adolescence?   None of this means anything at this stage, I am simply curious.

     It does sound as though he would benefit from forty weeks at my pitcher training center.   I have eleven young men who have expressed interest in coming this August, but only five have sent in their six hundred dollar deposit.   He would need to reside at the center, I have room for twelve, and he would have to work, I will not have young men laying around their apartment all day for two hundred and eighty days.

     If you have interest, please read my Pitching Instruction page on my website or give me a call at (813)783-1357.   If you do not get me, please leave a time that is convenient to return your call.

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164.   I went out and filmed a recruit for next year a 6'6" 230 lbs rhp and I noticed right away on instant replay, an extreme forearm flyout.   I emailed him about injuries that he had to have from this flyout and I'll quote him, "This the first year my arm doesn't bother me after pitching, it a little sore after I pitch a lot of innings.   I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE INSIDE OF MY ELBOW, BECAUSE WHEN I STRAIGHTEN MY ARM OUT THERE IS KIND OF A HOLE IN MY ARM.   My trainer says my tendons could of shifted, but he really doesn't know what is the matter."   IS THIS RECRUIT IN TROUBLE?

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     I would be interested in checking his ability to fully extend his elbow.   I would compare his pitching arm with his non-pitching arm.   If he continues to reverse rotate his acromial line too far, he will eventually destroy the inside of his elbow.

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165.   I noticed in other emails you said that high guard can cause tommy john injuries, what other injuries can the high guard cause?

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     The vertical forearm of the 'high guard' position causes the forearm to move downward when the upper arm accelerates forward.   The downward movement of the forearm must stop at some moment and start moving upward again for the forearm acceleration phase.   The moment of change over from downward to upward, or 'bounce', unnecessarily stresses the medial aspect of the elbow and the supraspinatus attachment on the top of the head of the humerus.

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166.   What percentage of all the pupils you get to your school each year, enter your class with forearm flyout?

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     One hundred percent of pitchers I see have some amount of forearm flyout.   About half are in danger of or have already suffered inside of the elbow discomfort or worse.

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167.   You just save yourself from ready a long email from me because every time I film and review more amateur pitchers its automatic that they have forearm flyout and I was wondering if I was reading more into this than what was there.   You are right again in that it's the forearm flyout and High Guard that should be addressed in my quest for non-injury pitching arm for amateur baseball pitchers.   One more favor and the testing will begin.   I just need a formal written statement on your description of forearm flyout.   You have a lot of referrals to it in bits and pieces.   I would like to have it all summed up in one paragraph or as many as it takes.

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     'Forearm flyout' occurs when pitchers take their pitching arms too far laterally behind their body.   From this extreme position, when they start their upper arm forward, their forearm has to travel sideways behind their body to get back to the pitching arm side of their body from which they can drive their pitching arm toward home plate.   When the time comes for the forearm to apply force toward home plate, the centripetal force of the sideways movement causes the forearm to 'flyout' away from their body.   To prevent the forearm from pulling away from the upper arm the elbow flexors, biceps brachii and brachialis, contract and, in so doing, prevent their antagonist muscle, triceps brachii, from powerfully driving the forearm through release.   As a result, pitchers lose considerable toward home plate force and unnecessarily stress the inside of the elbow.   To compensate, some pitchers will severely lean to their glove side in an effort to move their forearm to vertical rather than horizontal.   While this does diminish the unnecessary stress on the inside of the elbow, it also decreases the length of the driveline and, hence, the release velocity that such pitchers can achieve.

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168.   You may not remember me, but I wrote too you about what I should do about my throwing mechanics since I have undergone Tommy John's surgery.   Well, I have been throwing now for almost four weeks, and their has been no major problems with my throwing, but the last time I threw I felt some soreness in my elbow, and I would like to ask you if this is a normal symptom for me to have when I have just started throwing.   The pain is nothing compared to the pain I had when the ligament was torn, but it is like a stretching pain, where the ligament feels like it wants to stretch out but can't.   Is there anything that I need to be doing to help myself get back to fully recovery?   For example, should I just be tossing the baseball for should I be trying to throw to my target on a line?   Please write back with any tips you would have for me about recovering the right way and not the wrong way from Tommy John's surgery.

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     Whenever pitchers injure themselves while pitching, they have to determine the cause of the injury and fix it.   If you were using improper force application techniques, then you must change and use proper force application technique.   If you were insufficiently trained, then you need to sufficiently train.   I know how you should learn to apply force and how you should train.   I have written how to do those things in my book.   I also accept pitchers at my pitchers training center for ten weeks during the summer and for forty weeks starting the third Saturday in August.   I helped Tommy John with his force application techniques and can help anybody else.   However, I cannot do it via email.

     With regards to your present discomfort, I could not know whether it is necessary training discomfort or a symptom of your incorrect force application technique without seeing what you are doing.   If you are serious about fully rehabilitating from your surgery, you need to train at my training center.   You may telephone me at (813)783-1357 to discuss this matter.   Or, you can wait until we complete my instructional videotape, but that may be several months away.

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169.   I pitch for a Division III school.   I have a pretty good sharp curveball which has pretty close to a 12-6 break to it.   My problem is that when there is a wind at my back, my curve won't do anything.   I throw it the same as with no wind and I have tried everything to get movement, just nothing seems to work.   Can you please help?

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     Wind direction is critical to the effectiveness of non-fastball pitches.   Non-fastball pitchers want the wind to blow directly into their face.   When the wind is behind these pitches, it decreases the amount of movement.   Nothing will work, it is like pitching in Denver where they have fewer air molecules per cubic foot.   On those days, you had better have a good fastball and good location.

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170.   I am a 21 year old student at a major university who, except for a little tossing every now and then, has not played baseball in the last two years.   When I was in high school, I was an All-State pitcher for three straight years and was the player of the year in my home town and area.   I received many offers from small school, junior colleges, and was invited to walk on at a couple of major colleges, but, for some strange reason, my heart was not in to it at the time or so I thought.

     The main reason I did not receive more offers was because some schools kind of shyed away from me when I had bad tendinitis when I was 16, but I eventually overcame that and finished my high school senior season with at 11-1 record and under 1.00 ERA.   But, after hearing you on a sports radio call in show in Birmingham, I became reinvigorated about resuming my career ever since and I know I NOW need to do something about this before it gets too late and I know you are the best and most accomplished of anyone I could get advice from.   I want to know if you think it is too late for me to start again?   I'm presuming you'll say its never too late because after all I just turned 21.   I know I can still throw in the high 80's (the last time I was clocked was last year at 88 and that was just messing around with a friend of mine on the AU baseball team) and my arm feels more refreshed than ever.

     I was just wondering and hoping you could give me some advice on how to train to get back and give my lifelong dream another chance.   I loved baseball more than anything in the world, as I know you do as well, and I'd be sickened to know I let go of something special I have just because of some deterrents a couple years ago.   I am so sorry I rambled on so much, but listening to you the other day has made me excited like the very first time I stepped on the mound when I was 7 years old.   So please Dr. Marshall, any advice I could get from you would be appreciated more than you can imagine.


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     The very best advice that I could give you would be for you to join my 2001-2002 forty week training group.   You would have to live and train in Zephyrhills, FL, but at the end of the forty weeks, you would know at what level of baseball you could pitch and how much work you would need to reach the highest level.   I have placed more complete information on my Pitching Instruction page on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.   Other than that, you could read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and try to do the training program on your own.   I am also trying to get an instructional videotape done, but the company with which I am working does not seem to be in any hurry.

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171.   I seem to have trouble locating and printing the illustrations that go along with the "Coaching Adolescent Pitchers" book.   I have a 13 yr old son who has been pitching for 4 years;   he's been bugging to learn a curve or slider, I've put it off so far, but he's one of the few kids his age not throwing one (which I actually consider a good thing).   Any suggestions on an "easy on the body" breaking ball, or even how I can get to the illustrations

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     I do not have the money required to pay illustrators to draw the hundreds of illustrations that my books need.   Therefore, until a book publisher agrees to publish my book and has its team of illustrators working, we will have to get by with the words I have written.

     As you read more of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question/Answer pages, you will learn that I have no problem with young pitchers learning the proper way to throw curves and screwballs, but I have a big problem with them pitching competitively.   At thirteen years old, I would not permit your youngster to pitch more than one inning per game until his medial epicondyle growth plate completely matures at about fifteen to sixteen years old.

     I am trying to put together an instructional videotape, but the company with whom I am working does not seem to be in any hurry. Stay tuned.

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172.   My son told me he heard you on a radio show in Chicago and has expressed an interest in attending your school.   Please advise me a little about the cost of attendance and employment opportunities that will enable him to defray some of his expenses.

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     In my Pitching Instruction page on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com, I provide the particulars of my ten and forty week training sessions.   Basically, I charge one hundred and fifty dollars per week for their furnished housing which includes cable TV, basic telephone service and so on.   They have to pay their share of the electric bill and feed themselves.   Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort has agreed to employ young men who attend my pitcher training center in the banquet department setting up and taking down tables.

     Please telephone me at (813)783-1357 so we can discuss whether this is an experience from which your son can gain what he needs.   Also, please leave your telephone number and a good time to return your call, if I am not home.

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173.   When the throwing arm goes laterally behind the pitchers back, it almost a sure thing, like 99%, forearm flyout, no need to look anywhere else.

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     You are correct Sir.   And, the other one percent lean extremely to their glove side to try to get their forearm vertical and shorten their drivelines.   I have battled the unnecessary reverse rotation for years.   If, when standing behind the catcher, you can see the baseball laterally behind the pitchers during his transition phase, then he will have forearm flyout.   I have other pitchers stand behind where the catcher sits, and tell the pitchers if they see the baseball and how far laterally behind they body it goes.   Then, I have the pitchers watch their own pitching motion in a mirror to see for themselves.   Of course, they cannot argue with videotape.   I set mine up thirty feet behind the pitchers, six feet off the ground in line with the middle of the pitching rubber and the middle of home plate.

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174.   My son is 14 years old and has played baseball since he has been 6.   He is a pitcher with a lot of natural ability.   He is now a freshman and playing on his varsity high school team.   He pitched 9 1/3 innings yesterday and I am very concerned he is being overused.   He has dreams of playing ball in college and wants to be at his best then.   He also plays on a travel team the rest of the summer and fall.   This team has many pitchers so there is no danger of overuse there.   He is in excellent physical shape and never complains of soreness, but I still worry.   I will greatly appreciate your comments.

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     I have great concern for pitchers up until the growth plates in their pitching arm mature.   This occurs, on average, at about fifteen years old.   I have slightly less concern for fourteen year olds than for thirteen year olds.   I have slightly less concern for thirteen years olds than for twelve year olds.   And, so on.   Nevertheless, I would not permit any pitcher that I have not trained to pitch more than three times through the lineup.   I would need to know more about your son's biological maturation rate to know how close his growth plates are to maturity.

     In my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I provide both highly scientific and layman procedures for determining biological age.   You will want to know whether your son is delay, average or accelerated with his skeletal maturation.   If he is an accelerated maturer, which means that his biological age is higher than his chronological age, then I have less concern for the safety of his growth plate than if he is an average or a delayed maturer.

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175.   Does it matter when you get to the high guard position?   Amateurs skip the head pat and go right to it.   Pros go to the head pat then get up to a high guard before accelerating.   Does that make a difference

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     When pitchers go immediately to the high guard position, they rush their pitching motion forward.   This places them at greater injury risk.

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176.   It's a noted fact that you are one of the most difficult signatures to obtain in the history of baseball.   If so, could you tell me why this is?   I have heard alot of stories why you won't sign or don't like to sign but I have never heard the truth from you.

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     Many writers have felt the need to ask me this question and they have written my answer numerous times.   I believe that major league baseball players are not important to our society and I would not pretend that I was.   Parents, relatives, teachers, community leaders and so on are far more important.   People should not try to live in anybody's phony reflected glory.   If people are collecting autographs to make money, I am not part of their business interests.   In other words, I do not sign autographs for any reason.   However, I do share my knowledge of pitching in the hopes that other can have some of the joy that I experienced.   I agree with that great saying, "Get a life of your own."

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177.   I noticed when I was little and collected baseball cards that they did not make cards of you in the late 70's and early 80's.   Did you tell them not to?   With your season in 79 with the Twins, with as many games as you were in I'd think they would have made a card of you.

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     You are the first person known to me who has realized that Topps did not print a baseball card of me after 1977.   First and foremost, baseball cards is big business and run by money, not merit.   Somewhere around 1970, Sy Burger, president of Topps, decided not to print a card of me and refused to pay me.   Consequently, I never again posed for any Topps picture and I never again signed a renewal which, at that time, extended his contract seven years.   Therefore, nobody will ever have a complete set of 1978, 1979 or 1980 Topps cards of all major league baseball players.

     Somewhere around 1968, I was the player who initiated the Major League Players Association grievance against Topps that resulted in the reevaluation of the one-sided contract Topps got rookie minor league players to sign for twenty-five dollars that gave him exclusive rights for seven years of major league service.   I helped end his low-rent monopoly of major league baseball player baseball cards.   I don't like Sy Berger and he does not like me.

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178.   Is it all right to show or to point out to the pitcher who has forearm flyout, the angle of his arm at release in addition to taking the ball behind his back?   It definitely is a effective instructional point of view, however, I want to make sure I'm on the same page with you on this.   Your accuracy on this is phenominal, I have 2 guys who twist the bodies to throw the ball like you described in that 1% in the last flyout email.

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     Absolutely.   I make a very big deal out of them taking the baseball laterally behind their back.   I also demonstrate to them how much more powerfully they can apply forearm force to the baseball with their forearm vertical and their shoulder driving behind their forearm rather than their forearm circling outward to near horizontal.

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179.   I think I cover everything on the big 3 causes of injury to a amateur baseball pitcher:   1.   forearm flyout, 2.   high guard, lock and load position and 3.   not stoping your arm in the deceleration phase.

     I like challenges and this will be huge, but it needs to start and it will begin.   I been looking for someone to use as a qualified reference to rebuke some of the well meant, but wrongly accepted principles of pitching mechanics that are being sold for absolute facts.   I intend only to make the public aware of these 3 injury prone body actions and the differences in your philosophy and the others so called gurus.

     Any advice on how to eliminate these improper techniques will be refer back to your books or hopefully your video.   My purpose is to show all pitchers, parents, and concerned coaches how to spot, and recognize these injury prone flaws in a pitcher delivery.   I will keep you posted and, if any more questions come up, I will email you to get the proper answer.   One final question though, some other web sites actually put a disclaimer on there site advising that they will not be responsible and to see a m.d. or P.T. before using their material.   Just for the record, if a amatuer pitcher follows your instructions to the letter, will he hurt himself.


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     I agree with the forearm flyout and the high guard as two techniques that we need to eliminate.   However, the inability to decelerate without injury is very rare.   The cerebellum has a governor that prevents this injury.   Pitchers can achieve higher release velocities only when they increase the deceleration muscles' ability to safely stop the increased acceleration.   If you want to teach people that pulling their pitching arm across their body does not increase the distance over which they have to safely decelerate, it only unnecessarily stresses the front of their shoulder and the inside of their elbow, then that would be important to prevent injury.

     The best way to learn my force application technique is to train with me.   If they do what I say to do, they will be safe.   However, if they misinterpret what I say or invent their own interpretation, then anybody can be at risk.   A medical disclaimer is always a good idea, I have it in my lifetime partnership agreement.

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180.   Thank you for the posting of your research on the web.   I have found it to be most informative and it has helped me to reach some conclusions about how to proceed with my son's baseball development.

     My son turned nine this past February.   He has played ball for the past three years and this year is the first year that he is facing live pitching, as well as the first opportunity to pitch himself.   In the league that he is currently in the game is six innings in duration.   For the first half of the season, live pitching from players happens for one inning only and that being the last inning.   For the last half of the season, pitching will be from a pitching machine for three innings and live pitching from players for three innings.   Initially, I did not want him to pitch because of the risk of injury due to the trampouline effect of aluminium bats and the subsequent lack of reaction time to balls hit back to the pitcher.   There was also in the back of my mind not wanting him to pitch because of placing undue stress on his arm.

     I have several questions for you:   1.)   What about the number of times a young man throws during infield/outfield practice?   Is there a potential for arm injury during such activities?   2.)   Is there a maximum pitch count adolescent pitchers should abide by?   3.)   In an effort to teach my son to throw correctly, I have been employing the following technique:   Stand perpendicular to your intended target.   Glove hand points towards target.   Throwing arm points directly away from target, palm down, wrist slightly cocked.   Delivery with throwing elbow up (in line with the acromial line) and the throwing arm following through and past the non-throwing arm leg.   This appears to be a popular and promoted technique.   Is there any validity to this throwing style?   Or, is there a different throwing technique you would suggest?

     Again, thank you for making your research available.   I want my son to have fun, to learn to compete, to have good technique, but I don't want him to injure himself due to my ignorance or a Little League's ignorance.   Your research has helped me to make an informed decision.


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     My advice to parents of youth baseball players and pitchers is that they should not permit their sons or daughters to train and play baseball for more than two months per year, to pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old, to permit their thirteen and older pitchers to pitch more than one inning per game until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle fully matures at about age fifteen.

     I will leave it to you to read the force application techniques that I recommend.   At this point, I do not agree with what you are teaching.   However, since I have written how I do recommend in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books and in my Question/Answer pages for 2000 and 2001, I will permit you to read that before I write my explanation again.

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181.   I like this area because of your ability to separate the deceleration phase into a recovery phase.   Why all others who write books on pitching instructions, stress that deceleration is the most DANGEROUS phase of the pitching motion?   You totally rebuke their theories, and I sort of want to elaborate on that.   But, if you think it's a mute point, I'll drop it as a major player in causing injuries.

     I selfishly like to keep things in threes and I being overbearing to find a third one I guess.   Forearm flyout and high guarding are plenty of good quality subjects to bring to the public attention.   I would like to have a third one, just antsy I suppose.   The time is right to do this, there are more and more web sites going up supporting the old myths over and over again.

     One site says CAN 100 HALL OF FAMERS BE WRONG, my answer to that is Yes they can.   But, most airheads will disagree with me on that one.   Consider BOB FELLER, who I think was a great pitcher.   Guess what ended his career, an injury to his arm throwing a curve ball.   What does that mean?   To me, it says his mechanics were wrong and, finally, caught with him as great as he was.

     One thing that impresses me about you is that after a distinguish career of 14 years and many accomplishments, you are the first player pitcher or hitter who does not tell his readers to copy the way he pitch when he was in the Majors.   It shows that you are indeed basing your theories on scientific evidence and not pure copy my act logic that every one else is using.


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     I agree that the safe deceleration of the pitching arm is critically important and if you want people to understand it better and know the difference between deceleration and recovery, I am all for it.   However, it is not a great concern with regard to any injury and, certainly, not a concern for irreparable injuries.   My wrist weight training program takes care of any difficulty that anybody could have and the cerebellum governor usually works fine on its own by preventing pitchers from accelerating their arm faster than they can safely decelerate it.

     When pitchers injure their pitching arm while using the same force application technique that they have used for years, it means that the musculoskeletal structure can no longer tolerate the unnecessary stresses of that technique.   If Mr. Feller irreparably injured his arm late in his career throwing curves, then his fitness level could have dropped below the level required by his force application technique to throw the pitch.   I teach a force application technique that requires minimal unnecessary stress and I recommend a training technique that increases the fitness level far beyond what pitchers will ever need to prevent even minor discomfort, let alone irreparable injury.

     As I continually say to my pitchers, I wish that I knew when I was pitching professionally what I know now, I could have been great.   I learn something almost daily about how to improve the force application technique or how to teach it better to those who are learning.

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182.   There are 2 areas that I will hone in on in the near future.   Baseball for amateurs starts in full swing this month and continues thru July up here.   I usually wait for baseball players to start slumping or go south, then I advertise for hitting and pitching instructions.   When kids are not performing their skills, their parents get nervous and will spend some bucks to anyone who can talk them into believing they can help their their son.   Well, there is no nonsense here with your material, and now, finally, there is a good solid foundation for any coach, parent or player to build a near perfect injury free pitching delivery.

1.   The first thing is to educate everyone that cares to the dangers of forearm flyout, and the high guard lock and load position.

2.   The second is to spell the main differences between your teachings and the rest of the pack.

     It will be a steady slow process and, of course,success brings more success.   Already your material is put in place here and our success with your material will hopefully start to spread all over the baseball world.   It's not a pressing issue right now, but if this project goes along quicker than I anticipate, your video will come into a important role in proving your point of view to anyone who replys to my ads.

     My sole intention is to alert people to how injuries occur and how to eliminate them via your instructional camps, videos and books.   I'm more or less a messenger of good news to those who want to use it.   If you identify any new material that will be of help in the future let me know.   The video would be the best news I can get.


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     I agree with your view about my instructional videotape.   However, I am at the mercy of the company with which I am working.   Until they have time to start the editing process, I have to wait.   When we start, I will devote all the time and energy I have to completing it as quickly and well as possible.

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183.   I forgot all about this.   One of my biggest selling point to get my troops to try your system is this, when you increase your release point of your pitch, you shorten the distance to home plate.   Therefore, even though the ball comes out of your hand at the same speed as other pitchers, it crosses home plate sooner.   Case in point, when a scout comes to measure speed with the radar gun, he gets two readings, one on release and one at home plate.   So, can you calcuate the difference betweem releasing a pitch say at 57 feet at 80 mph and it crosses home at 76 mph, how much difference will it be at 55 ft., 1 mph 2 mph or 3 mph.   Then, how about doing the same for an 85 mph pitch at 1 mph 2 mph or 3 mph?

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     I call this phenomenon, 'hidden velocity'.   If you want an extra foot on your fastball, release the pitch a foot farther forward.   Typically, pitchers release fastballs between five and one-half and six feet in front of the pitching rubber.   Pitchers who get their body ahead of their front foot and push back, typically release their fastballs six and one-half to seven feet ahead of the pitching rubber.   I have one pitcher who releases his fastball eight feet in front of the pitching rubber.

     From the front of the pitching rubber to the front of home plate, where hitters have to hit the baseball to be successful, measures fifty-nine feet one inch.   We will round off to fifty-nine feet.   Therefore, pitchers who release their fastballs six feet ahead of the pitching rubber have to throw the baseball fifty-three feet and pitchers who release their fastballs seven feet ahead of the pitching rubber have to throw the baseball fifty-two feet.   The question then becomes if my pitcher releases his fastball at some given release velocity, say 132 feet/second or 90 miles per hour, negating the considerable effect of air molecule resistance, how long does it take to travel fifty-two feet?   The answer is: 132 feet/second / 52 feet = 2.538 seconds.   Now, if we multiply that time by the distance other pitchers throw their pitches, we will determine at what release velocity they have to release their fastballs to reach home plate at the same time my pitchers fastballs reach home plate.   The ansswer is: 2.538 seconds x 53 feet = 134.5 feet/seconds or 91.69 miles per hour.   The conversion factor between miles per hour and feet per second is 1.467.

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184.   Do you know what issue of the magazine the article on you appeared in?   I would like to get a copy.

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     As I look at the old cover with a magnifying glass, it appears to read August 12, 1974.

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185.   This new area I want to cover, I have a idea what you are getting at here, but I have trouble picturing the timing of it with what we covered so far.   When the pitcher gets his body ahead of his front foot, to me he does that by flexing his stride leg, but that takes him forward not backward toward second as you suggest.   So, I'm wrong in my assumption and must be missing some point along the way, be it timing or mechanical.

     One separate point I want to verify is that unless a coach has the expertise that you have, he MUST film the pitchers as I do, with high tech cameras with 1/2000 shutter speed and 30 second freeze frame software on their computer, to be accurate in analyzing a pitcher's motion.   Regular cam corder and vcr and tv tapes fall short in my opinion, because I would never ever see your point without the new technology.


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     Pitchers get their body ahead of their front foot in the same way as any person does by walking, they step forward, push off their rear foot to move their body ahead of their front foot and, when their body is ahead of their front foot, they push backward with their front foot to continue to move their body forward.   When walking, persons then put their rear foot on the ground.   However, pitchers have to release their pitches before their rear foot contacts the ground.   Remember, it is the force that goes back toward second base.   The body continues toward home plate.

     For coaches to analyze the transition of their pitches up until their upper arm start accelerating forward, the movement is sufficiently slow that a regular video camera at normal frame speed can show what they need.   However, once the upper arm of the pitchers start forward, to analyze the upper arm acceleration and the forearm acceleration through release, coaches would need cameras capable of five hundred frames per second.   At one hundred and thirty-two feet per second, even a five hundred frames per second, the baseball moves over three inches between frames of film (132 / 500 = 0.264 x 12 = 3.168 inches).   While high shutter speed is nice, it is more important to have high frames per second to catch the precise moments required to analyze the movement.

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186.   Can I find your book with illustrations in any book stores in Minnesota?   I coach High School baseball, and have a fifteen and ten year old sons interested in pitching.

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     I have not found a publisher for my books.   Without a publisher, I cannot get the illustrations done and certainly the books will not appear in any book stores anywhere.   I am in the early stages of putting together an instructional videotape, but since I am working with a company with the profit motive, I cannot predict when it will be ready or how much they will charge for it.

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187.   I just completed a doubleheader where my troops were shut out by 2 righthanders.   My guess is that they threw around 82 to 85 mph because if it was any lower, we would of hit the crap of the ball.   The point I want to make is, even coaching from thr 3rd base box now, I could tell they had forearm flyout, they were hooking the ball right behind their hip prior to going to the dreaded cock and load position.   The sad part is this they will never get any better.   They were about 5'10' and looked full grown.   They have reached their full limit of getting any more velocity on the fastball under their current sets of instructions of being taught by the baseball instructors of the world.   They will also eventually come up with some career ending injury.

     It is very sad that if I told those 2 pitchers and their coach about hidden velocity and your other material they would look at me like I was an INSANE wacko who should be in the nut house.   They had trouble scoring runs also and their coach even complimated one of my pitchers who is using your material, but I decided not to tell him anything of what I am experimenting with because it would be over his head.   In just the little time I spent trading e mails with you, I have learned so much that I'm automaticly critiquing the other teams pitchers.   That is fasinating and I love it.


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     Now you know why I watch so little baseball.   I cannot stand seeing what terrible pitching mechanics and little pitch variety even major league pitchers have.   The only pitchers I enjoy watching are pitchers that I have trained.   I enjoy watching them even if they are not doing well because I know what to tell them to improve their game and the results that they can get.   Like you said, these pitchers will not get any better and will only end up injuring themselves.

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188.   When I realized that two 5'10" college pitchers were full grown and had reached their limit of velocity, it came to me that the only way they could bettter using their present system of instructions was if they were four inches taller or more and put more beef on their frames.   That is the only way for them to get more speed.   So, the pro's just look for size because they have no other choice under the present system.   There are a lot of pitchers out there in the 85 to 87 mph range who will be near misses as signable players.
,br>      If only they could be convinced to try your techniques and correct their forearm flyout and get rid of the high guard leverage position, they could possibly fulfil their dreams.   I now see the whole picture more clearer than ever and it really opens up my eyes to come up with an approach to attract these trapped pitchers to your material.   If there is a way I'll find it.   After ten years of using material I knew was wrong, I was able to fight my frustrations long enough to find the right stuff in your book and emails.


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     You are absolutely correct.   Obviously, genetically bigger and stronger pitchers have longer leverage systems and stronger muscles with which to achieve higher release velocities.   If pitchers break down with the force application techniques that you teach, then you have to get genetically bigger and stronger pitchers so that they will break down later.   In other words, you have to find the genetic freaks that are three standard deviations above the mean in physical size and strength.

     This has always amused me.   I hold the records for more appearances in a season at 106, most closer relief innings in a season at 208, most consecutive game appearances at 13 and most games finished at 85.   Professional baseball people try to dismiss my accomplishments by saying that I am a physical freak when that is all that they try to sign.   By the way, I am 5' 8 1/2" tall.   Could it be that I know something that they don't?

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189.   My son is coming along pretty well, but he recently had a problem show up.   Last week, he was one of fifteen players picked to go to a camp with over thirty major league scouts evaluating the kids for next years draft.   He immediately started overthrowing and everything was high and inside.   He wasn't rushing, but he didn't seem to be able to open up properly.   In fact, it looks like he is throwing right into the right side batters box.   His velocity dropped, the ball straightened out and his curve was high and flat.

     I suggested to him that he seemed to be on his heel on his pivot foot, but he didn't think he was.   He had his elbow bang again a couple of times and pain right away, so I told him to stop.   Would being on his heel and/or pushing off the rubber be the cause of this?   He is pretty discouraged, the camp is in eight days, but I told him it is probably one thing throwing him off.


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     It sounds to me at though he was starting his body forward before his pitching arm had reached my head pat position.   When pitchers start their body forward too soon, they are not able to rotate their shoulders sufficiently to finish their pitches.   Also, make certain that he is not taking his pitching arm laterally behind his body.   If you stand behind the catcher, his body should hide the baseball from your view.   If you can see it, then he has to first move the baseball to the pitching arm side of his body before he can start throwing it toward home plate.   This delay will also make it difficult for him to finish his pitches.

     I am also very concerned about him banging his elbow.   This means that he is dropping his elbow under his pitches.   Pitchers should never fully extend their elbows, they must keep them slightly bent on their fastballs, more bent on their sliders and sinkers and frozen at ninety degrees on their curves and screwballs.   In addition, to take their elbows out of harm's way, pitchers should point their elbows laterally and somewhat upward.

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190.   I came across your response to a pitcher who had undergone "Tommy John" surgery.   Thank you for the information.   I have a better understanding of my own injury and recommended surgery.   I dislocated my elbow one year ago during a fall.   My original orthopedic surgeon referred me to well-known orthopedic surgeons who are recommending that I have reconstructive surgery.   Should I have second opinion?   If so, who would you recommend?

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     Without much more specific information, I could not recommend anything. However, 'Tommy John' surgery is well-proven to benefit patients.   My main concern is after the surgery.   You need to change how you apply force to your pitches.   You need a rigorous training program.   You ruptured your ulnar collateral ligament because of unnecessary stress and/or insufficient fitness.   You must correct these factors no matter what you decide to do.

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191.   Would like an update on your video.   Will it be available this summer or before?

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     I wish that I knew.   I believe that we have shot most of the required raw footage and that all we need to do is edit.   However, I have not heard from them in a couple of weeks.   I have no idea what schedule they have in mind.   Sorry.

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192.   I am wondering how much in-season conditioning you recommend.   Do you have a specific regimen and do you vary it for each individual?   Also, how much do you tinker with mechanics during the season?

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     All of my pitchers perform the same training program during their season as they do during their off-season, except at one-half the number of repetitions and two-third intensity.   I prefer that pitchers perfect their mechanics before they pitch competitively.   In that way, they never have to tinker with anything.   I offer a forty week training program that builds all of the strength that they will require.   However, they will not have perfected their techniques.   Consequently, they will struggle.   Nevertheless, it is a process that they have to go through to find out what pitches they can command and what pitches they cannot.   Then, during their next off-season, we go to work on the pitches that they could not command.

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193.   I've just spent the last three hours reading your questions and answers segment and found them interesting and refreshing.   I have a son, 6 foot 1, 195 pounds.   With his 15th birthday coming up in May, he is developing nicely as a pitcher.   We used a weel-known pitching coach's basic philosophy in pitching, but while portions of his pitching strategies have been useful, I've noted a slow down in his progress to develop any appreciable velocity.

     One of the reasons, I believe, comes from the idea he's adopted to "load-up" which begins with hands and elbows high, then bringing the ball straight back to a cocked position.   It's very difficult to get the forearm in a reasonable lateral position which seemingly results in short-arming the pitch.   I'm going to explain your low hand set-up and pendulum take away, along with the 45 degree rear foot stance to see if it makes a difference.   Your explanation of the delivery is basically understandable and I've been able to visualize it fairly well.   The only thing that remains "fuzzy" in my mind is the proper time and position to release the ball.

     Am I wrong to see it at the point immediately after the arm passes the squared up head and shoulders which should be then located in front of the leading leg?   I noticed that you disregarded the "towel drill" in response to a person's e-mail, but that drill does put the pitcher's body in that forward position, which also decreases the overall distance between the release point and home plate that you advocate.   I'll let you know how the changes affect my son's performance.


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     The pathway of the baseball backwards and upward to the leverage position from where pitchers straight-line drive their pitches through release must be smooth without any jerky movements, slow-downs or stops.   I recommend an elliptical pathway with the straight line going back toward second base as low as possible without lowering the body with any bent leg action and the leverage position from which pitchers straight-line drive toward home plate at the height of their vertical forearm with their upper arm at the same height at their level acromial line across the shoulders.   I would strongly disagree with the hands held high and a straight back movement to leverage.

     The distance between leverage, the moment where the baseball meaningfully starts moving toward home plate, must be as long as possible.   The considerable majority of the driveline distance must be forward.   I recommend that pitchers master a new pitching rhythm where they learn to delay their forearm acceleration through release until they have moved their body ahead of their front foot.   I also recommend with my maxline drive that pitchers rotate their shoulders until their acromial line points toward home plate with their pitching arm out front.

     All of this requires that pitchers learn how to keep their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line.   If they do not learn this, they will place the front of their shoulder, the subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus, at risk.   I recommend that pitchers turn their rear foot to forty-five degrees to the pitching rubber to help them to remember not to take the baseball laterally behind their back, but rather, straight back toward second base.

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194.   When a pitcher has forearm fly out, would I be correct in stating to him that because he takes the ball behind his back to start his delivery, his path would be similar to a arc rather than a straight line?   It looks that way to me, but I rather go with your opinion on this point.

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     Yes, your advice would be correct for most situations.   However, if pitchers bring their forearm closer than ninety degrees to their upper arm at leverage, then when they start their upper arm acceleration, their forearm will also flyout due to the centripetal force.   They must learn to have their forearm to upper arm angle at ninety degrees at leverage.

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195.   What do you use for wrist weights?   I can't find wrist weights heavier than 10 lbs.

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     I purchase two sets of ten pound ankle weights and two sets of five pound ankle weights.   I use cloth duct tape to tape my ankle weights into a circle that just slips over my hand.   I start with ten pounds on each wrist and add five pounds to fifteen pounds.   I use two sets of ten pound wrist weights to make the twenty pound wrist weights and add five to twenty-five and five pounds to thirty pounds.

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196.   At leverage, the forearm is at 90 degrees from the upper arm and lays back at horizontal, right?   I keep missing this point, don't I?

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     I had not noticed that you missed either of these points.   You asked under what conditions do pitchers display forearm flyout.   The major cause is when they take their pitching arm laterally behind their body.   A second cause is when they bring their forearm closer than ninety degrees to their upper arm at leverage.   In both of these situations, when pitchers start their upper arm acceleration, the centripetal force of their upper arm swings their forearm outwardly into the forearm flyout position.

     The other critical aspect of the position of the forearm at leverage is whether it points upwards or backwards.   When pitchers point their forearm upward at leverage, when they start their upper arm acceleration, the forward force of their upper arm causes their forearm to move downward.   This downward movement will result in a 'forearm bounce' which unnecessarily stresses the front of the shoulder and the subscapularis attachment and, subsequently, the medial epicondyle area.



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197.   Your writing is so technical it is difficult to interpret the details.   I can't even figure out where the medial epichondyle growth plate is.   How can I buy your book and can you assure me that there are pictures and some "layman's" translations therein?

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     You sound like the publishers that I have contacted.   I am sorry, but this subject does not lend itself to simplicity.   Therefore, unfortunately, I do not have a book to sell with illustrations and follow the dots instructions.   I have unsuccessfully tried to get a publisher so that they would have illustrators to put together the illustrations the book needs.   Maybe, you could find a medical dictionary to learn that the medial epicondyle is on the inside of the elbow where five important pitching muscles attach.

     I have agreed with a videotape company to put together an instructional videotape, but I cannot predict when they will have it ready.   I am doing all that I can to get the information to you.   While not perfect, posting my book in word form only is the best that I can do at this time.   Please be patient with me.

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198.   Wherein does the problem lie in the medial epicondyle growth plate?   Said differently, is the problem pitching with it not yet fused?   And therefore, one should wail until it has fused before beginning competitive pitching or does competitive pitching at too early an age accelerate the fusion of the plate and cause problems later on?

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     The medial epicondyle develops as an ossification center that attaches to the shaft of the humerus via a cartilaginous growth plate.   Five critical and powerful pitching muscles attach to the medial epicondyle.   When young pitchers pitch, they stress the growth plate of their medial epicondyle.   When they stress this growth plate too much, it will start to fuse early thus stunting it growth and development or it will pull loose from the shaft of the humerus.   The report by Dr. Joel Adams in Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book provides the details.   For these reasons, I recommend that youngster do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures.   In conclusion, under both of the situations that you mentioned, youngsters will harm the growth plate of their medial epicondyle.

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199.   I think I found Sir Issac Newton.   I had difficulty finding him.   The secret was grabbing ahold of the pole.   It all came together after that.

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     Congratulations.   Using the inertia of the glove hand to pull the body forward ahead of the front foot is one of the many ways that Sir Isaac Newton tells us to apply force when throwing baseballs, but it is a good one.

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200.   I have pain in my bicep when I throw a baseball hard.   Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong or any way to stop the pain?   It hurts until after I ice it for about a half an hour.

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     Elbow flexor discomfort indicates extreme forearm flyout.   This means that you either take the baseball too far laterally behind your body or you bring your forearm to less than ninety degrees toward your upper arm or both.   You have to take the baseball back toward second base.

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201.   Overall, I think the results of my transforming one of my pitchers from the high guard to the straight line approach is very successful.   He has great command of his pitches now and his two seem moves six inches in on a right-handed batters.   Even with aluminum bats, he jams them.   I think its very possible to elimate forearm flyout and the high guard with a steady, knowledgeable, educationinal approach to the public.

     Most of the older coaches won't go for it, but the younger ones will if they see it working on what I call helpless cases, this is usually a kid who can throw real hard, but no control.   Every team has one and if these pitchers can be straighten out by just eliminating the high guard and fore arm flyout, then I really be on to something.   I have two major projects coming in the next two weeks.   If they stick with the program, I know it will work.   I film everything, every pitch from every angle and the flyout is so easy to see and the same with the high guard.   With my instant replay I can show them instantly what they are doing wrong and the pitchers love it when they see the results right away.

     I think I covered everything in all of these e mails we exchanged.   It's time to quit the talk and do the walk.   It is really nice when you can do some good, isn't it.   Let me know when the video is ready.


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     Yes.   No pitcher should ever injure his pitching arm.   I am losing my patience with the people working on my instructional videotape.   I am ready to go, but they have not called me to help with the videotape.   They had better not be editing it without me.

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202.   When doing military presses, should I use dumb-bells or a barbell?   And, should I grip it at shoulder width or a little narrower or wider?   Should I lower behind my head then push up or in front of my head to about my chin then raise up?

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     I do not advise pitchers to do any weight training that is not specific to applying force to their pitches.   Military presses where you push the weights upward over your head while standing have nothing to do with pitching.   I could see where bench presses could be of some value, although it places the infraglenoid attachment of the triceps brachii muscle at risk.   For a bench press, I would advise a barbell to prevent lateral movement of one arm versus the other and I would advise an elbow width grip and upward driveline.

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203.   Can you update me on the status of the videos you have been working so diligently on?   Also, what sort of post routine warm-down would you recommend to defuse the build up of latic acid following say a 7 inning stint (105 pitches)?

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     With regard to the instructional videotape, we have shot most of the material that we need to include, but I have not received work on when we will start the critical editing process.   I hope that they do not believe that they can put it together without me because I will not release something that is not as perfect as I can make it on that date.

     With regard to ridding the body of lactic acid buildup after pitching in games, I recommend twenty-four baseball throws in a taper down fashion.   Pitchers start easy and gradually build up to about three-quarter intensity by ten throws and after four throws of that intensity, they gradually decrease their intensity until the end of the twenty-four throws.   Having said that, when pitchers have properly trained, they should not have any lactic acid buildup.   That does not mean that I do not believe in my 'taper down' routine, but I have some question about what energy source pitchers use to resynthesize their ATP.   But, you did not ask that question.

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204.   While going over my notes, you mentioned the olecranon fossa more than once.   What, when, or how does this area become damaged and how do you use it so it doesn't become damaged?

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     The olecranon process is the proximal-most aspect of the ulna bone of the forearm.   The olecranon fossa lies on the posterior surface of the distal end of the humerus bone of the upper arm.   When pitchers drop their elbow under their pitches, the olecranon process slams into the olecranon fossa.   This is especially dangerous when youngsters improperly throw curves.

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205.   My son just turned thirteen and has been pitching for about four years.   He is a big kid for his age, about 5'8" 140 lbs.   He recently suffered his first arm/shoulder injury.   I took him to the orthopedic doctor today and he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his shoulder growth plate.   Needless to say, I was heart broken.   The doctor told him to refrain from throwing for four to six weeks.   His next visit is in four weeks.

     Is there anything he should be doing in the meantime to strengthen or accelerate healing of the shoulder?   Obviously his growth plates aren't fully matured.   What should his pitching routine be in the future once this injury is healed?   Should he be able to pitch again in four to six weeks?


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     The fact that your son is 'big kid for his age' indicates that he is an accelerated maturer.   If you read chapters two and three of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, you could determine his biological age versus his chronological age.   This will give you an idea as to when he will completely skeletally mature and his growth will end.

     With regard to the growth plate injury in his shoulder, I am sure that I do not need to tell you about chapters five, six, seven, eight and nine of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book where I warn parents of the irreparable damage youngsters can do to their growth plates by throwing too much and/or pitching competitively.   Like the medical problems smokers cause themselves, I am sorry for the injury that your son suffered, but I printed the warning on the package.

     For some good news, the growth plates of the shoulder do not play as critical a role in pitching as an adult as the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of the elbow.   This means that, while this growth plate will never be the quality that it should have been, it does not have the muscle attachments that make it vital to pitching success.   In chapter eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I provide research by Dr. Joel Adams which includes his findings on injuries to shoulder growth plates.   He found that the long term prognosis was positive.   Your son, while decreasing the future ability of his arm, has not destroyed it.   Given time, it will fully mature and be able to withstand the stress of pitching.

     My larger concern is what was wrong with his force application technique that caused this injury.   While it is possible for youngsters to have flawless force application technique and still destroy the growth plate of their medial epicondyle, it is very likely with the growth plate of the shoulder that he has a severe 'forearm bounce' in his motion that caused this injury.   Severe 'shoulder bounce' comes from using the 'high guard' pitching technique.

     Your son should not pitch until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has fully matured.   That means that the radiologist should not be able to see where the growth plate was.   The trabeculae must be completely contiguous with the trabeculae of the shaft of the bone.

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206.   Will you cover the olecranon process in your video?   If so, I wait till it gets on the market to discuss it futher.

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     I am sure that, to prevent their olecranon process from slamming into their olecranon fossa, I will mention in my instructional videotape that pitchers should never fully extend their elbow.   I will say that when pitchers throw curves, they must make certain that their elbow points upward.

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207.   I know it is late to be asking about your course that starts in just couple weeks.   However, I am very interested in your training program for pitchers, my son is 17 and will be junior next year and is on high school baseball team.   He has only has pitched in two of the games as a closer, with good results for his team (he is normally placed in the outfield to started in games he hits well and runs base well).

     I would like to know what will be taught during this ten week instruction (i.e.: mechanics, different pitches, techniques) period.   Is this going to be an very day eight hours routine or is long periods of time he will not be doing anything.   He has been to other camps that were supposed of been pitchers and catchers that were greatly disappointing to him and myself do to the lack of time spent on what they were there to be taught.   How much is the course cost, type of living arrangements and is there any supervision of these living arrangements or is he able to do as he please while there and last of all is there any slots open at this time knowing that you work closely with each and you limit your class sizes.   If I missed on your sight please inform me where to look for these items.


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     You can find most of the answers to your questions on my web site under Pitching Instructions.   For further information, I prefer that we talk on the telephone.   You may call my 800 number and leave your telephone number and the best time to call you and I will return your call.

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208.   My son was at his major league camp yesterday and the pressure got to him.   He reverted to his old mechanics of leaving arm behind when he started forward, landing on heel, never actually getting to 90 degrees with his elbow.   As a result, he had poor control, sore arm and no velocity at all.

     How much velocity could rushing like that take off?   One scout from Minnesota told us with his size and decent mechanics, he should be in the mid to upper 80s, but he could only throw 72 yesterday (he threw that fast 3 years ago).


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     Poor mechanics can significantly reduce release velocity, but not fifteen miles per hour.   In addition to pitchers needing forty weeks to gain the strength that they need to pitch at the highest levels, the forty weeks of daily repetition enables pitchers to map over their previous bad techniques.   It sounds as though he has not integrated the new techniques.   How hard he eventually throws does not relate exclusively to physical size.   It also relates to proper force application, proper strength training and the genetics he received from Mom and Dad.

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209.   Is there any way to download the entire book at one time so that it can be printed all at once, or do you just have to print a chapter at a time?

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     I went through the extra time and effort to enable readers to download my books chapter by chapter to save them time and effort.   I am sorry if that makes the process more difficult for your purposes.

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210.   Our son is 14 and has been playing competitive baseball since he was 10.   He started pitching at 11.   Last year, at 13, he was clocked in the low 80’s.   Everyone commented on what a marvel he was and how they had never seen anyone like him, etc, etc.   While mindful of the warnings not to let someone so young throw too much or to throw curveballs, as parents we were completely ignorant about the possible consequences of throwing that hard at that age.

     Last May, he started experiencing pain when throwing and we took him to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.   After 11 months of physical therapy and a visit two months ago that cleared him to start throwing 20-30 pitches every 4-5 days, the pain is still there and today the Dr. said his diagnosis was now changing to a Tommy John injury.   We are really confused at this point and want to get a second opinion.

     Our confusion stems from several facts.   He stopped throwing very soon after he started feeling the pain (but it was still during a period that included being in a national tournament and also playing league games before and after the tournament where he threw probably 200 pitches in a two week period).   There was an MRI done about 6 months ago which the Dr. said at the time showed no tear and only a “mild” stretch of the ligament.   His physical exam about two months ago indicated that there was sufficient improvement to start throwing again.   But today, after advising the Dr. that the past three outings produced continued pain and that it seemed to be getting worse from the first game to his third (and last) over a 6 week period, the Dr. has now opined that the ligament has become “incompetent” and that, if he wants to continue throwing, that the Tommy John surgery would be required.   He also advised he was not personally aware of this surgery ever being performed on someone that age.

     We were wondering if you knew anyone in the area who we could trust to get a really reliable second opinion from.   We just don’t have 100% confidence in the diagnosis but also realize that this Dr. may be right.

     But, it seems really strange to us as lay people to think there could be this severe of an injury to someone at his age, who quit fairly shortly after the pain appeared, and not show up on the MRI.   I would add that our family doctor who we went to first, looked at an x-ray and opined that the injury was the result of some bone coming off of his arm by the throwing as a result of his still laying down bone mass.   To have a son with such potential as told to us by others at least, and to find out today his career may be over before it ever began, is a real nightmare for us, but especially him.


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     I send all my pitchers to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL.   You can reach his office at (205)939-3000 ext 3118.

     I am not certain that doctors can diagnose injuries from MRIs or anything other than opening the area and looking inside.   I suspect that they are guessing from what symptoms the patient provides.

     I am sorry for your problem, but if you had read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book or followed my recommendation that no youngster should pitch competitively until they are thirteen and, then, only one inning per game and no youngster should train to pitch for more than two months per year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle has matured, your son would have a full pitching future.   At his age, I would be more concerned about the damage he has done to the growth plate of his medial epicondyle rather than the ulnar collateral ligament.   If it is an comfort, I believe that he can recover better from an ulnar collateral ligament repair.   However, damage to the growth plate of his medial epicondyle injury is permanent.

     After the surgery, you need to change his force application technique.   The injury demonstrates that he has big problems with his throwing motion.

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211.   I've been pitching since I was about 7 or 8, I'm 14 now.   I started getting pain in my elbow at age 12.   I've been pitching slower and slower since then.   Sometimes my elbow doesn't hurt when I pitch.   Other times, it does.   I don't have the full range of motion in my elbow.   If I moved my arm like I do in a curl, it doesn't go nearly as far as my right arm.   I don't throw the curve extensively, maybe 4 times a game and don't pitch as much as i used to.   I'm not sure what is wrong and haven't seen a doctor yet.

