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  • Writer's pictureMichael Richards

Why I chilled out with my strict stance against year-around throwing.

In the baseball strength and conditioning world this is relatively hot topic. It is pretty well accepted the best way to build rotator cuff strength is to put the ball down for a while. I agree with that, 100% believe that carries water.

Having said that, here are the reasons I do not freak out like I used to about a year-around throwing program.

1) Before we get started...

Just being perfectly, brutally, honest

(like I said, I will always be the first person to call myself out on this type of stuff) I was taking a hard stance against it because that’s what Eric Cressey does. There are A LOT of private facility owner/coaches in the world taking “holier than thou” stances against this type of stuff, not due to any logic of their own but simply because they’ve heard a titan of our industry say it.

I was fortunate enough to meet and shadow Eric in 2014 and I have an immense amount of respect for him and his business. But as many of my close colleagues know, one of my number one rules is There is absolutely no two identical situations, that require identical solutions. No such thing as “cut and dried” answers. Taking a hard stance against throwing a ball all year long for 100% of our athletes just doesn’t work at EAP.

2) What about the “On-Ramp”

Ok, let’s assume I do manage to get a kid to put a ball down for 8 or 12 weeks it is almost a certainty he will not “on ramp” properly which leaves him even more susceptible to injury.

“On ramp” means to slowly and steadily increase throwing intensity and duration over a certain amount of time. When done properly it is annoyingly conservative to be perfectly honest.

Hypothetically speaking, If you are going to walk on hot coals tomorrow but you haven’t even walked with your socks off on hot gravel for the last eight weeks, tomorrow is not going to go well for you.

Wouldnt you be better off to “On-Ramp” your time spent walking barefoot on hot stuff...ya dig??

3) What about the guy that’s going to be out of baseball if you don’t help him??

College guys get done around May or June if we are lucky enough for them to have a coach that understands summer ball is often not the best option for his guys.

At the very best I get them from the middle of May until the middle of August.

That’s basically 12 weeks. If the kid is a stud and really doesn’t need to gain anything then it’s probably OK for him to put the ball down and just focus on maintaining strength/weight and then cross your fingers that he has a coach back at school that will on ramp him semi properly before fall ball begins.

But what about the guy that doesn’t throw hard enough? What about the guy that is barely earning time on the mound now but is still working his butt off at school? He still making those long miserable road trips. Working the buckets for hours on end etc.

If I make him put a ball down simply because it’s my way or the highway and he doesn’t take the summer to do what it takes to build his velocity then I have actively made him worse!

It’s not like he had a ton of innings on his arm last year anyway. So why not sell out to seeing what we can accomplish?

Sometimes gambling is what we have to do. Assuming the kid is well aware of potential increased risk for injury that is always in the picture when we are pushing the envelope.

4) What about quarterbacks?

I have several kids that come in that are pitchers that also play quarterback. I can yell and scream and kick and spit and cuss and all that stuff that I would have done three years ago to make a guy understand that he can’t throw a baseball during the fall but he’s just going to go pick up a football and throw it because that’s what he supposed to do right? Be a two sport athlete??

I realize a football is way different than a baseball believe me but I bring that up basically to illustrate my point that every situation is a different situation. There is practically never a black-and-white “cut and dried” answer in this business.

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