Question/Answer 2000

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1.   How does a pitcher prevent blisters that develop from throwing on their finger tips?

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     Pitchers primarily develop blisters as a result of pinching of the skin against their finger nail.   Pitchers must use emery boards to keep their nails at the length of their finger tips, not shorter or longer.   To prevent blisters under callouses, pitchers need to almost daily gently emery board the hardened skin away.   Applying a hand lotion after pitching also helps keep the skin from blistering.

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2.   My son's high school coach wants him to throw cut fastballs, what do you think about cut fastballs?

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     I do not support teaching cut fastballs to young pitchers. To throw cut fastballs, like throwing sliders, requires pitchers to supinate their forearm.   When inexperienced pitchers supinate their forearms, they usually drop and pull their elbows inwardly.   This elbow action places the muscles on the medial epicondyle at risk.

     Most young pitchers have way too much side-to-side movement behind their bodies during their transitions which causes forearm flyout when they bring their arms forward.   If they couple this with dropping and pulling their elbow, then you can have real problems.

     I strongly suggest that you teach your son my three laws of force application.   I will shortly post my force application technique in Chapters 20, 21 and 22.   Your son must eliminate any forearm flyout and learn how to get leverage and drive his forearm over his elbow.

     I do not have any illustrations.   I would have to hire a professional to draw the illustrations and without a publisher, I cannot do that.   I hope that my words help.

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3.    What are some drills to prevent my arm going behind my head when I pitch?

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     I have my clients work looking into a mirror.   I hope to shortly post Chapters 21 and 22 that might help you better understand the proper transition and how to keep from taking the baseball behind your body.

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4.   Is the high cock position the same as your shoulder lock position?

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     As I understand the 'high cock' position, pitchers point their forearms vertically.   I strongly recommend against this position.   I want pitchers to have their forearms horizontal.   I believe that this is a major difference.

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5.   I have taught my son to not drive off the pitching rubber, but fall off, which is correct?

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     Pitchers should strongly drive off pitching rubbers, provided they place their upper arms in the strong subscapularis leverage position with the elbow ahead of their acromial line.

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6.   My son starts with his glove between chin and belt buckle rather than below the waist as you recommend, what is the gain your way?

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     When pitchers raise their hands, they have to lower them during the transition phase.   This causes pitchers to lower their rear shoulders.   Lowering their rear shoulders prevents shoulder rotation and decrease driveline length as well as causes inconsistency in the transition pathway.

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7.   You say do not use cut-fastball or slider,what other pitches can we teach to help him?

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     I start beginning pitchers with two types of fastballs, a curve and a screwball that functions as a change.   After my first two training cycles, I introduce the sinker and slider.   Motor learning requires far more time that physiological responses to appropriate training programs.

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8.   I know you are working hard to get chapters 21& 22, any help before you get done?

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     I hope to post Chapters 21 and 22 this week.   I am adding new material since I first wrote them ten years ago.

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9.   In the high-cock position, should the forearm be horizontal or vertical?

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     In what I call the leverage position, not the high-cock position, the forearm must be horizontal for two reasons. First, if pitchers have their forearms vertical when they start driving their upper arms forward, then their forearms with bounce downward and subject the subscapularis and medial epicondyle to unneccessary stress. Second, if pitchers have their forearms vertical and do not bounce downward, then they are applying force over a shorter distance and losing release velocity.

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10.   How far backward should pitchers take their arms to generate their maximum power?

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     Pitchers must never take their arms any farther backward toward second base than the downward handshake position. It also should not move behind their body at all.

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11.   I learned a towel drill from Tom House that helps my son lengthen his stride. How long of a stride should pitchers have?

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     Pitchers should step forward, not stride. The length of the stride is better shorter than too long. The key to extra driveline distance is the stride leg drive and one hundred and eighty degrees of shoulder rotation. Get rid of the towel drill.

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12.   Your book says that pitchers need two four seam fastballs and two two seam fastbals. Why?

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     The four seam fastballs have four seam spinning with a horizontal axis. With four seams creating air molecule pressure under the baseball, four seam fastballs do not drop as much as gravity would cause. However, two seam fastballs do not generate as much air molecule pressure under the baseball. Therefore, two seam fastballs drop more than four seam fastballs due to gravity. The advantage to two seam fastballs is that the reduced air resistance due to only two seams colliding with the air molecules, they are slightly faster than four seam fastballs.

     I teach Maxline and Torque drive fastballs that move oppositely across home plate. I want hitters wondering which type of fastball they will receive when I throw my non-fastball pitchers.

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13.   Can you explain the difference between your Maxline fastball grip and your Torque fastball grip?

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     Chapter 21 explains my Maxline fastball. Pitchers grip the Maxline fastball with the open end of the loop facing their pitching arm side. Chapter 22 explains my Torque fastball. Pitchers grip the Torque fastball with the open end of the loop facing their non-pitching arm side. By angling the horizontal spin axis of these fastballs slightly toward the pitching arm side and non-pitching arm side, respectively, these pitches move oppositely.

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14.   You say that your screwball does not put any stress on the pitchers' elbow. How much more difficult is your screwball to learn than your curve?

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     To learn my Maxline curve is very difficult and requires considerable weight training to gain the strength. To learn my Torque screwball is not as difficult with regard to technique, but requires much more weight training to gain the strength. This is why I offer my forty week training program to highly committed high school graduates.

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15.   Do you teach finger pressure to get ball movement?

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     The spin that pitchers put on their baseballs at release determines how the baseball's seams contact the air molecules on their way toward home plate. The interactions of baseball seams and air molecules determines how the baseballs change direction. A pitcher is only as good as the strength and skill of the distal phalange of their third digit, strength to transfer arm velocity to baseball velocity and skill to precisely spin the baseball to achieve the desired movement.

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16.   I made some drawings of your descriptions, visual always helps me. Will you ever have drawings?

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     I am sorry that I do not have the illustrations for the chapters. I know how much they would help. If I could find a publisher, then we could get the illustrations made.

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17.   Your arm angle, horizontial vs vertical, is complete opposite of college coaches who only want tall pitchers with high arm angles, 3/4 plus.

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     I want a vertical forearm with a horizontal upper arm action. The horizontal upper arm permits the maximum shoulder rotation and the vertical forearm follows the straight line drive requirement. What college coaches do not understand is that the forearm does not have to flyout in line with the upper arm. Therefore, the only way they can get their pitchers to have a near vertical forearm is to raise the upper arm. They lose shoulder rotation and with the forearm flyout jeopardize the subscapularis and medial epicondyle muscles.

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18.   My son and I did some drills from information what you have supplied, text and e-mail. His response, this feels funny, dad do you want me to quit throwing old way and start new way? My answer, I think we should try to learn, but with his season starting in one week, conditioning for two weeks before season starts, I don't think you can change everything that quick. Let's work one thing, learn, understand, perfect before we move to next step.

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     First, have your son try to drive in a straight line from leverage through release. It would help if he could learn the vertical pendulum start to his transition. However, it takes considerable time and properly directed practice to learn to not turn the forearm over early, but to only raise the elbow upward under the forearm from the downward handshake position. I would not expect that he could learn to drive beyond his stride foot and rotate his shoulders the full one hundred and eightly degrees.

     Second, when anybody starts learning a different way to perform a skill that they have performed for a long time, the new way will feel funny. That feeling goes away after they perform the new way for a couple of weeks.

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19.   Any help on overhand style, until we learn your method?

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     The overhand style requires that pitchers lean to their non-pitching arm side. This action shortens the driveline. It also causes behind the back transitions and forearm flyout. I cannot endorse any of that.
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20.   Do have a video tape I can purchase? A tape of yourself or one of students that has learned your teaching and methods? I believe the tapes would help us understand easier.

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     I have given considerable thought to putting together a videotape that demonstrates my force application techniques. At this time, it is still in the planning stage. To put a quality videotape together requires considerable more financing than I can assume. Also, I could not put the entire contents of my books on a videotape. Nevertheless, I think that it is a good idea and will continue to explore how to do it.

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21.   When a pitcher is good for his age, he gets that pitcher attitude of self-assurance. It becomes harder to get him to want to work hard to get better. He knows that he has to work, but, without prodding, he won't. Have you seen this before? Can you tell me how to get him to work?

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     He is living in the cocoon of his little world. He has not yet learned that there are hundreds of guys just like him across the country and that the only way that he will successfully compete against them as an adult is to out-work them with the proper training program now. If he could see the professional guys with whom I work, he would quickly realize that he has a lot to learn and be more willing to get started. However, until he is ready to commit to the effort, show guidance and patience and do not push him. We cannot force our children to live our dreams for them.

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22.   Dr.Marshall, it would be such a honor for me if you could please send me a autograph photo and a autograph business card. Could you please sign them to me and date them. I hope to hear from you soon. Have a nice day. Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

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     I thank you for your interest. However, I designed my web site to dispense information on the correct way to pitch. I will happily answer your questions, but I do not sign autographs.

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23.   When I was twelve years old, I had pain in my elbow. The doctor said that I had condylitis. He told me to stop pitching for awhile. I am now fourteen and recently started pitching again. I still have pain in my elbow. What should I do?

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     The distal end of the humerus has a medial and a lateral epicondyle. You did not distinguish which one. If you injured your medial epicondyle, which is highly possible with competitive youth pitching at twelve years old, then you probably injured your medial epicondyle growth plate to some degree. It could be a minor strain which results in early epiphysial closure or it could be a complete avulsion which results in a realignment of your ulnar groove on the posterior surface. Both injuries are permanently limiting.

     You say that it still hurts. If it involved the growth plate, then rest should have healed it in the normal growth process. The fact that it still hurts indicates that you have now strained one of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle: 1. Pronator Teres, 2. Flexor Carpi radialis, 3. Palmaris Longus, 4. Flexor Carpi Radialis and 5. a slip of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis. I require more specific information for certainty, but you probably strained the weakest of the five muscles, the slip of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.

     If throwing continues to cause discomfort in this muscle, then you are either not sufficiently trained to tolerate the normal stress of throwing or you are throwing incorrectly and no arm can tolerate unnecessary stress. My expectation is that you take the baseball way behind your body in his transition and, as a result, pull your elbow along behind your acromial line with forearm flyout. To explain what you need to do to correct this requires a book. Fortunately, I have one that he can read at www.drmikemarshall.com. In a nutshell, you have to do what everybody should be doing. You has to stop taking the baseball behind his body.

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24.   I am a junior in high school. I was cut last year after I had what many thought was an exceptional tryout. In my opinion I hustled and i hit the ball hard. Even in the exhibition game with another school, I hit a triple. I approched the coach after and he said that I was on his final list but the varsity coach said he should take more freshman. Whether this was true or not is really no matter now.

     I played in the local little league in the spring. I played in FABL/Connie Mack in the summer for an older team (17-18 and I am ony 16). I also attended a local baseball camp for 3 weeks. In the fall I played fall ball but this time 15-16 but for a more elite team. I have weightlifted and am pretty strong.

     I have about 3 weeks until tryouts start and I was looking for some advice. In preseason preperation I have signed up for a pitching clinic from a local high school coach (I have been to 2 of the 4 classes so far), I am starting to get on a regular throwing routine after school and I just tried out and made a summer team and we are going to the cages and throwing once a week. I basically played outfield and 1st base over the summer and fall but I am taking these pitching lessons to improve arm strength and possibly pitch.

     I am 6' 3", 175 lbs. and I have a "pitchers" body. I also think third base is the position with the least depth on my HS team. I played there before I moved to the OF in junior high. I am a quiet kid and not the kind of kid who the coach will know on the first day. I usually would let my play do the talking which obviously didnt work last year. What can I do to 1) prepare for the season better, 2) get the coach to notice me. Would having my dad call the coach a few days into tryouts be a good idea? Thanks for any advice you give me.... I would greatly appreciate it!


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     You have asked a specific question that I can only answer generally.
1. With regard to what position to play: In your circumstance, you have to decide what you want and devote all energies to one position.
2. With regard to getting ready to pitch: You have done everything right. You have sought instruction and, I assume, training advise. You are training regularly in preparation for the tryout.
3. With regard to having your Dad call: Show the coach your love of the sport and what you are doing. Show the coach your willingness to work hard, to learn, to be a positive influence on the team. After that, you have to hope that your hard work and genetics are enough. And, while I encourage your Dad to help in any way he can, he should not call.

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25.   My son is 16 years old and is working out 3 times a week at high intensity levels. He plays football & baseball for the High School Varsity. He says that he will workout at high levels until baseball pratice starts which is in 2nd week of March. My question to you is this okay and how can he improve his speed.

     By the way how can I purchase your book? I would like to have the book in my hands ASAP.


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     I understand that high school football and baseball coaches want their players to weight lift. However, this is for general strength and fitness, not specific to a sport skill, such as baseball pitching. If he does bench presses, then he gets better at doing bench presses in the precise manner that he does them, nothing else. It does not help baseball pitching. It probably will not hurt his baseball pitching, but it will not help. Whether or not it is okay is subjective. I have no big problem with weight lifting in general, but I have designed a specific weight training program for pitchers that I use with my clients and they have achieved their maximum release velocities.

     I do not have a book to sell. I wrote my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books about ten years ago. I have unsuccessfully tried to get them published. They need a professional editor and hundreds of illustrations. This costs money that I cannot afford. However, I still wanted to get the information out there for concerned persons such as yourself. Therefore, I purchased a web site to post these books. You can read them for free at www.drmikemarshall.com.

     I have to translate them into Internet language and that takes time. At this time, I only have the Coaching Adults Pitchers book posted and I did not have time to edit what I wrote as scientific articles ten years ago. Consequently, the chapters may read unevenly and you will want the illustrations to show what you read, but you will have the information. I must warn you that to undertake a weight training program for the pitching motion requires great care and should include professional advice, mine. But, you and your son should glean considerable insight into the science of force application and that alone should help him pitch better.

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26.   I am an active baseball player and coach in Germany. As I am also a student of physiotherapy I found the textbook articles I have read (just a few so far) very interesting as you included a lot of biomechanical and anatomical information as well. As I further read your articles I might come up with some more questions, I hope you could then be of assistance.

     I am especially interested in finding out how one can effectively prevent injuries to the throwing arm with young and also grown-up pitchers. One very important aspect surely is flexibility and strengthening of the throwing arm and the trunk. I, however, have not found a really good concept or program for a workout which suits the needs of a pitcher to effectively prevent injuries. Do you have any good ideas?

     There sure isnt much information available in form of books, like handbooks for physiotherapists or athletic trainers working will ball players.


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     I hope that you get a chance to read the entire Coaching Adult Pitchers book. In chapters 24 and 25, I explain how to train adult pitchers. Adolescent pitchers are an entirely different matter. Adolescent pitchers have growth plates in their pitching arms. These fragile growth plates do not tolerate too much stress. I do not train any pitchers with open medial epicondyle growth plates. I will start posting chapters of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book within a couple of weeks. Please pay close attention to the skeletal development of their pitching arms.

     For pitchers to avoid pitching arm injuries requires that they do two things:
1. They must properly apply force to their pitches as I describe in Chapters 20-23.
2. They must follow a training program designed specifically for baseball pitchers as I describe in Chapters 24 and 25.

     My pitchers train every day without discomfort. From time to time, they will have some appropriate training stiffness as they approach their physiological limits. But, this discipates quickly. I have never used deep muscle massage, ice packs, ultra sound, electric stimulation or any other therapy treatment. As my students quickly learn, when they have training stiffness, I tell them to continue to train as before to achieve the fitness required not to experience discomfort.

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27.   I have read some more chapters, actually the chapters you mentioned (20-25). It is difficult for me to understand the exact motions you describe in chapters 20-22. Did I simply misunderstand these descriptions or are they really very different from "standard" pitching mechanics one normally is confronted with ? Or are these motions simply meant for skill development (drill-work)? Surely some pictures would help.

     I have by the way read a couple of books written by Tom House. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on his pitching philosophy and the mechanical aspects he teaches. What are the differences in your approach?

     I found your "practice principles" (end of chapter 17) extremely interesting, especially the points you make on motivation. Very interesting topic indeed. What do you work on in pitching practice? Do you have a sample practice session you could give me? Which drills do you use most?


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     I would say that my force application techniques differ considerably from the 'traditional' pitching techniques. The traditional technique has no scientific basis and has caused arm injuries for decades and continues to do so. None of my pitchers ever have had arm injuries.

     I am sorry that I do not have illustrations to help everybody understand my force application techniques. But, to hire illustrators costs money and the books require hundreds of illustrations. I do use techniques during training to teach critical principles that pitchers cannot use during competition. After pitchers can correctly apply force to their pitches, I show them how to adjust their body positions to conform to set position and windup rules.

     I do not read books on pitching. I have never found anyone with the qualifications to write a book on pitching. Tom House pitched, but that does not qualify him. I understand that he took a biomechanics class, but that does not qualify him. I need to know his scientific bases for his theories. If he has none, then he has nothing. However, if you wish to explain what he says, then I will examine it and give you my opinion, based on scientific principles.

     I think that my chapter on Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition is extremely valuable for any teacher of motor skills. That was my discipline of primary interest in my doctoral program. What good does it do to understand the biomechanics of a skill and the physiology of exercise of the training for that skill if you cannot organize the aspects of the skill in a manner from which students can learn?

     Chapters 24 and 25 are the best that I can do with regard to showing you training sessions that I follow. You must first teach pitchers not to take the baseball behind their body. You must second teach pitchers to drive in straight lines from leverage through release. You must teach pitchers how to drive their forearms over their upper arms instead of flying out laterally. There are many more smaller aspects to proper force application, but these are essential.

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28.   I am 15 years old and I play (JV) baseball for my school, and I was wondering if you could help me. Well, have you seen Chuck Knoblauch play in the past season? He has a problem throwing to first base. Well, a lot of people ask why it is so hard to throw about 20-30 feet to the first baseman. Well, I know what it feels like. The last 2 years I have problems with throwing.

     I read couple of letters where you have helped other people, on the web site, Webball and I thought that I would see if you know what to do. Please just write back so we can talk about it.


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     Have you been to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com? I have posted my book Coaching Adult Pitchers with throwing instructions for pitchers. You have asked a slightly different question. You have asked about throwing for position players. The primary difference is that they do not get to decided when they will throw, they have to react to the batted ball or, in the case of the catcher, the baserunner. They have to react on reflex without conscious thought. If they think about what they are doing, they will introduce variables that will interfere with their performance.

     To develop reflex throwing requires much more practice than scheduled throwing like pitchers. First, reflex throwers must stabilize the body momentum. If they cannot get their body going toward the target, then they must neutralize any side-to-side movement. Even movement directly away from the target is preferable to side movement. Toward the target movement is best with no movement in any direction second.

     With the body movement under control, reflex throwers next focus on their throwing arm action. They must make certain that they align their leverage position with the target and apply force in straight lines from leverage through release with the appropriate forearm, wrist, hand and fingers release. For example, when catchers throw toward first base, they have to take the baseball slightly farther behind their body and drive the baseball slightly laterally toward first base. This throwing action requires forearm pronation that I call Maxline Force Application. On the other hand, when catchers throw toward third base, they have to take the baseball slightly farther away from behind their body and drive the baseball slightly medially toward third base that I call Torque Force Application. This throwing action requires forearm supination.

     When second basemen throw toward first base, they should use Torque Force Application with straight line drive. However, when second basemen throw toward second or third base and probably home plate, they should use Maxline Force Application with straight line drive.

     I realize that my answer requires that you understand Chapters 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, but I have to start a discussion somewhere with a scientific basis. I would also recommend that you practice my wrong foot stride throwing technique to isolate the arm action and make it a straight line drive.

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29.   I think that you misunderstood me about what I wrote in my last E-mail. Thanks for writing back, but what I was saying was that I'm the one with the throwing problem. I was using Chuck as an example of what I do. I am a pitcher. Now I have read what you told another teenager about being a head problem. OK, I know that but it is easier then what it is. Anyway, I think it is great that I found someone to help me, and I'm also glad that I get to talk to you.

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     I apologize for misunderstanding your previous email.

     I am at a loss for when I told a young man that he is a head problem. I recall answering a father's question about why some successful early teenagers do not feel the need to train and saying that they mistakenly believe that they are already as good as they need to be. However, I cannot recall saying someone has a head problem. Please point me to where I said that, I need to correct an inappropriate interpretation.

     I do not believe that someone not having throwing control is a head problem. I believe that they have a technique problem. Control is a matter of aligning the leverage position, the driveline and the release point with the target. In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I define the leverage point as the moment where the baseball starts meaningfully moving forward as a result of the rapid acceleration of the upper arm. I define the driveline as the pathway that the baseball follows from the leverage position to the release point which is self-explanatory.

     Since I interpret Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Inertia as telling pitchers to apply force to their pitches in straight lines from leverage through release in line with their target, I recommend straight driveline pathways. The most common control problem comes from improper leverage positions. When pitchers take their baseballs too far behind their body during the transition or preparation phase of the pitching motion, they cannot drive their pitches in straight lines from leverage through release. They have to start their drivelines by circling their baseballs laterally outward from behind their heads. With this technique, all types of inconsistencies can occur that ruin control. My suggestion is to learn how to complete your transition without taking the baseball behind your body. This requires a vertical pendulum swing start to your transition. This requires a reverse rotation where the acromial line (the line between the tips of your shoulders) does not pass home plate.

     I explain all this in my book in Chapters 18 through 22. Please read and see if you can follow the instructions. I apologize for no illustrations, but I cannot draw and to hire someone is expensive and, until a publisher sees money to be made, we will not have the services of a professional editor or illustrators.

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30.   I'm having difficulty printing most of the pages from the Adolescent Text Book. Would it be possible for you to email it to me? I would appreciate it. I'm coaching pitchers on two teams (10 and 13 year olds), and I want to do everything I can to protect their arms. Thanks!

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     The reason why you are having difficulty with my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book is that I have not posted it. I may have preliminarily posted a Table of Contents and possibly Chapter 1, but I have only recently started converting the text to the Internet language. I hope to begin work on this in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can read Chapters 18-22 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book. They will be the same for both books and discuss the scientific basis for my force application techniques and how I teach pitchers of all ages to apply force to their pitches.

     To answer your concern about protecting young adolescent pitching arms, I will alert you to the fact that they have open elbow growth plates at which bone growth occurs. Excessive stress including the throwing motion can irreparably damage these growth plates. I recommend great caution and a broad based pitching staff to minimize the potential catastrophe.

     I look forward to hearing from you after I post my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

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31.   I am 34 years old and have been coaching baseball for the last ten years.   I played ball for twelve years without any arm or shoulder problems.   About two years ago I made a throw and felt severe pain in my shoulder.   It was near the end of the season and I figured rest in the off season would take care of my problem.   However, my first throw the following spring was justas painful. I struggled through the season and finally sought medical help last fall.   Xrays didn't show anything so I tried two months of physical therapy to no avail.   Near the end of November my doctor scoped my shoulder.   He shaved the underside of my accromian to create more space.

     Since then, I have gone through more physical therapy followed by weight training.   My shoulder is worse now than ever.   Prior to the surgery the only time I experienced pain was when I made a throwing motion.   Now, throwing is more painful than ever and I experience pain with several other motions.   Most of the discomfort is on the outer side of the shoulder.   My doctor has given up and suggested I see another doctor in his office.

     I am very frustrated, confused and desperate for sound advice.   I realize you probably receive several letters similar to this but I am hopeful you might have some ideas for me.


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     You did not say that you are a pitcher, so I assume that you are not.   This means that you may have thrown from an unusual position in haste.   For the most part, pitchers get to throw from whatever position they want, when they want.   This decreases the chance of injury due to improper body position.

     The fact that your doctor shaved the underside of your acromion process indicates that he had concern for the supraspinatus muscle that arises in the supraspinatus fossa of the posterior surface of your scapula and sends its tendon under the acromion process to attach at the superior-most aspect of the greater tuberosity of the humerus.   However, you described your discomfort as on the outer side of the shoulder.   While your description is too general for me to know for certain, you are indicating either the attachment area for the deltoid muscles or the attachment area for the teres minor area.   You can find descriptions of these muscles in Chapter 9 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Further, at your age, I suspect the arrival of arthritis to complicate the picture.

     If your injury involves your supraspinatus muscle, then the problem is that you have a bounce in your throwing motion caused by you having your forearm vertical at the end of your transition then when you accelerate your upper arm forward, your forearm bounces backward towards horizontal.   This bounce action unnecessarily stresses your supraspinatus and your subscapularis.

     If your injury involves the attachment area of your deltoid muscles, then the problem is that you drop your elbow below the acromial line.   The acromial line is the line you draw from the tip of your left shoulder through the tip of your right shoulder.   This lowered position places unnecessary stress on the deltoid attachment.

     If your injury involves the attachment area of the teres minor area, (which I suspect) then the problem is that you placed this small muscle in position to decelerate your arm and it was not strong enough and it tore.   Then, when you rested rather than rehabilitated, the injury did not heal as it should have.   If part of the muscle tore away from the bone, it did not heal back to the bone.   It is possible that a scapular bone spur developed although I suspect that the doctor would have found it.   In any case, this muscle cannot withstand the stress of throwing.

     I am no longer in the rehabilitation business.   However, you could try the wrist weight training program that I use to train adult pitchers.   It is in Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   You should start with a light wrist weight of five pounds.   While this weight is insufficient to train you to get your forearm horizontal at leverage, it will start to get blood flow into the teres minor area and start to strengthen this muscle.   Additionally, you need to learn how to decelerate your arm with the more powerful muscles of your back with better technique.   You should read Chapter 20 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     I am not certain what help I have been, but, at least, you have some reading to do.

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32.   I HAVE A SON WHO JUST TURNED 10 YEARS OLD.   HE HAS BEEN PLAYING BASEBALL FOR 5 YEARS.   LAST YEAR AT THE AGE OF 9, HE STARTED TO PITCH.   HE HAS NEVER BEFORE HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH INJURY TO HIS THROWING ARM.   THIS SEASON IS ABOUT TO BEGIN WITHIN A COUPLE OF WEEKS.   HE HAS BEEN PITCHING FOR ABOUT 3 WEEKS NOW.   WE START OUT WITH ARM STRETCHES, THEN WE WARM-UP WITH LONG TOSS.   HE FEELS NO PAIN IN HIS ARM UNTIL HE THROWS HARD(100%) FROM THE MOUND.   HE CAN THROW ABOUT 75% WITHOUT ANY DISCOMFORT.   HIS PAIN SEEMS TO BE IN HIS ELBOW UP INTO HIS TRICEP.   WHEN THE PAIN STARTS, WE STOP PITCHING.   DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR US?   SHOULD HE CONTINUE TO THROW 75% AS LONG AS HE HAS NO PAIN?   SHOULD HE RECONSIDER PITCHING THIS YEAR?   DO YOU SUGGEST RESISTANT TRAINING FOR SOMEONE HIS AGE?   PLEASE REPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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     You describe the pain as in his elbow up into his triceps brachii.   This indicates the back of the arm.   The triceps brachii muscle attaches to the olecranon process of the ulna bone of the forearm.   The triceps brachii is a very strong muscle.   Therefore, I doubt that the problem is in the muscle.   The olecranon process at age 10 is completely cartilaginous.   Please see my book, Coaching Adolescent Pitchers at my web site www.drmikemarshall.com for information about the appearance age of the ossification center for the olecranon process.   Chapters 5 through 8 should be of particular interest to you.

     I suspect that the cartilaginous olecranon process cannot withstand the strong action of the triceps brachii muscle during the throwing motion.   This situation parallels Osgood Schlatter's Disease of the tibial tuberosity of the lower leg.   The prescription for Osgood Schlatter's Disease is to reduce the stress on the affected ossification center until normal skeletal growth and development matures the center into adult bone that can withstand the stress.   It is better to error on the side of caution and wait too long.

     I recommend that your young man reduce the stress on his olecranon process until after the age when the olecranon process completely matures.   I could tell you that age, but my book has it and I want you to learn about this situation.   Therefore, I ask that you tell me that average age at which the olecranon process of adolescent males completely mature.   I will tell you that it is before the medial epicondyle ossification center completely matures and the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle cause far more problems for adolescent pitchers than the olecranon process.

     I see no problem with your young man continuing to throw at 75% intensity if he feels no discomfort.   However, he must not pitch competitively!   In fact, I recommend that no adolescent pitcher pitch competitively until after the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.   This does not mean that he cannot practice his pitching skills, he can.   But, he should not pitch competitively and risk permanent damage to the medial epicondyle.

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33.   I need a few tips/drills for a 12 yr old who broke his throwing wrist while snowboarding.   He is getting his cast removed next week.   He's not a pitcher, but he is anxious to start playing.   He has even been out observing practices.   I'm his coach and plan to progress him back very slowly.   I feel his recovery will require more work at home rather than the two occasional practice hours I have for him.

     Some thoughts I had are squeezing a soft rubber ball several times a day, dry swings, wrist curls with a ball in hand.   Appreciate your help!


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     I would appreciate more specific information on his injury.   A broken wrist could involve any of the eight carpal bones that lie between the five metacarpal bones of the hand and the distal ends of the radius and ulna bones of the forearm.   However, at twelve years old, the carpal bones remain mainly cartilaginous material.

     The best way of determining the biological age of young men and women during early adolescent is to evaluate the development of the carpal bones in addition to the bones of the hands and distal forearm.   Interested readers should examine The Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist by William Walter Greulich and S. Idell Pyle, 1950.   Further, to learn more about the effects of baseball pitching on the adolescent growth plates, interested readers should read Coaching Adolescent Pitchers by Michael G. Marshall at web site www.drmikemarshall.com.

     My guess is that this young man injured the distal end of his ulna bone.   This could involve the distal growth plate of the ulna.   Injured growth plates require special concern because in addition to the bone having to heal the fracture, the bone has to continue the normal developmental process of lengthening and widening the bone at the growth plate.   While the growth plate remains open, long bone growth remains possible and we do not want to do anything to interfere.

     This young man must proceed very slowly with his rehabilitation.   The young man needs gentle activities that requires wrist, hand and finger flexion and extension and forearm and wrist pronation and supination.   I recommend dribbling and shooting a basketball.

     My best wishes for a successful return to playing baseball.

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34.   We have talked in the off season about my throwing problem, and, well today was the worse day of my baseball life.   We have been practicing for three days.   The first day was hard but I threw great with no problems.   Yesterday, well I pitched for about 20 minutes.   GREAT, no trouble with my throwing.   TODAY, I can't pitch.   I feel worse then Chuck Knobluck.   I wish that I could say that I hit rock bottom like everyone said when Chuck was terrible.   WHAT CAN I DO?   IF YOU KNOW, I WILL DO ANYTHING FOR THE INFO?

     When we talked before, you said that it was in the head, and that I should work on my motion with no ball or glove.   Well, I did that.   In fact, I did that today, I am to nervous when I am throwing.   I have been throwing for about 11-12 years, for about 8 years I played Little League, and all the other leagues that are out there.   Everyone said that I was great, I had everything that I needed to be good.   Not now, it is said to me, what are you doing?   Well, It's what I haven't done.   We talked about throwing in the gym and that might be the problem.   When I am outside before a game or just practice I can't throw from first to home plate without throwing it over the catchers head or I would hit someone else 2 feet away.

     Please HELP ME, I have never felt this bad before in my life because no other player on my team can't throw 60 feet.   What do I do?   Maybe if you could chat on-line with me sometime, that would be nice.

     But please tell me something that can work.

     THANKS FOR YOU HELP, IF YOU COULD WRITE BACK IT WOULD BE GREAT.


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     The inability to throw a baseball where you want is not in your head, it is in your throwing technique.   It is possible that you get so anxious that you cannot properly perform your throwing technique, but it is always a result of improper force application.

     You must apply force in a straight line from leverage through release.   If you threw well during your early practices, then you may have thrown properly.   However, maybe not.   If you improperly apply force, you can have control for awhile.   Then, the fatigue of throwing more than usual will expose the improper throwing technique.   With the proper force application technique, you will throw with control even when your throwing muscles are fatigued.

     My recommendation is to review your throwing technique.   Make certain that you are applying force properly.   Next, continue to throw properly until you have trained your throwing muscles to repeat this proper technique and without muscle fatigue.

     Lastly, it never helps to get anxious about a motor skill.   Unnecessary tension interfers with the normal contraction and relaxation sequence for any motor skill.   You have to learn to relax and allow the training of the proper throwing technique to occur.   You could read a book called 'You Must Relax' by Edmond Jacobson to learn more about controling unnecessary tensions.

     Good luck and enjoy baseball.

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35.   I happened across your info on the Internet and had to give it a look.   One word...fascinating!.

     I have always followed your career and knew you were a scientist.   I am a very rational person and am always seeking knowledge, so I will eagerly read all of your book.   Several questions:

1)   Why don't you read Tom House''s books?   They are based on Science, he is a Ph.D also, but not in biomechanics.   Have you ever talked with him?   I have heard Tom speak and have talked with him in person and via e-m.   He seems very similar to you in his quest for educating the baseball world.

2)   At what age do you think adolescents are ready to pitch?   I know you said that the growth plate must be closed and that age varies, but can younger kids pitch small amounts?   From flat ground?   I have 2 sons, 8 and 4, and I will not let their arms be abused as mine was.

3)   Does simply "throwing" the baseball at young ages cause physical damage?   Many argue that kids as young as 9 "must start pitching now,to get ahead for the future."   I say bullshit.   But, should kids that are 7-11 even be playing the game, at least in an organized fashion?

4)   Lastly, some personal advice.   I know you don't know me, but I do have a fierce passion for the game, and I would love to stay in the game if I could make a living at it.   I have thought of going back to school to get a teaching cert and coach HS, or get a Masters and go from there...but I want a Masters in baseball, in pitching, sports psych, the biomechanics of baseball.   Would I need an actual Masters to learn what is necessary, or could I simply learn all of these things from someone like you, and apply them?

5)   Why doesn't a major league team hire you?   Why did you leave college coaching?


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1.   I don't read anybody's pitching book.   I do not want anybody to accuse me of stealing their stuff.   I don't know what Tom's academic background is, but I have heard of some of his ideas, such as throwing a football, and realized that he missed some classes.   I am certain that Tom's motives are pure and a super guy, but I question his expertise.

2.   I have no problem with pre-adolescents and even young adolescents learning pitching skills.   I have a problem with them using these skills in competitive situations.   If I were you, I would not permit my sons to pitch competitively until their medial epicondyle growth plate had closed, at approximately sixteen years old.

3.   If you have heard of Osgood Schlatter's disease, then you understand the principle behind even permitting pre-adolescents and young adolescents to throw places them at risk.   However, I believe that if they do not pitch competitively, the odds against premature closure of their growth plates is greatly reduced.

     I am extremely busy right now or I would post the remainder of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   The answers to these questions will be in there.   In any case, you can enjoy the first four chapters.   Update, I have posted up through Chapter 23 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   I hope to get the final three chapters online within a couple of weeks.

4.   No school has the information contained in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book or my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   However, a Masters degree is almost required to advance in the academic field.

5.   I cannot answer for why major league teams have not hired me to train their pitchers.   Feel free to ask them.   I retired from college coaching because I could not accomplish what I wanted to do in the twenty-two weeks that the NCAA permitted me to work with my players.   I hope that I can accomplish more with this web site and any personal contact that I might have.

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36.   I have one simple question for you.   For years I have been preaching to my pitchers (and actually my position players as well) to keep their elbow level with or above their shoulder when throwing.   I realize that each individual's throwing mechanics are different, but I had heard many years ago that this was a basic principle used to prevent arm injuries.   I wish I could remember when & where I had heard that.   I have found over the years that the kids who tend to drop their arms and sling the ball 3/4 or even sidearm) have more injuries than those who throw "over the top."   Again, I realize the throwing motion is more complicated than this, but should I continue to preach this?

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     It is not anatomically possible for anybody to raise their elbow above the shoulder line to throw.   They would have to raise their humerus bone above the shoulder line.   If we draw a horizontal line from their non-throwing shoulder through their throwing shoulder and on outward, then you will find that the throwing elbow is always at or below that line.   The reason is that there is no muscle from the ear to the elbow.   It is physically impossible to do.   Also, if anybody did raise their humerus above the shoulder line, their humerus would rub against the underside of their acromial process and that would hurt.

     I recommend that youngsters throw with their elbow at the shoulder line.   Therefore, the key to leverage does not lie with the action of the upper arm.   The key to leverage lies with the action of the forearm.   I recommend that youngsters drive their forearms over their elbow without forearm flyout.   To accomplish this action, youngsters must follow the instructions that I give in Chapter 20 for position players and Chapters 21 and 22 for pitchers.

     I hope that this quick explanation helps.

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37.   I strained the medial collateral ligament in my elbow.   What should I do?   I was also wondering about how to throw a sinker.

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     Pitchers injure their medial collateral ligament primarily a result of improper force application techniques.   You were doing either or both of the following improper techniques:

1.   You were finishing your transition with your forearm vertical such that when you started to drive your upper arm forward, the forearm moved backward to horizontal.   This movement of your forearm back to horizontal while your upper arm moved forward placed a tremendous amount of stress on the inside of your elbow and the front of your shoulder.

2.   You were taking your arm too far behind your body such that it had to move sideways to get past your body before it could start moving toward home plate.   When your upper arm starts driving toward home plate, your forearm continues its sideways momentum and you have to try to redirect it.   At that point, your forearm can drop under your elbow rather than drive over your elbow and you place tremendous stress on the inside of your elbow.

     I would work very hard on correcting the force application problems.

     The sinker is halfway between a maxline fastball that moves towards your pitching arm side of home plate and the horizontal or 12-6 spin axis screwball.   You have to learn to reverse spiral the baseball with your forearm pronated at forty-five degrees from straight forward.

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38.   I am trying to find video of your pitching mechanics on the internet.   Will your mechanics during your pitching days demonstrate the mechanics you teach today?   If not, how do they differ?

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     I wish that when I pitched, I had the force application techniques that I teach today.   Unfortunately, I did not.   I could have been really good.   For me to describe the differences between my techniques when I pitched and what I teach now would require several pages and we do not need to know what I did not know.  It will better serve our time to read what I say now.   I understand that you and many others want a videotape of the technique that I teach.   However, I do not have a videotape as yet.   I am looking for a publisher for the book so we can have illustrations and I would like to have an accompanying videotape.   At present, you will have to read my words.

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39.   I am looking for information on hitting techniques for kids who have a lazy eye.   My son has this condition and we have had only one coach who knew anything about adjustments for this condition.   He was my son All Stars coach and he just adjusted his head position when batting.   I am looking for more information on different techniques to compensate for this condition.   Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.

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     An optometrist could better explain the 'lazy eye' syndrome.   As I understand it, one eye does not coordinate with the other eye.   It seems that the muscles that coordinate the eyes do not synchronize.   Your son has to train his eyes to work together just like he has to train his batting muscles to work together.   I suggest that your son stand with his eyes level and concentrate on seeing the baseball with his non-lazy eye.

     You did not say which eye is the lazy eye or if he bats left-handed or right-handed.   However, if his lazy eye is his right eye and he bats right-handed, then he will hit with his front eye and he should use a closed batting stance.   If the lazy eye is his left eye, then he will hit with his rear eye and he should use an open batting stance.

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40.   On March 31, 2000, my son will undergo Tommy John surgery in Phoenix because he has a slight tear in his right ulna collateral ligament, consequently his 2000 season is history.   He is 20 years old and a professional baseball player under contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, based upon your knowledge, experience and education your thoughts and ideas relative to post operative physical therapy, diet, including vitamn and nutritional supplement and areas of his arm he should concentrate on as he rehabilitates the rest of 2000 & 2001.   As far as mechanics goes he was told by the entire staff that he has the best mechanics of all the pitchers in the organization, how do you account for him breaking down so early in his career?   Your thoughts.

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     I am sorry to read of your son's injury.   When persons exceed the physiological limits of the tissues of their body, those tissues tear.   Therefore, your son placed stress on his medial collateral ligament in excess of its physiological limit.   Medial collateral ligaments are not contractile tissue that persons can train to increase their strength.   I suppose that research of medial collateral ligaments would find that everybody's medial collateral ligament has some slight variations, but, in general, everybody is within normal ranges.   Unless your son has some developmental defect, I would believe that his medial collateral ligament was essentially normal.   Consequently, the probable reason why he tore it was because of improper stress application.

     Please excuse me, but I do not believe that any of the Diamondback staff or any other professional baseball staff has the slightest idea of proper force application techniques for baseball pitching.   If you would like to know what I think are the proper force application techniques for baseball pitching, please go to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and read my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.

     Tommy John surgery should increase your son's ability to withstand stress across the medial aspect of his elbow and maybe he can use the force application technique that he used before for a longer time before it breaks down again.   But, more likely, he will always worry about suffering the injury again and not stress his arm to the maximum.   A better solution is to learn force application technique with which he can appropriately maximally stress his pitching arm without worry of injury.

     My best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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41.   I have thought about taking anabolic steroids many times, I've always wondered if they would help with velocity and strength.   I've talked with a lot of professional players (buddies, teammates) that have taken them, and many had them prescribed to them from their doctors after surgery.   I have thought about it but then in the back of my head I always think of the side effects and or possible tendon and ligament damage that could result.   I've heard that the steroid, deca durabolin (nandrolone?) actually strenghthens tendons and ligaments.   Do you think that steroids would help me or hinder me, being that I'm coming off surgery and trying to get my strength back.   Although, I do not want to mess up my tendons and ligaments. I just wondered what your take is on the whole subject????

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     I am opposed to taking anything into your body that Medical Doctors do not prescribe.

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42.   I recently read an article about a wrist injury by Dr. Marshall.   My 12 year old son fell playing basketball and has a crack in the carpal bone above the radius under the thumb on his pitching hand (left).   The bone did not seperate.   Although the cast is not on yet, he will be in a cast for 3 to 6 weeks.   What would be your recommendations for getting him throwing again and also how soon for pitching once the cast is off?

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     The wrist contains eight bones.   Two carpal bones directly contact the distal end of the radius; the scaphoid laterally and the lunate medially.   The capitate bone contacts both the scaphoid and lunate in line with the third metacarpal (middle finger).   The trapezoid contacts the scaphoid in line with the second metacarpal (index finger).   The trapezium contacts the scaphoid in line with the first metacarpal (thumb).   Therefore, "in the carpal bone above the radius under the thumb" does not clarify which bone your son cracked.

     When throwing, the capitate bone receives the most stress and it transfers the stress to the scaphoid and lunate.   Unless your son throws the screwball that I teach, which requires strong wrist radial flexion, I do not believe that the trapezium and trapezoid will receive much stress.   At twelve years old, these carpal bones are well defined.   The danger lies with the growth plate at the distal end of the radius.

     When injuries involve growth plates, I recommend caution.   After the doctor had advised you that the crack is completely healed, I would slowly return to throwing.   As I recommended previously, your son should start with a gentle wrist flexion action, such as dribbling a basketball.   As he gains strength and mobility, he can start shooting the basketball from increasingly greater distances.

     Please visit my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

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43.   I appreciated reading much of your material.   I had a question about forearms.   When bringing the elbows up, can the throwing forearm be below the elbow?   I'm wondering if this makes for a compact arc, yet still maximizes the distance of the ball's arc through the throw.   Would this increase the risk of injury, as compared to havingthe forearm horizontal and level with the upper arms?   Where do recommend the throwing forearms and wrist to be elevationwise?

     When throwing the torque fastball, is the foot slightly to the right (facing homeplate) of the centerline.   Thank you very much for your help and initiative in posting your book.


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     From the downward forearm head pat position, pitchers start raising their pitching elbow.   While raising their elbow, they also have to rotate the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa such that the anterior aspect of the humerus faces upward.   Your question asks what happens to the forearm during this activity.   Eventually, we want the forearm to raise just slightly faster than the humerus such that when the humerus achieves its position parallel with the line across the shoulders, the forearm will lay back horizontal to the ground.   In this position, the pitching arm is ready to accelerate forward locked with the thorax.   When the thorax has completed its forward rotation, then the forearm is ready to accelerate through release.

     If you are a right-handed pitcher, then the stride foot does land slightly to the right of the centerline.   Then, when the pitcher moves his body forward to parallel with his stride foot, he is ready to torque his thorax to face the non-pitching arm corner of home plate and redirect the driveline.

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44.   Your book has great potential, I think.   Now, I know that you have a long ways to go with getting it published, but what do you think the costs would be?   I don't want to intrude on anything, but I am kind of a go getter.   I figure, that since two heads are better than one, we should be able to either find a financer or a publisher.   I know I am just jumping into it, so keep me posted if you are interested.   Remember Louisville Slugger published a book on hitting, why not have Rawlings do one on pitching?

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     I tried the conventional means to have my books published.   It might be time to try some unconventional means.   However, my ideas are far from mainstream and I cannot see a mainstream company like Rawlings wanting to advocate my ideas.   As for costs, the illustrations are the major cost.   If you could direct someone who publishes books to my web site and they decided that they wanted to publish them, that would be nice.   Thank you for your interest.

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45.   How much flex should be in the elbow at the horizontal shoulder position?   I'm thinking about 145 degrees, where 90 is at a right angle, and 180 is all of the way back.

     Do you think that pushing off of the mound with the back foot makes sense?   If so, would you estimate using slight, medium or strong effort (I can't think of any other method of measuring this).   Would the result of pushing off of the mound be stride slightly longer that normal leg length?   I was reading at Setpro.com that forward momentum could also be utilized in throwing; perhaps you agree with this?

     Would driving the back knee aid in the rotation about the stride foot?


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     In the leverage position, which is the position from which the baseball starts meaningfully accelerating toward home plate, the upper arm should be level with the shoulders and the forearm should be horizontal.   The angle of the forearm with the upper arm depends on whether you are applying Maxline force or Torque force.   If you are applying Maxline force, then your driveline is slightly from inside to outside with pronation forearm acceleration.   If you are applying Torque force, then your driveline is slightly from outside to inside with supination forearm acceleration.   Consequently, with Maxline pitches, your upper arm to forearm angle at leverage is slightly less than ninety degrees and with Torque pitches, your upper arm to forearm angle at leverage is slightly greater than ninety degrees.

     My Chapter 18 on Sir Isaac Newton answers your question about pushing off the pitching rubber.   To apply greater force toward home plate behind your pitches, you must apply greater oppositely directed force toward second base.   Please re-read that chapter and write again if you have any questions on that topic.   Pitchers should powerfully drive off the pitching rubber.   However, you must understand the effect on the subscapularis muscle and how to prevent unnecessary strain on it.