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     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know that I have warned youngsters and their parents about the fragility of the growth plates of the pitching arm in youngsters.   Even youth pitchers who never experience pain suffer from premature closure of their growth plates which permanently limit the size of the affected skeletal material.   Most of these changes do not show on X-rays and unless doctors compare the affected growth plates with the other arm's unaffected growth plates, they will not properly diagnose the long term effects.   Growth plates do not care what pitch you throw.   Fastballs are just as dangerous to your growth plates as any other pitch.

     The fact that you do not have full range of motion in your elbow indicates that you either have bone or cartilaginous chips in the elbow or you have slammed your olecranon process into your olecranon fossa and caused the process or fossa to enlarge or both.   These are serious signs that you use improper force application techniques and that your skeleton is not ready.

     I recommend that you stop pitching until before you completely destroy your pitching arm and until after a radiologist tells you that the growth plate of your medial epicondyle has completely matured.   I cannot predict how much permanent damage you have inflicted on your pitching arm, but it is considerable and permanent.   Unfortunately, you are not the only youngster from whom I have received this type of question.   Far too many youngsters are ruining their pitching arms for not good reason.   Parents, it is time for you to take charge and eliminate competitive pitching for youngsters under thirteen years old and only one inning per game thereafter.   Also, you should limit their pitching training to no more than two months per year until they have completed their skeletal maturation.

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212.   Is it true that you were the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award?   If so, what year was that done?

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     For setting records for appearances, closer innings pitched, games finished and consecutive game appearances that no relief pitcher had ever approached, I finished second in the Cy Young Award balloting in 1973.   I also became the first closer to qualify for the earned run average title.   Therefore, when I exceeded those records by a wide margin in 1974, the voters had to award me the Cy Young Award.   Unfortunately, those same voters forgot those prerequisites and gave Cy Young Awards to relief pitchers who did not even came close to those records and, thereby, forever tainted the Award.

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213.   What is your thought on the balance position?   It looks to me like you want to eliminate it altogether.

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     The 'balance position' is the greatest cause of injury of all the bad techniques that others teach.   We must eliminate it.

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214.   Just got a call from one of my troops who wants to start tomorrow.   I assume that without the balance position, pitchers do not lift their front foot or take it back at all   Rather, they simply step toward home and break their hands at the same time.

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     The windup is the same as the rock-back technique, except that pitchers can raise their hands over head and more easily have their rear foot point more directly toward home plate.   The other adjustment is that pitchers make is to stop their body's forward movement briefly while they break their hands and start the pendulum swing of their pitching arm backward.   It is critical that pitchers get their pitching arm all the way back before they re-start the forward movement of their body.   After that hesitation, pitchers then do simply step toward home plate.

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215.   I have a 12 year old son whose dream is and has been for 3 years, to play college baseball and to go on to the pros.   I live in a very small town of about 3500 and scouting is not something that happens often in this town.   What do suggest my son do to fullfill this dream?   Last year, he threw 45 miles per hour.   I am not sure what he can throw now.   I want to encourage him to fight for his dream and work towards his goals, but I also went to this school and because of such a losing record in football, we don't get much publicity.

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     The first thing that you have to do for your son is to make certain that he does not irreparably injure or alter the proper development of the growth plates in his pitching arm.   I strongly recommend that he does not practice pitching for more than two months per year until he reaches fifteen years old.   I also strongly recommend that he does not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and, then, he should not pitch more than one inning.

     To learn how to properly throw his pitches, he should read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books.   After he turns fifteen, he should start on the training program that I outline in my Coaching Adults Pitchers book.   Of course, as soon as I get my instructional pitching videotape ready, he could get it and start following those instructions.

     Whether he becomes a successful college pitcher will not depend on publicity, but on his skill level.   There are plenty of colleges, both junior and senior, that are always on the lookout for skilled pitchers.

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216.   I have a friend that has questioned me about why I shouldn't young kids not to throw the slider.   He asked me if I have proof of the dangers from the slider.   So now, I'm searching for proof of dangers from throwing the slider.   Can you give me some proof that the slider does hurt the arm and how?

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     The reason why sliders injure the pitching arms of pitchers of all ages relates to two requirements to throw sliders.   One, like the curve, sliders require pitchers to rotate their forearms two hundred and seventy degrees to place the forearm in proper position to release the pitch with its correct spin axis.   When pitchers try to complete this forearm rotation, they tend to bend their elbow to less than ninety degrees which causes the forearm to centripetally fly outward and unnecessarily stress the inside of the elbow.   This causes ulnar collateral ligament injury.   Two, unlike curves, pitchers need to triceps drive or extend their elbow to add horizontal velocity to their sliders.   This frequently results in pitchers slamming their olecranon process into their olecranon fossa.   I do not know what your friend accepts for proof, but the numerous pitching arm injuries evidence that pitchers do not know how to correctly apply force to their pitches and a big part of those injuries occur as a result of trying to throw sliders.

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217.   I am a 15 year old high school student.   I read about you in Sport Illustrated and was very interested in your Pitching Clinic.   I am a beginner pitcher and was just wondering if you could send me information about your clinic that you run.

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     I have a Pitcher Training Center in Zephyrhills, FL.   I work with skeletally mature pitchers who are seriously committed to finding out at what level of baseball they can succeed.   I require that they live at my PTC for forty weeks, preferably starting the August after they graduate high school.

     For younger pitchers or pitchers less committed, I recommend my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books which anybody can read and/or download for free off my web site.

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218.   In my studying various materials on pitching, there seems to be a sharp difference in opinion between two visible teaching programs on when the torso should begin to rotate.   One opinion states that after landing you must immediately explode the hips into rotation, causing early torso rotation.   Only then should the body and head move forward to the plate.

     Another opinion is that after landing, the center of gravity (head) must glide forward to meet the fixed glove-side and that only after the center of gravity reaches approximately 70% of the stride length should the torso begin to rotate.   This author believes that this late rotation is essential to getting a release point in front of the pitcher's center of gravity, resulting in more command, better "stuff" since the ball is released later and closer to the plate, and decreased stress on the arm.


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     I do not think that when pitchers wait until their front foot lands before they rotate their hips, we should consider that early rotation.   When pitchers start to rotate before their front foot contacts the ground is early rotation.   That early rotation causes the front foot to move laterally before it contacts the ground.   This 'front foot float' causes forearm flyout and, thereby, potential injury and, at least, control inconsistency.

     I have long advocated that pitchers should move their body ahead of their front foot in order to lengthen their driveline and achieve 'front foot pushback'.   Remember that anybody's opinion is only as good as the scientific fact on which they base it.   That does not mean that they have correctly interpreted or used that scientific fact, that is a matter for us to debate, but it means that they have a basis for their opinion.   For someone to say to do something because it gives pitchers more command, better stuff, decreased stress on their arm and so on is conjecture and without merit even if they happen to guess right.   Remember when you took a math test and had to show your work.   Always ask why and if they cannot give you a reason why, then suspect that they are either guessing or they are stealing the idea.

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219.   When the olecranon process and fossa collide, does that produce bone chips or does it wear down the tissues, ligaments or muscles around the elbow.

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     When the olecranon process slams into the olecranon fossa, it produces loose cartilage bodies which attach to other cartilage in the elbow and impedes the normal range of motion.   In addition, the slamming action causes the olecranon fossa's cartilage to thicken and decrease the elbow joint's extension range of motion.   Further, I have seen where youngsters have broken off the tips of their olecranon process where their olecranon growth plate was trying to develop.   Pitchers must never permit their elbow to fully straighten during any phase of the pitching motion.

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220.   I'm 17 and I had arthoscopic surgery on the capsule of my right pitching shoulder.   After recovering, I hurt my elbow.   My surgeon told me I slightly tore my bicep tendon in my elbow.   I have been lifting all year and now that I throw, nothing hurts or doesn't hurt for a while.   What can I do to increase my endurace and keep it from hurting?

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     When, as a result of improper force application techniques, pitchers suffer injuries, the additional unnecessary stress causes the weakest aspect of the affected area to give way first.   In your case, it was the shoulder capsule.   When pitchers take their arms laterally behind their body, the centripetal force created when they have to return their arm to their pitching arm side of their body causes their forearm to flyout to their pitching arm side.   Forearm flyout unnecessarily stresses the anterior aspect of the shoulder and the inside aspect of the elbow.   The shoulder capsule is on the anterior aspect of the shoulder.   At that time, the shoulder capsule gave way.   You had that injury surgically repaired.

     To prevent injury to the posterior aspect of the elbow, namely the olecranon process slamming into the olecranon fossa, the elbow flexors, biceps brachii and brachialis, try to prevent forearm flyout.   Because your shoulder capsule repair is now stronger than the elbow flexors, your next area of injury is the biceps brachii or brachialis attachment to the forearm.   If you need this surgically repaired, then their will be another aspect that cannot withstand the unnecessary stress that you place on your pitching arm.   Or, maybe the shoulder capsule will again give way.   Of one thing I am certain, you will always suffer some discomfort.

     I have taken this point to the extreme to illustrate a simple principle.   If you suffer discomfort as a result of throwing baseballs, then you are either applying force improperly or you have not properly trained your arm for throwing.   I always suspect improper force application technique first.   I have already told you what you probably do incorrectly.   If you do not correct your force application technique, you will continue to injure yourself until you have destroyed your arm.

     The question you should be researching is:   What is the proper way to apply force to baseball pitches?   I have placed my force application techniques on my web site.   They are available free to all to read.   Additionally, for the reading impaired, I am in the process of putting together an instructional videotape, but, at this time, I have no idea when it will be ready.

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221.   How long would you say it took you to do all the research for your book, not counting your professional baseball career.

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     Without my research, I would not have had a professional baseball pitching career.   I started doing my high speed cinematographic research in 1965.   However, I was involved in Professor Wayne Van Huss's weighted ball research as early as 1961.

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222.   It seems to me alot of starting pitchers are pulled after the seventh inning while pitching a gem and the closer or reliever loses the game for them.   I've noticed that with Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson alot.   I know they have a certain pitch count they don't want them to exceed, but, man, if your starting pitcher has control of the game, don't turn it over to someone else unless its Mariano Rivera.   What do you think?

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     When pitchers start games, they are strong, their pitches have their best quality and the hitters do not know what pitches to expect.   The second time through the lineup, the pitchers are not as strong, the quality of their pitches have decreased and the hitters have seen some pitches and are better able to correctly anticipate what pitches they will receive.   The third time through the lineup, the pitchers have tired considerably, the quality of their pitches have greatly decrease and the hitters are able to correctly anticipate what pitches they will receive a majority of the time.

     It is for these reasons and the fact that the season is 162 games long and pitchers have over thirty starts to make that I would not permit starting pitchers to go past three times through the lineup.   Additionally, if you want your relief pitchers to help in the latter stages of the season, you have to give them consistent work throughout the season.   For teams to win championships requires that the entire pitching staff provides their best efforts.   Managers have to plan how to get all pitchers regular quality work, not just the starters.   All pitchers need to know in what circumstances they will pitch and they need to pitch are regular intervals.

     I believe that more teams lose championships by riding 'hot' pitchers and ignoring the non-starters.   Then, when the 'hot' pitchers fade from overuse, most pitchers do not properly train and/or have improper force application techniques that break down their arms, the teams do not have the other pitchers ready to go.

     I have long said that Greg Maddox is the best manager of pitchers I have ever seen.   He always has the mysterious hamstring tightness, back pain, stomach upset, or whatever so that he leaves tough games after three times through the lineup.   I wish managers had the knowledge and courage to do the same with all starters.   However, with media and fan criticism, it is easier to ride the horse one batter too long, rather than remove him one inning to soon.

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223.   When you were a college head caoch, did you teach your theories while you were coaching and how was it accepted and what were the results if you did?   And, did you apply any of your theories to hitting?   I heard that you had a different approach to hitting.

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     I always explained the scientific basis for all skills I taught while coaching, whether pitching, batting, fielding, baserunning or whatever.   My players always worked very hard at all the drills I designed for whichever skill they were practicing.   The problem was that the NCAA permits only twenty-two weeks of coach contact with players.   With ten to twelve of those weeks dedicated to games, the remaining time was insufficient to teach and train players in the manner I recommend.

     I believe that the minimal teaching and training time for pitchers to gain the strength and basic skill to meaningfully perform is forty weeks.   That is why I am no longer interested in college coaching.   I did not get into coaching to win baseball games, I got into coaching to help young men become the best baseball player that they could become.   That is impossible for me to do under the NCAA restrictions.   However, because I am no longer associated with the NCAA, I can help pitchers determine the level at which they can have success.

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224.   I am a high school softball coach.   Can you give me training tips on a pitching workout for our pitchers.

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   I am sorry, but I did my research and wrote my books on baseball pitching.   I am certain that you can find others far more qualified to discuss softball pitching techniques.

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225.   I have a streched ACL in my left knee (landing leg).   I am a freshman in high school and pitched all of pony league last year with no problems and I haven't had really any problems this year.   Do you think that I can have a sucessful career in pitching?

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     ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament.   Cruciate means cross.   The anterior cruciate ligament crosses the posterior cruciate ligament.   The anterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur (the thigh bone) from sliding forward over the tibia (the support bone of the lower leg).   When pitchers stride too far forward and push against their stride foot, they rely on the anterior cruciate ligament to keep their entire body from driving their femur forward over the tibia of their lower leg.

     As you get bigger and try to throw harder, you will put greater stress on your stretched anterior cruciate ligament.   Whether your anterior cruciate ligament can continue to tolerate this increasing stress, I don't know.   But, I believe that pitchers should not place this stress on the anterior cruciate ligament of their front leg.   In the force application technique that I recommend, pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot and apply force toward second base with their front foot.   This action removes all of the aforementioned stress to the anterior cruciate ligament.

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226.   Big argument of other so called gurus in the pitching instruction field is to pitch with stiff or flexed knee.   For the record, what is your opinion of pitching with a stiff or flexed leg?

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     To apply force with the knee and ankle joints, persons need to extend the knee and plantar flex the ankle.   Clearly, pitchers need to move their body forward off the pitching rubber so they need to extend the knee and ankle joints of their rear leg.   I teach that pitchers should apply force toward second base with their front foot after their body is ahead of their front foot, so I recommend that pitchers also extend the knee and ankle joints of their front leg.

     Newton's third law, the law of reaction, says that for every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.   If pitchers want to increase the action force that they apply to their pitches toward home plate, then they must increase the reaction force that they apply toward second base.   If pitchers push against their front leg to hold their body behind their front leg, then they are applying more force toward home plate, not second base.   Whether pitchers have their knee flexed or actually plioanglosly extended or fully extended is not the question.   The question involves in what direction pitchers apply force with their front leg.

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227.   I broke my elbow last year when I was almost 15.   I am now 16 and just starting to throw again and felt some pain.   So, I went to the doctors and he said the growth plate closed and the pain wasn't from my elbow being broken, but from my muscles being strained and he said if I strech more and warm up more the pain will gradually go away.   Now, my question is, could I ever be even considered by a scout with this past injury?

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     I need to know how you broke your elbow and precisely what you broke.   The elbow have many structures.   If you broke the medial epicondyle ossification center or the olecranon ossification center, the long term implications differ.

     With regard to scouts, if you throw ninety miles per hour, they will sign you whether you can throw strikes, have any non-fastball pitches or a prison record.

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228.   I broke my elbow while arm wrestling , but I don't know which bone I broke.   All the doctor said was that the bone completley healed and that the pain I was feeling was due to the muscles in my arm.

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     At your age, the doctor is probably correct.   Nevertheless, in order to give you my best advice, I need the precise bone and type of break.

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229.   Please forgive the vagueness of this question but I have been hearing this complaint from several sources lately, both catchers and pitchers, from Little League to 17 years old.   Will you shed some light please on the primary cause(s) of bicep pain caused by throwing?

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     The biceps brachii and brachialis muscles flex the elbow joint.   However, pitchers should not flex their elbow for most pitches that they throw and catchers should never flex their elbow joint, they should be extending the elbow.   Therefore, they are doing something wrong.   They have extreme forearm flyout caused by taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body rather than back toward second base.   When they return their pitching arm to the pitching arm side of their body, they have to then turn the direction of the arm action toward home plate.   The centripetal force of their arm making this curved pathway causes their forearm to move laterally away from their body.   To prevent their olecranon process from slamming into their olecranon fossa, they contract their elbow flexors, the biceps brachii and the brachialis.   This causes the soreness.   In the long term, it will also enlarge the coranoid process of the elbow and interfere with their flexion range of motion.   I discuss this in Chapter Six of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   In the short term, they are wasting a lot of force and, as a result, losing release velocity.

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230.   "At the downward forearm head pat position, pitchers stop the backward movement and initiate their forward movement.   Pitchers start the elbow raise maneuver.   In the elbow raise maneuver, pitchers continue to raise the forearm to horizontal without moving the baseball behind their body.   This is a critical skill to the success of baseball pitchers.   The elbow raise moves the upper arm upward under the forearm to shoulder height.   Simultaneously, while holding the reverse rotation position, pitchers gently step forward."

Dr Mike,

I don't understand this description.   If you were to say the upper arm, I would.   When the upper arm (humerous) is at horizontal, where is the forearm.   If it is horizontal, it would be pointing at 90 degrees from the acromial line.


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     I would like to amend the quote you cited to say, "... without moving the baseball LATERALLY behind their body."   With that adjustment, what I say is what I mean.   The upper arm (humerus) is at shoulder height which I recommend is level.   The elbow is ahead of the acromial line.   The forearm lays backward horizontally.   The forearm to upper arm angle is never less than ninety degrees at leverage.   Therefore, since the upper arm is always ahead of the acromial line by a few degrees and the forearm is never less than ninety degrees to the upper arm, the forearm is somewhere slightly greater than ninety degrees from the acromial line.   The critical aspect is that the forearm is more horizontal than vertical.   When the upper arm starts forward, the forearm must follow the upper arm without moving downward.   If the forearm moves downward when the upper arm starts forward, then the inward rotator muscles of the shoulder (rotator cuff muscles) receive an unnecessary sudden stretch.   Also, the medial epicondyle muscles across the elbow joint receive an unnecessary sudden jolt.   In the long term, these repetitive forearm bounces will destroy the front of the shoulder and/or the inside of the elbow.

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231.   Do you offer to allow observers to come to your camp to learn or allow visitors to come see you in person?   I am so intrigued and interested I will gladly come to your location.   I have two boys 8.5 and 7.0 that are playing now that I wish to gird myself with education as not to hurt them.

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     Anybody can come to my pitcher training center at any time.   We train from 9:00AM until 11:00AM.   We are about twenty-five miles northeast of Tampa, FL in Zephyrhills.

     I assume that you have read my advice regarding pitching at ages 8.5 and 7 years old.   If not, let me tell you.   Until the growth plates in the pitching arms of youngsters have fully matured, if they pitch competitively, they run a certain risk of damaging the skeletal development of their arm, certain, not a possible risk.   Therefore, I recommend that youngsters do not practice their pitching skill for more than two months per year.   I also recommend that youngster do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   Let me assure you that they will not gain anything relative to being a successful adult pitcher from these early experiences.

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232.   I was reading your Adult Baseball Pitching Text Book when I came upon Chapter 6 and a mention of Andy Messersmith.   Andy was my favorite player growing up in Los Angeles as a young pre-teen.   I saw both of you pitch many times at Chavez Ravine.   If I remember, you guys finished 1,2 in the Cy Young voting in 74.   Anyhow, reading about Messersmith's elbow flex problems made me wonder about two things:   (1) What the heck is that guy doing these days?   The Dodgers never mention him.   He seems to have fallen off the Earth.   I would appreciate it if you could give me some basic info on Messersmith (post baseball).   (2) In reading your analysis on Messersmith"s elbow, I couldn't help but wonder if his elbow flex problem brought about a "premature" decline in the effectiveness of an otherwise dominant Pitcher.   He had a very strong "1975" (the season following your tests at M.S.U.); 322 innings, 2.29 e.r.a. and then he went to the Braves in 1976 and things went downhill from then on.   Was his arthritic elbow the reason for his sharp decline?

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     Andy is a very private person and does not attend any baseball functions and wishes not to be involved with the public.   There is no doubt in my mind that the injuries that he suffered while pitching as a youngster greatly limited his success as an adult.   He was very kind to permit me to measure his pitching elbow and print the results in the hopes that youngsters would avoid the problems with which he had to contend.

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233.   I'm a 14 year old baseball player.   I'm a pitcher for my little league team.   I think that I'm at an age where I need to start developing a curveball so I can continue to pitch well in high school.   Other players have curves but I don't.   I do know how to throw a curve ball but I need to strengthen my arm first.   I was wondering if you knew of any such drills or exersises I could do to help me strengthen my arm?

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     At fourteen years old, you still have open growth plates in your pitching arm, namely the medial epicondyle.   I advise you to not pitch more than one inning per game.   I also know that you will not pay any attention to me, but if you injure this growth plate, it gives me the right to say, "I warned you."

     To throw a curve at your age does not require greater strength development, it requires proper force application technique.   The curve demands that you apply force to the outer edge of the baseball with your fingers horizontal at release and your forearm to upper arm angle remaining fixed at ninety degrees.   To correctly throw curves places your arm at risk, so you should practice with a greatly reduced intensity.

1.   Make certain that you do not extend your elbow beyond ninety degrees.   You do not want to slam your olecranon process into your olecranon fossa.   That means do not lock your elbow out straight.

2.   Make certain to keep your upper arm above your shoulder height and your shoulders level or slightly leaning to your glove side.

3.   Make certain to throw the curve with your forearm, not your upper arm.   This means that you should not move your elbow either inward or downward until after you release the pitch.

4.   Make certain that you have your forearm to upper arm angle at ninety degrees at leverage and never permit the elbow angle to go beyond ninety degrees.   If you bend your elbow to less than ninety degrees at leverage, when you start your upper arm forward, the centripetal force will force your forearm outward beyond ninety degrees.

5.   Make certain that you keep your fingers horizontal through releases and hook the baseball with the tip of the middle finger such that the baseball releases over the second phalange of your middle finger.   Your middle finger has three phalanges.

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234.   I filmed an old pupil of mine who is going to be a senior at a different college than mine next year.   I showed how his hands went behind his back, how he goes to lock and load to quick, and showed him, the forearm flyout and also uneven shoulders like 11 oclock for throwing shoulder and 5 for glove side shoulder.   But when I asked him where he hurts, he threw me a real curve, he said he takes advil before every game and he doesn't hurt anymore.   My question is this, that's got to be wrong but I couldn't tell him why.   Can you help me on this one.

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     Pain relievers, like Advil, desensitize the nerve endings to pain.   This will not last.   He will eventually destroy more tissue than the pain relievers can mask.   Pitchers must be able to pitch discomfort-free without medication.

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235.   I was researching the subject when I came across your text associated with the baseball almanac.   I have some stabbing pain in that area when I bench press.   I am a 38 year old shot putter to whom the bench press is pretty much a necessity.   I've had massage therapy in that area, but with no real success.   Would you have any thoughts as to how I can attack this problem?

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     The coracobrachialis muscle attaches at one end to the coracoid process of the scapula in a hollow area inside of the head of the humerus and above the clavicle and on the other end to the middle of the humerus on the inside or medial surface.   When it contracts it brings the coracoid process closer to the middle of the inside of the humerus.   When persons lay on their back, raise their humerus to shoulder height and point their elbow outwardly and even backwardly, they place their coracobrachialis at a mechanical disadvantage.   The primary muscle associated with the bench press is the pectoralis major.   It attaches at one end to the sternum and at the other end below the bicipital groove on the inside or medial aspect of the proximal one-third of the humerus.   In the bench press position, it is in good position to apply force.

     I would suggest that you not take your upper arm behind your acromial line when you start your bench presses.   This will also increase your shot put efficiency.   Your acromial line is a line through the tips of both of your shoulders that extends outward in both directions.   The more that you move your elbows behind the acromial line, the more you decrease the effectiveness of the muscles that enable you to bench press or shot put.   It also places extreme stress on the subscapularis muscle that attaches at one end to the lesser tuberosity on the front of your shoulder.   In fact, you might be confusing the discomfort in the subscapularis with the coracobrachialis.

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236.   What is the best routine for a pitcher to do between games?   He is a senior in high school graduating in June.   He will be playing Legion ball.   His year didn't go good as he pulled a muscle in his back.   So, he will probably attend a junior college.   He lost some velocity on his fastball.

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     That is a very difficult question for me to answer because I do not know how he applies force to his pitches or how fit he is to pitch.   After my pitchers complete my forty week training program, I know precisely what they should do every day.   We have a maintenance program that is one-half of our basic training repetitions and we complete these at about two-thirds intensity.   We have wrist weight, iron ball and baseball exercises that we perform daily.   However, someone not trained in my force application techniques and not fit to perform these exercises daily could injure themselves.   I will tell you that rest results in muscle atrophy and motor skill degradation.   However, if the force application technique is bad, he might need the days off to recover from the damage that pitching did to his arm.

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237.   Thanks so much for your prompt and detailed response.   I learned a great deal from your explanation.   To clarify, if I understand you correctly, to avoid dropping the upper arm below the acromial line, I should do partial benches.   If I am envisioning your suggestion correctly, the bar would never be lowered far enough to touch my chest.

     You mentioned my possibly mistaking pain that could be in the subscapularis.   A physical therapist defined it as in the coracobrachialis.   I looked up the subscapularis and it doesn't seem to be the right area.   When I hold my upper arm parallel with my shoulder as though I was asking a question in class, I can touch the source of the pain, forward of the armpit and extending toward the bicep where is is covered by the biceps.


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     Your description of the location of the discomfort does indicate the coracobrachialis area.   The subscapularis discomfort would locate on the front of your shoulder.   You are correct that I recommend what you describe as a 'partial' bench press.   When you move the upper arm behind your acromial line, you place the muscles other than the pectoralis major at a mechanical disadvantage, especially the coracobrachialis and subscapularis.   They can help only after your get your upper arm ahead of your acromial line.   I imagine that you could learn to not use those muscles during the early phase of the movement, but that seems difficult to me.

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238.   I have really enjoyed reading your books and Q & A sections.   As has been stated by you and others, pictures and illustrations would be so helpful in visualizing your techniques.   Would it be at all possible to have even few photographs of a student executing the proper techniques?   Also, I am going to be flying into Orlando and traveling up to Ocala for a business meeting on the 29th of May and wondered if it might be possible to see some live execution of your techniques?

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     Everybody is welcome at anytime to visit my pitcher training center in Zephyrhills, FL.   Please call (813)783-1357 for directions.   I will even show you a shortcut from Orlando to Ocala.   I have no illustrations or pictures.   However, I am working on an instructional videotape.   We have shot the footage.   Now, they are making copies from which I will tell them which sections go where.   When we get that rough cut, then we will do whatever designing we need, slow motion and so on and, finally, the voice-over work.   I do not have a schedule, but I will do everything I can to complete my part expeditiously.

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239.   I read in one of the q/a that you have a throwing program.   Is this program in one of the books that is on the web site?   Also, I noticed that you have pitchers wearing wrist weights.   How does this differ from throwing weighted balls?   Do you see a problem with throwing weighted balls?   One last question.   When throwing with wrist weights or weighted balls, should the player be throwing as hard as possible?

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     Chapters Twenty-Four and Twenty-five explain my pitcher training program.   However, I learn how to teach my force application techniques better almost daily it seems and I need to update these materials.   Nevertheless, what I have there works and is available for all to read.

     My wrist weight exercises train the brakes of the pitching motion and teach the proper force application techniques.   My iron ball exercises train the accelerators of the pitching motion and teach the proper force application techniques.   I do not use weighted baseballs.   I have concerns with players throwing six, eight, ten and twelve ounce weighted baseballs as hard as they can with improper force application techniques.   I fear that they will injure themselves.   The irony is that with my much heavier weighted iron balls, pitchers have a minimal chance of injuring themselves because they do weigh so much and the pitchers understand that they need proper force application techniques.

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240.   I wrote you earlier about the pitching program.   The website indicates that you take phone calls.   If I called you to discuss baseball, would you actually take the time to talk to me?   I have a 14 yr old son that plays.   He is small for his age.   He has only grown 1" since he was 12.   He is an above average fielder and has pretty good bat speed for his size.   His arm is average for his age.

     We practice 5 - 6 days each week during the summer and 3 days each week during the winter.   This is time that we practice on our own apart from the team that he is on.   He is extremely dedicated and I am extremely consumed with trying to help him improve (maybe too consumed).   I always enjoy talking with individuals that have baseball knowledge.

     I don't accept everything that they teach, but I try to take something positive from their experience.   My biggest contribution to my son's improvement is only being able to provide him with the repetitions that are needed.   Anyway, if I could call you and discuss a few topics it would be great.   I'm sure that you are extremely busy and this might be too much to ask.


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     I believe that the best way for us to communicate is email.   I can sit down when I have time and write you a thoughtful answer.   I cannot think of a time when I could schedule a telephone call and, then, the words vanish whereas the email remains.   When people need to talk with me, such as when we make arrangement for my pitching coach services, they call and leave their number and a couple of good times for me to return the call.

     You said that your son is fourteen and he has only grown one inch since he was twelve.   This does not sound right unless he is a very early maturing youngster.   Have you determined his biological age to see at what rate he is maturing?   You might want to read Chapters Two, Three and Four of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     At fourteen years old, he should still have open growth plates in his pitching arm.   This means that you need to take care not to stress these growth plates into premature closure thus permanently stunting the growth and development of the bones of his pitching arm.   To me, this means that you do not want to practice pitching for more than two months per year and, at age fourteen, you do not want to pitch more than one inning per game.

     I am always interested when someone says, 'I do not accept everything that you teach.'   What do you not accept?   On what basis do you not accept it?   I look forward to discussing the topics with which you have interest.   Please email early and often.

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241.   I wrote you yesterday concerning my 14 yr old son.   I probably should clarify what I said in my previous message.   I stated that I enjoy discussing baseball topics with individuals that have alot of experience, but I don't always accept everything that they teach.   When I made that comment, I was not refering to any of your teachings.   It was just a general statement.   To be honest it would be difficult for me to disagree with your teachings because they are extremely difficult for me to even understand (the mechanics of throwing).

     I do agree with what you teach in regards to younger players pitching too much.   When my son was 11 and 12 yrs old his coach would limit him to 100 pitches per game.   At the time, I didn't realize that this was hurting him.   I never have allowed him to throw curve balls.   Even while just playing catch.   I don't know the proper mechanics of throwing the curve and we haven't had any coaches that I trusted to teach him to throw a curve.   There is no doubt in my mind that he should havenever been allowed to throw that many pitches in a game.

     Last year he moved up to the full size diamond (90') and he started experiencing pain in his elbow for the first time.   We threw all winter in a gym and he didn't have too many problems with his elbow, but when we started practicing on the field this spring, his elbow started hurting again.   I think that it was a result of throwing longer distances with unnatural arm angles and improper throwing mechanics.   I did notice that when he was pitching, he seemed to be throwing across his body too much.   He has a friend that always throws with his glove against his chest.   We tried this, thinking that it would help keep his front shoulder closed longer.   I know that most players don't throw this way, but I thought that we should give it a try.   I don't know if it is wrong to throw this way, but he hasn't had any elbow pain since he started doing it.

     We throw everyday, but not an excessive amount (I think ?).   He usually throws for about 5 minutes from 45' at about 80% of maximum effort.   Then we throw for another 5 minutes from 60' at about 80% max effort.   After this warmup, he throws 20 pitches at maximum effort.   After pitching, he takes 10 throws (5 at max effort) from 90' and 10 throws (5 at max) from 120'.   Do you think that this is an excessive amount?

     Also, I stated in my earlier message that he has only grown 1" since he was 12.   I think that this is pretty accurate.   I have not measured him, but he is still wearing the same size pants and they are not too short.   I think that you are correct in saying that he is maturing slowly.   I did notice last year that many of the other players had alot of underarm hair.   Even a year later, he only has a few hairs on his underarm.   This is the main reason that we haven't started lifting weights yet.   I know that some question the value of lifting weights to improve their baseball (I may have even seen where you indicated this).   The only type of resistance training that we have performed is the power fins on his bat using the setpro bat speed monitor and overload/underload training.

     Since reading about you having your students wearing wrist weights when they throw, would this be a good idea for bat speed training?   He is at a disadvantage with the other kids his age due to his size.   I believe that he has as much if not more skill than the other kids at his league and school, but he does not have the strength and genetics that many of them have (I'm going to blame his mother).   Next year he will be trying out for the JV team and I am hoping that the coaches can see the skills and realize that eventually he will grow.   I have told him that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

     He is extremly dedicated and his willing to do whatever is needed to improve.   I know that this has been quite lengthy and you may not have the opportunity to reply to all of it.   Whatever advise you can offer is greatly appreciated.   Also, I am impressed that you would take the time to assist young ballplayers without expecting something in return.   I'm sure that with your experience and knowledge you could be charging a substantial amount for any advise that you have to offer.   I know that other less qualified individuals are.


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     First and quickly, I do not have my pitchers throw with wrist weights on.   That would be irresponsible and extremely dangerous.   After I have viewed X-rays to make certain that the growth plates of their pitching arm have completely matured, I do have them complete wrist weight exercises, but they most certainly do not throw baseballs with wrist weights on.

     I would like to know precisely where your son experienced discomfort when he threw.   In that way, I can determine what he is doing wrong with his force application.   While impractical long term, holding the glove against the chest to prevent the front shoulder from opening is a good idea.   However, it is a better idea to make certain that he keeps his elbow ahead of his acromial line.

     You should have more definitive information on your son's growth.   Even if he is an extremely delayed maturer, he should grow taller at a higher rate than you describe.   Maybe you could check with his doctor for his height and weight measurements over the past three years.

     Lastly, while the process is extremely slow for my taste, we are trying to put together my ideas on an instructional videotape.   I have hopes that it will be done in a couple of months.   I know that I will have what I can do done very quickly, the rest is up to the company with whom I signed.   In the meanwhile, I have attempted to write clearly in my books and question/answer sections.

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242.   I have a 17 year old son, who is 5'9" and weighs in the neighborhood of 150 lbs.   He is very athletic and has been playing competitive travel baseball since he was 8 years old.   When he was 13, he started to pitch and was fairly successful at the 13, 14 and 15 year levels.   He seems to have great control and placement, but lacks velocity.   Since his sophomore year he has seen very little action in games because his High School coach does not think he has the speed to strike out varsity hitters.   He has been used primarily as a batting practice pitcher and in situations where the coach needs someone to throw strikes.   I would be interested in getting more information about your training program for Summer 2001 and your views on what you think a 17 year old can gain during your 10 week program.

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     My ten week summer session shows high school juniors and seniors the commitment that they have to make to find out at what level of baseball they can have pitching success.   The programs gives them a basic level of strength and a knowledge of how they have to apply force to achieve their maximum release velocity.   It also shows them the release techniques that they will have to master to throw quality non-fastball pitches.

     Whether your young man increases his fastball release velocity depends on several factors.   Certainly, basic strength and proper force application technique strongly contribute, but so does genetic heritage.   For anybody to determine their adult fastball velocity requires several years of proper training and force application.   My ten week summer program is the first step. My forty week program is the second step.   Then, pitchers have to continue to train and pitch competitively through college.

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243.   My son is 13 years old and has a dedicated pitching coach that was an all american at Arizona state.   He teaches Jonathan to NOT push off the rubber, that pitching velocity is instead produced by the torque generated from the twisting of the body.   Jonathan has had two other coaches that stressed pushing off and he sometimes reverts to this.

     When he does his pitches are high out of the strike zone or worse yet he isn't able to get his pitching forearm up to the full horizontal position before he comes forward causing him to throw side arm or somewhat side arm, which ruins his accuracy and his elbow.

     My question:   Is pushing off correct?   Or, are there two schools of thought with both being correct?   The 'PITCHING for Excellence' internet site as you probably know says that pushing off is dead wrong and the most misunderstood "skill" taught by pitching coaches.   I'm confused!!!   Help!


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     First, at thirteen years old, your son has open growth plates in his pitching arm.   If he stresses these growth plates with too much pitching, especially competitive pitching, he can destroy his pitching arm.   I recommend that he not pitch more than one inning per game and practice pitching for more than two months per year.   At about fifteen years of age, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle should be sufficiently mature to withstand the stress of pitching.   That is the age when he can commit himself completely to pitching.

     Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion states, 'For every action force, there is an equal and oppositely directed reaction force.'   For pitchers, this means that if pitchers want to direct greater force toward home plate behind their pitches, then they must direct greater force toward second base.   The best way to direct force toward second base is through the feet.   Therefore, pitchers must powerfully push backward toward second base with their rear leg.

     However, there is danger in this when combined with the balance point technique.   The balance point tells pitchers to come to a balance point followed by starting their body forward while they start their pitching arm backward.   This action forces the pitching arm to try to catch up with the body.   This action leaves the pitching elbow behind the acromial line.   This action places unnecessary stress on the front of the shoulder and the inside of the elbow.

     I teach pitchers to take their pitching arm all of the way back before they start their body forward.   I teach pitchers to always keep their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line.   If pitchers do this, then they can push as hard off the pitching rubber as they want and they with only gain as a result.   In addition, I teach my pitchers how to also apply force toward second base with their front foot by moving their body ahead of their front foot and combining the oppositely directed force of their front foot with their forearm acceleration through release.

     I have no idea what other sites say about pitching.   I do not discuss anybody, only ideas.   If you have read my credentials, then you know that I have researched pitching for over thirty years.   While I am happy to discuss pitching theories, I see no reason to read those who do not have the required academic background.

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244.   Thank you for your website and books.   It answers many questions for those of use who wish to teach the game of baseball in a safe manner to young people.   From you book I have learned that it is inadvisable to let an eight year old throw with force in a pitching situation.   In one of your chapters you state: "the most critical growth plate with which baseball pitchers need to have concern is the medial epicondyle.   Five powerful baseball pitching muscles arise from the medial epicondyle.   They exert tremendous force during all types of baseball pitches."

     I have heard that submarine style pitching may be less stressful on a young arm and shoulder.   Do your precautions in the book apply equally to overhand and submarine styles?   Second, you recommend that pitchers drive off the pitching rubber.   Do you advocate a rather orthodox approach of what Tom Seaver used to refer to as the "down and drive method" utilized by he and other Met pitchers such as Nolan Ryan?   Do you give credence to the the critics who state that the "down and drive method" causes the ball to be released lower on the mound (than the fall method) and therefore fails to take advantage of dropping through what might be called "vertical planes" on the was to the plate, (i.e. the difference in drop of a curveball from someone such as a 5'9" pitcher like Pedro Martinez versus a 6'10" Randy Johnson)?


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     The principle applies to all styles of pitching.   Submarine pitching is as dangerous as overhand with regard to growth plate development.

     I recommend that pitchers pitch as tall as possible.   Pitchers can exert a powerful equal and oppositely directed force toward second base without lowering their body to make themselves five feet tall.   I recommend that pitchers actively and powerfully drive off the pitching rubber, not fall.   However, they must learn how to keep their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line or they will put their subscapularis attachment on the lesser tuberosity of the humerus at danger.

     I have not had an opportunity to study high speed film of the pitching techniques of Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.   I have only seen videotape and that is insufficient to analyze their pitching arms through release.   However, in general, I would agree that Randy Johnson does not pitch as tall as he stands.

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245.   I have a teammate who was clocked at 77 MPH at our tryout facilities.   He credits much of his velocity gain from the previous year to heavy weight training (started bench pressing at 120 pounds and improved to 195 pounds).   Quite a jump.   This pitcher is 14 years old, and last year was clocked at upwards of 70 MPH.

     But, I noticed something very different in his mechanics.   What he does now is an exaggerated lean forward.   Once coming out of the balance position (very slowly) and begins to move out he "throws" his upper body at the target.   Bear in mind, however, that there is a confirmed pause when his body is in this forward position and arm is the "high cocked position."   Could this be a young man unknowingly incorporating your techique?   Do you think that it helped his velocity jump 7 MPH?   By the way, he is a lefty, if it makes a bit of difference.


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     I certainly would not have anybody use the 'high cocked position' where their forearm points upward before the upper arm starts forward.   I also would not have anybody use the 'balance position' where pitchers start their body forward while they start their pitching arm backward.   However, I do believe in powerfully moving the body forward off the pitching rubber, but only if they know how to keep their elbow ahead of their acromial line.   It is good that he has trained and become stronger, but the strength needs to also be specific to baseball pitching.   Even with much greater general strength, the unnecessary stress on the pitching arm of the 'high guard' and 'balance point' techniques will eventually destroy his pitching arm.

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246.   When people say that a pitcher throws a heavy ball, what exactly is that supposed to mean?   I hear differing definitions.   I have also been told that the reason a ball is heavy is that the pitcher is able to get a greater number of revolutions on the ball.   Is this true?   Is that done by keeping the ball on the fingers longer?

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     Catchers like to catch pitches toward the web of the glove between their thumb and index finger.   When they catch the ball lower toward the palm of their hand instead, the ball shocks their hand and they say that the ball is heavy.   It has to do with movement of the ball that they did not correctly anticipate.   It has nothing to do with spin velocity.   It has nothing to do with keeping the ball on the fingers longer.   It has to do with placing the circle of friction forward such that the collisions between the air molecules and the seam of the baseball cause the baseball to move toward the palm of the catchers' glove.

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247.   In our Little League Major Division, we have a coach that is teaching his players (11 & 12 yr. olds) to throw what he calls a "Moving Fastball".   He teaches his players to grip the ball similar to a curveball (seam between the index and middle fingers) and to throw it hard while coming around the ball.   I've seen one kid throw it and it looks like a fast curve.   I tried to explain to him the this creates a large amount of torque and is very stressful on the elbow.   His reply was that I just don't want his team to beat mine!

     If I am right is there any way that you can provide or tell me where to find proof that this type of pitch is too stressful for an 11 or 12 year old kid?   I would really like to be able to provide him with something in writing so that he sees that I am just concerned about the welfare of the players and not in search of the almighty win.


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     Since I recommend that no pitcher pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game, you know that I disagree with this person.   The technique that you describe applies unnecessary stress to the medial epicondyle area of the pitching arm and will cause damage.   It also places the olecranon process at risk of slamming into the olecranon fossa.   I recommend that you offer the parents of his pitchers my web site address and have them read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

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248.   Have you ever heard of a pitcher failing to pronate his forearm as he throws?   My son had his elbow problem this year and when we videotaped him recently he seems to be shortarming the ball, and not pronating at all.   As a result, everything is high and, at times, soft.   I tried to throw like that and it puts a lot of stress on the forearm and elbow.   Does this make sense?   How would a person correct this?

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     Many pitchers simply pull the baseball across the front of their body and do not pronate their forearm at all.   This is the first skill that I teach pitchers who train with me.   If pitchers do not learn how to properly rotate their shoulders and pronate their forearm, they will never achieve their maximum release velocity and will always unnecessarily stress their arms.

     I have pitchers do my force-coupling throws where pitchers start with their arms in the leverage position.   They start with their wrist weight exercises and then do their iron ball exercises this way.   Lastly, they throw baseballs with the force-coupling drill.   It does not take long before they can rotate their shoulders until the front shoulder points toward home plate and pronate their forearm such that during the follow-through, they place their arm behind their back.

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249.   I have found it difficult to have the forearm going straight back to second base with palm up.

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     I recently adjusted where I want the palm of the pitching hand facing at the end of the pendulum swing.   I started with the palm facing upward.   Now, I want the palm facing downward.   The reason is that some pitchers when they turn their forearm over during the pendulum swing permit their pitching arm to drift laterally behind their body.   I learned that when I tell them to keep their palms facing downward throughout, they do not take their arm laterally behind their body.   This does cause some concern with pitchers getting their forearm in proper position at leverage, but this is of less concern than taking their arm laterally behind their body.

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250.   The USA Today lead sports story (05/23) has a picture of a pitcher from Notre Dame.   It is a side shot at what I think you call leverage.   At this point prior to movement forward, his forearm is bent back to horizontal from the elbow joint.   I tried to put my own arm in this position and for this old body, it is impossible.   Is this the correct position at this point?   If you don't have the picture, I will be glad to slip it in the mail to you.

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     I have not seen the picture, but I will bet that the pitcher has already started his upper arm acceleration phase.   It is not easy for pitchers to lay their forearm back horizontal until they start their upper arm acceleration.   Nevertheless, I train pitchers to do just that.   This avoids rotator cuff injuries and lengthens the driveline.

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251.   MY SON IS TWELVE YEARS OLD, AND HE IS A PITCHER ON HIS BASEBALL TEAM.   HE COMPLAINED OF PAIN IN HIS INNER ELBOW OF HIS PITCHING ARM.   THE ORTHOPEDIC DOCTOR RECOMENDED COMPLETE REST.   IT HAS BEEN THREE WEEKS.   HE HAS BEEN PLAYING FIRST BASE AS PER THE DOCTOR'S ADVICE INSTEAD OF HIS NORMAL SHORT STOP POSITION.   I READ IN A SPORT'S BOOK TO START HIM WITH LONG TOSS THROWING TO BRING BLOOD TO THE AREA WITHOUT EXTENDING THE INJURY.   IS THAT SOMETHING THAT IS RECOMENDED?

     ALSO, HE DID HAVE X-RAYS DONE WHEN HE FIRST SAW THE DOCTOR AND THE DOCTOR SAID THE X-RAY WAS FINE.   HE HAS A VERY GOOD CHANCE TO MAKE ALL STARS THIS SEASON.   IF THE PAIN PERSIST DO YOU RECOMEND HE SHOULD HAVE A M.R.I. TO DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF THE PAIN.   IF HE CAN NOT PLAY BASEBALL, WE NEED TO TELL HIS MANAGER SO THEY CAN FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR MY SON, IF NEED BE.


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     When twelve year old youngsters complain of discomfort on the inside of the elbow, that is serious.   The inside of the elbow means the medial epicondyle ossification center.   At twelve years old, the medial epicondyle ossification center attaches to the shaft of the humerus by a cartilaginous growth plate.   When throwing overly stresses this growth plate, the growth plate responds by initiating premature ossification.   Premature ossification closes the growth plate and permanently stunts the growth of the distal end of the humerus.   Research has shown up to a one-half inch length difference in adult pitchers who pitched as adolescents.   X-rays do not show premature ossification unless the physician compares the pitching side with the non-pitching side.

     When youngsters complain of discomfort at the tibial tuberosity of the lower leg, physicians call it, 'Osgood Schlatter's Disease,' and order the youngsters not to run or jump for six months until the growth plate of the tibial tuberosity ossification center matures.   This is exactly the same thing.   Whenever youngsters complain of discomfort in the inside of the elbow, those youngsters should not throw or swing anything for a minimum of six months.

     Since you have not read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book or my Question/Answer sections, I will repeat my recommendation regarding adolescent pitching.   I strongly recommend that no youngster pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures.   I further recommend that youngsters practice their pitching skills for only two months per year until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures.   While it varies somewhat and X-rays are the only way of knowing for sure, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures at about fifteen years of age.

     Please read Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and make your own decision regarding how much pitching and throwing you want your son to do.

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252.   When young pitchers get hurt in one organization, like Bill Pulsipher, Paul Wilson, and Jason Isrinhausen did with the Mets several years ago, do you think that this is a fluke, or is there a minor league pitching coach responsible for their poor mechanics?

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     Whenever pitchers at any age and any level of competition injure themselves while pitching, the cause is either improper force application techniques or improper training procedures or both.   I do not believe that the Mets have an exclusive on either.   I do not believe that there is a single minor league pitching coach responsible for these failings.   I blame myself and others in my academic discipline, i.e., Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Motor Skill Acquisition for the problem.   If we researchers had done our work correctly, then we should be the persons to whom pitchers of all ages look for advice regarding proper force application and training methodologies.   However, because we scientific experts have not done our job, people look to persons without academic credentials and the naiveté to believe that they know something when they do not even know the related musculature or the relevant laws of Physics.   To them, the Earth is still flat, my friend.

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253.   I only found your website last night. This is wonderful work from someone who may be the most uniquely qualified person in the world to do so.   I applaud your motives as they are obviously not geared to making a fast-buck.

     Sadly, I, like many others, may have found this site too late.   My 10 year old has pitched for two years.   Until recently, I've always observed ASMI pitch count and rest periods.   My son has also caught a lot and I didn't realize the added strain this creates.   His only arm complaint was an occasional sore elbow only while warming up that went away as he got loose.   I assumed that this was only natural.   I've also had him always warm up slowly and carefully and use rubbber tubing as part of this.

