Training our young arms

1 (4)by Dan Olear— Pitching Coach/Instructor Cranford, NJ

I started my coaching career when I was 23 years old, a varsity assistant in high school.  By the age of 29 I was a head coach at a St. Peter’s (NJ) College.  I knew nothing about pitching and had no money in the budget for a good pitching coach.  Pitching wins games, I had no choice but to learn all I could about it, and how to develop strong, reliable arms.  That was 1998. 18 years later, I no longer coach in college yet I am still learning all I can about pitching and pitchers themselves. Continue reading

The Time Is Now…

year round throwing manualThe time is now to jump into Alan Jaeger’s latest passion- the Year Round Throwing Manual.

After more than two decades working alongside countless amateur and professional baseball players, Jaeger put pen to paper and developed a detailed throwing plan that is applicable for pitchers of all shapes, sizes and ages.

“The inspiration for writing this was twofold,” said Jaeger. “First, we wanted to put all of our research and experience in one place, where a player, coach or parent could have as many questions answered as possible. Secondly, in response to the dramatic increase in arm injuries, we felt it was important to put information out there that could make a huge impact in the reduction of arm injuries and provide guidelines to help optimize the health, endurance, strength and recovery of the arm.”

The manual outlines a year-round plan for arm training, maintenance, rest and protection by detailing Jaeger’s time-tested protocols for arm training, keys to training the arm, how to ‘listen’ to the arm, and the role of long toss. Pre- and post-throwing arm care is also discussed. The Manual also discusses when the best time of year is to start a player’s ‘throwing cycle,’ along with how to approach the throwing cycle. Continue reading

Basketball and Base running

This is one of my favorite sports times of the year. The college football bowl season combined with the stretch drive of the NFL regular season always makes for great entertainment. Baseball is in “off season” mode and that is a special time as well, as college and high school teams are getting after it in the weight room and on the track, trying to get bigger, stronger and faster.

For me personally, this time of year gets me especially fired up because basketball season is in full swing! I played basketball throughout high school and I value the memories I made on the hardwood. I still participate in pickup games on a consistent basis- especially during the winter months- and I have become more and more convinced that my baseball career was directly impacted because of my playing basketball. Continue reading

Study Shows That Agility Improves Pitching Performance

Quick Pitch imageResearchers at Tarleton State University recently completed a study that examined the effectiveness of strength and conditioned protocols as they relate to the one thing all coaches care about- winning.

In the study, titled ‘Agility Measures Related to Game Performance of NCAA Baseball Pitchers,’ Andrew Wolfe, Jason Jones, Kayla Peak, Randy Martin and Joe Priest looked into the similarities between the pitching motion and the kinetic chain employed in agility tests which involve acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction. Continue reading

The deconditioning of the arm

Dan Haren (AP image)

Dan Haren (AP image)

There are a myriad of programs, tools, methods, theories and opinions that attempt to address the rising number of arm injuries in baseball. Countless dollars and research hours have been spent by the medical community and countless time, energy and discussion has been made by the baseball community to quell this epidemic.

Alan Jaeger

Alan Jaeger

For Alan Jaeger, the solution is relatively simple- any high school, college or professional organization that puts heavy limits and restrictions on arms that are, comparatively, being so well trained and conditioned in this day and age are simply deconditioning arms. The current culture (in college baseball especially) places an emphasis on throwing more, rather than less, so pitchers are well protected in general. But when a well conditioned player comes up against a throwing program that places major limits on them (distance, time, workload), arms become very vulnerable to deconditioning.

This is prevalent at all levels but ironically at the “highest” level of baseball (the major leagues), a number of organizations are actually the most conservative. Whether it’s due to the amount of money players are paid, the change in philosophy from a pitcher being on their own or suddenly becoming part of an organization-wide structure or policy, pitchers going into professional baseball can be restricted the most. Through research and experience, about a third of MLB organizations mandate a throwing program that places restrictions on time allotted for throwing (i.e. 10-12 minutes) and distance (i.e. 120-150 feet) — in some cases, it can be very extreme (about a third are considered very liberal and individualized, and the other third are somewhere in the middle).
Continue reading