     My Chapters 20, 21 and 22 on the Marshall Force Application Techniques answers your question on what the stride leg does.   I recommend that pitchers use stride leg drive to increase their equal and opposite directed force.   In order to drive toward second base with your stride foot, you cannot stride too far.   I tell my clients to stride such that they feel as though their are going to side-step forward with their stride foot.

     I recommend that pitchers powerfully push off the pitching rubber with their rear leg and powerfully rotate their rear hip over their stride foot.   Therefore, I definitely believe that the rear leg generates the forward rotational forces required to extend the driveline and maximize your release velocity.

     Good questions, but, for the most part, the answers are in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Please re-read the chapters I mentioned and see whether it makes more sense now.

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46.   I practice pitching in my yard with my dad.   I'm 14. When I pitch hard in about two or three throws my elbow to bicep hurts for a while.   It lasts for maybe 15 minutes. Please help.

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     At fourteen years old, your growth plates should be nearly mature.   Please read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to understand the effect of pitching on growth plates.

     You state that the discomfort that you feel is in your 'elbow to biceps'.   I am assuming that you are referring to the anterior aspect of the elbow.   The muscle involvement may be either the biceps brachii and/or the brachialis.   Discomfort in these muscles arise from forearm flyout where these muscles contract to prevent you from extending your elbow and injuring your olecranon process.

     Marshall's first law of force application for baseball pitchers says that you must apply force from leverage through release in a straight line.   You are not doing this.   Instead, you are taking the baseball way behind your body such that when you start moving the baseball forward (leverage), you are moving the baseball sideways behind your body.   Then, at some point, you have to redirect the baseball to towards home plate.   However, since the baseball is moving sideways, when you attempt to redirect the baseball toward home plate, your forearm keeps going sideways until your arm extends to its full length.   I call this 'forearm flyout.'

     To correct this problem, you have to stop reverse rotating your body so far.   You should never reverse rotate such that the line that you draw from the middle of your rear shoulder through the middle of your front shoulder points beyond home plate.   Then, you should not start accelerating your forearm forward until your forearm is in a straight line with home plate.

     I am also concerned about when you start turning your forearm over.   Make certain that your palm faces downward at the downward forearm head pat position and your palm faces upward at your leverage position.   You might have your palm facing backward and your forearm vertical at leverage rather than your palm facing upward and your forearm horizontal at leverage.

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47.   What are your thoughts on Tom Seaver's mechanics.   He seems like he gets every last bit of energy he has into the pitch.

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     I don't know whether you are asking me to comment on Tom's book or the technique that I watched him use.   I have not read Tom's book.   I do not read any book on pitching.   I do not want anybody to say that I stole an idea from them.   With regard to the technique that I saw when I watched Tom pitch, I agree that Tom drove very hard off the pitching rubber and I agree with that.   However, I do not agree with his 'drop and drive' concept.   I believe that release points should be as high as possible and dropping your rear leg such that the knee touches the ground does not produce high release points.

     Later in Tom's career, he had some shoulder problems.   I recall thinking at the time that he did not protect his subscapularis attachment during his powerful rear leg drive.   I am not certain what Tom thinks about the proper pitching arm action and I do not have any film on him.   I know that Tom never had any minus twenty miles per hour pitches, such as a curve or screwball.   I know he had a flat, semi-slider.   Tom over-powered people with his low and away fastball with great location.   It always seemed to me that simplicity was his strength.

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48.   There is players on my team that are afraid of throwing the ball hard around the infield because they are afraid that it will go over my head.   Then, the ball goes either on the ground or way over my head.   Now, these players can be very good but when they have to think about it that's when they have trouble throwing.

     Do you have any drills that would help them out.   Thanks, if you could write back.


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     The only way to learn to control your throws when you throw the baseball as hard as you can is to practice throwing the baseball as hard as you can.   I suggest that everyone practice their infield drills by throwing as hard as they can.   But, they should do this during practice, not before baseball games when everybody is watching.   Hopefully, they will become good enough to do this when people are watching.

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49.   When I pitch, after a few minutes my shoulder starts to hurt.   It doesn't hurt very bad.   It doesn't last very long either.   I throw overhand.   Please help.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      I am sorry, but you have not given me enough information with which to determine why your shoulder hurts when you pitch.   I need to know precisely where you feel the discomfort.   I am glad to learn that the discomfort is not very bad and does not last very long.   However, we do not want any discomfort that interferes with your pitching.

     Only because you wrote that you throw overhand do I suspect that you raise your elbow too high and unnecessarily strain the front of your shoulder.   If this is the case, you should keep your elbow at the height of a line from your non-pitching arm across your pitching arm.   I discuss this in great detail in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   Please read my chapters on the Marshall Force Application Techniques and Training Programs for Adolescent Pitchers.

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50.   How do you throw a screwball?   And, how do you throw a good knuckle ball?

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     I discuss in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book how to throw a screwball.   However, without illustrations, I realize that it may be difficult to follow.   The screwball pitch is a great pitch that requires a lot of practice.   If it were easy, everybody would throw it.

     I do not teach how to throw the knuckleball.   It is a very, very difficult pitch to master and you have to learn it at the exclusion of all other pitches.   To throw a knuckleball, you hold the baseball with the fingertips of your second through fourth digits (index through ring fingers) and push the baseball toward home plate at release.   If you can push it toward the middle of home plate at above sixty miles per hour without any spin, then you can have a career as a knuckleball pitcher.   Many have tried, very, very, very few have succeeded.

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51.   How would any pitcher utilize your services?   You have great information in your question and answer pages.   I will have any pitcher I know take it in as it is quite valuable.

     Do pitchers come to you?   Or do you go to them?   And where is it that you live?   Maybe having something about these thoughts included in your web site may help.   Or maybe I'm out of line and you already have people figuring all that out and they simply call you.


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     Thank you for the kind words regarding my question and answer section.   I hope that they read my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books also.

     With regard to personally helping pitchers, it is something that I am working on.   I have helped friends and sons of friends for many years on a no fee basis.   However, if I were to work with others, I would have to relocate and charge to cover my expenses.   Nevertheless, if someone is interested, there best course of action is to email or telephone me.

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52.   I was more interested in your thoughts on Seaver's mechanics than his book.   I watched some video on him recently and was surprised on how much energy it appeared he used in every pitch.   On some pitches I noticed he would hop forward on his left leg during/after follow through.   This appears to help him maintain balance much in the same way a gymnast takes an extra hop after landing to negate momentum and maintain balance.

     I value your opinions on pitching, as I have said in earlier e-mails, because you were able to pitch so much and so effectively. I've got to believe you were blessed with some genetic advantages but that can't explain all of your extraordinary success on the mound.

     I am a little confused.   You mention you advocate driving off the mound, but you disagree with the "drop and drive" concept.   I am assume the rear leg needs to bend so that it can drive the body forward.   Is it just a matter of degree when you indicate you don't like the drop and drive method used by Seaver, or am I missing something?

     I hope you don't mind if occasionally I run an idea by you since I have kids who love to pitch.


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     I agree that Tom generated considerable rear leg drive force.   Most pitchers pushed backward with his stride foot.   Tom drove hard enough to cause him to almost fall over his stride foot, so he had to hop to maintain his balance.   I teach what I call, 'stride leg drive' where I recommend that pitchers drive with both their rear and stride legs.

     There is no reason for confusion about the rear leg drive.   Pitchers do not have to bend their rear legs such that they touch their knees to the ground to drive off their rear legs.   I teach that pitchers should point their feet toward or at forty-five degrees toward home plate such that they extend their knees when they drive toward home plate.   In this way, they are able to stand tall and elevate their release points.

     I never mind talking pitching techniques.

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53.   Someday you'll have to produce a video or write a book (with photos!).   It's funny you mentioned Seaver's shoulder problems.   I would often end up with a dirty right knee when I pitched.   I also tore up my right shoe every game dragging it nearly a foot on every pitch.   I always considered it a fault in my delivery until my Dad pointed out that Seaver was similar.   I ended up with elbow surgery by age 17 and agonizing shoulder pain by my soph. year in college.   Sometimes we learn the hard way.

     By the way, what do you mean by extended knees?


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     I want very much to have a videotape and a book with illustrations.   However, to do those things with quality costs a lot of money. Until then, we have to be satisfied with words.

     When most people drive off the pitching rubber, they leave their pitching arm behind.   Consequently, they unnecessarily stress the front of their shoulder (subscapularis) and with forearm flyout, they also unnecessarily stress the medial epicondyle muscles.   I discuss this in great detail in my books.

     When pitchers drag their rear foot, it acts like an anchor preventing them from rotating their shoulders out front.   That is not a good thing.

     When you stand up from sitting down, you extend your knee.   When you start a sprint race in track, you extend your knee.   The four muscles on the front of the thigh extend the knee joint.   Pitchers should extend their rear knee to propel themselves forward from the pitching rubber.   During this action, there is no reason why their body should move downward.   The higher the release point of pitches, the greater the downward inertia.   The greater the downward inertia on pitches with spin that causes them to move downward, the greater the change in horizontal position.   Therefore, all pitchers should stand tall at release.

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54.   I just discovered your site courtesy of Webball.   I spent a few hours last night reading most of both your textbooks.   I reread some key sections this morning.   First, my sincere thanks that you have made this information public.   Baseball is a wonderful sport that deserves to be played well and safely.

     I've been coaching pitchers for a few years now, at Little League and now Babe Ruth levels.   Some of your arguments either go against my current model of pitching or hit on issues I've begun to wonder about.   (Don't mean that as a challenge; I'm constantly adapting my model as I get new and better info.)   If you would give me the benefit of your expertise, it would be most helpful.   I'll try to put the questions to you as precisely as I can.   I do not believe the answers to these questions can be found in your text; if I've missed something, I apologize.

1.   Forearm Flyout:   I've never been concerned about arm slot.   I've had good success with sidearmers and even one pitcher who uses the extended overhand with the head clearing to the non-throwing side, a la Steve Carlton (the one slot I do feel is problematic).   This season, I started putting athletic tape around balls (4-seam on some, 2-seam on others) to give the pitchers feedback whether they are applying good, crisp spin to their fastballs.

     My two high-school freshman pitchers, one righty, one lefty, both use the 10 o'clock arm slot (from the catchers pov--well, 2 o'clock for the lefty).   I've trained the younger pitchers on my team, and they pitch with the forearm coming straight over the elbow.   These two pitchers are new to me.   Worse, I get only very limited time with them until our season starts in less than a month because of restriction on them playing outside their school teams.

     Normally, I would have thought little about their forearms being extended out 30 degrees or so from their elbows.   But the tape on the balls graphically demonstrated that the axis of rotation was, of course, in line with their forearms, that is, tilted 30 degrees from vertical.   (By "axis of rotaton", I mean the tape line, as opposed to the axis of spin 90 degrees away around which the taped surface of the ball is rotating.)   I started puzzling how I would teach them other pitches.   A slider, for instance, would just lift the ball up into the hitting zone.   Since it would also be working against gravity, it would make for a most hittable pitch.

     Now, in reading your commentary, I wonder if the 10 o'clock slot is not synonymous with forearm flyout.   Or is forearm flyout an inability to keep the forearm tracking at the desired angle relative to the elbow, whether it's 11, 10, 9 or whatever.   If a 10 o'clock arm slot is acceptable, what pitches will work best?   I suppose a curve becomes a slider and a sinker becomes a screwball??

2.   I've usually started pitchers off for the first two-thirds of preseason posting with their shoulders aligned toward the plate. I believe this helps with our early emphasis on location and it helps build their proprioception of that alignment.   Once they are pitching smoothly and locating the ball well, I have them begin rotating their shoulders 20 to 30 degrees away from the plate as they post up.   We usually see an immediate 2 to 4 mph gain on the radar gun when they incorporate this turn of the trunk.   And, so far, I haven't seen any permanent problem from pitchers over-rotating out of this position.   Three or four early pitches will be slung wide of the plate, but they swiftly self-adjust out of doing that.

     From your text, it sounds as though you do not approve of such rotation away from the plate as the pitcher posts up.   Do you understand such rotation to be wrong, or is it simply a matter of needing to bring the shoulders quickly and surely into proper alignment from that position?

3.   It seems pretty clear that you take issue with the common technique of posting up to a balance point and initiating forward movement of the trunk from there as the ball is taken from the glove.   I cannot quite understand what you suggest as the alternative, but it reads to me that you are suggesting forward movement of the trunk begin as the arm reaches what you call the leverage position (upper arm horizontal).   I must be misunderstanding something critical, because it seems that timing would cause the arm to rush ahead of the body.

     At what point does the body start forward?   I've had the best success with pitchers starting the hips forward first with a slight effort to hold the head in position and not let it follow for an instant.   I have them do this as they break.   I also suggest a shortened elliptical transition that I learned from a much-operated-on former pitcher in the Astros system who's now determined to see kids pitch injury-free.   It seems perfectly compatible with your description of the transition, including your depiction at one point of the ball pointing back at the SS position.   However, you seem to emphasize that the forearm should never come vertical over the elbow (except, obviously, as it accelerates forward in the actual delivery).

     Your description of the forearm being horizontal as transition blends into leverage is clear enough, but when you describe the forearms being horizontal later in the delivery, I can only picture that as palm up with the forearm now trailing behind the elbow.   To tell you the truth, I cannot follow your description from leverage on.   From that position, where does the forearm travel?   Am I wrong to teach my pitchers to continue to raise it to vertical from there with the ball facing the SS?

     If you would indulge me another, less critical, question or two.   In working with the taped balls, I noticed that most of the pitchers settle on deliveries that have the axis of rotation slightly canted.   When I throw the ball, the tape stripe is centered in the ball from the pov of the pitcher and, on the other side, the catcher.   Most of the kids though throw with the tape line skewed to the right (rhp) from both povs.   A couple pitch with it to the left.   None throw with it centered, as I do.   I assumed this result came from a tendency to throw fastballs with a slight supination (in the first case) of the plane of the hand or a slight pronation relative to the perpendicular position of the palm I deliver with.   I decided not to work at all on correcting" them until I could figure out if it really was detracting from their fastballs.   Now I'm wondering if this coincides, at least in part, with your Torque and Maxline deliveries.

     While on this subject, I noticed you made a reference to striped balls.   Do you use balls with a stripe to help students identify proper spin?   Do you have any suggestions on getting the most from that technique?   Do you have a source for balls with printed stripes? I'm worried tape messes with the aerodynamics too much.   But attempts to use Magic Markers take too long but fade quickly into not-easy-enough-to-see.

     Sorry to hit you with so much curiosity all at once.   But we're talking about the progress and well-being of young players, and I'm determined to get it right.   I really appreciated that you stated right out loud that the weak link in all of this is that the biomechanical experts cannot quite agree on what is and is not proper technique.


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     Thank you for your email and your questions.   I will do my best to clarify what my books failed to do.

     Please be aware of the awesome responsibility that you are assuming when you teach Little League and Babe Ruth League aged pitchers.   You can permanently damage their arms.   If you have carefully read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know that I do not favor the present setup.   At least, please direct the parents to my web site.

1.   Forearm flyout is not about arm slot.   Forearm flyout is a result of pitchers taking their arms too far behind their body such that they have to take their arms sideways before they can redirect their arms toward home plate.   The centrifugal force of their forearm moving sideways, then toward home plate causes forearm flyout.   Consequently, just when pitchers should powerfully involve their triceps brachii to extend their pitching elbows, they are contracting their brachialis and biceps brachii to prevent extension damage to their olecranon process.

     During the forearm acceleration phase, the forearm must always approach vertical.   It can be slightly outside vertical on fastballs and screwballs, but it should be slightly inside of vertical on curves and sliders.   Further, the elbow must not extend on curves and screwballs as I teach them.   This means that pitchers do not use their triceps brachii on these pitches.

2.   I am not certain of what you mean with 'posting.'   I advocate that the shoulders rotate approximately one hundred and eighty degrees during the forward rotation or acceleration phase.   At leverage, pitchers should align the line between their pitching arm and non-pitching arm shoulders to point either at the non-pitching arm side batter with Torque force application or home plate with Maxline force application.   From these positions, pitchers forwardly and powerfully rotate their shoulders throughout both force applications.   At no time, should pitchers stop this shoulder rotation before they release their pitches.

     Pitchers achieve control from the straight line drivelines from leverage through release.   With my Torque force application, I require a redirection of the straight line drive when the pitchers move their hips to beside their stride leg foot.   This is a complicated maneuver that takes considerable time to master, but is necessary to successfully and powerfully throw pitches to the non-pitching arm side of home plate without forearm flyout.

3.   As I read your third question, I think that you refer to 'posting' as what some people call the 'balance point' when, like in Karate Kid, pitchers stand on one leg, but they hold the baseball at their waist rather than imitating bird wings.   You are correct.   I strongly disagree with this technique where the body moves toward home plate while the pitching arm moves toward second base.   This causes serious shoulder injuries.

     Pitchers must not start their body toward home plate before their arms achieve leverage.   From leverage, pitchers keep their pitching arm elbow ahead of their acromial line and drive with their pitching arm shoulder behind their pitching arms.   My 'rock back' technique teaches the proper pitching rhythm.   Pitchers stand with their weight mostly on their front foot and 'rock back' to their rear foot while they move their arm into the leverage position.   After the pitching arm is in leverage and the stride foot has contacted the ground, pitchers start their forward rotation acceleration through release.

     What causes confusion for some is that I want pitchers to complete their stride while they are completing their transition phase with their pitching arm.   You have to reexamine how you look at the stride.   Pitchers do not have to move their body forward to stride.   I believe that this is the part that you missed or did not understand.   Stride length must permit pitchers to easily move their body beyond the stride foot.   If pitchers do not get their stride foot down before they start their shoulder forward rotation, then their stride foot will float sideways and they will lose stability and control of their body and, consequently, their pitching arm.

4.   I use magic markers to mark vertical stripes and circles on the baseballs.   I use a circular holder to hold the baseball still while I draw the stripe and I hand-draw the circles.   It does take time and I do have the young men draw on their own baseballs.   I find that they take better care of equipment when they have their own.   When they start to fade, they know where I keep the magic markers.

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55.   Thank you for the courtesy of a patiently detailed answer.   Yes, it is an awesome responsibility to take on the teaching of pitching to young players, one made doubly hard when kids see pictures of Pedro Martinez on the cover of SI with his arms hyperflexed to the point he looks like a frigate bird.

     Young players are the ones who need the top coaches, but of course they're being used to work with the top pro pitchers.   I got into it when there were no coaches to be had in this area for my son Zack, now 13, who seems to have been born wanting to pitch. And of course his teams needed coaches; there are never enough.

     I have no background in baseball apart from plenty of sandlot, ages 10 to 12.   What I did have was many years of playing Frisbee.   Don't laugh.   We were competitive, working on throwing disks 100 to 140 yards using multiple sidearm and backhand techniques.   Plus, I taught playing techniques to probably 300 students over the years.   I wrote the two bestselling books on Frisbee playing skills (you can still find them on Amazon.com), and in the course of that I spoke at length with a couple of academic kinesiologists interested in the novelty of how to get the most power in a Frisbee throw.

     Those early years were spent as the science editor at a university press.   Later, I became director of books at Runners World.

     I figured that 1) with the eye I developed for watching complex physical movements, 2) with my background in sports and with athletes and knowing how devastating injuries can be, and 3) with my ability to read copiously and translate that into how-to, I could be at least as good as the other meager coaching options these boys have.   Over the past 4 years I have read everything I can find on pitching and baseball injury and talked with every knowledgeable resource I could find.   For the most part, the books are dreck.   That's why it's great to find the occasional wealth of useful information like your website.

     You'll be glad to know that, after reading your response, I am not teaching anything at odds with your approach.   I am a fiend for the boys keeping their elbows forward of the plane of their body.   Formerly, this was a struggle (given the pictures of Mr. Martinez et al floating around), but I have developed a simple explanation that now has them eager to work at it properly.

     My biggest problems come not from technique but from regression.   On the team I manage, I have a workout scheduled every day so that the players can get in some throwing.   We also use weighted baseballs, medicine balls of a couple of weights, elastic cords and other conditioning tools.   This works great!

     The problem is their schedules.   Between tutoring, homework, other sports, and family trips, it's impossible to maintain the continuity.   Kids come back after 2, 4, 5 day layoffs and want to pick up where they left off.   With 15 kids on a team, only two days of the week with an additional coach, and only and hour and a half to cram in a full practice, it's impossible to keep tabs on where they are with their throwing. Plus, it's not just throwing and pitching anymore; I have to teach the fine points of fielding, hitting and baserunning.   Frankly, I can't even keep the continuity I'd like with my own son's development much less a whole team.

     It's a testimonial to the strength of the human body and spirit that anyone survives this system and goes on to play ball at a high level!

     No need for a reply.   Just wanted you to know that the information you are providing is extraordinarily helpful to those of us out here trying to make baseball engaging and challenging for today's young players.


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     I have only a short response.

     The top pitching coaches are not coaching at the highest levels.   The fellows who pretend to know pitching in the professional ranks are frauds.   They do not have any academic background, they do not read, they only care about getting to the major leagues and drinking in the hotel bars.   The guys who are trying to be good pitching coaches work in academia, either high school or college and there are damn few of them.   With your reading and open mind, you are already among the best pitching coaches.   Unfortunately, who is writing the material from which you gain your expertise?   Dick Mills.   He has no academic training.   Tom House.   He does not understand the academic training he received or his teachers did not know what they were supposed to be teaching.

     In 1975, I did a high-speed cinematographic analysis of high velocity frisbee throwing for a guy in Los Angeles, Gordy something.   He wanted to know how to throw the frisbee so hard with so much movement that someone a designated short distance away could not catch it.   I showed him the screwball frisbee throw.   I was uncatchable.

     I would not worry about young pitchers less than sixteen years old not getting sufficient training.   I recommend that they do not throw baseballs more than two months per year until their medial epicondyle growth plate ossifies.   They should play for fun and to learn the proper force application techniques, but without stressing their pitching arm's growth plates.   I would not set a rigid training schedule.   If you read Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on training, you will see that I recommend that they spend their time only on motor skill learning.   I would never permit my son to pitch competitively until his growth plates ossified.

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56.   I believe that you referred to Goldy Norton from Los Angeles.   The really big guns were from Michigan. Can you give me any pitching references.   What are the most serious problems with pitching technique for which I should take greatest care?

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     You are correct, it was Goldy Norton.   Were the Michigan guys from Michigan State?   I worked with a group at MSU in the Intramural Building.   We did work on sequencing their throws with several different circle of frictions to create different movements, much like the sinker and slider only up and down as well as sideways.

     I am sorry that I cannot help you with references other than the ones that you have read.   I have not read the ones that you mentioned. I never want to have anyone say that I stole their idea.   I listen only to the laws of anatomy and physics and try to determine how to best satisfy them with the rules of baseball pitching.   Sometimes, it cannot be done.   For example, I would like to have my pitchers in the set position with both feet on the pitching rubber.   I don't think that the umpires will permit it.   However, it would be a great way to insure that they do not take the baseball too far behind their backs.

     With regard to serious, permanent, adult pitching arm injuries, there are three flaws for which to watch.   However, with adolescents, they can have perfect, injury-free adult techniques and still ruin their pitching arm growth plates.   That is why I recommend minimal throwing practice and no competition until age sixteen.   Back to adults.

1.   When pitchers take baseballs too far behind their body, they have to bring them back and redirect them toward home plate.   Eventually, they will injure the medial aspect of their elbows.   Stop this and you made great improvement.   Turn their rear feet toward home plate on the pitching rubber and do not permit them to turn it.

2.   When pitchers leave their elbows behind their acromial lines and pull their pitching arms forward, they will eventually injure their subscapularis attachment to the humerus.   They must stop moving their body forward while they move their pitching arm backward.   The rock-back technique teaches them to delay their body until their pitching arm is at leverage.

3.   When pitchers drop their elbow under or pull their elbow inward through release, they will eventually injure the anterior aspect of their shoulder.   They must learn to drive their forearm through release such that their elbow pops upward after release.

     There are other problems, but they require much greater strength than any pitcher can achieve without my training program to totally correct.   First and foremost is the ability to have their forearm completely horizontal at leverage.   I have never seen anyone other than those that I train get their forearm horizontal at leverage.   Without horizontal forearms at leverage, pitchers cannot achieve their maximum release velocities, but they also will have some degree of shoulder bounce that occurs when they drive their upper arms forward and their forearm move backward as a result.   This also unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis, but without forty weeks with me I do not know of anyway to prevent the problem.

     Nevertheless, if you take care to educate your pitchers about the three technique problems I discussed above and do not permit them to train too much or too hard before their growth plates mature, you will have done them a great service.   Then, if their desires and physiology provide, they will find out how good they can be.

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57.   I'm assuming that by "behind the body" you are referring to toward first base (rhp).   You could also mean toward second base.   Many coaches advise taking the arm straight back in transition and pointing the ball toward second.   I have them keep the elbows forward of the shoulders and point the ball toward the shortstop position, both of which I feel makes for freer motion.

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     When I say 'behind the body', I mean sideways toward first base or toward third base as a result of reverse trunk rotation.   I want everything to be toward second base.   Keep Newton's law of reaction in mind.   To increase their force toward home plate, pitchers must increase their force toward second base.   This refers to their rear and stride feet, but the remainder of their body must adhere to this force line.

     Even with the small amount of reverse rotation that I recommend, with the line between their shoulders pointed either at the opposite side batter or at home plate, pitchers have reverse rotated such that the front of their chest face sideways to home plate which means that their pitching arm points toward first or third base.   However, I want pitchers to rotate their shoulders to facing home plate before their start their forearm acceleration.   Recall that I tell pitchers to 'lock' their upper arms with their thorax and initiate their forward drive with the forward rotation of their shoulders.   When pitchers delay their forearm acceleration until their forearm points toward home plate, they have no sideways force to cause 'forearm flyout.'

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58.   I am in no doubt about the meaning of "leave their elbows behind..." and I understand "pull their pitching arms..." to mean as a result of trunk/shoulder rotation.   When yousay "stop moving their body forward" do you mean in rotation or forward in linear motion?   When you say "move their pitching arm backward", do you mean backward with reference to the transverse (right-to-left) plane or to the sagittal (front-to-back) plane?

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     This is a critical aspect of injury prevention.   I hope that I covered this extensively in my books.   The 'acromial line' is the key.   I define the 'acromial line' as the line drawn from the center of the acromial process of the non-pitching shoulder through the center of the acromial process of the pitching shoulder and on outward.   The acromial process is the most lateral aspect of the scapula from which the humerus hangs.   It is absolutely critical that pitchers never take their pitching elbows behind this line during their transition.   If they do, they place the subscapularis muscle in a weak leverage position that requires that they 'pull' their upper arm (humerus) forward rather than the desired drive behind the upper arm.

     Point one and point two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.   Point one refers to the amount of reverse rotation of the thorax and point two refers to the position of the olecranon process relative to the acromial line.

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59.   Larry Abraham included the "rubber band effect", a tendency of the arm to spring forward when moved back of the acromial line as one of the advantages a sidearm, properly delivered, had over a backhand.

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     Mr. Abraham is wrong.   First, muscles are not rubber bands.   They are finite length tissue held together with connective tissue that does not stretch, but tears.   What he suggests will quickly ruin pitching arms.   I think that I discuss the actin and myosin protein filaments of myofibrils in the physiology section of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Maybe I was not as forceful as I should, but contractile units do not stretch.   In case someone thinks that tendons stretch, that is double wrong.   Tendons are entirely finite connective tissue.   Stretching them weakens the effectiveness of the muscles to which they attach.

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60.   When I mentioned that I had a technique that gets young pitchers to quit imitating Pedro Martinez and stop hyperflexing their arms, what it was is this.   I have them throw their arm, shoulder-high, backward.   They can easily sense the forward spring.   I explain that that forward spring is one of the tools their body offers to get more power into a throw.   They are wisely trying to use it, only they are using it out of sequence.   If their arms shoot forward while still behind the body and before forearm acceleration, the advantage dissipates and adds no speed to the throw.   If, on the other hand, they keep the arm comfortably forward of the shoulder and wait for rotation of the trunk to get them into delivery position, then that natural spring-forward will be perfectly in sequence.

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     I understand the feeling of 'forward spring', however, to achieve this feeling, pitchers have to have the forearms of their pitching arms move downward and backward while their upper arm moves forward.   This hyperextension bounce will eventually destroy either one of the medial epicondyle muscles or the subscapularis.   This is a dangerous technique with short term value.

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61.   Whether that is precisely true or not, I can't say.   I cannot detect any rubber-banding during forearm acceleration myself, but then I don't have much spring left in my limbs.   It sure works to make them willing to keep their arms forward of their shoulders, though.   And whether this anecdote provides a clarification of your point or a muddled miscomprehension, I don't know.   I feel I'm not grasping something here, probably something so plain to you that you cannot fathom my not getting it.

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     As we age, we tear our connective tissue more readily than when we were younger.   This tells you that the 'elastic bounce' concept is dangerous and limited.   We need to teach young pitchers how to drive behind their pitches without any forearm bounce.   In that way, they will pitch without connective tissue tearing without regard to their age.

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62.   I understand "leverage" to mark the end of "transition".

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     That is correct.

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63.   All that I understand by "forearm completely horizontal at leverage" is that it should have arrived pretty much on the same plane (top-to-bottom--I forget what that cut is called) as the upper arm.   I'm assuming the forearm may be at any comfortable angle to the upper arm, from roughly 90 to roughly 160 degrees, provided that it, like the upper arm, is parallel to the ground.   This is precisely the position I train all my pitchers to be in by the time the stride foot lands and before any forward rotation begins.

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     I do not know what you mean by 'cut', but you are correct that the elbow and forearm on the same plane, that is horizontal plane, is what I mean when I say 'forearm completely horizontal at leverage.'   With regard to the angle of the forearm to the elbow, I recommend slightly less than ninety degrees for Maxline drives and slightly greater than ninety for Torque drives.   During the forearm acceleration phase the triceps brachii extends the elbow joint angle to nearly, but definitely not, one hundred and eighty degrees.   The elbow must never fully extend to where the olecranon process slams into the olecranon process.

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64.   I'm not clear how that relates to release velocities unless, I wonder, you mean with the forearm horizontal *behind* the upper arm, palm up, rather than in front of the upper arm, palm down.   Now we would be talking power, and indeed, I have seen some pro pitchers who can accomplish this contortion.   But this is not at all what I understand you to mean by "leverage".

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     For pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocity, they must maximally extend their driveline.   If pitchers cannot initiate their forearm acceleration phase with their forearm horizontal, they cannot apply force through the full range of forearm motion.   If they do not start applying forearm acceleration force until their forearm points to some degree upward, they have lost that degree of force application.

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65.   Besides, the laying back of the forearm (usually not all the way to (horizontal) must be what you are talking about when you say "drive their upper arms forward and their forearm move backward".

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     When the upper arm moves forward and the forearm moves downward and backward, I call this the shoulder bounce.   When pitchers have 'shoulder bounce', they place unnecessary stress on the subscapularis and the medial epicondyle muscles. This is what Mr. Abraham wanted with his 'elastic rebound'.   This is not as dangerous as the elbow behind the acromial line, but it is a close second.

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66.   I'm assuming the "drive" of the upper arm refers to that which results from forward trunk rotation rather than to the later extension of the upper arm as it snaps through to delivery.

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     You are correct with the first half of this statement.   However, I do not know what you mean by the second half.   After pitchers release their pitches, the pitching arm extends forward to its fullest length.   At that time, especially in youngsters, the pitching arm can appear to snap backward as a result of the muscles decelerating the pitching arm stopping the arm with plioanglos joint action and, after the pitching arm stops, recovering the pitching arm with mioanglos joint action.

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67.   Is this not the whole point of my first line of query with respect to forearm flyout vs. arm slot?   IOW, if the pitcher delivered from here with the forearm pivoting vertically over the elbow, this would be the customary 11 o'clock position (rhp) and with the forearm angled outward, the customary 10 o'clock position.

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     To maximally apply force, the forearm of the pitching arm should drive from second base toward home plate.   This requires a vertical forearm.   Anything short or long of vertical loses force application.   I do not use the term, 'slot'.

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68.   If, however, the pitcher arrived at a wider position of the forearm than intended because of centrifugal forces arising from starting the arm forward from behind the body, that marks forearm flyout.   FF is basically the body's necessity to apply the brakes to make a turn when it should instead have been tooling down an open boulevard.

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     I agree with your first sentence.   However, while your second sentence is almost correct, what you miss is the concept of co-contraction.   It is not possible to contract the muscles that flex the elbow to prevent forearm flyout and contract the muscles that extend the elbow to drive pitches toward home plate.   Therefore, the triceps brachii drive has to wait until the elbow flexors have stopped forearm flyout.

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69.   I am 3 months out from my shoulder surgery (Baknkaert repair).   I want to start your two-week training program, and wondered if you think that I will benefit from it.   If so, I wondered what the distance should be for the throws?

     I also have a few other questions that I hope you can help me out with.   In a sense, is the acromial line the imaginary line from home plate to second base?   Where should my arm be when I am swinging my palm forward forearm to about fort-five degrees from vertical?   How do I pat the head of a small child when my palm is forward and hand underneath the ball?   Where is the downward forearm head pat position?   When my forearm arrives at leverage, my forearm is horizontal.   I can't picture it, is my wrist outside of my elbow, in a sense pointed towards left field?   Do I wait for my stride foot to contact the ground to accelerate my pitch forward, or accelerate just before stride foot contact?   When I decelerate, do I simply step towards home plate?   Won't this happen naturally, or should I over emphasize it?   On the recovery phase do I bring my pitching arm back as if I was going to catch a baseball?   Is this what you mean by the bullwhip?


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Question 1:   Will you benefit from my two week program after shoulder surgery (Baknkaert repair) three months ago?

     Definitely.   I would have had you start some minimal movements much earlier at about three weeks.

Question 2:   What distance should I throw the iron balls and baseballs?

     That depends on your strength.   I would have you start the iron balls standing at the end of the ramp and I would not care whether you threw the ball halfway up the ramp or against the rebound wall.   With regard to the baseball throws, I would have your start fifteen feet from the net and, again, I would not care whether you threw the baseballs halfway to the net or against the net.   Increase the distance as you can easily increase the distance of your throws.

Question 3:   Is the acromial line the imaginary line from home plate to second base?

     The acromial line is an imaginary line that you draw from the center of your non-throwing arm shoulder's acromial process to the center of your throwing arm shoulder's acromial line and on outward.   You might have to look into an anatomy book under scapula to learn where to find your acromial process.

Question 4:   Where should my arm be when I am swinging my palm forward forearm to about forty-five degrees from vertical?

     I have all pitchers start in an approximated set position with their hands together below their waist slightly toward their non-pitching arm side.   From this position, pitchers shift their body weight from their stride foot to their rear foot while, at the same time, they swing their pitching arm in a vertical pendulum parallel with the front of their body.   They should swing their pitching arm backward to about forty-five degrees from vertical.

Question 5:   How do I pat the head of a small child when my palm is forward and hand underneath the ball?

     When pitchers start their pendulum swing, they should have their pitching palm facing forward.   When their pitching arm achieves forty-five degrees from vertical, their forward facing palm now faces somewhat downward at forty-five degrees.   At this point, they could pat the head of a small child or large dog.

Question 6:   Where is the downward forearm head pat position?

     The downward forearm head pat position is beside the body.   However, because pitchers simultaneously reverse rotate their body until their acromial line points to either the non-pitching arm side hitter or at home plate, their downward forearm head pat position aligns to just short of second base or directly at second base.   Nevertheless, with respect to their body, the pitching arm should be beside the body laterally.

Question 7:   When my forearm arrives at leverage, my forearm is horizontal.   I can't picture it, is my wrist outside of my elbow, in a sense pointed towards left field?

     From the downward forearm head pat position, pitchers raise and rotate their humerus (upper arm bone) until the elbow achieves shoulder height.   At the same time, their raise their forearm until the hand is at the same height as the elbow, that is, the forearm is horizontal to the ground.   The elbow angle depends on the type for drive, either Maxline or Torque.   However, in general, the elbow angle approximates ninety degrees.   With the elbow ahead of the acromial line, the elbow at a ninety degree angle and the body reverse rotated to where the acromial line points approximately at home plate, right-handed pitchers point their forearms toward first base.   From this position, pitchers initiate their forward rotation.   When they get their body beside their stride foot and their shoulders squared to home plate, they start their forearm acceleration phase.   When pitchers start their forearm acceleration phase, their forearm lays horizontally backward with the longitudinal axis pointing toward home plate.

Question 8:   Do I wait for my stride foot to contact the ground to accelerate my pitch forward, or accelerate just before stride foot contact?

     While pitchers reverse rotate, they reach forward with their stride leg.   They do not lift their leg.   They reach forward to where they want their stride foot to land and place their foot.   When their stride foot contacts the ground, they start their forward rotation.

Question 9:   When I decelerate, do I simply step towards home plate?   Won't this happen naturally, or should I over emphasize it?

     Pitchers do not decelerate their pitching arms until after they release their pitches.   Because my pitchers use stride leg drive to increase the distance over which they apply force, they will have their rear leg ahead of their stride leg when they release their pitches.   Because we want to also increase the distance over which we can safely decelerate our pitching arm, we will land with our rear leg during deceleration of the pitching arm.

Question 10:   During the recovery phase, do I bring my pitching arm back as if I was going to catch a baseball?

     During the recovery phase, pitchers return their pitching arm to a position that will enable them to become an infielder.

Question 11:   Is this what you mean by the bullwhip?

     No.   The bullwhip analogy refers to the sequential action of the various body segments that apply force, then stop and snap slightly backward to add momentum to the next body part.

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70.   When I am doing the forearm extensions is the exercise done witharm raising upward with elbow to height of ear in front of my body or to the side of my body?   If it is to the side, is my palm supposed to be facing up or down?

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     During all exercises, the elbow must be slightly ahead of the acromial line.   Therefore, the pitching arm is beside the body.   The pitching arm starts with the elbow at the height of your ear and the forearm pointing upward at about forty-five degrees.   During the forearm extension, pitchers gently lower the elbow to shoulder height and the forearm downward to at least horizontal to the ground and return the pitching arm to the starting position.

     The down phase of forearm extensions is the leverage position from which pitchers start their upper arm acceleration phase.   At leverage, the pitching palm faces upward on the fastballs, outward on the sinkers and screwballs and inward on the sliders and curves.

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71.   What part of the country do you live?

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     I live in Zephyrhills, FL, twenty-five miles northeast of Tampa.

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72.   Thank you first for posting your information...it is so satisfying to hear an actual scientist weigh in on pitching.   I have had so many frustrating experiences with coaches who wanted to me to throw a certain way but never justified their opinions.   I am anxious to apply this knowledge in my throwing.

     I have always had the ability to throw a ball hard, but I injured my right shoulder two years ago.   I am currently recovering from surgery done August of 1999 by Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, AL.   He repaired some minor longitudinal tears of my infraspinatus tendon, debrided some fraying of the anterior portion of my labrum (the biceps tendon attachment was unaffected), and then performed a thermal capsular shift to reduce the laxity of the capsule formed by my glenohumeral ligaments.   This last step was done with a laser.   I am 22 years old and very serious about returning to competition.

     My shoulder felt great during the initial stages of the throwing program (began in February), but I have started to have pain as I have increased velocity.   I think this is because of improper mechanics as my shoulder does not always hurt and not always in the same area.   The pain is always during the acceleration portion of the throw.   I recently purchased a video camera in order to identify the flaws in my motion.   I could instantly see that I'm pulling my left side out much too soon.   In slow motion, it's easy to see why arm hurts. My body is not centered on the drive line towards my target.   My torso pulls left and my shoulder joint is left to handle all of the force of accelerating the ball.   The problem is I don't know how to begin to change this, it's so ingrained.

     But, instead of requesting some quick fix from you, I want to rebuild my mechanics under your guidelines... only it is so difficult for me to visualize the verbal descriptions you've provided--I've always been a visual learner.   I hope that you will eventually find a publisher for your material, but until then, do you have any examples of current major league pitchers whose technique approximates or contains any of your theory?   I am not criticizing your descriptions in the chapters, it is simply that the throwing motion is the most complex human motion, and resists linguistic quantification.

     I am so eager to pursue this childhood dream.   It would be so helpful if you could offer any examples or suggestions.   Until then I will continue to do my rehabilitation exercises and try to decipher the text from your website.


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     I am sorry to read of your difficulties.   I agree that reading how to do something is much more difficult than seeing how to do it with illustrations and videotape.   However, that is all that we have at this time.   I do have one client in the major leagues who, for the most part, demonstrates my force application techniques.   He is Jeff Sparks, a rookie with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

     I understand the surgery that you had.   The infraspinatus muscle originates below the spine of the scapula on its posterior surface and attaches to the posterior surface of the head of the humerus.   It is a brake muscle for baseball pitching, that is, it helps stop the inward rotation of the head of the humerus.   This muscle should not debilitate you.   I have greater concern for the tear in the labrum. That indicates improper technique that you must correct.

     I am not as conservative as doctors about rehabilitation.   You had surgery in August 1999, but you did not start rehabbing until February.   This long layoff may have permitted the reattached tissue to heal, but it also permitted other tissue to grow together that you did not want.   These are call adhesions. Now, you have to break through these adhesions.

     From your report, I am especially interested in your statement that you do not always experience discomfort and the discomfort is not in the same place.   This indicates typical training discomfort, not injury discomfort.   This is good.

     From your surgery, I suspect that your technique difficulty involves the positioning of your upper arm when you start your upper arm acceleration.   Under the mistaken belief that pitchers need to 'reach back' for something extra, pitchers open the front of their shoulder.   Pitchers must never take their pitching elbow behind their acromial line.   I have explained the acromial line in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and in my Question and Answers section.   That moment when pitchers have achieved my downward forearm head pat position is where you have to adjust your technique.   Make certain that your elbow remains ahead of your acromial line.   When you raise your upper arm from this position to laterally level with your shoulders, you gently rotate the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa and raise the upper arm and forearm.   If you keep your elbow ahead of your acromial line, you will find this movement easy and without discomfort.

     Next, you need to learn where in the force application phases you should generate your greatest power.   It is NOT behind your body, it is ahead of your stride foot.   When you put your force into your pitch behind your body, you unnecessarily stress the front of your shoulder.   You have to stop this.

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73.   1. Should my palm be facing up, out, down, in when doing the following pitches:
1. maxline fastball forearm extensions
2. maxline fastball easy leverage throws
3. maxline fastball power leverage throws
4. maxline curve forearm extensions
5. maxline curve easy leverage throws
6. maxline curve power leverage throws

     2. And should I feel a certain muscle in my arm, shoulder or back working, where should I feel soreness the next day?


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     Your palm should face upward at leverage and throughout your upper arm and forearm acceleration phases for fastballs, both Maxline and Torque.   Your palm should face outward at leverage and throughout your upper arm and forearm acceleration phases for sinkers and screwballs, both Maxline and Torque.   Your palm should face inward at leverage and throughout your upper arm and forearm acceleration phases for curves, both Maxline and Torque.   Your palm should face upward at leverage and throughout your upper arm and forearm acceleration phases for sliders, only Torque.

     If you experience any discomfort during or after you train, it means that you have exceeded the physiological limit of that muscle.   The difficulty for you is to know whether the discomfort is a good thing or indicates improper technique.   That is where my expertise comes in.   I know the difference.   While it is very difficult to know for certain where your discomfort is without personally examining you, you could tell me where the discomfort is and I will give you the best long distance advise I can.

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74.   1.   I will be starting the two week training session May 1st.   What do you recommend that I do after this two weeks is up?   Will I maintain this two week program, through a throwing program or the season?

     2.   Do I grip the iron ball like a baseball (2 fingers) or with all four fingers around the ball?

     3.   With the easy leverage throws, how do I wait for my rear leg to hit the ground before I accelerate forward?   This seems very complicated to keep my arm back, after I rotate my shoulders and hips.

     4.   Is it normal not to be able to throw the easy leverage, power leverage curve as far as the easy leverage, power leverage fastball?


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     1.   I designed the two week training program to introduce pitchers to the force application techniques I recommend and to start them on the weight training program to minimal pitching strength.   I cannot recommend that anybody try to complete my forty week training program without my expert guidance.   The chance for error and potential injury is too great.   Therefore, you should continue the two week training program at greater and greater intensities with better and better techniques.

     2.   Pitchers must hold and release their iron balls absolutely the same as they would their pitchers.   Otherwise, they will not achieve the specific response that they need.   There are a couple of additional things that I teach with regard to grips and releases of the iron ball that I could not include in the book for fear of confusion.   Nevertheless, if you grip the iron ball as though it were a baseball and release the pitches the same, you will achieve good results.

     3.   I recently renamed the easy leverage throws, the force coupling throws.   The idea is to learn how to drive off the stride foot at the same time that you forearm accelerate the wrist weights or iron ball.   Therefore, the rear foot must not contact the ground before the forearm acceleration is complete.   I think that I did a good job with Chapter 24 of the Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book of explaining this.   Take a look at it.

     4.   When throwing fastballs, pitchers transfer as much of the velocity of their pitching arm to the baseball or, in this case, the iron ball.   Therefore, there is minimal rotational velocity and maximal horizontal velocity.   When throwing curves and screwballs, pitchers transfer as little of the velocity of their pitching arm to the baseball or, in this case, the iron ball.   Therefore, there is maximal rotational velocity and minimal horizontal velocity.   Consequently, you should never be able to throw your non-fastball pitches as far as your fastball pitches with the iron ball.

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75.   1.   How long should I maintain the two week program?      2.   Every day even throughout season?

     3.   What would be the greater intensities? (more repetitions and sets?)

     4.   And what would be the better techniques used?

     5.   When I am throwing the curve with the easy and power leverage throws, do I start with my palm in or do I move my palm in to this position when I am accelerating forward?


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     1.   Because, without my guidance, you can only work with the lightest wrist weight amount and the lightest iron ball weight, the only variables at your disposal are the number of repetitions and the intensity of your effort.   You may increase these two factors as you wish without concern.   I know that I have number of repetitions in my program, but you can increase them as you wish.

     2.   When you are competing, you should reduce your wrist weight and iron ball repetitions to a minimal, maintenance number.   Each workout should not take more than ten minutes per day.

     3.   You increase the stress by increasing the resistance, the repetitions and your effort.   You can increase only the number of repetitions and your effort.   Therefore, you achieve greater intensities with repetitions and effort.