     Two weeks ago he pitched a complete 6inning, 82 pitch game.   I left him in because it was a close game for first place and he wasn't struggling at all, in fact, he was throwing harder than usual with complete control.   There is no justification for what I did.   He felt fine afterwards and I iced his arm for 20 minutes as a precaution.   Six days later, he caught a complete game in which 152 pitches were thrown.   Three days later, he started and on pitch 19, he felt pain in his right pitching elbow on the inside of the crook of his elbow as he looks at it with the palm down (thumb side).   He immediately left the game.   He now only feels a slight discomfort when he fully extends his arm or when he curls his arm to make a bicep muscle bulge.   He is scheduled to see a sports orthopedic doctor next week.   This sounds like the classic medial epicondlye injury that I see described so many times on this pages (why didn't I see this before this happened, though it is doubtful that I would have had the guts to change anything).   I assume that I should request bilateral elbow X-rays and have them compared for damage.

     What else should I ask or look for in terms of assessing the damage?   What about recovery?   There seems to be many schools of thought and perhaps this doctor will only prescribe anti-inflammatories and 2 weeks rest.   Should he be allowed to play any at all this summer at 2nd or SS?   He, of course, will not pitch or catch any more despite his objections.

     Also, I think one additional strain or over use was his neighborhood playing of wiffleball where I think they were playing tag with a wiffleball awfully hard.   What is his long-term prognosis for ever trying to pitch successfully again?   I will follow-up with the actual results.   Fathers and coaches, don't think this cannot happen to you.   I am the only person in the whole league then even has a pitch counter and people look at me like I'm crazy.   I've seen kids throw 123-130 pitches on Thursday and then 90-100 on Saturday.

     I may have ruined my son's arm (for what?) and possibly prevented him from doing what he loves to do most, pitching.   Thank you for what you're doing.   I will try to educate as many people as I can so they don't have to learn the hard way.


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     I am sorry to read of your difficulty.   I say your because it is something that you will never forget.   You tried to do everything right.   However, you could not fight the emotional forces from others not to permit your son his moment in the sun.   I understand.   It will take everybody to stop ruining the pitching arms of our best young pitchers, not parents here and there, but everybody.

     You are correct that you should have bilateral X-rays.   At ten years old, your son will have growth plates everywhere at the distal end of the humerus and the proximal ends of the ulna and radius.   While the medial epicondyle has the growth plate that receives the greatest stress because of the five critical pitching muscles that attach to it, you should also take careful not of the proximal end of the radius bone.   At ten years of age, I am not certain of the status of the olecranon process ossification center and its growth plate, but you need to examine it closely also.   I am not certain that the ossification center of the lateral epicondyle has even started to ossify and may not show on the X-ray.   It appears last, but matures first.

     In any case, you should follow my recommendations from now on.   It is actually better that he has injured himself this early rather than at ages twelve or thirteen where the growth plates are more closed.   He has more time for the natural growth pattern to take place.

     At this point, your son should not pitch or throw for an extended period of time.   I would suggest until next year.   Then, he should not pitch or throw for more than two month per year.   He should not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and, then, for more than one inning per game.   At about age fifteen, you should repeat the bilateral X-rays to check that the growth plate of the medial epicondyle has completely matured.   At that time, he can train and pitch to his heart's content without concern for irreparable skeletal damage.

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254.   One positive that has happened is that other parents are suddenly aware that if this could happen to my son as careful as I was with him- well, I think that at least a lot of kids will be limited in pitch counts from here on in our town.

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     Would you please tell me of your son's diagnosis?   I have great concern that physicians cannot recognize growth plate trauma, even when they compare both arms.

     I do not believe that we can solve the problem with pitch counts.   I believe that we have to stop competitive pitching.   I have nothing against youngsters learning how to pitch and learning how to properly throw every type of pitch.   I have concern for the yearly duration of the practice, I recommend no more than two months, and I have concern for the intensity of competitive pitching.   I believe that youngsters can injure their growth plates with the first pitch of the game as well as the one hundredth pitch.

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255.   My little brother is 6'4 235 lbs.   He is now a junior in high school and has been very sucessful.   The only real weakness I spot in his game is he weakens in the stretch position.   Are there any exercises or drills I can refer to him?

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     Since pitchers should learn their force application technique first while in the set position and pitchers win or lose games while in the set position, I would say that your brother has a significant problem.   I carefully explain the drills that I use to teach the proper force application technique in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   He should start with the force-coupling exercise, move to the power leverage exercise, then to the wrong foot throws, followed by the shoulder high rock-back throws and, lastly, the rock-back throws.   I have my pitchers perform all of these from the set position.   We do not practice the windup until we have mastered the set position techniques.

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256.   Could you spend a moment either desribing the Jobe cuff exercises in layman's terms for me or emailing a quick diagram/picture of what these look like.   Both my shoulders dislocate (atrautmatically I think - though it hurts!) and I should like to try these stabilising exercises.

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     Dr. Jobe developed his exercises after watching me do my exercises while we were together in Los Angeles.   He felt that my exercises were too rigorous for him to recommend, so he designed some very simple, minimally stressful shoulder exercises.   Basically, Frank used light hand-held weights, had the patients bend their elbow to ninety degree and rotate the forearm about their humerus with the humerus at the side and abducted to shoulder height.   I am sure that he has diagrams of this, but since I have my own exercises, I do not have a copy of his.

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257.   I turned 14 in January and I've been playin baseball all my life.   Since major leagues, I've been pitching and last year at a game I was pitching and I tore my MCL.   I rarely ever throw curve balls though maybe once a game anyway.   I went to doctor a week ago and been through X-rays and such.   I have cast on right now until Sunday when I go back.   I pretty much know I'll have surgury, but I just wanted to know what will be of the process.
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     MCL stands for Medial Collateral Ligament.   It is also called the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   This ligament attaches the medial epicondyle of the humerus to the medial aspect of the ulna bone of the forearm.   The inside of the elbow receives tremendous stress during the throwing motion and pitchers can increase the unnecessary stress to this area with improper force application techniques, namely the 'high guard' position of the forearm.   While the curve, because it requires pitchers to rotate their forearm two hundred and seventy degrees during the transition phase does generally create the highest amount of unnecessary stress, other pitches also can create unnecessary stress.   Add this unnecessary stress to the incomplete skeletal development of fourteen year olds and bad things can happen.

     If you have ruptured this ligament, you get to have 'Tommy John' surgery.   It is a good surgery and you should have complete recovery of the torn ligament.   However, I cannot say the same for what you have done to the proper skeletal development of the growth plates of your pitching elbow.

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258.   I need every scientific explanation you can think of why balanced or squared shoulders are necessary to pitch a baseball.   I know they are in your book but I like more detailed explanations.

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     Level shoulders enable pitchers to rotate their shoulders fully and smoothly.   Consider the child's spinning top.   If the spin axis is perfectly vertical it rotates smoothly under control.   However, if the spin axis leans to one side it moves out of control.   Pitchers need to keep their spin axis vertical as well.   Additionally, vertical spin axes maximize the length of drivelines and promote the quality of reverse breaking pitches by permitting pitchers to drive through their pitches with horizontal finger drive.

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259.   I found your site when you were interviewed on a Chicago sports radio show a couple of months ago.   You mentioned that one of the reasons you no longer watch MLB is because of your disgust of the mechanics and techniques used and taught to today's pitchers.   Your criticism was not of all pitchers in MLB, but as I remember, most.   Somewhere on your site I read that you prefer to watch players you have tutored.   My question is, who are some of the pitchers you have seen and/or coached either at the major league level or below that you can "recommend" as examples to watch.   Pitchers that you feel are working at or doing things properly?

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     I prefer to stay with the scientific principles and not move into anecdotal evidence.   Therefore, I never say watch this guy or that guy.   Pitchers shoulder apply force in straight lines from leverage through release.   Watch pitchers and see if you can find one who does this better than the others.   Pitchers should extend the length of their drivelines maximally.   Watch pitchers and see if you can find one who does this better than others.   Pitchers should keep their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line.   Watch pitchers and see ...

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260.   Do you ever schedule individual lessons with young pitchers?   I have a 14 year old son that pitches and I want to make sure his mechanics are sound.

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     As my web site says under Pitching Instruction, I work only with the skeletally mature.   I have a ten week summer program for high school seniors and a forty week program for high school graduates with college eligibility remaining.

     However, as a result of persons such as yourself, I am considering analyzing videotapes, taken in the precise manner I request, and advising parents and the youngsters of the adjustments they need to make.   I am presently searching for a way to do this.   I don't know if I need additional software or if I could simply videotape me playing the videotapes and include my comments that way.

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261.   It seems that you have to put some of your students in the major leagues now in order to be credible, then the next question is how many?

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     I understand the difficulties of working with people who are not educators.   I take pitchers who throw 83 mph with no quality non-fastballs and show them how to throw 90 mph with quality non-fastballs and some slug takes a kid who throws 95 mph and no quality non-fastballs and that kid signs and that coach is a hero.   But, we are right and reasoned people will learn because the kids of those other coaches will injure themselves and ours will not.   We have to be the preachers of no more pitching arm injuries as our sign of success, not for how much money our kids sign.

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262.   I have a youth throwing mechanics question.   I hope you can help.   My oldest son turned 12 in April.   He is an early maturer, but is also young for the age cut-off date, so he does pretty well.   He plays Pony League baseball and plays for an AAU travel team.   He absolutely loves playing baseball.   I coach his team, but I'm not involved in his AAU coaching.   He is batting .800 and plays catcher, SS and pitcher.   So far, he has not pitched in AAU.   I do not think his ultimate destiny in baseball is the pitcher's mound, but he is good enough give some service there now.   In 10 Rec games, he's pitched 11 innings.   I usually need him more at catcher than at pitcher.

     In the largest sense, my problem is this:   I want my son's arm to survive youth baseball.   Your site has sufficiently concerned me about what my son's play might be doing to his arm.   I do not want to sacrifice his arm on the altar of a coach's ego.   (Even my own.)   Worse, from what I've seen, the phrase "Frequently wrong but never in doubt" seems to accurately sum up most youth baseball coaches.   The only reason I coach is to make sure some real ego maniacs don't coach my son.

     Now, however, his AAU coaches are giving him grief over his throwing motion.   One is telling him that he will ruin his shoulder if he continues to throw as he is doing.   (The fact that he says nothing to me, but tries to scare a 12 year old with talk like that makes me doubt that the coach has made a real study of the issue.   I suspect he is passing on dogma from his past youth and high school play.)

     When he was 9 years old, he threw like he was throwing a dart, just snapping his forearm forward.   His arm was strong and he had decent speed, but I was afraid he would toast his elbow snapping it like that.   I spent about one year getting him to stretch out his arm and throw overhand.   (We threw footballs and basketballs--hard to throw a basketball past your ear...)   He has good control now.

     I have watched my son on video tape and he now throws with his arm more straight than bent.   Well past the 90 degrees you recommend--but certainly not less than 90.   It does NOT appear that he has forearm flyout--it never seems to go completely straight--it seems to be 20 to 30 degrees short of straight all the way through.   I don't think his forearm bones are crashing into his humerus by going completely straight.   The elbow remains at and usually above shoulder level.   He can also change his arm angle and throw sidearm with better control than most side-arm only pitchers.

     My concern is that if these AAU coaches succeed in getting him to move to 90 degrees (or worse, less than 90), he will be susceptible to the forearm bounce you describe and might stress and damage his elbow ligaments and growth plates.   It seems to me that by being well over 90 degrees, he is less likely to damage his elbow.   In other words, it seems to me that a 90 degree angle poorly taught (without the head pat, elbow raise and horizontal forearm that you teach), is worse than a slightly "stiff-armed" throwing approach.


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     I agree that less than a ninety degree relationship between the forearm and the upper arm causes forearm flyout and will injure the inside of the elbow.   However, my greatest concern is the relationship between the elbow and the acromial line.   All throwers must keep their elbow ahead of their acromial line.

     I applaud your care and concern.   After your son's growth plates mature, he can work as hard as he wants on improving his throwing technique.   However, if he does any damage to the normal growth and development of his growth plates before then, he will never recover what he lost.

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263.   I am 15 years old.   I recently hurt my arm while batting.   I hurt it on the follow through when I brought the bat back over my shoulder.   It felt like it had become dislocated and it was hard to move it.   The next morning it hurt my shoulder and upper tricep to lift my are laterally.   What do you think that it could be?

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     I completed my first high speed film analysis on baseball batting because, at that time, I was the All-Star shortstop in the Double-A Southern League.   I have a very productive force application technique and training program for hitters.

     The young man does not tell us which arm.   If it is his front arm, which I suspect, he probably uses the improper deceleration technique advocated in the 'throw the bat at the baseball' method.   This leaves the front arm to decelerate the bat by itself.   Not only does this technique reduce bat head velocity, but it also places the front arm at risk.

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264.   I wants to get your opinion of the glove hand applying Dr Newton's 3rd law.   When taking the pitching arm back to head pat position, I did the same with the glove hand and put it in the head pat at same time, then raised the throwing to shoulder level and did same with glove hand, I never experienced such perfect balance.   Is it overcoming my clumsiness that causes this perfect feeling?

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     The front arm can enhance the rotation of the shoulders.   However, if the forearm of the front arm moves outside of the body, it will generate side forces that will take force away from the pitching arm.   For that reason, I initially try to minimize the action of the front arm and focus on the pitching arm.   The key to successful pitching is the action of the pitching arm.   Do not get too involved with any other appendage.

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265.   So, are you saying you are against any one-arm follow through of the hitting style Charley Lau advocated?

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     I try to not mention names, but only discuss theories and their scientific bases.   By removing one arm from the bat eliminates the possibility of force-coupling to increase bat head speed through the hitting zone and places the front arm at risk to safely decelerate the bat.   If someone advocates releasing the bat with the rear arm, then I would disagree with them.   I said as much to Mr. Lau personally, but I would not question his intentions or character, only this theory.

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266.   The more I give out my pitching without pain and the intro to Dr. Marshall flyer to my former students, they are coming out of the woodwork and are admitting that they do indeed have pain and are interested in hearing more about your instructions.

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     We have to remain true to what we are.   I base everything that I do on scientific fact.   We cannot get caught up in what pitchers do or do not do what.   If we do, then we get into subjective material that nobody can defend.

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267.   To show you what I'm running into when I discuss your material.   One answer was, "How the can anybody learn anything from that stuff."   Another one was, "How comes the pro's aren't using it then."   And last one is, "Well can a 100 hall of famers be wrong."   Now these comments are from adults, coaches, and so called know it all types.   However the kids are all ears.

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     The reading impaired cannot learn from anything that requires thought and effort.   Forget them and go after the ones who are willing to do their share of work to learn.   Stay with the science and the statement that nobody has to pitch with pain.

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268.   From what I know about the forkball, it drops due to lack of spin.   Why does it drop consistently, when a knuckleball may drop, rise, or move left or right?

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     I can assure you that knuckleballs do not rise, but they do behave erratically depending on which seam contacts the air molecules at the moment.   Pitchers release forkballs with and without spin.   Those without spin behave the same as knuckleballs.   Those that spin usually spin like reverse sliders and that is why they drop consistently.

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269.   I always wondered if arm speed is overerated just like bat speed is in hitting.   Any thoughts on the subject?   I never ever got a good sound explanation on it.

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     I do not believe that arm speed or bat speed is over-rated.   That is what I train pitchers and hitter to achieve, their maximum arm and bat speed.   However, without minimizing the unnecessary stresses that also create pitch inconsistency, the arm and bat speed become irrelevant.   Also, pitchers have to be able to impart the precise spin axes to the various types of fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls to have dramatic and consistent movements.

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270.   When I got into serious coaching, I was the hitting coach.   I got into bat speed.   Some guy came up with a great devise to measure bat speed.   It completely backfired, it became a contest in that all the kids wanted to do is swing faster than the one who had the highest bat swing.   Anyway, the head coach never appreciated any of my new innovations, so I change my speciality to being a pitching coach.

     So, here I am a pitching coach.   With my new founded success as a pitching guru, I started experimenting with my collection of bat meters.   I cleaverly changed these bat meters to pitching arm meters.   I discovered how to measure arm speed and with these meters.   If a kid was clocked at 75 mph on the radar gun, my arm speed meter said 74.   I was within one mph every time I used it.   Then, a kid who was built like a linebacker, strong as a bull and his arn speed measured 97 mph.   However, the radar gun showed 80 mph.   It completely baffled me.   Where did I go wrong?


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     The question is directionality.   When sailboats have to sail into the wind, they have to tack their pathway.   Therefore, if you measure their surface velocity, you get one measure, but if you measure their speed toward the target, you get a lower measure.   The reason I never used these bat measures is that they measure centripetal force rather than directional force.

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271.   I sent my message prior to reviewing your web site and I now understand better your programs.   However, at this time neither program would be convenient for my son to attend, possibly the 40 week session after graduation, but I would like to get instruction sooner than that.   After reading the information on your web site, I am concerned with the instruction he has received.   I would be willing to fly in to your location for an extended weekend at your convenience, if that would be an option. The video tape idea would also work.

     My son has attracted attention from some pro scouts in the camps he has attended.   If he continues to progress, he has a chance to pitch after high school.   I want my son to enjoy baseball to its fullest and to maintain a healthy arm and if the opportunity presents itself after high school that would be great.   Please advise us regarding near term instruction.


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     As my Pitching Instruction section says, I only work with high school seniors and graduates with at least two years of college eligibility remaining and I am leaning strongly to discontinuing my work with non-high school graduates.   I have no extended coaching web to which to send you.   I can only offer my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books at this time. However, I am working hard on completing an instructional videotape, but it will be a couple of months, too late for this baseball season.

     I applaud your desire to have your son enjoy pitching and maintain a healthy arm.   That might mean that you need to back off the competitive pitching for awhile, i.e. no more than one inning per game.   I assure you that he will physiologically gain nothing from adolescent competitive pitching, he can only diminish his adult pitching arm.

     Anybody at any time is welcome to visit my pitcher training center.   However, I will not coach your son while you and he are here.   But, you may watch my pitchers train to see what my exercises look like and what the training concept is.

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272.   I am 14 years old.   I throw with a three quarter arm angle.   I throw fastballs, curves and changeups.   On the curve, is there a special way to throw it to get a better break?   Do I need another pitch?

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     At fourteen years old, you need to limit your competitive pitching to one inning per game until the growth plates in your pitching arm fully mature.   Otherwise, you may not have the proper skeletal development to enable you to become the best adult pitcher that you can be.

     I believe that all pitchers need fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls.   In general, pitchers throw two fastballs, one that moves to the pitching arm side of home plate and one that moves to the glove side of home plate.   I said 'moves' not goes toward.   There are two types of breaking balls, curves and sliders.   These pitches are difficult to learn without placing unnecessary stress on the pitching arm that will eventually injure or weaken the arm.   There are two types of reverse breaking balls, screwballs and sinkers.   These pitches are easier on the pitching arm than breaking balls, but they usually require guidance on how to learn.   There is also no-spin pitches such as knuckleballs and a type of forkball, but these are time consuming to learn and require considerable ongoing practice time to maintain.   I am not a fan of the circle change and straight change.   I believe that pitchers can gain the benefits of changeups while adding a movement variable.

     There is a special way to throw non-fastballs to achieve higher spin velocity which results in better movement.   The key is driving through the outer edge of the baseball with the side of the middle finger and removing the thumb as an impediment.   I train my pitchers to become extremely strong with the side of the middle finger drive and to learn how to create high spin velocity at release in the same way that you would with a yoyo.   One danger with breaking balls is extending the elbow and banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.   Make certain that you keep your elbow locked at ninety degrees when you throw curves and screwballs.

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273.   When you start with your pivot foot at 45 degrees, then get weight over stride foot, as as you are rocking back,is the pivot foot still at 45 degrees and does it stay that way when you go forward again.

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     The rear foot remains at forty-five degrees throughout the set position throws.   However, during the windup throws, I advise pitchers to keep the rear foot pointing as close to straight at home plate as possible.   That means that I do not want pitchers to turn their foot to parallel the pitching rubber.

     When pitchers have the rear foot at at least a forty-five degree angle, the rear foot, leg and hip remind pitchers not to reverse rotate their acromial line beyond home plate.   However, there are other benefits.   Pitchers must drive off the pitching rubber with their rear leg.   To accomplish this action without unnecessary stress to their rear leg and hip, they need to move their rear leg such that the knee points forward like long distance runners have at the start of their races.   If pitchers have their rear foot parallel with the pitching rubber, then pitchers abduct their hip joint rather than extend and place their adductor muscles (groin) at risk.   Also, pitchers need to get their rear leg through the pitching motion in straight lines and smoothly.   When pitchers have their rear foot turned to at least forty-five degrees, they can readily and easily move their rear leg straight forward very smoothly.

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274.   I have a ten year old who is a good ball player and a good pitcher.   I've had him in a clinic and he pitches hard and has fairly good mechanics, as far as I can tell.   However, his control isn't quite there.   He doesn't throw extremely wild, but he misses just enough to allow too many walks.

     At the age of ten, I'm not sure what I can tell him.   The next step for me is to have him pitch from the stretch and try to keep from throwing too hard.   I think because he can throw almost 50 mph that he tries to "gorilla" every throw.   He also gets mentally frazzled when runners start to get on base.

     Other than experience, what can you offer as suggestions.   Perhaps some time down the road we can consider your clinic.


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     At ten years of age, he needs to train to pitch only two months per year and he should not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   Whether he gets frazzled when runners get on base is the least of your concerns.

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275.   My 10-year old son went to the sports orthopedic last week.   At my insistence, X-rays of both elbows were taken and I stated my concerns.   The doctor said that there was no damage, that this was probably an inflammation of the UCL, and that he shouldn't throw for 6-8 weeks.

     That is our plan (this will end his season) and we will go back at the end of June.   I do want him to throw at that time so we can determine if there is any more pain.   I am concerned that the doctor may have not accurately diagnosed the situation.   Does this sound like a proper course of action and should I accept this diagnosis?   I looked at the x-rays and saw no differences in the elbows, but that means nothing.


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     I absolutely believe that doctors cannot correctly diagnose growth plate trauma.   It is not because they do not try, but because it does not show up for several months.   Growth plate trauma results in a change in the normal developmental pattern and may not show a difference from the non-pitching arm growth plate until well down the line.

     It is your job to see that he gets to that point without any permanent impairment, even as minimal as the growth plate of his pitching arm closing a day earlier than the corresponding growth plate of his non-pitching arm.   This is how we should measure the damage done with adolescent pitching and nobody has.   When growth plates close early due to any stress, it means that that area of the bone did not grow as completely as it could have.   It will appear perfectly normal, but, in fact, it is stunted growth.

     Inflammation of the ulnar collateral ligament is not a good sign.   It means that he is incorrectly applying force.   He puts unnecessary stress on the inside of his elbow with either forearm flyout or vertical forearm downward bounce.   I would not be too quick to have him throw hard without working on his force application technique.

     When his growth plates have completely matured, he can throw incorrectly and injure muscles, but he can recover from those injuries.   He can never recover to early growth plate closure.   It is permanent structural damage.

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276.   There is one major league stadium for some reason that now has a higher than average shot from center field and I taped a couple of pitchers from that shot on my vcr and play it back on my computer software and I now can see that particular movement.   It makes a BIG BIG difference in analizing now.   Also, during the winter months when there's no baseball up here, I was filming basketball shots, I found I could give better analysis the higher I went up in the stands, just never thought of doing the same for baseball, got to take those blinders off and start seeing things more clearly.

     One of my most interested colleagues whose interested in your throwing theories is a football coach who give Q-back training.   Is your book or report on Q-backs throwing, still avialable to the public, if so I would like to get it for him.


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     I do not have a book or report on the throwing technique for quarterbacks.   However, I have rehabilitated several professional quarterbacks.   The key is that, like catchers, quarterbacks have to use an abbreviated baseball throwing motion with their forearm laying back horizontally.   Of course, quarterbacks have to use the slider throwing motion.   Their challenge is how to properly rotate the forearm two hundred and seventy degrees to palm inward without losing the ninety degree forearm to upper arm angle and without raising the forearm prior to getting their upper arm up to level with their shoulders.

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277.   I have talked to my son about your service and while he would like to have instruction from an expert, he can't concieve of giving 40 weeks to a program at this point in his life (he thinks he is too old - 21).   He has been out of action for several months and is very axious to get back at it.   I have encouraged him to consider driving over and meeting you and will continue to do so, but it is his decision.   If he can't commit to the 40 week program, can you recommend someone to look at him to make sure he is fundamentally sound.   He feels that he is ready to pitch again and has been working out daily (not throwing).   He also feels that he is no beginner and, in fact, a seasoned vet of the highest caliber college baseball and I think he thinks your school is for high school kids, etc.

     I will continue to discuss it as a family, but I wanted to return your e-mail to let you know our thoughts at this point.


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     Age is not the proper criteria, the number of years of college eligibility is the proper criteria.   However, in this fast food world, I understand those who believe that they can shortcut the process with magic words, a magic pill or a microwave.   Persons who commit to forty weeks show me that they will work hard for something they want to earn badly, the others hope for magical solutions.   I train several professional pitchers every off-season.   This is a camp to finish his preparation, not begin it.   He is welcome to visit at anytime, but I believe that I already know what his chances of success are.

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278.   My son has already graduated from college and has no more eligibilty.   His next step is pro baseball.   His interest is in having the best plan for success in pro baseball, no matter what that is.

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     In his situation, the options reduce.   If an affiliated team has not drafted him, then he has a tough way to go.   He could possibly catch on with an affiliated team with their June tryouts.   He needs to contact the Scouting Director of all the affiliated teams to learn when and where they will hold their tryouts.   He will have to throw 92 mph and above just to get a shot.

     If he does not get an offer from these tryouts, then we are back with my training program.   The Independent Leagues have tryouts in March, April and May with his best shot at the Texas-Louisiana League tryout in San Antonio, TX in early April.   I would recommend that he start my training program as soon as he learns whether an affiliated team will offer him a job.   The earlier he starts, the sooner he reaches the required strength to pitch at his highest level and the sooner he learns and masters the pitches required to succeed at the highest level.

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279.   My 14 yr old son pitches in a 13-15 yr old league.   One coach says to ice your arm after the game and another coach says it isn't necessary.   What is your opinion?   He hasn't been experiencing any pain.

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     When pitchers put their pitching elbow into ice water, the body's initial response is to close down the blood vessels to maintain proper core temperature.   This causes a lack of oxygen to the muscles that these blood vessels supply and those muscles start screaming for oxygen and pitchers feel considerable discomfort.   However, if they leave their pitching arms in the ice water, the body will initiate 'reactive hyperemia'.   Reactive hyperemia dilates the blood vessels and floods these muscles with blood.   That is why their pitching arm is bright read when they remove it from the ice water after twenty minutes.   This increased blood flow helps remove any waste products and enhances nutrient resupply.   So, it does good things and causes no harm.

     This does not mean that I believe that it is necessary.   I never iced my arm, ever.   But then, I knew how to train my pitching arm so that it did these things without ice.

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280.   At what specific angles do you videotape pitchers?

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     I videotape every young man who trains with me and analyze his motion.   I set up the camera thirty feet behind him in line with home plate and set the camera at six feet high.   From this view, I can see his entire transition phase.   I am considering accepting videotapes of young pitchers and analyzing them.   However, at present, I am far too busy to accept any videos and I have not worked out a way to review the tape and discuss it simultaneously.   I am thinking that I will try videotaping me reviewing the tape.   This is still in the planning stage.

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281.   Wondering whether there is a good resource for identifying kid-pitcher injuries and how to treat them?

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     I know of no single resource for identifying adolescent pitching arm injuries and how to treat them with the possible exception of Dr. Joel Adams' articles.   I discuss Dr. Adams articles in great detail in Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   I also provide a list of references at the end of that chapter that also address this question.

     The difficulty with adolescent pitching arms is that while the injury could be muscle or ligament, it could also be growth plate cartilage.   It is almost impossible to know the difference.   If you are aware of Osgood Schlatters Disease where the growth plate of the tibial tuberosity becomes inflamed, then you know that the only cure is for the adolescent to stop running and jumping until the growth plate has completed matured.   The medial epicondyle growth plate suffers similarly from pitching.   Therefore, I recommend that when this growth plate becomes inflamed, youngsters should stop throwing until this growth plate matures.

     However, there are other critical growth plates in the adolescent pitching arm.   The olecranon process can repeatedly slam into the olecranon fossa and permanently destroy itself.   The head of the radius bone can repeatedly rebound and slam into the trochlear end of the humerus and destroy itself.   There is little to gain by competitive pitching during adolescence and much to lose.   That is why I recommend that until their growth plates fully mature, adolescent pitchers should not practice pitching for more than two months per years, they should not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and they should not pitch more than one inning per game.

     If you are the parent of an adolescent pitcher, you are the responsible adult.   You, not a coach, have to make the decision.   I believe that competitive adolescent pitching takes the finest pitching arms that we have to offer and ruins them in varying degrees.   Adolescent baseball should be fun and teach the skills, but should not ruin pitching arms.

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282.   I am a 12-year-old pitcher's Mom and he plays only a two-month season and this is his first season pitching.   He only pitches about 40-50 pitches per game (we had been told by experts that up to 68 per game was OK), twice a week and this is his last week of the season.   He has had no problems whatsoever until the last few days, but now has a sore muscle near his shoulder blade that ice relieves.

     He plays lots of other sports and we, too, agree that he shouldn't play any one sport all year-round as many others do.   His coach is a very reasonable guy and never makes him pitch if he says he can't, and the league isn't what I would consider to be very competitive.

     He, however, is frustrated by this soreness and wants to pitch in the last game on Saturday so I thought if I could get him some exercises or suggestions, it might help.   I looked on Amazon for your books, but it wasn't listed.   Would your book have exercises to strengthen the muscles to make sure he doesn't get injured next season? If so, how would we get it?


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     I like that rules of this league.

     You wrote that he has a sore muscle near his shoulder blade.   I need more precise information.   If the soreness lies between the vertebral (spinal column) side of the scapula (shoulder blade) and the vertebral column near the middle, then he has strained the rhomboid major and/or minor muscles.   If the soreness is closer to the head near the top of the vertebral border of the scapula, then he has strained the levator scapula muscles.   If the soreness lies midway between the head and the tip of the shoulder (acromial process), then he has strained the trapezius I muscles.   The good news is that all of these discomforts are transitory and will not cause any long term problems.   This discomfort should go away with fifteen minutes of swimming at least twice a day.

     I have a very detailed training program for skeletally mature youngsters which he should be at fifteen years old.   Until then, he should follow the advice I gave in my previous email.   You may read and download, if you wish, my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book from my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.

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283.   I am a pitcher at the pony league level and I have a question.   If you know the proper form for throwing a curve ball (which was told to me by a coach of a community high school), will it still hurt your elbow later on in life?

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     I have answered this question a couple of times already in my Question/Answer sections.   After the growth plates in the adolescent pitcher's elbow completely matures, throwing curves will not cause any more problems with the skeletal system.   However, throwing curves requires considerable more skill than other pitches because pitchers have to rotate their forearm two hundred and seventy degrees to have the palm face inwardly without bending the elbow to less than ninety degrees and without dropping the elbow downward or pulling the elbow across the front of the body.

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284.   I am involved in coaching 12 year olds and the last thing I would want to do is injure a young player.   You state at this age you would only recommend one inning of work.   One inning as you know can be only a few pitches or a whole lot of pitches.   Rather than talk in terms of innings how many pitches should these youngsters be allowed to throw?   Also the only pitch we are teaching at this age, besides various grips on the fastball, is the change up.   I am having a hard time understanding how this could be hard on their arm.   The research you have done is awesome and I have never seen anything like it.   I am definitely new to your philosophy, but am impressed with the medical aspects and your desire towards health.   Any input you could give me would be appreciated.

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     We have to stop thinking of twelve year olds as little adults.   They are not.   Until about fifteen years old, the bones of youngsters are growing.   The only way that they can grow is to have the ossification centers in the shaft of the bones, diaphysis, put down more skeletal material.   The epiphysis that will become the articulating ends of these bones and the epicondyles, tuberosities and so on connect with the diaphysis via growth plates.   I discuss this in great detail in in Chapters five, six and seven of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     The point is: youngsters must not do anything that will interfere with the proper development of their bones.   Competitive pitching, even with absolutely perfect force application technique, stresses the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm.   These growth plates are fragile.   Therefore, I recommend caution.   Youngsters will gain nothing from youth pitching that they cannot gain after their bones mature.   We need to change the rules of the baseball game that youngsters play to protect their growth plates while teaching the skills of the game and promoting the joy of baseball.   We have to stop taking the best twelve year old pitching arms and interfering with their proper development.

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285.   My 14 yr old son pulled some muscles in his upper back while playing on a trampoline (I hate those things).   We have been applying ice for 20 minutes every hour for 5 days now.   His back is getting better.   He can throw without experiencing any pain, but he still can't swing the bat.   We went to a physical therapist and the only advise they gave was to keep icing and stretch the back muscles.

     I have a couple of questions.   Would it help the healing if he applyed heat after icing and how will we know when it is safe to swing hard again.   I want him to be able to play again as soon as possible, but I do not want him to strain the muscles worse than they were when he was injured.   We are trying to play it safe.


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     I would not apply heat ever.   Usually, when someone injures themselves with an activity other than they want to do, they can do so without residual effects.   I would have him swing the bat easily a high number of times to encourage natural blood flow and increase his intensity as the discomfort reduces.

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286.   I've been studying your info and am intersted in enrolling my son in the 10 week program between his junior and senior years.   He's 15 and will beginning his freshman year of high school so we have a couple of years to plan.   This is his first year of pitching and he has performed fairly well.   I've attempted to teach your method of pitching as best as I can interpret (I pitched in high school and 1 year of college then wrecked my elbow) and he seems thrive on the challenge.   I'm sold on your mechanics and truths with the hope I can adequately teach it to my son.   If you could provide a scenario of cost and fees of the camp then I can best plan for it.

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     I am working hard on my instructional videotape.   I hope to complete my portion of the work within the next couple of months.   I do not know how long thereafter before it is available to the public.   My point is, when this is available, you and your son can use it to perfect his force application technique.

     The reason I mention this is that I am reconsidering my summer ten week program.   I find that the high school guys that I train for forty weeks want to return for the summer.   Because I do not feel that my ten week program has a sufficiently high success rate to warrant continuing to offer it, I am rethinking working with other than high school graduates.   I feel that I can work with pitchers after they complete high school and get them farther ahead than if I work with high school seniors for ten weeks and then again after they graduate high school.

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287.   When I was seventeen years old, I could throw the baseball seventy-eight miles per hour.   I loved pitching, but I had to stop.   Is it possible to estimate at what velocity I could have thrown the baseball if I had continued and followed your training program?

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     No.   Your ability to move your arm faster probably would not increase significantly between age seventeen and twenty-nine without a significant amount of training.   Starting at only seventy-eight miles per hour, I doubt that the training would have been worth your time and energy.

     I have found that high school graduates who cannot throw eighty miles per hour have about a twenty-five percent chance of becoming meaningful college pitchers, whereas high school graduates who throw between eighty and eighty-four miles per hour have about a fifty percent chance of becoming meaningful college pitchers.   If high school graduate can throw between eighty-five and eight-nine miles per hour, they have almost a hundred percent chance of becoming meaningful college pitchers.   High school grauates who throw ninety miles per hour who master my training program become quality college pitchers and get opportunities to pitch professionally.

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288.   I have, as I guess many do, a promising 11 year old (league age) who is quite tall for his age and has been throwing steady 65 mph.   I had little league elbow as a kid and have been sensitive to it.   My son has had several professionals as coaches, one is an assistant with the Expos and one was an All-star game starter in years past.   My son is viewed by them as mechanically sound, except perhaps somewhat long armed.   He does get his arm back low and far.   He was taught not to be short armed.   He had an X-ray today which shows a "normal" growth plate separation calling for 6 months rest.

     My question is two fold:   1.   If you have a kid that could be promising, isn't it better not to pitch him until high school.   2.   What are some basic exercises, no more than 5, that you would recommend for the young thrower?


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     A promising eleven year old must become a promising fifteen year old without any damage or stunting of the growth plates in his pitching arm.   If he has already suffered growth plate separation, then he will suffer some long term damage.   When growth plates suffer 'insult', i.e., stress greater than it can withstand, it will start to ossify prematurely.   This means that the pitching arm will not reach its full developmental potential.

     I always worry about the youngsters with the great throwing arms.   Their parents and coaches get excited and, of course, the youngsters like the attention and the accolades.   Unfortunately, it only serves to encourage all to play with fire.   He can pitch more.   If he learns how to apply force better, he can pitch more.   He needs to win the championship game, he can pitch more.   Youth baseball takes the best pitching arms and ruins them.

     I have no problem with youngsters learning the correct way to pitch.   I have no problem with youngsters throwing curves, screwballs and so on.   I have a big problem with them practicing pitching for more than two months per year.   I have a big problem with them pitching competitively before they are thirteen.   I have a big problem with them pitching more than one inning per game until they have shown, by X-ray, to have completed the skeletal development of the growth plates of their pitching arm.

     When a doctor tells you that your son requires six months rest to enable the growth plate of the medial epicondyle to recover from the stress of pitching, that is significant.   I strongly suggest that you do not permit him to pitch competitively until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has fully matured.   After this year, he can practice his pitches up to two months per years, but he should not pitch competitively.   He should learn the proper spin axes of his pitches and the proper force application technique, but he should not face the stress of having to get the tough batters out.

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289.   I read your materials last night and from other reading I have done before finding yours concluded that I will not let my son pitch competitively again until probably late sophomore or early junior year in high school.   Yours is the most complete info on the subject I have found and it is excellent.   Though technical, you make the points clear enough.

     You mentioned permanent damage.   Could you elaborate on this and is there any corrective measures?   The X-ray looks like a separation of about an 1/8th of an inch.   The doctor said it would be ok to play first base now, but not to throw hard warming up, etc.   If he does play first, would you recommend warming up with a tube or anything else?


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     The permanent damage as a result of this insult to the growth plate of your son's medial epicondyle will not show until when the growth plate matures.   When compared with the non-pitching arm, this growth plate will close earlier.   This means that the insult with 'stunt' the skeletal development of the pitching arm.   To what extent, we could not know unless he has frequent X-rays to show when the growth plate of the pitching arm closed and, later, when the growth plate of the non-pitching arm closed.

     Premature closure is the least of the damage that adolescent pitching arms can suffer.   The medial epicondyle ossification center can pull loose from the shaft of the bone, it can fracture, it can do both.   In other words, your son has suffered the least, but to pull away by one-eighth of an inch is no small matter.

     I would not recommend any throwing of any type for over six months.   Those stretch tubes are a waste of time and money.

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290.   Would you please describe to me the criteria you employ to screen potential participants in your 40-week training program?   I have recommended your program to 2 young men in this area.   I get questions from others as I promote your program and your website.

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     I have no criteria.   If young men are highly motivated to train for two hundred and eighty consecutive days to determine what quality pitcher they can become, then I am happy to help them.   However, I will not mislead.   I tell them that if they cannot throw eighty miles per hour, then they have almost no chance of pitching college baseball.   If they throw between eighty and eight-four miles per hour when they arrive, then they will have about a fifty percent chance of becoming a quality college pitcher.   If they throw between eighty-five and eighty-nine miles per hour, then they should have become a quality college pitcher.   If they throw ninety miles per hour, then they have a good chance of a professional career after their college career.

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291.   Do you have any free packets you could send a kid that tells him, 1.   how to throw different pitches, 2.   how to increase your speed and or your velocity, 3.   and how do I keep my arm from aching all the time cause I'm a side-arm pitcher.   You could just e-mail me any of this info that you don't have in a packet.

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     All I have are my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books that I have placed on my web site free of charge after thirty years of research.   I hope that they can help you answer these questions.

     I will tell you that throwing sidearm places unnecessary stress on the inside of your elbow and shoulder and you should expect discomfort.   To remove unnecessary stress, pitchers should apply force to their pitches in straight lines from leverage through release.

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292.   I'm a 14 year old pitcher.   Lately my shoulder has been extremely sore, and there has been persistant pain.   I am going to physical therapy, where the therapist decided that my tendons could not keep up with my skeletal growth, causing tendinitois in the shoulder.   He also said that the muscles on the on my back, touching the rotator cuff (I don't know what it is called) are turned off, and that they need to be "activated".   We have been doing many exercises, but I have seen little improvement.   He thinks there are no tears, but I differ with him.   I can't throw more than 5 pitches without pain.   Should I go see on orthopedic surgeon and get a MRI?

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     I need more specific information. Precisely where in your shoulder is sore?   At fourteen years old, you do have open growth plates in your shoulder and it is possible that your discomfort stems from them.   If you have stressed a growth plate in your shoulder, then you should stop throwing for at least six months.   Have you had trouble with any other growth plates?   Have you had Osgood Schlatter's Disease?

     It is always difficult to diagnose what is wrong with adolescent pitchers because of the open growth plate variable.   Therefore, I prefer to err on the side of caution and advise rest.   You do not need physical therapy.   You do not need a MRI.   You do not need an orthopedic surgeon.   You need to stop stressing all growth plates and wait until they mature.

     I do not believe that any muscles anywhere have turned off.   Unless you have severed a motor nerve, that is simply silly.

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293.   I am 14 years old and just started pitching about two months ago because my coach said he saw something in me.   I am doing good, and have an 83mph fastball and can slow my changeup already down to about 70 with the same arm action.   I started trying to throw a curve, and was being taught by my cousin, who played AAA ball for the Expos minor league club.   Anyway, I had been doing that for about two weeks and then stopped throwing the curve ball to focus on basic mechanics since I am a beginner.   I haven't thrown a curve (or something that vaguely resembles one) in a week and lately my elbow has been hurting.   When I start throwing hard it starts hurting on the outside of my elbow and when I bend it slowly I can feel (which doesn't hurt) and hear it crack sort of.   What's wrong, is it mechanics and can it lead to anything really serious?

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     At fourteen years old, you still have open growth plates in your elbow.   The head of the humerus has a growth plate.   You damage this growth plate when pitching by the radius bone slamming back into the capitulum diaphysial center at the distal end of the humerus.   The capitulum also has a growth plate.   The distal end of the humerus also has a trochlear ossification center.   I discuss all this in much greater detail in Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.

     The adolescent elbow develops three ossification centers.   The medial epicondyle starts as an ossification center during late childhood and remains and open growth plate until about fifteen years old.   Pitching places considerable stress on the growth plates of the medial epicondyle because five critical pitching muscles attach to the medial epicondyle.   The proximal end of the ulna bone develops an diaphysial center during adolescence that forms the olecranon process.   When adolescent pitchers incorrectly throw curves by slamming their olecranon process into the olecranon fossa of the posterior surface of the distal end of the humerus.   The lateral epicondyle starts as an ossification center after the medial epicondyle and olecranon process, but it matures first.   Tennis serving stresses the lateral epicondyle much more than pitching because pitchers release the baseball and tennis servers have to safely decelerate the tennis racquet.

     The lateral epicondyle is on the outside of the elbow where you describe you experience the pain.   The head of the radius is also on the outside of the elbow.   The extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis muscles are also on the outside of the elbow.   Pitchers experience discomfort in these muscles when they decelerate curves or screwballs.

     You also complained of 'cracking' sounds.   Popping sounds result from tendons or ligaments sliding over bony protuberances.   Cracking sounds result when convex ends of one bone that fit tightly into concave surfaces of adjacent bones move away from each other thereby losing the suction.

     Whatever the problem, I strongly recommend that you treat this pain as though you have Osgood Schlatter's Disease of the Tibial tuberosity.   Do not throw anything for at least six months.

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294.   I have pain pretty much all over the shoulder, but it it most intense on the muscle on the scapula bone (whatever it is called), and the trapezious.   I have had Osgood Schlatter's Disease before on both of my knees.   But they are better now.

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     Persons who have had Osgood Schlatter's Disease remain susceptible to growth plate irritation elsewhere.   Please be very careful until your growth plates have fully matured.

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295.   On Thursday June 21st, I had a plaster cast removed.   I have stiffness of the joints where the break was.   The exact location of the break is actually a double break of the ulna and radious where the watch would usually sit.   I was wondering about a couple of things what would be good to regain movement in it like would moving it from side to side up and down and in a full rotation be benficial or should I actually go and do physiotherapy.   Also, the docter that I saw said that I can play basketball the following Thursday.   Would that be true?   If so would I need to where some sort of support either a brace or just strapping it.

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     I do not believe that you broke your wrist pitching baseball, which is about what I give advice.   You probably fell off your skateboard.   In any case, the distal end of the ulna has not range of motion function at all.   It articulates with the bones of the wrist which have the function of flexing and extending the hand.   However, the distal end of the radius bone does have a movement function, it rotates around the ulna bone.   The actions are called 'pronation' when you turn the palm of your hand outward and 'supination' when you turn the palm of your hand inward.   Shooting basketballs uses forearm pronation and wrist flexion.   If the breaks have sufficiently healed that your doctor has said that you can plan basketball the following Thursday, then I have to assume that the breaks have sufficiently healed.   You can wear a brace or strapping or whatever, but you probably do not need them.

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296.   I am 32 years old and I had Tommy John Surgery 10 months ago.   I do feel my strength is starting to come back, but I still have pain.   I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to a throwing program and a strength program to get my arm where it needs to be to pitch in my 30+ league.   Also, do you think I should just continue to throw through the pain or should I stop?   I have pain every time I throw.

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     Tommy John surgery reattaches the ulnar collateral ligament between the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone and the ulna bone of the forearm.   I doubt that you are having pain from your new ulnar collateral ligament.   You could have also have injured one or more medial epicondyle muscles.   However, you did not locate your discomfort.   Without a precise location, I cannot understand what you are doing and cannot advise.   Nevertheless, chapter twenty-five discusses my wrist weight training program.   While I have made some modifications, these exercises should help.

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297.   I am having a discussion here at work regarding the term "closer."   Would you have an opinion as to when this term became popular?   I thought it might be yourself or Rollie Fingers or maybe even Sparky Lyle.   I read some of the recent articles regarding strengthening/conditioning pitching arms.   As a P.E. major and an active athlete, I think your theories/principals make good sense.

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     I have no idea from where the term 'closer' came.   We know that it refers to pitchers who 'close' or finish games.   Since I hold the record for games finished, I suppose someone could have referred to me.   Thanks for the affirmation, my doctoral committee left me questioning whether I understood the principles of Exercise Physiology.

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298.   I was having a tough time convincing my troops to pitch from the 45 degree angle until I showed them that they increase their stride by 2/3 of their foot size.   If a pitcher increases his stride with his rear foot at 45 degrees from the pitching rubber by 6 inches and that is the diamater of a circle how much does thar increase the arc?   I been quoteing them a figure which I guessing at, and I don't want to guess.

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     Pitchers should turn their rear foot to at least forty-five degree in the set position to:
1.   Be able to drive off the pitching rubber more strongly because the hip extensors and knee extensors are more powerful than the hip abductors.
2.   Be able to recover their rear leg through the pitching motion much faster because the hip flexors are more powerful than the hip adductors.
3.   Be able to stand tall and rotate their level shoulders through release because they can step straight toward home plate with their rear leg when they have their rear foot turned or even pointing toward home plate as in the windup.
4.   Be able to pendulum swing their pitching arm back toward second base rather than laterally behind their back because they cannot reverse rotate their torso as far.

     The forty-five degree rear foot should not lengthen their stride.   Longer strides make it more difficult to move the body ahead of the front foot and they need to get their body ahead of their front foot in order to lengthen their driveline.   We want to lengthen drivelines.   Drivelines are straight.   We do not permit arcs in our driveline.

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299.   By eliminating the balance position, it seems to me that the windup is similar to the NO Windup that Don Larsen and Bob turley used in late 50's and early 60's.

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     I prefer that pitchers raise their arms overhead on the windup.   The no leg lift is no big deal.   The beauty of the rear foot at an angle is that, in the windup, pitchers can point their rear foot straight at home plate and leave it there.   The key to making the windup the same as the set position involves taking the pitching arm all the way back before the final movement of their body forward.   I tell my pitchers to raise their arms overhead while they step forward with their front leg.   However, when they get front leg ahead of the pitching rubber, I want their pitching hand still in the glove and below the waist.   Now, pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm back to the height of their driveline while they hold their body and front leg still.   Next, after their pitching arm has started its movement to the appropriate leverage position, they should step forward with their front foot and drive powerfully off the pitching rubber.   Finally, when their body moves ahead of their front foot, they simultaneously push back toward second base with the front foot and forearm accelerate the pitch through release.

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300.   WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TOM HOUSE'S THEORY THAT A FOOTBALL BEING THROWN IN WARM UPS IN A PERFECT SPIRAL SHOWS PROPER MECHANICS FOR A BASEBALL PITCHER?   IN MY LINE OF WORK I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT WITH MANY YOUNG PITCHERS AND I WAS WONDERING WHAT YOU FELT WAS THE REASON THAT THEY CAN'T PITCH COMPLETE GAMES AND HAVE SO MANY ARM AND SHOULDER BLOW OUTS.

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     I discuss concepts, not people.   When pitchers train, they need to train specifically for pitching.   I believe in overload, that is, using objects that weigh more than baseballs to train for throwing baseballs.   However, when pitchers train to throw spirals with footballs, they only get good at throwing spirals with footballs.   They do not get any carry over to baseball pitching.   The forearm, wrist, hand and finger action of throwing spirals with footballs is similar to throwing sliders with baseballs except that the driveline should be much lower and the spin axis tilts downward.   People can throw spirals with footballs with force application techniques that will destroy the pitching arm.   I would never train pitchers by having them throw spirals with footballs.

     Adult pitchers injure their pitching arms for two reasons.   One, they apply force to their pitches incorrectly and two, they have not properly trained.   Pitching complete games also relates to proper training, although the hitters have something to say about the fourth time through the lineup.

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301.   When I throw, the pain is on the inside of my elbow.   I notice that if I go full force that I begin to swell and have trouble extending my arm to it's full extent.   After I rest and ice it, I can start to use it again in a limited capacity after about a weeks time.   I am thinking that I may just be moving a little to quick and may need to slow down.

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     Pain on the inside of the elbow is in the ulnar collateral ligament and medial epicondyle area.   I would need to know which.   However, because I doubt that you have injured your new ulnar collateral ligament, I suspect the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.   Injury to these muscles indicates improper force application technique, probably bouncing your forearm and/or circling your forearm outwardly.

     When pitchers have difficulty fully extending their elbow, typically they have irritated the hyaline cartilage in their olecranon fossa.   Pitchers irritate their olecranon fossa by extending their elbow fully when they throw and slam their olecranon process into their olecranon fossa.   Pitchers must never fully extend their elbow.   They must always keep their elbow at least slightly bent.

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302.   I see your training program about to explode in popularity.   Owners will demand it soon because they cannot keep paying big bucks to have their pitching staff in shambles.

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     I set endurance records in 1973 and again in 1974.   I earned my doctoral degree in 1978.   I set more endurance records in 1979.   Not one owner has ever called me.   I doubt that they ever will.   I am working on an instructional videotape that will put pictures with my words.   I have posted my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books for all to read and download free.   I am one guy working alone, not looking to steal money from parents of adolescent pitchers with worthless information, but to rid baseball of pitching arm injuries.   I prefer to appeal to responsible parents and the pitchers directly.

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303.   There is a new technique being promoted.   They are calling it, 'scapula loading'.   They describe it as 'pinching the shoulder blades'.   I view this technique as contrary to your teachings.   They advise pulling the elbows back behind the acromial line.

     Some of their reasoning is compelling.   They say that pitchers can apply their force to the baseball over a greater distance due to the increased range of motion from 'allowing' the elbows to move behind acromial line and the shoulder blades to 'pinch'.   The word 'allow' is too conservative, they should say forced.   They encourage 'pinching' or 'scapula loading'.   Furthemore, from a health standpoint, they suggest that by those promoting this technique, they will reduce the stress on the shoulder complex in general.

     I am approaching this technique with caution per your instructions on not allowing elbows to move behind acromial.   I very much would appreciate your input in reconciling my reservations.


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     The head of the humerus articulates with the glenoid fossa of the scapula.   Thereby, the scapula acts as the foundation with which the humerus locks to rotate forward.   When the shoulders and upper arm have moved to their forward-most point, the forearm accelerates through release.   The scapula does not operate independently of the humerus.   If the humerus moves behind the acromial line, the subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity receives unnecessary stress.   Your analysis is correct.   I would strongly disagree with 'scapula loading' or anything else that places the subscapularis attachment at risk.

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304.   In your book, Coaching Adolescent Pitchers, you say that, "Transitions end when pitchers raise their forearms to horizontal at shoulder height.   In this position, pitchers lock their upper arms (humerus) with their thorax (rib cage).   Pitchers have arrived at LEVERAGE!   They are in position to safely accelerate their pitches forward from leverage through release."

     My question is with respect to the forearm.   Are you saying the forearm (for a right hander) should be horzontal, fingers on top hand towards third base/shortstop?   Or are you saying the forearm should be horzontal, fingers on bottom hand toward 2nd baseman/1st base?


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     When the upper arm starts moving toward home plate, the forearm should lay back to horizontal with the palm facing upward for fastballs, inward for breaking pitches and outward for reverse breaking balls.

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305.   I play second base.   I'm very good with the glove, but my arm strength is not good enough to play third.   I recently changed my throwing style from over the head to more of a straight, across the body throw.   Because my arm strength improved I played short stop a few times   . On one throw I felt a pain in my back near the scapula of my throwing arm (right), on the side towards the center of my back.   My back now hurts on almost every throw from shortstop.

     I have two questions:
1)   Why am I not able to throw the ball as hard and far as other people?   I'm not a small kid.   I'm 5'6" 155, with little fat for my weight and height.   I workout regularly and stretch to keep my limbs quick and to prevent injury.   I see other kids with string bean arms, launching the ball.   What can I do in my mechanics to help me throw better?
2)   What is this pain in my back?   I have been icing my back, as the trainer at my school did that on a similar pain, but in the lower back.   What can I do to make it heal/go away?


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     The location of the pain that you describe probably comes from your rhomboid muscles.   These muscles return the scapula toward the spinal column in an action that Kinesiologists call, 'shoulder girdle abduction'.   Apparently, your rhomboid was insufficiently trained to tolerate the stress you placed on it with your throwing motion.   The rhomboids are very powerful muscles and should respond to light exercises, like rowing, that increase blood flow to them.

   To achieve your maximum throwing velocity, you have to strengthen the pitching bones and the attachments of the pitching muscles to these bone and remove unnecessary stresses from your throwing motion.   However, we all face the reality of our genetic heritage.   All we can do is all we can do.   Obviously, I recommend my Coaching Adult Pitchers book as a source for your training program and the way that I advise pitchers to apply force to their pitches.   I am also working on an instructional videotape, but do not look for it for a couple of months.

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306.   I'm working on a research project for my company.   Can you tell me all the muscles that are involved in pitching a baseball from beginning to end?   I know this is a strange question, but as Research Director for my company, I've come to expect some interesting questions.

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     In Section 3 that includes Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss the thirty-six primary pitching muscles.   If you want a list of all muscles beyond that, you would probably have to includes about eighty percent of the muscles in the body.

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307.   I read where counter rotation is good because it increases the distance that force can be applied to the baseball.   The more distance the harder you can throw.   The longer you can apply force to the ball the faster, it will go.   Isn't counter rotation the same as the reverse rotation that you describe.   And, if so, then the author the above statement is wrong.

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     I prefer to agree or disagree with a concept, not a person.   I am pleased to read where others are coming to understand Sir Isaac Newton's second law of motion, i.e., that release velocity equals the time that pitchers uniformly apply their force divided by 0.01.

     I would surmise that counter rotation is the same as reverse rotation.   If so, then your analysis is correct.   This person has used my greater distance of force application concept and misapplied it.   First, pitchers have to get the greater distance in front of their body.   Second, the driveline has to be straight.   To get greater distance with greater reverse rotation introduces angular velocity into the equation.   Angular velocity violates Newton's first law, the law of inertia.   At every moment along the curved pathway of the angular velocity, the baseball wants to fly off in straight lines, thereby forcing pitchers to waste force and unnecessarily stress their pitching arms.

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308.   Scapula loading is described as like two chicken wings, with both elbows pointing towards each other behind the pitchers back.   The pitchers chest is expanded as back sink toward front of body.   I have a couple of pictures of major league pitchers I could send to you to describe scrapula loading.

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     We will never advance the science of baseball pitching if we only study what major league pitchers do.   They are products of the same pitching techniques used since the beginning of baseball.   We will only repeat the same mistakes that injure so many pitchers at all levels.   Pitching should not be survival of the fittest, or in this case, only the genetically gifted will survive.   We must understand the laws of Physics and how they apply.   We must understand Structural Anatomy and how to properly use the musculoskeletal system that we have.   To advance, we must discard all that is old and build anew with science as our tool.   We must look to the weakest of our youngsters to see that the pitching techniques that we recommend work without injury, not the physical freaks that survive in the major leagues.

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309.   YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN REBUFF SCAPULA LOADING.

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     I have seen scapula loading.   I have taken overhead pictures with sixteen millimeter film at five hundred frames per second.   After I saw the upper arm going behind the acromial line in what they are calling, 'scapula loading', I immediately changed the force application technique.   Scapula loading moves the elbow behind the acromial line and, thereby, unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis attachment.   If youngsters try it, we will see an epidemic of subscapularis muscle attachment injuries.

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310.   How do you build confidence in a struggling player?

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     I will talk about building confidence in struggling pitchers.   I would not permit pitchers to pitch against hitters until they have trained to get the strength that will enable them to apply the maximum force that they can apply without discomfort at the time or after.   I would not permit pitchers to pitch against hitters until they master the variety of pitches required to get the four types of hitters out. I would not permit pitchers to pitch against hitters until they can throw any of their pitches in the strike zone on any count.   Pitchers should not pitch to hitters until they are the best that they can be.   If they get hitters out, then they will have confidence and deserve it.   If not, then they need to find something else to do.

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311.   What is the difference between hyperflexion and scapula loading?

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     Hyperflexion would better be called hyper horizontal extension.   It is where pitchers take their abducted humerus as far backward beyond their acromial line as possible.   This places the pectoralis muscle in a very powerful position to horizontally flex the humerus.   However, when pitching, pitchers do not simply horizontally flex their humerus, rather they inwardly rotate their humerus.   This requires powerful subscapularis action.   When pitchers hyper horizontally flex their shoulder joint, they place the subscapularis in a weakened leverage position that will eventually lead to injury. Further, I do not believe that pitchers move their upper arm forward relative to the thorax.   Rather, I believe that pitchers 'lock' their upper arm and thorax and rotate both forward simultaneously. Therefore, pitchers will not gain any advantage even if the action of the pectoralis major were as important of the four inward rotator muscles, which includes the subscapularis.

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312.   How is bilateral symmetry?

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     I discuss the importance of bilateral symmetry during my explanation of my wrist weight training program.   To avoid developing muscles that attach to the vertebral column more strongly on one side, athletes should use both arms similarly.   Otherwise, because pitchers use their pitching arm more strongly than their non-pitching arm, they will develop training scoliosis where the larger muscles will pull vertebrae out of their proper straight alignment.

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313.   My son was pitching for our provincial team on the weekend and a scout from Central Scouting said he was losing a lot of velocity because of two things he was doing wrong.   He wasn't using his legs and he had what he called a floppy or collapsing wrist.   He was still throwing 75+, but he said he needed to really work on the legs and the wrist.

     What would he mean by the wrist collapsing?   I realize he doesn't use his legs well and I will address that but I don't understand the wrist, or how it would affect velocity.


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     I would not put much credibility in what someone from Central Scouting has to say.   You did not say how old your son is, but if he is fourteen and under, then 75 mph is fine.   If he has open growth plates, that would cause decreased velocity.

     With their rear foot, I teach pitchers to powerfully push off the pitching rubber and quickly step straight toward home plate.   With their front foot, I teach pitchers to step forward after their pitching arm has reached all the way back and, after their body moves ahead of their front foot, they should powerfully push backward toward second base.   Pitchers must take care to get their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line.

     As for a collapsing wrist, I have no idea what he is talking about.   Maybe, your son bends his wrist during his back swing.   Maybe, your son drops his wrist laterally.

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314.   I am a 13 year old catcher and I have caught for 2 years.   This is my third year.   My ankle started to hurt.   It hurts right by my heel on my right side.   It's right above my heel.   Do you know what it is and if it will keep hurting if I keep catching?

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     The hip bone connects to the knee bone, the knee bone connects to the ankle bone or so goes the song.   It is a wonder that all catchers do not end up cripples at age thirty.   The catching crouch places considerable stress on the hips, knees, ankles and feet.   The meniscus of the knees of catchers explode like popcorn with the continual movement beyond ninety degrees.   Catchers sit on the backs of their lower legs with only their toes contacting the ground.   Why don't catchers have more complaints?

     With regard to your question, The tibia bone is the anti-gravitational bone of the lower leg and rests on the talus bone of the foot and the talus bone rests on the calcaneus bone of the heel of the foot.   When catchers sit on their lower leg and bend their feet such that only their toes contact the ground, they place considerable stress on the articulation between the talus and calcaneus.   As a thirteen years old, these bones have not yet matured.   You are sitting on ossification centers surrounded by growth cartilage.   You have inflamed this growth cartilage.   Like the remedy for Osgood Schlatter's Disease in the front of the lower leg, you must immediately stop this stress or suffer permanent skeletal development problems.

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315.   My son 17 years old and he was throwing 80+ before an elbow injury last year.   I understand the leg work and will go over that with him.   Thanks.   He said the scout told him (not me) that his wrist was bent back as he started his arm forward and he was subsequently releasing too high and not out in front.   Does that make sense?   I thought your wrist had to be firm as you approached release.

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     Typically, pitchers throw high because they bend at their waist and their pitching arm gets too tired to keep up with their body.   I teach pitchers to rotate their body, never bend.   In this way, pitchers remain consistent with the height of their driveline even when they are tired.   Pitchers should be able to flex their wrist during the release of their fastballs, but I would agree that they should have their forearm, wrist and hand lined up until they drive their fastballs through release.

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316.   You said that the front foot or landing foot, pushes back toward second base as the pitchers' body moves out front.   Do you mean he braces against this foot or does he push off it as if he is taking a step forward?

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     You have exposed yourself as not having read my books.   One of mainstays of my force application techniques is to lengthen the driveline out front.   The only way to do that is to move the body ahead of the front foot.   Therefore, I recommend that pitchers push off their front foot and forearm accelerated through release simultaneously.

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317.   Thank you for explaining how to use Bilateral Symmetry.   However, another web site has taken this term and applied it to the pitching motion.   This writer uses bilateral symmetry and scapula loading to describe his theories.   He theorizes that pitchers need bilateral symmetry between their throwing and glove arms to be effective.

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,br>      The gentleman uses bilateral symmetry incorrectly.   To be bilateral symmetry, both sides of the body have to perform precisely the same activity either in the same direction or opposite directions.   Certainly when pitchers throw with their pitching arm, they are not going to use the pitching motion with their non-pitching arm or the opposite of their pitching motion.

     What he is trying to describe is force-coupling.   Force-coupling is when pitchers use parallel and oppositely directed forces on either side of a fulcrum.   I agree with that concept.   However, when coaches ask pitchers to move their non-pitching arm straight backward toward second base simultaneous with their pitching arm accelerating through release, pitchers suffer paralysis from over-analysis.

     I prefer to tell pitchers to straight line drive their pitching arm through release and keep the forearm of their non-pitching arm inside of the glove side of their body.   After they perfect their pitching arm action, I show them how to use the upper arm of their non-pitching arm to move straight backward toward second base.   I believe that this is the idea that he is trying to address.

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318.   Let me get this straight.   You teach your students to get the pitching arm action in the correct sequential movements, by almost eliminating any imput from the glove arm.   Then, when you feel the pitching arm is in a perfect sequential pitching movement, you the add to the motion the correct action of the glove arm.

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     The very first thing that pitchers have to learn is how to correctly use their pitching arm.   Every other body part is chorus line support.   They must never feature any other body part until they perfect their pitching arm action.   Therefore, I design my training exercises to show them only the pitching arm.   After they master that, then I introduce what the other body parts should do to compliment the pitching arm action.

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319.   Thank you very much for the service you offer.   You are very much a philanthropist with your time and knowledge.   I have a 10 year old son who is 5 ft. 3 inches tall, weighs 90 pounds and throws in the mid 50's(mph).   His bone structure appears to be on the large side.   I am quite proud of him, he loves the mental aspect of pitching and has a very calm, confident demeanor on the mound.   He gets this attitude by being not just the ace of the team, but the ace of the entire league.

     I was horrified when I read your web-site and saw that I am putting my son in imminent danger by allowing him to pitch in a game he adores.   He has pitched for approximately 2 years and I have taken what I thought was extreme care in his physical and mental well being.   He is in a very good little league program that is very precise in what they allow in their pitchers.   He pitches from 44 feet and can pitch no more than 5 innings per 7 day span (no more than 3 per game).   His mechanics appear to be correct and very fluid.   Our practice routine consists of playing catch 2 to 3 times per week and pitching for only about 10 minutes prior to going to a game.   He does a lot of stretching before every practice and game and does sit ups and leg squats (no weights) about once or twice a week to strengthen his lower body.

     My questions are these:
1.   Is the above routine really that bad?
2.   If he has premature growth plate closure, would he feel pain?
3.   Did most successful pro pitchers not pitch until they were 13?
4.   How did the pitchers who did pitch before 13 not get injured?
5.   Other than not letting him pitch, is there any thing I can do to help prevent him from getting injured while pitching?

     Next year I plan on limiting him to 5 innings per week, instead of the 8 they allow for 11 year olds.


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     If you read Chapter 8 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know the answer to your first question.   Every adolescent pitcher suffers some damage as a result of competitive pitching before their growth plates mature.   The earlier they start, the more likely that the damage will be considerable.

     Youth pitchers might feel some minor discomfort in their growth plates, but they will suffer premature growth plate closure without any pain.   When they completely pull their ossification center away from the bone or when they fracture their ossification center, then they will experience considerable pain.   They will also experience pain when they slam their end of their radius bone against their humerus bone such that it grows abnormally.

     Most professional pitchers suffered growth plate abnormalities as a result of adolescent pitching that have limited their abilities.   One study from several years ago compared the lengths of the pitching arms of professional pitchers with their non-pitching arms and found that their pitching arms averaged one-half inch shorter.   We must stop looking at major league pitchers as our models of proper force application technique or what we want for our adolescent sons.

     No other adolescent pitcher has pitched without suffering some stunted pitching arm development.   The only way to fully measure this would be to compare when the comparable growth plates of the non-pitching arm matured with the pitching arm growth plates.   No researcher has ever conducted this type of study.   Interestingly, the present Director of Little League Baseball, Professor Creighton Hale, studied the participants in the 1955 Little League World Series and learned that, in order to make it to the Little League World Series, coaches have to find players whose physiological age is fourteen while their chronological age is twelve.   I cannot endorse any competition where participants do not receive rewards for the quality of their effort and skill, but on a physiological advantage over which they had no control.

     My recommendation remain the same as I have stated on numerous occasions in my Question/Answer sections.   No youth pitcher should pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old.   Thirteen year olds and above until X-rays confirm that their growth plates have completely matured should pitch only one inning per game.   Lastly, no youth pitcher should practice their pitching skills for more than two months per year until their growth plates have completely matured.

     I have done my part.   I have clearly explained the situation and consequences.   Following my recommendation, youth pitchers will acceptably minimize the risk of significant permanent damage to their growth plates.   If parents chose to do otherwise, that is their burden.   Good luck.

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320.   I'm been trying to institute how you say to first train the pitching arm for years in pitching instructions and everybody looked at me as if I was nuts.   Is there any scientific term to describe it or a scientific explanation?

     If you have to develop the motor motion for the pitching arm, then would I be presumptious to think the same for a quarterback's throwing motion also and how about applying it to a basketball shooting also?


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     The first principle of Motor Skill Acquisition is to determine the most critical aspect of the motor skill and have the students learn that aspect first without any other aspect of the skill.   I believe that I discuss this and much more in Chapter 16 of my Coaching Adults Pitchers book.

     I determined that the pitching arm is the most critical limb with regard to pitching.   Therefore, we need to teach pitchers how to properly use their pitching arm before we introduce what any other limb should do.   Further, I believe that we should break down the action of the pitching arm into several segments that I will list from most critical to least.   1.   Forearm acceleration through release.   2.   Upper arm forward movement from leverage.   3.   Pitching arm transition to leverage.

     Teaching and learning similar appearing motor skills requires that we recognize the differences as well as the similarities.   There are significant differences between pitching baseballs, throwing footballs and shooting basketballs.

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321.   I am a 16 year old pitcher and am having trouble with my mechanics.   I read your online pitching manual, and it is very difficult to learn the techniques and mechanics you describe without viewing the illustrations.   All I can find is a listing of what they are, but no way to actually view them.   Is there any way that I could see these illustrations to help with my grips and what shoulder lock leverage and your other techniques should look like?

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     I do not have any illustrations as I have said numerous times in my Question/Answer sections.   I am hard at work on putting together my instructional videotape.   I expect at least a couple of months more of work.   I am sorry that I cannot be more specific or more help.   I have given you everything that I have at my own expense, I am afraid that my Coaching Adults Pitchers book is all I can do for you right now.

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322.   I am 12 years old and I have been playing baseball since I was 5 and pitching since I was 8.   I only play little league and when I pitch I throw it hard and fast as everybody says.   But, my shoulder and elbow get pain after 2 or 3 innings.   I put icepacks and ice on during and after the game, but it still hurts and it takes me over a week to get rid of the pain.   But, the next game I pitch, it comes back.   I don't throw any kind of pitches yet so why is this happening and what should I do about it?

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     You need to read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book with special interest to Chapter 8.   You are taking a chance of ruining your pitching arm by continuing to pitch before your growth plates mature.   I will give you the same advice that I give everybody regarding youth pitchers.   Do not pitch competitively until you are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game until your growth plates mature.   Further, you should not practice pitching for more than two months per year.

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323.   After reading your web site, including the questions/answers sections, and checking on guys like Sparks and Kubenka, I think I'm either confused or concerned.   If I'm correct, your training would result in pitchers who didn't get hurt (because of bad conditioning), would throw slower pitches that moved (probably in the 70's and 80's mpb), and there wouldn't be much 90 plus fastballs. We'd see a lot of screwballs and other breaking pitches, but the fastballs would be of a slower speed.   Am I right, or can you train the pitchers to throw in the 90's with movement on their fastball?   Or, is that something you don't suggest, because it might cause injury to the pitcher?   Like I said, I don't know if I'm confused or concerned.

1.   If I'm confused, does your conditioning and training help a power-pitcher throw in the 90's without getting injured, or do you discourage them from throwing in the 90's so they won't get hurt?

2.   If you don't want them throwing in the 90's, doesn't that lead to a lot of stolen bases?


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     My training program enables pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocities.   When born, pitchers have physiological limits placed on them due to their genetic heritage.   My training program strengthens the pitching bones and the attachments of the pitching muscles to those bones and shows pitchers how to apply force without placing unnecessary stress on those bones and muscles to enable pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocities.   Neither I nor they have any idea what that maximum will be, but with my program and their hard work, they will achieve it without injury.   I would like for all of my pitchers to throw 120 mile per hour, but I can only help them throw to their physiological limits.

     Additionally, my program teaches pitchers how to correctly achieve the spin axis that enable them to pitch equally well to both sides of home plate with fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls.   Pitchers are only limited by their motor skill learning ability.

     I also teach pitchers how to hold baserunners on base, how to pick off baserunners, how to field bunts, how to sequence their pitches to the four basic types of hitters and so on.

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324.   This season I pitched on the jv team at school.   I started pitching over-hand.   I developed shoulder and elbow pain.   What is the best next arm angle to pitch from?

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     Anatomically, it is not possible pitchers to raise their humerus to raise higher than their shoulder height.   Therefore, for the humerus to be vertical, pitchers have to have their body laying sideways.   To accomplish this arm action, pitchers have to lean dramatically to their glove side.   However, none of this relates to the cause of your shoulder and elbow pain.

     If your shoulder pain is on the inside front, then you leave your elbow behind your acromial line (a line drawn from the tip of your non-pitching shoulder through the tip of your pitching shoulder and on outward).   To stop this, you should stop using the balance point technique and simply take your pitching arm all the way back before you start moving your body forward.

     If your elbow pain in on the inside, then you point your forearm upward when you start your upper arm forward.   The resulting backward and downward movement of the forearm causes a bounce that unnecessarily stresses the inside of your elbow.   To stop this, you should stop using the high guard technique and simply lay your forearm back toward horizontal when you start moving your arm forward.

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325.   One of our pitchers, he's 12, throws a curveball.   When he throws the curveball he throws it like a football slider.   Is it alright for him to throw it?

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     All twelve year olds have open growth plates.   Therefore, when they throw baseballs, they stress several critical growth plates.   What pitch they throw does not matter to growth plates.   If they apply too much stress to their growth plates, they will suffer irreparable damage.   Dr. Joel Adams found that every twelve year old pitcher suffered irreparable damage to some degree.   I recommend that no youth pitcher train for pitching for more than two months per year.   I recommend that no youth pitcher pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and then, they should not pitch more than one inning per game.   Until the growth plates mature, youth pitchers must take care.

     Having said that, the reason that the curve or slider increase pitchers chances of injuring their pitching arm does not concern their age, but the technique required to throw these pitches.   First, pitchers must rotate the forearm from palm facing downward, to palm facing outward, to palm facing upward and to palm facing inward, a total of two hundred and seventy degrees.   When pitchers start turning their forearm over before their pitching arm reaches all the way back, they create loops that unnecessarily stress the inside of their elbow.   Second, to throw curves, pitchers must maintain the angle between their upper arm and forearm at ninety degrees.   If, instead, as you describe that your son does, pitchers increase the forearm to upper arm angle to nearly one hundred and eighty degrees, they place their olecranon process at risk of slamming into their olecranon fossa.

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326.   What is the opposite of angular velocity?

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     Angular velocity violates Newton's law of inertia.   I do not believe in angular velocity.   I believe in straight line velocity.   Earlier, I explained about tacking a sailboat into the wind.   The sailboat may have great velocity, but with regard to getting to where it wants to go, it has much lower velocity.

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327.   Do you have any clinics focusing on shorter duration training (ie. weekend instruction, week long camps or traveling camps)?

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     I have learned that shorter duration training does not produce the results I require.

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328.   I am a frustrated older brother who has worked with a younger brother for more than 10 years trying to help him gain 10 miles and hour in velocity.   Once in a while he can hit 85 mile per hour.   However, it is such a struggle.   HELP, WE NEED to FIND 10 more miles an hour.   In reading your literature its sounds persuasive, but I can't seem to find the noted illistrations.   Where are they?

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     Probably because, on my own dime, I have a web site and I am giving away free my thirty years of research on pitching, you have confused me with a rich guy.   Illustrations cost thousands of dollars.   As I have explained in my Question/Answer section, no publisher has shown interest in investing in those illustrations.   Nevertheless, I felt that reading my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books, even without illustrations, was better than not having the information.   I am in the process of putting together instructional videotapes which will add pictures to the words in the books.

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329.   I have a 14 year old who pitches, afterward he does not ice his arm.   We read that it is not good to ice pitchers arms after they pitch.   I have many friends who tell me that this is wrong and that he should ice his pitching arm after he throws.   What do you think?

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     When pitchers 'ice' their arm properly, the initial response of the blood vessels is to close down or vasoconstrict.   However, after a short time, the lack of blood flow to the muscles that these blood vessels serve causes the muscles to send a signal to the brain that they need oxygen and nutrients or they will die.   This is when subjects feel considerable discomfort.   As a result, the brain causes a 'reactive hyperemia', which causes these blood vessel to open wide or vasodilate.   This vasodilations greatly increases blood flow to the muscles that these blood vessels serve and helps in the recovery process.

     However, I never 'iced' my pitching arm. I preferred to train my pitching arm such that it developed sufficient 'collateral' circulation that my pitching muscles naturally received sufficient blood flow to recover.   That is what my training program is all about.

     At fourteen years old, I am more concerned about damaging the growth plates of his pitching arm.   No amount of 'icing' or training can correct damage done to the adolescent pitching arm with too much pitching.   I recommend that fourteen year olds do not train for pitching and pitch for more than two months per year and they do not pitch more than one inning per game until their growth plates completely mature.

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330.   I have a thirteen year old son who has been pitching since he was 9 yrs old and he has never had any problems with his shoulder until the end of last year.   He was pitching in both Little League and Babe Ruth last yr and pitching a lot of innings (although not throwing too many pitches a lot of those innings).   He started to have pain in his pitching shoulder.   I must say that he does not use his legs very much when he is pitching.   Could this be why his shoulder is bothering him?   He has been diagnosed as having a weakness in the rotator cuff, although X-rays show no damage, and he will be starting physical therapy to strengthen his shoulder muscles.   What else can we do as far as pitching mechanics to reduce the strain on his shoulder(when he can start pitching again next year)?

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     The proximal end of the humerus has three growth plates.   Damage to these three growth plates will not show on X-rays unless their ossification centers have pulled completely loose of the shaft of the humerus.

     The humeral head growth plate receives the muscle attachments of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor muscle.   This is the growth plate most likely of the three to pull away from the shaft of the bone.   Even a slight separation can cause a deformation in the proper development that will prevent a smooth throwing motion due to rubbing the underside of the acromial process of the scapula.

     The lesser tuberosity growth plate receives the muscle attachment of the subscapularis muscle.   Therefore, when pitchers leave their pitching elbow behind their acromial line, they can place considerable stress on this growth plate.

     The greater tuberosity growth plate forms the medial aspect of the bicipital groove for the tendon of one head of the biceps brachii.   Because it does not directly receive any muscle attachment, it does not have to deal with the amount of force that the humeral head growth plate does.   However, the tendon of the long head of the biceps brachii does place some side force against it.

     When physicians find adolescents with irritation of the growth plate of the tibial tuberosity on the front of the lower leg just below the knee, also called Osgood Schlatter's Disease, they tell the youngsters to stop running and jumping for six months until the growth plates matures and is better able to withstand the stresses.   I recommend that your son stop throwing or swinging an implement overhead for six months until the growth plates of his shoulder mature and he is better able to withstand the stresses of pitching.

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331.   I am the father of a 16 year old high school pitcher who would like to increase his velocity.   I have researched the subject for the past several months and am getting more confused the more I search.   There seems to be several strong opinions which are in total disagreement with each other.   As a noted expert in the field of training pitchers, I am hoping that you can give us some practical guidance.

     I have several questions that I hope you can help us with:
1.   Which is correct: upper body conditioning with light weights or heavy weights?
2.   What is your opinion on "Overload/Underload" training for developing arm strength and velocity?   There seems to be strong indication that it is effective in developing bat speed/power.   Is it effective for pitchers?   Is it safe?
3.   Is there a safe, proven program for developing velocity?

     Don't get me wrong.   I am not one of those fathers who is looking for a "quick fix".   My son loves baseball and is not afraid to work hard to be successful.   However, with all the claims and counterclaims out there, we just don't know where to start.   Can you help us?


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     I direct you to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com to find my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I answer these questions and many more.

     Nevertheless, I will give you quick answers to your questions.
1.   All training is specific to the sport skill.   If the training does not almost perfectly replicate the movements of the motor skill, they will have little or no positive influence.   In my book, I show how I use wrist weights starting at ten pounds and iron balls starting at six pounds to train pitchers.
2.   Because pitchers accelerate five and one quarter ounces to release, underloading makes little or no sense.   However, with thirty-two to thirty-six ounce baseball bats, underloading does make sense.
3.   To achieve their maximal genetic release velocity, pitchers must first increase the size and strength of the pitching bones and the attachments of the pitching muscles that attach to these bones and, then, pitchers must second learn how to uniformly apply their maximum force with efficiency throughout the driveline through release.   I use my wrist weight and iron ball exercises to accomplish this first goal and my force application techniques to accomplish the second.

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332.   Some coaches have told me that "underloading teaches the muscles to speed up" while "overloading" strengthens the muscles.   Does this make sense?   If so, would throwing a tennis ball help in "speeding up the muscles"?

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     I agree with that underloading teaches the muscles to speed up.   It does so neurologically.   That is, for every movement we have a computer program, called a motor engram in our motor cortex that we develop with repeated practice of the skill.   Therefore, using lighter resistances enable youngsters to properly practice skills.

     If the activity challenges their muscle system, such as a ten year old trying to swing a three pound bat, then youngsters cannot learn the skill.   Therefore, if a five and one-half ounce baseball is too much weight for your son to correctly perform the pitching skill, then maybe going to something one half the weight of a baseball would make sense.   What does a tennis ball weigh?   Maybe he should practice the throwing motion with a whiffle ball.   It would do little good to practice without any ball because he would have no resistance to accelerate other than the weight of his hand.   In my opinion, unless we have a remedial situation, underloading for pitching has little if any benefit.

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333.   It was great to read about you on your web site ,and your goal of putting your thoughts in writing.   Is there some one you could recommend in my area of New Jersey that could help me one on one in improving my Pitching mechanics, velocity and accuracy?   I'm a 19 years old left hander who pitches in College, and throws in the low 80's.

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     I am not a nationwide business with branches throughout the states.   I am providing my Coaching Adult Pitchers book free of charge with my own money.   I offer pitching coach services to twelve seriously committed young men each year.   I am working on an instructional videotape.   That is all I can do to help you and others similarly situated.   If you truly throw in the low 80's, then you have about a fifty-fifty chance of becoming a quality college pitcher even with forty weeks of my training.   You need to get much stronger and need to learn the wide variety of pitches that I discuss.

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334.   Can adolescent catchers throw to second base?   Adolescent shortstops and third basemen to first?   Outfielders to infielders or to home?   Is the danger the force of the throw or the repetition of forceful throws?

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     Dr. Adams' research showed that some position players did suffer premature growth plate closure.   Therefore, throwing in general can deform the throwing arm.   However, his subjects played baseball for several months each year.   I feel comfortable with my recommendation that baseball players should practice their baseball skills for no more than two months per years until their growth plate completely mature.

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335.   Many texts recommend playing long toss as an excellent way to develop arm strength.   Do you concur?   If not, do you recommend against "airing it out" under any circumstances or only repetitive full force throws?

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     All training is highly specific.   When pitchers throw 'long toss', they strengthen their arms to release baseballs at an upward angle.   However, when they pitch, pitchers have to release their pitches straight outward or at a downward angle.   I have nothing against 'long toss', but I know that it is not the best way to train pitchers.   With mature growth plates, pitchers can 'air it out' all they want.   However, with open growth plates, they have to be more careful.   I recommend that no youngster pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old.   Then, they should not pitch more than one inning per game and not practice their pitching skills for more than two months per year.   They will have plenty of time after their growth plates close to work on their pitching skills and they will do so with the proper full growth and development of the pitching bones.

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336.   Much of your data is from 45 (1955 Little League World Series) to 25 (you and Andy Messersmith) years old.   Is it still valid? Have training methods, nutrition, better rest rules etc. minimized the potential danger to young pitchers.   Pony now allows 9-10 year olds 3 innings per night, no more than 6 per week and requires 40 hours rest between outings.   I take it you believe this isn't enough?

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     I wish that there were modern day Dr. Adamses.   I believe that we should have research studies that investigate the long term effects of baseball pitching on the ten to fifteen year olds.   I believe that researchers should repeat Professor Creighton's research of the participants in the 1955 Little League World Series.   If I were head of research at some major university, I would apply for grants to fund this research.   However, none of this is going to happen.

     How can we know if the situation is better, the same or worse than twenty-five years ago?   I get emails about adolescents getting 'Tommy John surgery'.   That did not happen twenty-five years ago.   While I do not have the data to support my opinion, I believe that the situation is worse and getting worse.   I do not believe that ten year olds have sufficient skeletal development to withstand even the necessary stresses of pitching and they are trying to withstand more.

     I stand with my recommendations for youth pitchers and I have concerns that I am not sufficiently conservative.   Without research to verify the safety of the present standards, I believe that we have to err on the side of caution.

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337.   If your numbers are accurate, tens of millions of men are walking around with "varying degrees of permanent elbow skeletal damage."   "Varying degrees" can, well, vary widely.   Why is it that orthopedists offices aren't SRO with middle aged men with arm deformities?   How many of your other teammates in your 20 years of professional baseball had medial epicondyle problems to the degree that you describe?   Why isn't there a Mothers Against Baseball organization if your findings are accurate?   Or are you overstating your points to make a point?

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     They are not my numbers.   They are the result of Dr. Joel Adams and several other orthopedic surgeons chronicling the youth pitchers in his region who came to them for help.   Varying degrees of permanent elbow damage can go from premature closure of one growth plate one day earlier than the non-pitching arm all the way to removal of the head of the radius.   The reason why most adults with skeletal damage from adolescent pitching do not seek medical help is because, in most cases, they can still function.   However, research has shown that the bones in their pitching arm are shorter than in their non-pitching arms.   If you read the research that I provided in Chapter Eight and come to a different conclusion, go with it.   I have nothing to gain with my position other than knowing that I have done what I can do to prevent adolescent pitching arm damage.   The decision is up to the parents.   I love baseball and, if it were safe for youngsters to pitch, I would jump in with both feet.

     If I wanted to make a lot of money with my pitching knowledge, the biggest financial market is the ten to fourteen year olds.   I could even sell them all kinds of worthless contraptions and information.   But, with the knowledge of almost certain destruction of their pitching arms, I cannot.

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338.   How long have you been training pitchers in Florida?   Please identify a few of your best students and for which major league teams they are now pitching.

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     I began training pitchers while I was still working on my doctoral degree at Michigan State University.   I trained pitchers while I was head baseball coach at three NCAA II schools.   My former pitchers coerced me into training them after my college coaching career.   Because of the ongoing requests for my help, I built facilities to help more young men three years ago.   Because the numbers grew and they needed housing and I needed to control the situation better, I built larger facilities that opened on Christmas day of 2000.

     My program enables pitchers to learn what they have to do to become the best pitcher that they can become.   It shows pitchers how to train to gain the strength that they will need to pitch at their highest levels without injury.   It shows pitchers how to perform the skills to learn the variety of pitches that they will need to succeed at the highest levels.   It does not alter their genetic limitations, it enables them to achieve their genetic limitations.   All pitchers have their personal levels of commitment.   I guide, I do not command.   I am satisfied that all pitchers with whom I have worked have achieved these goals.   I have no control over either their genetic limitations or their level of commitment.

     If you want a fair comparison of the result of my training program with any other training program, you would have to find matched pairs of pitchers and have one-half complete my program and the other half complete the other program.   Further, you would have to have more objective criteria to measure their capabilities before and after rather than who pitches in the major leagues.   Since I work primarily with high school graduates who want to become good enough to pitch quality college baseball, to compare the achievements with these young men with drafted pitchers is ridiculous.

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339.   After reading through your responses to other questions, it appears that your problem is with "competitive pitching" vs pitching per se for kids before age 16.   Your concern is overthrowing, not throwing.   Growth plate damage can occur if they use the proper technique, but exert themselves beyond their physiological limits perhaps due to game situations, adrenaline, fatigue etc.   Am I reading you correctly?

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     I am concerned with the amount of adolescent throwing.   I recommend no more than two months per year. I am concerned with adolescent competitive pitching.   I recommend no competitive pitching until thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   I do not want greater stress applied to the pitching growth plates that they can withstand, but I want pitchers to correctly learn the skills.

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340.   How difficult would it be to use a digital camera to photograph your students or yourself demonstrating some of your techniques and posting the photos on your web page?   It's a pretty simple process and shouldn't cost much at all.   I think those of us who are interested would spring for a few bucks to purchase the photos.   I know I would.

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     I am in the process of putting together an instructional videotape.   As I get deeper into this project, the more comfortable I feel that it will meet your needs.   I have hundreds of hours of videotapes of my students completing my training program.   I will work as hard as I can as quickly as I can to get this material to you and others similarly interested.

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341.   I am 16 years old and have been pitching since I was about 7 or 8 years old.   Over the years I have thrown alot of pitches and alot of innings playing for 2 teams each baseball season.   The last two years I haven't pitched as much as I used to because of a need for fielders.   I never really had any injuries that I knew of except for some muscle sorness.

     On one Thursday this season, I pitched 6 innings.   Then, a few days later on Tuesday, I pitched 7 innings.   A week later I pitched 2 innings in a game.   In the days following, I felt a pain in my arm.   It was about an inch away from my elbow and it seemed like the pain was coming from under my bicep.   I never felt this pain until now.   I thought some rest would help it.   However, it has been about 3 weeks and I still feel it.   I can hardly reach 1st base from third, which use to be a throw that I had no problem making.   Do you have any idea what it could be?   Should I see a doctor?   Is their anything that I could do to help it or strengthen it?


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     When I read that someone has competitively pitched for nine years starting at seven years old, I wonder how much damage they have done to their pitching arm.   You would need to compare an X-ray of your pitching elbow with an X-ray of your non-pitching elbow.   I am certain that you have deformed your pitching elbow to such an extent that you will experience constant discomfort during and after pitching.

     The specific area that you describe, 'pain coming from under your biceps brachii', indicates the coranoid process of the ulna.   The brachialis muscle attaches to the coranoid process and excessive adolescent pitching enlarges this process and limits the elbow flexion range of motion.   It is not possible for me to determine whether you have simply strained your brachialis muscle or you have enlarged your coranoid process to such an extent that it irritates adjoining tissue.

     When you see a physician, make certain that you get an X-ray of your non-pitching elbow from mid-humerus to mid-ulna with which to compare the same X-ray of your pitching elbow.   Have them take X-rays from the lateral view with your elbow fully flexed and extended.   I would be very interested in having a slide of your flexed elbows side by side and of your extended elbows side by side.

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342.   I'm sure you get this sort of argument all of the time.   Do you have names of some college pitchers you've helped?   Just curious because my son and I follow college baseball pretty closely, being in college territory.

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     I had an assistant coach at Henderson State University who has been the pitching coach at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX.   He has used my training program at a rudimentary level for several years with good success.   When I started training pitchers for forty weeks, he recommended pitchers to train with me.   I even agreed to work with them during my ten week summer period with the promise that they would return for the remaining thirty weeks later.   This years, for the first time, three of the four starters had trained with me with the fourth using my basic program.   Despite this minimal training and despite St. Mary's moving up to NCAA II only two years ago, they won the NCAA II national championship.   None of these players are drafted players or even had NCAA I college scholarship offers.   However, I continue to argue that this is not a scientific method for evaluating the quality of my training program.   I have no control over the genetic limitations of the pitchers with whom I work or any control over either their ability to learn motor skills or their commitment to doing the training.

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343.   I understand.   Until the same kid trains and pitches under both methods, the comparisons are not scientific.

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     Matched pairs means two different young men with very similar objective criteria such as height, weight, velocity, discomfort complaints and so on.   One trains with one method, the other trains with the other method.   The same young man could not train with both methods without both methods influencing the outcome and confounding the results.

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344.   I am 34 and I play in the Mens Senior Baseball League.   I play catcher and just recently I have been having problems with my shoulder.   The pain is deep inside my right (throwing) shoulder.   I was wondering what the heck it is.   I have never had any shoulder injuries before.   Even when I take batting practice it acts up.   Some days it feels good and others I can't lift it over my head.   What is it and what should I do?   I went to my Doctor and he said it is normal for a man my age to have shoulder problems.   That wasn't the answer I was looking for.   Can you help me?

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     I need more information than, 'the pain deep inside my throwing shoulder.'   If the pain is on the top of the shoulder, then it is probably the supraspinatus and you have a bounce in your throwing motion.   The statement that it bothers you on some days and not on others brings in the possibility of arthritis.   I do not know how well you train or how frequently.   The over-30 men's leagues are full of guys who show up once or twice a week to play and do little training in between.   As we age, we lose the ability to play intermittently with little preparation.   In that sense, your doctor is correct.

     I recommend that you X-ray the shoulder to check for arthritis and you spend some time each day training.   It does not have to be overly rigorous, but you need to throw a couple of dozen baseballs into a net or something and swing a bat even without hitting baseballs about the same number of times.   This should not take you more than fifteen to twenty minutes per day, but you cannot expect these muscles to operate at even a reduced competitive level without some preparation.

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345.   I want to know what should I do?   I am throw with my right hand.   My arm hurts right above the triceps.   What is my problem and should I lift weights or take time off from playing and practicing?

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     The triceps brachii muscle lies on the posterior surface of your upper arm.   When you say, 'my arm hurts right above the triceps,' you are indicating the back of the shoulder.   If this is correct, then you have exceeded the physiological limits of one of the outward rotator muscles of the shoulder joint, probably the teres minor muscle.

     Whenever anybody experiences discomfort after doing any physical activity, it means that they have exceeded the physiological limits of the muscles and, possibly, the ligaments and bones to withstand that amount of stress.   The stress can be normal, proper stresses that the person has applied too rigorously or unnecessary stresses from improper force application techniques.

     If it is your teres minor muscle, then you are either insufficiently trained to decelerate your throwing arm or you are improperly decelerating your throwing your arm.   If you stop and wait for the muscles to get stronger, they will only atrophy and get weaker and the next time you perform the same activity at the same intensity, the muscles will be even less able to withstand the stress.   You should decrease the activity to a mildly uncomfortable level and correct your force application technique.   In this way, you will gradually strengthen the muscle and make it able to withstand the stress.

     Since you probably do not know how to correct your force application technique or how to perform the activity at a reduced intensity, the doctor takes the safe path and tells you to stop altogether.   Unfortunately, rest does not make muscles stronger and more capable to withstand the stress the next time you apply it.   Resting muscle injuries starts a downward spiral of atrophy, reinjury, atrophy, reinjury and so on.

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346.   Gotta hand it to you, it was pretty brave of you to print Dr. Mike Marshall's comments about youth pitching.   I agree 100% that pitching for kids is not healthy.   Pitch counts, Battery, pre-game warmups, home throwing, is something I always take into consideration.   I do not limit my kids to 1 inning but the pitch counts outlined on your web site are strictly used and because of Dr. Marshall's strong comments, it is always in he back of my mind that health and safety is foremost when dealing with children.

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     With regard to baseball pitching, all I care about is that all pitchers have the opportunity to become the best pitchers that their genetic heritage allows them to be.   I have provided my advice and instructional books free-of-charge.   I want all pitchers to feel the joy of baseball pitching that I had for forty years without pitching arm injuries.   When adult pitchers injure their arms, it is because they use improper force application techniques and/or they have not properly trained their pitching arms to withstand the required stresses of accelerating baseballs to their maximum release velocity.   However, adolescent pitchers have an additional variable, that is, their bones are growing.

     If we want our children to become adults without interfering with the normal growth and development of their pitching arm, then we have to recognize the danger.   The distal end of the humerus (the bone of the upper arm), has four ossification centers that attach to the shaft of the bone by way of their growth plates.   The proximal end of the ulna (one of two bones in the forearm), has one ossification center that attaches to the shaft of the bone by way of a growth plate.   The proximal end of the radius bone (the other bone of the forearm), has one ossification center that attaches to the shaft of the bone by way of a growth plate.

     Before anybody cavalierly recommends pitch counts, innings, types of pitches or whatever, I believe that they should know the names, normal growth patterns and purpose of these ossification centers.   I believe that they should know what muscles, if any, attach to their ossification centers.   I believe that they should know what effect baseball pitching has on these ossification centers.   You will please excuse me if I do not give any credibility to anybody's recommendations with regard to adolescent baseball pitching who does not know what I am talking about.   The earth is not flat.   Before someone gives advice that might very well ruin the adolescent pitching arm, they had better know more than, that is what it looks like to me.   The earth is not flat.   The sun does not revolve around the earth.

     Whether I pitched or played shortstop as an adolescent is irrelevant.   And, certainly, for someone to praise someone for having the courage to permit the only person in this discussion of whom I am aware who knows the facts about adolescent skeletal growth and development misses the point.   Even whether or not adolescent pitchers complain about discomfort or pain will not insure that they are not deforming their pitching arms.   There is no pitch count chart that insures that youngsters will not damage their pitching arms.   I am not writing a law, I am giving parents information with which they can decide whether or not they want to take the chance with their son's pitching arm.   I have met my burden to society.   If your son destroys his medial epicondyle or radial head, it is their responsibility.   I doubt that the real law will give them any redress from those who recommend pitch counts and the like.