     4.   I do not understand your question, 'what would be the better techniques used?'

     5.   At leverage, you must always have your forearm and hand in the release position.   Therefore, when you throw curves, you must maximally supinate your forearm and have your hand facing your head and when you throw screwballs, you must maximally pronate your forearm and have your hand turned away from your head.

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76.   1.   Do I do all the throws for the two week program from flat ground, or off a mound?

     2.   After I finish the two week program, my therapist wants me to start an interval throwing program.   What do you think about this?

     3.   Should I maintain the throws and wrist weights while I am doing the interval throwing program?   If so how much, every day?   The program is scheduled for every other day, starting at 45 feet to 180 feet working up to 75 throws from each distance.   It is flat ground long toss that is scheduled to last 1 month, then goes into mound work, working up a pitch count.   What do you think?


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     1.   The critical principle of the physiology of exercise relating to your return to baseball pitching following your shoulder surgery is specificity of training.   That means that you train specifically for the physiological function that you want to enhance, baseball pitching.   Therefore, you throw off a pitching mound.

     2.   My program is an interval training program.   You do not do two different interval training programs.

     3.   You need to do only one interval training program.   I recommend mine.   From your brief description of the interval training program that your therapists recommends, I can tell you that he has not completed my physiology of exercise course.   It does not help pitchers to start at 45 feet and increase to 180 feet while working up to 75 throws from each distance on flat ground.   Pitchers do not release their pitches upward and when the take-off angle differs, pitchers do not achieve the desired training.   I suggest that you kick this therapist to the curb.

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77.   I will be doing your two week throwing program.   I just wondered after I finish it what should I do?   If the long toss interval throwing program recommended from my therapist is not beneficial, then I will not do it.   So you don't recommend any type long toss, correct.   If I'm not mistaken, everything should be off the mound not going beyond 60 feet 6inches?   If so, after the two week interval throwing what should I proceed to do?   I will be training to get myself in shape to be able to pitch in the Northern League, or workouts for the Brewers and Rockies.

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     1.   After the two week program, you should continue to do the last day's program at greater and greater intensities.

     2.   You are correct to assume that I do not recommend long toss as a part of your pitching training program.   However, you should play catch as a part of being able to throw to bases.

     3.   You are also correct that you should practice your pitching skills only off the pitching mound.   However, you do not require catchers.   I prefer that, during the training period, pitchers throw into nets where they can throw with abandon without concern for control.   Then, after the training phase ends, they should throw to catchers to zone in their command.

     4.   In my definition of training, it is not possible for you to be ready for tryouts after completing the two week program.   I designed the two week program as an introduction to what pitchers need to do to become fit, not the entire fitness program.   Nevertheless, good luck in your tryouts.

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78.   I am seriously evaluating your material and plan to discuss some of your findings and assertions in the public forum.   I hope you will be available for clarifications as needed.

     Of immediate concern is whether or not to stop my 11-year-old son from pitching competitively.   He is the ace on his team of 11 to 12-year-olds and will be pitching a game today with a 68 pitch-count limit on more than 4 days of rest, per the ASMI pitch-count survey results posted at http://www.pitching.com/pitchcounts.php3.

     I have made an initial pass through "Coaching Adolescent Pitchers" and have read the entire "Question/Answer Page" a couple of times.   Of course, I wish you had an instructional videotape even if of less than desirable quality.   Second best would be a pitcher using your technique who could be videotaped from a television broadcast.   We know it is impossible to accurately paint a picture with words; even harder is to adequately describe a movie.


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     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question/Answers Page, then you know that I would not permit my son to pitch competitively until his pitching elbow growth plates have ossified.   One pitch and he will never achieve his full potential.   While it is fun for him, it is not worth the risk.

     He can practice his pitching skills.   He can learn all pitches.   He can pitch to catchers and evaluate his ball/strike count with his pitches.   He can practice the pitch sequences that I discuss in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   He can do everything except pitch in competitive situations where he will try hard with the adrenaline flowing and possibly extend himself beyond the physiological limits of his growth plates.   Additionally, even if he never avulses his medial epicondyle ossification center, he will bring about early closure and, hence, limit the long bone growth of his humerus, radius and ulna.   I apologize if this sounds like an alarmist, but Dr. Adams' research is undisputed.

     I agree with your call for a videotape of some kind, I wish that I had one for you.   I am trying to find a publisher with illustrators and an editor and after the book is ready, a videographer to go with it.   Until then, lets talk and clarify as best we can.

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79.   Please tell me more about Dr. Adams. Why did he study adolescents who did not play baseball?   Have other researchers repeated his study?   Are there any major league pitchers who use your technique?

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     When I pitched with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I drove out to San Bernadino, CA and met with Dr. Adams.   He gave me all his research, including his slides.   Dr. Adams was an orthopedic surgeon, not a research scientist.   Nevertheless, his evidence was solid.   I am sorry that I do not know how to put his slides on the Internet.   But, what damage he saw, he showed in his slides.   I do not know whether anybody followed his research design, but I listed several other articles that support the general finding that competitive baseball pitching during early and middle adolescence results in growth plate damage.   I have no doubts about my advice.   My interests are only in the future adult pitchers and making certain that they become all that they can.

     I had the same question about non-players.   When I asked Dr. Adams what non-players had done to result in premature closure and separation, he said just normal activities as climbing trees, wrestling and the like.   He said that he believes that growth plates are more vulnerable than people realize.

     Unfortunately, Dr. Adams died several years ago, but I suppose that you could access the 1965 issue of California Medicine, you could read his research.

     Jeff Sparks of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays is a rookie pitcher that uses my techniques.   However, I have changed my teaching focus to high school graduates.   I find that they can give me the forty weeks that I believe is the minimum to effect the required physiological adjustments.   Also, they are more accepting of the technique changes which directly conflict with the accepted techniques that pitching coaches with professional organizations teach.

     I have hopes of a publisher followed by a videographer.   I prefer to provide a quality product rather than piece by piece only the pitching technique section.

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80.   We had talked before about a long toss program.   You said that you don't recommend a long toss program, but I should play catch to be able to throw to bases.

     1.   Is there a certain distance that I should work back to when playing catch?

     2.   When I increase my intensities after the two week program, do I do this with sets and repetitions and is this done every day, or is it just kind of a maintenance?   If a maintenance, how many repetitions and sets?

     3.   I do realize that I won't be able to have tryouts after the two week program.   However I would like to be ready by August.   What do you suggest that I do for training after the two week program to ready myself?


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     1.   When you field a bunt, how far do you have to throw it to first base, second base and/or third base?   How about when you field a ground ball?   How about when you cover first base and have to throw the baseball to the other bases?   These are the distance of the throws about which I am talking.

     2.   When I say that you increase with intensity, I mean that you put maximal effort into every activity.   Do not increase the number of repetitions or the amount of the resistance (weight).   When you incorrectly interpret what I mean in this way, I worry about what else you might misinterpret.   Do NOT start adding things to the schedule that I wrote.   You are dealing with a delicate instrument, (your pitching arm) and as your number of surgeries should indicate to you, it does not tolerate improper force applications well.

     3. By my standard of being ready, it is not possible for you to have made the requisite physiological and mechanical adjustments to be anywhere near ready in four months.   Certainly, you cannot make the requisite motor skill adjustments in even ten months to be fully ready.   Working on your own, you have to work on force application technique.   You have to unlearn what you have been doing wrong all your life and relearn how to correctly apply force.   Then, you have to learn the motor skills to properly throw the pitches that I describe that are necessary for success.

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81.   When I finish the two week training program, do I maintain the last phase with greater intensities (every day) or say, (twice a week) etc.?   I do however keep the same number of repetitions, correct?

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     In my forty week program, pitchers train every day for two hundred and eighty consecutive days and, then, every day thereafter as long as they want to pitch competitively.   The same is true for your situation.   You continue at the same number of repetitions and same amount of weight every day for as long as you want to pitch competitively.   You can reduce the repetitions to a minimum level on days when you are going to pitch competitively, but, otherwise, every day.   The only difference between what you are doing and what I do down here is you have to stop after the first two weeks of the program while I guide the pitchers through the five training cycles that follow the first two weeks.

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82.   I know muscle soreness is usually considered normal after a complete game.   My 12 year old regularly develops sore muscles BEHIND his throwing shoulder including the latissimus dorsi and back muscles on the throwing side.   He also experiences soreness in his right buttocks.

     He has never experienced pain in the elbow or the front of the shoulder.

     Is this indicative of mechanical problems and if so do you have any suggestions?   My concern is this: I believe muscles only contract.   How then do the back muscles including latissimus dorsi and the rear deltoids get sore from pitching?   These muscles appear to be for pulling the arm down and/or back, the opposite of throwing a pitch isn't it?


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     The muscles on the front of the body are accelerator muscles.   The muscles on the back of the body are decelerator muscles.   When muscles become sore after use, it means that the activity exceeded their ability to perform.   It does not necessarily mean that the soreness indicates injury.   Your son exceeded the physiological limits of his decelerator muscles.

     The latissimus dorsi muscle proximally attaches to the humerus and the inferior angle of the scapula.   It has to decelerate the forward movement of the scapula and the humerus.   It is a big, powerful muscle and it can do this without injury.   The latissimus dorsi muscle distally attaches to the spinal column and the posterior crest of the hip.   It does not attach to the buttocks.   That is probably a hip extensor muscle, one of the gluteals.   In any case, I am not concerned about any of this discomfort.

     I would have great concern if he experienced discomfort on the medial aspect of the elbow and on the front of his shoulder.   That does not mean that discomfort in these areas indicate injury.   These areas also have to have the training effect that requires exceeding physiological limits.   However, I would have to see the force application technique to determine whether it were positive training discomfort or negative improper force application potential injury discomfort.   But, since he does not have any discomfort in these areas, all is good.

     You are correct that all muscles do is contract.   They do not exert force in any other way.   You need to reread my discussion of plioanglos joint action.   The muscles that decelerate the scapula, humerus, ulna and so on start their contractions immediately after the muscles that accelerate the scapula, humerus, ulna and so on complete their actions.   This means that the scapula, humerus, ulna and so on are rocketing forward when the decelerator muscles start contracting.   That means that the decelerator muscles are lengthening due to the ballistic movements of the bones to which they attach.   Nevertheless, it is critical that these muscles overcome this ballistic flight of these bones and safely decelerate them to stops before the ligaments that hold these bones together tear apart.   The contraction of decelerator muscles initially slow the forward flight of the bones to stops and, after they stop the bones, they continue to contract and recovery the bones back toward the body in preparation for baseballs hit back at the pitchers.

     All muscles have opposite muscles.   Kinesiologists refer to these muscles as antagonist muscles.   All muscles are antagonist muscles for some movement.   Without antagonists muscles, if we were in outer space without gravity, we could not recover from some movements and our limbs would forever be stuck in the final agonistic movement.

     You son accelerated faster than the decelerators could safely decelerate without discomfort.   If he continues, the decelerators will make a physiological adjustment and safely decelerate without discomfort.

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83.   My 11-year-old son pitched on Saturday, April 29, I prepared him to join his teams' pre-game warm-up by doing our standard at-home routine: arm circles, shoulder and elbow stretches, and flexible tubing.   He threw 61 pitches over 4 innings against a very strong team (we lost our first match-up), allowed 2 unearned runs, no walks, struck out a bunch (I don't count how many--I have always told him that a perfect inning is 3 pitches).   As a batter he went 2-for-3, 4 RBI's, and walked twice.   In other words, he had a typical day for an "advanced skeletal maturer" with an extra dose of God-given talent.   However, I did not want him to pitch this game after reading "Coaching Adolescent Pitchers."

     I thought of talking to his manager after the game about withdrawing him from competitive pitching.   (I am not a coach on the team.)   I was in a real quandary after reading your summary of Dr. Adams' research.   Then again, the only reason I started studying pitching was to learn how to protect my son from injury.   So, the day before I received your e-mail of Sunday, April 30 (which stated emphatically, "I would not permit my son to pitch competitively until his pitching elbow growth plates have ossified.   One pitch and he will never achieve his full potential"), I resolved that I should withdraw him from competitive pitching.

     Well, we beat that team soundly and the manager was elated.   He bought the whole team meals afterward for the first time, and said he will do so every time they win.   The timing for my announcement would not have been right.

     The team had a practice the following day, Sunday.   Just before going to practice, I received your e-mail, which, especially as quoted above, really cemented my resolve to pull my son from competitive pitching.   However, remember, he is the ace, and our team has no other consistent starters, and we are in mid-season.   The team just started winning: 2 in a row after going 1-for-7 (the coaches were trying to turn their sons into starters first); and the manager happily told me after the Saturday victory that he finally figured out the best configuration for the team.   I resolved that I would offer to allow my son to pitch one inning per game, 25 pitches maximum, with at least one day of rest.

     My son and I did our personal exercise routine and then left for the Sunday practice.   I didn't want to give him this news.   I knew he would be severely disappointed and likely to become very upset.   I met him in the outfield at the beginning of practice to have the talk.

     His reaction didn't surprise me.   I understood.   When I offered to allow one inning per game, he said that he would not use him.   I said that I prefer it that way, which may have surprised him, although earlier in the conversation I stated that I do not want him to pitch anymore, but offered, as I said, one inning per game.   I also told him that I do not want my son to pitch in the Memorial Day tournament or All Stars.   He told me that he probably would not make the "A" team if he were not allowed to pitch.   I said, "Okay," which seemed to surprise him again.

     The managers met tonight, Tuesday, to pick the teams.   I will find out my son's fate tomorrow.   But that is beside the point, which is that my son's future is more important than assuming the substantial risks asserted by Dr. Adams.

     I have taken you and Dr. Adams very seriously, and am relying on your assessment of the current integrity of his results: "Dr. Adams' research is undisputed."   My son is sad.   I am sad.   But, as I said before, "I would rather, with God's help, experience discomfort than suffer the consequence of not knowing or denying the truth."   I would add to that, "or suffer the consequences of not acting on the truth."

     Now I am beginning an investigation.   I want to test my newfound belief.   I will obtain a copy of Dr. Adams' research and submit it for comment to several sports medicine orthopedic surgeons, including Dr. James Andrews of ASMI, and to Web sites with pitching forums.   I hope someone can change my mind.

     I will try to tape a game pitched by your student, Jeff Sparks of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.   I think my chances of catching one over my antenna are very slim.   I am not a cable subscriber, though I do subscribe to one satellite channel, and otherwise try to stay away from the current television culture.   But I sure wish I could get ESPN without subjecting my family to their degrading women-are-sport-objects commercials!   Sure wish I could see your technique in action.


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     How do we keep them down on the farm after they see Paris?   I understand how disappointed your son feels.   Pitching is fun.   I loved it for over forty years.   In a way, I was lucky to have another young man who was one year older than me in my small northern community.   He pitched until I was a senior in high school.   I pitched infrequently and for only a couple of months during the short baseball season.   He was good.   Unfortunately, even though he pitched college baseball and made it briefly to the major leagues, the pitching arm troubles he suffered from too much adolescent pitching that never prevented him from pitching as an adolescent caught up with him and ended his promising career.

     I agree with your decision.   I would make the same decision.   You should get bi-lateral X-rays of his elbows to determine how open his growth plates are and whether the pitching elbow appears more closed than his non-pitching arm.   You should get an X-ray of his hand and wrist to determine his skeletal age.   You will probably have to learn how to do this yourself.   A Greulich and Pyle Atlas will teach you and your son how to do this.

     You son should continue to learn the complex motor skills of throwing all types of pitches.   When his growth plates mature, he should be well advanced of the other pitchers who pitched, but learned these skills.   Then, he can start on the mild weight training program that I suggest in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     I was very disappointed in the attitude of the coach, trying to blackmail you into letting your son pitch.   He has his priorities confused.   The competition should be for joy, not winning.   He is precisely the type of person who should not be involved in youth sports.

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84.   You have been very generous with your time and responses.   I am concerned that I may be taking up too much of your pro bono allotment.   When I do make a more thorough pass through your texts, I hope I can return the favor by suggesting additional corrections or clarifications.

     Your suggestion to obtain x-rays is precisely what I was planning to do.   Thanks for the confirmation.

     Please advise on the typical procedure for obtaining x-rays for this purpose.   Is there an inexpensive way of accomplishing it?   I don't suppose I can get my insurance to pay for them for the sake of satisfying my curiosity.   If I will have to interpret his hand and wrist x-rays, should I just try to get the bilateral elbow x-rays and attempt to interpret them too?   Can a consumer go directly to a radiologist?   Perhaps I will need a local sports medicine orthopedist to validly interpret the elbow x-rays.   Please advise.

     This turn of events for my son has significance beyond merely withdrawing him from competitive pitching.   I was planning on seeking work as a volunteer pitching coach at one of the area Catholic high schools while developing a career as a paid pitching instructor for kids as young as 8 or 9.   I would love to do that.   I have spent nearly a year studying pitching on a daily basis -- practically full-time.   Now, how do I reconcile that objective with the belief that competitive pitching should not occur until the medial epicondyle growth plate closes around sixteen years of age?   How many parents would want to have their sons taking lessons while being advised not to pitch competitively?   I am morally obligated to disclose such significant information just as you have done so in your text.


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     I am sorry to report that I know of very few radiologists who would even understand your question about how to assess the skeletal age of an adolescent male from his hand/wrist X-rays.   You will first have to find a copy of the Greulich and Pyle Radiographic Atlas.   It teaches you how to do this.   I have no information on the expense involved.   While at Michigan State, I had the medical center do this for me as part of a research project and I did the evaluations.

     I would hope that all parents would understand the unnecessary risk of competitive pitching while someone trains their sons and daughters on the proper force application techniques for pitching.   I do not see a conflict.   Youngsters should learn the skills for when their skeletons have matured to withstand the stresses without harm.   I want everybody to enjoy baseball pitching.   I have recommended how they can do this.   All it requires is putting the needs of the youngsters ahead of the adults.   That should be simple.   Adults should not live through their youngsters, but show the youngsters how to get the most out of life.

     You cannot exceed your pro bono help.

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85.   If I understand you correctly, it sounds like maybe my son is not throwing enough to get the deceleration muscles to adapt.   I have limited his throwing (pitching) so he does not develop any overuse problems that will hurt him in high school and college, if he wants to play that long.

     A typical week for my son is:
Sunday-Game, 90 pitches or less plus infield position for 7 innings
Monday-no throwing at all.
Tuesday-play catch for about 10 minutes.
Wed-Game 45 pitches or less plus 2-3 innings at infield position
Thurs.-No throwing
Friday-Bullpen of 30 pitches
Sat. no throwing

     I know it is impossible to determine for an individual without measuring the variables you mention in your book, but what are your general feelings on the above schedule?

     How do you feel about weight training especially for the muscles in question?


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     If you have carefully read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question and Answer section, then you should know that I do NOT recommend competitive pitching until the growth plates in the elbow and shoulder have closed.   That occurs on average at about fifteen years of age.   Therefore, I could never endorse a pitching schedule for a twelve year old that includes competitive pitching.

     If your son did not pitch competitively, I still would not recommend that he practice his pitching skills for more than two months out of the year.   The danger and likelihood of premature growth plate closure and worse is too great and the lifetime benefit way to little.   In conclusion, I have no problem with twelve year olds practicing his pitching skills on your schedule or even more frequently during a two month period when the practice does not include competitive pitching.   The guide that I use is a strong squeeze of the medial epicondyle growth plate.   If the young man winces from discomfort from an enflamed growth plate, then he stops throwing.   If he does not, then he can continue to practice.

     I recommend that you review Chapter 8 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   I also recommend Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 25 and 26.   We have to make certain that youth sports provide for a lifetime of joy, not temporary joy followed by a lifetime of what ifs.

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86.   My 16 year old son has been pitching for about 4 years now.   Just this spring he has been experiencing pain when he pitches.   The pain is just above his elbow on the inside of his tricep and about 2 inches above.

     We went to an orthopedic, he said it was valgus overload, he prescribed as anti-inflamatory and 2 weeks rest.   He has done this and after about 3 days of throwing and some pitching batting practice the pain has started to come back.   This has bothered him all spring, could it be that he has not thrown enough and his arm is just out of shape or is this more serious than that or maybe his mechanics are flawed.   His the coach thinks his mechanics are pretty good except he apparantly opens up to soon and seems to be flailing.   The doctor kind of explained what valgus overload was, but I guess I don't really understand.


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     Two inches above the elbow medial to his Triceps Brachii probably indicates the Brachialis muscle.   The Brachialis muscle lies under the Biceps Brachii and attaches to the coranoid process of the ulna.   The Brachialis muscle flexes the elbow.   When pitching, pitchers can unnecessarily stress the Brachialis when they have forearm flyout.   Forearm flyout is a result of pitchers taking the baseball too far laterally behind their body from the straight line from the pitching rubber to home plate.

     For the sake of this discussion, I will assume that your son is a right-handed pitcher.   During his transition, he takes the baseball too far toward first base.   Then, when he starts accelerating the baseball toward home plate, he first has to take the baseball toward third base.   Consequently, at some point, when the baseball moves to the right side of his body, he has to redirect the baseball toward home plate.   However, the baseball has considerable momentum toward third base.   While his upper arm starts to drive the baseball toward home plate, his forearm continues moving toward third base and his Brachialis muscle contracts to stop his forearm.

     This places enormous unnecessary stress on his Brachialis.   It also prevents the Triceps Brachii from extending his elbow to drive the baseball toward home plate.   While this technique causes discomfort in the Brachialis and decreases the velocity and control of pitches, it is rarely debilitating.   He only needs to correct his technique.   He has to learn to take the baseball toward second base during his transition, rather than first base.   In this way, he will not have to involve his Brachialis to stop the baseball from moving toward third base.

     I believe that my technique instructions explain this very well.   However, this is one of many areas where I disagree with conventional pitching technique.   I do not believe in reverse rotating the body such that pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body.   You should stand behind your son and make certain that from leverage through release, he drives the baseball in straight lines toward home plate.

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87.   It is an honor to visit with you today.   You were always one of my favorite pitchers, except when you pitched against my Cardinals.   I am a pitching instructor, humbled when I read your material.   I live in St. Louis.

     I agree that kids are pitching too young.   Al Hrabosky, the former major league pitcher, constantly preaches the same gospel on his radio show.   However, kids are pitching at 9, 10, 11.   If they must pitch, I try to help them learn the correct way.   I also find my self in a constant battle with coaches over pitching these kids too much.   I have an 9 year old student who last weekend threw 66 pitches on Friday, and came back to throw 3 innings (pitches were not counted) on Sunday.   This is insane.

     I am very frustrated.   I need your help.   I tried to get this idea out through a talk show that is on the same radio station where Al Hrabosky works, (it was not his show).   The host laughed at the idea of a pitch count for 9 year olds.   Callers blasted my idea that 66 pitches were too much.   Give me your idea on pitch counts.   I won't blame you if you don't approach the subject because kids shouldn't pitch at that age.   But if they will pitch, can you help me set some guideline?   How many pitches, how many days off between pitching appearances.

     Also, where exactly is the elbow epiphyses.


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     I commend your efforts to protect the young adolescent arm.   However, I could never endorse competitive pitching before the growth plates in the pitching arm have completely ossified. Adolescents skeletally mature at different rates.   When growth plates are very open as with very young pitchers, the pliability of the tissue protects the youngsters from serious damage, but the stress may trigger accelerated closure.   When growth plates are nearly closed as with older adolescents of thirteen to fifteen years old, the stress can shatter the ossification center or pull it away from the shaft of the bone.   There is no way to predict.

     I suggest that you read Chapter eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   Learn the statistics that Dr. Adams found in his subjects.   It is not a laughing matter.   If parents understand that ninety-five percent of the pitchers in his study suffered varying degrees of growth plate damage and I will bet that the five percent that did not, did not pitch very much, then they will choose the correct action.

     Young pitchers should learn the correct way to apply force to their pitches and throw all types of pitches.   They should not pitch competitively.   Throwing fastballs will ruin their pitching arms just like throwing any pitch.   For them to throw curves does not place them in greater danger than throwing fastballs.

     The elbow has six epiphyses or growth plates.   I cover them completely in Chapter Six.

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88.   My question relates to my 13 year old son.   He has been pitching for little league since he was nine.   When he was 12 (during the off season,december) he fell and dislocated his left pitching elbow.   He received therapy for approximately four months.   Four months after this, he resumed his pitching after therapy and had an up and down year.   We are currently starting a new year. He still has pain occassionally.   Some games he can pitch quickly and accurately no problem, while other days he is in quite a lot of pain, which obviously hinders his pitching.   What should I be doing now.   I would hate to see his career end so soon.   His potential I believe is rather good considering he is still one of the best pitchers in our league even with an injury.   What do you recommend?

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     I cannot be certain that the discomfort that your son now experiences relates to the dislocation.   It is common for adolescents with open growth plates to experience discomfort.   If you read Chapter Eight of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, you will learn that pitching even with perfect force application techniques damages the growth plates of adolescent pitchers to some degree. I would suspect that that is what is happening to your son.

     The remedy is to stop pitching competitively until his growth plates have ossified.   He should practice for no more than two months a year to learn how to throw the pitches he will need as a skeletal adult, but wait until then to pitch in games.

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89.   Thanks again and what you say certainly makes sense.   I'll read the book again (I thought I read what was available.)   I take it, you do not like the idea of a 12 year old using resistance training to strengthen throwing muscles that are sore.
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     The research shows that mildly stressing all physiological systems during adolescence helps youngsters respond to these stresses when they become adults.   Therefore, I believe in mildly stressing the cardiovascular system with long distance running for brief periods, such as two months.   I believe in mildly stressing the skeletal system with resistance training for specific activities of the same brief periods.   I believe in exposing youngsters to a wide variety of sport and recreational activities that stress and educate them.   However, I do not believe in youngsters devoting all energy to one activity.   Therein lies the danger.   Parents should provide the opportunity for dozens of activities for short durations throughout their children's youth.   After the skeleton matures, then the young adults can choose to focus on the activities that appeal to them.

     Youngsters do not participate in sports to win, they participate to have fun.   Let them find the fun in dozens of sports and recreational activities.

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90.   Do you currently offer pitching lessons?   I am looking for someone to work with my son.

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     For the last sixteen years, I have occasionally trained young men who were sons of friends of mine or with whom I had worked as a college coach.   I have required that they commit to forty weeks.   I have trained them in my backyard on my equipment and never charged them for my coaching services.   However, I am receiving inquires such as yours and I enjoy helping young men achieve their dreams.   Therefore, I am working on setting up a way that I can help others.

     The only way that I can do this is to purchase other property and build my facilities elsewhere.   That requires money and requires that I charge for my services.   I have not secured the ability to do this as yet.

     Because you asked whether I offer pitching lessons, I suspect that your youngster is too young for my services.   I do not and never will work with anybody with open growth plates.   That means nobody less than sixteen years of age.   I will offer four weeks of training during June and another four weeks during July for to be Juniors and Seniors.

     When I do secure the ability to offer my coaching services, I will post it on my web site.   If your son meets my criteria, then please contact me.

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91.   I have started the two week program.   I feel as though I am 'slinging' the wrist weights and iron ball during the easy leverage and power leverage throws.   I really do not feel much going on with my arm.   Is this normal?

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     It sounds as though the wrist weights may be too light for you.   My instructions say to start with ten pounds.   For someone in their twenties, ten pounds is too light.   You should increase the wrist weights to fifteen pounds.   However, you must take great care to gently practice the proper techniques and drive your forearm vertically through release.

     I now call the easy leverage throws, the force-coupling throws.   I hope that you have read Chapter 24 in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   If not, please do so immediately and make certain that you achieve the goals for these exercises.

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92.   Thank you for the time you take to respond to my questions.   I suspect you are a busy man.

     I agree with your idea that sports should be fun.   BUT, in our culture, (I think it is an American trait, but perhaps more so in SoCal), when kids get to be 12-14 years old, something kicks in and the competitive spirit becomes part of their character.   More for some than for others obviously.

     After I reached 11 or 12, I did not enjoy losing.   I played 3 sports; baseball, football and basketball.   Worse for me however, was having a poor personal performance.   If my team won, but I played poorly, I was not a happy guy.   If my team lost, but I played well, the loss didn't bother me so much.

     American culture is one of striving for improvement, for excellence, to be the best.   Doctors say it is a trait that is killing us in middle age from the competitive stress of life.   I don't know much about that, but I do recognize what seems to be a normal trait for people both young and old; most compete in the sports they enjoy; and most people enjoy the sports in which they have at least some level of success with their peers.

     What you assert (I think correctly) is best for our kids both emotionally and physically is in conflict with the culture we live in today.   When I played ball in SoCal, I never even heard of travel ball, winter league, club ball, etc.   When baseball was over I played football.   I played basketball when football was over.   Then back to baseball.   I enjoyed myself because I was able to successfully compete against good competition.   I couldn't do that today.   My kids and the kids they compete with are SO much better than I was at their age it's scary.

     Todays youth rarely are such gifted athletes that they can successfully compete against the good competition unless they specialize.   Why?   Because so many kids play only one or two sports year round.   As I have argued, most kids, most people, do not enjoy a sport in which they are consistently unsuccessful.   Consequently, more and more kids specialize at younger and younger ages.   The process feeds on a culture which expects, almost demands, success and improvement.

     You make a good point that has been made by many recently.   To fix the problem without destroying a key component of a culture that has arguably created the greatest nation in history, will take generation changes in small incremental steps.   Something I will not see in my lifetime, and frankly, may not even be possible.

     Thanks for reading.


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     We must teach our childred to strive to be the best that they can be, not the best.   Only one can succeed when we all strive to be the best, but we all can succeed when we all strive to be the best that we can be.   When everyone is the best that they can be, everything will be fine.

     The people who sponsor youth sport programs have to put the needs of all children before anything else.   Youth pitching harms pitching arms.   Therefore, we must make certain that we change the game so youngsters gain the benefits without the harm.   I support equated youth competition.   I have made my suggestions in Chapter 26 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     What parents do with their sons and daughters is for them to decide when they have all the information.   I choose not to permit my son or daughter to pitch competitively until their growth plates have matured.

     I also think that youth sport programs have to account for maturation rates.   It is not fair and, hence, damaging to all involved to have physiological aged fourteen year olds competing against physiological aged ten year olds even though they are all chronologically twelve years olds.   It gives a false self-image to the early maturers and falsely discourages the delayed maturers.   We must not support competitions that do not reward skill and strategy development.

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93.   I am a 15 year old pitcher who needs a lot of help.   Last year I began feeling pain on the inside of my elbow (medial).   The pain really started when I was 12 but went away after 2 months on it's own).   When I went to the doctor they took X-Rays and found bone-chips in my elbow.   I was told to take advil (anti-inflamitory) and to stop throwing.   I also went on a rehab program. (mostly for a torn tendon in my forearm)   The fracture in my elbow had to heal by itself.

     It's been about 4 1/2 months since I started rehab.   I began throwing a couple of weeks ago.   I was told to start slow and not throw full speed for the first week.   I waited 1 week and 3 days to start throwing full speed again.   Now my arm is hurt again and probably need surgery.   I will do anything to be able to throw ever again.   Because from what I know, if this is a growth plate injury I'm done.

     What can I do to get throwing again?

PS:   The doctors said this was an overuse injury.


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     To doctors, everything is an overuse injury.   Unfortunately, with regard to adolescent pitching, they are probably correct.   The adolescent elbow cannot withstand extended periods of baseball pitching without varying degrees of damage.

     The inside of your elbow indicates the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone to which attaches five primary baseball pitching muscles.   In much the same way that the four quadricep muscles pull on the tibial tuberosity to cause Osgood Schlatter's disease, these five muscles pull on the medial epicondyle to cause Little League elbow.   The cure for Osgood Schlatters is rest as it is for Little League elbow.

     I do not know the extent of the damage to your medial epicondyle or if your growth plate has matured.   You need to know the answers to these questions before you continue.   You need bi-lateral X-rays of your elbows and an expert should compare your pitching medial epicondyle with your non-pitching medial epicondyle.   I await your report for further instructions.

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94.   Thanks for your reply.   I was just wondering should my son still throw and work on his mechanics when his arm is a little sore ( same area top of elbow at inside tricep )or should he rest it.   The coach would like to pitch him a little this Wednesday ( May 10 ), but I'm concerned that it is not a good idea.

     My son agrees with you about what you described as forearm flyout and is trying to correct this.   His arm felt real good Saturday ( May 6).   He got to pitch one inning in a playoff game, after he came out he said his arm felt fine.   Then on Monday, ( May 8 ) after a little bit of throwing at practice his arm pain returned ( same spot ).   I guess what I'm after is this, what should he be doing - rest, throwing, light pitching, and so on.


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     The difficulty I have in advising you is determining whether the discomfort is due to improper force application techniques or to the inability of the pitching muscles to withstand the stress of pitching.   In general, rest never cures pitching discomfort.   However, if he is incorrectly applying force, then we do not want to make the situation worse.

     The description, 'top of elbow at inside tricep,' is not anatomical and requires that I guess at where you mean.   Anatomical position is where the palm faces forward with the thumb to the outside.   If your son stands in this position, either with his pitching arm hanging at his side or horizontal out forward, is the discomfort on the inside of the elbow?   When you say, 'top of elbow,' do you mean above the olecranon process of the elbow?

     I suspect that you mean on the medial epicondyle of the humerus.   That could involve the pronator teres, the flexor carpi radialis, the palmaris longus, the flexor carpi ulnaris and/or the flexor digitorum superficialis.   I suspect the flexor digitorum superficialis.   Because your son is sixteen years old, I am not concerned about his medial epicondyle growth plate.   Therefore, I am not overly concerned with this discomfort.   If what I have diagnosed is the case, then I would have your son continue to work on correcting his force application technique.

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95.   I read the chapter on your ideas for youth baseball rules designed to protect skeletal development.

     I have written letters to Little League and Pony Baseball in my effort to protect pitchers.   The ideas I have proposed primarily do three things:   1.) Limit the number of pitches regardless of innings.   2.) Fastball and change ups are the only two legal pitches.   3.) Create divisions based on age, height, weight, and ability, much in the same way most youth football leagues do today.

     As you may have guessed these ideas have fallen on deaf ears not only at the national level but at the local level as well.   Baseball is slow to change as you know better than most.

     Question: I have heard of some studies that suggest that MOST good athletes develop their skills at young ages.   The studies (I've never read them, only read discussions about them) suggest that the neuromuscular system may need to be "wired" prior to a certain age (specific to athletic skills) or else the individual may never develop the neuro "connections" necessary for advanced skill levels.

     Have you heard of this idea and what are your thoughts in re: to your relatively strict limitations on youth baseball?


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     Until the growth plates in the adolescent pitching arm have matured, any type of pitch or number of pitches thrown competitively will result in some degree of unnecessary damage.   I have to stand by my recommendations for youth baseball that I made in Chapter 26 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     With regard to categorizing the participants, as my doctoral dissertation showed, age, height and weight do not account sufficiently for physiological maturation as to fairly classify.   Further, if this were youth wrestling, then it would make sense to me.   Otherwise, I believe that the proper course of action is to minimize that advantage of early maturation and maximize the effect of performing the skills and strategies of the sports.

     Those in youth sports who refuse to recognize the potential for harm, either physical or emotional, are involved for the wrong reasons.   They must be removed.   My position is that I provide the information to the parents and permit them to decide what is best for their children.   I could not live with myself if I chose to permit my son or daughter to pitch and he or she irreparably injured his or her medial epicondyle growth plate.   Especially when I know that he or she could learn everything required to be successful as a high school, college and/or professional pitcher during adolescence without competitive youth baseball pitching and after his or her medial epicondyle growth plate matured.

     I agree with the studies that children learn motor skills easiest earlier in their lives.   I never have said that we should not teach all motor skills to our children as early as they are receptive.   I will teach ten year olds how to throw all pitches.   However, I will not permit them to practice these pitching skills for more than two month per year and I will not permit them to pitch competitively against hitters in baseball games.   I would permit them to pitch to catchers with umpires calling balls and strikes without regard to velocity and make that a competition.   We must protect our youth pitchers against exceeding their physiological limits, but still teach them the proper force application techniques.

     I love pitching.   However, I also enjoy fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, and so on.   I recommend that parents fill their pre-medial epicondyle maturation years with dozens of activities and experiences.

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96.   I AM USING THE TEN POUND WRIST WEIGHTS ON BOTH MY NON-PITCHING ARM AS WELL AS MY PITCHING ARM.   DO I WEAR THE WW ON BOTH WRISTS OR JUST MY PITCHING ARM?

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     Whenever possible, persons should train bi-laterally to avoid training scoliosis, an excessive curvature of the spinal column.   Therefore, I have my pitchers train with wrist weights on both wrist.

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97.   WHEN MY FOREARM IS IN THE HORIZONTAL POSITION DURING THE THROWS DOES MY FOREARM CHANGE TO A VERTICAL POSITION WHEN I BEGIN THE FOREARM ACCELERATION.   YOU SORT OF LOST ME WHEN YOU SAID TO DRIVE THE FOREARM VERTICAL THROUGH RELEASE.

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     At leverage, pitchers should have their pitching forearms horizontal to the ground.   During the forearm acceleration phase as pitchers drive through release, they must move their horizontal forearms upward to and through vertical over their elbows in order to throw.   It is critical that the forearm drive through release while vertical, not horizontal.   If your forearm goes horizontal through release, then you have 'flyout' and will injure your arm.   This is a critical point.

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98.   MY THERAPIST WANTS ME TO DO A STRETCH, AND I DONT KNOW IF IT WOULD BE ADVISABLE, I WILL DO MY BEST TO DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.   MY PITCHING ARM WOULD BE BEHIND MY BACK, AND MY NON-PTCHING ARM WOULD BE HOLDING A (TOWEL, BAT, CANE, ETC.) ABOVE MY HEAD HANGING DOWNWARDS BEHIND MY BACK.   I WOULD THEN GRASP THE TOWEL WITH MY PITCHING ARM AND PROCEED TO PULL UPWARDS WITH MY NON-PITCHING ARM TO STRETCH THE PITCHING ARM; SHOULDER (FRONT DELTOID).   I TOLD MY THERAPIST I WOULD CHECK WITH YOU FIRST, TO SEE WHAT YOU THOUGHT.

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     In Chapter 14 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I present a brief discussion on 'stretching.'   'Stretching' does not stretch anything.   However, if you are controlling the amount of stress that your muscles receive, then you will probably not injure yourself.

     The 'stretch' that you describe will stress the anterior ligaments of your pitching shoulder.   I would prefer not to pull on these ligaments.   However, you can fake it if it is important to you to placate your therapist.

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99.   Thanks for the reply to my question.   I would also be interested in what your opinion is on younger kids in general.   My son is 9 years old, and has been pitching for a couple of years now.   Do you think kids today throw too much, or not enough?   How much throwing should he be doing at this age?

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     At nine years old, the growth plates of the pitching arm are very wide open and some ossification centers have not yet appeared.   This is a double edged problem. On the good side, the bones are more pliable and less prone to serious injury, such as pulling away from the shaft of the bone.   On the bad side, excessive stress can cause growth deformations.

     In general, the advice I give for all ages until the growth plates mature is that youngsters should experience a broad base of activities and learn a broad base of motor skills.   I do not consider only sport activities, I include recreational activities.   I would not permit youngsters to practice the motor skills of a single sport for longer than two months per year.   I would not permit youngsters to practice similar motor skills back to back.   For example, I would not have them learn baseball pitching, followed by tennis serving.   I would rest growth plates with at least two months of inactivity.   Go swim.   Go camp.   Go fish.   Shoot baskets.   Tumble.   Wrestle.   And so on.

     After the growth plates mature leaves plenty of time to specialize.

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100.   I just think that to effect change in Little League and other organized youth baseball programs, small incremental steps toward the goal may be the only way.   Back in the 60's when I played Little League.   The big thing was inning limitations.   I think the rule was implemented more to make the teams more competitive than it was to protect pitchers.

     For example, in youth fastpitch softball leagues today, the overwhelming consensus of opinion is that pitchers suffer little or no risk of injury (even if they pitched everyday!), because the underhand motion places no stress on the arm like overhand pitching will.   Yet recreation leagues throughout the country place pitching limits very similar to Little League's limits, not to protect pitchers, but to force coaches to use someone other than their best pitcher every game.

     Pony League will now say that they "discourage" pitchers from throwing breaking balls.   But I certainly get the message that youth baseball has gone as far as it intends to go with rules to protect pitchers.   As far as I know, the idea of counting pitches is still only an informal discussion matter.

     I certainly share your concern.   As I may have mentioned earlier, I had surgery at 17 to remove 3 bone chips from my pitching elbow.   I never regained full motion in my arm.   In fact it was Dr. Jobe who told me I would never make it as a starting pitcher, regardless of talent, because my elbow was in such bad shape.   "You might have few years as a relief pitcher" were his exact words.   Not what a 17 year old kid who loved to pitch wanted to hear that day.

     But, is there a middle ground?   Can the risks be minimized or at least significantly reduced, while still allowing these kids to play the game they love?   What one or two goals should one work toward, short of eliminating youth pitching in games, (I might run into a bullet if I tried to push that!) that you would consider the most important or have the greatest impact on protecting youth pitchers?

     I understand that may not be a fair question, but as I have said before, if incremental steps can prove successful at the local level, then perhaps they will be considered acceptable some day at the national level.


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     I do not address the sponsors of Little League Baseball, Inc.   I address parents.   Parents decide what is best for their children.   I try to present the facts to the parents. I cannot predict what amount of pitching will permanently destroy a youngster's pitching arm.   Therefore, I recommend no competitive pitching at all.   I recommend practicing the pitching motor skills for no more than two months per year.   There is plenty of time after the growth plates mature for the youngsters to pitch competitively without the concern for skeletal growth and development damage.

     I recommend that concerned parents create their own competitions.   Certainly the parents of delayed maturing youngsters would welcome the opportunity for their children to learn the skills of baseball.   The parents of early maturing youngsters may have the mistaken notion that their highly successful eleven, twelve and thirteen year old will dominate as an adult, but they are wrong.   Early maturers succeed because of their larger size and greater strength, not skill.   These advantages will disappear and their youngsters will be left behind.   For their children to succeed long term, they should welcome a competition that emphasizes skill and strategy.

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101.   Another question please, and once again, thank you for your time.   You write in your answer To question 66, "To maximally apply force, the forearm of the pitching arm should drive from second base toward home plate.   This requires a vertical forearm".   At what point does the palm turn up and the forearm become vertical?

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     The vertical pendulum swing takes the pitching arm back to the downward forearm head pat position.   The palm faces forward during the vertical pendulum and downward at the downward forearm head pat position.   The next move is the critical stage of the throwing motion to get the pitching arm ready for the upper arm acceleration phase.   The palm moves from downward to the proper position for the type of pitch during the elbow raise.

     If pitchers are throwing fastballs, at leverage, the palm will face upward.   If pitchers are throwing breaking balls, at leverage, the palm will face inward.   If pitchers are throwing screwballs, at leverage, the palm will face outward.

     Two critical things happen during the elbow raise.   One, pitchers rotate the head of their humerus in the glenoid fossa such that the anatomical anterior surface of the humerus faces upward.   Two, pitchers raise their forearm with their upper arm such that, at leverage, both are horizontal to the ground.   This does not occur easily.   It requires considerable practice and training.   However, until pitchers can achieve this position at leverage, they can never apply their maximum force to their pitches.   If the forearm points to some degree upward at leverage, pitchers have lost that degree of force application.   Only a completely horizontal forearm at leverage enables pitchers to maximally apply force.

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102.   How many times have we heard the lament, "I wish I had all this knowledge when I was pitching."?   Thank you for loving the game enough to be willing to share all of your knowledge so generously with anyone willing to learn it.

1.   You write in your answer to question 54, "Turn their rear feet toward home plate on the pitching rubber and do not permit them to turn it."   Do you mean by this that throughout transition, leverage, and drive to the plate that the drive foot should be in a straight line, with the toe and heel aligned with home plate and 2nd?   If this is not what you mean, what do you mean?

2.   I have long pondered the value of Little League and actually any organized youth sports in regard to their detriment to the physical and psychological health of children as they relate to long-term participation and success in athletics - a lengthy, touchy subject no doubt.   My question is, however, since parents seem hell bent on keeping their kids on what they see as the road to fame and fortune in sports, do you have any thoughts on how we protect all the kids who play Little League from permanent arm damage?   Obviously, if the games are going to be played, somebody has to pitch.   And if pitching competitively is injurious at such a tender age, is not position throwing at the same age a precarious undertaking as well?


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     I use the position of the rear foot to prevent reverse rotation.   I do not want the baseball taken laterally behind the body.   On my Torque force application technique, I do not want the acromial line to go past the opposite side batter.   Therefore, I lock the rear foot of pitchers such that they point straight forward.   I suppose that some limber legged youngster could reverse rotate his acromial line beyond the opposite side batter, but it would be difficult and serve as a reminder to not do that.   On my Maxline force application technique, I permit youngsters to reverse rotate their acromial lines to point straight toward home plate.   Therefore, they get to place their rear foot at forty-five degrees from straight ahead.   The key is the amount of reverse rotation of the acromial line.

     I recommend that youngsters do not pitch competitively until their pitching arm growth plate mature.   I recommend that they learn the motor skills of pitching.   I recommend that they do not practice these motor skills for more than two months per year until their growth plates mature.   There is plenty of time after their growth plates mature for them to pitch competitively and gain the true benefits of competitive pitching without the permanent, irreparable damage.   I provide information to parents.   What they do with that information, they have to live with the rest of their lives.   I would never permit my youngster to pitch competitively.   But, I had the great fortune of having three daughters and I kept them busy with numerous activities beside pitching.

     For your information, while the stress on the medial epicondyle growth plate differs between baseball pitching and softball pitching, it is still present and does damage elbows.   However, two factors mitigate.   One, girls mature earlier than boys, such that their growth plates mature at younger ages.   Two, at present, youth softball for young women is not as intense for as long as for young men.   Nevertheless, I would like to see a research study that compares the non-pitching growth plates of adolescent female softball pitchers with their pitching growth plates.

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103.   I'm reading your response with ball in hand and trying to duplicate the motion you suggest.    I bring my arm back to the downward forearm head pat position.   I then raise my upper arm and forearm to the horizontal position, keeping my elbow ahead of the acromial line.   Without pronating or supinating my forearm, the palm of the hand holding the ball is on top of the ball, with the ball between my palm and the floor.   Yet you say, or so it seems you are saying, that at this point, if I'm throwing a fastball, the ball should be between my palm and the ceiling, i.e., for pitchers "throwing fastballs, at leverage, the palm will face upward."

     Holding firm to the belief that there are no stupid questions, only the ones you don't ask, am I missing something, or am I reading you correctly?


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     You have read correctly.   When throwing fastballs, at leverage, the palm will face upward.   Your question is how does the palm which faces downward at the downward forearm head pat position get to facing upward at leverage? The answer lies in what happens during the elbow raise.

     Between the downward forearm head pat position and leverage, pitchers make three adjustments.

1.   When pitchers raise their elbows, they rotate the head of their humerus in the glenoid fossa such that the anterior surface of the humerus moves from facing downward to facing upward.   I believe that this is the action with which you are having difficulty.

2.   At the same time, pitchers pronate, do nothing or supinate their forearm to position their forearm appropriate for the pitch selection.   For fastballs, pitchers want the palm to face upwardly, so they maintain the relative positions of the anterior surfaces of the upper arm and forearm.   They both face downward at the downward forearm head pat position and they both face upward at leverage.

3.   At the same time, pitchers flex the elbow joint such that the angle between the upper arm and forearm moves to ninety degrees at leverage.

     After forward hip, trunk and shoulder rotation moves the locked upper arm beyond the stride foot, pitchers start the forearm acceleration phase.   During the forearm acceleration phase, pitchers move their forearm from the horizontal position trailing the upper arm through vertical from which they drive forward through release with their acromial line again pointing almost toward home plate, but this time with the pitching shoulder out front.

     I hope that I did better this time. There are no stupid questions, only inadequate instructions and inadequate answers to earlier questions.

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104.   Actually, rotating the head of the humerus upward is quite easy.   It's just that I have never pitched that way so it seems awkward at first.   I also have never been conscious of keeping my elbow ahead of the acromial line.   I practiced over the weekend, using these two basic principals.   I threw batting practice to the local high school team, about 130 pitches.   I have never felt so at ease with my mechanics.   I felt like I could really unleash some power if I wanted to.   This is very exciting stuff, and as I wrote in my first email, how many times have we said that we wished we had this when we were younger?

     I am 50 yrs. old.   I have been pitching since I was 11.   I had an offer to turn pro at 18, pitched in college instead (a shoulder injury ended my career), still pitch in an old-timers league and have spent the last 25 years or so coaching (on and off) and studying whatever I could.   However, I firmly believe that one is never finished learning about baseball and my real interest here is my desire to be able to correctly show young pitchers how to pitch correctly.

     I coach a summer team of 15 - 19 yr. olds.   All of my players play either varsity or jv high school baseball.   There is presently one pitcher on the high school team who has fairly decent mechanics, but he complains about a sore elbow from time to time.   I haven't had enough time to work with him because he's had a tremendous amount of instruction from professionals and has kind of a hard shell to crack in terms of implanting new ideas.   But, I believe his elbow problems come from a lack of proper follow through, reminiscent of (in my layman's terms) your discussion of the deleterious effects of improper deceleration.

     There is not one other pitcher on the varsity who has one clue about proper pitching mechanics.   Unfortunately the coach doesn't either, but he thinks he does (like we ALL used to), and he is one of those coaches who is highly non-receptive to any idea he didn't pick up on his way to his present position as head coach.   Plus, there are only TWO OTHER PITCHERS!!! on a team which plays 3 nine-inning games a week, so you can imagine the overuse these 3 kids are experiencing.

     There are about 4 or 5 pitchers on the Junior Varsity team who the coach considers to be too inexperienced to pitch (translate - winning is all that matters), so they linger on a team whose coach has even less pitching knowledge and spends NO time (my son, who does not pitch, played for him last year and I watched most of the practices) teaching pitching, or anything else for that matter.   It is these 4 or 5 or 6 kids I will be working with this summer.   I hope to impart some of your knowledge to them during the summer and I hope to be able to work with some of them on the offseason.   I will continue to study your books and Q & A.   I look forward to any new developments which may occur.   I am working on putting together an on sight digital video package that will allow me to break down pitchers' mechanics frame by frame so I can show pitchers exactly where and why their mechanics need improvement.

     I won't say thank you every time I write, but I want you to know that I think you are providing a tremendous opportunity for coaches to learn their trade and I thank you for your generosity and your time.


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     I was happy to read that you learned how to properly complete the transition and place your arm correctly at leverage from which to drive toward home plate.   It is simple once pitchers try it.   I am always amazed at how complicated coaches and pitchers make the transition.   What is with this field goal position anyway?

     I wish that you had more precisely described where on the elbow the young man experienced discomfort.   If it is medial, then I doubt it is related to deceleration.   If it is lateral, then it is probably insufficient fitness and of little concern.   However, if it is posterior at the olecranon fossa and process, then we have problems.

     If it is posterior, he has to keep his elbow and point the humerus upward through the forearm acceleration phase.

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105.   Hello again.   Been awhile since I last wrote, but not since I last thought of the topic of withdrawing my 11-year-old son from pitching.

     I was just about to post a copy of Dr. Adams' survey on Setpro.com and Pitching.com.   I got permission from the publisher.   As I said in a previous e-mail: I plan to discuss some of your findings and assertions in the public forum.

     You need to correct your Question/Answer Page.   You have used the following Q&A numbers twice: #41, #64, #82 and #98.


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     Thank you for the number corrections.   It should be obvious that I do not have a professional doing my web site.   I will correct this immediately.

     I look forward to the posting of Dr. Adams' research and the turmoil that will follow.   I believe that a discussions of the facts, not emotion, will properly educate parents and, from that discussion, they can decide what is best for their youngster.

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106.   hAVE YOU DONE ANY RESEARCH ON THE SOFTBALL FASTPITCH MOTION?   iF YOU THINK THE OVER HAND MOTION IS NOT BEING TAUGHT WELL, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENCE BEHIND THE SOFTBALL MOTION.   i HAVE BEEN COACHING GIRLS FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS AND HAVE SEEN A VARIETY OF MOTIONS. tHEY SEEM TO BE ABLE TO THROW 150 -200 PITCHES A DAY WITH NO DELETERIOUS EFFECTS.

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     I have not conducted a high speed film analysis of softball pitching.   Therefore, my opinions are not valid.   Nevertheless, I suspect that the motion is not as destructive to the adolescent growth plates because the motion does not stress the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle in the same way as baseball pitching.

     One of the major difficulties in baseball pitching is stopping pitchers from taking the baseball laterally behind their body.   This action causes forearm flyout and results in tremendous unnecessary stress on the muscles of the medial epicondyle.   In softball pitching, with the windmill technique, pitchers take their arms vertically upward during their transition and drive their arms vertically downward and forward during their acceleration phases.   These vertical actions protect the muscles of the medial epicondyle from forearm flyout.

     That is what I recommend for baseball pitching, only in reverse.   I want a downward vertical pendulum start to their transition and an upward vertical forearm driving through release.

     While I can think of a couple of other reasons why the softball pitching motion is not as destructive to the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm, I suggest that the preceding is the most important.

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107.   I'M JUST TAKING A MOMENT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK ON YOUR WEB PAGE.   I AM NEW TO THE INTERNET AND I JUST CHECKED OUT YOUR PAGE FOR A FEW MINUTES, I WILL SPEND A LOT MORE TIME READING YOUR TEXT IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

     MY SON IS 11 YEARS OLD AND HAS BEEN PLAYING BASE BALL FOR 5 YEARS.   I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED COACHING AND MANAGING HIS TEAMS.   HE HAS PITCHED A LITTLE BUT I DONT KNOW HOW TO TEACH HIM PROPERLY, IT WILL HELP READING YOUR WORK I'M SURE.   I HAVE SEEN KIDS GET TOO SERIOUS AT A YOUNG AGE AND I WORRY ABOUT THEM BEING TOO COMPETITIVE TOO SOON.

     I HAVE LOVED BASEBALL SINCE ABOUT 1973 AND I HAVE FOLLOWED THE DODGERS EVER SINCE SO I HAVE MEMORIES OF YOUR PLAYING DAYS.   I HAVE BEEN A CATCHER FOR A LONG TIME IN LITTLE LEAGUE AND NOW IN ADULT 30 AND OVER SUNDAY LEAGUES SO I SHOULD KNOW PITCHING, BUT I DONT.   I THINK I'M GOING ON TOO LONG, SO I'LL SAY GOODBYE NOW.


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     Welcome! I look forward to your questions and comments.

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108.   Subject:   Picture are worth a thousand words!   I read your response to not having pictures in your books and am wondering if you could get a hold of a digital camera a post pictures on your web page.

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     I agree that a picture is worth a thousand words.   However, something that is worth doing is worth doing right.   In this case, my platitude tops your platitude.   I want to put forward first class materials and that means that I have to wait for professional illustrators and a publisher.   Nevertheless, I share your exasperation.

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109.   Thank you for making the numbering corrections to the Question/Answer Page.

     Perhaps you intended to place the age of "sixteen" in the following paragraph?

     From Q&A #85:   "If you have carefully read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and my Question and Answer section, then you should know that I do NOT recommend competitive pitching until the growth plates in the elbow and shoulder have closed. That occurs on average at about fifteen years of age...."

     You have used "sixteen" elsewhere in your texts.   Also, sixteen is the average age of "Union Sequence" as found in Chapter 6.b.

     I plan to post Dr. Adams survey and your recommendations for competitive pitching to the two forums this Friday.   I'll keep you posted with a link to the threads.   I figure you will not post replies on their sites precisely because they are their sites (professional courtesy), and because you have your own.   So, I will likely seek your response via additional e-mails, if such response is not already given in your Q&A.


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     You are correct about 'fifteen' versus 'sixteen'.   What I did was to take into account that youth sport sponsors group participants starting with odd years old.   For example, they have a league for thirteen and fourteen years old.   Therefore, I started at fifteen.   While fifteen year olds may have some slight opening remaining at the growth plate for their medial epicondyle, it is highly unlikely that they can cause any harm.   The greatest danger lies earlier of two different types of skeletal development abnormalities.

     I congratulate you on your posting of Dr. Adams' materials.   His research is thirty-six years old and nobody has followed up.   However, Little League Baseball, Inc. has shown no concern for the average of four participants dying from being struck in the heart with pitched baseballs, I doubt that they have any concern for growth plates.   It's director, Creighton Hale, a former professor whose research I use in Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to demonstrate that the competition is unfair and inappropriately rewards earlier maturation rather than skill development and strategy has shown his lack of interest in anything that jeopardizes his business.

     I look forward to any questions your posting might generate.   The proponents of adolescent competitive pitching succeed with lack of information.

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110.   I heard your interview on AM690 in Los Angeles.   You are the first one who has put an academic regimen to baseball.   Well, you and Bart Giamatti and his science director.   You explained that baseballs are not 'juiced', but its the hitters, bat speed and unimaginative pitching.

     Your philosophy on training pitchers caught my attention.   I have a physical education degree, but have had my classes in exercise physiology and biomechanics and understand your point on specificity of exercise.   I also have two teenage sons who are above average ball players and want to pursue pitching.   I am having a hard time finding a good baseball camp for them and I'm fishing for a recommendation on any you might know of that are good.   You would think living in Southern Cal there would be good camps.   They want to work at it and not play around.

     Great interview.   Not sure the host bought your 'new' philosophy.


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     Thank you for your kind comments. If you want to hear more, you need only to email me with your questions.   You could also telephone the radio station on which I spoke the other night and ask them to have me on again and tell them what you want them to ask me.   I get no money for those interviews, I only try to educate.

     I do not know whether major league baseballs are wound too tightly.   In 1973, we had a similar problem with baseball made in Haiti.   With our eyes closed and without knowledge of which was which, if we held our previous baseball in one hand and the Haiti baseball in the other, we could feel the difference.   When the seams are non-existent, non-fastball pitches do not move well.   That is a great advantage to hitters.   I understand that the seams are very low.

     I wish that I knew of any good baseball camps.   The only advice that I can give you is my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   Again, you can download the book without charge.

     I hope to offer four week pitching camps next June and July to to-be high school juniors and seniors.   I do not work with youngsters with open growth plates.   If you read my question/answer section, you will learn my opinion about competitive pitching by youngsters with open growth plates.

     As a fellow Exercise Physiologist and Biomechanist, I expect some great questions and counter-arguments to my theories.   I wrote my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books as guides to how we should write texts on how to perform all types of skills from simple to complex, from work-related to sports-related.   I would hope that young college students would re-examine what we believe about how to perform all motor skills.

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111.   I asked the young man specifically where the pain in the elbow is.   He pointed to the general area of the elbow and said "kind of all around".   I then asked him to point exactly to where the pain is coming from.   He pointed to the area directly above the olecranon process.   Your thoughts?   I know this is extremely difficult to do without actually seeing him pitch.

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     The area above the olecranon process involves the common triceps bracii tendon attachment to the olecranon process.   I think that he is more likely to have irritated his olecranon process and fossa by extending his elbow to a fully extended locked position.   Pitchers must never fully extend their elbow, they must always keep it slightly bent.   This is a technique problem.

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112.   My brother recently purchased pitching video and instructions from Dick Mills.   Are his instructions adequate.   I read that his high cock position has his throwing arm in an L positon with ball facing shortstop for right handed pitchers.   I am in the process of working my 10 year old to pitch and would like some good advice.

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     No.   The high cock position will cause shoulder bounce and injure the front of the shoulder.   At leverage, the pitching arm should be horizontal to the ground flexed at ninety degrees with the palm facing either inward, upward or outward depending on the type of pitch.   Please read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, especially Chapter 24.

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113.   My son graduates in 2001.   He is 17 right now.   Which book should he buy the adult or adolescent one or should he attend one of your sessions?

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     Your son should read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   It is free.   He can download it from my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I am sorry that I do not have illustrations, but I am seeking a publisher and illustrators.

     Next June and July, I plan to offer four weeks of training to high school students who will be Juniors and Seniors the following fall.   Next August, I plan to offer my forty week program to high school graduates and college students with at least two years of eligibility remaining.

     If you and/or he have questions when reading my book, please email me for answers.

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114.   My son is 17 years old and has been a pitcher since he was 6 or 7, although this year (11th grade) I guess his coach decided he wasn't needed so he sat the bench a lot.   This was very frustrating to him as he felt that he was as good or better than many kids who where playing every day.

     He would like to get some "one-on-one" instruction from a pitching coach to improve his velocity and/or get some advise on his mechanics.   He has always been very accurate, has a good curve, but feels he needs to get a much better fastball.   He wants to show his coach that he should have played him.

     Can you recommend any coaches/instructors in my area or tell me how I might go about finding one.


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     I am sorry, but I have no one who I could recommend.   I realize that self-teaching is difficult, but if he would read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, he might discover some new ideas and techniques.   I plan to open a training center next summer. As a high school graduate, your son would qualify to participate in my forty week training program that will start the third Sunday in August 2001.

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115.   I glanced at some of the e-mails that were sent, and I don't know if you covered the difference between boys and girls pitching (girls Fastpitch)? and if your recommend that no children pitch?

     Another question I have is that my daughter who will be turning 11 has an injury that has just surfaced, we have not seeked medical care, but we have been putting heat (Icy Hot) on it.   It seems that her shoulder (under the shoulder blade) hurts her and her arm feels dead.   She played this weekend and batted, but her bat felt heavy (she has been using the same bat for several months which is 30/20).

     Is there anything that I can do to help it? or some exercise to strengthen it?


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     I am unaware of any research study of damage to the growth plates of adolescent males or females as a result of fastpitch softball pitching.   I commented on the lack of lateral behind the body movement during fastpitch softball pitching as a positive for that skill.   I apologize for my lack of information about fastpitch softball.   I have the same concern for the growth plates as with baseball pitching during adolescence, but I have no science on which to stand to offer an opinion.   I never recommend that youngsters do not learn the skills of pitching, either baseball or fastpitch softball, I recommend that they do not practice these skills for extended time periods and that they do not pitch competitively.

     With regard to your daughter's discomfort under her scapula, I need more specific information.   Which scapula?   Precisely where under the scapula, under the inferior angle?, on the vertebral border?   What was she doing when this discomfort arose?

     In general, discomfort of any intensity that comes as a result of performing a specific motor skill indicates that that muscle could not tolerate the stress placed on it.   It could be appropriate stress applied in an intensity greater than the muscle is trained to tolerate or it could be stress from inappropriate technique.

     The muscles that attach to the scapula, either from the scapula to the humerus or from the thorax to the scapula operate during the deceleration phase.   A portion of the latissimus dorsi attaches to the inferior angle of the scapula to decelerate and recovery the scapula from moving either laterally around the rib cage away from the vertibral column or from moving superiorly over the rib cage.

     This is a powerful muscle that can withstand great forces.   Treatment should be ice.   Ice places directly on the effected area will increase blood flow as much as is possible with passive measures.   Deep muscle massage is also good.   However, the best way to get blood flow to this area which speeds the healing process is gentle, natural movement with the removal of muscle contraction products increasing the blood flow.

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116.   What do you think of Mike Step, a player on the Zephyrhills High School team.   I heard he's doing good.   Nice Q+A.

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     Even though I live in Zephyrhills. FL, I have no knowledge of Mike Step or the Zephyrhills High School baseball team.   Unless I am contacted, I have enough to do without seeking something else.   That does not mean that I do not wish him and the entire Z-hills team well and would not advise them if they were to ask.

     Thank you for the kind comment about my Question/Answer section.

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117.   My 15 yr old son tore his lat muscle while pitching 3 weeks ago.   It pulled his back out of shape and also swelled significantly.   The Dr. was concerned initially that he could have some rib damage until the bruising finally started showing up in his waistline.

     My question is:   What causes this type of injury?   Is it a possible mechanical flaw, overuse, possible weakness, or?   He initially strained it while throwing 108 pitches about a month before the last episode.   We had it treated for a few weeks and it seemed to be healed.   The last episode was really scary since his back was so far out of wack with the contraction of the muscle (almost like a hunchback on the right side).

     Any thoughts or help?   The Dr. says it could be 4-6 months before he is 100%, but we start a weight program with him next week.   I suppose that will be the determining factor.


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     The latissimus dorsi muscle operates across the shoulder joint with its attachment to the medial side of the bicipital groove and across the shoulder girdle with its attachment to the inferior angle of the scapula.   It sounds as though he injured the shoulder girdle portion where it attaches to the posterior/superior aspect of the hip.

     The latissimus dorsi muscle decelerates the scapula and humerus.   The cause was weakness due to the preceding injury.   The fact that he uses this muscle to decelerate his pitching arm is a good sign for his force application technique.   He needs to gently start training his scapula depressors with pull-ups or similar activities.   Swimming with the crawl stroke and the breast stroke would also be good rehabilitation.

     I would not stop throwing.   He should gently throw well below the intensity that uncomfortably stresses this area.   Unless there are broken bones involved, I do not believe in not using injured muscles in some minimal way.   Blood flow heals.   Normal movement at reduced intensity heals.

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118.   I heard you recently on a sports talk show out of San Diego and was fascinated.   My son plays 3rd base at UCSB and I wondered about the apllicability of your drills to strengthen his arm and keep it fresh throughtout the season.   He also has two friends at different universities that pitch in low 80's which does not satisfy their coaches.   I trust your exercises and pitch selection can help them.   I know you haven't published illustrations, yet, but if you could recommend any textbooks that might identify the muscles, etc. that you discuss it might be helpful.

     Thanks ever so much for sharing your knowledge.


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     My wrist weight and iron ball training programs would definitely help position players.   For third basemen, most throws are toward their non-pitching arm side.   Therefore, they should concentrate on my Torque force application technique.

     As for the pitchers, the best idea would be my forty week pitcher training program.   I offer that program to pitchers with at least two years of college eligibility remaining.   But, it would help them to work on the force application techniques that I discuss in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     There are several anatomy texts that show the muscles I include as primary pitching muscles.   If your son is at college, I am sure that whatever text the Anatomy class uses would be fine.   Go to the college book store and ask for the Anatomy class text, it is probably Gray' Anatomy.

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119.   Thanks very much!

     He is starting his rehab program on Monday and will definitely start throwing some again.   I'm thrilled to have found your website.   I've been using Dick Mills site for a few years but it's become increasingly hard to get any professional opinions and general thoughts on it.

     Keep up the great work and good luck with publishing your books.   I would certainly buy them.


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     Thank you and please keep me updated on the progress of his rehabilitation.

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120.   I am a varsity pitcher.   I am a lefthander.   I throw low to mid 70's.   Is there any way that I can increase my velocity, without changing my mechanics drastically?

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     If you want to throw with greater release velocity, you have two factors that you can improve:
1.   You can get yourself as strong as possible in the throwing motion such that you can put every appropriate muscle fiber at full intensity into your throws.
2.   You can adjust how you apply force to your pitches such that you are efficiently and effectively applying you full intensity force for the longest time possible.

     I have no idea what force application technique you use with your pitches.   However, I would hope that you are doing something that is drastically reducing your release velocity because increasing your strength alone would probably not be sufficient to increase your release velocity to the middle to high eighties where you need to be to succeed in college baseball.

     I recommend that you spend your summer trying to perfect the force application techniques that I describe in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   Only with perfect force application techniques will you learn your full potential.

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121.   Time to head for the bunkers!

     SETPRO.COM: Growth Plate Damage -- Stop Competing Until Age 16 http://www.setpro.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000317.html

     PITCHING.COM: Growth Plate Damage -- Stop Competing Until Age 16? http://www.pitching.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001972.html

     As you know, I got permission from the publisher to post Dr. Adams' article to these two Web sites.


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     Congratulations.   I went to both web sites and downloaded your materials.   You did a great job.   I read the responses on both sites.   It makes for good discussion.   Please feel free to draw me into the discourse whenever you feel the need.

     I have to make one slight correction.   I recommend that thirteen and fourteen year olds could pitch against opposition batters for one inning a game.   I also do not prohibit fifteen year olds from competitive pitching.   Having said that, I prefer your solution of no competitive pitching until sixteen years of age of when the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures whichever comes first.

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122.   THE PROGRAM IS GOING PRETTY WELL.   I'M NEVER TOO "UP" PR TOO "DOWN".   I KEEP ALL DAILY EXPERIENCES AT A HAPPY MEDIUM.

     WHEN I AM PRACTICING THE PROPER MECHANICS IT ALMOST FEELS BETTER TO JUST GO RIGHT TO THE HORIZONTAL ARM POSITION, RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH THE "PENDULUM CLOCK SWING".   WHEN I DO THIS MY HAND IS STILL UNDERNEATH THE BALL, BUT MY HAND AND BALL DONT DROP BELOW MY WAIST WHEN I START THE SWING.

     I HAVE JUST BEEN FEELING THE MECHANICS, I THINK IT'S BASICALLY THE SAME.   BUT IT'S ALMOST AS IF I AM SHORT-ARMING THE BALL.   I HAVEN'T REALLY PRACTICED THIS ALOT, I HAVE JUST BEEN FEELING BOTH WAYS, AND THIS SEEMS TO GET MY ARM INTO THE ELBOW RAISE AND HORIZONTAL POSITION EASIER.   WILL THIS BE A PROBLEM?   LIKE I SAID I HAVEN'T THROWN THIS WAY ENOUGH, SO IT WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM TO MAKE A CHANGE IF IT IS A PROBLEM.

     I THANK YOU AGAIN FOR E-MAILING ME AND ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS AND HELPING ME OUT WITH EVERYTHING.


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     During the pendulum swing start to the transition, I prefer that pitchers do not fully extend their elbow joint.   Pitchers should relax and swing their arm backward to the downward forearm head pat position.   This movement should be controlled and continuous.   The baseball must follow an elliptical path backward to the downward forearm head pat position from which pitchers start the elbow raise aspect of the transition.   During the elbow raise phase, the path of the baseball should smoothly continue the elliptical path backward and upward to the horizontal forearm position at leverage from which drive pitches toward home plate.

     What you describe does not conform with an elliptical path.   You describe a path where you raise the baseball from your glove to leverage.   That wastes force.   Think of the baseball as a race car going around one end of an elliptical race track.   The reason that pitchers move the baseball backward from their gloves is to place the muscles that accelerate the baseballs toward home plate at their most advantageous mechanical position to apply their greatest force over the longest distance.   Pitchers should not introduce any sharp turns, stops or extraneous unnecessary forces along the way.

     The transition rhythm should be gentle, the start of the upper arm acceleration rhythm should also be gentle.   Once the forearm aligns with home plate, pitchers hit the acceleration and kick it into overdrive when they start their forearm acceleration through release.   Do not spin your tires trying to overcome or correct forces that do not produce greater force application at the appropriate moments in the pitching motion.

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123.   I HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME PAIN, BUT ONLY WHEN I DON'T HAVE MY UPPER ARM LOCKED AT LEVERAGE.   THIS HAS HAPPENED A COUPLE OF TIMES.   I DO HOWEVER FEEL THE MUSCLES IN MY BACK, CONTRACTING AND WORKING (REAR DELTOID, LATISSIMUS DORSI, TRAPEZIUS).   THIS SHOULD BE NORMAL, RIGHT?   IS THERE ANY OTHER MUSCLES THAT I SHOUD BE "FEELING"?   MY RIGHT FOREARM IS A LITTLE TIGHT, AND ALREADY SEEMS TO BE GETTING BIGGER THAN MY LEFT.

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     I understand that it is difficult for pitchers to distinguish the normal discomfort of the response of the pitching arm to training and the pain of the pitching arm from improper force application techniques.   That is why athletes need coaches.   I understand what areas will experience normal training discomfort at what points during the training and I know where pain means improper force application technique.   Therefore, when you say that you have experienced some pain, be precise.   Tell me where.

     When you said it was when you did not have your arm locked at leverage, I suspect that you permitted your elbow to drag behind your acromial line and you experienced pain in the front of your shoulder at your subscapularis attachment.   This is pain from improper force application technique and you must correct the technique.   Actually, it is a good reminder that you used bad technique.

     When you feel your decelerator muscles on the back of your shoulder and scapula working, it means that you are decelerating your wrist weights correctly.   That is good.   You must build big brakes to properly decelerate your pitching arm without injury.

     I would hope that you are feeling the power of your forearm during the forearm acceleration phase driving through release.   You mentioned that your forearm feels tight.   That is good.   We want 'Popeye' forearms.   Muscles feel tight during physiological adjustment.   You have asked the muscles to do more than they have ever done before and they have to build new muscle tissue and support systems to meet this training overload.

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124.   I'm a Department of Defense employee living overseas in Naples Italy.   My 14 year-old son has been pitching since he was 8 years old.   My son has shown some potential as a pitcher in that he's been a starting pitcher for two years representing Italy in the European Little League Championship in Kutno, Poland.   There isn't much competition out here so he's kind of a "big fish in a little pond".

     For the past couple of years he's been complaining of mild elbow pain.   This year he's been complaining of elbow pain so bad that he can barely throw the ball the next day after pitching seven innings (~100 pitches).   There never has been any noticable swelling and he seems to still have good flexibility in his throwing arm.   After taking some X-rays of his elbow, the doctor said he may have a slight "epicondyle avulsion".   He said the only way to be sure was to take X-rays of the non pitching arm which he didn't do because he said the treatment would be the same-- a four week total abstinence from throwing of any kind followed by therapy.   I read your draft text entitled "Coaching Adolescent Pitchers" with great interest and hope some day you can publish with diagrams and photos.

     There's little doubt that there's something wrong with his mechanics.   I've used books by Tom House and Nolan Ryan in working with my son we've also done video tapes although, we don't have a high speed camera out here.   It may be that he's hyperflexing his arm; that is reaching back towards right center instead of center or left center.   Tom house talks about a "flex-T" posture which we may need to work on.   He could be rotating before toe strike.   I just don't know.

     Do you think it's worth determining my sons "skeletal age" as discussed in your book?   What medical course of action would you recommend we take?   What can be done to improve his mechanics?   Is there any sure way to determine of permanent damage has been done?

     If things improve we may want to send him to your camp or one like yours in the summer of 2003 for a trial.   Is there more information you can provide about your camp?


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     Avulson means that the ossification center of his medial epicondyle is starting to pull away from the end of his humerus.   This is much more serious than early epiphysial closure.   Like Osgood Schlatters' Syndrome of the tibial tuberosity, the only recourse is to immediately remove any stress from this area until after the normal growth process ossifies the growth plate into the adult configuration.   Then, you have to hope that the stress did not deform the ulnar groove in the back of the medial epicondyle such that throwing continually aggravates the nerve.

     This story is an example of why I cannot recommend competitive pitching until after the growth plates of the pitching arm have matured.   I am sorry for his pain, but it is a natural result of believing that adolescents can tolerate the same stresses to their skeletal systems as adults.

     When I student-taught and taught for one year at middle school, six through eighth grades, I had every male student determine his own estimate of skeletal age.   There is not pride in being an early-maturer and no shame in being a delayed-maturer.   But, knowing at what rate you are moving through the physiological changes of adolescence educates young men as to what to expect in terms of final growth in height, how to properly evaluate their strength, speed and skills relative to the normative data of national test scores and when they can expect the primary and secondary sexual characteristics to occur, such as facial hair.   Obviously, I recommend that every young man determine his estimated skeletal age.

     I do not know whether your son's force application technique is good or bad.   With perfect force application technique, young men will still experience growth plate pain.   Technique is not what causes this pain, it is overuse.   The five major pitching muscles that attach to the ossification center of the medial epicondyle pull on it's cartilaginous attachment to the shaft of the humerus with every throw.   We cannot predict which throw will exceed the physiological limits of the growth plate to withstand this force.

     I have no idea what Tom House is talking about with a flexed T position.   At leverage, the forearm should be horizontal with the ground.   The relationship between the forearm and the upper arm is at ninety degrees.   That might be the T, I just do not know.   Under no circumstances should the forearm point upward at any angle when the upper arm starts accelerating toward home plate.   The acromial line should reverse rotate to pointing toward either the opposite side batter or home plate depending on which force application technique you are using.   I do not discuss right field, center field or whatever.   I do agree that pitchers should not start their upper arm acceleration phase until their stride foot touches the ground.   This provides stability and permits pitchers to correctly align their pitching arms to their targets.

     However, it sounds to me that your son needs to start to enjoy swimming and other activities that do not stress in pitching arm.   There is nothing that he learns by pitching competitively before complete skeletal maturation of his pitching arm that he cannot learn after.   I am sorry to say that there is no doubt that you son has suffered permanent damage to his pitching arm.   The only question is to what extend this damage will reduce his adult pitching ability.

     I hope to post information about four week summer training programs that I will offer young men whose growth plates have completely matured.   I offer my four week training only to young men who will be high school juniors and seniors the following fall.   I offer forty week training to high school graduates and college pitchers with at least two years of eligibility remaining.

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125.   I continue to read with great interest your textbooks and QA discussions.   I am curious about how much throwing and general training youngsters under the age of 16 should do.   Are there any exercises in particular that you recommend and any that you think should be particularly avoided?   How much time should be spent and how strenuous should the activity be?

     I remember an extremely active childhood.   Climbing trees, playing "war", swimming, bicycling, hide and go seek, running, baseball, football, hockey, throwing newspapers (100 a day when I was 12).   My question in this regard is - weren't all of these activities stressful on the joints, and if we are going to allow youngsters to at least work on their pitching prowess 2 months out of the year, how much is too much?   Obviously you can't answer for every single child. Everyone is different in some way or other.

     Also (this is not a rhetorical question), why do you feel that throwing on the side lines for 2 months out of the year is not as injurious as a strictly regulated regimen based on low pitch counts and 4 days rest in between throwing?   As always, thank you for your time.


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     I recommend that until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures completely, youngsters should not pitch competitively.   I have allowed that eleven and twelve year olds can pitch one inning competitively to their teammates.   I have allowed that thirteen and fourteen year olds can pitch to opponents competitively for one inning.   At fifteen, while their growth plates may remain slightly open, I have allowed that these youngsters can competitively pitch unless they complain of discomfort when parents apply firm, direct pressure to their medial epicondyle.

     I support a broad base of activities that stress all aspects of the body, skeletal, cardiovascular and so on.   The danger is the repetitiveness of any one activity, like pitching on the skeletal system.   I believe that youngsters should practice to learn how to perform the skills of many activities without the long term repetitiveness of any.   In that way, when their skeletons are capable of benefiting from the training, they will already have learned how to correctly perform the skill.

     I cannot state the two months is perfect for every youngster, but I am comfortable with that time period providing parents regularly check for medial epicondyle discomfort as I explained above.   My goal is for youngsters to become skeletally adult pitchers without having diminished their skeletal structures and, thereby, their adult capacity.

     The reason why I can recommend two months of non-competitive throwing versus a highly regimented competitive throwing schedule has to do with intensity.   In the heat of competition, youth pitchers frequently extend beyond their physiological limits.   Blame it on adrenaline or improper force application techniques or whatever, but it happens all too frequently and irreparable limits those youngsters.   And even those youngsters who never suffer a dramatic event, suffer early growth plate closure to varying degrees.   To me, the temporary reward is not worth the lifetime risk, especially when youngsters can achieve everything they want without taking the risk.

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126.   I DO FEEL MY DECELERATING MUSCLES WORKING WHEN I USE THE WRIST WEIGHTS.   I DO NOT FEEL THEM WORKING "AS MUCH" WHEN I THROW THE IRON BALL, IS THIS NORMAL?

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     The iron ball exercises train the accelerator muscles of the pitching motion.   Therefore, you should feel the accelerator muscles when you do your iron balls, especially the muscles about the elbow and of the forearm.   A pitcher is only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of his middle finger.   Strength to transfer the arm velocity to the baseball and skill to impart the proper spin axis to the pitches.

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127.   I am sending this short e-mail to inform you of my deep gratitude for developing such an instructive and boundless informational site.   As a Dad first and foremost and a Babe Ruth Coach second, I was looking for some advice on how to best protect my 13 yr old's arm (as well as his over all health).   I have just stubbled upon your site for the first time and I am sure it will be the first of many, many more.   I am looking forward to educating myself as well as my son with the informaion you have posted here.

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     Welcome.   I await your questions and comments.

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128.   I AM EXPERIENCING A SORT OF "WEIRD" FEELING IN MY PITCHING ARM.   IT IS A DULL ACHE MORE IN THE FRONT OF MY SHOULDER.   I BELIEVE AT THE SUBSCAPULAR ATTACHMENT.   I AM ALSO EXPERIENCING AN ACHE AND SOME TIGHTNESS IN MY COLLAR BONE AREA, GOING INTO THE BASE OF MY NECK.   I AM ALSO HAVING SOME "CLICKING", ALMOST LIKE I CAN FEEL THE TENDONS AND LIGAMENTS MOVING AROUND.   IS THIS JUST SCAR TISSUE?   SHOULD I DISCONTINUE THE PROGRAM UNTIL THE ACHE SUBSIDES?

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     When someone requires that muscles make physiological adjustments, the body rebels.   It does not want to go through the buildup of materials necessary to reconstruct the muscle and skeletal system.   It sends out sensory impulses that we recognize as aches and pains.   The question is do these signals indicate the start of injury as a result of improper technique or are they indications that the body is starting to mobilize its resources to meet the training overload.   Because I cannot see the techniques that you are using, I cannot make this judgment.

     You had those surgeries as a result of improper force application techniques.   One major flaw in your technique was that you left your elbow behind your acromial line.   This unnecessarily stressed your subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus as well as injured the ligaments across the front of your shoulder and the anterior capsule.   I would expect that renewed training would require that these areas make a physiological adjustment.   Therefore, I expect numerous sensory signals from these tissues.

     Whether you should continue the training depends on whether you are correctly performing the skill as I describe it.   If you are keeping your elbow's olecranon process ahead of your acromial line, then you should continue.   If you are not and this is more of what you used to do, then you should not continue without correcting the improper technique.   Training will always cause aches and pains.   It is the knowledge of what these aches and pains mean that makes the difference.   I know what they mean.

     The ache and pain that you describe in your clavicle that goes into your neck could be the subclavius, or the three muscles that attach to the coracoid process of the scapula.   All these muscles will have to make a physiological adjustment.   I am not concerned about any of this discomfort, but I would monitor it.

     The clicking that you feel is also not unexpected.   In general, clicking is harmless.   Nevertheless, I would monitor it.   What I mean by monitoring something is that I would keep a journal of every day's training.   When I train someone, I keep a daily record of precisely what they do, including exercises, weights and repetitions.   I also write down every discomfort, when they occur and how intense.

     If you stop training at any time, then you will have to start over again and go through the same thing again.   Because I cannot see how you are performing the skill, I cannot advise you about stopping.

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129.   My son has been complaining about a soreness in his right arm between the elbow and shoulder.   I have had him rotate his shoulder in the classic warm-up style, there is no pain there, I have had him bend and extend his arm, no pain in the elbow.   The problem seems to be in the muscle (triceps?).

     I have read your answer on the possible cause, which I remember as being taking his arm to far back behind his body.   I think that is an excellent place to start to look for the trouble.   I intend to set up a video camera and tape him from all three bases while he is pitching from the mound to get an very good look at his form from all angles.

     Secondly, is there a sure fire to reduce the soreness, we have been using I.C.E/HOT reusable gelpacks.   To stop swelling, we use cold.   To reduce soreness, we massage and use warm to hot.   We also use Sports Cream, I think we should switch to a cream that heats up.   It seems something hot, if nothing else, would give a 13 yr old the physical as well as psychological feeling that the cream is working, aiding in his recovery.


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     Please have your son stand in the anatomical position, which is with his arms hanging at his sides with his thumbs pointing outwardly, and precisely describe where he feels discomfort.   Between his elbow and shoulder is too broad.   If it is the triceps brachii, then it is on the posterior surface.   If it is the triceps brachii somewhere in the middle, I have little concern.   If is it two-thirds of the way up the humerus on the lateral surface, it is the deltoid attachments and I have little concern.   However, without a very precise description, I cannot know for certain.

     The very best way to increase blood flow to the injured area is for the person to perform activities that use the injured musculature in greatly reduced intensities.   The need to remove waste products from muscle contraction and bring in energy sources for continued muscle contractions increases blood flow more than any other way.   However, when the injured musculature is too traumatized to contract at any intensity, I recommend ice.   Cold Induced Vaso-Dilation will increase the blood flow the best of all the passive means of increasing blood flow.   I discuss this in Chapter 14 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     I never recommend heat or creams that burn the skin and take blood away from the injured deep tissue to the skin.   These creams are useless, worthless and counter to the true healing process.   However, deep muscle massage when muscles have cramped around an injured muscular area is good.

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130.   I'm 18 years old and considered washed up.   When I was 16 I was throwing 84mph but I had a tragic shoulder separation while sliding head first into second base.   I'm now desperate for ANYTHING that will return me to my original form (I can now barely throw across the infield).   Can you give me any recomendations or training programs I could pursue?

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     An acromial-clavicular separation is a serious injury.   It means that the acromial process of the scapula and the lateral end of the clavicle have come apart.   These bones are held together with ligaments.   It is a common injury in football when people tackle.   I have seen it in baseball with head-first slides.   I very strongly recommend against head-first slides.   Contrary to popular opinion, head-first slides are not the fastest way to get to a base and are certainly not the safest way.

     I am not totally familiar with surgical processes to repair this injury.   It would seem to me that in severe injuries, they could mechanically stabilize these bones.   I would check with orthopedic surgeons for that answer.   The other alternative would be to strengthen the muscles about the shoulder.   Since you wish to resume throwing, I would recommend the wrist weight and iron ball exercises that I describe in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Depending on how your shoulder responds to the amount of weight, you may have to reduce the starting amount from ten pounds to whatever your shoulder requires.

     There is no doubt that you require some type of rehabilitation program.   I cannot believe that, with my program, your shoulder would not strengthen sufficiently to permit you to return to maximum intensity overhand throwing.

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131.   I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing your knowledge with my son during the past 10 months.   I know he enjoyed the program, and I believe the discipline involved will remain a part of his life regardless of how far he advances in baseball.

     Upon returning he indicated to me that he is in "regression".   As a result he says that he should try to throw competitively at this time.   Also, there have been a couple of instances whereby I believe he did his weights, but failed to throw the balls? Said he was getting worse and need to rest his arm.

     Could you give me some insight on the "regression" aspect and inform me as to his pitching program now that he has completed your forty week program.   He has the opportunity to play competitively this summer.   Should I push him to do so or take my time in allowing him to come out of regression?

     How often should he be throwing a full bullpen at this time or should he just continue the workouts as he is doing them (wrist weights, iron balls, and buckets?).   I'm sorry to ask these questions, however, obtaining information from him is somewhat impossible at times.

     Thank you for your help.


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     Thank you for the email.   Please contact me at any time you and/or your son have any questions.

     There is never a day when he should not complete his workout.   He should never completely rest his arm.   That causes atrophy.   Two out of every three days, he should reduce his intensity to blood flow intensity and reduce his baseball repetitions to a total of forty-eight.   But, he should never do nothing.

     Your son did not quite complete the entire baseball training cycle.   He left with about ten days to go.   I told him to complete those ten days of one hundred and twenty baseball throws at full intensity at home.   After those ten days, he is supposed to throw one hundred and twenty baseballs every three days.   He could substitute pitching in games for those days.

     He is as strong as he needs to be.   However, he has more technique adjustments to make.   I listed those adjustments for him before he left on his videotape.   He continues to rush his body forward before his arm is ready.   He continues to put too much intensity into the end of his transition rather than driving through release.   He needs to extend his driveline farther forward.   He still does not drive his fingers correctly or powerfully through his maxline and torque fastballs.

     He should have good sliders and maxline sinkers.   When he lays his forearm horizontal, he should have a good curve, both maxline and curve.   He achieves decent spin axis and spin velocity on his screwballs, but he has no consistent driveline.   I have already discussed his fastballs.   They are about five mph slower than they should be relative to his sliders and sinkers.   That is because he does not apply force to the baseball correctly and he has not properly trained his finger drive.   With correct training, he should develop good fastballs, especially on the maxline side.

     If he does not train every day, then he will back out of his regression and his work will not have gained what it should.   He has to pitch competitively.   Competition is the only way to stimulate pitchers to exert themselves maximally.   Only with maximal intensity can pitchers get to their maximal release velocities.

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132.   I EMAILED YOU EARLIER IN THE MONTH ABOUT MY SON'S RIGHT PITCHING ARM.   HE IS 16 YEARS OLD, 6'3" AND ABOUT 165# AND LOVES TO PITCH.   WE WENT TO THE DOCTOR ON MAY 26 AND HAD AN MRI PERFORMED ON HIS RIGHT ELBOW.   THE MRI SHOWED EARLY SIGNS OF ARTHRITIS AND SOME SOFT CARTILAGE DAMAGE ON THE OUTSIDE ELBOW JOINT.   SUPPOSEDLY THIS CAUSED STRESS ON THE MEDIAL SIDE OF HIS ELBOW THUS CAUSING THE PAIN HE WAS EXPERIENCING.   HIS MCL (medial collateral ligament) WAS FINE.

     THE DOCTOR SAID THIS WAS CAUSED PROBABLY BY POOR THROWING MECHANICS (THROWING ALL ARM ).   HE PRESCRIBED INTENSE THERAPY AND NO THROWING FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE AND PROBABLY JULY ALSO.   MY WIFE AND I HAVE TALKED TO OTHER PARENTS OF YOUNG PITCHERS AND MOST SAY THAT THERE SONS ALSO HAD ARM PROBLEMS DURING GROWTH SPURTS.

     FROM THE SUMMER OF 99 TO THE PRESENT MY SON I KNOW HAS GROWN 2 TO 3 INCHES.   HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED THIS TYPE OF PROBLEM IN YOUNG PITCHERS.   THE DOCTOR SAID THAT IF MY SON CONTINUED TO THROW THE WAY HE HAS BEEN, THEN HIS CAREER AS A PITCHER WOULD BE OVER.   DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A GOOD THERAPY PROGRAM.   I KNOW I'M PROBABLY NOT PROVIDING ENOUGH INFORMATION BUT ANY REPLY WOULD BE APPRECIATED.


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     Thank you for the update.   Did the doctor tell you whether the growth plate for the medial epicondyle had closed?   If the growth plate for the medial epicondyle has closed, then he has no more long bone growth possible across this growth plate.   If your son is a delayed maturer, it is possible that this growth plate remains open at sixteen years old.   However, it should be sufficiently closed and sufficiently strong to tolerate pitching.   I do not suspect the growth plate as the cause of his discomfort.

     The fact that his medial collateral ligament is fine indicates that the discomfort is muscular.   Muscular discomfort results from improper force application techniques and/or insufficient fitness.   Rest atrophies muscles.   Therefore, when there is no skeletal involvement, I never recommend rest.   If your son wishes to pitch, then he has to learn the proper force application technique and he has to follow a proper training program.

     I offer the proper force application techniques in by Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.   He should start with Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   After that, I offer the proper training program with Chapters 24 and 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   He should have read both books and completely understand the previously mentioned chapters and Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book before he starts.

     Any other rehabilitation program is non-specific and, therefore, will not provide what he needs.

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133.   WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE EARLY ARTHRITIS AND SOFT CARTILAGE DAMAGE TO HIS OUTER ELBOW JOINT?   IS THIS SOMETHING TO BE REALLY WORRIED ABOUT AND IS THIS A COMMON TYPE OF INJURY?

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     Every athlete will show some early arthritis.   It is something over which we cannot control.   Therefore, I do not worry about it.   The soft cartilage damage to his outer or lateral elbow joint is a non-specific, general diagnosis that sounds good, but means little.   The lateral epicodyle on the posterior surface contains the wrist extensors which are of little concern.   I do not know whether by outer you mean lateral.   Outer is not an anatomical term.

     Have you son stand in the anatomical position with his arms hanging at his side with his thumbs pointing laterally and, then tell me whether the discomfort is on the inside or medial side of the elbow or on the outside or lateral side of the elbow.   In either case, I do not put much concern with the soft cartilage damage diagnosis.

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133.   I was mesmerized Sunday night by Pedro and Roger.   I studied every pitch very carefully.   I was especially interested to note that it SEEMS like Clemens' mechanics come very close to the method I think you are trying to promote.   I noticed particularly the initial dog pat at hand separation, keeping the elbow ahead of the acromial line, the ulnar rotation and the leg drive.

     Do you think I am analyzing any of these things correctly in relation to how Clemens pitches and in what ways am I incorrect, relative to what you are teaching?