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347.   I am very interested in your pitching motion.   I have tried working with it for 1 full month, pretty much every day doing the wrist weights, 6 lb iron ball, and about 50 pitches per day.   I really like the idea of pushing off the front foot, but I can't seem to throw very hard when I finish throwing the pitch andjust rotating my upper body.   But when I bend my upper body way out over my front leg I throw 8-10 mph harder.   I also came to the conclusion that I can get closer to the plate if I reach out and bend my upper body as I finish the pitch.   Is this putting too much stress on my arm?

     I do notice that my shoulder blade area of my pitching arm, the back part does feel sore the next day, very similar to when I use my old pitching motion that is almost identical to Nolan Ryan's motion.   Are their any pitchers using your pitching style in the majors or pro ball right now?


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     The reason why I have pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot and, then, have them push off their front foot is to lengthen their driveline.   I recommend that pitchers stand tall through release because the higher that pitchers release their pitches the better the downward angle on their pitches.   I recommend that pitchers rotate their hips and shoulders because they can generate greater force rotating than bending and they can keep their high release points.   I would not agree with bending at the waist to try to increase the length of the driveline.   Bending at the waist not only lowers the release points, but it also makes the release points more difficult to repeat, especially when the pitchers' arm tires.

     I follow the principles of Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and the reality of human applied anatomy.   I never evaluate what I recommend with any pitcher whether it is someone with whom I have worked or not.   I never evaluate pitching techniques because any particular pitcher used it.   There are too many irrelevant variables involved with the success or lack of success of pitchers, however you or anybody else would measure success, that have nothing to do with their pitching techniques or training.

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348.   The pain is more in the middle of the joint.   I have been working out with my son (12yrs old).   We started an exercise with small weights where we take the weight at our sides and lift until it is parallel with the ground then turn our hands over and lift over our heads, and do the opposite on the way down.   We do this about 20 times with a 5lb weight, he uses 3lbs or sometimes soup cans.   We also throw every other day for about a half hour.   We alternate with a weighted ball (5 ounces).   We also hit the cages about two or three times a week, depending on the funds if you know what I mean.

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     When we raise our arms laterally to shoulder height, Kinesiologist describe this action as 'shoulder joint abduction.'   The middle deltoid and supraspinatus muscles accomplish shoulder joint abduction.   When we raise our arms from this position to vertically over our heads, Kinesiologists describe this action as 'shoulder girdle upward rotation.'   The superior-most aspect of the Trapezius muscle accomplish shoulder girdle upward rotation.   I doubt very much that this activity influences the fitness of the pitching muscles in any significant way, but you never know when you have to change an overhead light bulb.

     When you say that the pain you experience is 'deep' inside your shoulder, that could mean the suprapinatus muscle as I mentioned previously or it could mean the articulation of the ball aspect of the humeral head and the glenoid fossa as I also mentioned previously.   If it is the supraspinatus muscle, then you either have a backward bounce in your throwing motion that unnecessarily stresses your supraspinatus or you have not sufficiently training your supraspinatus muscle to withstand the required stress.   If it is the articulation, then you have arthritis and you need to get an X-ray to confirm this and a prescription to help alleviate the discomfort.

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349.   The forearm is horizontal at leverage; the forearm is vertical at leverage.   I've read every E mail and response from 2000 and will soon work on 2001, but I have read you saying both things.   Is it correct that at leverage, the forearm and elbow are at slightly more or less than 90 degrees depending on what pitch I'm throwing?   The forearm is directly above the elbow at leverage, inside of the acromial line?   To make it clear, the pitching arm is not perfectly horizontal and pointing at second base at leverage, correct?

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     I know for certain that I have never recommended that pitchers have their forearm vertical at leverage.   I have made it very clear that the vertical forearm at leverage will move backward and downward and unnecessarily stress the inward rotator muscles of the shoulder joint, i.e., the rotator cuff.

     At leverage, the relationship of the forearm to the upper arm cannot be less than ninety degrees.   Otherwise, when pitchers start accelerating their upper arms forward, the centripetal force of the forearm being less than ninety degrees from the upper arm will cause the forearm to circle outward and unnecessarily stress the flexor muscles of the elbow joint.

     Your last point is currently in a state of reevaluation.   To prevent rotator cuff injuries, I have trained pitchers to have their forearm lay horizontally backward pointing at second base and to never permit their elbow to go behind their acromial line.   It has worked, none of my pitchers have had rotator cuff injuries.   However, recently, I have observed a technique complication with having the forearm horizontal at leverage.

     To determine the height of the driveline, we only need to raise our upper arm to shoulder height and hold our forearm at vertical.   It is slightly above the ear.   However, to satisfy Newton's law of inertia, we need the driveline to be straight toward home plate from leverage through release.   If we have the forearm horizontal at shoulder height, then we have to raise the baseball to the proper driveline height above the ear.   This causes a curved pathway and decreases release consistency.   While I recognize the limitations of the human body to achieve perfection with Newton's three laws, we need to come as close as possible.

     I know that we do not want the forearm vertical at leverage.   However, I am now less confident that we want the forearm horizontal at leverage.   How do we keep the elbow ahead of the acromial line and the straight driveline above the ear without the forearm moving backward and downward when the upper arm starts moving forward?   I am now advising my pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arms with their palms facing downward to just below ear height and, when they continue the transition by turning their forearm into proper position for the type of pitch, they should move to the proper driveline height.   Concurrently, pitchers must not start to turn their forearm into position until after they start moving their pitching arm forward and they should not move their body forward until they have their pitching arm at leverage.

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350.   I have been tuned to your site for several years now.   GREAT SITE that provides coaches and parents with a lot of ideas and answers.   Recently, I have been reading many of the articles from Mike Marshall.   It is obvious that Mike does not believe that kids 9 to 13 should be pitching very much in Little League.   But both you and I know that thousands and thousands of kids are pitching for their teams every day.

     Many teams that we have faced are already throwing curveballs.   My question concerns one of my pitchers, my best pitcher from a control and speed standpoint.   This boy occasionally has pain in his muscle leading from the inner bend in his elbow to his biceps muscle.   Someday he has the pain and others he does not.   It even hurts to touch the area.   Sometimes he indicates that his fingers are numb and I have seen him on the mound shaking his hand.   This boy only throws fastballs and change ups and we keep them on a 60 pitch count with a minimum three days rest.   Even though the pain is occasional, I am very worried as a coach.   I do not want to do something to ruin this boy's future, because I believe that he has one.   Please help.   Any diagnosis?   Could it be his mechanics?   He throws 57% strikes and has an unbelievable (for a 12 year old) K to W ratio of 5 to 1.   His control is great.   He does tend to use his upper body more that his lower.


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     Whenever pitchers complain of discomfort, it means that have exceeded the physiological limit of whatever structure hurts.   Pain is a good thing.   It tells us to stop doing whatever we are doing.   When adult pitchers complain, I have only two factors to consider to determine why they have exceeded their physiological limit.   One, does where the pain is tell me about a flaw in their force application technique?   Two, did they properly train the physiological system that cannot withstand the stress to handle the stress?

     However, whenever adolescent pitchers complain of discomfort, I have to first think of their growth plates.   Does where they indicate that they have pain possibly involve a growth plate?   Whether or not they can throw strikes does not mean that they are using proper force application techniques.   What pitches they throw does not make a difference as to whether the stress that they apply is too great for their growth plates.

     In this case, I do not know for certain the age of this youngster.   I do not know whether he is an advanced, typical or delayed maturer.   Nevertheless, I have to assume that he has open growth plates.   The area that you describe, 'his muscle leading from the inner bend in his elbow to his biceps muscle', indicates the bracialis attachment to the coranoid process of the ulna.   Like the olecranon process of the ulna, the coranoid process has a growth plate.   Therefore, I suspect growth plate involvement.

     The brachialis muscle lies on the anterior surface of the humerus (upper arm bone) on the distal one-half.   When the brachialis contracts, it moves the coranoid process of the ulna closer to the anterior surface of the humerus.   Pitchers should use their brachialis only to help decelerate and recover their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers after they release their pitches.   However, when pitchers take their pitching arm laterally behind their body such that they have to take their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body before they can drive their pitches toward home plate, they create a centripetal force that causes their forearm to flyout away from their body.   In this situation, pitchers have to use their brachialis muscle to prevent their forearm from continuing outward and locking their olecranon process into their olecranon process.

     To summarize, I suspect that this youngster uses incorrect force application technique and he is unnecessarily stressing the ossification center of the coranoid process such that its growth plate is yelling at him to stop.   I agree with the growth plate.   Stop.   I recommend that this youngster stop pitching or training to pitch for six months to permit this growth plate to properly grow and develop.   I further recommend that he not train or pitch competitively for mote than two months per years until his growth plates mature.   I recommend that he does not pitch against opposition batters competitively in keeping score game situations until he is thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game until his growth plates mature.   Further, he needs to learn how not to take his pitching arm laterally behind his back during his transition phase.

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351.   My son is 14 yrs old.   Last week while playing shortstop, he made a throw to first base and said that his fingers went numb for a few seconds.   There was no pain, just the numbness for a few seconds.   The season is over now, but I wondered if there is an explaination for this.   He has never experienced this sensation previously.

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     I need to know which fingers went numb to give you a precise answer.   However, it is probably either the ulnar nerve or the median nerve.   If the little finger and the lateral one-half of the ring finger went numb, then it is the ulnar nerve.   If the remainder of the fingers went numb, then it is the median nerve.   Usually, pitchers experience ulnar nerve numbness.   The ulnar nerve passes through the elbow area in a groove that is behind the medial epicondyle.   The medial epicondyle is a critical skeletal structure in pitching.   During adolescence, the medial epicondyle is an ossification center held to the shaft of the humerus bone by its growth plate.   Excessive pitching can cause the ossification center of the medial epicondyle to pull away from the humerus and alter the groove through which the ulnar nerve moves past the elbow.

     It could be that your son has deformed the ulnar groove such that it will always irritate his ulnar nerve.   It could also be that your son threw incorrectly and only this one time irritated the ulnar nerve.   But, whatever the cause, your son irritated his ulnar nerve either acutely or chronically.   If it is acutely, that is a one time thing, then he probably will not have permanent damage.   However, it he irritates his ulnar nerve chronically, that is repeatedlly, then it will swell and shut down its nerve impulses to the hand.   Whether he will experience this temporarily or permanently whenever he throws or not, I cannot answer, only time will tell.   However, so as to not make the situation worse, I would recommend that he stop pitching until his medial epicondyle has completely matured.   Then, before he starts throwing again, he needs to learn how to not move his forearm closer than ninety degrees to his upper arm and irritate his ulnar nerve.

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352.   My confusion is in statements that have the forearm horizontal, but the elbow at 90 degrees.   I have read that in at least 5 or 6 places. How can the forearm be horizontal, the humerus at shoulder level and the elbow angle at 90 degrees?   I'm confused.   I have read all of your book and every E mail, 2000 and 2001.   What is the latest on your video? I am very interested.

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     Pitchers can abduct their humerus to shoulder height.   Pitchers can keep their forearm ninety degrees away from their humerus.   Pitchers can lay their forearm back to horizontal with their forearm at a ninety degree angle to their upper arm.   However, I told you that I am no longer recommending that pitchers lay their forearm back to horizontal.   At present, with respect to horizontal, I recommend about a forty-five degree forearm angle.

     With regard to my instructional videotape, I am not happy with the quality of the videotape that they want to use.   I am investigating what quality of video camera we should be using and when I find out, I intent to purchase one and redo all of the videotaping that we need for our final product.   I have outlined the content of the videotapes, but I am in a holding pattern until we resolve the quality of the videotape problem.   I will not put out anything that has inferior videotape quality.

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353.   My son is entering his junior year of high school and would like to attend your 10 week summer program in 2002.   He has been a 3 sport athlete but works on baseball all year.   This school year he wishes to do everything he can to improve and be prepared for the Spring high school season.   He was 13-1 this past year and believes some of his success is due to techniques he incorporated after reading your book.

     He's thinks he's interpreting and applying them correctly as they did help and he pitched a lot and without pain.   Presently, he's re-reading your Chapter's 23 and 24 and wants to begin using your 40 week program until his season begins to prepare his body to throw harder.   I still worry about him hurting himself without someone who recognizes incorrect force application techniques monitoring him.   Is he ill advised to consider beginning such a program on his own?   May I purchase video of your students working through the program?

     I know you offer the 2 programs.   We definitely would like to participate in your next 10 week program.   However, if I could bring him for a visit this summer is their any guidance you might offer or consider that may help him develop through this year?


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     I agree that youngsters should not increase their number of repetitions and/or the amount of weight of their wrist weights without professional guidance.   Also, I constantly reevaluate the exercises that I have my pitchers complete to learn the force application techniques that I recommend.   Recently, I made some significant changes that I have not had time to write in my book.   It is not that anybody will injure themselves with the old exercises, it is just that the new exercises enable pitchers to better learn the force application techniques.

     I take ten week summer pitchers during the summer before their senior year in high school only when they agree to return after they graduate high school for the remainder of the forty week training program.   I already have four deposits for young men who want to attend my ten week summer training program under the preceding criteria.   You are welcome to visit my training center at any time.   I may not be around between the second and third Saturday in August or between the fourth Saturday in May and the first Saturday in June.   Otherwise, I am here every day and we train from 9:00AM until 11:00AM.   You and your son are welcome to watch the pitchers train and ask as many questions as you want.

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354.   I play high school baseball.   About 4 months ago, I hurt my elbow pitching and the doctors said it was medial epicondylitis.   The pain would proceed for about another 3 months and I had an MRI done.   It came out that I had ruptured my ulnar ligament.   About 2 months ago, I had a cortisone shot in it and the shot didn't really heal the pain.   But, about 2 weeks ago the pain had suddenly gone away about 98%.   My arm was actually 2/10s of a second stronger and in catching that is a lot.   (I hurt it pitching though.)

     Is it possible that they read the MRI wrong or did it just take a while for the cortisone to set in?   Could the tissue had just healed?   But, I would think if I had ruptured my ulnar it would take a lot longer.


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     If you ruptured your ulnar collateral ligament, you could not throw.   The ulnar collateral ligament holds the humerus bone of your upper arm to the ulna bone of your forearm.   Without the ulnar collateral ligament, your ulna bone would move away from your humerus bone and open the medial or inside aspect of your elbow.   Since the medial aspect of the elbow is critical to pitching, you could not throw.   Therefore, because the pain has suddenly gone away, I doubt that you ruptured your ulnar collateral ligament.

     This demonstrates how difficult it is to read an MRI and correctly diagnose an injury.   I think that orthopedic surgeons go by what patients say more than what the MRI shows and they really do not know until they do the surgery and can actually see what is wrong.   I am also not a fan of cortisone shots.   They do not stimulate tissue to regenerate.   They do not cure anything.   I have no idea what they do that is positive.

     Catchers who pitch tend to bring the terrible forearm turnover technique of catchers to pitching.   Pitchers have to have a vertical pendulum swing out of their glove to the driveline height with their forearm pointing backward at leverage.   Catchers simply raise their humerus to shoulder height with their forearm pointing forward.   When catchers start their upper arm forward, their forearm moves from pointing forward to pointing backward.   This action causes a bounce that unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow and they tear fascial tissue or worse.

     My diagnosis from afar is that you tore fascial tissue on the inside of your elbow.   Fascial tissue is connective tissue that overlays the elbow.   This is a common pitching injury that emits severe pain stimuli that is actually meaningless.   That is, after pitchers get their blood flow, they can pitch well even though the pain remains.   Then, suddenly, the fascial tear heals and the pain goes away.   I have had several pitchers go through this.   I tell them to reduce their training intensity, but continue to train through the discomfort and it will go away.   This might be one type of injury where a cortisone shot might help.

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355.   I have a 13 year old boy who just loves baseball and like most dream of being a star.   Last year, he broke his ankle sliding into home plate.   He has recouped very well and played a full season since then.   Prefering to hit home runs then having to slide into home & pitching at 65 mph.   He states there is never any pain.   He is left with 2 screws in his growth plate.   The Dr. recommends not removing the screws unless they bother him, they don't.

     Would having the screws left in be a negative factor if he was to achieve the boyhood dream of playing college\professional baseball?


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     While you did not tell me what bone of the ankle he broke, I would guess that he broke the distal end of the fibula of the lower leg.   The fibula is not a weight bearing bone, but the distal end is important as a lateral clamp to the talus bone of the foot.   I have no idea what the effect of having screws hold the ossification center of the distal end of the fibula to the shaft of the fibula would be.   I would imagine that the bone will mature and calcify around the screws.   If the bone tissue does not reject the screws or movement does not cause the screws to damage the bone tissue, the screws might actually make the bone stronger.   However, I have never studied this and I do not know.   You might ask your doctor whether anybody has researched the long term effects of leaving screws in the distal end of the fibula of adolescent males.

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356.   I discovered your web site over a year ago and read your books.   I also go to other web sites that discuss how to throw baseballs.   I want to warn you that a couple of other web sites are stealing your stuff.   One is taking credit for your 'hidden velocity' idea by telling his readers to release their pitches farther out front.   Another web site is taking credit for your 'front foot drive' with what he calls the 'CROSSOVER MOVE from rear to front foot'.   This guy is really great with words.   I think he could sell the Brooklyn bridge to anybody.   However, I think that people should see thru the pitching package that he sells because he includes a radar gun in this package.   If that doesn't prove he is only out for the almighty dollar, then let the blind follow.

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     I am a trained researcher.   As such, I would never plagiarise what anybody else has researched.   The scientific community rejects plagiarists.   Noboby would hire or ever listen to a plagiarist again.   They are considered the scum of the scientific world.   However, in the charlatan, snake-oil world of web sites, it has to be, 'let the buyer beware.'   I will have to leave exposing these plagiarists to you.   I am too busy teaching and learning pitching and learning how to produce a quality videotape.   My latest discovery is the requirement of the three chip digital camcorder.   At present, I have outlined two hours worth of videotape.

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357.   I used to be a pitcher until I could not take the pain anymore.   When throwing, I experience a sharp pain in my elbow and some times it cracks (the sound when you crack your knuckles).   DO you have any idea what is wrong with it?   I also experienced a dramatic decrease in my velocity.   I think I threw harder in little league than I do now from the same distance.   If I get this corrected do you think my velocity will come back to me and I will be able to pitch again?

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     Pain is a good thing.   It means that you should stop whatever you are doing that is causing the pain.   In adolescent pitchers, it could mean that you are destroying the normal skeletal development of your pitching arm.   Therefore, stop pitching.   Wait for your growth plates to mature without further inappropriate stress that will permanently deform your bones.

     The cracking sound that you hear, like when you 'crack your fingers,' is probably the release of compressed air.   When the ends of two bones fit smoothly together, one convex and the other concave, muscle pressure across the bones can compress air between the hyaline cartilage of the two bones.   This is especially true when the hyaline cartilage at the ends of the two bones swell from colliding against each other, such as the head of the radius collides with the capitulum end of the humurus.   When someone forcibly moves those bones apart, the compressed air releases with a pop or cracking sound.   It does not enlarge the knuckles of your fingers or necessarily means anything wrong with your elbow. However, the pain does.

     I recommend that you do not pitch or throw for at lease six months to permit your growth plates to mature without interference.   Then, I recommend that you do not train to pitch for more than two month per year until your growth plates mature, around sixteen years old.   I further recommend that you do not pitch competitively until your are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   Lastly, if you experience pain even with this greatly reduced pitching schedule, stop pitching.

     After your growth plates mature, you will have plenty of time to learn how to pitch and, then, the pain you experience will not deform the bones of your pitching arm.   Then, the pain will indicate that you have exceeded the physiological limit of some aspect of your pitching arm by either using improper force application technique and/or inadequately training your pitching arm.   These are things that we can fix.

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358.   My son is 12 years old and has injured his growth plate on his left arm.   I have read the questions and answers and I have figured out that it could be from forearm flyout, but I do not understand anything that has been said about that.   I would like to know if you could explain it to me as simply as possible.   Also, my son throws a cut fastball.   What I would like to know if it could have had anything to do with his injury?

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     You did not say which growth plate he injured or how bad he injured it.   However, I can assume that it was the growth plate of the medial epicondyle and that he has pulled the ossification center of the medial epicondyle away from the shaft of the humerus (bone of the upper arm).   He injured this growth plate because pitching placed a greater amount of stress on this growth plate than it could tolerate.   He probably did have a force application problem, but even with perfect technique, youngsters can destroy their growth plates and permanently deform their pitching arms.

     A cut fastball, like a slider, is a very difficult pitch to throw correctly.   It can cause what I call a 'loop' just before the upper arm starts forward which leads to a forearm reverse bounce and unnecessarily and severely stresses the inside of the elbow area (medial epicondyle).

     I have no way of knowing how badly your son has permanently damaged his pitching arm.   However, I know that if he wants to pitch after his growth plates mature, he needs to stop pitching for a minimum of six months.   Thereafter, I recommend that he does not pitch or train for pitching for more than two months per year and that he does not pitch more than one inning per game until his growth plates mature.

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359.   I was suprised to read that toe-touches do not stretch the hamstrings.   I have lower back problems and have read that stretching the hamstrings sometimes helps.   I'm almost fifty years old but I play basketball about 3 times per week.   A few hours after playing basketball, my back usually bothers me.   I was told that the cause might be tight hamstrings.   Is this true? If so, what can I do about it?

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     Nobody has 'hamstrings.'   The muscles on the back of the thigh that attach to the ischial tuberosity of the hip triad of bones and to the lower leg are the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and long head of the biceps femoris.   When these muscles contract, they bring the ischial tuberosity closer to the lower leg in a movement Kinesiologists call hip extension.   When people bend over to touch their toes, they have to contract these muscles to keep from falling on their face.   When muscles are contracting, you cannot 'stretch' them.   I do not believe that muscles 'stretch' at all.   I believe that people can learn to use fewer contractile units and, thereby, increase the length of their muscles.

     To learn how to use fewer contractile units, you must start with no contraction in the muscles of interest.   I suggest that you sit on the floor with your legs comfortably open.   Then, with your arms holding up the weight of your trunk, permit your chest to move closer to one leg and then the other.   Even this activity has the possibility of these muscles contracting to keep your trunk upright, but, with practice, you should learn how to support your body weight with your arms and remove the contraction from these muscles.

     In the end, however, I suspect that 'tight hamstrings' is not a problem about which you will spend your time.   A ballerina might reasonably have some concern.

     The Psoas Major muscle attaches to the greater trochanter of the femur and to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebrae.   When you play basketball, you lift your legs with your Psoas Major muscle and pull on these lumbar vertebrae.   That is what causes your lower back pain.   You may also have an excessive curvature of your lower back.   This sometimes happens when we gain weight abdominally.

     You need to correct the posture of your lower back.   You have to tilt your hips under and flatten your lower back.   Try standing with your back against a wall and press your lower back against the wall.   You should be able to put the entire lower back against the wall.

     You should also begin some simple exercises for the Psoas Major muscles.   I think I describe them in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I call them, the Marshall Knee Drops.   Start by lying on your back on the floor with your legs comfortably spread and your knees bent to ninety degrees.   To initiate the exercise, drop both knees to the right.   Make certain that your right upper leg points straight downward.   Next, return your knees to their upright position and continue until you drop both knees to the left.   Make certain that your left upper leg points straight downward.   Next, return your knees to their upright position and continue until you drop both knees to the right.   And so on.   I recommend that you continue this activity for ten minutes at a comfortable pace.   After a few sessions, you should be able to touch the floor with the inside of both knees.

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360.   What is your opinion of the work of Bill Thurston, Amhurst College, on pitching mechanics and drills?   Same question for the work of Dick Mills?

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     I do not discuss people, I only discuss pitching.   If you want my opinion about pitching, please ask me what I think about something, not someone.   I developed my force application technique from Newton's three laws of motion and applied anatomy.   I did not look at how famous and successful pitchers throw or what anybody else has to say.   That is how we repeat the mistakes of the past one hundred plus years and why we continue to have an epidemic of pitching arm injuries.

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361.   I certainly respect your position on the discussion of pitching only, not people.   I am guilty of being too general and/or broad in my initial question to you, and will ask using specifics in references to questions.

     I am currently working with the following young person: 15-year-old, who stands 6' and 1/2, and weighs 166 pounds.   Pretty good athlete who has been catching his entire career and pitching during the last two seasons.   This young man will probably grow another inch or two, according to his doctor, and gain another 20 or so pounds.   He is in excellent condition and plays TE on his JV football team.   Fairly strong for his age.   He does football workouts, but he does not perform behind the neck presses or behind the neck pulldowns.   He does a series of band-exercises daily and a series of shoulder exercises with light weights to strengthen his shoulder muscles.   This includes wrist curls, reverse curls, and twists.

     My questions concern what has been called the "Drop and Drive" method of pitching vs what is called by many as having a balanced delivery.   I understand the balanced delivery principals.   Is it true that power and velocity is actually generated through the hips-gluts an not any push or drive from the pitching rubber?


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     When you say, 'drop and drive', I think that you mean where pitchers lower their body until their rear knee touches the ground.   If that is correct, then I disagree with that technique.   I do not understand why any pitcher wants to pitch as though he is about a foot and one-half shorter than he is.   I teach my pitchers to stand as tall as possible at release to achieve their highest driveline without tilting their shoulders toward their glove side.

     When you say, 'balanced delivery', I have no idea what you mean.   Some refer to a 'balance position' where pitchers are to stand like a stork on one leg.   I strongly disagree with pitchers using that technique because it causes pitchers to start their body forward at the same time that they take their pitching arm backward.   This creates a situation where the pitcher has to struggle to get his pitching arm caught up to his body.   I teach my pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm backward while simultaneously bringing their front foot toward the pitching rubber.   Then, after their pitching arm and front foot reach their backward position, I teach my pitchers to simultaneously step forward to start their body forward and forward rotate their hips and shoulders with their pitching arm in the proper leverage position.

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362.   Thank you for the confirming what I have heard on the "Drop and Drive" technique.   I have stayed away from that method of pitching.   That is what I used in high school and when I played MSBL baseball in my early thirties.   At 31, I had to repair an ulnar nerve injury and later on have bone spurs removed.   I just recently had rotator cuff surgery and am in the process of rehab.

     I retired from coaching high school about ten years ago, but I never lost my love for pitching.   I am currently working with a friend's son who wants to pitch.   I only coach what I know and I rely on references as much as possible.   I, too, after rotator cuff surgery, am having to learn how to throw a baseball properly.   I'd be interested in what you have to offer in the way of personal clinics, paid, of course.

     Your answer to my question of balance, had led me to a series of questions concerning the following statement in your answer: "I teach my pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm backward while simultaneously bringing their front foot toward the pitching rubber.   Then, after their pitching arm and front foot reach their backward position, I teach my pitchers to simultaneously step forward to start their body forward and forward rotate their hips and shoulders with their pitching arm in the proper leverage position."   Does your statement concern the wind-up, stretch position, or both?   During the "pendulum swing", is the throwing arm bent, flexed, or straight?   "...pendulum swing their pitching arm backward while simultaneously bringing their front foot toward the pitching rubber."   This sounds different that what I have been taught in that I think you are saying that the throwing arm is in what I call the "high cocked position" before his landing foot is extended."   I teach my pitchers to simultaneously step forward to start their body forward and forward rotate their hips and shoulders with their pitching arm in the proper leverage position."   How does the pivot leg assist in any type of drive off with rubber in your description and what do you call the "proper leverage position"?


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     I answer all of your questions in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   It will be much easier for us to communicate if you have read my book.   I understand if you have some difficulty because I do not have any illustrations.   However, I am working on putting together an instructional videotape that should help.

     I would not blame the leg and body action in 'drop and drive' for your pitching arm injuries.   Those injuries came from improper force application techniques such as taking the baseball laterally behind your back, using the balance position and using the vertical forearm position.

     I teach my pitchers the proper pitching arm action from the set position.   After they master how to use their pitching arm, I teach them how to incorporate the windup motion.   The windup is essentially the same as the set position once pitchers have lowered their pitching arm back to below their waist and after they have brought their front leg back in front of the pitching rubber.   At that moment, I teach them to repeat the pitching arm motion that they use in the set position.

     During the pendulum swing, I teach my pitchers to keep their pitching elbow slightly bent.   Pitchers should never fully extend their pitching elbow.

     As I understand the 'high cocked' position, pitchers have their forearm vertical just before they start their upper arm forward.   This action causes the forearm to move downward and backward and places the inward rotator muscles of the shoulder joint at risk.   I want the movement of the pitching arm to be smooth, consistent and never stop and move downward and backward.

     The rear leg powerfully drives the body forward straight toward home plate.   The pitching arm must be in leverage position with the elbow ahead of the acromial line.   I define leverage position as the position of the forearm when pitchers start their upper arm forward.   The proper leverage position occurs when the pitching forearm does not move downward and backward, but moves forward in a straight line toward home plate.

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363.   As the father of an 11 year old who is experiencing the first arm injury of his life, your website and text on adolescent pitching have been a revelation.   I have been to numerous websites and read several books on coaching young pitchers and none put the emphasis that you do on protecting young arms.

     My son pitched as a 10 and 11 year old and was doing off season work-outs in preparation for his next season.   Primarily long toss as well as 3/4 speed work focusing on control and improving mechanics.   The day after one of his work-outs he felt soreness in his elbow.   He did not throw for another week.   The next time we threw his elbow started hurting after 10-15 warm up throws.   He has since been to a pediatrician who diagnosed his injury as "little league elbow" which she likened to "tennis elbow".   An X-ray was taken and the radiologist and pediatrician both said there is no damage.   Recommended treatment is no baseball for 4-6 weeks (throwing or batting) and he is scheduled to see a physical therapist.

     I am a little leery of their diagnosis since I'm not sure either one of them are familiar with the stresses pitchers face, but I'm hopeful they are right and the soreness is not indicative of permanent damage.   None the less, my son's competitive pitching days are through until his physical development is mature enough to handle the stress.   Once he is allowed to start throwing again I intend to bring him along slowly.   Assuming that he is able to rebound from his injury I'd like to get him on an arm strengthening program.   Not one that is focused on pitching, just something that will build his arm strength and protect him from injury.

     Do you have any recommendations on an overall baseball conditioning program as well as a program to build arm strength.   I intend to teach him the mechanics you've described in your book, but I'm up in the air as to how often he should throw and specific drills and exercises that would help him.   I know he is too young to lift weights but wonder if resistance work with rubber bands is useful.   Any recommendations you have are appreciated.


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     When physicians say, 'Little League Elbow,' they can mean any kind of injury to the inside or medial side of the elbow.   When physicians say, 'Tennis Elbow,' they can mean any kind of injury to the outside or lateral side of the elbow.   To determine which is inside or medial and which is outside or lateral, you should have your son stand and hold his arms straight out in front with his palms facing upward.   This is called, the 'Anatomical Position.'

     I agree with your concern about the diagnosis.   Unless doctors compare the status of their non-pitching elbow with their pitching elbow, they cannot correctly diagnose the trauma.   Further, injuries to growth plates do not usually immediately appear.   It may take several months to determine that the traumatized growth plate of the pitching arm closes before the same growth plate of the non-pitching arm.   The diagnosis of 'no damage' is premature.

     I agree with their recommendation that he should not stress this growth plate in any way for six months.   However, I do not agree that a physical therapist will do anything but take your money.   I also would not be in a hurry to get him on any training program.   I agree that he should learn the correct way to apply force to his pitches. However, I would not permit him to train for pitching for more than two months per year and I would not permit him to pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and, then, he should not pitch more than one inning per game until his growth plates completely mature.

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364.   I saw a ad of yours in Baseball Weekly and decided to check you out.   I have to admit I was very impressed to say the least.   I am 26 and a "late bloomer".   I am convinced I will make it on a major league team.   I have been to 4 major league tryout camps and have done pretty good. I just need some expert advice and I don't want to go to pitching coaches because they don't know what they are talking about and rely on old school techniques.

     On a good day I can throw in the low to mid 90's.   I am just inconsistent.   I am 5-10 and weigh 150lbs on "good days".   It feels like I am throwing energy, not a baseball.   It is weird.   Lately I have been having pain in my upper back or bottom of my shoulder.   It sometimes hurts when I grip a baseball.   What do you think it is?   Am I to old to enter your camp?


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     The professional teams are interested in pitcher who throw in the mid-90s.   However, they are not interested in 26 year olds who are 5'10" and weigh 150 lbs. with inconsistent control and no mention of non-fastball pitches.   However, if you could master several non-fastball pitches, become very consistent in the strike zone and have an exceptional year pitching for an Independent League team, then they might be interested.   You would need to spend about a year getting your game together, then go to an Independent League tryout, make a team, pitch very well for an entire season and then, go to an Affiliated Team tryout and sign a contract for peanuts to pitch lower minor league baseball.

     I train pitchers who have graduated high school and have at least two years of college eligibility remaining for forty weeks starting the third Saturday of August.   I am filled for the 2001-2001 session.

     Pain in your upper back or bottom of your shoulder indicates that the muscles that you use to decelerate your pitching arm cannot withstand the stress.   Pain when you grip the baseball indicates that you have stressed the flexor digitorum muscles that accelerate the baseball with your fingertips.   These are typical areas of insufficient or improper training and, probably, incorrect force application technique.

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365.   At what age does a pitcher achieve his maximum velocity or can he improve through out his career?   I understand mechanics and strength can improve velocity, but I'm talking your natural "wiring".   In other words, if you were throwing 'perfect' for you, you would throw X velocity at 15 yrs, Y at 18, K velocity at 20.   Beyond that, would velocity improve drastically?

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     Fastball release velocity depends on how much force pitchers apply to the baseball from leverage through release and for how long they uniformly apply that force.   We have to train pitchers to uniformly apply greater force for longer time periods.   Therefore, you are asking whether pitchers can uniformly apply as much force at fifteen as they will be able to at ages eighteen and twenty.

     I believe that it is possible for pitchers to not only get stronger and uniformly apply greater force through proper training, but they can also learn how to better apply that force to achieve a better result.   However, it does require a much greater commitment than people believe.

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366.   An article in a sport magazine wrote that a current major league pitcher who is 5'10" tall and weighs only 189 lbs. throws in the 90 mph range because he has long fingers that enable him to get more SPIN on the ball.   Is this fact or fiction?   If it is true, every kid and coach will be figuring out how to strech your fingers to get them longer.

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     Long fingers might increase the ability of the fingers to apply greater force at the release of the baseball.   However, with regard to fastball release velocity, the greater the spin velocity, the lesser the horizontal release velocity.   Fastballs cannot go faster than the fingertips move at release.   How much pitchers lose when they transfer fingertip velocity to baseball release velocity depends on how close to the center of the baseball they apply their force and whether they apply their force in a straight line toward home plate.   If pitchers apply their force to either side of center, then, like breaking pitches, they will convert some of their fingetip velocity to spin velocity at the expense of horizontal velocity.

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367.   I'm sorry that my question was not as clear as it should have been.   I will try again.   If a pitcher's maximum velocity is 90 mph, at what age would you expect that he would achieve it.   Also, at what age would you expect little or no improvement beyond.   This implies that the pitcher has done all of your suggestions.

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     I or nobody else can predict the physiological limit for the release velocity of pitchers.   All we can do is train to increase the amount of force that we can apply to our maximum physiological limit and train to learn how to uniformly apply that force in the most effective way.   Then, what is is what is.

     I could never predict at what age pitchers will throw 90 mph if at all.   I have some research that pitchers can continue to increase their force application into their thirties.   After mid-thirties, I would expect that pitchers are training to not lose force rather than to increase their force.

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368.   I've been reading the stuff you posted on your web site and wanted to say thank you.   I remember when you pitched for the Dodgers and how the announcers always talked about how you took pitching to the next level by looking at it as a science.   So, I appreciate the fact that you are willing to share that knowledge and willing to discuss it.

     My son is 10 years old but will be 11 in three months.   He learns a lot by seeing and doing.   Thus, learning a sport or anything else he needs to see someone perform it.   He learns best from one on one attention.   Nevertheless, my son appears to be a natural born athlete.   He played Little League Triple A last year and, after the first set of practices became the team's number one catcher.   This year, he played Little League coast league (one below the age bracket that competes for the Little League World series at Williamsport,PA).

     Well, he decided to try out for pitcher and made it as one of the 5 pitchers they had on the team.   To the coaches credit he only pitched each child two innings about 30 pitches about twice a week.   As the season ended my son became more and more interested in pitching and wanted to start to learn more so I signed him up for some one on one leassons with our local community college pitching coach.   The coach has a master's degree in exercise and sport science and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.   So, I'm hoping that he knows what he is doing.   After evaluating my son, he says that he has real potential and if he sticks with it might have a future in baseball.

     But now I have several concerns after reading your web site.
1.   Maybe he shouldn't be taking instructions?   The coach was a standout pitcher and a former associate scout for the Dodgers and White Sox, so I'm hoping that he knows what he is doing, especially since he is so concerned about strength and conditioning.   But, with that said how do I determine that and how would you recommend evaluating if he is doing more good and than bad.

2.   Going forward, I want my son to get the best possible advise but at the same time I worry that I don't know enough to teach him or evaluate any possible person that I put my son in the hands of.   How do I evaluate any potential candidates that I might have teach him?   Just because someone says they played in the minors doesn't assure me that they know what they are doing.

3.   Finally, as it turns out he also is able to hit pretty well.   He likes to go to the batting cage about once a week.   He has been steadly improving to the point where now he's working out with their fastest machine, some 75+ miles an hour.   Yesterday, there was a bunch of guys sitting around evaluating talent for our local fall league program and two of them were joking about being his agent and wanting to help coach him.   I know it sounds silly but again it worries me because I can't evaluate who would be the right guy to work with him.

     Maybe, I'm being silly, but he tried out today for the 10-11 year fall program and the evaluation was that he was a lot of potential.   With a few comments, like WOW.   I'd hate to think that I did something stupid.   I know that I don't know enough to teach him, but sure would like someone.   If I pick the wrong guy, then I could ruin any potential chance that he might have.


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     I strongly recommend that pitchers with open growth plates practice pitching for more than two months per year until their growth plates mature.   I also strongly recommend that adolescent pitchers do not pitch until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.

     I have no advice regarding pitching coaches.   However, I doubt that they know what they are doing.   They may teach the same incorrect techniques such as 'balance point,' 'high guard' and so on.   The best I can do is offer my information free on my web site.   I understand that people do not respect what they get for free, so I will charge for my upcoming instructional videotape that parallels my books as much as possible.

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369.   Thank you for responding so quickly!   I'd like to summarize what you said and make sure that I understand.   Please correct me if I'm wrong.

1.   For now until he's 13 he should only practice pitching for two months out of the year.
2.   When he turns 13, he should only pitch an inning a game.

     If I understand this correctly then basically pitching in little leaque is a bad thing for him.   I'm more than willing to pull him from this but doesn't this hurt his chances later on in terms of trying to get on a team when he's 14, and so on because he doesn't have the skills necessary?   How do you recommend learning the right things to do so that he would have a chance later?   Is having someone else teach him a bad thing?


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   I believe that the research that I discuss in Chapter 8 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book supports my recommendations.   If your son is truly a gifted pitcher, then it is your responsibility to make certain that the growth plates of his pitching arm completely mature without any deformation.   I did not say that he should not learn how to be a skilled pitcher, I only said that he should not practice of more than two months per year, should not pitch competitively until he is thirteen and not pitch more than one inning per game thereafter until his growth plates mature.   He should learn how to proper apply force and how to achieve the spin axes for curves and screwballs.

     If he can throw strikes with fastballs, curves and screwballs at age thirteen, then he will get to pitch his one inning per game.   If he can throw fastballs, curves and screwballs at age sixteen after his growth plates mature, then he will get to pitch as much as he wants.

     I would never say that having someone else teach him is a bad thing, I was trying to alert you to some things that they might teach with which I disagree.

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370.   When do you plan to have your video ready, I'd surely like to buy a copy?

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     I have some explaining to do regarding when will I have my instructional videotape ready.

     First, I consider my pitchers training center to be a research laboratory where I learn what is the best way for my pitchers to learn how to properly apply force to their pitchers.   This summer I made some adjustments in my program.   The basic scientific principles on which I base my force application techniques remain the same.   However, I have discontinued some exercises I used to have my pitchers perform and added some new exercises.   At this time, I am very pleased with the results, but I want to wait to see how my new group of forty week pitchers respond to the new program before I present it to the public.   This is an ongoing process and I am certain that I will make further adjustments over the next several years.

   Second, I am very busy with preparations for my new group of forty week pitchers.

     Third, I am rethinking how I want to do my instructional videotape.   Contrary to advice, I want to tie my instructional videotape to my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books that I offer for free.   This means that I have a lot of updating and reorganization work on these books.

     All I can promise is that I am working as hard as I can on completing my instructional videotape as soon as possible.   With the summer baseball season over, I think that I have some time to make certain that what I put out is quality and meets everybody's needs.   Please stay in touch.

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371.   I am the person who told you that he is 26 years old and wanted to pitch professional baseball.   I think that your pitching advice makes the most sense and logic.   However, I disagree that I will not pitch professional baseball.   You are right aht I need to take a year and get my game right.   I think that I have the talent to make it.   Since I am too old to attend your training center, I was wondering if I could ask you some question?   When you throw a screwball, is it true that your wrist has to be pronated when you release the baseball with your middle finger last?   What do you think of Nolan Ryan who trained like crazy and pitched without any major arm problems until he was 47 and still throwing in the mid 90's.   Is this because of his weight training program?   Lastly, being a musician, I air drum with drum sticks.   Is this good for my pitching arm?

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     I said that I am full for this group of forty week pitchers and that I do not take pitchers who do not have at least two years of college eligibility remaining.   If you want to come to Zephyrhills, FL and get your own accommodations, then I will talk with you about helping you.   However, I require a forty week commitment.

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372.   My 18 yr old son had tendonitis in rotator cuff beginning late Feb.   Took time off, took Vioxx, did therapy, had cortosone shot.   His mechanics are off.   He complains only rarely now.   Says it still hurts when he throws but not bad.   This has been several months.   What do you suggest?

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     The four 'rotator cuff' muscles are the subscapularis, the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus and the teres minor.

     The subscapularis muscle inwardly rotates the head of the humerus during the upper arm acceleration phase of the pitching motion.   Pitchers experience discomfort in the front of their shoulder on the lesser tuberosity area.   While all pain indicates that pitchers have placed greater stress on an area than it can withstand, the improper techniques that can unnecessarily place stress on the subscapularis include leaving the elbow behind the acromial line and turning the forearm over before the pitching arm starts forward.   Pitchers must first correct whichever force application defect they have and then, they need to start a training program to strengthen the area to withstand greater stress.

     The supraspinatus muscle attaches to the very top of the head of the humerus.   When pitchers lay their forearms back, the supraspinatus can assist in inwardly rotating the head of the humerus during the acceleration phase of the pitching motion.   However, when the forearm has moved forward past vertical and pitchers release their pitches, the supraspinatus muscle is in position to help outwardly rotate the head of the humerus during the deceleration phase of the pitching motion.   The dual role can cause difficulty.   The improper technique that commonly unnecessarily stresses the supraspinatus occurs when pitchers point their forearm vertically just before they start their upper arm forward to initiate the upper arm acceleration phase of the pitching motion.   This action creates a 'forearm bounce' that catches the supraspinatus starting to outwardly rotate and suddenly has to inwardly rotate the head of the humerus.

     The infraspinatus muscle attaches immediately behind the supraspinatus muscle on the head of the humerus.   The infraspinatus muscle outwardly rotates the head of the humerus during the deceleration phase of the pitching motion.   It is not a very powerful muscle, but, with regard to baseball pitching, it does not have to be.   I have never heard of a pitcher with an infraspinatus muscle injury.

     The teres minor muscle attaches immediately behind the infraspinatus muscle on the head of the humerus.   The teres minor muscle outwardly rotates the head of the humerus during the deceleration phase of the pitching motion.   Pitchers can injure the teres minor muscle.   While it is not a debilitating injury, it can be a problem.   Pitchers place unnecessary stress on their teres minor when they drop their elbow below their shoulder height and throw sidearm.   This position forces the teres minor muscle to decelerate the pitching arm and it cannot do this alone.   Pitchers need to keep their elbow at or slightly above shoulder height and use the bigger muscles that attach to the humerus, the teres major and latissimus dorsi, to decelerate their pitching arm.

     While you did not describe precisely where your son experiences discomfort, I suspect the subscapularis muscle.   If this is the case, your son first needs to correct his improper force application techniques and second initiate a training program to strengthen this area.   Obviously, I recommend that he learns the force application techniques that I teach and he follows my training program.

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373.   I have been reading your web site with great interest (and concern) for the past few days.   Like many of your readers, my son is 10 years old and has been pitching competitively for about 2 years.   He is very good for his peer group and plays travel ball.   I am always cognizant of pitch count and frequency but since reading your work, I am concerned that we are still abusing his arm.   By the way my son has had numerous lessons with a former major league pitcher (who now coaches pitching for a major league team) and according to the instructor, my son has excellent mechanics.   My question is as follows:   If I were to get x-rays taken of my son’s elbow and wrist, would I be able to bring them to you for you to look at?   To date my son has never really complained of any soreness in his elbow or shoulder.   The odd time he has said he has a little stiffness in his bicep.

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     At ten years old, he should not have an olecranon ossification center or a lateral epicondyle ossification center.   However, he probably does have a growth plate for his medial epicondyle ossification center and a growth plate for the head of his radius ossification center.   His pitching elbow should be mostly growth cartilage.

     If your son is very good for his ten year old peer group, then chances are that he is an accelerated maturer.   He is probably bigger, faster and stronger than the other ten year olds.   He is probably succeeding on his accelerated maturation rather than on superior skill or technique, professional pitching coach's opinion of his force application technique notwithstanding.

     In conjunction with the Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist by William Walter Greulich and S. Idell Pyle, an X-ray of his hand and wrist will enable a qualified evaluator to assess his skeletal age.   Anybody can learn to be a trained evaluator by reading Chapter Two of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and following the guidelines that Greulich and Pyle provide at the end of their book.   While I am a trained evaluator, I do not have the time to perform these readings.   That is why I developed my Estimate of Skeletal Age regression equation that I provide in Chapter Three of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     I strongly recommend that all adolescent males understand their rate of skeletal development.   They should understand whether their athletic success is due to accelerated maturation or to their hard work and advanced skill development.   If you read Chapter Twenty-Five of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you will learn that Little League Baseball rewards accelerated maturity rather than advanced skill development.   The end result is that accelerated maturers do not master the skills because they do not have to to be the stars.   Then, a few years later, the equated and delayed maturers who have had to learn the skill just to keep up catch up with their skeletal maturation and replace the accelerated maturers.   Additionally, the accelerated maturers because they pitched so much between ages eight and twelve have early growth plate closure or worse and cannot pitch anymore.

     Consequently, I recommend that youngsters do not practice pitching for more than two months per year, do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game until the growth plates of their pitching arm have completely matured.   Instead, I would have young pitchers learn how to properly throw their fastballs, curves and screwballs and master their control.   Then, when they are thirteen, they can meaningfully learn how to sequence these pitches against batters in game situations.   Finally, when they are fifteen or sixteen, they can decide whether they want to focus their efforts on pitching and can do so with a non-deformed pitching arm.

     By the way, discomfort in the biceps brachii muscle is probably the brachialis muscle and indicates forearm flyout which will eventually lead to inside of the elbow problems and front of the shoulder problems.   He is taking the baseball laterally behind his body and, therefrom, he has to return the baseball to his pitching arm side and redirect his force toward home plate.   If you can stand at home plate and see the baseball laterally behind his back during the transition phase, then he has a serious force application problem.

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374.   My son is a pitcher.   He will pitch a game, then the next day his elbow will hurt him then it will go away an he will be all right.   They would like to give him a cortisone shot.   Would that be good for him or should he work on his pitching technique to help him?

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     I need a lot more information.   How old is your son? Where on the elbow does he feel pain?   Nevertheless, I would advise against cortisone shots.   They do not heal anything.   When pitchers experience discomfort, it is because they have placed more stress on some aspect of their pitching arm than it could withstand.   He either uses improper force application techniques, is inadequately trained or has open growth plates.

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375.   I would like to express my understanding, in a nutshell (and I understand it's too complicated a subject to put in a nutshell, but nevertheless) of the current widely accepted pitching technique, and your method.

     The mainstream method consists mainly of having the pitcher stretch-out and land with his front foot while the pitching hand is stretched out behind him.   Then as the back bends forward and the weight is transferred to the front foot the pitching arm is more or less "pulled through" by the bending and torque motion of the torso.

     You teach a method where as the landing foot reaches out and falls to the ground the bending and torque of the torso has already begun and the arm is therefore in a much higher position.   The arm and upper torso then "Fall" towards the plate as opposed to being "pulled" towards the plate.

     Again, realizing there's a lot more involved than I have just described, am I essentially correct in my understanding?


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     I teach 'stand tall and rotate.'   I would never recommend that pitchers bend at the waist.   I also want pitchers to have their pitching arm all the way back and at the height of their driveline before they move their body forward.   I want pitchers to have their pitching shoulders behind their pitching arm driving the baseball through release.   I further want pitchers to step forward with their front foot and drive hard off their rear foot to move their body ahead of their front foot.   That is the only way that pitchers can extend the length of their driveline and release the baseball farther forward.   Consequently, I want pitchers to drive toward home plate, not fall or pull.

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376.   I am 14 years old and I've been pitching seriously since I was ten.   I don't really throw my curve because my fastball is very overpowering and I'm trying to find breaking pitches that are thrown like a fastball (such as a cutter or a splitter), but I'm really sure how to throw them.   So far not many work for me.

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     If you ever want to become a serious pitcher, you will have to learn how to properly throw curves.   Curves should appear to be fastballs to hitters when they come out of your hand, but they should be twenty miles per hour slower than your fastballs because you have converted horizontal velocity to spin velocity.   The result is that batters cannot time your pitches and, therefore, cannot swing with any authority.   I also strongly believe that pitchers need to learn how to throw reverse breaking pitches, such as screwballs.   Screwballs are also minus twenty pitches and serve the same function as curves, but are much more difficult to recognize and are especially helpful against opposite sided batters, such as left-handed batters against right-handed pitchers.

     When people say that they throw a cutter, what they mean is that instead of driving through the middle of the baseball to achieve maximum horizontal velocity, they drive their fingers through the outside one-quarter of the baseball.   When pitchers do this, they lose some horizontal velocity to spin velocity and if they achieve the correct spin axis such that the seams contact the air molecules with a circle of seams, then the baseball will change direction in flight.

     When people say that they throw a splitter, what they mean is that they have their middle finger across one loop of the baseball seams and their index finger spread around the other side of the baseball.   When they release this pitch, they pull on the seam with their middle finger and try to get a circle of seams forward to collide with the air molecules.   This pitch will also be much slower than fastballs because pitchers apply force with only one finger and it applies force to only one side of the baseball.   Unfortunately, when pitchers apply force with only their middle finger, the stress frequently becomes so great that they have great difficulty controlling the pitch or they over-stress their middle finger and injure the muscles that enable them to grip the baseball with their middle finger.

     I am working on an instructional videotape that should help you learn how to properly practice curves and screwballs.   Please give me a couple of months more time.   At fourteen years old, you still have some open growth plates in your pitching arm that, if you have not already damaged, you would do well to limit the amount of time that you practice pitching.

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377.   Which of the following pitches would not hurt the arm of a 12 year old pitcher?   I would like to pitch in college and maybe pros.   1.   knuckle ball,   2.   football slider,   3.   fork ball,   4.   door knob slider,   5.   screwball,   6.   hard slider/cutter,   7.   split finger,   8.   changeup and   9.   curve.

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     Adolescent pitchers have several growth plates in their elbow and shoulder areas.   However, four growth plates appear to suffer almost all of the injuries.   In the shoulder, the growth plate of the lesser tuberosity ossification center and the growth plate of the head of the humerus ossification center suffer damage.   In the elbow, the growth plate of the head of the radius ossification center and the growth plate of the medial epicondyle ossification center suffer irreparable damage.

     The subscapularis muscle attaches to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus.   When adolescent pitchers place more stress on the lesser tuberosity than it can withstand, it's growth plate closes prematurely.   This permanent deformation results in a lifetime of subscapularis insufficiency.

     The supraspinatus muscle attaches to the head of the humerus.   When adolescent pitchers place more stress on the head of the humerus than it can withstand, it's growth plate closes prematurely.   This permanent deformation results in a lifetime of supraspinatus insufficiency.

     The head of the radius rebounds backward into the capitular aspect of the distal end of the humerus.   Repeated collisions results in the deformation in the head of the radius.   When the radius cannot smoothly rotate against the capitular end of the humerus, pitchers cannot throw pitches that require forearm pronation or supination without discomfort.   Orthopedic surgeons have had to remove the head of the radius of some adolescent pitchers.

     The pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and an aspect of the flexor digitorum superficialis muscles attach to the medial epicondyle of the humerus.   These five muscles are powerful pitching muscles. In the same way that the four muscles that make up the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh powerfully stress the tibial tuberosity of the tibia bone of the lower leg, these five forearm muscles powerfully stress the medial epicondyle.

     Growth and Development researchers call discomfort in the growth plate of the tibial tuberosity, Osgood Schlatter's Disease.   The cure is to immediately stop running and jumping.   Growth and Development researchers call discomfort in the growth plate of the medial epicondyle, Little League Elbow.   The cure is to immediately stop throwing.

     These growth plates do not care what pitches adolescent pitchers throw.   They only care about the amount of stress these muscles apply to them.   When adolescent pitchers throw fastballs, they stress these growth plates.   When adolescent pitchers throw curves, they stress these growth plates.   When adolescent pitchers throw any pitch of any kind or description, they stress these growth plates.

     In conclusion, adolescent pitchers should not stress these growth plates by throwing too many pitches over too long a period of time.   That is why I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not train for more than two months per years until their growth plates mature.   That is why I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game until their growth plates mature.   In their two month training time, I recommend that adolescent pitchers learn to properly apply force to their pitches and learn how to command fastball, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls.

     Because knuckle balls require considerable practice at the expense of all other pitches, I would not take the time to teach adolescent pitchers how to throw knuckle balls.   I would not teach adolescent pitchers any type of sliders.   I would wait until their growth plates mature.   I would not teach the fork ball because they place too much stress on the index and middle fingers independently.   I would teach all pitchers how to throw screwballs.   I would not teach adolescent pitchers the cutter.   The would not teach adolescent pitchers how to throw the split finger for the same reason as I would not teach them the fork ball.   I would not teach adolescent pitchers how to throw changeups because the screwball is a much better pitch for them to practice.   I would teach adolescent pitchers how to throw curves.

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378.   If you are prone to get blisters/ blood blisters during and early in the season, (1)   Is there something you can do to toughen up this area and prevent them? and (2)   What are some treatments to get rid of them faster once you have one?

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     Blisters on pitching fingers result from the baseball pinching the skin against the fingernails when they leave the pitcher's hand.   Pitchers need to keep their nail long enough to cover the compressed skin of their fingers, but not too long to catch a seam of the baseball.   Also, when pitchers develop calluses where the baseball leave their fingers, they have to carefully Emory board them down so that the hard callous does not create a blister below.   When pitchers who are prone to blisters throw between appearances, they should use athletic tape to protect the tender areas.

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379.   I am a 14 year old baseball player.   I have been playing for seven years, and when pitching a lot for a traveling all star team in 1999, I hurt my arm.   The doctor told me it was "medial epicondolitis".   I took one and a half year off and physical therapy.   The doctor told me not to pitch until I am fully grown, or until my growth plates had closed.   He estimated this would be when I was 17 or 18.   I still play baseball (I just don't pitch), and I play shortstop, second base and center field for my school's high school team (I am a freshman).   However, I sometimes still feel aching in my elbow.   This happens when I am on the computer doing homework for a long time.   Also, if I shake my arm vigorously (like a tomohawk chop), I also feel a weird sort of pain in my arm.

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     I am not certain what the doctor meant with 'medial epicondylitis.'   The growth plate for the ossification center for the medial epicondyle for twelve year old pitchers is clearly open.   Because five very important pitching muscles attach to the medial epicondyle, adolescent pitchers stress the growth plate of their medial epicondyle.   When the stress is greater than the growth plate can withstand, the ossification center for the medial epicondyle can pull away from the shaft of the distal end of the humerus.   I suppose that is what the doctor meant that you did.

     When pitchers pull the ossification center of their medial epicondyle away from the shaft of the humerus, the only remedy is to stop stressing that growth plate until the ossification center ossifies with the humeral shaft.   Because you still experience pain in the medial epicondyle area, you should not place stress on it's growth plate.   I recommend that you stop throwing entirely until the growth plate completely matures.   However, I believe that it will mature earlier than the doctor estimated.   You should have X-rays taken of your pitching and non-pitching elbow from the front and side views with your arms maximally extended and flexed.   Then, you should not only look to see whether the medial epicondyle has completely ossified with the shaft of the humerus, but you should also compare your pitching and non-pitching arms for completed maturation as well as any differences in maximum extension and flexion angles.   You should have these X-rays taken on or close to your birthday.

     The pain that you experience when at the computer or when you imitate the tomahawk chop action probably relates to the ulnar nerve.   The ulnar nerve passes through the ulnar groove behind the medial epicondyle.   If you pulled the medial epicondyle away from the shaft of the humerus, you may have altered the ulnar groove.   When you sit at a computer, you may rest you elbows on the table and compress your ulnar nerve.   When you tomahawk chop, you are stretching your ulnar nerve around the elbow and sliding it back and forth in the ulnar groove.   You may fell a tingling sensation down the little finger side of your arm and possibly even in your little finger and the little finger side of your ring finger.

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380.   My doctor told me to rest my arm.   I will rest my arm well until then and get some X-rays sometime this fall or winter to see if the growth plates have closed.   I have a few more questions.   Is it okay if I play basketball in the winter?   Can I take batting practice?

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     While shooting basketballs does require the use of muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, the much decreased speed of arm movement and range of motion probably makes the activity safe and maybe even helpful.   Batting also requires the use of muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, but again the much decrease speed of arm movement and range of motion probably makes the activity safe.

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381.   WE HAVE A YOUNG MAN HERE WHO LIKES TO CHANGE HIS PITCHING MOTION FROM 3/4 TO SIDEARM BECAUSE HE FEELS IT HAS AN INTIMIDATING EFFECT ON THE HITTER.   IN FACT, HE MAY BE CLOSE TO THROWING REVERSE 3/4.   WHAT NEGATIVE EFFECT MIGHT THIS HAVE ON HIS PHYSICAL STRUCTURE.   HE IS 6'1" WITH A WEIGHT OF 150 AND THROWS THE BALL EIGHTY MILES AN HOUR.   HE IS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

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     When pitchers throw to same sided batters, they do achieve a fear response because the batters cannot pick up the baseball from this different angle.   However, it does not bother opposite sided batters and will not bother quality college and professional batters.   In addition, sidearm pitchers cannot get the baseball to move downward without first moving upward because they release the baseball so low.   For these reasons, I would not spend valuable learning time on something that will not succeed at the highest levels.

     I recommend that he learn how to throw his pitches with his shoulders level and his forearm vertical.   He needs to learn how to stand tall, rotate his shoulders and either pronate or supinate his forearm.   He needs to achieve the appropriate horizontal spin axes with his fastballs, curves and screwballs.   He needs to get his body ahead of his front foot and release his pitches as far forward as possible.

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382.   My son is 19 he get his pain in the bottom of his elbow.   What can we do to make this better?

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     If you mean by 'the bottom of his elbow', you mean the olecranon process of the ulna bone, then your son is locking his elbow out straight.   Pitchers must never fully extend their elbow.   Pitchers must always keep their elbow at least slightly bent.   If this is his area of pain, then he probably throws his curves incorrectly.   When throwing curves, pitchers have to keep this elbow bent at ninety degrees throughout, they must keep their pitching elbow up and they must keep their pitching elbow outward.   Your son must adjust his force application techniques.

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383.   A former pitcher of mine who is now in the minor leagues was shut down for the remainder of the season due to fractured vertabrae in his lower back.   He was told that pitching contributes to this problem.   I know that he throws across his body somewhat.   Could this contibute to his problem?   Do you have any suggestions?

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     Pitchers use all muscles of the trunk and vertebral column.   However, it is difficult to imagine that a muscle contraction fractured the body of a vertebrae.   Can you give me more specific information?   If he fractured the spinous process or a transverse process of a vertebrae, I need to know which one and where.   The lower back vertebrae include the five lumbar vertebrae.   The Psoas Major muscle attach to the bodies of L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae.   But, I don't believe that Psoas Major activity would fracture these vertebrae.

     I teach a very rigorous forward rotation of the hips, trunk and shoulders.   I have had pitchers with lower back discomfort as they train these muscles to generate this fast twisting action, but the muscles rapidly respond to training.   Without more information, that is all I have on this topic.

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384.   My son is a 6' 8", 220 pound righthander who is only 17.   He has been clocked as high as 93mph.   He tore the UCL in his throwing arm on July 29, 2001.   He is scheduled to have surgery on 8-29-01.   How long should rehab take and what are the chances of his making a full recovery?   He is still growing.   He has a very high threshold for pain.   He was offered a scholarship to a major university in the Southeastern Conference and we would like to know what are his chances of getting back to where he was?

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     When someone ruptures his ulnar collateral ligament, it means that he placed greater stress on the inside of his elbow than it could withstand.   This means that he uses incorrect force application techniques.   Before he starts throwing hard again, he needs to correct his force application techniques.   He also needs to strengthen the skeletal, muscular and ligament aspects of his pitching arm.   Rather than the touchy-feely rehabilitation programs, I recommend the aggressive pitching arm strengthening program that I use with my forty week pitchers.   I understand the commitment that this requires, but anything less will not permit him to throw every pitch as hard as he can for as long as he wants to competitively pitch.

     Ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery is highly successful.   They take the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from his non-pitching arm and retie the medial epicondyle of the humerus to the ulna.   The time for this tendon to become effective and the area to heal from the surgery is insignificant, only a few months.   What happens after the replacement UCL heals is what counts.

     The only way that your son will not return to his previous level and better will relate to the intensity and quality of his rehabilitation program and the adjustments that he makes in his force application techniques.   If he falls short in these areas, then he will not become the pitcher he could be.

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385.   I constantly hear from various people involved with baseball that major league scouts prefer tall pitchers.   Some of the best pitchers and hardest throwers are not tall (Mike Hampton, Billy Wagner and Pedro Martinez are several that come to mind).   I also realize that there are in fact a lot of tall pitchers.

     My son is 5' 9.5" and throws in the high 70's.   He is 16 years old and a senior in high school (he will be 17 in a couple of weeks).   What does a shorter pitcher need to do to achieve velocity on his fastball?   Our current belief is that he can improve his fastball to at least about 85 mph.   To get there, we throw long toss and work to improve mechanics.   Are there one or two things you would suggest for my 'short' son to work on in particular to improve his velocity?


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     At 5' 8 1/2" tall, I was constantly told that I could never pitch professionally.   Consequently I played shortstop for my first four professional seasons.   When a bad back forced me into pitching, I told the Farm Director that if he would not tell the baseball that I was short, I thought I would be find.   The baseball only cares about how much force pitchers apply to it in a straight line toward home plate.

     Everybody asks me what they can do to increase the velocity of their fastball.   I know that I have answered this several times in my Question/Answer section, but here goes one more time.   Release velocity equals the force that pitchers uniformly apply to their pitches in a straight line toward home plate times the distance over which they apply that force.   Therefore, pitchers need to train to increase the amount of force that they can apply to baseballs and they need to apply that force over a greater distance in a straight line toward home plate.

     Long toss is fine, but it is not specific to pitching.   In long toss, pitchers throw the baseball at an upward angle.   In pitching, pitchers throw the baseball from horizontally forward or at downward angles.   I recommend specificity of training, that is train for the specific task you wish to enhance.

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386.   I'm a baby boomer who enjoyed following your career, particularly because you were so misunderstood by a media used to dealing with the typical high-school-educated baseball player and probably sent reporters scurrying to their dictionaries to find the spelling and meaning of kinesiology.

     Anyway, in doing some statistical research connected with the possibility that Danny Almonte could have been throwing 75 mph fastballs, given his physical frame if he was only age 12, I ran across your site.   I'm interested to know your opinion as to whether such velocity for his frame at age 12 would make him a statistical (way)outlier and add evidence that he and his family were out and out liars, birth-certificate forensics notwithstanding.

     I am not some sort of redneck looking to disparage Hispanics, illegal immigrants or whatever.   In fact, I'm a knee-jerk liberal who finds at the age of 50 that I need to be more careful--lest too strong a jerk requires arthroscopic surgery.   I'm asking this question because of the moronic comments of one of the sports talk show people, who also said, "I can't imagine his mother having a child when she was 12."   (The birth rate for Hispanic girls in the U.S from age 10 to 14 is .34%, by the way; I looked it up).

     I'm not a sports reporter, although I am a professional writer with a strong mathematics background, so anytime I hear someone spouting nonsense about an area of my interest I often follow up with research.   In doing this research, I also ran across the fascinating claim that child baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic, pitchers or not, routinely make 800 throws a day.   It's a statistic offered in the argument that the reason pitchers have arm problems is that they throw too little, not too much.   Sounds like you're doing great work with kids.


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     As I carefully make the case in Chapters Two through Four in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, the question is not when someone is born, it is what is their biological age.   When the growth plates of the pitching arm mature, they not only signals the near end of the youngsters bone growth, but it also provides these youngsters a more solid foundation from which their pitching muscles can apply force.   Consider running on sand versus running on the new asphalt tracks with the non-skid coating.

     When reporters called my about this young man, I told them that he was at least fourteen years old, maybe fifteen.   I said that I do not care what his birth certificate said, even whether it was right or not, he is a fourteen or fifteen year old pitcher biologically.   The point is: it is not a fair competition whether he is chronologically truly twelve years old or not, he is biologically accelerated.   In Chapter Four, I provide a table that shows that almost eight percent of chronological twelve year old males are at least two years accelerated with their biological age.   In Chapter Twenty-five, I discuss a research article written by Dr. Creighton Hale in which he concludes that if coaches want to get their team to the Little League World Series, then they have to find as many of these accelerated maturers as they can and teach them the basics of baseball.

     I do not believe that Americans should support a youth competition where eight percent of the population have an advantage due to a physiological phenomenon over which they have no control at the expense and exclusion or the equated and delayed maturers.   It is actually not fair even to the accelerated maturers because they base their self-image on their athletic success which vanishes within three years when the equated and delayed maturers catch up and pass them in size, strength and speed provided the delayed and equated maturers had the personal tenacity to continue to learn the skill despite the inappropriate and misguided favoritism the youth coaches show toward accelerated maturers.

     For physiological fifteen years old, eighty mile per hour fastballs are not remarkable.

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387.   I appreciate your thoughtful and educational response to my question about Danny Almonte.   I wish more reporters would contact you about all sorts of questions regarding youth development in baseball.   We can sure use more educated and intelligent viewpoints about how to develop kids athletically in this country.   I have no doubt that your scientific approach to pitching could also be adapted to young tennis players and how they're taught to serve, the advisability of their using these new rackets at tender ages and perhaps even to young quarterbacks.

     It seems to me that you can make a good argument that learning to pitch properly through your academy might delay entry into the major leagues by a year or two, but might also result in an average 5 years longer of a career.   And that's not to mention the maturational aspects of going through a program such as yours.   There's no doubt that the later you get the big money, the more likely you are to handle it wisely, or make good decisions about who you get to help handle it.   If this intrigues you at all, let me know and I can look into doing an article along those lines.


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     If I were working with newly signed pitchers from the amateur draft of an affiliated team, I believe that spending a year training and learning would enhance their chances to make it to the big leagues earlier.   Pitchers would not suffer pitching arm injuries that delay their progress and they can master the broad base of pitches that they will need to challenge the highest quality hitters.   However, I prefer to work with pitchers who recently graduated from high school.   After their forty weeks of training and learning, they pitch summer baseball and move on to their college teams as freshmen.   With their training and skill acquisition, they can spend their college years perfecting their craft rather than trying to learn it during the twenty-two weeks per year that the NCAA permits their participation.

     While I agree that my forty week sabbatical concept is worthy of public discussion, I would be more interested in getting the message out that we are not preparing our adolescent pitchers correctly and our concept of youth sports can never work just like the President's Physical Fitness Program was also doomed to failure because it did not account for the physiological differences in youngsters of the same chronological ages.

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388.   I'm contacting you in behalf of my son who plays catcher at a southern University.   He has been complaining about soreness in his forearm.   He describes his pain as a numbness and a pain that occurs after throwing in practice.   The pain isn't in his elbow or his shoulder, places that you usually associate with ligament problems, so I am perplexed.   He has been doing a lot of weightlifting this summer, so this may be the source of problems?   I would really appreciate it if you would contact him and see if you can ask the right questions that would lead us to some answers.

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     Whenever someone says, 'numbness' in the forearm, you have to suspect either the ulnar nerve or the median nerve.   If he is irritating his ulnar nerve, he will experience numbness down the little finger side of his forearm and hand.   He may even complain of numbness in his little finger that the little finger side of his ring finger.   If he is irritating his median nerve, he will experience numbness in, at least, the anterior surface of the fingertips of his index and middle fingers.

     Catchers use terrible throwing techniques.   They bring their throwing arm up to their ear with the forearm pointing forward.   Then, they step forward, lead with their elbow and reverse rotate their forearm until it points backward.   Finally, they bounce their forearm to a stop and drive it forward again.   This action can easily stress the ulnar nerve.   The ulnar nerve passes through a groove in the posterior aspect of the medial epicondyle.

     To correct this problem, your son has to stop bringing his forearm closer than ninety degrees toward his upper arm and he has to take his arm back more like a pitcher would without pointing his forearm forward first.

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389.   I am am just getting over burcitis in my right/pitching sholder and I am not sure on the time table I should follow to come back after my cortizone shot.

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     I need a lot more information before I could comment on your situation.   How old are you?   How did you injure your shoulder?   Precisely where does it hurt?

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390.   My son who is 19 years old was pitching last summer and spiral broke his humerus.   He had to have surgery and four screws were placed in the bone on August 1, 2000.   He had surgery to remove the hardware on Oct. 13, 2000.   He was in rehab and began throwing at 50% in December.   However, he was pitching again in college and broke the humerus again from the top screw hole.   He did not have surgery with the second break.   He is healing but there is a large lump in his arm and the bone canal is not smooth yet.   He has been told to lift weights with a lower weight but a lot of reps.   He has also been told that he can lightly throw only for motion of the arm but with no force or velocity.   (The bone from the front view of the x-ray is still very rough)

     Three different doctors have said he can pitch again, but I am rather scared for my son.   He tends to have a low elbow and opens up.   He has been told he does not use his rear leg like he should yet throws about 80-83 mph.   There has been no nerve damage with either break.   Have you known anyone to continue pitching successfully after two breaks to the humerus?


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     Pitchers break their humerus when they apply greater stress than the bone can withstand.   Pitchers re-break their humerus when they again apply greater stress than the bone can withstand.   If your son wants to break this cycle rather than his arm, he has to increase the ability of his humerus to withstand the stress that he applies and, in all likelihood, alter his force application technique such that he does not inappropriately apply force to the shaft of his humerus.

     Major League pitcher Tony Saunders of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays recently re-broke his humerus nearby the earlier break site.   When pitchers have their humerus in a cast, their bones atrophy, that is, their bones weaken.   Then, without increasing the strength of their humerus and changing the inappropriate force application technique, they start pitching again and everybody acts surprised when it breaks again.

     Your son needs to undergo a rigorous training program to strengthen his humerus.   He also needs to change his force application technique.   Without question, he has a reverse forearm bounce in his pitching motion.   He has to stop placing this inappropriate stress on his humerus.

     What is your son's best fastball velocity?   If, at nineteen years old, he throws only 80 to 83 mph, he needs to find something else to do.   He must throw in the high 80s to justify further training.

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391.   I am 15 years old and I have pain in my anterior deltoid area that the doctor said was caused by overuse.

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     Fifteen year old pitchers still have open growth plates in their shoulders.   It is possible that you have stressed the growth plate of the lesser tuberosity.   However, I rather suspect that you have placed greater stress on the subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity.   The lesser tuberosity is below the middle of your anterior deltoid muscle.   Pitchers unnecessarily stress their subscapularis attachment when they start their body forward at the same time that they start their pitching arm backward.   This forces their pitching arm to try to catch up with their body and this moves their elbow behind their acromial line and unnecessarily stress their subscapularis attachment.   You need to learn how to take your pitching arm all the way back to the start of their driveline before you start your body forward.   Until you learn how to correctly apply force, you should not undertake any training program.

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392.   I used to pitch in little league from the ages 8-16.   I usually threw 3/4 or sidearm, not knowing the damage it would cause.   Now I play 12'" softball and have reoccurring elbow pain.   At the start of the season I am OK, but by fall league I have a dead arm and elbow pain on the inside just below the elbow.   It even hurts for a couple days after playing.

     I am an outfielder and my velocity and distance have greatly decreased in the past couple of years, but my range keeps me in the outfield.   Should I be seriously concerned with the pain, or does it sound like a lack of proper technique? If I felt it at the beginning of the season, I would have gone straight to the doctor.   But, it always occurs after a number of games or after I get a lot of balls hit to me.   Also, how do I regain the velocity and arm strength I used to have?


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     Pain on the inside of the elbow involves either the muscles of the medial epicondyle or the ulnar collateral ligament and fascia associated with it.   Adolescent pitching arm trauma to growth plates while decreasing the effectiveness of the pitching arm as an adult usually diminishes after completed skeletal development.   In your case, I would not suspect either the muscles of the medial epicondyle or adolescent growth plate trauma.   That leaves the ulnar collateral ligament and its associated fascia.   I believe that the unnecessary stress that you place on the inside of your elbow with improper force application technique causes small fascial tears that you never train away.

     When you throw, you have either a loop in your forearm action, a downward bounce in your forearm action, forearm flyout as a result of taking your arm laterally behind your body or a combination of all three.   You need to take your arm straight back behind you up to the driveline height above your ear.   Then, you need to turn your forearm into proper position to throw horizontal spin axis throws without dropping your elbow under.   And lastly, you need to drive the ball in a straight line toward your target with your elbow slightly bent to allow a separate forearm action from your upper arm action.

     You also need to train your arm.   Because the level of your participation sounds recreational, I suggest that you take ten minutes a day and make forty-eight throws with proper technique.   Resting sore arms only atrophies the tissue and makes it more vulnerable to repeated injuries.

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393.   My son was recently diagnosed with a strain of the anconeus muscle in the elbow.   He developed the problem pitching and it got to the point that he could not throw hard.   Are there any exercises that can be done to strengthen that muscle?

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     The Anconeus muscle of a superficial dorsal muscle of the forearm that arises from the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and the posterior ligament of the elbow joint and attaches to the lateral side of the olecranon process and posterior surface of the ulna.   It assists the Triceps Brachii muscle when you forcibly increase the angle between your upper arm and forearm.   I find it remarkable that any doctor even though of this muscles as being involved in baseball pitching.   It is a minor muscle.   It has minimal influence on this action.   I recommend that your son complete my wrist weight exercises.

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394.   What is the difference between the flight path of a sinker vs a slider?   I have told him that it is just two names for the same pitch.   Also, I think I remember seeing you pitch either a play off game or world series game for the Dodgers and one time I saw you pick a guy off second with a quick "side toss."   You didn't do the standard step over move.   It was beautiful.   I am amazed more pitchers don't do it!   Am I remembering you correctly?

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     The slider and true sinker have the same relationship to the curve and true screwball.   On route to home plate, sliders and the true sinker spiral like footballs, except in opposite directions.   The confusion occurs because most professional baseball people misname the two seam fastball that moves to the pitching arm side of home plate.   They call them sinkers.   Sliders move downward and toward the glove side of home plate while true sinkers move downward and toward the pitching arm side of home plate.

     I invented the unique second base pickoff move to which you refer.   Rather than take the time to turn my body two hundred and seventy degrees around in the direction of my pitching arm, I turned my body ninety degree in the direction of my glove side.   I had great success with this move.   However, in the 1974 World Series, I picked Herb Washington off first base with a quick, but more typical move.   I wish that videotape had been more common when I pitched because I would love to have tape of both of my pickoff moves in game situations.

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395.   My son is a 21-year-old college pitcher who felt a "pop" in his elbow during a game last spring.   His arm became greatly swollen, he couldn't move it for days.   Since that time, even with ample rest and recovery time, he has been totally unable to pitch without pain.   He visited a doctor and the diagnosis was tendonitis, but ice, rest, long toss and so on has done nothing to relieve the pain.

     I only today found your web site, although I have followed you as a player and during your career as a coach, etc. I'm wondering if you can offer any insight to help him out as he enters his senior year.   He is short, 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, but still throws in the mid-to-high-80s.   He uses a fastball, curve and slider.   Last year he developed a workable split-finger pitch (which, I suspect, led the injury.   He has very small hands and I'm guessing the stress of holding the ball between his fingers leads to stress in other muscles.   His mechanics are sound, although whether his forearm gets in from of his upper arm (as you outline) is impossible for me to tell.

     Nothing, apparently, is torn.   He CAN throw, but only in pain and with such reduced velocity that when pushed back into action during the postseason last year he relied solely on off-speed pitches and location.   No fastball.   Gone.   And, his arm again became swollen and again stiffened to the point he couldn't move it for days.   He tried pitching 1 inning in three games this summer, but the pain put a halt to his return.

     What might we/he look for as symptoms that would give you, or someone out here, a clue as to the reason for the pain?   He had elbow pain at age 16, but he used one of those elbow-bands for one year and never had further problems.   He takes care of himself, in and out of season.

     Why do professional organizations ignore shorter (in stature) pitchers, even if they throw in the high 80s, have good control of different pitches, etc?   Do you feel that the game has become one simply for the 6-foot-2 and over pitcher who throws in the 90s?   Is there any possibility that a 5-foot-9 pitcher in college who has already had good coaching could, if healthy, add mph to his fastball?   Or, better, add to the movement of his pitches after years battling with a straight fastball that rarely moved?


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     The first structure that we should suspect when someone feels a 'pop' on the inside of his elbow and then has swelling over that area is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   A MRI should verify whether his UCL is intact.   If we exclude the UCL, then we suspect the weakest of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, the flexor digitorum superficialis.   The FDS flexes the tips of the fingers and the split finger grip could place greater stress on it than it could withstand.

     For someone to injure their pitching arm, they must apply greater stress than some aspect of the arm can withstand.   The two causes of injuries are inadequate training to withstand the stress and/or inappropriate force application technique. I always believe both.

     To recover from FDS tears, your son must undergo a rigorous pitcher training program and he must learn the correct way to apply force to his pitches that does not unnecessarily stress the arm.   That is why I put my Coaching Adult Pitchers book on my web site.   I tell people how to train their pitching arm and how to apply force to their pitches.   However, I have found that, without pictures, pitchers cannot learn. Consequently, I am in the process of putting together an instructional videotape that will parallel a revision of my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books into one Coaching Pitchers book.

     Major League Baseball is run by little minds who are afraid of science and change.   They are slaves to radar guns and physical freaks.   I do not waste my time with them.   I train high school pitchers to enjoy their college baseball experience.

     Pitchers have physiological limits to how fast they can move their pitching arms.   Their pitches cannot go any faster than they can move their pitching arms.   However, I believe that almost all pitchers never achieve their maximum pitching arm velocity because they never properly train their pitching arms and they never master the most efficient and effective force application technique.   That is what I teach the pitchers who attend my forty week training program to do.   How well they learn is another variable, but we keep trying.

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396.   Prior to my son breaking his pitching humerus the first time and just after turning 18 his fastball was clocked around 84-85.   However, his velocity at that point was continuing to rise.   He had shown steady improvement through his high school years.   Just before my son broke his arm the second time his muscle was weaker than his non throwing arm and had reached 82 mph.

     My question was mainly for the health of his arm to find out if you knew anyone that had broken the humerus twice and successfully is pitching.   Tony Saunders called it quits after his second break.   You also stated that he had a reverse forearm bounce.   Can you please explain that to me?


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     My purpose is asking about your son's fastball velocity related to whether he would want to undertake the rehabilitation program required to rebuild his pitching arm.   If he cannot throw in the high eighties, then he might not have the commitment that he will need to train hard every day for forty weeks.   However, if he threw in the mid-eighties and his aspirations are to pitch college baseball, then he has a chance.

     Tony Saunders received bad advice after his first break and worse advice after his second break.   They gave him a front office job.   I have no doubt that if he trained hard every day for forty weeks, he could have strengthened his entire humerus and learned how to not unnecessarily stress where he broke his arm and continued his career.   He had a terrible reverse forearm bounce.

     A reverse forearm bounce occurs when pitcher bring their pitching forearm up to a vertical position just before they start driving their upper arm toward home plate.   When this happens, the forward movement of the upper arm causes the vertical forearm to move downward toward a more horizontal position.   When the forearm reaches its downward movement limit, it hits bottom and moves upward again.   I call this action, a reverse forearm bounce.

     The muscles of the upper arm are moving the humerus forward and trying to rotate the humerus forward or inwardly.   However, the forearm is moving downward which forces the humerus to rotate backward or outwardly.   These oppositely directed rotational forces can result in a spiral fracture of the shaft or middle of the humerus.   That is what happened to Tony Saunders and what I believe happened to your son.   He must learn to not permit his forearm to move backward when his upper arm moves forward.

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397.   My son is a pitcher in high school and plays other positions as well.   He is very small for his age.   He's 15 years old and weighs 110lbs.   He has incredible throwing speed.   He has recently been diagnoised with Little League Elbow.   He is only uncomfortable when he throws.   Do you think this is something that he can get over?   We understand the importance of rest, ice and ibuprofen.   We just wonder if he'll alway have trouble and have to nurse his elbow.   He is currently in physical therapy.

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     At fifteen years old, we would expect that the growth plates in your son's pitching arm would be almost closed.   However, his slight build tells us that he might be a delayed maturer.   That is, while is his chronologically fifteen years old, he could be as young as thirteen years old biologically.   Thirteen year old pitchers have open growth plates in their pitching arm with the growth plate of the medial epicondyle the last to close.   Therefore, ice and ibuprofen will do nothing.   Of course, ice and ibuprofen do nothing for a mature pitching arm either.   However, rest is the cure for irritations to growth plates.

     If you have questions about the growth plate status of your son, then you should get X-rays taken from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm of his pitching arm and non-pitching arm.   Then, you could compare the growth plates of the two arms to see whether they have closed or the growth plates of the pitching arm are closing prematurely.   In any case, when adolescent pitchers experience pain in the medial epicondyle area, you should suspect growth plate stress first and immediately stop pitching.   When his growth plates fully mature and close, he will have plenty of time to pitch without concern for irreparably damaging his pitching arm.

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398.   My son has started strength training for High School baseball.   I read on someone's web site that he states that he does not like leg presses because "they do not develop functional strength".   I have also, read articles written by some of the college strength coaches that advise using leg presses because doing squats properly takes a great deal of time to actually learn to do the movement properly.   If the legs are getting stronger by performing leg presses, why would that strength not be functional?

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     As I explain in Chapter 15 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, specificity of training is a critical principle in the physiology of exercise.   That is, if you do push ups, you get very good at doing pushups.   If you do leg presses, you get very good at doing leg presses.   If you want to improve your ability to apply force to baseballs, they you have to train specifically to apply force to baseballs.

     I have no idea to whom you referred or what credentials he has to advise anybody about anything.   I also have no interest in knowing.   However, because I have a doctoral degree in the physiology of exercise and many years of experience training pitchers, I can tell you that pushing weights upward with your legs has very little if anything to do with applying force to baseballs.

     The word of caution I would give anybody disposed to leg presses is that they are potentially less dangerous to your knees than squats.   Nobody should ever bend their knees to less than ninety degrees under their body weight or any other force.

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399.   I have spent the last three months reading your two books and questions and answers from 2000 and 2001 posted on your website.   It is extremely educational and I am learning a lot.   I even had to buy an anatomy book (my wife thinks I'm nuts). Thank you for all the effort that went into this work.

     What motivated me to study baseball in general, but specifically pitching, was when my 12 year old son complained about a sore elbow at the beginning of the baseball season (January / February, 2001).   He was actually 11 years old at the time of the injury.   He has a passion for the game and loves to spend hours hitting, and fielding, and playing catch.

     My son pitched some as a 9 year old, and some as a 10 year old, but did not pitch as an 11 year old because of the sore elbow.   We think what may have contributed to the injury was playing a game in PE where they throw a light rubber ball (lighter than a baseball).   He said he was throwing it "as hard as he could" and since it was PE, he had not warmed up at all.   They played this game several times a month for the first several months of school.   Playing as only a position player in baseball, the elbow did not improve for the first few months of the baseball season.   In April, 2001, I took him to the doctor for X-rays.

     The radiologist diagnosis was as follows:   "There is a 0.5 cm x 1 cm lucent defect in the lateral epicondyle abutting the cortical articular surface consistent with a small region of osteochrondritis dissecans.   Comparison left elbow shows no associated abnormality indicating this is not a congenital defect.   The remainder of the bony structures in the right and left elbow are normally ossified and aligned.   There is no sign of fracture or subluxation.   Fat pads do not appear to be displaced in either elbow to indicate joint effusion.   Impression: Osteochondritis desiccans of the right lateral epicondyle".

     I then took him to an M.D. that specializes in sports.   He did not see the OCD in the X-rays.   He checked my son's back, shoulders, elbow, wrists, and thought the main reason for the elbow injury was "weak shoulders" that would not allow the arm to decelerate.   The doctor was able to slide both of my son's shoulders out of joint fairly easily.   He recommended tubing exercises to strengthen the shoulders.   Also, my wife and daughter have very weak shoulders that dislocate very easily, so we assume it may be hereditary.

     I then took my son to an orthopaedic specialist for his diagnosis.   He knew nothing about baseball, but saw the defect the radiologist saw.   He didn't think there was much that could be done, but thought it would take about 12 * 18 months for the defect to heal.

     We then had follow-up X-rays taken three months later and the radiologist diagnosis was:   "There is a punched out lucent defect at the osteochondral junction of the capitellum which is the level of the articulation with the radial head.   The prior report suggested that this patient has a defect involving the right lateral epicondyle.   It is difficult to suggest that the defect is limited not to the lateral epicondyle, but to the capitellum of the humerus which is at the level of the articulation with the radial head.   The lucent defect is a 5 x 8 mm defect.   On direct lateral view of the elbow, there is a tiny posterior fat pad and a certainly more prominent anterior fat pad which would be indicative of some element of joint effusion.   Alignments are correct and there is no evidence for fracture defect.   There is no distinct evidence for bone fragment within the joint space but, on direct lateral view, there is a small bone structure at the posterior-superior aspect of the ulna.   This may represent a secondary ossification center as there is a prominent ossification center present at a more posterior-inferior position seen on direct lateral view.   This, therefore, could possibly represent a joint mouse.   Impression:   Osteochondral defect or osteochondritis desiccans at the level of the inferior capitellum that is in the position for articulation with the radial head.   The possibility of a tiny joint mouse may be present as is indicated above."

     I realize the first thing we need to do is to correct my son's force application.   I am then wondering how much throwing he should do until this is healed.   I think I remember you saying somewhere, that throwing is necessary to strengthen the arm, and you don't recommend not throwing unless there is a skeletal injury.   This appears to be a skeletal injury to me.   My son has a great passion for the game, and has indicated he will take whatever steps he has to now to assure he can play baseball for a long time to come.


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     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know that I recommend that youngsters train to pitch for only two months per year and not pitch against batters in game situations until they are thirteen years old and then only one inning.

     The ossification center for the lateral epicondyle does not appear in equated maturers until they are twelve years old.   What you have is the radial head colliding with the capitular end of the humerus.   This is a very serious injury.   In response to this trauma, the radial head may deform dramatically.   If this deformation becomes severe, he may have to have his radial head removes in order to be able to use his elbow at all.   In my upcoming instructional videotape, I will include the results of such a surgery.

     Unlike adult bones, injuries to adolescent bones do not show up immediately.   Instead, excessive stress initiates growth and development abnormalities that permanently change the bones over the remaining years of bone maturation.   All you can do at this point is stop adding to the damage the excessive stress he has placed on his growth plates and wait to see how the bones develop.   After the growth plates in his pitching arm have completely matured, then he can safely revisit his love for baseball.

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400.   I understand what you are saying about training needing to be specific.   For batspeed training we use overload/underload principles while measuring the speed on each swing.   For running we use the "leg trainer" that puts 3 pounds of resistance on his thighs when sprinting.   My son doesn't do much pitching and we don't do any specific resistance training for his throwing.

     I guess my original question was directed at whether overall body strength would enhance athletic performance as long as sport specific training was also included in his workouts.   Do you feel that typical overall strength training is benificial or is the sport specific training all that is needed?   Are both types of training needed to achieve maximum results?   I realize that this isn't directed to pitching, but I appreciate your advise and respect your knowledge.


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     You get what you train to get.   I train my athletes specific to the sport activity.   I want the bones to which the primary muscles of the activity to get larger and stronger and the muscle attachments to get larger and stronger.   I want the athletes to streamline their movements and learn the appropriate rhythm to effectively apply their force.   It is more than enough to train specifically, they do not need to waste energy training for movements that do not enhance the motor skill.   However, this applies only to athletes without open growth plates.   If your son has open growth plates, then I strongly recommend that he does not train for any specific activity for more than two months per year.

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401.   It seems that all of the successful college baseball programs put a strong emphasis on strength training.   Also, olympic athletes are doing the same.   Are you suggesting that these athletes could achieve identical or better results if they devoted all of their training to sport specific training?

     I hope that you do not get the idea that I am trying to argue this point with you.   We have gotten remarkable results with our sport specific batspeed training.   I have often wondered if this type of training was all that is needed for all areas of his baseball training.

     Perhaps I am getting confused because there is so much emphasis put on strength training by trainers and coaches.   Why are todays athletes constantly setting new world records in all sports?   Is it because the athletes from years past did not "train", but only practiced their sport?   Most coaches would have you believe that it is because of strength training.

     As I stated earlier, I am a strong believer in sport specific training.   I guess I just thought that since he was in high school now, it was time for strength training and the combination of the two would produce the best results.

     One final question.   How many times per week should he perform sports specific training?


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     I am not comfortable discussing this topic when I do not know the age of your youngster.   I would not agree that any youngster should train rigorously until their growth plates have matured.   After the growth plates of youngsters have completely matured, athletes can choose what type of athlete they want to be.   If they want to be 'jack of all sports' athlete, then they can train for and try to learn the motor skills of many sports.   I believe that if athletes want to become very highly skilled in one sport, then they need to focus on the skills of one sport and the appropriate type of training to support those skills.

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402.   I am 18 years old and am Senior in High School.   I haven't pitched since I was 12 in the sixth grade.   I stopped pitching because my arm would become very sore after every game I pitched.   I would rest between starts and it wouldn't be as sore so I would push through it because I was the best pitcher on my team.   I have now decided I would like to play again and have been practicing w/ my dad.   I still have very good control, but my velocity isn't where I would like it to be and my arm still gets sore after I pitch to where I can't pitch for a few days.

     I am 5'9 and 135 lbs.   When I would pitch when I was 12 I would only throw a 4 seam fastball and a change-up because my dad wouldn't let me throw anything else.   I would get a lot of strike outs only because I could throw the ball almost exactly where I wanted and rarely walked anyone.   I could only throw the ball 45-50 mph.   Now when I pitch my fastball only tops at around 62-65 mph.   Do you know of anything that could help my velocity and keep my elbow from becoming sore.


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     If, at eighteen years old, you can throw only 65 mph fastballs and your elbow hurts, then you might better spend your time on another sport activity.   If you cannot throw 80 mph, you cannot have success pitching college baseball.   If your elbow hurts, they you incorrectly apply force to your pitches.   You could learn how to correctly apply force and eliminate the pain in your elbow and that might increase your velocity somewhat, but you have a long way to go.   At 135 lbs., you might be a delayed maturer and you might gain some velocity if you continue to grow.   However, you need at least 15 mph more to get to a level where training and skill enhancement might get you 5 mph more.   It is your life, do as you wish with it, but I would look for other physical fitness outlets.

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403.   My son, age 11 1/2, recently broke both bones in his arm just above his wrist.   He is a pitcher who throws very well for his age.   My generalized question:   Will this "break" affect his pitching performance, velocity, control, etc. next Spring?

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     While you did not say how your son broke his radius and ulna bones, I assume that it had nothing to do with pitching.   The distal radius and ulna have growth plates that enable the shaft of the bone to grow longer.   At eleven and one-half, these growth plates are clearly open and subject to developmental deformities.   I would need to know where he broke these bones to give my best answer.   If the breaks occurred at the growth plates, then the result could be premature closure with the accompanying bone length stunting.   If the breaks are above the growth plates, then they should heal without lasting damage.   However, the inactivity will decrease the bone density and, thereby, weaken the bones.   He will need to gradually stress these healed bones to increase their density before he places full pitching stress on them.

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404.   My son, who is a pitcher, is scheduled to have "Tommy John" surgery.   He has not shown any symptoms of problems with the ulna nerve such as tingling in the fingers or numbness.   Is it acceptable to reposition the ulna nerve during surgery simply to prevent any future problems?   What would you consider to be the most common reasons why this surgery would not be successful?

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     You failed to tell me your son's age.   It makes a difference with regard to growth plates.   I would agree with repositioning the ulnar nerve only if in addition to rupturing his ulnar collateral ligament, you son also pulled all five muscles off his medial epicondyle.   The ulnar nerve should not be a problem if you son corrects the inappropriate force application techniques that caused him to rupture his UCL.

     This surgery is always successful.   What is not successful is the pitcher's ability to change his force application technique so he repeats the same problem and something else breaks down.

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405.   Thank you for your quick response to my question about my son's elbow injury.   I now realize that he should not have been pitching when he was 9 and 10 years old.   I wish I would have known about your information at that time.

     I agree that we now need to stop adding to the damage.   To what point do you recommend we go to "stop adding to the damage"?   Should he stop all activities with the elbow all together?   Can he shoot baskets?, swim?, play flag football?, play "easy" catch?   What causes the radial head to collide with the capitular end of the humerus?


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     When pitchers throw baseballs toward home plate, they also throw their radius bone toward home plate.   After the radius moves as far forward as it can, it elastically rebounds back toward the capitular end of the humerus.   In this way, the radial head collides with the humerus.   Since I have no idea of the extent of the damage already inflicted on his radial head, I cannot advise with regard to other throwing activities.   Clearly, he should not throw his arm forward as powerfully as he can.   He could probably shoot baskets.   But, should he throw footballs?   He could swim, but he probably should not spike volleyballs.   I think you get the idea.   In three to four years, the growth plates of his pitching arm will mature.   Lets hope that the damage is not significant or permanent.

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406.   My son is going on eighteen and is 6' 61/2" and is proud of that half inch which he acquired over the summer.   He is undergoing 'Tommy John' surgery, but he does not have a palmaris longus muscle.   Are there any pro's or con's to taking a tendon from his calf area verses from a cadaver?

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     About eight percent of the population does not have a palmaris longus muscle with it's easy to locate tendon.   I have heard of surgeons using cadaver ligaments to repair anterior cruciate ligament tears, so I suppose that they are acceptable.   However, I have no special knowledge and we have to trust the professionals in this one.

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407.   What's the best and/or fastest way to increase pitching speed?   My son is 19 and still on JV of his college because he can't seem to get out of the 70's.   His mechanics are fine.

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     I know that I have answered this question several times in my Question/Answer sections.   However, the answer is short, so I will give it again.

     Release velocity equals the amount of force pitchers uniformly apply to baseballs from leverage through release in a straight line toward home plate times the time period over which they apply that force divided by .01.

     If your son achieves release velocities of 70 mph, that is what his force times time equals.   To increase release velocity, he must apply greater force in straight lines from leverage through release for longer time periods.   I doubt very much that his mechanics are fine.

     He needs to learn my force application technique and he needs to do my training program.   That is why I wrote my book and why I am working so hard on completing my instructional videotape.   There is one other significant variable, genetics.   We are not all created equal to throw baseballs.   All we can do is reach our individual physiological limits.