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     You are paying attention.   Between the last year that Roger Clemens pitched for Boston and the first year that he pitched for Toronto, he changed his force application technique to very close to my maxline force application technique.   I even telephoned a colleague of mine in San Antonio, TX and accused him of working with Clemens.   Except for a little hooking of his wrist at the downward forearm head pat position that causes a slightly too long delay at that moment in his transition, he does an acceptable job.   Someone did contact me about Clemens during his final year at Boston, but nothing came of my response that I would be glad to help.

     Now, if he also learns my torque force application technique, he could get the fastball inside to left-handed batter so they do not homer off him.

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135.   I watched you at Dodger Stadium many years ago; I believe that was during one of the years in which you won the Cy Young award.   I was always impressed by your simple, but very effective delivery, way before I started studying pitching.

     By the way, my son just graduated from your alma mater.   He pitched there for four years, but didn't receive any mechanical help and didn't get up to his full potential, even though he's a lefty, throws 85-87mph and has a good change.   I think I know more about pitching now than the head coach and pitching coach put together.   But, for a senior, it was too late for me to help my son during the season.

     As it turned out, he was the only lefty in the bullpen, although he was in the starting rotation earlier in the season.   But he had a little arm trouble and was regulated to the bullpen, and the scouts, though interested, never knew when he was going to pitch, so he didn't get the exposure he anticipated.   I think he can play at the next level, which brings me to ask you this question:      In the kinetic-linkage chain, how late does the arm come through the high-cocked position?   Just as the shoulders turn forward at foot plant, or split seconds after that?


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     I describe the arm position from which the upper arm begins it acceleration toward home plate as 'leverage.'   At leverage, I want the humerus bone of the upper arm rotated in the glenoid fossa such that its anterior surface is turned upwardly, its longitudinal axis is shoulder high parallel to the ground with level shoulders and its olecranon process is ahead of the acromial line.   I want the forearm horizontal to the ground with the elbow/forearm angle greater than ninety degrees.

     The preceding does not describe the 'high-cocked' position that others want when the upper arm starts its acceleration toward home plate.   The high-cocked position causes unnecessary subscapularis stress when the vertical forearm moves downwardly when the upper arm moves forwardly.   I strongly advise against the 'high-cocked' position.

     Pitchers should achieve leverage and initiate their forward shoulder rotation just as ther front foot touches the appropriate landing area.   If pitchers start their forward shoulder rotation before their front foot touches the ground, then their front foot floats inwardly and they lose stability and consistency.   The difficulty occurs when pitchers consider their front foot as their stride foot that adds to their force application.   The front foot is a stabilizer and eventual reaction force against which they apply force toward second base to satisfy Newton's law of reaction.

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136.   THE DISCOMFORT WAS ON THE MEDIAL SIDE JUST ABOVE THE ELBOW JOINT.   THE DOCTOR SAID THAT BECAUSE OF THE THE ARTHRITIS AND SOFT CARTILAGE DAMAGE TO THE LATERAL ELBOW JOINT, WHEN HE WOULD THROW, THE MEDIAL SIDE OR INSIDE OF THE ELBOW WAS BEING STRESSED BY COMPENSATING FOR THE LATERAL SIDE, THUS CAUSING THE DISCOMFORT.

     I WAS ALSO CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT DOES ARTHRITIS LOOK LIKE IN AN ELBOW JOINT?   THE DOCTOR SAID THAT THE UPPER BONE IN THE LATERAL ELBOW JOINT DID NOT HAVE A SMOOTH LINE.   DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO YOU?


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     The serious concern for discomfort to the medial aspect of the elbow is the medial collateral ligament.   The doctor ruled out injury to the MCL.   Therefore, the discomfort comes from the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the humerus.   The most vulnerable of these muscles is the flexor digitorum superficialis.   The muscle flexes the tip of the middle finger.   If your son experiences discomfort when he flexes the tip of his middle finger against resistance, then that is the site of the discomfort.

     Without personally examining the location, I cannot be more precise.   In any event, this problem is trainable.   He has to adjust his force application technique to remove any unnecessary stress from the medial epicondyle muscles.   This includes keeping his olecranon process ahead of his acromial line, not bending his elbow/forearm angle to less than ninety degrees and waiting until his forearm is ahead of his body before he maximally applies force with his forearm acceleration through release.   He should also start the weight training program that I describe in Chapters 24 and 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and follow the techniques that I describe in Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     Arthritis shows in X-rays as a milky shading around the clear, sharp borders of articulating bones.   That is what the doctor meant when he said that the lateral elbow joint did not have a smooth line.   Lateral epicondyle abnormalities typically occur from activities like tennis serving where athletes have to hang onto an object and the head of the radius moves away from the distal end of the humerus and, then, during recovery, slams back into the distal end of the humerus.   When youngsters repeatedly perform this type of activity while their growth plates remain open, it can deform the radial head and/or the distal end of the humerus.   In Chapter 8 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, Dr. Joel Adams describes a young pitcher with this problem.   To enable this patient to regain some usage of his elbow/forearm joint, Dr. Adams had to remove the radial head.

     Yes, irregular development of the articulating surfaces of the head of the radius and the distal end of the humerus makes sense to me.   When youngsters throw baseballs, they also throw their forearm bones forward.   When these forearm bones rebound back toward their upper arm bone, they slam together.   When tissues are cartilaginous, repetitive collisions irritate and disrupt the normal developmental processes.   Irregular articulating surfaces result. These are irreparable injuries. Hopefully, they are not sufficiently egregious to serious limit your son's future baseball pitching.

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137.   Some clarification is in order.   Let me know if this is correct:   At leverage, does the forearm ever pass THROUGH the so-called "high-cocked" position before it gets horizontal to the ground, prior to ball release?   And, when the forearm is horizontal to the ground with the elbow/forearm angle greater that 90-degrees, is the ball released at that angle, which to me sounds like 3/4 or almost sidearm, like Pedro Martinez?   It would certainly make sense if it were that angle, being how through the kinetic chain, leverage from the legs, hip joints, trunk/torso, on through the shoulders and in your (arm) leverage position..would come from an almost sidearm motion.

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     The 'high-cocked' position has the forearm vertical at the end of the transition phase.   The forearm should not become vertical until after the upper arm acceleration phase moves the forearm ahead of the front foot.   Then, the horizontal forearm moves through vertical while it accelerates the baseball through release.   If the forearm is vertical at the end of the transition phase before the upper arm starts moving forward, then the forearm will move downward and unnecessarily stress the subscapularis and decrease the force available to drive the baseball.

     When I say that the elbow/forearm angle should be greater than ninety degrees, I do not mean by much.

     When I describe my Maxline force application technique, I say that the elbow/forearm angle should be ten degrees less than ninety degrees during the upper arm acceleration phase.   During the forearm acceleration phase, pitchers drive the forearm from ten degrees inside ninety degrees at horizontal through ninety degrees at vertical to ten degrees more than ninety degrees at horizontal after release.   The effect is to drive the baseball laterally to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     When I describe my Torque force application technique, I say that the elbow/forearm angle should be ten degrees greater than ninety degrees during the upper arm acceleration phase.   During the forearm acceleration phase, pitchers drive the forearm from ten degrees outside ninety degrees at horizontal through ninety degrees at vertical to ten degrees less than ninety degrees at horizontal after release.   The effect is to drive the baseball medially to the non-pitching arm side of home plate.

     There is more to this, but a fuller discussion is not appropriate at this time.

     If the forearm drives through vertical during the forearm acceleration phase, I would not describe the motion as sidearm.   I would never describe the force application techniques as similar to Pedro's.   I wish Pedro every success, but I would not recommend his force application technique.

     To throw the baseball sidearm violates Newton's first law and Marshall's first law for baseball pitchers.   When pitchers apply force on a curved pathway, at every moment the baseball wants to go is a straight line tangent to that arc.   In this instance, pitchers have to constantly redirect the baseball along their curved pathway.   This wastes force and unnecessarily stresses the arm.   I would never recommend a curved force application pathway.   Please read Chapter 18 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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138.   I'll order the book shortly.   You've clarified my last question and since I do art work, I'll send you my illustration of what my concept is of your afore-mentioned arm position (what you described as an answer to my original e-mail) as soon as it's ready.   However, just one last thing.

     Does application of your Maxline and Torque techniques mean that you advocate a pitcher learning/using both on EACH batter to pitch to both sides of the plate; or, do you advocate a pitcher learning/using one of the techniques when pitching to ALL batters to pitch to both sides of the plate?


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     I do not have a book to sell.   You download it from my web site without cost.   I apologize that I do not have illustrations, but the cost of hiring professionals is understandably expensive.   Therefore, until publishers believe that they can recover their investment and make profits, we will have to do without illustrations.   I will be glad to look at your interpretation of the end of the transition phase and the start of the upper arm acceleration phase.   I thank you for your interest and efforts.

     My Maxline force application technique enables pitchers to laterally drive pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate.   My Torque force application technique enables pitcher to medially drive pitches to the non-pitching arm side of home plate.   In this way, pitchers throw fastballs that move oppositely, curves that move oppositely, sinkers that move oppositely and screwballs that move oppositely.   To accentuate the lateral movement of their pitches, I advocate that pitchers throw from both sides of the pitching rubber.   However, this does not mean that when pitchers stand on the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber that they only throw Maxline pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate.   With slight adjustments to the direction of the landing location of their front foot, they can throw Maxline pitches from the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the non-pitching arm side of home plate.

     With this pitching concept, pitchers can throw several pitches from from both sides of the pitching rubber.   This should mean that batters should not be able to correctly anticipate which pitch is coming from which side of home plate with which type of lateral movement.   It does require considerable motor skill acquisition, but the results are worth the effort.

     I advocate using every weapon at a pitcher's disposal to get every batter to hit the baseball on the ground and in front of the outfielders.   The quality of the hitter will dictate the quality of the pitch sequence that pitchers have to use to achieve the desired result.   In Chapter 29 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss the results of my pitch sequence study of pitching to the four types of hitters.   If I could have thrown all pitches that I now teach in the sequences that I found worked for me, I could have been good.   Nevertheless, pitching is throwing fastballs, breaking balls and screwballs in the appropriate sequences that make it impossible for batters to correctly anticipate the next pitch.

     I teach four fastballs, Maxline and Torque, four seam and two seam.   Pitchers can throw each of these four fastballs from both sides of home plate to both sides of home plate with the exceptions of throwing Maxline fastballs from the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the non-pitching arm side of home plate and throwing Torque fastballs from the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the pitching arm side of home plate.   That provides for twelve different fastballs.   The trick is to learn which of these fastballs works best against the four types of hitters.

     For example, for right-handed pitchers pitching to left-handed pull hitters with vertical bats, I recommend Maxline four seam fastballs from the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the pitching arm side of home plate.   However, with two strikes, I recommend Maxline four seam fastballs from the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the non-pitching arm side of home plate.

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139.   Thanks for your time in answering my questions.   I tried your technique over the weekend and I know that shortly with more practice it will become easier, but the results were good for the first time.

     I do have another question.   In reading chapter 20, section 20.4 Elbow Raise, on number 5, when you talk about "locking" the upper arms (humerus) with the thorax (rib cage), you don't mean pressing against the thorax, do you?   I would find that most uncomfortable.

     My only other question is:   In the transition from horizontal forearm to vertical AFTER the front foot touches down, it's a little awkward to have the weight over the front stride foot at that time.   Am I reading you right on this?   Is the weight actually OVER the stride foot when the horizontal forearm becomes vertical and accelerates the release?   These are the only two items I'm having a problem with, but they are "biggies."   Help!


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     When I say to 'lock' the humerus with the thorax, I mean that the relationship between the humerus and the thorax should remain in the same position.   The distal end of the humerus is slightly ahead of the acromial line.   It must stay there throughout the upper arm acceleration phase.

     The forearm acceleration phase starts when the body moves forward to beside the front foot.   As the body continues to forwardly rotate and the body moves ahead of the front foot, then pitchers should force couple the push backward of the front foot and the forearm drive through release.   The body must be ahead of the front foot in order to achieve the force-coupling that accelerates the forearm through release.

     My discussion of Newton's second law in Chapter 18 explains why pitchers must lengthen their drivelines.   The stride foot drive is how we achieve longer drivelines.

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140.   I came across an interesting article, which you perhaps have seen, which deals with what seems to have become, as the authors put it, "a controversial topic among players, coaches, and trainers", e.g. "the role of the lower limbs in baseball".

     The title is "Characeristic Ground-Reaction Forces in Baseball Pitching".   It is in The American Journal of Sports Medicine,Vol. 26, No. 1, 1998, pp 66 - 71.   I will leave you to read the details, but I was particularly struck by their discussion of the correlation between leg drive and pitch velocity.   "The tendency of all pitchers in the study to develop high levels of force in the direction of the pitch, combined with the finding that pitchers who developed the largest forces (normalized to body weight) threw fastest, seems to contradict the theory that pitching is a 'controlled fall'.

     Based on this study, we hypothesize that the push-off forces in the direction of the pitch (AP shear) initiate the forward momentum of the entire body.   The greater this magnitude, the more kinetic enery there is in the direction of the pitch.   The landing leg serves as an anchor in transforming the forward and verticial momentum into rotational components; posteriorly directed forces at the landing foot reflect an overall balance of the inertial forces of the body moving forward to create ball velocities."

     This seems exactly in keeping with your discussion of both legs as driving forces.   Also, interestingly enough, the authors site another reference ("Timing of the Lower Limb Drive and Throwing Limb Movement in Baseball Pitching", Eliot B. et al, Int J Sports Biomech 4: 59-67, 1988) where it was determined that "pitchers with slower ball velocities tended to have peak ground-reaction forces occur earlier in the cycle than pitchers with faster velocities".   I believe these are the pitchers who "over-push", so to speak, an aspect of pitching against which I believe you also caution.

     Just thought you might find this interesting.   I'm in the middle of a project to understand as much as I possibly can about pitching and the training of pitchers.   I spend a lot of my weekend time at the UMASS Mecical Library these days.   Fascinating.   Anyway, I saw this article and several questions in your Q&A came to mind.


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     In Chapter 18 for my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion.   For every action force, there is an equal and oppositely directed reaction force.   In my three laws of force application for baseball pitching, I explain that if pitchers want to apply greater force to their pitches toward home plate, they have to apply greater force toward second base.   I do not need to read another study to understand this principle.

     I believe that I am the only person who recommends front foot drive and the use of this force toward second base as a parallel and oppositely directed force with which to couple with the forearm acceleration through release.   I also believe that I have very carefully described the potential problem with this technique.   Pitchers must take great care to keep their olecranon processes ahead of their acromial lines.

     I congratulate you on your pursuit of information on training and thank you for updating me on interesting research.

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141.   After our many emails and reading your book I felt very confident that you were being a little over cautious in your assertion that young adolescents should not pitch competitively.   I found your opinions refreshing in that you were someone with credibility I could cite who had even stronger opinions than my own regarding protecting young pitchers.

     My son is a kid who loves to pitch, but understands the limits I have placed on him.   He is 13 and throws only fastballs and the variations he gets with finger pressure and grips, and a straight change.   His pitches are limited regardless of innings.   He is NOT some overpowering kid blessed with a great fastball.   He has never thrown a no hitter and his K's are about average for the national competition he faces.   However, his control is phenomenal.   He hits spots like I never could and his savvy for setting up hitters is well beyond what you would expect from such a young kid.   He averages about a walk for every five innings, and he often will go an outing giving up no walks and never falling behind in the count.

     He is the only pitcher to beat the number one team in the nation in his age group and he has done that twice in the last 4 months.   In fact, (yes, to brag I guess) he has ended two lengthy winning streaks by this team twice.   The first winning streak was 20 games and the last one he ended for them was 39 games.

     Now, he has elbow problems and I have not allowed him to pitch for the last 4 weeks.   He says he can pitch, that the discomfort is not severe, but I believe pain is a sign something is wrong.   Others insist, as I used to believe, that an athlete must learn to play with some pain.   I agree this may be true for adults or even older adolescents, but not a 13 year old kid who just grew a half inch during the last 30 days.

     I am concerned about two things:
1.   Can my son suffer significant damage while experiencing only minor discomfort?   I have assumed he is suffering from a mild tendonitis and rest is the answer for him.   After reading your book, I am no longer confident about my assessment.   He has NEVER had elbow pain in the past.

2.   My son knows very well about your accomplishments in baseball, and I believe anything you can put in simple easy to understand terms, directed toward him would go a long way in helping him to resolve the conflict he has in his heart.   As you might guess, part of him wants to compete, while another part of him recognizes the risk.   His team is going to Cooperstown this summer to compete for the championship which brings teams from all over the nation and even outside the country.   He will definitely be scheduled to face the top ranked team again.   I told him not to plan on pitching in the tournament.   That went over real well as you might imagine.


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     I cannot predict what effect pitching in the manner you describe has had on his thirteen year old arm.   I know that he has accelerated the closure of the growth plate of his medial epicondyle.   To learn to what extend, you would have to get bi-lateral X-rays and examine the amount of closure of his non-throwing arm with his throwing arm.

     I would like to know the skeletal age of your son.   If he is a delayed maturer, the effect is greater than if he is an advanced maturer.   On the other hand, delayed maturers at thirteen years old, can expect from six to eight inches of growth in height.   Gallagher did that study.

     I have given my advice about adolescent competitive pitching, I don't know what more to say.   However, if I had more precise information about the discomfort he is presently experiencing, I might be able to tell you whether the problem is with a growth plate or muscular as a result of improper force application technique or exceeding his physiological limits.   Nevertheless, I take pitching arm discomfort in adolescent pitchers as very serious.

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142.   I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Are you able to recommend a good pitching coach in this area for my nine year old son?   He appears to have some talent, and I want to do my utmost to make sure it is developed to its full potential in the correct way.

     Also, do you conduct any kind of camp for young pitchers or can you suggest one?   Thank you very much.   I wish you success in getting your book published.


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     I do not have any former students who I could recommend to teach your son the basics of my force application technique in your area.   After students complete my forty week training program with me, I certify them to teach my two week training program to youngsters fifteen and older.   I believe that nine years old is way too young to start on a regimented pitching program.   I do not work with pitchers until their medial epicondyle growth plate has matured, approximately sixteen years old.   My best advice is to read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, especially Chapter 24, and teach him yourself.

     Take great care with your son's pitching arm.   I believe that I have fully discussed my feelings on youth baseball in my Question and Answer section.

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143.   You criticize Dick Mills for having no academic training and you criticize Mr. House for not understanding what he reads.   Yet you say 'I don't need to read another study'.   Does that sound inconsistent to you?   After all, you did have to read about Mr. Newton's studies.

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     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 on my own to fill in gaps that I saw.   I provide many of those 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 a motor skill, 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 interpret 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 will not add to my knowledge base.

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

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144.   Are there any exercises that I could do to increase my velocity?

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     The only way to achieve your maximum release velocity is to properly apply force to the baseball and to train to get as strong as possible within those force application techniques.   I have explained how to properly apply force and what training program to follow in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.

     Happy reading.

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145.   I believe my son has matured early.   He is 5-9 and 145 pounds.   He shaves and has needed to shave over his upper lip and sideburns since he was nearly 11.   I know you need more than that to be completely accurate, but I think you may be able to get an general idea of his development.

     Do you recommend he not throw at all for awhile, in other words no baseball, or is prohibiting pitching generally sufficient to prevent further damage?   Again I know you can only speak in generalities here.   Also, if I took him to a family Dr. would he know to do comparison X-rays or should I go to a specialist?


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     Facial hair development is one of the indicators of biological maturation during adolescence.   In Chapter 3 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I have provided my Sexual Maturation Indicator Value (SMIV) regression equation and my Estimated Skeletal Age (ESA) regression equation.   These equations will give you some indication of your son's biological age.   In Chapter 2, I provided the hand-wrist X-ray method of estimating skeletal age.   I would not expect you family doctor to have the Greulich-Pyle Atlas.   You might have to consult with an University library.

     I have never recommended that youngsters not throw baseballs.   I say that when youngsters pitch competitively, they chance irreparable damage to the growth plates of their pitching arms.   The research states that 100% of youth baseball pitchers damage their growth plates to some extent.   I recommend that youth pitchers do not practice pitching for more than two months a year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyles ossify.   I recommend that until youth pitchers under thirteen years of age never pitch competitively and youth pitchers thirteen and over pitch competitively for only one inning until after their pitching arm growth plates mature.

     I would go to a radiologist to compare the medial epicondyle growth plates of his non-pitching arm with his pitching arm.   He/she should determine whether the medial epicondyle growth plate of his pitching arm is more closed than the medial epicondyle growth plate of his non-pitching arm.

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146.   Can you please tell me in what chapter I could find this (How to increase velocity)?

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     Sections six and seven or Chapters 20 through 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book contain my descriptions of the proper force application techniques and the training programs that I recommend.

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147.   Do you think pitchers should do in-season training?   If so, how much, how often, and what type?

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     I have the pitchers that I train complete a maintenance level workout every day throughout their seasons.   To maintain the skeletal gains that they earned during their off-season training, I have them do a five minute wrist weight workout and a five minute iron ball workout. to maintain the skeletal gains that they earned during their off-seasons How many baseballs I have them throw depends on whether they are starters or relievers and what type of reliever.

   Relievers have to maintain their 'feel' for their pitches.   Therefore, they have to throw forty-eight pitches in the bullpen every day.   Starters also throw forty-eight pitches every day except for the middle day where I have them throw ninety-six pitches.   I would never recommend this regimen for anybody else.   I train my pitchers to be able to throw every day with proper techniques.

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148.   How much time does it take you to get a pitcher to the point where he can throw that many pitches on a daily basis?

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     In Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I provide my two week training program and my forty week training program.   After I train my pitchers for forty weeks, they can throw every day without any discomfort.   The only limit to the number of pitches that they can throw are the sources of energy available to their pitching muscles.

     I threw a minimum of one hundred pitches every day from 1968 through 1998 without any discomfort.   You might recall that I pitched 208 closing innings in 106 games during the 1974 National League championship season.   I can train others to do more than I did.

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149.   Yesterday, my son was pitching and hurt his elbow.   The sports medicine trainer believes it to be a tear of his MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament).   The emergency room doctors put him in a sling last night and gave him some pain medication, even though Steven did not complain of any severe pain.   We have an appointment at 12:00 today with the ortho doctors and, pursuant to a friend's recommendation, I visited your website.   In fact I have printed the entire book except your chapters on your statistical analysis of your seasons.   I will do those later.

     I plan to absorb the book and have it in hand when we talk to the doctors today.   After our doctor's appointment, we may be in contact with you about rehab, etc.   I'll also be having several questions as I devour your book.   I am an algebra teacher now after serving 20 years in the Army.   I will look forward to deciphering your formulas.   The seem to make sense.


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     I am sorry to hear about the injury that your son suffered.   You failed to mention your son's age.   I need to know whether we need to still be concerned about his growth plates.   We have to take any injury to the medial collateral ligament area seriously.   I have to assume that he did not tear it completely or the doctor would have to do Tommy John surgery.   I helped Tommy John successfully rehabilitate from his surgery, so I am certain that I can help your son.

     First, your son will have to learn the proper force application techniques.   He has to minimize any unnecessary stress to the medial collateral ligament area. There are two major technique flaws that unnecessarily stress this area.      One way is when pitchers end their transitions with their pitching forearms pointing upward in what some pitching coaches call the 'high guard' position.   From this position, the forearm moves downward when the upper arm starts driving forward.   This unnecessary downward bounce unnecessarily stresses the medial collateral ligament area of the elbow and the subscapularis area of the shoulder.

     The second way is when pitchers bend the forearm to upper arm angle to less than ninety degrees during the transition phase.   With the elbow bent at more than ninety degrees when the upper arm starts its forward drive, the centripetal force cause the forearm to circle outwardly.   This action causes the forearm to flyout laterally.   When the forearm acceleration phase starts, the medial collateral ligament area has the additional burden of stopping the forearm flyout as well as accelerating the forearm forward.   In the leverage weak position of forearm flyout, the unnecessary increased stress focuses on the medial collateral ligament area.

     Like with any rehabilitation, the answer is to first correct the improper force application techniques with a minimal resistance and gradually increase the resistance which causes the desired physiological response of strengthening the injured area.   In combination, the proper technique and strengthened tissues become capable of withstanding the normal stress of the activity without discomfort.

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150.   A question about your method, and by the way, boy, am I getting an education looking up these medical/scientific terms you use.   At first I was a little taken aback by them, but now I find this is interesting stuff, and realize that you have proceeded this way to provide us with the opportunity to get a better education on the human body and how the bones and muscles function.   Thanks.

     Over the weekend after re-reading posts to your website by viewers, I realized that after the arm reaches leverage position and the forearm acceleration stage begins.   That when you talk about "horizontal" forearm, you mean horizontally backwards.   I understand how the full range of motion is necessary when it comes forward would add to the velocity, given all the other things to do (stride foot pushing back towards second base,etc.).

     So, with that in mind, here's the question:   Since I don't have 40 weeks to train with you, can I take a 20-pound weight and begin to exercise that forearm manuver to get it ready to successfully execute that part of the throw.   If not, how does one go about getting the forearm flexible enough to do what you prescribe for maximum throwing efficiency?   I understand how this can work, but please advise on getting the body to do it.


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     Your question verifies that I have not written as good an explanation of what happens between the downward forearm head pat position and the leverage position.   I apologize and commend you on your efforts to make sense of my description.

     You are correct that at leverage, we must have the forearm horizontal and that the forearm is horizontal laying backward.   We cannot have the forearm angled upwardly for two reasons.   One, we risk the forearm moving downward when the upper arm starts its forward drive.   That will unnecessarily stress the medial collateral ligament area of the elbow and the subscapularis area of the shoulder.   Two, we lose precious distance over which to apply force.   We can never achieve our maximum release velocity when we do not apply force over the full distance over which we can appropriately apply force.

     I need to correct one statement.   From the leverage position, the upper arm starts its forward drive, not the forearm.   The forearm acceleration phase does not occur until pitchers rotate their body ahead of their stride foot and start their stride foot drive.   The forearm acceleration couples with the stride foot drive to powerfully accelerate the forearm through release.

     I see that you have realized that pitchers do not come capable of laying their forearm back horizontally.   They have to train the inward rotation muscles of their shoulders to permit this position.   That is what we are doing with the forearm extension exercise.   However, I recommend caution.   I start adult pitchers, who I define by the complete closure of the growth plate of the medial epicondyle, at ten pound wrist weights.   After four weeks of proper daily training doing six forearm extensions, force-coupling throws, power leverage throws and rock-back transition throws with the wrist weights and a six pound iron ball, I increase the wrist weight resistance to fifteen pounds.   Then, only after completing my forty-eight day first training cycle do pitchers increase their wrist weights to twenty pounds.

     Training always causes discomfort.   Bones, ligaments, connective tissue, muscles, tendons and so on do not like to make physiological adaptations.   The secret to successful training programs are proper force application techniques that minimize unnecessary stress and the knowledge to understand the frequent discomfort signals.   Expert trainers interpret these discomfort signals as appropriate for the training or as precursors of injury.   I am an expert trainer of baseball pitchers.   I understand the discomfort signals.   When persons train without expert trainers interpreting the discomfort signals, they experience doubt and confusion.   Without first-hand observation, I cannot have full confidence in my interpretation and offer no guarantee, but I will try to help.   Good luck.

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151.   I have searched in vain in your Adult textbooks for a discussion on conditioning the lower body and torso.   Am I not looking hard enough or is this something you don't discuss?

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     I do not include any training programs for baseball pitching that is not specific to baseball pitching.   To put simply, to train the lower body (legs) and torso for baseball pitching, pitchers should pitch baseballs.   I know of several exercises with which to train the legs and torso, but they are not specific to baseball pitching.   They will not harm pitchers, but they probably will not help much, if at all.   The image I like to use is, persons can do jumping jacks and believe that they will help them run faster, jump higher or whatever, but all they achieve is that they become better jumping jackers.   The principle is specificity of training.   I discuss it in Chapter 15, Physiology of Exercise.

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152.   So, does this mean that from the hand pat position, at that time does the arm turn over, facing backwards, but remains horizontal and THEN rises up to shoulder level right away? Or, turns over horizontally backwards when AT shoulder height?   Also, do you describe in your book on the internet, the forearm extension exercise, force-coupling throw, power leverage throw and rock-back transition throw?

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     In the downward forearm head pat position, the palm faces downward.   This means that the anterior surface of the forearm faces downward.   If pitchers are going to throw fastballs, they need to have their palms face upward at leverage.   If pitchers are going to throw breaking balls, they need to have their palms face inward at leverage.   If pitchers are going to throw screwballs, they need to have their palms face outward at leverage.   Therefore, between the downward forearm head pat position and leverage, pitchers must appropriately align their forearm.

     The first movement pitchers should make from the downward head pat position is to outwardly rotate the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa.   Very shortly after initiating this movement, pitchers need to start raising their upper arm to shoulder height.   While pitchers raise their upper arm to shoulder height, they need to simultaneously appropriately align their forearm for the desired pitch.   Lastly, pitchers must take great care not to decrease the forearm to upper arm angle to less than ninety degrees.

     When pitchers arrive at leverage, they should have their shoulders level, their upper arm at shoulder height, their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line, their forearm laying backward horizontal to the ground, their forearm appropriately aligned for the pitch selection and their forearm to upper arm angle at about ninety degrees.

     In Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I describe the wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   Included in that discussion are the forearm extensions, easy leverage throws, power leverage throws, wrong foot stride throws and rock-back transition throws.   I have since changed some terminology.   Easy leverage throws are now force-coupling throws and wrong foot stride throws are not wrong foot transition throws.   I apologize, but as I learn better ways of teaching my technique, I change.   What I have to find time to do is change my books to reflect those changes. You should also read Chapter 23 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   Since I worked on that book more recently, I have the appropriate terminology and I discuss those exercises in greater detail.

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153.   Thanks for your response.   My son is a rising senior in high school, and 17.5 years old.   He's a big young 'un; 6'1" and about 235 pounds. He also plays both ways on the football team.

     We had the MRI (Magnetic Resonate Imaging) done yesterday and the sports medicine physician will see him Friday morning.   Once we find out the extent of the damage, I'll respond again and we'll see what we can do.


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     I feel much better knowing that we cannot have any growth plate involvement in this injury.   I am always very careful whenever I encounter injuries in youngsters under fifteen years old.   However, that is not the case here and we can proceed.

     We are dealing with improper force application, probably as I described earlier.   Your son is unnecessarily stressing his medial collateral ligament area either by bouncing his forearm downward while he drives his upper arm forward or by decreasing his forearm to upper arm angle at leverage such that the forearm circles outwardly when he drives his upper arm forward.

     After he corrects his force application technique, he needs to start a training program so strengthens his bones, ligaments, fascia muscles, tendons and so on that he can never apply stress greater than those tissues can withstand.   I describe those programs in Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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154.   Quick note to draw your attention to a substantial error of omission in Q&A #145, unless you have changed your mind.   My suggested correction is contained within square brackets: "I recommend that [thirteen and fourteen-year-old] youth pitchers not pitch competitively for more than one inning until after their growth plates mature."

     You have stated this qualification before in Q&A #121: "I recommend that thirteen and fourteen year olds could pitch against opposition batters for one inning a game."

     While you are making that correction, you may want to complete this preceding statement in Q&A #145: "I recommend that youth pitchers do not practice pitching for more than two months a year until the growth plate[s] of their medial epicondyles [ossify]." --Note two corrections.

     Enjoy reading your Q&A and look forward to evaluating your technique whenever it is made available in video via the Internet or physical media.   Until then, it is clear to me that word-pictures are helpful, but, unfortunately, insufficient.


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     Thank you for your suggestion. I think that my correction clearly states my position.   I apologize for the over-sight.

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155.   If it makes sense to condition the shoulder and arm muscles with pitching specific exercises, which you describe in detail, and if leg-drive is such a crucial part of force application, doesn't it make sense to also condition at least the legs with pitching specific exercises?   It seems to me that conditioning the lower body would be crucial in maximizing the force applied to the drive line.   I agree with you that pitching baseballs is the crucial exercise for pitchers.   In that vein, then, why do the upper body exercises and not any lower body exercises?

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     The answer is that the skeletal structure of the pitching arm is the focus of the activity.   We train the pitching arm to withstand the stress that the activity requires.   The legs do not require a similar increase in skeletal strength.   In addition, the way to specifically train the legs for the throwing motion activity is to repeat the throwing motion with increasing intensity.   I believe that we achieve that training with the program I recommend.   Any other training activity for the legs would be like doing jumping jacks, that is, they would only train for that activity and not specifically for baseball pitching.

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156.   Thank you very much for taking time to explain the above; it makes things a lot more clearly.   Now, I can jump in with both feet (one arm, actually) and start practicing the technique.   I pitch in an over-30 league and your technique sounds like the most efficient, and most of all, safest technique I've come across.   Keep up the good work and when I finish illustrating the arm action of your technique, I'll send copies to you for any corrections.

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     I look forward to your work.

     I have been meaning to inquire about your email address.   Is not wkar the Michigan State University radio station?   I seem to recall visiting a Quonset hut during the 60's just down the road from Jenison Fieldhouse while I lived in East Shaw Hall.

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157.   I frequently receive inquiries about whether interested persons can visit my training site.   I welcome anybody who wants to learn my force application techniques.   For varying periods of time, I have had many come, watch, discuss and learn.   I welcome anybody commited to learn at any time.   I do not charge.   Let me know when you can come.   We train every morning from about 9:00 until 11:00.

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158.   Edward Gibbon said of his decision to write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: "Unprovided with original learning, uninformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved--to write a book."

     At age 42, having never played a single league game of basketball, in a cast recovering from achilles tendon surgery, I decided to become a professional basketball player.

     I need to know where I can find the most important knowledge about human muscle movement, flexibility, and strength to improve my body to the point where I can reach my body's capabilities.


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     I always encourage learning for whatever reason.   You should look into Physiology of Exercise books for the information you seek.   However, I do not believe that you will find the information as direct as you might want.   My Coaching Adult Pitchers book provides the information that you seek for those who wish to advance their baseball pitching skills.   You need to follow my format, but direct the information to those who wish to advance their basketball skills.

     I might warn you that at age forty-two, the human body does not respond to training as well as at age twenty-one.

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159.   There has been a lot of talk lately about the mental aspects of playing baseball and how talented athletes will often suffer diminished performance because of the psyche, not mechanics.   Mr. Knoblauch, Mr. Mantei, and Mr. Rocker come to mind immediately.   Have you ever done any research on the the psychology of sports and/or do you have any thoughts on this matter?

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     In 1965, during my Masters Degree program, I took a Sports Psychology class.   It was a new field and I found it insufficient.   Because I was the only professional athlete in the class, the professor called on me frequently to discuss performance under stress.   However, I was still a minor league shortstop and did not have much to offer.   Nevertheless, I understood the need.   I started looking for ways to manage performance stress.

     I found Dr. Edmund Jacobson's Progressive Relaxation book.   A couple of years later, Professor Arthur Steinhaus joined the teaching staff in the Physical Education Department at Michigan State University.   Professor Steinhaus had worked with Dr. Jacobson and investigated the use of Neuromuscular Relaxation in education.   I took every class that Professor Steinhaus offered.

     When I finally reached the major leagues in 1968 and traveled to Chicago on a regular basis, I went to Dr. Jacobson's offices and we struck up a life-long friendship.   On his advice, when, in 1969, I started my doctoral degree studies, I studied Physiological Psychology as my minor degree.

     I have written and published articles on Tension Control, one entitled, 'How Tension Control Relates to Athletics.'   In Chapter 15 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I have a section entitled, 'Differential Neuromuscular Tension Control (NTC) Principle.   To answer your question, yes, I have done research on the psychology of sports and I do have some thoughts on this matter.

     I will try not to become too scientific, but the brain continually receives nerve impulses from every sensory organ and internally generates more nerve impulses.   When the brain is bombarded with sensory nerve impulses, it interferes with the motor nerve impulses that it sends to muscles to perform motor skills.   When athletes try to perform with high levels of sensory nerve input, they cannot successfully perform complex motor skills.   Since most coaches do not know how to reduce the unnecessary sensory input, athletes have to learn to do this themselves.   It is another motor skill that they need to learn.

     Differential Tension Control means to differential the tension signals that help athletes perform their skills and the tension signals that do not help them perform their skills.   Then, athletes eliminate the tension signals that do not help them perform their skill.   Dr. Jacobson discusses this in his 'You Must Relax' book.   I offered classes in Neuromuscular Tension Control at Michigan State University during the 1970's and trained hundreds of students and dozens of teachers.   I believe that Stress Management is a learned motor skill.   I do not agree with the direction of present Sport Psychologists that athletes can improve their performance for the long term by reciting mantras.   That is diversion, not control.

     For pitchers, the first way to reduce tension that they cannot succeed is to give them the quality of pitches that batters cannot hit and the sequences of pitches that maximize their chance of success.   When pitchers can throw their pitches for strikes without regard to the count, they prevent hitters from successfully anticipating what pitches they will receive and hitters cannot swing hard without correctly anticipating pitches.

     In situations such as Mr. Knoblauch, he is in a downward tension cycle.   The worse he does, the more he worries about it, the more he worries about it, the worse he does, and so on .   The only way that he can come out of this is to understand the force application technique that he needs to use to successfully perform his skill.   The problem is nobody understands the flawed mechanics that he is using.   I do, he should give me a call.

     In situations such as Mr. Mantie, he has my good friend, the Monster from the Boston Red Sox during the 1960's, Dick Radatz disease.   That is, the hitters know what he is going to throw.   For years, they could not hit what he threw even when they correctly anticipated the pitch.   Now, they can and he does not have any other way to go.   He does not have sufficient quality pitches to perform a fastball, breaking ball, screwball three pitch sequence to prevent hitters from correctly anticipating what he is going to throw.   To return to high levels of success, he needs to learn at least one quality breaking ball and one quality screwball.

     In situations such as Mr. Rocker, he has so many sensory and self-generated high intensity unnecessary tension signals bouncing around in his brain, that he cannot recall the motor unit firing sequence that he needs to use to successfully perform his pitching skills.   He needs to read Dr. Jacobson and learn Differential Tension Control.

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160.   I was a fan of Mr. Radatz in his playing days and still listen to him on a daily talk show in Boston.   He is always a refreshing voice.

     I have a couple of young lads who are really dedicated pitchers who are screaming for more knowledge about how to perform their craft.   They are both sixteen and have no reported arm problems.   I think they are being honest with me, in the sense that young pitchers will often not report pain in order to keep pitching.   They both have obvious mechanical flaws and of course could use more conditioning.   I have reservations about trying to change them in midseason.   Do you think I should have these reservations, or do you think I should go ahead and start working with them on off days?

     What do you think a coach's roll should be in controlling neuromuscular tension?

     Is there any way I can get my hands on your article 'How tension control relates to Athletics'?


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     Pitchers should train only when they are not competing.   As soon as the season ends, they should start making the force application adjustments that you believe that they need.   They could simultaneously start on my two week training program and extend the last day of that program to throughout their off-season.   Sixteen years old is appropriate to make a long term commitment to specific sport activities.

     Good coaches minimize the external stresses placed on their athletes, they do not add to them.   Good coaches teach their athletes the skills and strategies that improve their athletes ability to successfully compete.   Good coaches give the athletes control of their performances within guidelines and permit the athletes to fully express themselves athletically.   There is more, but since I have only seen one professional coach who meets these requirements, I will not add more.

     I have the article in my hands.   The American Association for the Advancement of Tension Control published it in its Tension Control periodical for the Proceedings of their Third Meeting, October 23-24, 1976 in Chicago, IL, edited by F.J. McGuigan, Ph.D..   You could search for that obscure periodical or you could ask me to make a copy and fax it to you.

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161.   I understand your concept of restricting/limiting non-competitive pitching for adolescents, but what about field players?   Should I limit either by time or count the amount of throws a catcher or third basemen makes?   During non-competitive throwing what would these limits be?   I have a 9 year old son who left to his own devices would throw until his arm fell off.   He has never experienced any pain and he's been examined proactively by an orthopedic physician.   How do I protect him from him?   Should limits also be placed on swinging the bat?   I am most concerned about limiting his exposure to injury, yet I don't want to hold back on his enjoyment for the game or dampen his desire to improve which is perhaps his greatest strength.

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     I agree that we should have concern about non-pitcher throwing.   I would limit their baseball activity to two months per year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures just as I would the pitchers.   However, I have less concern about non-pitchers due to the competitive intensity factor.   I have the greatest concern when pitchers pitch the third time through the lineup in championship games.   The excitement of the situation causes youngsters to exceed their physiological limits.   They are in danger at all times, but these situations are ripe for injury.

     The only way to determine detrimental effects from throwing is to compare the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of the non-throwing arm with the throwing arm.

     I recommend that you introduce your son to other activities, such as swimming, where the stress is not always on the medial epicondyle.   I also strongly recommend that parents introduce their youngsters to a broad base of sport and recreational activities during their children's rapid skeletal growth phase.   Take them camping, hiking, canoeing and so on.

     I have never read any research article or witnessed any skeletal development problems from youngsters swinging baseball bats.   I believe that the lower limb velocity does not stress the growth plates sufficiently to cause early epiphysial closure.   However, if youngsters were to use the 'release the bat with the rear arm' technique, I could see where they could injure the humeral head growth plate of their front arm.   They need to decelerate the baseball bat with both arms.

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162.   Would you please make a copy of your article "How Tension Control Relates To Athletics" and fax it to me at ... .   Please allow me to reimburse you for any expense that is incurred.

     When you have the time and/or the inclination, I would love to hear the "more" about how coaches should relate to their players.

     Who is the one professional coach you have seen who meets your standards?


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     The fax is on the way as I type.

     You are correct about the time factor on how coaches should relate to their players.   I would have to write another book.   Most coaches are not capable of relating as they should because they do not understand the skills well enough to teach them.   They think that players are puppets and all they have to do is manage the games.

     The only mature, adult professional coach with the integrity to maintain his dignity and not succumb to owners and/or the media is Phil Jackson.   The rest lack the personal confidence, maturity and knowledge to deal with professional players.

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163.   In Chapter 24, Section 5B - "Windup throws" you write: "For the Maxline pitches, pitchers stand with their rear foot at a forty-five degree angle to the pitching rubber on the three and one-half inches on the non-pitching arm side.   They place their stride foot parallel to their rear foot shoulder width apart on the dirt portion of the pitching mound.

     For the Torque pitches, pitchers stand with their rear foot pointing toward home plate on the three and one-half inches on the non-pitching arm side of the pitching rubber.   They place their stride foot parallel to their rear foot shoulder width apart in the middle of the pitching rubber."

     I have underlined what seems to me to be an inconsistency.   You have pitchers starting out on the non-pitching arm side of the rubber for both Maxline and Torque pitches.   Is this correct?


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     No.   When pitchers learn to throw torque drive pitches, I want them to stand on the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber and throw the baseballs toward the non-pitching arm side of home plate.   I will check this immediately and make the appropriate correction.   Thank you for calling it to my attention.

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164.   For throwing torque pitches you instruct that the rear foot is pointing toward home plate and for maxline pitches that it is at a 45 degree angle.   Does the foot remain in these positions throughout the force application or does it turn parallel to the rubber?

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     I use the fixed position of the rear foot on the pitching rubber to prevent pitchers from reverse rotating their acromial line too far.   On torque drive pitches, I prefer that pitchers place their rear foot on the pitching rubber such that it points straight toward home plate.   On maxline drive pitches, I prefer that pitchers place their rear foot on the pitching rubber such that it is at a forty-five degree angle to the pitching rubber.

     When pitchers turn their rear foot such that it is parallel to the pitching rubber, they reverse rotate their acromial line too far.   This causes them to take their pitching arm too far laterally behind their body such that when they start their upper arm drive, their forearm travels laterally.   This lateral movement causes forearm flyout which unnecessarily stresses the medial epicondyle muscles and, if they did not take care to keep their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line, they also unnecessarily stress their subscapularis.   Too much reverse rotation is the major cause of pitching arm injuries.

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165.   At what age should a boy start to learn a curve ball?   Please help my 12 yr old has a great arm and is fighting me on this one.

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     In terms of the danger to the growth plates of the pitching elbow, correctly throwing curves is no more dangerous than throwing fastballs.   I would teach my grandson how to correctly throw breaking balls and screwballs as soon as he was interested.   However, I would not permit him to pitch competitively until he was thirteen years old and then for only one inning twice a week.

     You will notice that I wrote 'correctly' throwing curves.   The problem is that 'pulling down the window shade' is not the correct way to throw curves.   Throwing breaking balls is the most difficult pitch to learn because pitchers have to supinate their forearm to the proper position at leverage between the downward forearm head pat position and leverage.   Since the forearm faces downward at the 'head pat' position, it has to rotate two hundred and seventy degrees by the time it reaches leverage.

     Youngsters usually start rotating their forearms before they reach the 'head pat' position.   This causes the forearm to move laterally behind their body and eventuates forearm flyout which will destroy their medial epicondyle growth plate.

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166.   I sent a question a few months ago, and returned to read new questions and answers.   I have enclosed a link to a study that you will find "interesting".   Please share the article, I am working on getting the study itself.

     Several thoughts and questions:
1)   I just finished Tom House's 2nd ed. of "The Pitching Edge", and I really wish you would read it, either to refute or agree.   I think many of your assertions are the same, but in a different "language".   For a man as intelligent as you are, I find it hard to believe you cannot get a book and/or video published.   I would love to help you, and I have 2 ideas that I think will work.   (I will call you).   I was glad to see your comments on R Clemens.   House uses him as an example of a mechanically sound pitcher.   Have you examined video of him, or other superstars (Pedro, Big Unit, Kevin Brown, Maddux,etc.)?

2)   So I understand you correctly, the throwing arm hand should not stay" on top of the ball", but "underneath" (palm up) when the arm is at the top of the ellipse?   When my throwing arm has reached the apex of the ellipse, the farthest point toward 2nd base, my arm should be flat (no flex (t) or vertical forearm) and palm should be skyward?

3)   One point House and his video analyzers make that I believe you make also, is that EVERY pitch is released from the middle finger, thus, mechanically are basically the same (except for wrist pronation, supination).   Is this accurate?

4)   I disagree with your ideas regarding strength training, especially for the lower body.   Check out gambetta.com, and Vern Gambetta's ideas on functional strength.   I think cross-training has been proven for athletes such as track, and your belief (which I 100% agree with) that pre-adolescents should play many games and sports is similar to that.   Throwing a baseball from the mound requires producing as much kinetic force as possible, so activities that train the body to do this, such as plyometrics, should be helpful.   They also break up the monotony of performing a single task repetitively.