     I require the pitchers I train to make an initial forty week commitment to my pitcher training center to start them on the path to reaching their individual physiological limit.   If they decide that they want to continue, then they will have to invest additional years to their quest, depending on how well they learn motor skills.

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408.   I am a 20 year old sophomore at Saint Louis University.   I walked onto the baseball team here as a freshman and pitched quite a bit in that first fall.   I had been pitching with severe elbow pain for nearly four years, all the while my velocity kept dropping.   The pain was bad enough here at SLU that I knew I would not be able to pitch through it anymore.

     I talked to my coaches, had an MRI, and discovered a significantly torn MCL or UCL in my right elbow.   The tear ran through nearly 80% of the ligament.   On Jan 2nd of 2001, I had the ligament replaced with my palmaris longus in my throwing wrist.   Surgery went very well and my surgeon was even able to get an extra turn out of the graft.   My elbow feels very strong 9 months later and I am confident that I could pitch with it.

     My question is in regards to the ulnar nerve transposition during surgery.   My ulnar nerve was transposed in the traditional fashion during surgery.   When I awoke, I had no feeling in the outside of my hand and had no ability to move my hand.   This continued for the next 3 months and an EMG showed that I had zero nerve function distal to the elbow.   We know that my ulnar nerve was not severed during surgery, so the assumption became that it was a compression injury.   It was decided after consulting Dr. Andrews in Birmingham that to exolore the nerve would only slow down its regeneration.   So we decided to wait.

     Its about nine months and two weeks today.   I have complete atrophy of all the lumbricals, interossei, digiti minimi, and the abductors.   I also have a large gap between my thumb and forefinger due to atrophy.   In the last six months I've had a second EMG which showed some very slow nerve regeneration just distal to the elbow.

     I have in the nine months since surgery recovered the following: gradual protective sensation in the ulnar nerve area, the use of my 5th finger abductor(partial), and the ability to bend at the MP joint in the 4th and 5th finger(partial).   I still have substantial atrophy and almost total ulnar nerve paralysis.   I understand the time contstraints for nerve regeneration to be about 18 months before neuron bridges in the hand die.

     Now that I have exhausted your reading ability, my question is this:   Are there any other pitchers who have suffered a similar situation, and what was the outcome?   What can I expect for my future in both baseball and life in general? I have been working hard to promote nerve healing because I desperately want full use of my right hand again.   It would be nice to be able to hold a bat again.   Not to mention finally take this metacarpal splint off!


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     Your surgeon screwed up.   Three nerves supply the muscles that operate the hand.   The ulnar nerve supplies sensory awareness to the little finger and the lateral one-half of your ring finger.   The median nerve supplies sensory awareness to the medial one-half of your ring finger, your middle and index fingers and your thumb. The radial nerve supplies sensory awareness to the posterior aspect of the hand. These nerves also supply motor impulses to all the muscles that operate the hand.

     I cannot imagine how, but your surgeon injured all three of these nerves.   He interrupted the nutrition flow somewhere near the elbow and the nerves died below that point.   Fortunately, these three nerves are myelinated motor nerves, that is, they are surrounded by a sheathing.   Myelinated nerves can regenerate once nutrition can again flow down the sheath.   Therefore, your surgeon has to locate the areas of insult to these nerves and remove them.

     You can expect to get back about sixty percent of normal function.   For the ulnar nerve to regenerate from the elbow downward will require about a years.   I forget how much it regenerates per month, but it is in millimeters.   If you did not tear all of the medial epicondyle muscles loose, I do not agree with the ulnar nerve transposition.   Ulnar nerve transposition requires that surgeons remove the muscles from the medial epicondyle such that you not only have to wait for the nerves to regenerate, you have to rehabilitate these muscles.   Besides, it was not the position of the ulnar nerve that caused the original injury, it was bad force application technique.

Interestingly, Frank Jobe did a similar thing to Tommy John.   Tommy called me shortly after he had his surgery and told me that the lateral side of his hand was numb.   I told him to immediately tell Jobe and get it fixed.   However, it was too late.   The crimp that Jobe put in his ulnar nerve had already caused his ulnar nerve to die from that point distally.   If he had repaired it immediately after surgery, it might have recovered.

     If you decide to pitch again, in addition to the hard work you will have to do to strengthen all muscles effected by the lost of nerve function, you have considerable work to do with your force application technique.   It must really be bad if you ruptured your Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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409.   My son is 11 years old and was diagnosed with little league elbow in may, the orthepedic doctor said there was no plate damage only tendon tears.   They put him in a cast for 2 weeks and then in therapy for a month, the doctor said we could pitch in fall ball which started last week.   My son pitched 2 innings and his arm felt great, the next morning he could not straighten his arm out because of stiffness.   That was 10 days ago and his arm is still sore, he said it does not hurt just sitting still but when he twists his arm or straightens it out the inside of the elbow hurts.   I have not pitched him since it happened, but I don't know what to do.   We use light weights and stretch.

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     The doctor has no way of knowing 'no plate damage'.   Growth plate damage shows up months later with early closure.   Growth plate damage shows up with micro-millimeters of pulling away from the shaft of the bone.   Nevertheless, he 'could' be right and it is 'only' tendon tears.   If you do not mind taking the chance of permanent skeletal development damage, let him continue pitching.

     If you had read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question/Answer sections, then you would know that I would never permit any adolescent pitcher to pitch fall baseball.   I would never permit adolescent pitchers to practice pitching for more than two months per year until their growth plates mature.   I would never permit adolescent pitchers to pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and then, no more than one inning per game.

     You can be certain that your son has already irreparably damage the proper growth and development of the growth plates of his pitching arm.   You just do not know to what extent.   How much more damage your son suffers depends on whether he stops pitching.

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410.   I have to use the material at my level of understanding but am positive I am a better instructor because of your web site.   My clubs went 59-13 this year including a state championship.   Your willingness to share and my desire to understand has contributed to these results.

     What are the benefits of a pendulum arm swing versus taking the ball directly out of the glove back towards second base?   Billy Wagoner of the Houston Astros utilizes this draw back technique.   It looks almost like an archer drawing a bow string back to leverage.   My observation is an undesireable forearm bounce.   Would exit velocity out of the hand be greater with a pendulum swing?   (although Bill Wagoner is a consistent 96+)

     Also, thanks for the Q&A section on your web site.   I enjoy reading your responses.   How close to a release date are you with the video?


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     You have correctly evaluated the problem with the draw back transition that Billy Wagner and others use.   It causes a forearm bounce and places unnecessary stress on their pitching elbow. I believe that his injury speaks to that.

     I have pitcher use a vertical pendulum swing start to the transition for two reasons.   One, the vertical aspect helps pitchers to keep from taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body.   Two, the pendulum swing back to the backward forty-five degree forearm position permits pitchers to smoothly move their pitching arm up to the start of their driveline height without any forearm bounce.   I cannot say that my technique will increase release velocity, but it will not decrease release velocity and, certainly, removes unnecessary stress.

     I am working very hard on my instructional videotape.   I have determined that I first need to reorganize and update my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books.   I have decided to join them into one book.   In this way, I can put together my instructional videotape to provide illustrations for the new Coaching Pitchers book.   Rather than having several one-half hour videotapes separately for the two books, I prefer to have one very long videotape that explains everything.   I hope to have the new Coaching Pitchers book on my web site within a couple of weeks.   Then, I hope to have the accompanying instructional videotape available within a couple of months.

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411.   I am a high school student.   I am currently working on a thesis about the effect of Tommy John surgery on the game of baseball.   I was wondering if you had any information about the surgery and any other people, I could contact to help me with my thesis.

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     I suppose that one would assume that 'Tommy John' surgery has been good for baseball.   After all it does enable those who rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments to return to pitching.   However, I worry that coaches no longer concern themselves with the possibility of the injury since surgery repairs it better than it was before.   Pitchers rupture their UCL because coaches teach them improper force application techniques such as 'balance point' and 'high guard'.

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412.   Can you explain to me the whole procedure of Tommy John surgery and how long it would take pitcher to return to throwing?

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     I know that I have answered this question in my Question/Answer sections.   But, it is short.   Surgeons take the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscles of the non-pitching wrist and use it to replace the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   They drill a hole in the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone and in the ulna bone and thread the ligament through.   They sew the ends together.   Doctors usually require up to three months before they recommend that pitchers start their rehabilitation program.

     The repair is usually stronger than the original.   However, unless pitchers correct their force application flaws that caused them to rupture the UCL, they will injure themselves again.   The UCL might hold, but other medial epicondyle structures may tear.

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413.   I was wonder if you could answer some questions that myself and a few teammates have concerning weighted balls.   One member of our pitching staff has been using the weighted balls for a few years now and claims that it has helped improve his velocity each year.   However, after a few throwing sessions using the balls, most members of the pitching staff came away with tender elbows.

     We were wondering if you knew anything about the balls and whether or not they are productive in either increasing velocity or arm strength?   Another question that we had is concerning lifting weights.   We have heard many different theories on how pitchers should lift weights and what exercises they should avoid.   The latest theory we have heard about and seems to be the most intriguing is concerned with developing fast twitch muscles.   The theory is that each exercise should be done at a rapid pace with lighter weights and each part of the body should be worked out each day.   Therefore the body is trained at a faster pace and is able to accerlate through the throwing motion more quickly.   We were wondering if this is a sound theory and if it would help increase velocity.   A College Pitching Staff.


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     I have answered this question in my Question/Answer sections. However, I will give you a quick response.

     If you use six, eight, ten and even twelve ounce weighted baseballs and you have inappropriate force application techniques, you will place greater stress on your pitching arm than you have previously and, if your pitching technique is flawed, possibly injure yourself.   In addition, even if you had perfect force application technique, these weighted baseballs will not effect sufficient physiological adaptation to make any difference.   Weighted baseballs will not significantly increase bone density, increase muscle attachment strength or increase muscles fiber size or capability to increase pitching arm velocity.

     No training method can make fast twitch or slow twitch muscle fibers contract faster.   Research the contraction rates of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers.   You are in college.   You do have a Physiology Department or section in the library.

     The variables related to faster pitching arm movement are nerve conduction velocity and motor unit firing sequence.   Basically, pitchers have to learn the proper force application techniques that do not waste force and streamline their motor unit firing sequences or, for the computer hip, their pitching computer program and decrease the microseconds of time between the sequential actions at the appropriate pace.

     My Coaching Pitchers book lays it all out for you, but you have to read it.   I hope to shortly have an accompanying instructional videotape to help the reading challenged.   Oh how I love to converse with college students.   Please read my academic credentials section first.

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414.   I wrote 3 weeks back about my son suffering an elbow injury last spring pitching in college, a pop and severe pain.   He kept pitching through the diagnosed "tendonitis."   Even in the summer, he was diagnosed with tendonitis.

     You wrote back suggesting that an injured ulnar collateral ligament could be the problem.   Well, he went back to school, couldn't throw, hurts even to put weights on a bar, hurts constantly.   He was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, it could be partially torn.

     I've read, and will read more, about your belief regarding what causes this type of injury and what to do to prevent an immediate reoccurence upon recovery.

1)   Would you feel OK about just any surgeon...or should we seek out a surgeon who specializes in baseball-type injuries?
2)   Would just any rehab program, before he starts throwing, be suitable or should we get him into a baseball-specific rehab?   Near home, they have an extensive sports medicine program.   So, we could have our son come home, if you don't feel one doctor or rehab is the same as another.
3)   Understanding that the speed of your forearm versus the speed of the upper arm in the delivery is the thing that causes strain, I'm wondering if you have an opinion on whether overwork over a short period could cause a pitcher with no history of arm problems to be injured like this?

     My son was in a short-relief role and warmed up for 3 innings on a Thursday, then off and on for 3 on a Friday.   He warmed up from the first inning through the sixth, off and on, on a Saturday in a must-win type game.   He hadn't done that before.   He was fully warm each time, then just "staying warm."   Could simple overuse in the bullpen have exacerbated his problem?

     Finally, and I appreciate your patience, he started two games after the injury, pitching 7 innings in one game and 5 in another.   Would that lead you to any further suspicions as to the nature of the injury?   He lost his fastball, but, aside from the pain, he could perform.   Seems odd he could pitch with a torn ulnar ligament and get college hitters out.


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     I would chose a surgeon who has done a large number of Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacements.   I do not believe that rehabilitation centers know how to rehabilitate this injury.   A large part of the rehabilitation involves correcting the force application technique that caused the injury and they know nothing about pitching.   The cause to the injury relates to placing too much inappropriate stress on the UCL than he had trained it to withstand.   Starting, relieving do not make a difference. He throws wrong and is not trained.   I agree that he should not have been able to pitch successfully with a ruptured UCL.   That would lead me to question the diagnosis of a ruptured UCL.

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415.   I just want to know if you know what to do to fix my problem.   I am 15 in high school baseball team for my school.   1-2 days ago when I had practice my lower back was hurting.   I mean hurting I couldn't put no pressure on it by jogging.   I want to know if you can tell me what can I do to fix my problem.

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     You did not provide any specific symptoms that would enable me to determine whether the discomfort related to a muscle injury or nerve impingement.   However, when you said that you could not jog, it leads me to believe nerve impingement.   Below the second lumbar vertebrae, (L2), the spinal cord becomes individual nerve that look like a horse's tail.   Anatomists call it, the Caudal Equina.   From L2 downward, these individual nerves exit right and left through openings in the five lumbar vertebrae and sacrum.   If physical activity causes these vertebrae to lose their alignment, then it is possible for the vertebrae to pinch one of these nerves.   Once inflamed, these nerves can be extremely painful in specific positions.   Fortunately, this problem is usually short-lived and only requires that you rest the lower back for a few days until the inflammation goes away.   Sometimes, doctors will prescribe a muscle relaxant if the muscles of your lower back are cramped.   In which case, see your doctor.

     I have had a lifetime of this kind of problem due to a car meets train accident in which I was a participating party when I was eleven.   The accident caused growth plate damage which lead to deformation and a lifetime of lower back pain.   As a result, I developed an exercise that I have done every day since 1964 when I figured out what caused the pain and how to correct the problem.   The exercise is the Marshall Knee Drops.

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416.   In the major leagues right now, who has the best mechanics?

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     Those who analyze present day pitchers are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.   The only way to determine the proper force application techniques for baseball pitching is to understand Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and the applied anatomy of the human musculoskeletal system.   While I occasionally see pitchers who apply force correctly with some aspects of their motion, I would never ask anybody to copy any pitcher's pitching motion.

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417.   Given your concerns for the young pitcher and in some cases I read on your site where even some position player were suffering from growth plate problems, what do you recommend a 13 yr old ball player do to prepare himself for the point at which his body matures enough to be ready to pitch?   The boy in question, my youngest son is a big kid.   He probably will end up easily in excess of 6 feet and throws fairly hard with good control.

     He pitched a fair amount his 12 year old year, but this last spring he had some shoulder discomfort which the ortho diagnosed as growth plate problems.   He just hit the rest of the year and has only played catch recently with his brother experiencing no pain.   Should he just focus on the hitting for a few more years?   He is not fast, but very strong.   If he goes far in this sport it will be as a pitcher or he better hit it over the light poles a lot.   What can he safely do as far as pitching or training for future pitching?


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     I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not even practice their pitching skills for more than two months per year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures.

     I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not pitch against batters in competitive games situations until they are thirteen years old and, then, they do not pitch more than one inning until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures.   I have no problem with the type of pitch adolescent pitchers practice, the problem comes with game intensity and overuse.   If you want your son to have proper pitching arm skeletal growth and development, then you will not permit him to overstress or overuse his pitching arm.   He will have plenty of time after the growth plates in his pitching arm matures to train and become all the pitcher he can be.

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418.   Please describe the Marshall Knee Drops.

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     The Psoas Major muscle originates on the anterior surfaces of the bodies and transverse processes of the twelfth thoracic vertebrae and the first, second, third, fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae and attaches to the lesser trochanter of the femur.   This means that when the Psoas Major muscle contracts these vertebrae move toward the head of the femur

.      Lower back pain has several contributing causes. Excessive curvature (lordosis) or improper vertebral alignment can put pressure on nerve roots that exit from T12, L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5.   Lack of abdominal strength or excessive abdominal fat deposits contribute to lordosis.   Improper lifting where persons bend at their waist rather than their knees can put pressure on these nerve roots.   Twisting activities such as pitching, golfing and so on can tighten muscles that attach to these vertebrae and move them out of proper vertical alignment.   This area of the spinal column is very fragile and requires proper posture and training of the muscles that attach to these vertebrae anteriorly and posteriorly>

     Because I was in a car/train accident as an eleven year old and the improper stress on these developing vertebrae interfered with their proper development as well as the intervertebral disks, I have a chronic condition that interfered with my athletic endeavors.   As a consequence, I had to design a training program to train the lower back.   The action of the Psoas Major muscle is the key.

     Persons lie on their back with their legs spread to forty-five degrees from their vertical midline.   Next, they bend their knees to ninety degrees with their feet flat on the ground.   This is the starting position for the Marshall knee drops.

     To start the exercise, persons drop one knee inward and downward such that the femur points directly downward along the vertical midline.   Simultaneously, persons drop their other knee outward and downward.   After the first knee moves inward and downward as far as is comfortable, persons return both knees to their starting positions.

     To continue the exercise, persons drop their other knee inward and downward such that the femur points directly downward along the vertical midline.   Simultaneously, persons drop their other knee outward and downward.   After the second knee moves inward and downward as far as is comfortable, persons return both knees to their starting positions.

     I recommend that persons complete this exercises at a comfortable pace without applying rigorous intensity, but with some gentle insistence.   Rather than count number of repetitions, I recommend that persons use time.   They should complete this exercise for a comfortable number of minutes gradually increasing to a maximum of five minutes.

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419.   I am to undergo Tommy John surgery on my right pitching elbow on October 12, 2001.   I am really wondering exactly how long it will take to get back into throwing shape, and exactly what kind of rehabilitation should I expect.

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     The surgery requires a specific time period for the tissue to heal.   The surgeon will give you this time period.   However, if you have ever had a serious cut, then you know that you can see and feel the scar for several months after it has healed.   This means that it may have healed sufficiently to withstand stress, but it is not yet contiguous tissue.   That requires a couple of years.   Nevertheless, persons can and should start their rehabilitation when the tissue heals sufficiently to withstand stress.   The rehabilitation stress with help the tissue heal in the manner that will help it withstand the stress persons wish to apply.

     The only way that pitchers can properly heal from replacing a ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament is to learn the proper way to apply force.   They ruptured the UCL because they improperly applied force to an insufficiently trained UCL.   Now, they have to learn how to properly apply force to a properly trained UCL.   I recommend my force application technique as the proper way to apply pitching force and my training program as the proper way to train the UCL.

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420.   How does arm length effect the speed of a pitcher?

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     If all other variables are equal, then the greater leverage provided by a longer humerus bone and longer ulna and radius bones would increase release velocity.   However, that is a considerable assumption.   Proper force application technique, higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, proper training and so on influence release velocity much more than an inch more pitching arm length.

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421.   I'm 31 and I used to be a baseball player myself and am thinking of getting back into it, just an amateur over 30 league.   I was a pitcher but got discouraged and regretfully quit.   I had a decent arm and threw in the mid 80's, at times maybe a bit more and had a real good curve.   I went to a Division 3 college (which doesn't help) and didn't get to play much.   When I did I did well, but the coach had his favorites.   I guess I never really got any exposure.   Like most kids I wanted to play pro ball.

     I'm not saying I was good enough for the majors, but I would have been happy with the minors just to be there.   Anyway, I got looked at by an Indians scout when I was 21.   It got set up by a mutual acquaintance who was a coach and an ex scout himself.   It was an older guy.   I threw for him and he had nothing but good things to say.   He told me I was AA or AAA level.   He also said I had the best arm he'd seen in years.   He said he'd sign me, but for some reason he couldn't right then and invited me to another tryout.   I went to that one and did very well again, but never signed.

     I was told it was because of my size.   You see I'm only 5' 9" and 175 lbs.   I've been that size all my adult life.   I realize I was coming from no where in their eyes which was already a strike against me.

     My question is; do you think it was my size which was the problem?   I've played with many kids who signed and not many of them threw 90, but they were huge.   Anyway, I kept playing in summer leagues for the next few years, but the politics was unbearable.   I guess that's at every level.   Now I miss the game alot and am planning to play again next season in a local league for fun.   I was just curious what you may have to say about this.


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     I am 5' 8 and 1/2" tall.   However, I came along in the sixties where scouts measured your pitching ability on whether you got hitters out.   Unfortunately, in the later seventies, the scout went to radar guns and physical size.   That is their right, they are in a business and can hire whomever they wish.   Nevertheless, I think that they overlook many quality pitchers just because they are short or cannot throw 95 mph.   Not only is life in general not fair, professional baseball is not fair.   Sorry.

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422.   I am a Division 1 College pitcher.   I am currently a senior and personally not having arm problems.   Although, my team-mates are.   Because of the strength of the college hitters and there ability to use aluminum bats rather than wooden ones, it is preached to us that fastballs are rarely relied on in this program.   Due to the massive amounts of breaking pitches that we are forced to throw, in my four years of being here I've seen 3 bone spur surgerys, 3 tommy john surgerys an elbow scoped, and one or two shoulder surgerys, (this isnt even counting the redshirted guys that decided that it was time rather then surgery that they needed for their elbows).

     I want to know is this normal for a college program?   I have had little problem with my arm, but I point that to the fact that I don't throw as many breaking pitches as do the other pitchers.   Anyways, my question is, is this normal?   Do many other higher level programs go through pitchers this way?   And if not, what are some things that we can do to preserve our arms and keep them in shape?


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     The aluminum bat has dramatically changed pitching.   I used to love to break bats.   If batters hit the baseball more than three inches away from the center of oscillation, the vibration of the bat would cause it to break.   I had no prouder pitching moment than when the barrel of Hank Aaron's bat flew down to the third baseman after I sawed him off.   However, that same pitch would result in at least a single over the third baseman's head.   Nevertheless, I believe that pitchers need the velocity differentials to keep batters off stride.   That is, I believe that fastballs should be ten miles per hours faster than sliders and true sinkers.   I believe that curves and true screwballs should be ten miles per hour slower that sliders and true sinkers.   Without throwing fastballs, hitters simply reset their timing clock to ten miles per hour slower and get to look at pitches longer before they crush them.

     Pitchers injure their pitching arms when they throw curves and sliders because they use improper force application techniques.   It should be no more stressful to the pitching arm to throw curves and sliders than any other pitch.   The difficulty results from the requirement that pitchers must supinate or inwardly turn their forearm to have the palm of the pitching hand face toward their head.   Unfortunately, pitchers usually start turning their forearm before their pitching arm has completed the backward and upward pendulum swing.   This causes pitchers to take their pitching arm laterally behind their body and this causes the forearm to flyout sideways when pitchers horizontally swing their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body.   Further, pitchers typically drop and pull their elbows and this improper technique also places unnecessary stress on the pitching elbow.

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423.   My son underwent 'Tommy John' surgery on Oct, 2 2000.   He pitched all thru high school and was throwing in the mid to high 80's was drafted in the 45th round by the Yankees and went on to play at Junior College and had a good pitching coach.   He went 11-1 with a 3.30 ERA.   He got a win in the 1st game at the Junior College World Series.   After the series, he was drafted again by the Yankees in the 11th round and once again went back to school.

     That year I felt he didn't have the pitching coach a college pitcher should have as several kids had arm problems.   That fall he had some problems with elbow the 1st game in the spring he tore his elbow up and had surgery in Oct.   He has followed his rehab to the "T" he is now at about 75-80% on his fastball and throwing a changeup, slider and a splitfinger.   He has not thrown a curveball yet.   I have heard a "split" has caused problems in pitchers arms I was wanting your opinion on this pitch is this pitch bad or does the problem lie in a pitchers mechanics.

     I want my son to meet his goal by pitching in the 'Big Leagues'.   He was drafted this past June by the Rangers in the 33rd round and did not pitch the 1st pitch in a game.   They liked the way he looked throwing in the 'pen' during his rehab.


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     I am not certain what your question is.   However, whenever someone ruptures their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, it means that they do not have the proper force application technique and are insufficiently trained to withstand the stress that they place on their pitching arm.   He needs to redo his pitching motion and properly train.   I suggest that he read and follow my Coaching Pitchers book.

     The 'split finger' pitch where pitchers place reverse spin to the baseball much like a true sinker places great stress on the middle finger.   It can cause injuries to the muscles that flex the tip of the middle finger, the flexor digitorum superficialis and the flexor digitorum profundus.   These injuries can become very serious and career ending.   I suggest that pitchers use the index finger to help the middle finger impart spin to the pitch.   However, if pitchers use the 'split finger' pitch as a 'no-spin' pitch like a knuckleball, then they do not place the added stress on the tip of the middle finger and do not have to worry.

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424.   I think I can still throw around 80, which is probably all I ever threw.   My problem is my elbow (ulnar nerve to be specific).   Up to two years ago, my elbow never hurt.   After throwing a complete game in about 45 degrees, however, the next day the elbow hurt, a lot.   I was unaware of any specific injury at the time.   Since then, the condition has become chronic as I have found I can still pitch, but now need 7 to 14 days off, doing nothing (I used to be able to throw on consecutive days, even in my mid-40's).   But when the ulnar nerve hurts, my grandmother could throw harder, and she's dead.   I have resorted to using TWO elbow braces, one below the elbow; the other above, with the pads pushing against the ulnar.   This helps a lot, although I look like a freak. Still, I start heading downhill after 4 or 5 innings.   I saw my sports medicine guy and he wants to do a ulnar relocation (to find a new "groove").   My regular M.D. thinks I'm insane, as does my wife.   After all, I AM pushing 50, and the only time it hurts me is after pitching.

     Question: Am I insane?   Should I do the surgery?   Can I rehab my way out of this?   I am an old dog, and learning a new delivery at this point would be next to impossible.


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     I definitely would not have ulnar nerve relocation surgery.   I would guess from your description that you have a fascial tear.   Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds every joint for additional support.   While fascial tears severely hurt, they do not involve vital structures.   When the inflammation quiets, you can pitch. Structural damage does not permit that.   They take a long time to rehabilitate, but if you do nothing, they will never heal.   You could simply throw every day at a moderate intensity through the pain and, eventually, it would heal.   It might require several months of daily light throwing.   I have my kids simply continue to do their wrist weight and iron ball training and it goes away.

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425.   At numerous times you talked about how if you extend your arm while throwing a curveball the olecranon process bangs into the olecranon fossa causing the potential for injury.   How and why is this different than throwing a fastball?   Does your arm do different thing during the different pitches?

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     Pitchers can hyperextend their elbow when they throw fastballs.   One of the first points I make to my pitchers is that they must never fully extend their elbows on any pitch.   I recommend that pitchers keep their elbow pointing laterally and never drop it under.   However, pitchers hyperextend their elbow much more readily when they throw curves.

     To throws curves, pitchers have to supinate their forearm to have their palm face inwardly.   To accomplish this, many pitchers take their pitching arm laterally behind their body which leads to forearm flyout which leads to elbow hyperextension.   Every pitcher that comes to train with me pulls and drops their elbow when they throw curves.   If they point their elbow downward, then they will hyperextend their elbow.   I spend at least two months teaching them to not pull or drop their elbow on their curves.

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426.   I have an 11 yr. old son who is playing little league in the spring, and on a 12 and under AAU fall ball team.   He is interested in pitching and he has progressed beyond my ability to help him.   I was wondering if you might know of a pitching coach we could hire to work with him on the weekends or at night, who lived in the area.

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     If you had read my Coaching Pitchers book and/or my Question/Answer sections, you would know that I strongly disagree with adolescent pitchers practicing pitching for more than two months per year and pitching competitively until they are thirteen years old.   Therefore, even if I knew someone who could properly teach and train your son, under the present circumstances, I would not recommend.   Please wait until the growth plates in his pitching arm have matured before placing so much stress on his pitching arm.

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427.   A pitcher of mine has mentioned arm tingles radiating from just underneath his biceps at shoulder level on the medial side, down the arm into the first two fingers.   It is not yet painful but has become noticable.   I first look for force application for a possible cause.   This pitcher does have some arm bounce.   We are trying to use your fitness program but it is at my level of understanding which may not be accurate.   I am always disappointed in myself when it appears I may be the cause of the situation.   I have worked twenty pitchers in my program with great results and this is my first problem of this nature.   Would you please provide some guidance?

     Also, as your instructional video nears completion do you have a ballpark idea on cost?   I want to be one of the first to place an order.


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     All the nerves that serve the pitching arm move through the arm pit area.   The nerve that serves the anterior surface of the thumb, index finger and middle finger is the median nerve.   It is not uncommon for the nerves of the pitching arm to tingle.   Typically, smoothing the throwing motion eliminates the problem.   These myelinated nerves are very strong.   I have never heard of any long term difficulty.   I would continue the training and technique adjustment at reduced intensity and see how he responds.

     Circumstances beyond my control have stopped work on my videotape.   I will have to get back to you on a completion date.   I will do everything I can to have one two to three hour videotape for one price rather than several videotapes.   I hope to keep the cost in the one to two hundred dollar range.

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428.   Thank you for responding so promptly concerning my question concerning arm tingles in the first two fingers.   We continued today with the reduced intensity.   Unless my pitcher told me, I would never know about any discomfort.   On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being severe, he rates the discomfort as a 3 but it does tingle from just underneath the armpit to the fingers.   On a delivery, a mild sensation will go down the arm.

     I now always assume either force application or fitness is the root cause of problems.   With the median nerve inflamed I am feeling the root cause is a shoulder bounce and elbow slightly (not really bad) behind the acrominal line when using the wrist weights, iron ball and baseball.   Am I on the right track?   I am trying to smooth those parts of the delivery out.   What about anti-inflamatory medication?   What is an approximate time frame in which I should see improvement?


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     If you have had a chance to read my reorganized Coaching Pitchers book, then you would have read that I no longer advocate a horizontal forearm at leverage.   I now recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm with their palm facing outwardly all the way up to the height of the start of the driveline or above their ear.   I recommend that they keep their elbow under their pitching hand throughout the driveline.   Not outwardly rotating the upper arm to horizontal should reduce the possibility of agitating the median nerve or any other pitching arm nerve.

     I do not believe that an anti-inflammatory is necessary.   I am not certain that it would have any effect on the myelin covering that surrounds motor nerves.

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429.   Thank you for responding with information on nerve inflamation in a pitching arm.   For either a median or ulnar nerve or any nerve that is irritated, could you estimate an approximate time frame in which the athlete should feel some relief?   This is assuming the athlete has made the proper adjustments to smooth the delivery.   I am a little nervous in this situation because of my inexperience.

     Also, this is situation is frustrating.   My advice is to continue at reduced intensity with an emphasis on force application principles.   A trainer with a professional club has advised no throwing for a month.   My pitcher thinks that because this person has a professional baseball title then he must have the correct information.   I see this situation over and over again with treatment of injury and philosophy of pitching.


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     I am well familiar with ulnar nerve irritation in the ulnar nerve groove behind the medial epicondyle.   I tell my pitchers to reduce their intensity and get rid of the forearm bounce and forearm flyout that causes the irritation and they continue without further discomfort almost immediately.

     However, for the median nerve to become irritated in the armpit area is new to me.   I have heard of the arteries of the pitching arm becoming irritated in this region and causing serious problems, but not nerves.   Somehow the nerve is rubbing against something.   I would guess that it is rubbing against other nerves or blood vessels during the inward rotation of the humerus.   I suggested changing his technique to minimize the inward rotation of the humerus to see whether that would reduce the irritation.

     Obviously, complete rest would eliminate the irritation.   However, once he started pitching again, it would probably return.   Additionally, not training for a month results in a month of muscle atrophy that requires one and one-half months of training to return to the fitness level when he stopped training.

     Doctors and trainers always recommend rest.   If the pitcher and his parents want to rest, then you have to let him.   I never push it, I say reduce the intensity and make the technique adjustment and lets see what happens.

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430.   I haven't pitched in 2 years.   I am now 20 and want to get back in shape.   When I was 18 I threw 85 mph, but now I am stronger and I have been working on the rotator cuff muscles but can only throw 73 mph.   I don't know why, but one of the things is that I can't remember my mechanics too good.   My arm is moving very fast right now (that's what coaches tell me) but the ball is moving slower, a lot slower.   I'm kinda embarrassed because my little brother that's 15 years old throws 73 also, but he's skinny, shorter, and not in great shape.

     I think I'm doing something wrong with my legs or my arm or something.   Can you please help?   If not, can you tell me of someone who can help me in NYC?


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     Release velocity equals the amount of towards home plate force that pitchers apply to the baseball multiplied times the distance (time period) that they apply that force.   You are not applying force to the baseball.   You can move your pitching arm fast, but not apply force to the baseball.   You must apply straight line force to the baseball.

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431.   How do I practice that?   How can I fix my problem?

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     The best that I can offer is my free Coaching Pitchers book.   You can download it from my web site.   I am working on an accompanying videotape that might help.   Other than that, you have to apply as much straight line force to the baseball for as long a time period as possible.

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432.   The past few months have been very fruitful in teaching the straight line delivery that you teach in your instructional book.   I can't get my troops to do it 100% from start of delivery to end of delivery, but I calculate it to be 75% straight line because they find it hard to give up the balance position and the push off foot being perpendicular to pitching mound.

     The question I now face is the weight transfer.   As in sailing a boat which you used in a e mail to me, you have to tac the sail when the wind shifts, and while the sails are being tacked there is a NO SAIL Zone where there no power being supplied to move the boat until the sails are moved into their new position.   In pitching a baseball the pitcher has a NO SAIL ZONE OR NO Power zone when transfering his weight from the push off foot to landing foot, as in sailing the faster you tac gets you moving at a faster speed.   Does the same principle apply to pitching, the faster you transfer your weight gets more speed or velocity on the pitch?

     After straight line velocity, I feel this is an area few coaches and pitching instructors understand and even though I read your material, I having a difficult time myself.   Any suggestions or do I need your video?


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     The very first skill I teach my pitchers is how to take the ball out of their glove before they lift their front leg.   I later teach them the proper timing of the front leg action and starting their transition.   This stops the balance position problem.

     The teach them that they can push off their rear leg and recover it forward better if they turn their rear foot.   In the windup, they can keep their rear foot almost perpendicular to the pitching rubber.   However, I do not teach the windup for several months.   In fact, I do not teach the set position for fifty days.   When I first teach them the set position, I have them place their heel on the pitching rubber with their toes in front of the pitching rubber.   As part of their drill of how to 'stand tall and rotate', I show their that they do not have to bend their rear leg at any time during the pitching motion.   I show them that they can get their rear hip in front of the front hip easily and quickly if they immediately turn their rear foot to point toward home plate once they start their body forward.

     I used the sailing analogy to show that only the force that pitchers apply toward home plate counts toward release velocity.   Therefore, those who advocate swinging the pitching arm in a circle, while working hard, do not efficiently apply force to pitches.

     Pitching is an uniform acceleration activity.   Just before the upper arm starts forward, the velocity of the baseball is zero.   The idea is to uniformly accelerate the baseball through release.   This means that pitchers have to smoothly, but persistently apply force toward home plate from when the upper arm starts forward through the front foot step forward and through the front foot pivot action when the rear hip and leg move ahead of the front foot.

     I know that we have discussed this before and I have not adequately described the action of the legs.   Perhaps the videotape is the only way of communicating this technique.   I have high hopes that we can finish the raw product within a month and get it to interested parties shortly thereafter.

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433.   I was wondering how would I get rid of shinsplints, or at least calm down the pain.

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     Shin splints result from tears in the connective tissue between the two bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula.   Tiny tears in fascial tissue are disproportionately painful to the seriousness of the injury.   That is, you can continue to use the lower leg without worsening the injury, but it hurts very badly.   I have heard of tightly wrapping the area, but I do not know how much that reduces the discomfort.   For the tears to heal, you need blood flow into the area.   You can get that with icing, massage and other passive means, but normal use is best.   You pretty much have to train through the pain at reduced intensities.   And, these types of injuries can last for quite a while.

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434.   Thanks for the terrific description of the weight transfer in your last email.   As usual it brings a couple more of my ideas to explore.   One of which is I feel that most young amateur pitchers don't transfer their weight properly and truely have a no power zone or a power loss in their weight transfer.

     So just as in tacking a sail the faster you tack the faster you eliminate the no sail zone.   I feel the faster you move you pivot foot from parallel to the mound to perpendicular to the mound you will eliminate the no power zone or power loss.   Being an old army vet, I equate this move to a sharp right turn in close order drill, therefore eliminating any chance of a circular motion.   As you say timing is everyting.


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     I agree with your analogy comparing a sharp turn in marching with the movement of the pitchers rear foot as they drive off the pitching rubber.   However, I strongly advocate that pitchers never place their rear foot parallel with the pitching rubber in the set position, I want the rear foot turned toward home plate with their front foot and shoulders open somewhat.   Then, in the windup, pitchers do not need to ever turn their rear foot from pointing toward home plate.   While pitchers cannot point their rear foot toward home plate, even a ten degree angle will help pitchers drop their rear knee inward toward their front knee to help them recover their rear leg forward.

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435.   My 12 years old son is a good pitcher who depends on the speed.   I am trying to get a radar gun to know his speed.   Now, I have a problem with his manager.   The manager told me that my son must learn a curveball.   I told him that experts say that a young pitcher should not start to throw the curveball until 14 or 15 years old.   Am I thinking correctly?.

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     I am very concerned that young pitchers, under sixteen years old, do not destroy their pitching arms before they have a chance to find out how good they can be.   I have no problem with them learning how to throw curves and screwballs, but when they throw too much or pitch in games too much, they can seriously interfere with the proper development of the bones in their pitching arms.   I strongly recommend that young pitchers practice pitching for only two months per year and do not pitch in games until they are thirteen years old and then, only one inning per game.

     I believe that I teach the best way to throw curves and screwballs.   Unfortunately, I cannot describe how to throw these pitches with words well enough for you to teach your son.   I am in the process of putting together an instructional videotape to accompany my Coaching Pitchers book that is free for you to read or download off my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I am working as hard and fast as I can. I am trying to have the videotape completed in time for Christmas.

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436.   I'm not advocating a parallel foot against the pitching mound, even though it sounded like I did.   I tried to get the troops to go to a 45 degree angle but it was TOO UNCOMFORTABLE.   I like the idea of starting at a 10 degree angle and then work them up to 45.   However to combat their uncomfortableness I found the sharp right angle move and I'm glad you like the idea also.

     One other area that needs your expertise is the slow curve or SLURVE as I call it.   It seems non-existence these days, all these kids have now are hard curves and change ups.   With the aluminum bats you need a pitch thats 10 to 15 mph slower than than a fastball.   Is it because they grip the ball tighter or is it griping the ball at the narrow part instead of the wider part of the seams on the curve ball or both of the afore mentioned?


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     Curves and screwballs should be twenty miles per hour slower than fastballs.   Sliders and true sinkers should be ten miles per hour slower than fastballs.   To accomplish these velocity differentials, pitchers move their pitching arms the same on all pitches, but they apply their force through the middle, outer or inner one-quarter or the top edge.   When pitchers apply their force through the middle of the baseball and the baseball comes off the tips of the index and middle fingers, they throw fastballs.   When pitchers apply force through the outer or inner one-quarter of the baseball and the baseball comes off the outside or inside of the tip of the middle finger, they throw sliders and true sinkers, respectively.   When pitchers apply force to the top edge of the baseball with their palms facing inward and outward and the baseball comes off the outside or inside of the middle finger, they throw curves and screwballs, respectively.

     When pitchers apply force through different aspects of the baseball, they convert horizontal velocity into spin velocity.   This is what causes the differences in the horizontal velocity measures.

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437.   The slower pitch 20 mph thats less than the fastball is a lost art these days.   I feel that circular motion and angular velocity is the main cause of a hanging curve.   I have one pitcher who didn't pitch competively for 2 years, gave him the basic straight line principles and by the end of the fall season he was my most effective pitcher and all he had was a 78 mph fastball and a 60 mph slurve, and never hung one, it was a true testimonial to your brilliant research.

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     The moment that pitcher stop reverse rotating their acromial line past the opposite-sided batter such that their transition only goes backward toward second base, all things are possible for them as pitchers.   Certainly, it eliminates the forearm flyout that changes the perfect horizontal spin axis curve into the slurve.

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438.   What do you think of so and so's instruction that pitching starts from the balls of the feet?   That you have to have dynamic balance and move the energy from the ball of the feet up through the system?   He also states that on all pitches the middle finger is the last finger to leave the ball.   If doesn't, then you can't throw consistent strikes.

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     I never read or discuss whether or not I agree with anybody else's theories of pitching.   However, I discuss specific concepts.   Because you have asked me about five concepts, I will discuss them.   I do so not to argue with anybody, but to simply to offer my opinion based on the relevant scientific facts.

1.   'Pitching starts from the ball of the feet.'   Without the pitching arm, no pitching occurs.   However, because pitchers have to stand when they use their pitching arm, it is a good idea to use the feet.

2.   'Pitchers have to have dynamic balance.'   There are two descriptions of balance, dynamic and static.   Dynamic means when moving. Static means when standing still.   While dynamic is an exciting word, it only means that people are moving their center of gravity.

     Every person has to have dynamic balance, that is, the ability to move with control.   Pitchers need to move their center of gravity a straight line toward home plate.   To accomplish this, pitchers must not raise or lower their center of gravity when they move it directly toward home plate.   That is why I recommend that pitchers do not raise their front leg higher than their upper leg to horizontal.   When pitchers raise their front leg, they raise their center of gravity.   To compensate, pitchers bend their rear leg. These actions seriously interfere with their dynamic balance.

3.   'Pitchers have to move the energy from the ball of their feet through the system.'   The ball of the foot refers to the articulations of the five metatarsals with the first, second and third cuneiform bones and the cuboid bone.   In addition to the Plantar Aponeurosis, several intrinsic muscles of the dorsal surface of the foot contract to maintain the action of the arch of the foot.   These muscles only contract and relax like all other muscles.   They do not send energy anywhere else.   Scientifically, this statement is gibberish.

4.   'The middle finger is the last finger to leave the ball on all pitches.'   The middle finger is the longest of the five digits.   Nevertheless, when pitcher throw outside-the-ball pitches such as curves and sliders where their middle finger moves around the top and outside of the baseball, I will bet that the index finger is the last finger to leave the ball.   When pitchers throw the circle change, I will bet that the little finger is the last finger to leave the ball.

     Nevertheless, the middle finger is critical to pitching success.   Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their middle finger.   Strength to achieve maximum spin velocity and transfer force maximally.   Skill to impart the precisely correct spin axes to their pitches such that the spinning seams contact the air molecules to achieve maximum movement.

5.   'If the middle finger is not the last finger to leave the ball, then pitchers cannot throw consistent strikes.'   Far more important than the middle finger leaving the finger last, is the straight driveline from leverage through release toward home plate.   Knuckleball pitchers release their pitch with the index, middle and ring fingers pushing the baseball toward home plate.   Forkball pitchers release their pitch with the middle phalanges of their index and middle finger simultaneously leaving the ball.

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439.   I have a 15 year old son that has followed a regimen of limited innings and only fastballs and changeups.   He has had a wide array of advise on his mechanics from different coaches.   I do not have the ability to decipher this advice, good or bad.   I am very impressed with your approach to the younger players, but again, I do not understand the content of your book enough to actually advise my son.

     I would like to fly to Tampa with my son, visit your facility, and observe and ask questions.   In addition, I would like to know if I could schedule some time with you to evaluate and analyze his mechanics.   I have a definite interest in your 10 week camp, but would like to make sure he is headed in the right direction before this spring's High School season begins.   Please advise if this is possible.   If so, a date and time that would fit into your busy schedule would be deeply appreciated.


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     I have to do something about interested parties not understanding the content of my Coaching Pitchers book sufficiently to help their sons.   I am putting together an instructional videotape to accompany the book.   But still, I have to take some time to edit my written materials make them easier to understand.

     You and everybody else is welcome to come to my Pitcher Training Center in Zephyrhills, FL at any time.   While I will gladly explain what the pitchers are doing, I do not have time to evaluate the pitching mechanics of visitors.   However, I am hopeful that my instructional videotape will enable parents and/or the youngsters to do this for themselves.

     We train from 9:30AM until 11:30AM every day for 280 consecutive days starting the third Saturday in August.   Therefore, plan your visit to fit your schedule, we are always here.   Lastly, I have discontinued my ten week summer sessions.   I am hoping that the videotape fills that void also.

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440.   I pitch at a Junior College.   This past summer I heard a "Pop" in my elbow and ever since my elbow has been hurting.   I got a MRI done, but nothing was found.   I have not thrown in a couple of months and I have been going to rehab like three weeks now.   The doctors think I have inflammation in my ulnar ligament.   They said that it will come back to 100%, but all I can to is rest.   What do you think?

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     Whenever adult pitchers injure muscle attachments or ligaments, they have placed more stress on their pitching arm than it could withstand.   They do so because they have improper force application technique or they have inadequately trained or both.   I suspect you have improper force application technique.   Somewhere during your motion, you flyout or bounce your elbow.   A popping sound does not necessarily mean real bad.   However, long term discomfort is not a good sign.   Rehabilitation is always tricky.   On the one hand, rest atrophies or weakens the effected area.   On the other hand, too much movement can continue to injure the effected area.

     I always recommend that pitchers immediately resume training.   However, I tell them to reduce the intensity to mildly uncomfortable.   I do not want the effected area to atrophy.   I do want increased blood flow to promote healing and normal movement is the most effective way of increasing blood flow.   I also want the injured pitcher to practice the correct force application technique and the discomfort helps to show what technique is not correct.   If you had broken a bone, then I would agree with rest until the bone healed.   Otherwise, I never agree with rest.

     I recommend my training program as the best to rehabilitate from any pitching arm injury and to learn the correct way to apply force to your pitches.   Remember, the key is to keep the intensity to mildly uncomfortable.

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441.   I DISLOCATED MY ELBOW IN FOOTBALL ABOUT 3 WEEKS AGO AND NOW BASEBALL WORKOUTS ARE COMING UP.   SHOULD I JUST TAKE OFF UNTIL I FULLY RECOVER?   I'M ABOUT 50-60%.   IT'S NOT MY THROWING ARM, BUT I'M STILL A LITTLE SCARED ABOUT IT, IF IT'S NOT READY.

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     You did not say whether you are a pitcher or a hitter or both.   I do not believe that dislocating your non-pitching arm should effect your pitching.   In fact, it might help you learn how to not permit your non-pitching arm to negatively influence your pitching motion.   The non-pitching arm should not generate any lateral forces that interfere with the straight line drive of the pitching arm.

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442.   A quick question regarding my son's pitching arm action.   I am not sure if this is a flaw, or is very similar to what you recommend.   His arm action looks very smooth and he throws very hard.   At the point where his throwing arm reaches shoulder height, his fingers are on top of the ball.   Then, as his arm raises he rotates his palm and his arm is in kind of a LAID BACK position, fingers now under the ball, ball about the height of his ear, but NOT in what is commonly called the "high cock" position.   He doesn't ever really reach a cocked position, as the angle of his forearm to upper arm is always greater than 90 degrees.   This happens so quickly that you cannot really see it unless you do a frame by frame video analysis.

     His pitching instructor says that he is getting under the ball too soon, that he should keep his fingers on top of the ball until he reaches the so called "high cock" position, and that his current arm action stresses his forearm.   When he does as instructed he says he feels some stress (not pain, just stress) in the elbow area.   When he throws his natural way, he says his arm feels fantastic, even after an extended session of throwing hard.   Is getting the palm under the ball a little early a flaw he needs to correct?   His body seems to tell him no.


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     As I understand the 'high cock' position, pitchers are supposed to have the forearm of their pitching arm vertical with their palm facing second base.

     The problem with pitchers having the forearm of their pitching arm vertical immediately before they start the upper arm acceleration phase is that the elbow moves forward, but the forearm moves downward.   This causes a 'reverse forearm bounce' that unnecessarily stresses some of the rotator cuff muscles and the ulnar collateral ligament area.   I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height and 'lock' their forearm with their upper arm such that when they start the upper arm acceleration phase, the forearm moves forward with the elbow.   The angle of the forearm will vary between individuals, but it will be closer to forty-five degrees than it is to vertical.

     The problem with pitchers having the palm of their pitching hand facing toward second base is that they still need to rotate the forearm into proper position for whatever pitch they want to throw.   For the fastball, they will have to rotate their forearm one hundred and eighty degrees.   For the breaking ball, they will have to rotate their forearm two hundred and seventy degrees.   I recommend that pitchers use the second half of their pendulum swing from the forty-five degree forearm backward angle to driveline height to smoothly rotate their forearm into proper position such that when they reach driveline height, they can smoothly start their upper arm acceleration phase without any loop or other action that interferes with the consistency of their pitches.

     At thirty-two frames per second, videotape of the one hundred and thirty-two (ninety mile per hour) pitching arm permits over four feet of movement.   It is impossible to understand the upper arm acceleration phase, the forearm acceleration phase and the deceleration phase with regular videotape.   I have a five hundred frames per second pin registered sixteen millimeter camera that permits me to see what happens every 3.168 inches.   I have taken thousands of feet of high speed film of pitchers such that I can now see what they do in five hundred frames per second slow motion with the naked eye.

     Without knowing your son's age and the quality of his competition, I cannot say whether his body is right about his throwing technique.   Many pitchers with terrible technique do not suffer any problems until they pitch to competition that requires their maximum intensity.   Nevertheless, it is a good sign.

     As to whether getting your palm under the ball is a flaw, I am not certain what you mean.   On the fastball, the anterior surface of the forearm should face toward home plate and the wrist should lay back toward horizontal to increase the range of motion over which the wrist, hand and fingers can apply force.   If this is what you mean when you say that the palm is under the ball, then, on fastballs, I would agree.   Unfortunately, I believe that you have described a loop in your son's pitching motion that occurs immediately before he starts his upper arm forward.   That would be a flaw, though not an injuriously serious one unless he also has 'reverse forearm bounce'.

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443.   With respect to Newton's Law of Acceleration, I believe there is an advantage to be gained for the pitcher to simultaneously lift his leg and tilt his throwing shoulder back toward second base as he takes the ball out of his glove, rather than having the shoulders remain parallel to the ground and taking the baseball straight back.   Employing this technique increases the magnitude of the net force applied to the baseball by lengthening the arc and thus increasing the distance the baseball travels in a straight line before it is released (the arc starts at the knees rather than at the waist and goes 3-4" further back towards second base, equal to the lateral distance the shoulder moves toward second base).   Obviously this technique has to be modified from the stretch in order to accelerate the speed to release the baseball.

     There are many examples of this application of force from the 1940's-1970's including many of the so-called "workhorses":   Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer and Ron Guidry to name a few.   I just wanted to get your opinion of this observation and your explanation as to why it is not more effective that the method you teach.


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     I understand the desire to lengthen the driveline.   Unfortunately, I believe that we are limited in the toward second base aspect.   I do not believe the leaning the pitching shoulder downward would give pitchers three to four inches of greater driveline length.   Further, I would never want the driveline to start at the knees.   I cannot see how pitchers could have a straight driveline in this situation.   Lastly, I do know that it will interfere with rotating the shoulder forward which will decrease driveline length.

     I have to caution you about trying to analyze what pitchers may or may not have done.   The laws of physics and applied anatomy should be your guide.

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444.   My son had problems with his elbow since May when he had a popping sound and pain.   I took him to doctor and he put him on vioxx and 2 weeks rest X-rays were negative.   He started back playing and performed fine, but continued to say his elbow just isn't right.   Therefore, I took him back in and got MRI on his elbow.   The doctor now says that he needs 8 weeks of no throwing or shooting basketball.

     He said it will be fine for him to continue to hit baseball?   My son has played year round baseball and basketball for 5 years and qb on football team for 3 years.   He is a very gifted player and I want to make sure we do the right things.   Do you have any suggestions?   Should he continue to play baseball and just DH the coach is really wanting him to bat if possible (during these 2 months of non-throwing)?


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     I recommend that adolescent pitchers train for no more than two months per year.   I also recommend that adolescent pitchers do not pitch in competitive games until they are thirteen years old and then, they should not pitch more than one inning.   For them to do more will only destroy their skeletal structure.   Everything can appear fine on X-rays unless you compare the pitching arm side with the non-pitching arm side every six month until he completes skeletal maturation.   Then, you will see that the excessive stress of pitching has caused his growth plates to close prematurely or worse.   I have explained all this in great detail in my Coaching Pitchers book and in my Question/Answer sections.

     I have no way of knowing how damaged your son's growth plates are.   But, I know that the damage is permanent and he needs to stop before he worsens the situation.   He will have plenty of time to pitch after the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.

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445.   Does my son lose any velocity by NOT having his forearm vertical (high cock) just before his upper arm accelerates?   And, is the fact that his forearm to upper arm angle is always more than ninety degrees (inside of the arm) a problem?

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     A vertical forearm would shorten the driveline length, but it may help with driveline consistency.   I leave it to pitchers to vary within an acceptable range of vertical to forty-five degrees backward.   I do have a problem with the forearm to upper arm angle being greater than ninety degrees.   That indicates forearm flyout and we want to limit that.

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446.   Would you be willing to notify interested parties when your video is available for sale?   If so, I would appreciate being added to that e-mail list.   Also, do you currently have a release date in mind?

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     This is a one person operation.   At present, I am completely focused on getting this videotape done.   However, I am sure that there will be some lag time between when we complete the videotape and when we will have copies made.   I expect that during that time I will have time to make a list of those who have emailed me with questions and send out a notice when the videotape will be available.   There are some variables beyond my control, but I am working hard to get it done and done right as soon as possible.   This is my life's work and I want it done right.   I am not in it for the quick buck, but to get the best information out.   I know that I will not release it until I feel that I have done everything I can to make it the best I can do.   Having said all that, I am almost done writing the dialogue and videotaping the required scenes.

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447.   Does weighlifting help improve velocity?   Or, does it just help your predetermined arm speed?   Will weightlifting help as it did for one great pitcher?

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     In Chapter 27 of my Coaching Pitchers book, I explain Training Specificity and more about the Physiology of Exercise.   Release velocity is directly proportional to the uniform force that pitchers can apply to baseballs and the straight line distance over which they can apply that force.   When bones, the attachment of muscles to bones and muscles are as powerful as pitchers can train them, then pitchers can expect to achieve their maximum release velocity.   Genetics play a role, but proper force application technique and training also play roles.

     I have no idea what weightlifting exercises anybody else has done or seen any quantifiable verification of said training increasing release velocity.   If said training was not highly specific to the pitching motion, I seriously doubt that it had any meaningful influence.

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448.   My question then is this: Athletes are generally regarded as being more finally tuned and in better shape than those of a generation ago.   Why should pitchers today have so much trouble pitching on three-days rest, when a generation ago it was done all the time?   I ask you this not only as an expert in physiology, but also as a man who pitched in 106 games in a major league season.   You clearly were doing something that allowed you to accomplish that feat.   I am also aware of the fact that when you pitched in those 106 games in a single season you were not the one-inning closer of the current game.   In fact you averaged nearly two innings per outing.

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     With the pitching techniques that professional pitching coaches teach today, they do not dare pitch their pitchers more frequently.   With the emphasis on fastball velocity rather than pitch sequencing, they do not dare pitch their pitchers more frequently.   With the absence of any knowledge of the Physiology of Exercise, they do not dare pitch their pitchers any more frequently.   In fact, approximately twenty percent (you could verify this with the injured reserved list), cannot withstand the every five days schedule.

     However, if they corrected their force application technique, taught pitchers the requisite variety of pitches, namely maxline fastball, true screwball, true sinker, curve, torque fastball and slider, and properly trained their pitchers, then pitchers could easily pitch on three days rest.   Of course, they would rather dismiss someone who could pitch quality innings everyday as a physical freak than learn.

     If you are interested in learning, then you can read my Coaching Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and purchase my soon-to-be-release accompanying instructional videotape.

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449.   My 10 year old son downloaded your pitching material.   He enjoys baseball and is a good student in general.   He's been watching TV games and sees the camera showing lots of different grips, including forkball, splitfinger, and knuckleball.   He's got big hands for a kid his age. His coach (and me) have been pretty clear with him about no curveballs for many years, but he's bugging us about different grips.   You don't teach the pitches, but are they damaging to a young arm?   As his dad, I'd prefer he just have fun, throw often, & throw with good form, but I'm not sure of the scientific basis for not throwing offspeed, grip-based junk pitches that don't twist his arm all up.

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     I have absolutely nothing against teaching ten year old pitchers how to throw my maxline fastballs, curves, screwballs, sinkers and torque fastballs.   I do prefer to wait until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle fully matures before they learn how to throw my slider.   What I do object to is having adolescent pitchers of all ages practice pitching for more than two months per year.   And, I do not want pitcher under thirteen pitching competitively more than one inning per game.   Adolescent pitchers become adult pitchers when the growth plate for their medial epicondyle fully matures.

     I am working hard on putting together an instructional videotape to accompany my Coaching Pitchers book and it will contain precise demonstrations of how to grip, forearm drive and release all my pitches.   As I said, I have no problem with your son learning how to correctly throw these pitches.   However, I leave it up to you and your son to realize that if he does too much, then he can permanently deform his pitching arm and end his adult pitching career.

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450.   The pitching coach of one major league teams appears to have great results.   What do you think of his training methods?

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     I prefer not to discuss specific people.   However, I will discuss specific theories.   In Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book, I have very clearly detailed how I train pitchers.   Many variables contribute to success or failure of major league pitching staffs.   It is very difficult to isolate your critical element (the influence of the pitching coach's training program).   Researchers would tell you that your hypothesis has too many uncontrollable confounding variables to draw any meaningful conclusions.

     At my Pitching Research Center, I start with primarily high school graduates.   I videotape their pitches when they start at at about seven week intervals.   In this way, we can objectively measure their strength and skill development.   They learn the tools that they will require to compete at their highest level, whatever that becomes.

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451.   This summer I wanted to give my arm a break because I initially had pain in my shoulder.   But, I could deal with it if I warmed up and did everything properly.   After about a month of not playing I started off slowly but it only ended up hurting me more.   For a while I couldn't even throw, then I tried getting myself back into shape.   It helped a little because now I can throw, but not as hard as I used to and I still feel a lot of discomfort in my shoulder.

     What is it that I have to do to start throwing pain free again?   I like to work out.   What exercise is appropiate with out making matters worse?   How long will it take to heal?   I'm hoping to play on my schools Varsity baseball team.   I'm 16 years old, I mostly play infeild, sometimes outfield, and I also pitch.


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     Your shoulder problem could be an extension of a growth plate injury.   However, at sixteen years old, your growth plates should be mature.   Usually growth plate problems in the shoulder do not have the lasting effects as growth plate problems in the elbow.   The only time that I recommend rest is when youth pitchers have growth plate problems.   They need the time off to permit their growth plates to grow and develop without the stress of pitching.

     As a skeletally mature pitcher with an injury, rest is not a good idea.   The more pain that you feel, the more rest you take.   The more that you rest, the weaker the injured area becomes.   The weaker the injured area becomes, the less it is able to withstand the stress of pitching and the more pain you feel.   The more pain that you feel, the more rest you take.   And, so on.

     When pitchers experience pain, it means that they have placed greater stress on their pitching arm than it can withstand.   They either have incorrect pitching technique or they have not properly trained their pitching arm.   Rest only makes the traumatized area weaker and less able to withstand the stress.

     You have to start at a low level of stress and gradually place greater amounts of stress on your pitching arm while concurrently learning the proper way to apply force to your pitches.   In a gradual program, you will gently force the pitching arm to get stronger until the stress that you place on it is not greater than it can withstand.

     If you want to know the proper training program and the proper way to apply force to your pitches, then you will have to read my Coaching Pitchers book.

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452.   I am a pitching coach at a small div III school on the east coast.   This is my first year coaching and was introduced to the exercises of yoga this past summer.   I am wondering if you are a believer in using yoga exercises to help a pitchers performance?   And if so what websites or contacts do you know of that offer information on yoga for baseball players.

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     No.   Only quality Maxline fastballs, screwballs, sinkers, Torque fastballs, curves and sliders that pitchers can throw with maximum intensity without discomfort in the strike zone help pitchers.

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453.   A college pitcher of mine always gets pain in his bicep (close to his elbow) after he pitches.   It lingers to the point where his recovery time is at least a week.   Our trainer says it is tendinitis.   The problem is that this cuts down on the amount of games he can pitch in and the preparation between games.   Any opinion on what this injury is or why it occurs would be welcome.   This has been on going for years.

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     When pitchers complain of discomfort in the anterior aspect of the elbow slightly above the joint and to the ulna side, they are indicating the brachialis attachment to the coranoid process.   This shows that he takes his pitching arm laterally behind his back which causes forearm flyout when it returns to the pitching arm side.   The remedy is to correct his force application.   He has to stop his excessive reverse rotation and learn how to pendulum swing his arm toward second base.

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454.   What do you think of Greg Maddux?   He throws mid 80's-has movement on all pitches, can work both sides of the plate, hasn't been on the disabled list in ten years and rarely walks people? Is he using correct force application technique?

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     I enjoy watching Mr. Maddox sequence his pitches and keep the batters off stride. No, he does not use the correct force application technique.   To learn the correct force application technique, you will have to read my Coaching Pitchers book and watch my accompanying instructional videotape when I get it completed.

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455.   The key to understanding your book in my opinion is understanding the difference between straight line velocity and circiular angular velocity.   After nine months of constant emails between us and some real toe to toe discussions, I realized that all of your terminology was truly scientific.   Once I read that straight line motion and velocity were in the Physics book, it finally hit me, most of all sports motions are either performed in a circular or straight line path or motion.

     Then I realized that to see a athlete perform a straight line motion in his particular sports motion, you need to use some kind of machinery to slow down the motion, the UNTRAINED naked eye cannot see Straight line velocity, especially in pitchng a baseball and hitting a baseball.   I have more success showing the difference between angular motion and straight line motion in analizing a baseball swing than showing a pitcher throwing a baseball.

     With this sucess of teaching straight line velocity in hitting a baseball, I then can get the confidence of the baseball subject to then see the difference in throwing a baseball.   Anyway My whole point is that after 2 solid months of drilling my troops on the advantages of using straight line velocity in hitting a baseball, and showing the difference on tape, it is now possible to educate anybody in both throwing and hitting a baseball the Marshall way.

     Most people who read your book and emails don't really understand what your saying.   Then, because they don't understand, they choose to ignore or challenge your expert research.   If they took all the terms that were hard to understand and went to science books like I did, instead of to other baseball instruction books, the young arms of the baseball world would be a lot better off.


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     I believe that all human movement requires straight-line force application.

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456.   Anyone know how I can get some exersizes for an AC joint problem?

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     How did you injure your arm?   You commonly hear of acromial-clavicular problems in football players after they tackle someone and separate their acromial process from their clavicle.   The AC joint is not a joint.   The A stands for the acromial process of the scapula.   The C stands for the clavicle.   The lateral aspect of the clavicle attaches to the anterior aspect of the acromial process of the clavicle with powerful ligaments.   The medial aspect of the clavicle attaches to the sternum.   When we move the clavicle at its sternoclavicular attachment, the scapula comes along.

     There are no muscles to train.   Therefore, there are no exercises.   Doctors place downward pressure on the acromial process to hold it close to the clavicle and wait for the ligaments to heal.   I suppose they have surgeries where they can reduce the separation and hold the acromial process against the clavicle.

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457.   I am a HS baseball coach.   I coach on the varsity level, so my players are typically 16 to 18 years of age.   I have read some research on the principles of progressive overload throwing over a 8 to 10 week program.   The particular program that interested me the most was one which alternated the regular baseball and a weighted ball during three sessions per week.   The weight of the weighted ball was increased every two weeks until it maxed out at 12 oz.   All throwing was done at regular pitching distance.

     Some questions if you might be kind enough to answer:
1)   How effective and safe does such a program seem to you?
2)   Might its effectiveness be enhanced by adding a lighter ball (T-ball perhaps) to the session?
3)   Would this speed up the arm and increase velocity in the long run?

     This program would be performed before the season starts.   I know that you embrace some components of the overload philosophy.   Would you continue it into the season for between starts?


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     Release velocity is directly proportional to the force that pitchers uniformly apply to their pitches in a straight-line toward home plate multiplied by the time over which they apply that force.   You should start by teaching your pitchers the proper way to apply straight-line force to their pitches.

     If pitchers have flaws such as forearm flyout, reverse forearm bounce, forearm loop, elbow pull and elbow drop-under, then to have them throw weighted baseballs will add more unnecessary stress to their pitching arm and injure it.   At such low weights, these weighted baseballs do not teach proper force application nor is the weight sufficient to cause a significant physiological adjustment.

     Of course, if you had read my Coaching Pitchers book or my Question/Answer files, you would have known this already as I have addressed this issue many times.

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458.   Will I have a copy under my Christmas tree, 2001?

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     I have completed the dialogue and all of the scenes where I speak in front of the camera.   While I have not counted, I believe that we have about 100 of the 129 background scenes done.   So, we are progressing.   However, I am at the mercy of my videographer as to his availability to assemble everything.   And, I am certain that we will have to make some last second adjustments.   Nevertheless, I am hopeful for December.   But, I will release when it until it says what I want it to say, not when the merchandisers say is the best time for most sales.

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459.   The achilles heel, in all that I share, has to do with ignorance and growth plates.   I am haunted by what wear and tear and stunting, potentially, is going on with arms that I have coached.   I am researching this issue, in more depth, thanks to finding your web.   You have offered a list of sources that corroborate your concerns.   I will find others.   My coaching methods are to be subjected to much self-scrutiny.

     I will have a team of 14 and 15 year olds.   16 years sounds like the safe number. What recommendation for addressing this issue might you have?   Should all pitching shoulders be X-ray evaluated?   Should I determine maximum pitch counts (reduced&low) in attempt to blanket protect my arms?   As for introducing your extended driveline mechanics to a team that commences practice Feb 4, has a 3-4 game non-league schedule, and a short-of-three-month league, what might be the center of focus in working with young pitchers/short duration?

     Bob Gibson was my favorite pitcher during my youth.   If you recall, based on your biomechanic knowledge, what was Gibby doing right/wrong?


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     Adolescent pitchers injure their growth plates at all ages between nine and fifteen.   However, it appears to look like the Bell curve with twelve years old at the apex.   I have not found any research to support my observation, but it coincides with the greatest intensity of pitching activity and the high point of rapid skeletal development.   I stand on my recommendation: Until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle has completely matured, 1.   No pitcher should practice pitching for more than two months per year, 2.   No pitcher should pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and 3. No pitcher should pitch more than one inning per game.

     I would teach my force application technique to the pitchers as soon as possible.

     Mr. Gibson had terrible forearm flyout.

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460.   I emailed me you back and asked you about Greg Maddux-about how he has never been on the injured reserve-or missed a start due to injury-how he works both sides of the plate and he rarely throws over 85-but has late movement on all pitches-and how he rarely walks someone-and i asked if you was using force application technique and you simply said no-but if thats the case he must be doing someting right right?

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     I said that I enjoy watching Mr. Maddux sequence his pitches, but I do not agree with his pitching motion.   I teach a force application based on the laws of physics and the realities of the musculoskeletal system, not injured reserved lists and so on.   I have said many times that if we copy the major league pitchers, we will only repeat the mistakes of the past.   First, you do not have 500 frames per second film, so you do not know what he does and he also does not know what he does.   Please stop looking for someone to imitate and follow the laws of physics.

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461.   I am trying to help my 13.5 year old son with conditioning this fall/winter in preparation for his travel baseball season which begins in March.   He is a solid starting pitcher on his team, and is also often called on as a closer.   Unfortunately, he is also the starting catcher as well and thus when he is not on the mound, he is behind the plate.   This is a significant amount of throwing over the course of a 75 game season.

     This is his third year of travel baseball and the situation as been the same each year.   While he has never complained of any pain, he has been icing down his shoulder and elbow after each game as precautionary.   He is also an outstanding hitter with significant power and wants to be able to increase his strength for hitting.   He hit 4 home runs this fall over a 300' fence.   He has not experienced much rest over the last 2 years as he is also a Quarterback, he is constantly throwing.   What specific exercises and weight training would you recommend.   He has great muscle tone, is 5' 10", 135 lb. Your advise is greatly appreciated.


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     Your son sounds as though he is biologically accelerated. This gives him a temporary advantage over other youngsters his age. He needs to spend his time becoming as skilled a player as possible.

     Until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle matures, I recommend that he not train for pitching for more than two months per year, that he not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and that he not pitch more than one inning per game.

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462.   My son just turned 12.   Since his medial epicondyle separation, he has been playing first base with little throwing but a lot of hitting.   He also played football.   Since then, with one incident where he complained of shoulder soreness late in the season.   He may have complained of very slight shoulder soreness once before the elbow separation.   The elbow problem was now 7-8 months ago and he has not pitched since.   The football incident was probably 2 months ago.

     With this background, leading up to a tournament last Friday, he routinely swung at 180 to 200 pitches every other day for two weeks.   He played two games last Friday with typical throwing and hitting warm-up, including long toss.   He hit well (two HRs and 8-10) while playing first base in the first two games.   That night he swung lightly (20 pitches) in the cage again, with a couple at high speeds where I thought he could have strained a shoulder muscle but at that time did not indicate any injury, pain, or soreness.   The next morning (Saturday) he indicated some shoulder soreness and his hitting seemed different during the day, leading to his inability to hit or throw in the second game on Saturday.   That night and the next morning (Sunday) we noticed some swelling and he indicated soreness in movement.   We iced.   Monday morning pain and swelling subsided.   Nevertheless, we took him to an experienced pro-baseball orthopedic.

     To my surprise and to the apparent surprise of the doctor, who had only seen this in one other athlete, he had a separated should growth plate as well as the elbow condition.   He recommended 6 months of no throwing, again.   The elbow had improved and is being monitored.

     My question is, given the background, do you believe the shoulder problem could be caused from swinging a bat as much as he has?   Could it have been from an impact in football?   Could it have been preexisting from earlier throwing?   Could all have contributed?   Should you always check out the shoulder if you have a suspected elbow separation?


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     You are permitting this twelve year old to put way too much stress on his growth plates. If you have read my materials, then you should know that you are disrupting the normal growth and development of his growth plates.

     Adolescent pitchers separate the ossification center of their medial epicondyle from the shaft of the humerus because the pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and a portion of the flexor digitorum superficialis attach to the medial epicondyle and act very powerfully in the pitching motion.   The growth plate cannot withstand the stress of their pull and gives way.   The same situation occurs with the ossification center of the head of the humerus where the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor attach.   These three rotator cuff muscles decelerate the head of the humerus after a powerful inward rotation action.   So, your question becomes; do these activities involve shoulder joint inward rotation?

     Baseball pitching and football passing clearly involve inward rotation.   Baseball batting involves inward rotation, but to a much reduced level.   He could have injured this growth plate at the same time that he separated his medial epicondyle.   We have to understand that adolescents are not little adults.   They cannot withstand the stress of high intensity activities indefinitely.

     I would recommend that he not return to these activities until the growth plates have completely matured.

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463.   Do growth spurts affect or make more prone growth plate separations?   My son is generally the tallest kid around with long arms.   He just turned 12 and is just under 5' 9".   He is not massive but not skinny.   I have seen taller and wider!

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     During growth spurts, youngsters are more susceptible to injury.   Bones are growing longer and wider with new tissue.   This tissue is fragile.   We cannot continue to place the stress of pitching on this tissue.   Would you pull on a cut that is just starting to heal and expect it to withstand the stress?

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464.   When you say not to return to these activities, I assume you mean no throwing or hitting for a couple of years.   Correct?   That is sad.   He just turned 12 and, since he is tall, may be an early maturer, but still means a year or so.   I assume physical height is not the only criteria in the maturation assessment.

     In any event, it is sad and I appreciate your input.   It is better to be safe than sorry.   He looks like he could have a promising career, no doubt in my mind through college.   Pro's, well that is a different story.   So, is that what you mean?   How often should X-rays be taken?


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     In Chapter Four of my Coaching Pitchers book, I provided two ways of assessing biological maturation.   If your son is an accelerated maturer, then he will stop his long bone growth early.   This means that the growth plate of his medial epicondyle will mature early and he could resume pitching.   You should try to determine his rate of biological maturation.

     I recommend that, on his next three birthdays, you X-ray both hands and wrist as in the Greulich-Pyle Atlas and both elbows from mid-forearm to mid-humerus.

     After his growth plates mature, he can throw himself full steam into my wrist weight and iron ball training programs and easily catch up.   Until then, he can explore lots of other activities that do not stress the medial epicondyle, swimming is good.

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465.   I am 15 yrs old and a Sophmore in High School.   Last year I played varsity as a freshman as a starting shortstop.   However, I am more interested in becoming a pitcher.   I have been told that my velocity is not high enough to pitch for varsity this year.   I throw around 73-75 mph and was wondering how to gain velocity on my fastball.   I have been long tossing which has been working.   I feel my arm getting stronger, but it is starting to become winter here and it is hard for me to get outside and long toss.   If you have any exercises that I can do it would be much appreciated if you sould inform me.

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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book to show pitchers what they had to do to become the best pitcher that they can be.   I am working on an instructional videotape to accompany the book.   You can download the book for free from my web site.   Happy reading.

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466.   Biomechanically, how would you rate the two MVPs of this years world series, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling?   How are their mechanics, any flaws?

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     I am not certain that I want to get involved in biomechanically evaluating professional pitchers when I have no high speed film of them.   It is not possible, even with my considerable high speed film experience, to see everything that the do in their motion and quantify it.   That is the problem with watching videotape, it is too slow.   Their pitching arms move over four feet between frames during the critical upper arm and forearm acceleration phases.   Nobody can learn anything of value by watching videotape of pitching.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Johnson has the worse forearm flyout that I have ever seen and should have destroyed his pitching elbow years ago.   It is amazing that he can still pitch.   I would never teach any aspect of his pitching motion to any youngster.

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467.   I look forward to the pricing and availability of your video.   If possible, please consider making a DVD form available.

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     One of the reasons that I purchased a digital camcorder was to enable us to offer DVD's as well as videotapes.

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468.   I got three college physics books in front of me.   I read the same explanation for straight line motion, which reads performing a motion in one dimension, it is the simplest way to perform any motion.   Then I went to next chapter, performing any motion in two or more dimensions, is peforming a motion in a circular motion.   Performing a motion in two or more dimensions is more complicated and difficult.

     Conclusion: you have discovered how to pitch a baseball in a straight motion just as effective as the present day instructions of circular motion.   Your theory of 100% straight line motion is the simplest, easiest and perfect way to throw a baseball.   Also, the reason for so may diffenent interpretations by the other so call experts is that their instructions are all in more than two dimensions and are too complexed and difficult for them to truely analyze.

     Now that you have simplified the pitching motion to one simple dimension.   They have no credence to verify or justify their positions or theories.   Therefore, they have no choice but to undermine and dispute your scientific facts with their MISFORMATION.


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     I prefer to be unaware of what others say about how I teach force application.   Therefore, I cannot attribute motive to any who might disagree.

     I believe that we live in a three demensional world, horizontal, vertical and depth.   I have my pitchers try to apply force from leverage through release in a straight line because if they apply force along a curved pathway, the law of inertia tells us that at every moment the inertia of the baseball wants to follow a straight line tangent to that arc and pitchers have to constantly apply force to keep the baseball on the curved path.   This wastes force and subjects the pitching arm to unnecessary stress.

     By the way, no pitcher has ever been able to apply force in a straight line from leverage through release.   Nevertheless, we should try with every pitch to do so.

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469.   Please try to evualate my words-but here is how is my pitchig motion starts.   First, my hands and gloves are kind of between my legs and the I take a step back and throw my both my arms and hands in the air and turn my right foot parallel to the rubber.   While my arms and hands are still in the air, I bring down my arms and in front of my chest and release the ball with no shoulder flyout.   This technique seems to work for me.   How do you say I rate mechanic-wise or word-wise?

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     It sounds as though you are trying to describe the windup pitching motion.   I suggest that you start with the set position.   All that throwing your arms into the air might confuse you.   I believe that I recommend that pitchers turn their rear foot toward home plate.   Have you read my recommendations or are you making this up?   I prefer that you read what I recommend before we talk.

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470.   I'm 35 years old and still play competetive in an over 30 league.   I played professional baseball, summer and winter, before injuring my elbow in 1990.   The original diagnosis was a streched ligament.   The surgeon moved my ulna nerve and cut part of a bone in the elbow area because of the surgery.   I was then placed in a cast for three months and never was prescribed physical therapy.   After about a year and one-half, I was able to resume pitching but have not had the same results and it is not because of arm strength or velocity.   I returned in 1993 and my velocity was pretty close to pre-injury, 87-90mph.

     Even to this day my biggest problem is control.   I still throw well in the mid-80's, but unless everything with my mechanics is clicking I have a hard time getting the ball down in the zone.   The funny thing is I'm not all over the place I'm just high in the zone.


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     When pitchers have difficulty getting the baseball down, the problem usually lies with their body action.   I recommend that pitchers stand tall and rotate.   This action enables pitchers to have vertical control over their pitches.   When pitchers bend at their waist, they lose vertical control of their pitches.   With my technique, pitchers always release their pitches at the same height.   Consequently, they always drive their pitches horizontally forward and let the action of the pitch move within the strike zone.

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471.   I am a Senior in High School.   I am enrolled in an honors economics class and as a research project I am looking into baseball's economic woes in relation to the advent of free agency.   I was wondering if you could give me your opinion to two questions I had on this subject?

1.   Do you feel the current collective bargaining agreement is in compliance with the original intent of the "free agent" system initiated by Curt Flood and others whose goal was to simply challenge the reserve clause?

2.   Do you feel the true impact of the work of Marvin Miller is appreciated by today's players who are reaping the benefits of his efforts?


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     When I started in major league baseball, owners paid about 13% of their total revenues for players salaries.   In other entertainment industries, the performers regularly received over 60%.   The reason owners got away with this was because they wrote a contract that said that they had the unilateral right to renew a player's contract for seven years, one year at a time.

     I have no idea why Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause on the basis that he did not want to be traded.   I know that teachers do not get traded to other schools in other towns, but I felt that it was part of baseball's history and not a big deal.   I believe that Curt Flood's suit hurt the players.

     When Andy Messersmith refused to sign his contract, the Dodgers renewed it for a period of one year as the contract stated.   Andy then asked the arbitrator whether that one year renewal meant one year or whether, as the owners said, it meant one year at a time for seven years.   The arbitrator said that it meant for only one year.

     With the prospect of every major league player refusing to sign their contracts and becoming free of their contract at the end of one year, the owners sought to permit players to become free of their contracts under other conditions.   I disagreed.   While I could see that every player becoming free of their contract every year could make for a lot of confusion, I felt that teams would sign the players that they really wanted to multi-year contracts and severely reduce the number of players who would not sign their contracts and wait a year to be free of that team.

     The owners did not want players to have the opportunity to become free of their contracts until they had played ten years of major league baseball.   The players compromised at seven years and salary arbitration for players with two years of major league service.   I disagreed.   I felt that seven year free agency would create a dichotomy of salaries where the few receive the majority of the money.   Today, twenty percent of the players receive eighty percent of the money.   Whereas the average salary is about two million dollars per year, the high salary is twenty-five million per year or approximately forty standard deviations above the mean.   That is a tremedously skewed distribution.

     But, before you cry for the owners, the percent of total revenue that they pay for players salaries has risen from that 13% to only 30%.   I was as high as 40$ in the late 1970's.   They are still well below every other type of entertainment industry.   Their problem lies in the fact that rather than equally share the total revenue of the industry, they have some team making ten times as much as other teams primarily due to their market area.   The teams in the poorer markets cannot compete and the team in the richer markets will not share their revenues.   That is a problem for the owners to resolve, major league baseball players still receive too small a percentage of total revenue.   When I was a player representative on the negotiating team, I argued for equal partnership.   I felt and still feel that every major league team should pay one-half of the gross revenue to the players association for salaries, pension benefits and health care.

     I told Marvin Miller of my concerns and he went with the player agents. Player agents run the players association and skim over forty million dollars per year from players.   Marvin Miller did the players no favor.

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472.   I am not making this up.   Instead, I was describing my own personal pitching motion!   I just wanted you to critique it!

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     I am not here to critique your pitching motion.   I am here to teach you how to correctly apply force to your pitches.   Read before you ask questions.

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473.   I have a 16 year old son who just had Tommy John surgery performed 9 days ago to his left pitching arm.   Which direction should we would go in now?   Can your program or books help him in his rehab?

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     I am sorry that your son ruptured his ulnar collateral ligament.   He must have had a terrible pitching motion.   He needs to learn how to correctly apply force to his pitches and, then, he needs to properly train his arm to withstand the stress of pitching.   Now that he is 16 years old, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle should be mature.   That eliminates immature skeleton as a cause of future pitching arm injures.   All he needs to do is eliminate bad pitching motion and inadequate training as causes of future pitching arm injuries.   That is why I wrote my book.

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474.   I've been interested in pitching since my 13 1/2 year old son began trying to get his then 3-fingered fastball over the plate in Little League.   I set out on a fact-finding mission that lead me to Dr. McFarland a few years ago.   He is head of Shoulder Surgery at Johns-Hopkins and now, I believe, is head of Sports Medicine at the hospital).   Dr. McFarland's team specialized in treat adolescent shoulder injuries-primarily related to overuse on the baseball field.

     One of the things McFarland revealed to me was that it was the better adolescent pitchers with the better fastballs who were more likely to hurt their arms, to disrupt the development of the growth plates, particularly in the elbow.   The curve ball, on the other hand, from the videotaping and follow-up tests was actually less stressful on the adolescent shoulder and elbow, regardless of the poor technique used the pitchers.

     Dr. McFarland attributed these findings to the fact that that, again relative to the throwing the fast ball, adolescent propel their curve balls at slower arm movements and this reduces the stress on the critical elbow region.   Dr. McFarland also provided me a case study done in a Little League environment in Birmingham, Alabama, entitled "Incidence and Determination of Arm Injury in Youth Baseball Studies: A Pilot Study."   If you are interested, I can fax you the journal article.


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     I would be happy to receive a copy of this report.

     I can understand Dr. McFarlane's conclusion that youth pitchers do not injure their arms with curves because they throw them slower than fastballs.   That is because coaches teach the curves incorrectly and it hurts to even do the throwing motion.   I can also understand Dr. McFarlane's conclusion that the better Little League pitchers injure themselves.   That is because they are biologically accelerated and have less growth plate and more ossification center and throw harder which combine to exceed the stress limit of the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.

     Nevertheless, younger pitchers do suffer considerable damage, but it relates to premature closure which requires bilateral X-ray comparisons and more frequent X-rays.   Further, most researchers do not examine the head of the radius for deformation.

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475.   I realize that all motion and sports motion are performed in the 4 spatial dimensions, of height, width, depth and time.   However once you convert the alignment of your body to a straight line path, it will produce a straight line motion, to produce straight torque to produce straight line velocity.   Even though you are still working in all 4 dimensions, the only one to be concern about then, is vertical{height}, because since your throwing and releasing the baseball on a straight line, especially on a fast ball, it's just a question whether you want to throw a high hard one or a sinker.   Thus my conclusion that your straight line theory is one dimensionial and the simplest way to throw or pitch a baseball.

     Also your are so right about nobody throwing a baseball with 100% straight line motion.   Right now I'm happy to get my troops up to 2/3 straight line 1'3 circular for what I call a circalinear path.   I strive for 100% perfection all the time and I think that will eventually come to pass.   After 11 months these communications between are paying off in big dividends.   In addition to all of this, I can now explain the process very clearly so that even the tough old timers understand or can debate my explaination.   I don't get that many NUTTY PROFESSOR STARES anymore.


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     Other than curvilinear instead of circalinear, it is clear that you understand.   However, I would say that, during the driveline, we do not want the baseball to move up or down or side to side, the height and width of pitching.   Further, we want to drive the baseball for as great a distance as possible, that is depth.

     I am happy that you do not receive the nutty professor stares anymore.

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476.   Would you be so kind as to give me your thoughts of a circilinear motion if there is one at all?

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     Curvilinear force application involves any sport where some factor prevent the athletes from applying force in a straight line, such as throwing a discus.   However, I believe that even in the discus throw, athletes need to straighten and lengthen the driveline immediately prior to release as much as possible.

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477.   Mechanic-wise, what do you think of Pedro Martinez?

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     I do not analyze pitchers of whom I do not have high speed film.   I think that I have said this before.   However, isn't he injured?   If so, then he has a serious flaw in his pitching motion or he is not properly trained.

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478.   You said that the key to creating the different pitches was dependent on the skill in using your middle finger at release.   I took this to mean that to create fastball movement you want the ball released off the pinky side of the middle finger.   Is this correct?   If so how do you go about teaching this to college age kids?

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     My Maxline fastballs leave the pitchers's hand off the tip of the middle finger.   My Torque fastballs leave the pitchers' hand equally off the tips of the index and middle fingers.   The reason that Maxline fastballs move toward the pitching arm side of home plate is that pitchers drive through the center of the baseball to the glove side of the baseball with the vertical spin axis turned slightly forward on the glove side.   The reason the Torque fastballs move toward the glove side of home plate is that pitchers drive through the center of the baseball to the pitching arm side of the baseball with the vertical spin axis turned slightly forward on the pitching arm side.

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479.   Some would argue that it was the British mathematician Benjamin Robbins who explained why baseballs curve.   Regardless, the significance of Alaways's work is that it correlates with both the early observations of Sikorsky/Lightfoot and the later, but conflicting, data of Watts/Ferrer to provide a mathematical model which accounts for the influences of seam orientation and spin parameter on lift coefficient.

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     You have seen more research on this matter than I.   My Kinesiology text contained an explanation that referred to Professor Magnus without a reference.   I made a half-hearted effort to find his original research and could not.   The concept made sense to me and enable me to create my circle-of-friction sinker, which worked and gave me a Cy Young Award.   If these other researchers either dispute Magnus or have additional insights, I would greatly appreciate their research references.

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480.   My son is a high school baseball pitcher.   He was having mild tightness in his pitching arm for quite some time.   We had him evaluated by a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon who referred him for an MRI.   The results were a SLIGHT tear in the UCL.   He has been off pitching for 5 months and been released to begin workouts again slowly.   It was recommended that he follow the "Tommy John" rehabilitation program but I can't find it.   Is there somewhere I could locate the protocol for this program?

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     You would believe that when a doctor prescribes rehabilitation, he would tell you where to find that program.   As much as I like Frank Jobe, I do not believe that he is an Exercise Physiologist or has any idea about the biomechanics of pitching.   He hired Jack Wilmore and Betty Atwater, but they did not know what they were doing either.   I would never recommend his exercises.   Guess whose exercises I would recommend if the young man's growth plates have matured?   I am sorry, I am being a smarty.   My Coaching Pitchers book contains the rehabilitation book that I recommend.

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481.   Do you offer a winter program for college students who are home for the holidays?   My son attends college and made the baseball team as a walk-on. Although he is a freshman and may be red-shirted during the 2002 season.   What do you suggest he do to improve his chances of becoming a "starter" in the near future?   What programs and how many spaces do you have available in late spring or early summer?   Also, do you offer a "hitting" clinic or know who does?

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     I only offer my forty week training program.   We start the third Saturday in August.   That is what I would recommend for your son if he is interested in finding out how good he can be.   Anything less is a waste of his time and your money.

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482.   We had an elbow separation earlier this year and laid off.   When starting to come back we had a shoulder separation, in really what appeared to be a very short amount of time with limited throwing.   In talking with my son's pitching coach from earlier in the year, he found it odd that there would be swelling associated with the shoulder growth plate separation and suggested that I might want to get a second opinion.

     Our present doctor is a pro-baseball pitching orthopedic and has many kids with the condition of my son, but did say he has only seen two kids with both an elbow and growth plate separation.   He said he has known dislocations to go unnoticed, which would cause swelling.   In any event, I am willing to do anything to give my son whatever is best for him, even if that means traveling or having him at just 12 not playing baseball for 3 years (not even first base with limited throwing/not even EH, since it is too easy to get sucked in).

     If an experienced doctor says growth plate separation and 6 months rest, is there any benefit in a second opinion?   I am all for it if there is.   Can a growth plate separation cause swelling?   Is there something that another doctor could add?   The answer to the shoulder swelling question I would think is yes, as the elbow was swollen on our first fist when the elbow separation was detected.   So, on or about the time of an event causing a more pronounced shoulder separation, I would think swelling would occur.


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     Whenever someone does not fully understand a medical diagnosis, they should ask questions until they do.   If that doctor's answer does not satisfy, then they should find another doctor who will.   If the second doctor's answer does not satisfy, then they should find another doctor who will.   While this is not life and death, it is important and you need to understand.

     Swelling occurs from fluid buildup.   When injured the hyaline cartilage at the ends of bones can produce a lot of fluid.

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483.   How is the video coming?

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     I have completed the dialogue track.   I have completed most of the background scenes.   I am waiting for my video guy to combine them and lay in the graphics and sound.   However, he has an unexpected family emergency.   We will complete it and when it is done, it will be like it has always been here.   I appreciate your patience.

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484.   I am in a situation where I am facing a extremely big decision.   This summer when I came home from school after not playing since the end of our season I went out and threw 5 innings but felt a sharp pain develop in my elbow.   The pain was evident, but pain always is when you pitch.   So, 4 days later I went out again for another start which only lasted 1 1/2 innings when it got to the point of not being able to throw much of anything.

     The rest of the summer the pain was there so I just played infield because throwing anything around the infield didn't cause horrible pain.   Now, I have been home for the past 4 months training hard because I got into college for the second semester, but when I started to throw again in October the pain was still there.

     I have been to 6 different doctors with 3 different MRI's and got conflicting stories and opinions from everyone.   My father works in orthopedics at a major university and got me into see Frank Jobe who is the Dodgers doctor in Los Angeles and who invented the Tommy John surgery.   Needless to say, he knows everything about the elbow.   He did another MRI last week with an injection and found that I had a significant tear in my medial ligament in my elbow, and to repair would entail Tommy John surgery.

     The reason I am writing is that I trust your opinions and I need to help on what to do.   I have been in close contact with the coach throughout the summer and fall and I am expected to have a chance to walk on to the team in January when school starts, but obviously there is a problem, my arm.   I haven't talked to the coach about any of this because I always thought I was going to get better and there no was no need to scare him.

     Now what?   I am here knowing that I am able to throw a decent amount while just playing infield and try to play through whatever pain occurs while fighting to make the team, or go ahead and have the surgery which has a full 12 months of recovery to deal with and try to come back this same time next year hoping that I am better?   I don't really know, I have heard a million different opinions from family and friends, who, unfortunately, have no baseball backgrounds.   That's why I wanted to hear your opinion?


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     If you have a significant tear in your ulnar collateral ligament, then you have serious flaws in your pitching motion.   These flaws will eventually rupture your UCL.   You cannot continue to throw the baseball the way you do.   As for whether you should have the UCL repaired, I do not know.   The fact that only Frank Jobe could find it indicates to me that the tear is not significant.   My training program might strengthen it, but, you cannot pitch with your motion.   You need to correct your force application techniques.   I recommend that you learn my pitching motion.

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485.   I have studied you and another pitching coach's pitching theories.   There are some similarties.   Both of you state that the baseball leaves the middle finger last.   I was wondering if you could give me your expertise on his theory that a pitcher will throw whatever arm angle that is natural to him, for example, side arm, short arm, submarine and so forth.   If I am not mistaken, your arm slot suggests that you throw close to twelve o'clock position.

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     I have never read anything that anybody else says about pitching.   I explain how the laws of Physics and Applied Anatomy tell us how to apply force to our pitches.   Since pitchers grip baseballs with their index and middle fingers, I do not find it odd that others can draw the conclusion that baseballs leave the hand off the tip of the longest finger.

     With regard to what feels natural, whatever pitchers have done for an extended period of time will feel natural to them.   That does not make it correct.   Newton's first law requires that pitchers apply force in a straight line from leverage through release.   To satisfy that requirement, I recommend that pitchers have their forearm vertical.   I can see no other position for the forearm that would permit straight line force application.   After pitchers learn to keep their forearm vertical, it will feel natural.   Any other forearm position will unnecessarily stress the pitching elbow and result in injury.

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486.   What is a good pitchers' diet?

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     Whatever your mother and/or your grandmother tells or told you to eat.

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487.   I am 26 years old.   Can I do a four week trial training period?   Money is not an issue.

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     Money is not an issue with me either.   I am only interested in helping pitchers.   I cannot help pitchers in four weeks.   Consequently, I only work with pitchers with at least two years of college eligibility and only for forty weeks.   You did not mention your college eligibility situation.   At twenty-six years old, you would have to have superior talents to make the year of training and two to three years of learning how to pitch competitively worth your while.   You will have to get what you need from my Coaching Pitchers book and my instructional videotape when it comes out.

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488.   In reading your website on more then one occasion you invited people to your school as observers.   I am asking if it would be okay if I came down to observe?   I am a college coach hoping to learn more about pitching than I now know.

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     Everybody is welcome to visit my Pitching Research Center anytime.   Since my purpose is to eliminate pitching arm injuries, I certainly welcome all who coach pitchers.   We train every day from 10:00AM until noon from the third Sunday in August until the fourth Saturday in May.   Except for returning pitchers, I have shut down my summer sessions.

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489.   I have a 13-year-old son who has extremely flexible shoulder and elbow joints.   When he fully extends his arm towards second base, the angle at the elbow becomes more than 180 degrees.   When pitching, he keeps a slight flexion at the elbow.   Does this flexible joint condition has any medical implications for his pitching arm?

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     No.   To prevent their olecranon process from pounding into their olecranon fossa, all pitchers should always keep their pitching elbow slightly bent.

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490.   I read that you said Nolan Ryan had perfect mechanics.   I kind of see what you are talking about.   He pitched for 27 years and never had any major injuries, except some hamstring and back problems.   He could throw in the mid 90's in his late 40's.   He put his energy toward second base.   At this stage in your life do you think you could still pitch professionally?

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     I have always been a big fan of Nolan Ryan.   I have always felt that he had the greatest pitching gifts of all time.   I obtained some high speed film of him and analyzed it.   The film was taken during spring training, so he was not at his best and he did have some flaws, but he had great technique.   Unfortunately, he changes some techniques later in his career and he did not have a training program of which I am aware that trained him as he needed.

     Nevertheless, I would never use Mr. Ryan or any other pitcher, including myself, as an example of the proper force application technique.   I would use the theoretical perfect example as taught to us by Newton's three laws of motion and the reality of human applied anatomy.   I am far too old to pitch professionally.

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491.   What is the status of your instructional videotape?   I will pay anything to get the first copy.

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     I continue to work hard on my instructional videotape.   It is in my obsessive compulsive nature not to finish something until it is everything that I want it to be.   So, it will be awhile longer.   With regard to cost, I have received advice that I should charge what others similarly situated charged.   However, what they charged was ridiculous even if they had known what they were talking about.   I will charge as little as possible to make certain that everybody can get a copy and to recoup the costs.   If I knew precisely how many people wanted it, then I could be precise, but it will be reasonable.

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492.   I never should of read that physics book.   If train number one leaves New York city on a straight line path for San Francisco at a speed 100 mph, and train number two leaves for San Francisco on a circular route by way of Canada also at a speed of 100 mph an hour, train number one will get there in a faster time, because he taking a more direct route.   Therefore, train number 2 has to increase his power to a higher level in order to reach San Francisco in the same time.

     In throwing a baseball, suppose that pitcher number 1 uses your straight line approach and has a arm speed of 100 mph and pitcher number 2 uses a circular angular approach with a reverse rotation {and all the other bad habits taught by present day pitching gurus}and his arm speed is 100 mph an hour.   Do the same laws of physics apply here as in the 2 trains?   Does pitcher number one throw his pitch 100 mph because of his shorter direct route and does pitcher number 2 throw his pitch at a lesser speed due to his longer circular route and need to generate more power in order to throw his pitch at 100 mph?


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     When pitchers apply force to their pitches along a curved path, at every moment on that curved path, the baseball wants to go in a straight line tangent to that arc.   In order to keep the baseball on the curve path, pitchers have to use elbow flexor muscles.   Because nobody can co-contract antagonistic muscles with movement, they cannot use their elbow extensor muscles.   Because elbow extensor muscles are important to pitching, they lose force, place unnecessary stress on their pitching arm and decrease release consistency.

     If pitchers throw with a curved path technique, they will eventually destroy their pitching arms.   If these pitchers change their technique to the straight-line technique, the