5)   How do you feel about young (biologically) kids using lighter balls (such as a 4 oz.) to throw with.   As I mentioned before , I have an 8 year old son.   While he is playing in a machine pitch league, he wants to pitch to me, so I have begun teaching him.   While he has some definite genetic gifts, like all 8 year olds, he is not very strong, and it is a striking difference when he throws a cloth 4 oz. ball vs. a 5 oz. regulation ball.   In general, after coaching college baseball the past 5 years, and "retiring" to coach 7-8 year olds, I really appreciate how difficult the skill of throwing is.   I have seen very few kids that throw anywhere near effectively or mechanically correct (the methods that I have learned and taught prior to your info).   But yet society runs them out to the mound immediately!

     NOTE THE % OF ADOLESCENT PITCHERS REPORTING ARM PAIN IN THE ARTICLE!!!!!

     Dr. Mike, I am with you on preventing injuries, letting kids have fun, getting parents egos out of the mix.   I would just like to see you be less "stubborn" when it comes to looking at other's ideas.   You don't have to agree, but many of us don't know enough to break down the details.   Some people like myself, can take our experience, add common sense and education and eventually figure it out.   But you can shorten the learning curve.   You are doing that with the site, but I urge you to do more.   Please send me your ph# again, I'd love to talk about some ideas I have.


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     I do not read assertions, I read what principle of Physics supports the assertion.   Lucky guesses do not count. I also do not know why I cannot get my books published.   I thought that there were academic publishers who would publish for the educational value.   However, I cannot get a positive response.   I would appreciate any help anybody could give me.

     At leverage, the forearm position ranges from extreme supination to extreme pronation.   When pitchers supinate their forearm, the palm faces inward and they throw curves.   When pitchers pronate their forearm, the palm faces outward and they throw screwballs.   When pitchers neither supinate or pronate their forearm, their palm faces upward and they throw fastballs.   At my downward forearm head pat position, the palm always faces downward.   However, between the 'head pat' and leverage, pitchers reposition their forearm and, consequently, their palm.

     The tip of the middle finger is the last body part to leave contact with the baseball whether pitchers throw fastballs, breaking balls or screwballs.   Fastballs leave off the end of the tip of the middle finger.   Breaking balls leave off the index finger side of the tip of the middle finger.   Screwballs leave off the ring finger side of the tip of the middle finger.   The middle finger is the longest finger on the hand is the complicated reason why this happens.      I have a 500 frame per second sixteen millimeter pin-registered camera.   I have analyzed thousands of feet of high speed film of baseball pitching.   At five hundred frames per second, the release of a fastball at one hundred and thirty-two feet per second (90 mph) will have 3.12 inches of movement between frames.   Video analyzers do not operate with clarity at much slower frames per second.

     However, the frames per second of video cameras versus sixteen millimeter cameras is not the issue.   Researchers do not determine the proper way to apply force in sport activities by analyzing the most successful performers.   Researchers learn the laws of Physics, learn the skeletal system, learn the muscular system and so on and design the proper force application techniques for sport activities based on scientific principles.   I hope that you can see that that is what I do.

     When I teach this concept to my Kinesiology classes, I like to tell a story of how researchers studied high jumping.   At the time, the best high jumpers in the worle used the 'sissors' technique.   These researchers determined that when athletes performed the 'sissors' technique, the center of mass of their body cleared the bar by several inches.   Consequently, they set about to design a high jumping technique where athletes could clear the bar, but have their center of mass pass under the bar.   They succeeded.   They designed the 'Western roll' high jumping technique.   They were so proud and the high jump record increased dramatically.   So, you see science is the answer.   Just as Dick Fosbury what he thinks.

     Cross-training may have some reduce the boredom benefits, although I never felt bored training for baseball pitching.   Cross-training has absolutely no benefit in high velocity, high motor skill complexity activities.   Baseball pitchers require specificity of training to achieve their maximum fitness and skill levels.

     I have no problem with adjusting sport equipment to the size and strength of youngsters.   The only important factor for youngsters is skill development.   As they grow, they will increase their strength.   After their skeletons mature is soon enough for heavy training programs.   I can guarantee that I can increase all youth pitchers throwing velocity by over five miles per hour if I start training him at twelve years old and we wait until he is eighteen years old to evaluate his progress.   Obviously, normal maturation and its accompanying increase in strength caused the velocity increase, not the force application technique.   For anybody to promise velocity increases during adolescent development does not recognize the numerous confounding variables in the analysis.

     I do not feel that I am stubborn.   I just do not need to reinvent the wheel every day.   I will listen to disagreements with what I teach, but without convincing scientific evidence to the contrary, I will stick with what I have studied and researched.   If I am not sufficiently clear on anything, please bring it to my attention.   That is the only way I can learn to communicate better.   When I talk with myself, I understand me perfectly.   Therefore, when I have not stated my positions clearly, I need my readers to question what I mean.

when I have not stated my positions clearly when I have not stated my positions clearly My telephone number is (813)783-1357.

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167.   I have recently under went Tommy John Surgery a few months ago and I am about to start throwing for the first time in 4 months.   I was wondering what would be a good throwing program to start on that would help me to come back throwing harder than every?   Also what are some good exercises that would help in increasing my velocity?

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     Tommy John surgery means that you destroyed your medial collateral ligament.   Since the medial collateral ligament ties your ulna bone to your humerus bone on the medial side, you placed unnecessary stress on the inside of your elbow that it could not withstand.   Therefore, the first phase of your rehabilitation requires that you learn the proper technique for applying force to your pitches that minimizes the stress that you place on your reconstructed medial collateral ligament.

     I was present when Tommy destroyed his medial collateral ligament.   He was pitching to the Montreal Expo during the 1974 season.   He had a great season going.   I would guess that he was something like 10 wins and 2 losses.   Sorry Tommy if I am incorrect, but it was a great season.

     About two weeks before Tommy injured his MCL, I came to Dodger Stadium early and saw Tommy jogging around the park with a rubber sweat jacket on.   I asked Tommy to stop a second and talk with me.   When he came over, I asked him to remove his jacket and I examined the muscles around his elbow, notably his five medial epicondyle muscles and his finger flexors.   I found that they were very tight.   I told Tommy that he should stop jogging with the rubber sweat jacket.

     Research shows that when we perspire excessively, we lose greater proportions of potassium than we do sodium.   When the potassium to sodium balance tips toward sodium, muscle cramping occurs.   I told Tommy that when athletes try to perform with a potassium to sodium imbalance toward sodium their muscles cramp and a knife clasp reflex occurs that shuts down these muscles to prevent injury to them.   When muscles shut down during activities, one-half of the agonist/antagonist balance does not work and jeopardizes the ligaments that hold the skeletal system in place.

     With the muscles of his medial epicondyle in a potassium to sodium imbalance, if they shut down during a pitch, it would place all forearm acceleration stress on the medial collateral ligament.   I advised Tommy to stop wearing the rubber sweat jacket and get his potassium to sodium balance back to normal.

     Unfortunately, Tommy did not want to change the routine that so far had enabled him to have a great season.   Immediately after Tommy threw the pitch that went half-way to home plate, he walked over to me in the Dodger dugout and said, "You were right, I just blew out my elbow."   I went with Tommy into the trainers room and examined his elbow.   All muscles that attached to his medial epicondyle had detached and were bunched in the middle of the anterior surface of his forearm.   I checked for medial collateral ligament stability and his ulna moved easily away from his humerus.   I told him that he had serious damage.

     Imagine my shock when I arrived at Dodger Stadium the next day to find Tommy gently playing catch in the bullpen.   I stopped Tommy and took him into the training room and explained what Tommy had done.   They reattached the medial epicondyle muscles and took the palmaris longus tendon from his right forearm and used it to tie his ulna to his humerus.

     The point of this story is to show you that you did not have all of Tommy John's surgery.   All they did with you is take the palmaris longus tendon from your non-pitching arm and replace your medial collateral ligament.   They did not have to reattach your medial epicondyle muscles.   You were lucky in that sense, but unlucky in another.

     When the surgeon reattached Tommy John's medial epicondyle muscles, they twisted his ulnar nerve in the ulnar groove behind the medial epicondyle and the nerve died below the elbow and Tommy lost function of the muscles that the ulnar nerve serves, notably the muscles of the little finger and the lateral one-half of his ring finger.   That is the lucky part.

     Since the muscles of Tommy's medial epicondyle were detached from his medial epicondyle, the surgeon should have relocated the ulnar nerve on top of his elbow joint rather than return it to the posterior side of the medial epicondyle.   This is the only anatomical factor that I would offer to support the argument that humans are not meant to pitch baseballs.   The ulnar nerve should be on the anterior surface of the elbow with the median nerve.   I told Tommy that he had to undergo another surgery to correct this crimp in his ulnar nerve.

     This time they relocated the ulnar nerve.   That is the unlucky part.   Tommy regained about sixty percent of the function served by his ulnar nerve returned after about a year of the nerve slowing regenerating down its myelin sheath.   This turned out to be a blessing in that Tommy could not try to return to pitching too early, he had to wait for his ulnar nerve to regenerate.

     To fully recover from surgery requires about a year.   I know that things feel strong after a couple of months, but the tissues do not become fully contiguous with their surrounding tissues for about a year.   I am not saying that you should not work at your rehabilitation.   I would start your rehabilitation the day after the surgery, but you should not compete for at least one year after surgery, the tissues are not ready.

     Long story to tell you that Tommy John did not have a difficult rehabilitation because he did not injure his medial collateral ligament because of improper force application techniques.   He did not have to change how he threw.   You will have to change how you throw the baseball.   To learn a new motor skill on top of an incorrect old motor skill is very challenging, especially when you return to competition.   In the heat of competition, you will return to your old force application techniques unless you have very carefully relearned new proper techniques.

     In short, I am not concerned about the therapy to regain the strength in the muscles that have atrophied during your surgery and recovery, I am greatly concerned about the force application technique that you will use once you start pitching competitively.

     I recommend that you read my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books to learn the proper force application techniques.   You should also follow the weight training program that I recommend in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I designed them to specifically train your muscles in the force application techniques that minimize unnecessary stress to your medial epicondyle area.

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168.   I'm confused by the following instructions:
     "To start the exercise, pitchers gently lower their elbows to shoulder height and their forearms to horizontal.   When pitchers achieve these elbow and forearm positions, they drive their bodies forward off their stride foot.   During this stride foot drive, pitchers forward rotate their hips and shoulders and keep their elbow and forearm at shoulder height and horizontal.   Just before their rear foot contact the ground directly in front of their stride foot, pitchers powerfully accelerate their forearms through release."

     I'm a righty.   If I stand with my feet at shoulder width, looking forward, in which direction is my right index finger pointing (as a frame of reference) when my right elbow lowers to shoulder height and my right forearm is horizontal?   Is the direction of movement from this position straight forward?   Do I step with my left foot first and then bring my right foot forward?   Am I actually throwing a baseball with the wrist weight on?   If so, how far?   Does my arm ever return to vertical during the actual throwing motion or does it remain horizontal?

     I want to introduce your training program to 4 or 5 16 yr. olds, beginning at the end of July and, if I can motivate them, keep them on the program throughout the offseason, but I want to make sure I understand precisely what each exercise entails.


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     Thank you for your interest and plan to teach these techniques to young hopefuls.

     Perhaps Chapter 24 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers does a better job of explaining these exercises than the Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I completed that chapter much after the Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     You are asking about what I now call, my force-coupling throws.   We use force-coupling throws only with wrist weights and iron balls.   We do not throw baseballs with wrist weights attached and we do not throw baseballs using the force-coupling exercise.

     The force-coupling exercise is central to my program.   Pitchers must learn how to couple or join together the push-back force of their front foot with the forearm acceleration through release.   I use the force-coupling exercise to introduce them to this feeling.

     Pitchers should stand with the toe of their front foot pointing slightly outward with their feet shoulder-width apart and parallel.   They should have their elbow at shoulder height and their shoulders level.   They should have their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   They should have their forearm vertical.   I hope that I am clear on the starting position.

     To initiate the exercise, pitchers lower (lay back) their forearms backward to horizontal.   This places their pitching arm in the leverage position from which they can rotate their hips and shoulders forwardly with their upper arm locked with their thorax.   When their forearm achieves the horizontal position, they should start rotating their hips and shoulders forward.   They use their front foot to apply the opposite direction force required to initiate the forward movement of their body.   I now call this 'front foot pushback'.

     After pitchers have forwardly rotated their shoulders to the proper alignment for the force application technique, i.e., for the maxline force application technique, with the acromial line pointing toward home plate and, for the torque force application technique, with the acromial line perpendicular to the non-pitching arm side of home plate, they should start their forearm acceleration through release.

     The type of forearm acceleration through release depends on the type of pitch.   For example, for fastballs, the forearm should face upward, for breaking pitches to the non-pitching arm side (curves), the forearm should face inward and for breaking pitches to the pitching arm side (screwballs), the forearm should face outward.

     I hope that this explanation helps and, again, I applaud your purpose.

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169.   I believe all of your pitching exercises have an instructional component built into them.   Do you ever present to your students a generalized start-to-finish discussion of what good mechanics look like and, if so, how do you do this?   I'm in the process of putting together (to borrow a teaching term) a lesson plan for pitching, based in large part on your textbooks.   I'm wondering how much time, if any, do you think I should spend talking about general principles.

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     Absolutely.   I very carefully go through Newton's three laws and how I have accounted for each with my techniques.   Then, I explain how and why to drop the pitching hand out of the glove for the start of the pendulum swing aspect of the transition phase.   Then, I explain how and why to begin the elbow raise with the outward rotation of the humerus in the glenoid fossa from the downward forearm head pat position, and so on.   If students do know understand the how and why, they cannot learn.

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170.   I'm 18 years old and I've already completed 1 year of college. I'm currently pitching for my American Legion team and playing in a college twi-light league. One thing that I need to work on is my strength, I feel I've got the height at 6'2, but I only weigh about 155-160 lbs. I need to put on some lbs.      I would like to have some more information and your opinion on the matter.   I really love pitching and the game of baseball.   I'm looking to learn more about the art of pitching and the game of baseball. If you would be kind enough to get back to me with your opinion I'd be greatly appreciated.

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     I am not certain what advise you want.   If you have read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, then you know that I believe that pitchers must weight train to get their pitching arms extremely strong.   I do not care what they weigh, I do care about the strength of their pitching arm.

     I can guarantee that with my specifically designed weight training program, you will have the pitching arm strength to pitch at the highest level.   I cannot guarantee that you will have the physiological necessities to pitch at the highest level.   That depends on your genetics for fast-twitch muscle fibers.   I also cannot guarantee that you will have the motor skill to pitch at the highest level.   That is your responsibility.   I can guide you, but you are responsible for learning the motor skills.   I can guarantee that you will find out at what level you can have success.   I hope that you will surprise yourself as I had the great fortune to surprise myself.   I graduated high school at 5'08" and 155 lbs.   I am still 5'08".

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171.   Do you have any special exercises or techniques to correct the movement of the elbow behind the acromial line after hand disconnect?   This is an especially difficult habit to change in 16-17 yr olds who have been pitching this way for some time.   I believe your force-coupling throws will have a dramatic effect on this problem if done regularly.   I'm wondering if you have any students with pronounced 'flailing', as it is known, and if there is anything special you do to correct this problem.

     Also, a note of thanks.   One of the youngsters with whom I will be working pitched, I believe, the best game of his life last night.   I have had preliminary discussions with him about the basic principles of drive-line, timing of weight transfer, shoulder alignment etc.   He has already made several mechanical adjustments on his own based on these principles and I note several important improvements: 1. dramatically increased command of his pitches, 2. a noticeable increase in velocity and 3. increased motivation.   This last is very important.   He has noticed the steady improvement in his last 3 outings.   I have his attention.   He has never done any arm care exercises and I think once the season ends and I put him on your program, he will improve even more.   He is 16 and has been clocked around 82-83.   However, he is the reason for my question about flailing.   I believe that if he does not correct it, he will ultimately injure his shoulder and/or his elbow.


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     The primary cause of subscapularis injury is pitchers permitting their olecranon process to move behind their acromial line.   They must learn how to avoid this first.   I start with a demonstration of how weak their shoulder joint is in this position.   I have them stand with their shoulders level and their upper arm at shoulder height.   I ask them to lay their forearm back as close to horizontal as they can.   I am not concerned that they cannot lay their forearm back, but I comment on how much outward rotation range of motion they need to achieve with the wrist weight exercises with the admonition that they can never achieve their maximum release velocity without full shoulder range of motion.

     Next, to make certain that they understand the concept, I ask them to place their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   If not, I explain where the acromial line is and what their olecranon process is.   To demonstrate the importance of keeping their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line, I place one hand under their pitching armpit with my fingers behind their shoulder and the palm of my other hand against the front of their pitching elbow.   Then, I ask them to take their olecranon process behind their acromial line.   When their olecranon process is a couple of inches behind their acromial line, I place isometric forward pressure behind their shoulder and backward pressure on their olecranon process to prevent them from moving their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   Now, with only their upper arm, I ask them to exert their maximum forward force.   After they feel how weak the front of their shoulder feels in this position, I move their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line and I repeat the test.   With their shoulder joint in proper muscular leverage, they should show much greater strength.

     Once they experience the feeling of strength of the olecranon process ahead of their acromial process, they should be able to keep that position.   Then, I show them how to pendulum swing to the downward forearm head pat position.   I make certain that they do not carry the glove across the front of their body, but immediately remove their pitching hand from the glove.   It is from the downward forearm head pat position that pitchers need to insure that their olecranon process remains ahead of their acromial line.   At leverage, they should have outwardly rotated their humerus to face upward, they should have raised their upper arm to shoulder height with the shoulders level, they should have bent their forearm to upper arm angle to no less than ninety degrees and they should have their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   Until they learn to accomplish these four criteria, they should not proceed.

     I am always pleased to hear when a young pitcher has enjoyed a happy pitching experience.   However, I never take credit for those who accomplish or I would have to take blame for those who do not.   They have made the adjustments and deserve the full credit.   I congratulate him.

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172.   I've got a couple of questions regarding your technique.   The only problem I'm having is with the forearm acceleration/stride foot timing.   First question:   Is the front foot (stabilizer), what you refer to as the "stride foot?"   Or, is the stride foot the one on the rubber?   If it's the lead or front foot, and the forearm couples with the stride foot drive to "powerfully accelerate the forearm to release," how can the upper arm acceleration phase move the forearm AHEAD of the front foot?   Maybe I'm just not used to doing it and need more practice, but I find this terribly awkward, out of "rhythum" and physically ill-timed.   Am I correct on my terms here?

     Please advise.   I would think the "stride foot" IS the front foot, but it seems you differentiate and do not refer to them as the same.


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     Sir Isaac Newton's second law, the law of acceleration, tells us that pitchers must apply force for as long of a time period as possible.   This translates to distance.   That is, the greater the distance over which pitchers uniformly apply force, the greater their release velocity.   Sir Isaac Newton's third law, the law of reaction, tells us that for pitchers to apply greater force toward home plate, they must apply greater force toward second base.   These scientific requirements lead me to the 'force-coupling' concept of front foot push-back before the forearm acceleration through release.

     The stride foot is the front foot and the push-off foot is the rear foot.   Both feet must apply force toward second base.   The push-off or rear foot applies its force early to move the body ahead of the stride or front foot.   Only after the body moves ahead of the stride or front foot, can the front foot push-back toward second base.   After the front foot push-back, pitchers should forearm accelerate their pitches through release.

     This does require a different pitching rhythm.   Pitchers have to learn to be patient.   They have to learn that uniform acceleration means to continually increase the velocity through release.   Pitchers do not 'reach back' for something extra, they 'reach forward' for something extra.   Pitchers have to learn to save their greatest energy expenditure until the forearm acceleration through release.

     I teach this new pitching rhythm in stages starting with the final stage.   In an exercise that I now call 'force-coupling throws", I ask pitchers to push-back with their front foot before they forearm accelerate their wrist weights and iron balls forward.   After pitchers master the 'feel' of force-coupling, then I have them add the forward step to the force-coupling exercise.   Pitchers have to learn to not forward rotate their acromial lines prior to their front foot contacting the ground.   I call this exercise, 'power leverage throws'.   After pitchers master this new stage and properly continue the 'force-coupling throws', I have them add the transition in an exercise I call 'rock-back transition throws'.   I think that I explain these steps best in Chapter 23 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     I realize that it is difficult to learn a new pitching rhythm after years of the old 'reach back for something extra' rhythm, but it works and dramatically extends your driveline.   Even with the people with whom I work daily, I have to constantly remind them to be patient and wait until the body is ahead of the front foot and they feel the front foot push-back.

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173.   From everything I've read on your technique, so far, (downloading chapters of your books and you graciously answering my questions) I was correct in how I thought it is supposed to work and "feel."   However, I needed further explanation from you to be sure that what I pictured in my mind and the contortions my body went through..was what you really meant.   Now I am sure, and can go from here.

     This technique is quite different, but medically and scientifically makes sense to me.   It seems to take a considerable amount of training in order to be able to do it.   And, yes, rhythumically..it's also quite different from conventional pitching methods.

     Now, my final question for now:   Is there anybody on the major league level that is applying your technique and if so, who are they?   I think I've seen maybe one or two guys on ESPN highlights since I've been interested in studying your technique, but I can't remember who they were or what teams they were on.


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     In the past, I have worked with pitchers who were already professional.   They want me to fix them in a couple of weeks.   The problem is that as soon as my techniques rehabilitate their injury, they revert to some hybrid technique that either will eventually fail them again or will prevent them from achieving their potential.   I prefer to work with high school graduates who will learn and use the complete technique.

     I started teaching my techniques to high school graduate and early college pitchers in August, 1998.   It is a little early to expect them to reach the major leagues.   However, I have one who pitched at the end of last season and for a month earlier this season. He is right-handed and left-handed batters went three for thirty something off him. After his first twelve games, he had a 1.60 earned run average.

     He throws my maxline and torque fastballs.   He throws my slider, torque and maxline curves.   He throws my torque and maxline sinkers and screwballs.   He is learning how to sequence his pitches.   They want him to throw fastballs on the first pitch, on the two ball one strike count and on full counts.   I do not.   They want to control his pitch selection.   I tell my pitchers that they are not puppets that they have to have full confidence in the pitch that they are about to throw.

The long answer to your question is, I prefer that youngsters learn from an idealized model of perfection, not the imperfections of others.   No pitcher can perfectly apply force from leverage through release in a straight line. Pitchers are of different heights, weights, arm lengths and so on.   We should not study others, we need to work from perfection, toward perfection.

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174.   My son is 15 years old 5''7" and is 125 lbs.   He has shoulder pain.   I'm looking for someone who can diagnose what is the source of his recurring problems.   He has worked with a professional pitchers since age eight on a regular basis and his mechanics are perfect.

     I have taken him to two different orthopedicts here.   At age 11, he had growth plate calcium build up.   We stopped pitching for the season.   Last year, he had pain in lower pitch arm and we stopped went to ortho and was told due to loose cartlidges around throwing arm the rotator cuff was getting pinched and thus pain.   He went to therepy and worked out with weights and rubber tubing to strenghten shoulder mucles.

     On the high school freshman team, he did not pitch until the end of season (coach did not work pitchers in bull pen at all).   When they saw how effective he was, they pitched him consistantly.   He pitched nineteen innings, all at end of season.   In his first tournament game, he felt sharp pain in his shoulder and could not throw the ball.   It has been about four weeks since he pitched.   He is playing Colt ball now and, being a lefty, he plays first base.   He is again discouraged because he wants to play at pitcher because he is very good, throws hard high 70s split finger, fastball, change and a curve on occasion.

     Who is the right type of Doctor should he be seeing and I'm looking for the correct type of strength building exercises?   Any sugestions would be appreciated.   He really is good and would like to pursue his dream.


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     Your son is fifteen years old and 5'07" tall and 125 lbs.   I doubt that he has competed his skeletal development.   If he still has open growth plates in his pitching arm, then I cannot properly diagnose the cause of his pain.   Nevertheless, if the pain is in the front of his shoulder, then it is probably his subscapularis attachment.   Pain in the subscapularis attachment indicates improper force application techniques.   He is leaving his olecranon process (elbow) behind his acromial line (the line drawn through the tips of his shoulders).   He is also most likely taking the baseball too far laterally behind his body.

     With regards to a training program, I strongly recommend against it until all growth plates in his pitching arm mature.   You will need a bilateral X-ray of both of your son's elbows and shoulders to compare the skeletal maturation of his non-pitching arm with his pitching arm.

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175.   I think it's great that you have a young man who is using your method and working towards the Big Leagues.   As I mentioned before, I do illustrations and I would like to know if you have a video tape of the method you teach.   If so, I can slow it down frame-by-frame and sketch the positioning of the complete wind up and arm positions and then submit them to you for your approval to be possibly/eventually to be included in your books.   I currently have some pictures of what I think are some of the correct arm positions, but I need more examples to refer to, and Jeff's movements would be ideal.

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     I am very interested in your illustrations.   Please send them to me as soon as you feel comfortable with them and I will tell you if you have captured the technique.

     I have two concerns.   One, I do not want to piece-meal the illustrations. That is, I believe that the illustrations for the Anatomical Analysis section are equally important to the Marshall Force Application Technique and Training sections.   Two, even as skilled as someone has become, he does not perform the technique perfectly.   Nobody ever will.   Everybody has their individual deficiencies.   They strive for perfection, but they can never achieve it.   How can someone provide straight-line drive with the rotation of bodies of different heights, weights, arm lengths and so on.   Therefore, I want illustrations of perfection, not someone imperfections.   That is the problem with learning how to perform a skill by watching someone successful perform the skill, you are teaching their imperfections.

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176.   You take a scientific approach to teaching pitching.   What would you say is the most important development your research has brought to the pitching world?

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     The only way to learn how to properly apply force for any human movement is to follow the laws of Physics and the dictates of the human musculo-skeletal system.   Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion provide the bases from which researchers should develop the idealized force application techniques for all motor skills.   I am moving closer to completing the work for baseball pitching.   The musculo-skeletal system limits how humans provide force.   If we do not have muscles with which to apply force in a manner best suited to satisfying Newton's three laws, then we have to accept our limitations and adjust.

     The most important development that my research has brought to the pitching world is the discovery that baseball pitching is a very natural movement for the human body and with proper force application techniques, injury-prevention training and recognition to the adolescent growth and development limitations, there is absolutely no reason for any pitchers to ever suffer pitching arm injuries.   If adolescent pitchers have not destroyed their pitching arms with too much stress before their growth plates have ossified, I can fix any pitching arm such that it will achieve its maximum release velocity and never suffered injury discomfort.   Because baseball pitching is a highly complex motor skill that we perform at ballistic intensity, it requires about forty weeks for proper training conditioning and another few to several years of motor skill acquisition training to achieve personal perfection.

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177.   You talk about growth plate development, what is that?   How does it affect pitchers?

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     I discuss this question at great length in Chapters five, six and seven of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on my website.   In a nutshell, at ten years old, the bones of the pitching arm are continuing to grow in length and width.   The locations of this growth and development are called, growth plates.   Growth plates are cartilaginous tissue that permit the laying down of bone matrix on both sides of the plate.   In this way, bones grow longer and wider.   Until these growth plates complete their work, they remain susceptible to the stress caused by physical activity.   Too much stress causes growth plates to prematurely ossify, which stunts the development of the bone and worse.   Too much stress can even pull the ossification center on the outside of the growth plate loose from the shaft of the bone and permanently disfigure and limit the function of the bone.

     In baseball pitching, although the shoulder has a couple of growth plates with which we must be aware, the medial epicondyle and olecranon process are the two growth plates of primary concern.   The most common permanently limiting injury to adolescent pitchers' growth plates happens to the medial epicondyle.   Because the medial epicondyle has the ulnar nerve groove running behind it, it has the additional limiting factor of changing the effectiveness of the ulnar nerve.   That tingling pitchers feel in their little finger and outside of their middle finger is a result of altering the ulnar nerve groove with too much adolescent pitching.

     It is impossible to predict how much adolescent pitching is too much.   I recommend that until adolescents reach fifteen years old, they not pitch baseballs for more than two months per year.   I also recommend that until they reach thirteen years of age, they do not pitch competitively.   After age thirteen, I would permit them to pitch only one inning per game.   There is nothing that they can gain by pitching more than this that they cannot gain after their growth plates have matured.   They have everything to lose.

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178.   You run 40 week session for pitchers, what does that entail?   Are pitchers of all ages invited to attend?

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     Over several years, I have agreed to help the sons of friends learn what is required to become the best pitcher that they can become.   I have learned that to achieve the fitness that I believe is essential to become the best pitcher that they can become requires forty weeks of training.   To master the motor skills that they need requires considerably more time, depending on the motor learning ability of each young man.

     I hope to be able to provide this service to others in the near future, but, at this time, I cannot.   I will not train pitchers with open growth plates.   Therefore, I work only with sixteen year olds and above for four week periods during the summer.   I train high school and early college pitchers for the forty week period.

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179.   Having a Ph.D. and a Cy Young you are very qualified to speak on pitching.   Which has helped you more in your teaching the Ph.D. or the Cy Young (playing days)?

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     Without the research, I never would have had a major league career.   Without the major league career, I would not know what is necessary for pitchers to succeed at the highest level.   There may be others with the research knowledge that I have, but they do not understand how to apply it.   There are others who have had the major league experiences that I have had, but they do not know how scientific research can enhance performance.

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180.   What are the most common faults you see in pitchers?   Suggestions for corrections?

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     The most common fault that pitchers make is when they reverse rotate their acromial lines too far.   This takes the baseball too far laterally behind their body, i.e., right-handed pitchers take the baseball too far sideways toward first base.   This requires that, before they can throw the baseball toward home plate, they have to take the baseball toward third base.   This forearm flyout unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow and, eventually, it breaks down.

     The second most common fault that pitchers make is when they use the balance position.   From the balance position, they start their body forward and their pitching arm backward.   This places their olecranon process behind their acromial line and risks subscapularis injury.

     The third most common fault that pitchers make is when they point their forearm vertically just before they start their upper arm drive.   This causes their forearm to move downward while their upper arm moves forward.   This shoulder bounce unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis and, eventually, it breaks down.

     The fourth most common fault that pitchers make is when they stride toward their pitching arm side.   This closes their hips and prevents shoulder rotation.   As a result, they have to throw the baseball in front of the body and the movement of the upper arm inwardly unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis and, eventually, it breaks down.

     There are several more, but these examples show that the force application technique that pitching coaches teach cause unnecessary injuries.   The reverse rotation is dangerous.   The balance position is dangerous.   The 'high guard' position is dangerous.   The closed stride is dangerous.   Reaching back for something extra insures pitching arm injury.   Ignorance is no excuse.   If any of my students ever suffered a pitching arm injury using the technique that I teach, I would quit.   These pitching coaches are dangerous.   They must quit.   Good intentions do not count.

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181.   Discuss the parents role a child's pitching development.

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     Parents must take charge.   They must read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and learn how to protect the young pitchers in their care.   For years, youth baseball programs have identified the best young arms in this country and ruined them.   This must stop and parents are the only persons who can stop it.

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182.   If you could communicate to every pitcher, parent, and coach in the world, what would you want to tell them about successful pitching and your program?

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     Visit my website, read my books, email me your questions and, together, we can stop this carnage of unnecessary pitching arm injuries.   It is free.

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183.   I have an 11 year old boy who is learning to pitch.   I would love to get a printed copy of your book to help me work with his technique.   Any chance of purchasing one and how much?   Thanks for being so great with the kids; we all appreciate it!

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     I am sorry, but the only place from which you can get a copy of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book is my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I have not found a publisher willing to publish the book.

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184.   I sent you a message before on my sons Lat muscle injury and he has recovered from that after a lot of therapy and working hard in the gym.   He has started pitching again (up to 3 innings at a time) and slowly picking up more strength and velocity.

     The end of this month he is going to the AAU U15 World Series in Kingsport, Tenn.   He will be used as both a starter and reliever, as necessary.   He is currently about 6'2" and 160 lbs and will be 16 in Nov.   The Dr that worked on him for the lat muscle took X-rays and you could see where the growth plate hadn't quite sealed up yet.   The Dr. said it was usually 3 years from puberty before this happens.   So he has about 1 year to go.

     My question is at what point, in pitch count, should a 15 yr old "milk" his arm after throwing so he can throw the next day versus icing his arm like a starter?   Or, is there any relationship at all.   Currently we use 30-40 pitches as a break point before icing.   My understanding is that many relievers "milk" after throwing.   Is this true?

     I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this or other suggestions for pitching in tournaments like this.   There are 10 games in 7 days.


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     What you want to know is whether there is a procedure that helps pitchers recover faster from pitching and does the number of pitches change what pitchers should do to enhance recovery?

     The overriding question is whether the pitcher is recovering from exercise or recovering from injury.   The first question regards the force application technique the pitcher uses.   If the technique unnecessarily stresses muscle attachments of where bones come together, then there is no procedure to enhance recovery.   They have to wait for the injury to heal.   However, if the force application technique is appropriate and pitchers only have to recover from the exercise, then there are some enhancing recovery procedures.

     The number of pitches relates more to the depletion of energy stores than anything else.   While I still have some unanswered questions about which type of muscle fiber pitchers use, i.e., fast-twitch or slow-twitch, I still recommend restoring muscle glycogen levels with vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

     With regard to removing waste products from exercises muscle fibers, I recommend taking the pitching arm for a jog after pitching.   Pitchers can accomplish this in a couple of ways.   One, after they cool down from the competition, they can take a bucket of twenty-four baseballs and go to the side of a batting cage and gently throw at increasing intensities up to twelve baseballs and, then, gently throw at decreasing intensities for the remainder of the baseballs.   In this way, pitchers encourage specific blood flow which will enhance the removal of waste products from the pitching muscles.   Two, pitchers can go for a gentle swim using the competition breast stroke and the crawl stroke.   This activity should also be gentle and for a moderate duration like fifteen minutes.

     With regard for passive methods of stimulating blood flow, I have no problems with deep muscle massage or icing.   Deep muscle massage requires another person and I suppose that they could massage the muscle in the direction of blood flow.   Icing does not require another person, but it does require ice and the ability of the pitcher to withstand the discomfort of the ice.   Ice is of no value until after the reactive hyperemic reaction.   That is the moment when the blood vessels change from constricting to dilating due to the lack of oxygen in the muscles that they serve.   Discomfort accompanies this moment and some pitchers quit before they should.   Pitchers should not stop for at least ten minutes after the arm starts to feel warm even though it remains in a bucket of ice.   When they remove their arm from the ice, the surface of the skin must be bright red indicating extreme infusion of blood.   For more on reactive hyperemia, look for cold-induced reactive hyperemia in Chapter 15 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     In 1974, I pitched in 106 championship season games and 208 closer relief innings.   After each game, I washed my arm with soap and water, put on a shirt and took it home with me.   I never felt any stiffness, soreness, tightness, fatigue or anything else that would limit my performance.   But then, I had completed my forty week training program and I completed my maintenance training every day throughout the season and re-trained every off-season.

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185.   I'm writing because I can't find a private pitching instuctor anywhere on the internet or yellow pages.   I don't know if you are in my area (Atlanta metro), but if not, I would like to know if you know any personal instructors who would work with me.   Of course I'm willing to pay and I know its a lot to ask, but wherever you are located if you could possibly help me out it would be sincerely appreciated.

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     I am sorry, but I do not know of anybody in the Atlanta, GA area I could recommend.   I have a two week starter program in Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book that you could follow.   I have recently updated that program and I hope to get it on my website soon.   If you want it immediately, please telephone me at (813)783-1357 and I will mail or fax it to you.

     I am hoping to start working with young men next summer.   I am looking for a very limited number of highly motivated, committed high school graduates or early college pitchers to train for forty weeks beginning the third Sunday in August.   If you would like to discuss that opportunity, also please telephone me.

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186.   In doing your method, I've come to realize that the arm has to come up at the very last (forearm horizontal, et al) second, prior to acceleration before release.   That's the only way, one can get his body out ahead of the stride foot, and get that last little "pop" after the acrimonial line (shoulders) rotate.   Is this correct?

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     I agree with your description of when the forearm reaches horizontal.   If the forearm goes above horizontal before the upper arm and body start moving forward, then the forearm moves downward and unnecessarily stresses the medial epicondyle muscles.   The more difficult skill is to have the patience to wait until you feel the front foot push-back before you forearm accelerate the baseball through release.   Most pitchers start too early and lose distance of force application.

     Interesting story.   Recently, a pitcher with whom I work, pitches triple-A professional baseball.   He had elbow surgery on his elbow from techniques he used prior to starting with me and we are rehabilitating while competing.   He is trying to regain his strength and velocity.   When he came to me, he threw 84-85 mph and he worked his way up to 91 mph.   But, with the surgery, he dropped down to 84 mph and has regained to 88 mph.   Enough background.

     His pitching coach brought a photograph of him pitching that showed that he still way applying force to the baseball way ahead of his front foot.   The pitching coach said that the reason he did not have his full velocity yet was because he was hanging onto the baseball too long.

     I guess it is a matter of what opinion you are trying to support.   I say that he is applying force over a greater distance and increasing his release velocity.

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187.   I broke my left humerus this past Sunday while pitching in a 30 and over baseball league game.   My first thought was of Dave Dravecky, and of his tumor.   The orthopedic surgeon indicated that the x-ray did not show anything that would suggest cancer.   I am 6'1'' tall and have a relatively slim build.

     I have been lifting weights for the past nine months.   While I would not describe myself as muscular, I was wondering if the added muscle could have been too much stress for my bone structure?   I will be seeing my orthopedic surgeon next Monday and would like to get as much information prior to my appointment.   I am trying to find out why this happened to me and any information or direction that you could provide me would be greatly appreciated.


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     Tony Saunders of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays recently broke his humerus while pitching.   You do not have to have a cancer weakened bone for this injury to occur.

     Just like muscle, bone is living, growing tissue.   When we exercise our muscles, we also exercise the bones to which the muscles attach.   Your humerus failed (broke) because the stress that you placed on it exceeded its physiological limits for two reasons.

     One, the force application technique that you used relied on rotating the head of the humerus rather than straight line drive.   When pitchers rotate their humerus, they place considerable twisting forces on the middle of the shaft.   The weight of their forearm rotating at the distal end is too much for the alignment of the trabeculae which grew longitudinally rather than in a spiral, like twisting a sapling.   To correct this problem, you need to change how you apply force to what I describe in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.

     Two, you never trained the humerus to withstand the twisting forces that are a part of throwing baseballs.   I have wrist weight and iron ball exercises that specifically train the skeletal structure of the pitching arm for the pitching motion.   Even with only ten pound wrist weights and six pound iron balls, the training will strengthen the skeletal structure of the pitching arm sufficiently to withstand the stress of pitching.

     We have X-rays that show that the bones of the pitching arm after pitchers complete my forty week training program.   Their pitching arm bones are considerably larger with much more bone matrix tissue than the non-pitching arm.   It is because the force application techniques that I teach are so powerful that I require my pitchers to train with wrist weights and iron balls to develop skeletal structure that can withstand the increased force application.

     After your humerus heals, please read my materials, change your force application technique and complete the basic level of my wrist weight and iron ball training.

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188.   I've always understood that the ice was just to keep the swelling down and after 15-20 minutes didn't do any additional good.   What I understand you to say though is the ice increases the blood flow (the body's reaction to warm up a cold area) and therefore can serve to remove/reduce the lactic acid buildup in the arm and shoulder.

     I've heard the jogging/cycling/swimming before and I believe that this aerobic exercise also increases the blood flow and removes the lactic acid buildup.   Is this correct?

     Do you have an opinion on the use of ibuprofen after pitching to reduce any inflamation?   What about glucosamine with chondroitin to maintain good joints for 15-16 year olds?


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     Ice does not work by warming up a cold area, it works by responding to the emergency need of the tissues supplied by a constricted blood vessel for oxygen.   This causes those constricted blood vessels to open wide and permit increased blood flow to a specific area.   Increased blood flow not only removes waste products and brings in nutrients, but it also assists in physiological adjustments required to meet a training overload.

     Any generalized below anaerobic intensity exercise will metabolize lactic acid that resulted from anaerobic intensity exercise.   This is generalized, not specific to any activity.   I prefer the actual activity, in this case, baseball pitching at reduced intensity to metabolize any lactic acid and increase recovery.   Although swimming, because of the benefit of the relaxation of anti-gravitational muscles, is good in combination.

     I have never believed in chemical assistance of any kind unless prescribed by a physician for a specific medical purpose.

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189.   I am 14 years old and have been pitching since age 9.   When I was twelve, I began to throw a curveball.   Since then I have added a circle change.   At the beginning of the season I was hitting 70+ and still am getting close, but now my curveball isn't breaking nearly as much and I have a pain inside my right elbow.   Many times, the pain gets so bad I can't bend my elbow the whole way.   Sometimes both my bone and muscles hurt.   I have not seen a doctor, but I have been going through a few growth spurts.   My coach usually starts me every other game (4-7 days apart).   Should I seek medical help or just keep throwing and try to throw it out?

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     Pain on the inside of the elbow for a fourteen year old pitcher indicates the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.   Improperly thrown curves definitely can place unnecessary stress on this growth plate.

     You need to immediately stop pitching.   This is the same problem as with Osgood Schlatter's Disease with the lower leg.   The medical treatment is complete rest and stop stressing the area.   You must wait until the growth plate of your medial epicondyle completely ossifies.   This will require a couple of years.   You need to have X-rays taken of both of your medial epicondyles for comparison of how much damage you have done to your pitching arm.   The non-pitching arm will act as a control from which the radiologist can determine how much early epiphysial closure your baseball pitching has caused.

     If you continue, you risk pulling the medial epicondyle ossification center completely off the shaft of the humerus.   If that happens, your pitching days are over for good. Please read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on my website for a complete discussion of this problem.

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190.   What amazes me is how many mechanically awful some of these pitchers are in the major leagues.   What is it, they just have good arms and their bodies compensate and are able to locate pitches have way decently?   I don't get it.   There are a lot of arm problems, when you look on the injured list, but now I'm surprised there aren't even more.

     And, why do scouts put so much emphasis on their radar guns when they come to look at a prospect.   Don't they know that movement and command are more important than velocity?   Not to mention throwing the correct pitch at the right pitch count.   I'm beginning to think these scouts really don't know a whole lot about pitching.   Am I wrong on this?


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     Now you understand why I cannot stand to watch major league baseball.   I am sorry to have ruined it for you.   Yes, it is elimination by injury or should I say until injury.   With their force application techniques, they all will eventually injure themselves.

     The scouts have no clue.   They depend solely on the radar gun.   Did you know that Danny Litwhiler was the first to use the radar gun while he coached at Michigan State?   He is to blame for the terrible state of pitching today.

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191.   I find the forearm extensions to be most helpful for getting the arm horizontal.

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     The forearm extensions work wonders on the four shoulder rotator cuff muscle attachments.   These specifically designed exercises gently increase the strength of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor such that they can easily lay completely horizontal during the upper arm/shoulder acceleration phase.   This both prevents injury to the rotator cuff muscles and permits pitchers to add the final boost of forearm acceleration through release for greater release velocity.

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192.   Your book is a wealth of information, thank you.   My son is a college sophmore, 19 yrs. old and he is looking for a instruction program for the month of December when school recesses.   I noticed you have four week programs in June and July, would you have anything like this in December.   Would you have any recomendation of instructions in the NY-NJ area.

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     Thank you for the kind words.   I hope to offer four week instruction to High School Juniors and Seniors next June and July.   After young men graduate high school, I only offer my forty week program.   I understand that this requires a commitment, but anybody who believes that any program can effect a meaningful change in less time does not understand the complexity of the motor skill or the strength required to perform at the highest levels.   Any instruction received during even my four week program could only educate the young men as to how much more they need to learn.   They could never master the new techniques for collegiate competition.

     I have no one in the New York/New Jersey area to recommend.

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193.   Tell me if this is NOT correct.   Once you rock back, it all happens very quickly:   The pitcher, after stride foot lands, rotates his acromial line (shoulders), then consciously brings his arm horizontal coming up from "head pat" position; after that it seems to automatically stay horizontal (briefly) just before forearm acceleration release.

     Again, I think the largest breakthrough for me in doing this method, was the surprise realization of how you must delay bringing the arm up from "head pat" position and then how quickly you must accelerate to deliver the ball from the leverage position.   Is this delayed "action" speed-of delivery correct?


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     Step 1:   Pitchers simultaneously remove the baseball from their glove and starts it on its pendulum swing across the front of their body while they shift their body weight from their front foot to their rear foot and reverse rotate their acromial line to point toward either the opposite side batter or home plate, depending on the force application technique.

     Step 2:   From the downward forearm 'head pat' position, pitchers initiate the second half of their transition from the glove to the leverage position while they step forward with their front foot.   They must correctly achieve four movement.   First, they outwardly rotate the head of the humerus in their glenoid fossa.   Second, they start raising the entire humerus to shoulder height while they keep their shoulders level.   Third, they keep their forearm to upper arm angle at ninety degrees or slightly longer.   Fourth, they rotate the radius of their forearm such that the palm of the hand is in position at leverage to throw the desired pitch.   For example, for screwballs, their palm faces outward, for fastballs, their palm faces upward and for curves, their palms face inward.

     Step 3:   After their front foot contacts the ground, pitchers begin the forward rotation of their shoulders and push off their rear foot to move their vertically rotating body ahead of their front foot.   To enhance this movement, pitchers need to have their rear foot pointing forward and drop the femur of their rear leg inward such that its longitudinal axis is vertical and moves easily ahead of their front foot.

     Step 4:   After their vertically rotating body moves ahead of their front foot, pitchers simultaneously push back with their front foot and forearm accelerate the baseball through release from their leverage position.   Whether the forearm acceleration is to the pitching arm side of their body or directly ahead of their body depends on the force application technique.   For example, with my Maxline force application technique, pitchers continue to rotate their shoulders through release such that they drive their pitches to the pitching arm side of their body, but with my Torque force application technique, pitchers stop the rotation of their shoulders until their acromial line is perpendicular to the desired line of flight such that they drive their pitches in front of their body.

     The pitching rhythm is controlled and deliberate until pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot.   At that moment when they can push back with their front foot, everything becomes very fast and explosive.   Pitchers have to carry their pitching arms in the leverage position from when they start the forward rotation of their shoulders after their front foot contacts the ground until they move their body ahead of their front foot.   Most pitchers want to immediately start their forearm acceleration when they push off the pitching rubber.   This shortens the driveline and loses the front foot push back force with which I want pitchers to force couple their forearm accelerations.

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194.   I have read with much interest all the information on your web site and have struggled with visualizing what you are trying to depict.   You stated the expense of having professional illustrations and your roadblocks to getting your books published.   With the amount of interest shown to your techniques and your desire to prevent arm injuries to youth why not try the following to accomplish these goals.

     1.   Create a curriculum to train to pitch the Marshall way and have a series of franchises stocked with your trained personnel.   Parents would then have qualified centers around the country to enroll their children in to receive the proper coaching technique.   By increasing the exposure of your techniques nationally, it would be much easier for them to be adopted.   Fees generated would certainly cover cost of professional illustrations, publishing, and programing, and substantial revenue for profits.

     2.   The marketing of the fee-based coaching centers could also confront the existing youth baseball rules that interfere with the safety of our kids.


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     My readers always have better suggestions than what I am doing.   I love your ideas.   To that end, I am training the pitchers whom I train to pitch for forty weeks how to teach others.   I hope that they will eventually offer their services to the youth in their areas.   They will use the same two week training program that I have included in Chapter 25 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I have recently updated that program in my file and I hope to get it on my website soon.

     Since I only started teaching others how to teach my techniques in 1998 and since these young men are of college age and want to pitch themselves, it might take awhile for them to be ready to offer their services.   I have shown coaches my program and I have thought about offering weekend classes to coaches on how to teach my technique.   But, I have always done this without charge and that is not a way by which to finance illustrations.

     Lastly, I am a teacher, not a businessman.   I have never been interested in making money, only sharing knowledge.   People have approached me about selling videotapes and so on and if I believe in the quality of the product, I would do it.   But, to date, I feel the offers were for quick profit, not education, and I have refused.   Without content control, I could not participate.

     Again, I love your ideas and sincerely want to offer illustrations, but not only of the pitching motion.   I want people to understand the underlying science.   If we want to advance baseball pitching, the why is more important than the how.

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195.   I HAVE EMAILED YOU BEFORE ABOUT MY SONS PITCHING ELBOW.   HE IS A RIGHT HANDED 16 YEAR OLD, 6'3" TALL AND ABOUT 165 LBS.   THE ORTHOPEDIC SAID HIS ELBOW IS FINE NOW AND SAID HE COULD START PLAYING CATCH, BUT NO PITCHING OFF THE MOUND FOR ABOUT ANOTHER MONTH.   PART OF HIS REHABILITATION IS AN EXERCISE PROGRAM USING FLEXIBLE TUBING, MEDICINE BALL, PLYOBALLS, ETC.

     THE ONE EXERCISE THE THERAPIST SUGGESTED WAS PUSHUPS, AFTER HE DOES A COUPLE SETS OF THESE PUSHUPS, HIS RIGHT SHOULDER GETS SORE AND WHEN HE DOES SOME OF HIS TUBING EXERCISES HIS SHOULDER STARTS CLICKING ALMOST LIKE SOUMETHING IS OUT OF WHACK.   THIS SEEMS TO ONLY BOTHER HIM AFTER HE DOES PUSHUPS.   DO YOU THINK THIS IS SERIOUS?   I'M PROBABLY NOT GIVING YOU ENOUGH INFORMATION, BUT A REPLY WOULD BE APPRECIATED.


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     Baseball pitching is a high-velocity, high-intensity, highly complex motor skill.   It requires a highly specific training program.   Pulling on rubber tubes, throwing medicine balls, doing pushups and so on will not train the muscles involved in pitching.   Cross-training only helps when skill are of low complexity.   He needs to follow the wrist weight, iron ball and baseball exercises that I provide in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     The clicking he feels when he does pushups can come from a variety of sources.   It could be a tendon slipping over another structure.   It could be swollen hyaline cartilage.   If there is no need for doing pushups and there is no need to enhance baseball pitching, I suggest that he stops.

     The two things that your son has to do are:   1.   Learn the proper way to apply force to his pitches.   Read my books.   2.   Strengthen the muscles involved when properly applying force such that they can withstand the forces he generates.   Read my books.   I understand that there are no pictures, but he can read and I can answer his questions.   I did not have a book to read to teach me the proper way to apply force and I did it.   He can do it, but he has to read my books.

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196.   I just found your web site, and I need some help.   My son Michael is about to turn 15, and has not gotten his growth (5'5"). He has been pitching competitively since he was 8.   He was brought up to the varsity in 9th grade because he could throw 60 mph strikes (better than the 70 mph balls that other pitchers were throwing).   Fortunately, they rarely used him for more than one inning at a time.

     This summer, he was on a 14-15 year old team, as one of the pitchers.   He would throw 3 or 4 innings.   He developed Little League elbow, and we have stopped him pitching.   I have no reason to believe that he suffered an avulsion -- it hurt, but there was never a sudden sharp pain.   I now see your recommendations, and Michael and I have talked about things.   We agree that he won't pitch competitively again until he gets his growth spurt.

     My question is this. He is at a baseball camp right now, working on hitting and fielding.   He talked with one of the trainers, who told him that the problem was that he wasn't warming up properly.   My understanding of epicondylitis is that it is a bone injury, rather than tendinitis; you don't "warm up" a bone.   If anything, warming up would exacerbate the epicondylitis, though it would help the rest of the throwing mechanism.   The trainer suggested that he take a few weeks off, then start doing biceps curls with a 3-pound weight.   Does this make sense?   For someone who is now (and for the foreseeable future) a non-pitcher, what should we be doing to get his elbow rehabbed so that he can play outfield without pain?   Do we need to get him X-rayed?   His pediatrician didn't think it was necessary, but would have it done if we were to insist.


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     Pain in the area of the medial epicondyle can indicate problems with the growth plate in even fifteen year old delayed maturers.   However, it could also indicate problems with the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle or the medial collateral ligament.   The only way to know is to bi-laterally X-ray both the pitching elbow and the non-pitching elbow and compare the development of the growth plate.   I recommend the X-rays and have a qualified radiologist compare the medial epicondyle growth plate.   You want to know whether the pitching arm growth plate shows any accelerated closure or any other abnormality.

     If the problem is with the growth plate, then the trainer's suggestion does not make sense.   You cannot properly warm up a growth plate.   If the problem is not the growth plate, then the pain arose because your son stressed the injured muscle greater than it was capable of withstanding.   In that case, you have to decide whether the stress was appropriately applied and the muscle is insufficiently trained to withstand or whether the stress was inappropriately applied and your son has to change how he applies force to his pitches.

     I wrote my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books to explain the proper way to apply force to baseballs and to provide a training program to enable the pitching muscles to withstand the appropriately applied stress.   While doing curls with three pounds weights probably will strenghten your son's ability to curl three pound weights, it will not strengthen your son's arm for appropriately applying force to baseball pitches.

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197.   THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY, I HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION.   MY SON HASN'T DONE ANY PUSHUPS FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 WEEKS NOW AND HIS RIGHT SHOULDER IS STILL BOTHERING HIM.   I WIIL TRY TO DESCRIBE HOW HIS SHOULDER POPS.   IT WILL POP WHEN HE HOLDS HIS UPPER ARM AGAINST HIS BODY AND HOLDS HIS FOREARM AT 90 DEGREES TO HIS UPPER ARM, HE THEN MOVES HIS FORWARD AND BACKWARD WHILE KEEPING HIS ARM AT 90 DEGREES, WHEN HE DOES THIS HIS SHOULDER WILL POP.   IT WILL ALSO POP WHEN HE HOLDS HIS UPPER ARM LEVEL WITH HIS SHOULDER AND HIS FOREARM AT 90 DEGREES TO HIS UPPER ARM, HAND POINTING UP AND WHEN HE ROTATES HIS FOREARM FORWARD AND BACKWARDS.   HE SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO MOVE HIS ARM IN ANY OTHER POSITION WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM.

     DO YOU THINK THAT THIS IS SERIOUS?   SHOULD HE MAYBE SEE AN ORTHOPEDIC?   OR SHOULD MORE REST AND OR MAYBE SOME EXERCISES HE COULD DO TO HELP CORRECT THIS PROBLEM.   ALSO HIS SHOULDER SEEMS TO HURT MORE AT NIGHT THAN DURING THE DAY AND IT ALSO DOESN'T SEEM TO BOTHER HIM WHEN HE THROWS A BASEBALL.


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     I am not certain what we gain by determining what makes the popping sound.   However, is the sound like when someone 'cracks' their fingers?   I understand that whenever your son rotates the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa, whether the humerus is vertical or horizontal, he feels or hears a pop.   In all likelihood, he is moving a ligament or a tendon across a bony ridge.   It could well be the tendon of the biceps brachii slipping out and in it bicipital groove on the anterior surface of the proximal end of the humerus.   If it is that or any other cause, I recommend that he stop doing it.

     I was pleased to hear that it does not seem to bother him when he throws a baseball.   Let's focus on that.   He could see an orthopedic surgeon and determine what it is.   If that would make you feel better, then you should do it.

     I would focus on proper force application techniques and the training program that I recommend.

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198.   I am a 17 year old pitcher and I have a couple questions.   First, I have a lazy curve ball, it doesn't do much.   How can I change that or help my curve ball.   Second, I am a right handed pitcher and I drag my right foot badly when I pitch, is that bad?   And if it is, how can I change that?

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     A 'lazy' curve is a pitch with spin that does not change direction quickly.   In Chapter 19 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and Chapter 18 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I describe the proper spin axis for curves.   I explain that the four seams of the baseball must contact air molecules on its way toward home plate in a specific way in order to cause the greater force on the top of the baseball and the lesser force on the bottom of the baseball to cause the change in direction downward.

     'Lazy' curves result from improper spin axis and insufficient spin velocity.   When pitchers release curves toward home plate, they convert some of the horizontal velocity that they are applying to the baseball to spin velocity.   I recommend converting sufficient horizontal velocity to spin velocity to decrease the horizontal velocity by 20 mph.

     In conclusion, you need to make certain that you have the correct curve spin axis and that you convert sufficient horizontal velocity to spin velocity.   These are the variables that effect the quality of curves.

     The action that you describe with your rear foot dragging hard on the ground very definitely decreases your pitching effectiveness.   If you have read my books, then you will know that I recommend that pitchers use front foot push back in combination with their forearm acceleration.   This force-coupling action provides for a powerful acceleration through release.   If you leave your rear leg back dragging against the ground, you cannot get your body ahead of your front leg and you cannot force-couple your release.

     I recommend that you turn your rear foot to point toward home plate and push off the pitching rubber vigorously when your front foot contacts the ground.   You must take great care to keep the olecranon process of your pitching arm ahead of your acromial line!   Next, I recommend that you drop the femur of your rear leg inward such that its longitudinal axis is vertical.   This will help you rotate your body.   At no time should you drag the ground with your rear foot.

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199.   When you perform the iron ball exercise, are you throwing the six lb. ball the same way you throw a baseball or a shot put?

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     Before we start, a word of caution.   Only persons whose pitching arm's growth plates have completely matured should train with my wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   To use these exercises before the growth plates have matured, places them at serious risk for permanent, irreparable injury.

     I designed the iron ball exercises strengthen the muscle that accelerate the baseball through release.   To enhance the baseball pitching motor skill with the iron ball throws, the training must precisely duplicate the competitive activity.   Therefore, pitchers must grip the iron ball precisely as they would the baseball and they must throw the iron ball precisely as I have described that they should apply force to the baseball.

     First, pitchers must master the force-coupling throwing techniques for how to apply backward force with their front foot before they forearm accelerate the iron ball through release.   Second, pitchers must master the power leverage throws where they add a step with their stride foot before they perform the force-coupling throwing techniques.   Third, pitchers add the proper transition technique to the power leverage and force-coupling techniques.

     Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their middle finger.   Strength to maximally transfer force to the baseball and skill to impart the correct spin axis and velocity to make the baseball change direction during its flight toward home plate.

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200.   Do you ever do any video analysis of your students?   If so, from what angles do you tape them?   Is there anything in particular that you look for?

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     Whenever a new pitcher comes to me, the first thing that I do is videotape them.   I place the video camera thirty feet behind them, eight feet off the ground.   I tell the pitchers to prepare to pitch an inning in the same manner that they always do.   However, they must do everything on the mound in the camera's view.   I have my radar gun and display set up behind the net into which they will throw.   I give them one bucket of baseballs, containing 24 baseballs.   They can throw however many pitches that they want.   After they say that they are ready to pitch an inning, I have them pick up the baseballs.   Then, I tell them to throw five pitches to four batters, starting with the same sided batter and alternating.   Next, I ask them if they feel all right.   If they say, yes, then I tell them to throw the last four baseballs in their buckets as hard as they can.   When they finish, I ask them to pick up the baseballs and meet me in my office.

     In my office, I chose their best fastball reading and stop the video at the moment when the baseball first shows out of their glove.   I tape a piece of graph paper to the television screen and note the width of the pitching rubber near the bottom of the page.   Next, I frame by frame advance the video and circle the baseball in every frame until the release frame.   Lastly, I return to the frame that shows the first forward movement of the upper arm and I place an X on the olecranon process and draw a dashed line to the baseball and sequentially number these baseballs until the release baseball.   The dashed line indicates the position of the forearm.

     With this schematic of the force application pathway of the pitch, I measure the side-to-side movement of the baseball and the movement of the forearm during the upper arm drive.   I talk about the 'circle out' movement from leverage (the moment of the first forward movement of the upper arm) and the amount of forearm flyout through release (the outward angle of the forearm from vertical) and how much force they lost and how much unnecessary stress that they placed on their subscapularis and medial epicondyle muscles.

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201.   I know you say that a pitcher must have his arm grow the growth plates and all, but how does he throw harder with more velocity.   My son is 17 (18 in Dec.) and wants to play in college.   Being that you have been around and know what is happening in the sport how does he get in if throwing 85 mph and taking some of your advice on adolescents.   Is throwing hard a natural thing or is it something achieved throw mechanics?

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     Unless the young men are extremely delayed maturers, the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm typically completely mature at about sixteen years old.   Therefore, I would have little concern with your son's growth plates.   A simple bi-lateral X-ray will show the present status of the growth plate of your son's medial epicondyle.   Any radiologist could read the X-ray and show you your son's medial epicondyle growth plate.   My concern is for the ten through fifteen age group. This is the time when the growth plate is most vulnerable.

     At seventeen years old, your son should read and follow my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I describe the force application techniques that will maximize the force that he generates and the training program that will help him achieve his maximum fitness without my personal instruction.   I guarantee that my program will enable every pitcher to throw the baseball as hard as they can.   I do not guarantee the velocity of that baseball.   There are pitchers with the velocity gift.   They throw high velocity baseballs.   However, if their force application techniques are not correct, they will eventually injure themselves.

     I successfully competed with these gifted pitchers.   I used my technique which maximized my force application, trained with my program that made me as strong as I could be and I learned how to make the baseball move downward in both directions with significant velocity changes.   I studied what pitch sequences succeeded against which type of hitters.   While I cannot guarantee the success that I enjoyed to my great surprise, I can guarantee that young men will learn the level of baseball at which they can succeed.

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202.   Thank you for the insight into video.   What type of camera do you use that allows you to go through the video frame by frame?

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     My VCR permits me to freeze the videotape and advance the frames one by one.   For the analysis that I completed in Chapter 2 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I used three sixteen millimeter cameras that could achieve film speeds of five hundred frames per second.   It was with this equipment that I analyzed my force application techniques and determined how I wasted force and did not achieve my maximum.   The low frames per second of the video camera does not permit that depth of analysis, but it does show the transition well and most problems start there.

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203.   Do you do clinics for coaches, so they could teach your methods?   I have read your web-site books and the Q&A and some points are still a bit cloudy to me.   I have tried some of the methods myself and while at times they feel correct, as far as what you are describing, I want to make certain before I try teaching my son and others (he is 16).   Let me know if any are available or if I could observe while you work with your pitchers.   I live in Tampa so the distance is not a problem.   I think your work is fascinating and your theories re: youth pitching, dead on accurate.

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     I have not organized clinics for coaches.   I invite anybody interested to come to my training center and watch what I do.   Since you live in Tampa, you can get here more easily than the others who have come.   We train from 9:00AM until about 11:00AM seven days a week.   I have my summer guests here until the middle of August. After that, I will not have anybody here for you to observe until the major league championship season ends.   Therefore, you could come next week or wait until October.

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204.   Thank you for your response to my question about my almost 15-yr old with the sore elbow.   The X-rays have now come back showing no apparent damage to the growth plate, no avulsion or bone chips or anything.   But, that leads to the next round of questions.

     My son now wants to take off from baseball entirely this fall, not even hit or play the outfield, which is fine with me and seems consistent with your advice to play only 2 months a year until his growth is over.   It would seem that a better way to use the fall and winter is to rest, then work on strengthening the muscles in the elbow, and figure out how to put your materials to use come spring time.

     I have 3 questions:

1.   You mention that one way to check to see if the problem is an unhappy bone is to squeeze the bone; if it is painful to the squeeze then it is bone rather than tendon.   Did I understand that correctly?

2.   If the combination of x-ray and squeezing rules out any bone injury, what do you recommend (in terms of waiting, exercises, etc.) to deal with what must be tendinitis?   We're not looking to pitch any time soon, just to build it up for next spring.

3.   If the signs do not rule out bone injury, how does the above answer change?

P.S.   My admittedly cursory reading of your materials suggests that the exercises that you suggest should not really be done until he finishes growing either.


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     The adolescent medial epicondyle ossification center attaches to the shaft of the humerus by way of a cartilaginous growth plate.   If pitching has stressed the growth plate, then when someone squeezes the ossification center against the humeral shaft, the stressed growth plate gives off pain signals.   Therefore, squeezing the bone is actually squeezing the growth plate.

     There are no tendons about the medial epicondyle.   Five muscles arise from the medial epicondyle.   The medial collateral ligament attaches the humerus and ulna bones together in the medial epicondyle area.   I cannot know whether the discomfort comes from one of the muscles or the ligament.   In any case, he can use this area is less stressful ways for awhile.   He should try swimming and shooting basketballs.

     When he starts throwing again, he needs to do so gently with better force application techniques.   You said that the X-rays did not show any problems with the growth plate, but you did not say how open the growth plate is.   You need to know when the growth plate matures.   I do not want pitchers with immature medial epicondyle growth plates using my wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   But, as soon as their growth plates mature (close), I want pitchers to gently start with those exercises.

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205.   I want you to know I spent over 7 hours on the computer today.   I copied all chapters of Adult Baseball Pitching Text Book and I have spent the last 4 hours reading some of it.

     I must tell you I am a high school pitching coach and have been for 10 years.   I have studied many many pitching coaches books and tapes.   All I want is to be the best coach I can be.   To sort of make a statement along the lines of yours in the book, I don't remember anyone teaching me how to coach, I just did it because I loved the game and the kids.   I truly want to teach the best and safest method of throwing a baseball if you are a pitcher.   Maybe I can tell you my teachings and you can correct me.

1.   I am of the belief that pitchers and outfielders throw with long arms and catchers and infielders throw with short arms.

2.   I teach my pitchers starting from the wind-up position to begin at a 45 degree angle with their feet and their bodies.

3.   As they begin their motion, they take a small step back and place enough weight on their stride foot without moving their head, that they can lift and place their pivot foot in front of and not against the front edge of the rubber.

4.   As their body turns to face the catcher they are to lift their stride leg at least to waist height with their stride foot flat, toes not pointing up or down.

5.   They go slightly past 90 degrees with their front shoulder and hips and I ask them to lines up their knees in order to get a good hip turn.

6.   They are not to go forward until they get their leg lifted to their maximum height.

7.   The instant they start forward, they separate their hands by thinking of lifting their elbows to shoulder height.

8.   The forearms from the elbows down can stay flexed, but can not straighten. Its sort of like their arms are in a push up position with their hands being wider than their elbows.

9.   I do not teach them to push off the rubber at this point.

10.   I ask them to get a little more flex in their post leg and then take their front side toward the plate.

11.   Once their stride foot lands, at 45 degree angle then they can push with their back foot.

12.   I have them finish with their throwing side closer to the plate for two reasons. One , I believe it is safer for them if their whole front side is not exposed and Two, they will finish their pitches better.

     Thank you so much for your time. I wish I could meet you and have you personally show me your methods.   I live in Orlando and would not mind driving to Zep. Hills to see you.   Thank You again and best of luck to you in getting your thoughts produced.


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     If you would make that effort to understand what I recommend, I will make an extra effort to answer your questions.   I have broken your technique into twelve statements and I will explain how I agree or disagree with them.

1.   I will agree that catchers and infielders do not have the time to take a full transition.   However, when they achieve their leverage position, they must apply force exactly the same as pitchers and outfielders.

2.   I do not teach the wind-up position until pitchers have mastered my rock-back transition technique.   You should not add unnecessary variables into the motion during the early learning process.

3.   I am adamantly against lifting and placing the pivot foot in front of the pitching rubber.   When pitchers turn their pivot foot to parallel with the pitching rubber it causes three bad things to happen.   1.   To recover their rear leg from this position, they have to either swing their leg around somewhat horizontally and this slows their rotation ability.   2.   To recover their rear leg that is swinging somewhat horizontally, they have to use their adductor brevis muscles and this subjects this small muscle to injury.   3.   Having their pivot foot parallel with the pitching rubber encourages pitchers to take their pitching arm sideways behind their body.   This causes forearm flyout which eventually injures the medial epicondyle muscles and/or the anterior shoulder.

4.   When pitchers lift their stride leg, they stop their arm action.   Lifting the stride leg adds an unnecessary variable.   I strongly recommend that pitchers not lift their front leg, but rather, they simply step forward.

5.   I recommend that pitchers point their acromial line at the same sided batter on my torque drive technique and at home plate on my maxline drive technique.   The purpose is to prevent too much shoulder reverse rotation at the start that causes pitchers to take their pitching arms sideways behind their backs.   The acetabulum line of the hip turns the same as the acromial line of the shoulders.

6.   I do not want pitchers to start their body forward until their pitching arm is ready to also go forward.   It is critical that the body is behind the pitching arm driving the pitching arm, not ahead of the pitching arm dragging the pitching arm forward.

7.   It is absolutely necessary that pitchers do not have their bodies going forward while their pitching arms are going backward.   This will cause pitchers to drag their pitching arms forward and eventually injure the anterior aspect of their pitching shoulder.   This one is really bad.

8.   The forearm to upper arm angle at leverage must be at least ninety degrees.   However, at the start of the pendulum swing when pitchers remove the baseball from their glove, the arm is almost, but not quite, fully extended.   At the downward forearm head pat position, the elbow remains slightly bent.   From the downward forearm head pat position to leverage, the forearm to upper arm angle decreases to not less than ninety degrees.

9.   To satisfy Newton's law of reaction, pitchers must push of the pitching rubber with their rear leg.   However, pitchers must take great care to have their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line when they do this.

10.   I recommend that pitchers step toward home plate without lowering their bodies.   This means that they should not bend their rear knee.

11.   I agree the pitchers should not start forwardly rotating their shoulders until the front foot contacts the ground.

12.   I teach pitchers to move forward past their front foot and delay the forearm acceleration phase of the pitching motion until they powerfully push backward with their front foot.   The coupling of forces maximizes release velocity.   This results in pitchers having their pitching arm side ahead of their front foot.   This enables pitchers to have longer drivelines over which to apply force and results in pitchers releasing their pitches closer to home plate.

     I hope that this analysis helps.   However, I explain these points much more thoroughly in my books.

     I always welcome anybody who wants to learn my force application techniques.   I train young men in my backyard in Zephyrhills, FL.   You are welcome at anytime.   For directions, please telephone (813)783-1357.

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206.   #144 in your Question/Answer section of your website asks, "Are there any exercises that I could do to increase my velocity?"   You answered, "The only way to achieve your maximum release velocity is to properly apply force to the baseball and to train to get as strong as possible within those force application techniques.   I have explained how to properly apply force and what training program to follow in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books."

     I asked Paul Rednick if by throwing your fastball more could you increase your velocity.   His Answer Was "No, It would only make your endurance last longer."

     After reading that statement do you still support the comment you made to this person?


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     I completely stand by my statement.

     Pitchers must properly apply force to their pitches and they must get as strong as possible within those force application techniques.   I believe that I have designed the proper way to apply force to pitches that maximizes the amount of force pitchers apply and minimizes unnecessary stresses.   I believe that I have designed the weight training program that gets pitchers as strong as they can possibly get within the force application techniques that I designed.

     My wrist weight training program trains the muscles that decelerate the pitching arm.   Over my forty week training period, the young men that I personally train achieve thirty-two and one-half pound wrist weights.   They increase the strength of their skeletal structure to withstand decelerating these wrist weights safely to stops from whatever maximum velocity they can achieve.   My iron ball training program trains the muscles that accelerate the pitching arm.   Over my forty week training program, the young men that I personally train achieve twelve pound iron balls.   They increase the strength of their skeletal structure to withstand accelerating these iron ball safely to whatever maximum velocity they can achieve.

     Nevertheless, that is not the whole story.   Training is highly specific.   Nobody can accelerate twelve pound iron balls to over ninety miles per hour.   Nobody can decelerate thirty-two and one-half pound wrist weight from over ninety miles per hour.   All my training program does is to provide the skeletal foundation from which pitchers can achieve their maximum release velocity.   After my pitchers gain this foundation, they must continue to train to achieve their maximum release velocity and there is only one way to do that.

     Pitchers must pitch competitively where the excitement stimulates their effort.   To throw as hard as they can, they must throw as hard as they can for a long time.

     Paul Rednick is wrong.   The ONLY way for pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocity is to throw as hard as they can!!!!   That is specificity of training.   However, if pitchers throw as hard as they can with improper force application techniques, they will injure themselves.   However, if pitchers throw as hard as they can with insufficiently trained skeletal structures, they will injure themselves.   That is why I recommend that pitchers first learn the proper way to apply force and properly train their skeletal structure to withstand the necessary stresses.

     Throwing as hard as pitcher's can requires a very complex computer program which requires thousands of perfect replications to master.   Pitchers have to sequentially contract the appropriate muscles while relaxing their antagonists with perfect timing.   It takes years of perfect practice with heightened proprioceptive awareness.

     Lastly, pitchers cannot live on fastballs alone.   Pitchers must learn the full range of pitches between maximum pronation and maximum supination of their forearm.   They must spend equal amounts of time training the strength and skill required for these pitches.

     I teach two types of force applications for fastballs to make them move toward both sides of home plate.   I teach two types of reverse rotation pitches, i.e., sinkers and screwballs to move away from the opposite sided batters.   I teach two types of forward rotation pitches, i.e., sliders and curves to move away from same sided batters.   Finally, I teach how to combine these pitch releases with both force application techniques to achieve additional valuable movements.   I teach a very complex, sophisticated pitching array that gives pitchers answers to every pitching challenge.

     My total program requires years of dedicated training.   However, when pitchers master my program, they are the best that they can be, whatever their genetic gifts.

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207.   I am going to be a senior in high school and I am wondering.   What kind of diet I should go on to help me.   I take lessons at a place called CF Swington for pitching.   I had them for about a year and I am still learning.

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     By diet, I am assuming you mean what types of foods you should eat to enhance your performance levels, not how do I recommend that you lose weight.   For high performance, I recommend high complex carbohydrate diets with low animal fat content; fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta and other similar foods.

     I have not heard of CF Swington.   I recommend that you read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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208.   Let's talk about pitch sequence for a minute.   Let's assume that a pitcher has 4 of your basic pitches in his arsenal, the maxline and torque fastball and the maxline and torque curveball.   In our efforts to keep the batter guessing, won't the batter notice that our pitcher is moving from side to side on the mound?   As a hitter, I would.

     Also, is there any specific changeup which you teach?


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     That is a very limited pitch selection.   Pitchers must have at least one pitch from the three basic types of pitches; fastballs, breaking balls and screwballs.   In this way, pitchers can throw fastballs and non-fastballs that move toward both sides of home plate.

     With regard to moving from one side of the pitching rubber to the other:

     Even if batters do notice that pitchers are moving from one side of the pitching rubber to the other,

1.   Batters still do not know what pitch pitchers with throw where.
2.   Pitchers can throw maxline fastballs from both sides of the pitching rubber to both sides of home plate, with the exception of from the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to the glove side of home plate, the same goes for the torque fastball with the exception reversed.
3.   When hitters think rather than react, they cannot swing as powerfully.
4.   The advantage pitchers gain by throwing their pitches from different angles far exceeds anything the hitters might gain.
5.   I would think the pitchers who throw from only one side of the pitching rubber would be far easier to correctly anticipate.

     With regard to changeups:

     After he overheard me recommend to a teammate pitcher that he start a specific batter with a changeup, Gene Mauch asked me how pitchers could throw changeups on the first pitch, from what were they changing up?   Changeups are not related to other pitches, changeups change up from the pitching arm velocity at release.   Therefore, any pitch with a horizontal velocity lower than the pitching arm velocity at release is a changeup.

     Curves with horizontal drivelines are changeup.   Sliders are changeups.   Screwballs with horizontal drivelines are changeups.   Sinkers are changeups.   I do not teach straight changeups.   They are slow, straight pitches that when hitters correctly anticipate them become very easy to hit hard.   I believe in changing velocities with fastballs ten miles per hour faster than sinkers and sliders and curves and screwballs ten miles slower.   When pitchers feature their sinkers and sliders, they can changeup in two directions.   Curves and screwballs are ten miles per hour slower and fastballs are ten miles per hour faster.

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209.   I was wondering if you could direct me to finding somewhere on the internet where I could find diagrams to show the grips and procedure to throwing different pitches.

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     I am sorry, but I do not know of anywhere else that anybody explains the grips and releases of pitches.   I wish that I had the illustrations to go along with my descriptions.

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210.   Do you think that 16-yr old aspiring pitchers should throw everyday on the offseason.   Offseason being defined as from now (August) until next February?   If so, how much?   If not, how often and how much?

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     I have worked with sixteen year olds and I have them continue training throughout the year.   However, I worry about the techniques of sixteen year olds with whom I have not worked.   If their techniques are inappropriate, then additional training would only enhance the onset of their demise.   Therefore, in general, I would not recommend that sixteen year olds train throughout the year.

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211.   I'm 15 years old and I'm planning to be on the varsity baseball team next year (2001) season as the number 2 pitcher.   I throw about 80 and I really have no problem with anything, but when I was in 8th grade I threw really hard and I did fine until my third start.   When I started pitching, my lower back on my left side started hurting ( I am right-handed).   I didn't seek medical attention, but I could not pitch as hard as I used to because of my back and it always hurt.   Instead, I just rested pitching for a while (the rest of the season) and came back my 2000 season to be my JV team's number 1 pitcher.   The pain was gone in my lower back but my velocity was not there like it used to be.   The season is over now and I posted a 6-1 mark with a no hitter (coincidentally on my birthday).   It's the summer and I have been long tossing a lot and have got my speed back.   I have numerous questions for you.

1)   What was my injury?

2)   I recall reading about how you said a 2 seamer is faster than a 4 seamer.   I have always heard otherwise.   Are you correct or was that a typo, because it's good news because I always throw a 2 seamer, I have trouble throwing a 4 seamer.

3)   What age are the "growing plates" you talked about in your arm and shoulder usually closed at?

4)   I have heard running and long tossing is the best way to improve your velocity, I have the long tossing down, but I have some shoes called "jump soles" that put all your weight on the front part of your foot which works the calf muscles.   I wanted to know if this was better than just normal running?

5)   Do you believe in icing the arm after pitching?   My coach does believe in that, but I have heard of coaches not liking it for reasons.   I would like to know from a top notch professional like you.

6)   What are the best pitches for me to learn at my age?   I have been told I have an exceptional change-up and an above average curve.

7)   I read about a screwball changeup type pitch that you talk about?   I have been told to stay away from Screwballs because they really damage your arm because you turn your wrist a way that it doesn't turn often and it can really damage your elbow and other parts of your arm.

     Sorry for so many questions, but I came to your site for the first time when I posted a "post" on the High School Baseball Web about lifting weight if you're a pitcher and someone replied with some very good posts and one of the posts talked about your methods and gave the site link, so I found this site very helpful and AMAZING.   You know so much, I know you are still helping people who need it online.   But, why don't you think about coaching a top notch high school team?   I know if you were on my high school team, I would strive to become the best player possible and I know I could achieve it because it would be under your instructions.   Anyways, thanks again for everything.


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1)   The left and right sides of the lower back contain the oblique muscles that enable pitchers to rotate their upper body.   With right-handed pitchers, the lower left side initiates the forward rotation of the upper body.   This is a critical movement because the pitching arm adds velocity after this rotation occurs. If pitchers cannot powerfully forwardly rotate their upper body, then when they forearm accelerate their pitches through release they will have to do so from a decreased starting velocity.

     These are very well vascularized, powerful muscles.   While you may have exceeded the physiological limits of this muscle at that time, I would suspect that it would respond to slightly increased intensities of the throwing motion.

2)   Pitchers should apply force to their two seam fastballs in precisely the same way that they apply force to their four seam fastballs.   The only difference should be how the seam contact the air molecules en route toward home plate.   The reason that two seam fastballs are about one mile per hour faster than four seam fastballs in getting to home plate has to do with the decreased air resistance of two seams decelerating the baseball versus four seams decelerating the baseballs.

3)   The growth plate of the medial epicondyle typically closes at about fifteen years of age.   For more precise average ages of growth plate closures throughout the pitching arm, please read Chapter Six of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

4)   The best way to improve release velocity is to practice throwing the baseball harder.   All training is highly specific.   Therefore, running and long tossing will ONLY make you better at running and long tossing.   However, a word of caution about simply throwing harder.   You have to apply force correctly.   I recommend the techniques in my books.   Also, you have to strengthen the skeletal system and where the pitching muscles attach to the skeleton before you start exerting your maximum intensities.   I recommend the training programs in my books.

     I would not recommend "jump soles".

5)   Done correctly, by a physiological principle called 'reactive hyperemia', icing increases blood flow to the area being iced.   Increased blood flow helps remove waste products and resupply nutrients.   I recommend 'taper' throws to achieve the same result.   Taper throws are like taking your pitching arm for a jog after running sprints to gently increase the blood flow specifically to the pitching muscles.   When I pitched in 106 games during the 1974 championship season, I never iced my arm.   However, I had trained to increase the capillarization of my pitching arm such that I did not need to increase the blood flow to remove waste products and resupply nutrients.

6)   There are four basic types of pitches; fastballs, forwardly spinning breaking balls such as curves and sliders, reversely spinning breaking balls such as screwballs and sinkers and no spin pitches such as knuckleballs and some forkballs.   I do not teach no spin pitches.   But, it does help pitchers who have all four types.   I recommend that you learn how to correctly throw the three types of pitches that I teach and a no spin pitch of your choice.   I do not believe in straight changeups.   When correctly anticipated, the straight change is a slow, fat fastball waiting to be hit hard.

7)   The screwball pitch is the easiest on the pitching arm of all pitches.   Fastballs require pitchers to supinate their forearm ninety degrees from the downward forearm head pat position.   Curves require pitchers to supinate their forearm one hundred and eighty degrees from the downward head pat position.   Screwballs do not require pitchers to supinate their forearm at all.   Forearm pronation through release is common to all pitches.   Therefore, while the screwball requires training to enable pitchers to maximally pronate their forearm at leverage, once pitchers have that ability, screwballs are the easiest on the arm and achieve the greatest success.

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212.   I am the mother of a 15 year old pitcher who hasn't pitched in 1 1/2 years due to elbow problems.   He underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and is doing well.   My question is do you have any advice for us with his rehab and getting back to throwing?   He wants to play next season with high school team.

     Will he be ready to throw?   I don't think pitching should occur until next year.   The doctor says in 4 months he can start throwing again.   What is your opinion on this?   Any advice?   He says younger guys come back much sooner.


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     Tommy John surgery means that they replaced the medial collateral ligament that attaches the medial sides of the humerus and ulna bones.   As far as the replacement ligament healing, I agree with the doctor, four months is sufficient time for the new medial collateral ligament to withstand basic forces.   However, two other things bother me.

     First, I am very concerned about the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.   If he has had discomfort in his medial epicondyle area for the past one and one-half years, it might have included the medial epicondyle growth plate.   In that case, I would recommend that your son wait until after his medial epicondyle growth plate completely closes.   Your doctor should have X-rays that will tell us the status of this growth plate.   In order to determine whether the growth plate in his pitching elbow has suffered from baseball pitching, he will need a X-ray of the growth plate in his non-pitching elbow.

     Second, I am extremely concerned about the force application technique he uses.   If his force application technique ruptured his medial collateral ligament, then he has to correct his force application technique before he starts rehabilitation for baseball pitching.   I recommend that he reads my Coaching Adults Pitchers book for the proper force application techniques.   I recommend that he reads my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to understand the growth and development of the adolescent pitching arm.

     I would recommend that he starts gently.   He should practice the force application techniques that I describe without any resistance, including baseballs.   I recommend that he swims, the crawl and breaststrokes.   I recommend that he dribbles and shoots basketballs.

     I agree with you that his pitching arm will not completely recover from this surgery for one year.   However, he should gently encourage blood flow into the area with mild activities.   At about six months, he should start slowly increasing the stresses on this area with swimming, basketball and baseball throwing.   After about nine months, he could start gently doing the wrist weight exercises that I recommend in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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213.   Thank you for your response.   His growth plate X-ray did show it was done growing.   I will take your advice and may possibly give you a call.   My parents live in St. Petersburg and it may be possible to come for a few lessons.   What are your fees?   Any idea of how many visits it would take to help him correct his mechanics?   You are wonderful to help people with this.   As a parent, I feel helpless at times.

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     It is good that the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has matured.   I still wonder whether he suffered any early closure.   Comparing his non-pitching arm with his pitching arm is the only way to tell.

     I would be happy to show you and your son the force application techniques that he needs to learn during his rehabilitation.   To start, he should be able to pick up what he needs over a weekend.   I would not charge anything.   However, after he rehabilitates, if he remains serious, then he could look into my four week program during June or July.

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214.   Thank you.   We'll keep that in mind next summer. What is the cost of the 4 week program and is it 4 weeks together or broken up?

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     If everything goes well, I hope to be able to permit high school young men sixteen and over to train with me for four weeks in June and four weeks in July.   They will arrive on a Saturday and leave on a Saturday, twenty-eight days later.   However, these plans are still in the beginning stages and I do not have more details at this time.   I hope to have more details around the first of the year.

     From your previous emails, I gained the impression that your son needs more immediate attention with regard to how to start his rehabilitation.   I think he should learn the proper force application techniques and begin with the gentle activities that I suggested before any consideration of my intense, twenty-eight days of training.

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215.   After reading an article titled, "Tommy John Surgery", I was interested in ascertaining your thoughts on an injury I recently sustained whilst playing baseball and my intended return.

     Whilst playing third base and standing on the line, I fractured both my tibia and fibula as a result of a player sliding into me.   This occured some 6 weeks ago and I am the proud owner of a titanium tibia nail and screws affixed top and bottom that runs pretty much the length of that bone.   The procedure did not include a plaster cast at any stage, whilst the fibula has been left to its own devices to repair itself.   I am 32 years of age.   Consequently I will not be playing for the next season (approx 7 mths), instead assisting in a coaching capacity.

     I was however, hoping to resume playing at the conclusion of that period in the role of pitcher/outfielder.   I am at present undertaking physiotherapy to rehabilitate muscle and bone around the injury site and plan on continuing this for as long as is necessary.

     Is it therefore reasonable to expect to be able to return to baseball within the prescribed timeframe I have set, subject to no complications arising from my rehab?


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     I am not certain how the surgery that Tommy John had to repair his medial collateral ligament has anything to do with broken bones in the lower leg.   Nevertheless, the tibia is the weight-bearing bone.   Therefore, the fibula does not require the same attention.   Unless something unusual occurs during your healing process, you can expect your broken bones to be stronger than before.   Consequently, you should be able to return to playing without concern.

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216.   I came across your web site and found it very interesting.   I plan on spending several days reading some chapters of your book.

     I am a father of a 17 year old rising senior.   He is a lefthanded pitcher, 6'2" 195 lbs.   We live in Gainesville, FL.   I was wondering at what school you coach.   We will be traveling around Florida this Fall.   My son will be on the Central Florida Renegades Scout Team.   They are based out of Leesburg.   Maybe we can meet during one of our trips this fall.


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     I do not coach at any school.   I coached at St. Leo College in St. Leo, FL, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR and West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX.   However, I learned that I could not properly prepare pitchers in the NCAA climate where coaches cannot teach players for more than twenty-two weeks per year.   Although I never planned to get into personal training, I find that I am more fulfilled that I ever was as a collegiate head baseball coach.

     I live in Zephyrhills, FL about an hour South of Leesburg.   Drive down Interstate 75, turn East on Highway 54, turn South on Highway 301, go about ten blocks to Vinson Avenue and turn West, drive three blocks to Plum Street and turn North and park on the right.   You could telephone me at (813)783-1357.

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217.   I followed you when you played for the Dodgers.   I was then greatly impressed with your understanding of the human body as it pertained to baseball and the machanics thereof.   I pitched in college and overseas with Athletes in Action, so I have a foundation to pitching.   My qustion to you is this:   Do you have any suggested readings and or comments on coaching and pitching for the youngsters of today (Little League).   I have coached six years at the high school level and am now walking up the ranks of Little League.   Also what is your view on curveball and the kids of today?   Is it bad to throw period, or is it ok under the proper mechanics?

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     My Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com provides my comments about coaching and pitching during the adolescent years.   I oppose competitive pitching for youngsters before thirteen years old.   I accept one inning of competitive pitching for youngsters aged thirteen through fifteen.   If at age sixteen, the growth plate of their medial epicondyle has matured, then I agree with competitive pitching and aggressive training thereafter.

     I recommend that youngsters learn the proper force application techniques and releases for all pitches regardless of their age.   My Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers provide the proper force applications and releases for these pitchers.   I have no problem with youngsters learning fastballs, curves, screwballs and no-spin pitches at any age.   However, I strongly oppose youngsters pitching against batters in competition where they will stress their tender cartilaginous growth plates to win.   Their win is to not irreparably damage the skeletal structure of their pitching arm with irrelevant adolescent games.

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218.   My son is entering his senior year of high school this September.   He has been very successful (5-1 on HS team that has overall record of 8-13 and 8-0 on an elite summer league team) even though he doesn't throw hard.   He feels a constant discomfort in his inside forearm just below the elbow which the doctors cannot diagnose.   It does not hurt when he pitches though.   I am worried that maybe damage is occurring anyway.   Do you offer clinics where you could diagnose the cause if the discomfort is resulting from poor mechanics?

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     There is a proximal, medial, ulnar fascial area that sometimes suffers small tears that emit pain signals without diminishing performance.   I have had several of the young men I help suffer this discomfort.   It occurs from pitchers having their pitching forearms vertical or worse when they start their upper arm drive.   I show them how to correct this improper technique that some call the 'high guard' position and continue to train through this discomfort.   Every one has trained through it without any lasting effect.

     However, my young men are on my carefully monitored forty week training program on which they train every day for two hundred and eighty consecutive days.   This constant training with the correct force application techniques eventually heals this area.   Rest will not heal it.

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219.   Your training techniques seem well researched, but I do not think I have the ability to apply them to my son.   Is there someone in the Northeast that you can recommend that teaches your forty week training program?

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     I wrote my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books about ten years ago.   I wanted people to be able to teach their youngsters the proper way to apply force to baseballs, how to train to achieve their potential and at what stage in their physiological development to start the process.   I sent my manuscripts to several publishers who specialized in how-to sport books.   They all said that I was too technical, that I had written a text book.

     When the Internet came along for everyone to use, I studied how to build a basic website because I believe that I know how to tell people how to enjoy baseball pitching without injury.   I have placed my books without illustrations on my website at personal expense and effort.   I have no financial backing, only a desire to stop pitching arm injuries and help young pitchers find their potential.

     I wish that I had illustrations, I wish that I had a chain of instructional centers around the country, I wish that I had people in every population center ready to train every interested youngster.   This is not a well-coordinated, techno-flashy, highly-financed business proposition.

     When I started to research how to pitch, I had to interpret Newton, Bernoulli and the exercise physiological and motor skill acquisition researchers to develop the force application techniques and training programs that I have written.   I guess that we are at the stage in my program's development where rather than having a highly-trained instructor at our disposal, we have to read the material and interpret it for ourselves.   I am sorry, but it is the best that I can do.

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220.   First, let me say that I just recently stumbled upon your website and was amazed by the time you have taken to give all of your thoughtful responses to the many questions addressed to you.   Thank you.   But, since I have not had the time to download all of your materials, forgive me if I ask a question that you may have answered elsewhere.

     My son is 21 (6" - 190lbs.) and plays baseball in a smaller Division 1 program.   He will be entering his fourth year, but due to injury during his freshman year still has two years of eligibility remaining.   He is both starting pitcher and outfielder/DH.   His injury was to his right elbow (throwing arm) and resulted in surgery:   Ulnar Collateral Nerve Transposition.

     The surgery took place in May, 1998 and was performed by the physician for the Minnesota Twins.   An MRI indicated that there may have been some minor ligament damage, but not to extent that "Tommy John" surgery was required.   He began rehab/throwing within three months.   During the 1999 college season, he primarily DH'd, throwing only 22 innnings of relief.   That summer, however, he pitched 70 innnings in a collegiate wood bat league as a starting pitcher.   This past season he threw 120 innings for his college (where he played CF/DH when not pitching) and summer teams.

     From feedback his college coach has received it appears that whatever interest pro scouts have in him is as a pitcher.   During the 1999 summer season, he seemed to get progressively stronger, i.e. his fastball, which sinks, was pretty consistently 85-87, his curve ball was sharp, and his change-up was frequently unhittable.   However, as this summer season came to a close he seemed to lose speed (consistently 84) and effectivenes with his off-speed.   As he did not have any pain in his elbow or shoulder, my reaction is that he simpley tired.   I believe this is in large part due to 1) still recovering from surgery and 2) splitting time between preparing to be a pitcher and position player.   He has recently decided that, while he still wants to hit in college, he will spend more time than in the past working on pitching.

     Now to my question:   Based upon this little historical information, do you think that through a combination of proper physical training and appropriate mechanical changes that he can regain/improve his velocity, or did his injury put a permanent limitation on the fastball?   I would appreciate any insight you can offer.


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     The ulnar nerve courses through a groove in the posterior aspect of the medial epicondyle.   When pitchers bend their pitching elbow to throw, the ulnar nerve stretches and slides in this groove.   To me, this is the only anatomical fact that could support the statement that the human arm should not throw baseballs overhand.   It is critically important that young pitchers do absolutely nothing to damage the ulnar nerve groove.

     I am not certain what could have happened to your son at college age to damage the ulnar nerve groove.   I suspect that he damaged it during adolescence.   Any damage to the growth plate of the medial epicondyle would alter the smoothness and proper development of the ulnar nerve groove.

     You wrote an ulnar collateral nerve transposition.   The word collateral refers to the medial collateral ligament.   However, you wrote that the surgeon did not find significant damage to the ligament that your son needed to replace the medial collateral ligament as they did to Tommy John in 1974.   I am left with some confusion as to what the surgeon did.

     I believe that the surgeon relocated the ulnar nerve from the ulnar nerve groove behind the medial epicondyle.   This requires that he detach the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.   I do not believe that the surgeon would have done that unless the five medial epicondyle muscles had already detached.   Therefore, I suspect that, like Tommy John, your son detached the five medial epicondyle muscles and the surgeon reattached them.   However, unlike Tommy John, your surgeon had the foresight to relocate the ulnar nerve where it should be on pitchers, on the anterior surface to the elbow.

     None of this is highly relevant to your question.   Whether the surgeon reattached the medial epicondyle muscles;   pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and a slip of the flexor digitorum superficialis, or not, your son, like all pitchers needs to train the attachment of these muscles.   Training always causes regression while the physiological system organizes its resources to meet the training overload.   During regression, performance always suffers, i. e., velocity decreases.   This explains why your son's velocity decreased, his arm was physiologically responding to the training overload.   This is a good thing.

     The ONLY way pitchers can achieve their maximum release velocity is to perfect the proper force application technique and train the musculo-skeletal system to withstand the maximum stress that they can apply without discomfort.   I believe that my Coaching Adult Pitchers book provides this information.   I never believe that an injury cannot be overcome.   The human body is amazing in its ability to respond to a properly designed training program.

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221.   Thank you for your response and encouragement.   I do believe you are correct in your assessment of the damage to the medial epicondyle muscles.   My reference to ligament damage was to MCL.   Also, I have now given my son the information from your Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Now, it is up to him!

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     I appreciate the confirmation of the injury.   Even when I receive medical reports, some information is misstated or left out.

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222.   I am 20 years old.   I play college baseball and was getting some looks from professional scouts this summer.   I went to play in a baseball tournament in New York.   I threw 15 innings in 3 days; 7 on Tuesday, 1 on Wednesday, and 7 on Thursday.   I wouldn't have done this if my arm was sore or hurting.   But, it felt good so I did it.

     When we returned home, my elbow was sore.   I figured it was from pitching, a normal thing.   But, after a week I decided to go to the doctor.   He diagnosed me with medial epicondylitis (golf elbow).   I received a cortisone-steroid shot and told me to take the anti-inflammatory pills and ice it.   He also told me that I needed to wear a elbow wrap when doing any activity.

     So I rested it for 2 weeks, taking the anti-inflammatory and icing.   After that, my arm was feeling good, so I started to throw a little using to wrap.   It felt fine.   Another team asked me to go to a trip with them.   This was three weeks after.   So I went.   I pitched 1 game with them, then my elbow started hurting again.   The knot or lump in the elbow area is still there and it is a little sore still.

     I am wondering if the lump will always be there, and if the injury will always be there.   Do I have to give up baseball or is there something I can do to heal this?   I would really appreciate any advise you could give me.


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     Medial epicondylitis is usually called, 'Little League elbow.'   The five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle are major contributors to baseball pitching.   Pitchers unnecessarily stress the muscles of their medial epicondyle with forearm flyout or forearm bounce.   I describe forearm flyout and forearm bounce in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

     To repeat, forearm flyout occurs when pitchers take the baseball too far laterally behind their body such that they have to first take the baseball medially behind their body before they can direct the baseball toward home plate.   Centrifugal force forces the forearm outwardly and unnecessarily stresses the medial epicondyle muscles.   Forearm bounce occurs when pitchers point their forearm vertical when they start their upper arm acceleration.   Forward movement of the upper arm with the forearm vertical causes the forearm to move backward and downward.   This bounce action unnecessarily stresses the medial epicondyle muscles.

     The human body is remarkable.   If you adjust your force application technique and properly train your arm, then the swelling will disappear and you will pitch again.   I do not recommend wraps, anti-inflammatory medicines and/or ice treatments.   I do recommend that you carefully read my force application techniques and alter your pitching motion.

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223.   I am currently going into my junior year at Northeastern University.   I have never been a great ball player and I never played on my high school or college team, but I love pitching.   When I was young I was really good and I was basically assured a spot on the high school team if I continued to practice.

     Everything seemed great, after an argument with my father my freshman year about playing for my high school, I decided that I just wouldn't do it.   It wasn't that I didn't want to play, but I knew that denying what he loved, I would be my own person.   Very bad move.   I didn't want to be my father and I couldn't handle the pressure he put on me to be a pitcher.   This move nagged me throughout high school and into college.   I realized that I loved pitching and that I should have kept going, but my stubbornness kept me back.   This brings me to the present.

     I didn't write to you to complain or dream, but for two years I have had a renewed motivation to become a pitcher.   I don't have any pitchers to train with and my friends that I play catch with don't let me throw the ball fast to them anymore.   So, I decided to search the internet for a book on pitching techniques and found yours.   I am studying Chemical Engineering at NU and Bernoulli is right up my alley.   Reading some of your material has given me a different view on pitching.

     So, the point of all this babbling is that I was curious if you had a version of this book for sale somewhere as a paperback or hardcover?

     As for pitching, well here is my plan for the next year and a half.   I want to train and throw everyday and then, try out for the NU team as a walk-on for one season my senior year.   I am not sure as to what will happen, but I am not gonna let people talk me out of it.   Even if nothing happens and they say thanks for trying, well, then I'll feel good knowing that at least I tried.


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     I have unsuccessfully tried to find a publisher for my books.   I am sorry, but I do not have any illustrations.   You will have to get by with my words.   I wish you success in your quest.

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224.   How does one get hold of your book for adolescents?   How much does it cost?

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     When you go to my website at www.drmikemarshall.com , you click on Free Books.   When you are on my Free Books page, you click on a Chapter in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   When that Chapter appears on your screen, you open you File menu and select Print.   The book is free.   You only have to print the Chapters that you want from my website.

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225.   My son is 12 years old and he has pitched for 3 years in Little League.   When he pitches, he complains of pain in his elbow. When he throws hard, he sometimes complains of pain in his shoulder.   What is his injury?   All this has come after switching from sidearm.   Also, what can I do to increase his velocity and movement?

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     As I write in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, the growth plates in the pitching arm of twelve year old males are wide open and subject to the physical stresses of pitching without regard for the quality of the force application technique.

     When I hear of pain in the adolescent elbow, I immediately worry about the growth plate of his medial epicondyle on the inside of his elbow.   It could also be an injury to one of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.   However, I prefer to err on the side of caution.   When adolescent pitchers complain of pain in the elbow, I recommend that they stop pitching until the growth plate matures.   Typically, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures between fifteen and sixteen years old.

     When I hear of pain in the adolescent shoulder, I immediately worry about the growth plate of the lesser tuberosity of the head of the humerus.   It could also be an injury to the subscapularis muscle.   However, I prefer to err on the side of caution.   When adolescent pitchers complain of pain in the shoulder, I recommend that they stop pitching until the growth plate matures.   Typically, the growth plate of the lesser tuberosity matures between fifteen and sixteen years old.

     For more information on the age at appearance and the age of union of the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm, please read Chapter Six of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     With regard to achieving maximum release velocity and what causes the baseball to move in its flight toward home plate, please refer to my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Maximum release velocity relates to proper force application techniques and the physiological adaptations the pitching arm makes as a result of the appropriate and measured stress increases that my training program encourages.   In Section Six of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss my force application techniques.   In Section Seven of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss my training program.

     However, young pitchers can never achieve their potential after they have damaged their skeletal structure with competitive youth baseball pitching.   That is why I recommend that no youngster less than thirteen years old pitch competitively and youngsters thirteen through fifteen pitch only one inning at a time.

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226.   I had a question for you on growth plates.   About 6 months ago my son began having problems with his heels.   The left one in particular.   When we took him to the doctor, he said that he had Seivers Disease (sp).   Can you explain to me in layman's terms what that means?   And is there any relationship between this, and his arm.

     He is a pitcher, and has been pitching since this diagnosis.   I limit his pitch count to about 50-60 pitches.   He has not experienced any pain while pitching.   Do you think he could be doing any harm to his arm in light of his heel problems.   I want to be careful with him, as he has an excellent fastball at this point, and I think a decent future in baseball (typical dad huh?).   Any thoughts would really be appreciated.

     P.S.   We just moved from Florida.   Would have loved to have my son work with you as a pitching coach.


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     I checked my medical dictionary and could not find Seivers Disease.   However, from your discussion of growth plates, I assume that you are discussing a growth plate in the heel bone, the calcaneus.   The calcaneus ossifies differently than the medial epicondyle.   The medial epicondyle ossifies similarly to the tibial tuberosity.   Both of these ossification centers attach to the shaft of a bone, the humerus and tibia bones, respectively.   Osgood Schlatter's Disease is discomfort in the growth plate of the tibial tuberosity.   Therefore, if you had told me that your son suffers from Osgood Schlatter's Disease, I would have had more concern for his medial epicondyle growth plate.

     I have no special concern for his medial epicondyle growth plate because he has discomfort with his calcaneus.   However, I expect that the doctor advised your son to stay off his calcaneus.   I always have concern for any adolescent pitcher with open growth plates in his pitching arm.   I would not permit youngsters under thirteen years of age to pitch competitively at all.   I would not permit youngsters thirteen to fifteen to pitch more than one inning of competition at a time.

     With regards to my pitching coach services, I work only with youngsters with completed growth plate maturity.   I prefer to train only high school graduates who are ready to make a commitment to train for forty weeks and years thereafter to find out how good they can become.   I have and probably will continue to work with high school juniors and seniors during four weeks in June and in July, although I am not certain that that short of time effects their motor skills significantly.

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227.   I think what you are doing for youth baseball is fabulous.   I read several chapters of your free books, finding them very informative.   I was wondering how can I view the illustrations?   I would love to show comparison views of injured and healthy shoulders elbows wrists and hands to all players in my league.   I worry about some kids that are above average players that think they are hot stuff pitchers thinking they can pitch everything from fireball fastballs to knucklers.   I want to have a pitching clinic to show the pictures of the various joints healthy, then injured by pitching.   If you can't send me your illustrations, maybe you could guide me to some links where I can download and print them.

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     Thank you for the kind words.   The illustrations that you want are part of a report by Dr. Joel Adams published in California Medicine in 1964.   In Chapter 8, I have listed that reference and many others that describe the irreparable damage to the growth plates of the pitching arms of adolescent pitchers.   I am not concerned about what pitches they throw, I believe that it is the extra stress of training for more than two months per year and pitching in competition that causes the damage.

     Some earlier readers of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book researched this same question and found a copy of Dr. Adams' article.   I believe that they searched for the periodical, California Medicine on the web.

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228.   Is there a specific sequence that you teach for the hips opening and rotating to begin force application towards home plate?

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     Pitchers should not start their forward rotation until they have placed their front foot on the ground.   If they start their forward rotation before their front foot contacts the ground, then their front foot will move sideways and cause their pitching arm to circle outwardly.   Also, they cannot push backward off their rear foot until their front foot contacts the ground.   Their rear foot push back moves the whole body forward ahead of their front foot which then pushes backward as part of the force-coupling with the forearm acceleration through release.

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229.   Does the radar gun you use display speed of ball at release or at the plate.   Which of these readings do you think is more valuable in assessing a pitcher?

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     My radar gun sends its signal every 0.05 seconds.   With 0.4 seconds for the baseball to travel to home plate, this means that my radar gun measures velocity about every eight feet.   With the trigger read, my radar gun can measure the average velocity for the first eight feet after release up to from about seven feet eleven inches to fifteen feet eleven inches.   With the continuous read, my radar gun can measure the average velocity for the last eight feet to contact with the catcher's mitt or from fifteen feet eleven inches to seven feet eleven inches.   Because air molecules uniformly decelerate the baseball throughout the flight to home plate from ten to twelve miles per hour, we have errors of plus or minus three to four miles per hour with either reading and from four to six miles per hour differences between the two type of reads.   In other words, radar guns have little value in the absolute.

     I use radar guns only on the continuous read.   I always check for the double read and accept the highest read when it repeats at least three times.

     I think that radar guns have ruined pitcher development.   All anybody wants is pitchers who throw the hardest when pitching requires a variety of speeds and movements.

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230.   Do you think that it is possible to build up the same arm strength without throwing?   I would think you would be at somewhat of a disadvantage as a pitcher if you did not start to throw in games until your were in your teens.   If I am hearing you correctly, you believe a 90 MPH fastball is born, as opposed to developed.   You could be right.   But then, there are the Nolan Ryans of the world who did long toss hour after hour all throughout his childhood, and lasted well into his 40's with no serious injuries.   Considering the amount of throwing he did, I wonder why he never broke down.

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     I would never believe that pitchers could develop arm strength without throwing.   I do believe that until their growth plate mature, too much adolescent throwing will cause irreparable damage.   It would be a disadvantage to throw in games before your growth plates mature.   However, after the growth plates mature, committed pitchers can and must train maximally and throw baseballs as hard as they can and in competition.

     I do not believe that ninety mile per hour fastballs are born as opposed to developed.   I believe that there are many ninety mile per hour fastballs that pitchers never achieve due to incorrect force application technique and inadequate training.   However, pitchers are limited by their genetics with regard to muscle contractility and attachment location.   To throw ninety mile per hour fastballs, pitchers require genetically inherited qualities, but many have the genetically inherited qualities without the proper force application techniques and training.

     Anecdotal information, like your Nolan Ryan story, is interesting, but lack the scientific rigor that enables us to say that others should follow the same procedure.   I believe that Nolan Ryan is the greatest pitching talent in the history of baseball.   I have no idea how much pre-pubescent throwing he did, how much pubescent throwing he did or how much adolescent pitching he did. I do know that qualified research shows that when adolescent pitchers pitch competitively, ninety-five percent suffer some degree of medial epicondyle growth plate damage.   This damage limits their adult performance.

     I believe that every pitcher can achieve their adult potential only with non-damaged medial epicondyle growth plates.   I want every pitcher to have their opportunity to achieve their potential.   Young pitchers must be patient and learn the proper force application techniques and pitching skills until their growth plates mature.   Then, they should train appropriately to achieve their maximum force abilities.   I believe that my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books provide this information.

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231.   I am currently enrolled in a masters program for physical therapy at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo.   I was a catcher in my undergraduate work and my coach always said it was easier on a pitchers arm to throw a 70mph curve rather than a 90mph fastball.   I have had to defend my coach to my classmates.   The pitchers I worked with, when tiring, also claimed it to be easier on them physically to throw more curveballs in later innings.   Most of what I have read though, about younger pitchers, tries to discourage throwing a curveball.   I am honestly confused about the differences between a childs arm and a 20-30 year olds.

     There are many questions I could ask along this line, but the most important is whether the stress is greater when pitchers properly throw curveballs at 70mph or properly throw fastballs at 90mph.   If you know this already or know where I can find the answer I would truly appreciate a reply.   Your website was wonderful and gave me a better incite to the actual biomechanics involved.   It was a good learning experience.


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     The difference between an adolescent pitching arm and an adult pitching are is that the adolescent humerus, ulna and radius bones are still growing.   In order to continue to get longer and wider, the adolescent bone has cartilage in specific locations that connect ossification centers to the shaft of the bone.   These cartilage areas are growth plates, or if you want to look them up at the library, epiphysial growth plates.   I believe that I cover this topic reasonably well in Chapters five, six and seven of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

     With regard to it being easier to throw a 70 mph curve than a 90 mph fastball, I disagree.   In order to throw a 70 mph fastball, pitchers must be able to throw a 90 mph fastball.   The arm velocity for the two pitches should be the same.   The difference lies in converting more release velocity to spin velocity than horizontal velocity.

     With fastballs, pitchers transfer the velocity of their index and middle fingers maximally to the baseball with little going to spin velocity.   With curves, pitchers should convert the release velocity to maximal spin velocity such that the horizontal velocity reduces by twenty miles per hour.   With sliders, pitchers should convert only ten miles per hour of release velocity to spin velocity.   The same relationship exists for the screwball and sinker, respectively.

     The added burden of converting release velocity to spin velocity makes it more difficult to throw curves when tired than to throw fastballs. With curves, pitchers should maintain the ninety degree forearm to upper arm angle throughout the pitch.   This places considerable stress on the brachialis and its coranoid process.   The complex motor unit firing pattern to pronate the forearm while isometrically holding the ninety degree forearm to upper arm angle requires considerable focus and rested muscle fiber availability.   Pitchers cannot rely on tired muscles fibers to operate as well as rested early inning muscles fibers.   Of course, I am referring to true professional quality curves, not flip them up there spinners.

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232.   Do you think there is less stress on the arm when you throw on flat ground, as opposed to off a mound?

     Also, I wonder if part of the damage that is done to adolescent pitchers has to do with poor throwing mechanics, and overuse/abuse (ex. the kid in our league who threw 132 pitches in a game this year at age 9)?

     I concur with your statement on Nolan Ryan.   He is the greatest pitching talent of all time.

     Another example for you of someone who advocates a lot of throwing as a kid. Billy Wagner.   Throws 100 MPH.   Read a story about him in Sports illustrated for kids.   He talks about all the throwing he did as a kid.   He actually advised kids to throw as much as they can, and anything they can like tennis ball, rocks etc., all day to build up their arm strength.

     However, I do think there is something in your theory.   And consider the little league world series kids.   Ever notice that none of these kids ever make it to the pros.   12 y/o kids with 70 mile an hour fastballs.   What happens to these kids?


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     The difference between throwing off flat ground versus pitching mounds involves the angle at which the baseball leaves the hand.   The stress to the pitching arm remains the same, except that it is at a slightly different angle.   That is why I advise pitchers to only throw off pitching mounds when they are trying to train for pitching off pitching mounds.

     Growth plates are cartilage.   Until youngsters are fifteen or sixteen, they have growth plates in the pitching arm.   I would not advise ongoing throwing stress on these arm under any conditions.   However, pitching in competitive games is the very worse.   Tired growth plates cannot tolerate the stress.   They will close prematurely and stunt growth.   They will pull away from the shaft of the humerus.   Billy Wagner's advise is ill-advised, uninformed and wrong.

     I explain all this and the reason why Little League World Series participants do not succeed as adults in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.   Please read Chapter five, six, seven, eight and twenty-five.   In order to succeed in Little League baseball, you must be chronologically twelve years old, but physiologically fourteen years old.   If you are, then you are about finished with your long bone growth.   Also, because of your early success without having to master the skills, you will not have the skills to compete with the delayed maturers who had to learn the skills in order to survive and who continued to grow for years after the early maturers stopped.

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233.   What happened to Tony Saunders?   Why did he break his arm pitching?   I thought that once a broken bone healed it would not break again.

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     Like all injuries, Saunders sustained his broken arm because he placed more stress on the bone than it could withstand.   In his case, he suffered a spiral fracture of the shaft of his humerus.   This injury results from the weight of the forearm rotating backwardly and downwardly while the proximal end of the humerus rotated forwardly and upwardly.

     Two factors contributed to the initial injury.   First, the force application technique that Saunders used inappropriately stressed his humerus.   Second, the humerus was insufficiently trained to withstand the rotational stress of pitching.

     Broken bones do heal stronger.   However, Tony broke his arm the second time next to where he broke it the first time.   Three factors contributed to the repeat injury.   First, Saunders failed to correct his inappropriate force application technique.   Second, the extended period during which Saunders had his arm immobilized caused his humerus bone to atrophy and weaken.   Since his humerus was already insufficiently trained, he was in a significantly worse circumstance than before his initial injury.   Third, the rehabilitation program Saunders underwent failed to increase the ability of his humerus to withstand the inappropriate stress of his flawed force application technique.

     In conclusion, Saunders needed and now needs to learn an appropriate force application technique and to undergo an extended training program designed to increase the strength of his humerus to withstand the rotational stress of pitching.

     I designed my wrist weight and iron ball training programs to significantly strengthen the bones of the pitching arm and to significantly strengthen the attachments of the pitching muscles to these bones.   I like to say that my program injury-proofs pitchers.   Therefore, with the increased strength of the musculoskeleton system and my force application techniques which would eliminate the unnecessary twisting stress that he places on his humerus, he should have many years of successful professional pitching ahead of him.

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234.   I am 15 years old and pitch for my team.   I've been pitching for about 5 years now and for two years I have been experiencing pain in the side and as well as inside my elbow.   The pain extends from my elbow to the shoulder and to the muscle on top of my left nipple.   I tried resting it, but every time I pitch it comes back.   My mother told me to go see a doctor, but I'm scared the doctor is going to tell me that I can not pitch anymore.   What should I do?

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     You did not say whether you pitch with your left or right hand.   Because you said that the muscle that bothers you is under your left nipple, I will assume that you pitch with your left hand.   The muscle that overlays your nipple area is the pectoralis major.   The pectoralis major arises along the sternum and clavicle and attaches medial to the bicipital groove on the proximal one-third of your humerus bone.   It does not lie along your side.   The serratus anterior muscle arises along the vertebral border of the anterior surface of the scapula and attaches to ribs 1-9 along the side.

     There is no muscle that extends from the inside of your elbow to your shoulder.   The coracobrachialis muscle attaches to the inside middle of your humerus (upper arm) to the coracoid process of the scapulae under your clavicle (collar bone).   What I am saying is that I cannot determine your problem from this description.

     Inside of your elbow pain usually means that you have circle outward or forearm bounce problems.   Circle outward results when you move your forearm too close to your upper arm at leverage.   The forearm should remain at ninety degrees from your upper arm.   Pectoralis major pain is rare.   It is a powerful muscle that is very difficult to injure or overwork.

     Whatever your pitching problems, they result from either improper force application or improper training.   All I can recommend is that you read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book to learn the proper force application technique.   Also, listen to your mother, see a doctor.

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235.   In September of last year I tore my ACL and meniscus in my right knee.   So far I have made a full recovery.   I'd appreciate any tips you could give me on keeping my knee safe, while still being an effective pitcher.

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     I would like to know what you were doing when you injured your knee.   I want to understand what activity provided greater stress than your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) could withstand.   The ACL prevents the upper leg (femur) from sliding forward over your lower leg (tibia).   I also need to know with which arm you pitch.

     If the injured leg is your push-off or rear leg, then you should have no difficulty with the push-off.   However, depending on your foot position and how you recover your rear leg, you could still have problems.   I recommend that pitchers turn the foot of their rear leg to forty-five degrees from the front of the pitching rubber.   This enables pitchers to push off much as though they are starting a sprint race in track.   Next, I recommend that pitchers keep the upper leg of their rear leg vertical throughout the pitching motion.   This enables pitchers to rotate more rapidly.   Lastly, I recommend that pitchers step through with the lower leg of their rear leg rather than bend it and permit it to swing outwardly.   This outwardly swing of the lower leg of the rear leg could give you difficulties if your rear leg is the injured leg.

     If the injured leg is your landing or front leg, then you could have difficulty with the landing, especially if you bend at the waist when you drive through release.   I recommend that pitchers step forward with their front leg and use the front leg for stability when they drive forward off their rear leg.   I want pitchers to move their vertically rotating body ahead of their front leg and reserve their forearm acceleration until after they initiate push-back with their front leg.   I recommend that pitchers stand as tall as possible throughout their pitching motion.   This requires that they do not bend at the waist.

     Because I want pitchers to push-back with their front foot to increase their equal and opposite reaction force, my pitchers stop the forward movement of their bodies with their rear leg.   If the injured leg is your rear leg, this action could give you problems.   You would have to learn how to decelerate you body with a strong forearm acceleration through release that leaves you with little forward momentum.

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236.   I am a Green Bay Packers fan.   Does throwing a baseball have anything in common with throwing a football?   If so, what does Farve have to do to fix his arm?

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     In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I discuss how I rehabilitated several professional quarterbacks with throwing arm problems.   The quarterback throw parallels the baseball catcher arm action with the pitchers' supinated forearm position and slider release.

     I have heard only a couple of comments with regard to Farve's problem.   I heard that he experiences discomfort on the lateral side of his elbow.   That area contains the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis muscles.   These muscles decelerate the wrist action.   When quarterbacks powerfully accelerate their footballs through release, the wrist ulnar flexes.   Ulnar flexion occurs when the little finger side of the hand moves closer to the ulnar side of the forearm.   This increases the stress on the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis.

     As successful athletes get into the latter half of their careers, they tend not to train with the vigor with which they trained to become successful.   When they combine this decrease in training vigor with the deterioration due to the aging process, they frequently suffer minor discomforts.   Then, the medical staff recommends rest.   Rest causes more atrophy and the problem worsens.   Therefore, the medical staff recommends more rest and the problems becomes acute.

     As successful athletes near the end of their career, they need to increase their training, not decrease.   Mr. Farve needs a training program specifically designed for quarterback throwing, not rest.

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237.   I am a physical therapist who is a pitching specialist for a rehabilitation and sports medicine company.   I have developed a baseball performance program and have seen great results with the kids I work with.   In the near future, I hope to have my program in all of our facilities.   We are talking about a lot of baseball players.

     I am also in the process of trying to publish a book encompassing all aspects of pitching from the player, the coach, rehab, pitching mechanics, drills, exercise, performance improvement, anatomy, physiology, etc.   I know you have wanted to publish your information and I would love to speak with you about possibly sharing information and working together.   Your stuff sounds fascinating, although much of it is way over my head.   With my company, I can reach thousands of kids, coaches, parents across the country and the financial support makes life a lot easier.   Please call me if you are interested.


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     I do not understand how we could share information.   I have developed my theories after thirty years of research, personal and with others and years of working with young pitchers.   It is my information.   I have copyrighted it.   It is unlike any other pitching information with which I am aware.

     I am giving my information to the world to use free of charge.   Anybody can use it.   If you want to use it to rehabilitate pitchers, I agree.   However, I expect acknowledgement as the source.   I would not accept anything remotely resembling co-authorship.   It is and has been the product of my lifetime.

     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know my advice for youth pitchers with pitching arm injuries.   I am adamantly opposed to competitive pitching for youngsters under thirteen years of age and then only one inning of pitching per game until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures.   I have learned that financial support requires compromises and I could never compromise what I believe is in the best interests of youngsters.

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238.   I am searching for a copy of video of Chuck Knoblauch's throwing problems.   Any suggestion?

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     I have no suggestion regarding a videotape of Chuck Knoblauch's throwing problems.   However, his throwing problem is simple.   He does not drive the baseball from leverage through release in a straight line that he wants the baseball to follow after release.

     I have not investigated his problem in particular, but as a former professional infielder myself, All-Star double-A shortstop, I have some insight into the throwing motion he needs to use.   I suspect that he has forearm flyout.   This is a problem that requires about a week to permanently correct.   He needs to use my wrong foot trans exercise.   This teaches straight line force application.

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239.   I was wondering if you could send me pictures of how to hold a ball if you want to throw the following pitches: 1) Fastball 2) Changeup 3) Curveball 4) Breaking Ball.

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     I do not have an illustrator.   I would need an illustrator to draw pictures of how I explain pitchers should grip the pitches that I teach.   I do not teach changeups of any type.   Curves are one type of breaking balls.

     The best that I can do for you at this time is to have you read Chapter 19 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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240.   I remember as a kid getting your autograph after a Phillies game at Vets Stadium, you were very nice to me.   I've since passed it on to my brother who has a nice collection (hobby).   I also noticed you pitched in an over 50 league.   I am 43 and took up umpiring 5 years ago (I love the game and this is how I stay active).   I have done the local MABL and MSBL games in my area and for the past 3 years have had the good fortune to also get to do the playoffs (plate and bases).   Some of these guys are at least 55-60.   I really enjoy umping (stress relief, sounds crazy).   I also do kids games on up and even worked high school games until I changed careers.   I think it's wonderful that you make yourself available to answer questions.   Be well and if I have any questions, I'll be sure to ask.

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     I am amazed to read that I signed an autograph for you outside of Veterans Stadium.   I am opposed to athletes and other unimportant people in youngsters lives signing autographs.   I believe it distorts the youngsters value system.   However, I am not opposed to youngsters loving baseball and I hope that no one misconstrued my unwillingness to sign autographs as not loving youngsters.

     I did pitch in the over-50 national championships until 1998.   Unfortunately, arthritis and a household accident has stopped my competitive pitching days.   But, I loved it and pitched as often as I could from the day I left professional baseball in 1981.   Because I moved to the Tampa Bay area in 1982, I made certain that I could pitch throughout the year.   Our leagues started in January and ended with the November over-30, over-40 and over-50 national championships.   I pitched in them all and loved every minute.   I also loved every player who played with and against me.   I applaud them and you for keeping the love of baseball throughout your lives.

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241.   In reading the below statement I was wondering if you have ever looked at the ThrowMAX flexible elbow brace?   It is designed to allow elbows (depending how worn) to bend approximaetly 90 degrees.   It can be adjusted to allow bending slightly more or less than 90 degrees.

     "The first movement pitchers should make from the downward head pat position is to outwardly rotate the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa.   Very shortly after initiating this movement, pitchers need to start raising their upper arm to shoulder height.   While pitchers raise their upper arm to shoulder height, they need to simultaneously appropriately align their forearm for the desired pitch.   Lastly, pitchers must take great care not to decrease the forearm to upper arm angle to less than ninety degrees."


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     It is an interesting idea.   Many pitchers have a great deal of difficulty not moving their forearm closer than ninety degrees to their upper arm when they place their pitching arm in the leverage position.   The shortened forearm to upper arm angle causes the forearm to circle outward when they initiate their upper arm acceleration phase and places the forearm in the forearm flyout position when they need to start their forearm acceleration phase.   The forearm flyout position places the forearm way outside of the elbow and prevents maximum force application and introduces the likelihood of too much unnecessary stress injuring the medial epicondyle area.

     My only concern would be whether the ThrowMax would limit the elbow extension range of motion required to throw fastballs, sliders and sinkers.

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242.   My son had and ingrown finger nail during last season, which made his middle finger bleed everytime he pitched.   It's 3 months later, and in fall baseball, it's doing the same thing.   Is there any advise to remedy this?

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     The health and well-being of the distal phalange of the third digit is critical for pitching success.   Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their middle finger.   Strength to maximally transfer the horizontal velocity of the fingertip to their fastballs.   Skill to transfer the appropriate amount with the proper spin axis to generate the maximum baseball seam surface friction to air molecule collision force to achieve the desired movement.   Therefore, pitchers must take great precautions not to permit blisters, calloused skin and ingrown fingernails.   Pitchers need to carefully and regularly file their middle finger fingernail, no clippers.   They must keep this nail long enough to just cover the compressed finger pad.   They must carefully sand the beginnings of any callous.

     I cannot know why this young man's middle finger suffered an ingrown fingernail.   In all likelihood, it resulted from improper nail care.   Perhaps consulting with a fingernail care expert would help.   Maybe Mom can help.

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243.   My 18 year old son recently had reconstruction elbow surgery.   Dr. James Andrews at Health South in Birmingham, AL did the procedure.   Alex tore his UCL in his first start of his high school senior season.   He loves pitching and would like to continue his playing at the college level.   He showed promise in his sophomore and junior years as a varsity pitcher.

     I read your book a couple of times and read your question and answer section.   I congratulate you for your fine work.   However, I must confess I'm not sure I was able to comprehend your discussion on proper mechanics.   After reading your book, I'm convinced Alex has poor mechanics.   I'm concerned that rehab without correction of his throwing mechanics will leave him subject to the same injury.   If there is any help you can offer, I would be grateful.   We are certainly prepared to pay for your services.

     We live in northwest Florida.   There are few coaches that know pitching and fewer that are willing to work with young men not on their team.   My son recently turned eighteen.   He decided not to attend college this year.recently He wants to focus his energy on rehab and conditioning.


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     You are absolutely correct.   Rehabilitation without adjusting the force application technique that caused the injury is a waste of time.   Ask Tony Saunders.

     When pitchers tear the Medial Collateral Ligament, they must have a terrible forearm bounce in their pitching motion.   Your son must eliminate the unnecessary stress to his medial elbow area and he must greatly strengthen the tendons and ligaments that hold the humerus and ulna togethers on the medial side.

     I am in the process of putting together a training site where I can work with young men such as your son.   I will only work with pitchers committed to train for forty consecutive weeks.   I start the third Sunday in August and end the fourth Saturday in May.

     I need to know more about the surgery, such as when did he have the surgery?   If you would like to talk more about the possibility of me working with him, please telephone me at (813)783-1357.

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244.   I was fascinated by your web site and the chapters of your book.   I have searched for guides and think yours makes some sense.   My two sons pitch, one in college and the other in high school.   My older son is 6'4" and has pretty good velocity (around 85 mph) with what the coach thinks is an above average slider (along with other pitches).   Just starting fall ball of his junior year, he is disappointed that his summer workouts did not increase his velocity (which he hoped would approach 90 mph).   His control is below average when he presses for velocity.

     When I saw him pitch yesterday, I pointed out some mechanical mistakes (like not stepping always straight to the plate) which impaired his accuracy.   At this stage, are there any suggestions you might have for improving (1) velocity and (2) accuracy?

     My younger son is a different kind of pitcher.   He lacks the hot fastball, but has good control, a sinking fastball and pretty good curve.   His velocity is below average for his peers, but I account for that due to his late physical develop (his body just started to mature last year as a sophomore).   So I think he is on track for his physical development and his velocity will improve as his body transitions to a young adult.   Do you have any suggestions for addressing velocity issues for a more youthful pitcher?


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     For pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocity, they must train the musculoskeletal system related to baseball pitching to withstand the maximum force that they can generate when they apply force to their pitches in straight lines over their maximum driveline lengths.   In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I described the training program that I personally used and use to train the young men who commit to train with me for forty weeks and the proper force application techniques for the pitches that I teach.

     For pitchers to achieve accuracy with their pitches, they must learn to perfectly perform the proper force application techniques for the pitches.   At that time, they need to do my baseball pitching training program where they throw one hundred and twenty pitches every day for ninety days.   After ninety days of this perfect practice training, pitchers develop motor engrams that enable them to perfectly repeat the force application technique pitch after pitch.

     To learn to pitch at the quality I am discussing requires considerable hard directed work which requires commitment.

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245.   I am a pitcher and I play football also.   This year in baseball I did really well. In my best game, I had 16 stikeouts and went into extra innings.   I pitched all 8 innings.   I am 15 years old.   Well, my arm didn't feel too good though.   But, I was the best pitcher so I had to pitch because it was a tournament game and it was against the best team.   Anyways, my arm kind of went numb after about the 3rd inning and I was pitching really good.   I threw about 150 pitches.

     After the game, it hurt really bad in my elbow and in my shoulder some.   Well, we had 4 more games in the next 2 days and I had to play shortstop and center field.   I hurt my arm even worse.   Then, the season was over and we won the championship, but my arm still hurt.   I gave it a break for a while until football.   Then the other day, I hurt my arm and my coaches made me keep playing.   I went to the doctor about 2 weeks later and he said I might have a torn rotator cuff.   I have to get an MRI in a couple of days.   So if I did tear it, how long will I be out and how long should I wait to lift weights and to start pitching again?


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     I am sorry to hear about your pain.   The rotator cuff involves four muscles that attach to the head of the humerus; subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor.   You should be able to point to a specific spot where you feel pain.   I do not expect the MRI to show much.   I need to know what the surgeons find when they perform the surgery.

     If they have to reattach the tendon of one of these muscles, then you will have to wait until the tendon fuses with the bone and the doctor will give you the best advice as to how long to wait before you start rehabilitation.

     If you have read my Question/Answer section, then you know that I strongly advocate that injured pitchers first correct their force application techniques as an aspect of their rehabilitation program.   Improper force application techniques caused the injury and no amount of rehabilitation will so strengthen the arm as to prevent repeat injury.

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246.   I have a 11 year old son who plays little league baseball.   He has experience pitching, but, in my opinion, he has not been abused.   Matter of fact, there have been other kids on his team's that have (coaches kids).   Although my son has not been over-used, last year he was considered a pitcher and during the spring training, so to speak, all pitchers were required to pitch a bull pen twice a week.   They threw 30-40 pitches after long practices that included lots of throwing. After about 3 weeks of this, he told me his elbow was aching.

     Being the injury conscious parent that I thought I was before I read some of the Chapters on your Web Page, I immediately made an appointment and took him to a Sports Medicine Ortho Doctor.   He examined him by conducting a hands-on examination of his elbow and also took X-rays of the shoulder and elbow.   He didn't see anything on the X-rays and he didn't have any pain during the exam.   He diagnosed him with over-use syndrome and told him he could continue to play, but to not pitch for a few weeks, basically to rest.

     Now, 7 months later he says that his elbow aches (not hurts) after he throws a bullpen sometimes, not all the time.   My question is should I be concerned with pain that is an ache after hard throwing, and based on the limited info you have what would you have done if he had been brought to you for examination.

P.S.   The Dr. did not X-ray his non-throwing elbow. Any response is appreciated.


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     I believe that you have correctly assessed the situation.   The coach was wrong to have your son and others throw as much as he did.   Their growth plates cannot withstand the stress.   The doctor did not know how to correctly examine your son.   He has to compare the amount of closure of the medial epicondyle growth plate of the pitching arm with his non-pitching arm.

     The fact that your son's medial epicondyle growth plate aches after he throws clearly demonstrates that it cannot withstand the ongoing stress.   I recommend that he stops pitching until his growth plates mature.   He will still have plenty of time to practice the skills required to pitch as an adult without further detrimental effects to his growth plate.

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247.   Just wondering about some throwing rehabilitation.   I underwent TJ in summer of 1998.   I was then released by the team with which I was affiliated.   I did not get the proper rehabilitation.   My elbow feels great, but my shoulder gives me trouble when I try to throw harder.   My guess is that it is probably weak and I tried to go too hard to soon.   Anyway, do you have a throwing progression that I can give a try to regain a fastball in the low 90's?   I still want to play!

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     When you say that you underwent TJ in the summer of 1998, I assume that you mean that doctors replaced your torn medial collateral ligament with the tendon from the palmaris longus muscle of your non-pitching forearm.   Tearing the medial collateral ligament is a signal that your pitching mechanics are inappropriate.   You first must adjust your force application techniques.   I strongly recommend that you read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book that is free to everyone on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.

     After you read and understand how I recommend pitchers apply force, then you should contact me about my forty week training program.   I have placed my training program in my book, but if you are serious about pitching, the best way is to train with me.

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248.   Thank you for your reply.   I really appreciate your common sense philosophy on youth pitching.   I believe your right on the money.   It disgusts me to see these Little League so called coaches pitch a kid 125 pitches in one game.   Yes 125 pitches in one game I watched this spring.   I was horrified.   I know your stand on youth pitching but I never allow my kid to pitch more than 60 in a game.   If he throws 55 in the first inning he's out.   Any way please continue to Educate on the danger's of Youth Pitching.

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     Thank you for the comments.   I want to make certain that I have clearly stated my position on youth pitching.   Before thirteen years old, I advise that no youngster pitch a single inning of competitive baseball.   At thirteen years old, I advise that youth pitchers pitch only one inning per game until their medial epicondyle growth plate fully matures.   Thereafter, they can train, pitch and do whatever they want to maximize their pitching ability.

     The only way to stop the nonsense in youth baseball programs is the parents of one youth pitcher at a time.   The parents have to call for a type of competition that is good for all.   The parents of position players need for the parents of pitchers to sacrifice their pitching futures to permit their sons to practice their batting skills.   It is time for the parents of youth pitchers to stop contributing to the destruction of the growth plates of their son's pitching arm.

     In Chapter 26 of my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, I have described the rules for a type of youth baseball game for twelve year olds and under that enhances the baseball skills of every participant without destroying the arms of the best youth pitchers in our nation.   The parents of youth pitchers must take charge and stop the carnage.

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249.   My 8 1/2 year old son is starting to pitch in a young pitching league.   At our last game, he pitched one inning and said his elbow was hurting at the tip of his elbow.   Is he okay, or should I take him to a special DR?

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     At eight and one-half years old, youngsters do not have ossification centers at the distal end of their humerus.   Therefore, they do not have growth plates between the shaft of the bone and the ossification centers to traumatize.   Even though what they do probably does not fall within any proper definition of pitching, this does not mean that I agree that eight and one-half year old youngsters should pitch competitively.

     Discomfort at the tip of the elbow indicates that the triceps brachii muscle attachment to the proximal end of the ulna received stress greater than it could withstand.   As I said earlier, the ossification center for the proximal end of the ulna, the olecranon process, does not appear until about eleven years of age.   Therefore, he has not traumatized the growth plate of the olecranon process.   But, he has traumatized the cartilaginous forerunner of the olecranon process and its attachment to the powerful triceps brachii muscle.

     As to whether he should see an orthopedic specialist, I don't know.   I also don't know what the specialist would do.   If the injury is as serious as he has detached the triceps brachii attachment to the olecranon process want-to-be, then he would benefit from medical intervention.   In all likelihood, he has strained the attachment to some degree and if he does not repeat the activity that caused the problem, he will gradually heal and get better.   Therefore, unless he has lost the ability to extend that elbow and exert force even with serious discomfort, I would wait to see how he feels after a few days.   Naturally, no more pitching or throwing.

     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book and/or my Question/Answer section, you know that I recommend to parents that their youngsters do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and then only one inning per game.

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250.   A short time back I wrote about my intent to play professional basketball at my (relatively) advanced age of 43.   I have begun my journey, and now need some advice based upon my progress.

     I need to understand "quickness".   Are there certain muscles in the legs, or certain kinds of muscles in general, which can be more fully developed to enhance rapidity of movement of the legs (feet)?   Are there exercises which would promote this growth more quickly and more effectively than others?


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     I must not of carefully read your previous memo, I did not know that you were talking about basketball.   I teach baseball pitching.   Nevertheless, your questions involve general concepts and I can explain them without distinguishing between baseball and basketball.

     Muscle fibers come in two basic types, slow-twitch and fast-twitch.   Researchers believe that athletes with higher percentages of fast-twitch muscle fibers can move their extremities more rapidly that those with lower percentages.   While I generally accept this principle, I believe that athletes can learn to move their extremities more rapidly with proper force application techniques, stronger musculoskeltal systems specific to the task and intense motor skill training that emphasizes rapid limb movement.

     I have the exercises for baseball pitching.   You will have to analyze the basketball skills that you want and design programs to enhance them.

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251.   I am a 13 year old, left-handed pitcher.   I took 2 months off this year, and am now starting my conditioning routine.   After throwing on flat ground, I have been getting sore on the outside of my arm, starting 3" down from my shoulder to 2" above my elbow.   It goes away after about an hour after throwing, I can feel it when I reach up to adjust my ball cap.   I have laid off from throwing hard for about a week, and now play light catch with my dad, every other day, followed with ice.   The pain has been getting less.

     My dad says that he has noticed that the only difference in my throwing is that instead of my arm facing 2nd base in the cocked position, my arm goes more towards 3rd than it used to.   By correcting this, my arm gets less sore.   Do you think that this is the cause of the pain, and do you think that the pain is muscle, or tendon?   Am I doing the right things to correct this?   Also, what do you recommend for sore muscles besides ice (ointments)?


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     You wrote, "three inches down from your shoulders to two inches above your elbow" on the outside of your pitching arm.   Three inches down from your shoulder on the lateral surface of your humerus is where the deltoid muscle attaches to the humerus.   Two inches above your elbow on the lateral surface would indicate the lateral head of the triceps brachii muscle.   I suspect that you have applied more stress to your lateral head of your triceps brachii muscle than it could handle without discomfort.

     The triceps brachii muscle is very powerful and very well vascularized.   This means that it is very difficult for pitchers to do anything to this muscle that will last very long.   I suspect that this discomfort will not last very long.   It is also a good sign that the discomfort goes away about an hour after throwing.

     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, you would know that I do not recommend that 'high cocked position.'   I recommend that pitchers have their forearm horizontal at leverage rather than vertical.   When pitchers have their forearm vertical at leverage, they will bounce their forearm downward and backward when they drive their upper arm forward.   This 'bounce' causes discomfort in the front of the shoulder at the subscapularis muscle attachment.   It does not effect the lateral triceps brachii.

     I recommend proper force application techniques for sore muscles.   Your incorrect force application technique is inappropriately stressing your arm.   All pitchers have some discomfort when they start training to pitch, but it should be short-term and minimal.   If you must use either ice or ointment, use ice.   Ointment only burns the skin.   Correctly applied, ice at least increases blood flow which aids healing of over-stressed tissues.

     At thirteen years old, I would not recommend more than two months per year of pitching practice.   You must take great care not to stress the growth plates of your pitching arm into premature closure or worse.

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252.   I am recovering from ulnar arthroplasty (removal of bone chips and bone spurs and resizing of my head of ulna).   The surgery took place June 7.   I am a 21-year old, D-1 college pitcher.

     My questions are pertaining to my recovery and training.   Should I be starting the iron ball and wrist weights now?   At what intensity?   I have been going by doctors orders until this point.   No throwing for two months, just slowly increasing flexibility through stretching, and then at the beginning of August, I slowly started throwing, gradually building arm strength.   I have been only throwing at 70% in the bullpen working on my shoddy force application techniques, and the doctor forbid me from throwing to hitters.   I feel I am ready to air it out.   The orthopoedic said by the middle of October, it should be fully healed.   Any other suggestions for rehabilitation and training?   Anything to avoid?

     By the way, the doctor said he could almost without a doubt prove that my damage was done in those delicate 11-14 years through blatant overuse and incorrect breaking pitches (the ortho said this was the primary reason).   The chips had been lodged in the soft tissue for some time.   Only with the repeated stress of being in the rotation for the majority of the season did they start floating around.   My extension has returned to a level of when I was a child, but my flexion is still nowhere near my left arm (I am a righty).   The extension of the two arms is nearly the same.   Incidentally, about four other orthopoedics said I would never regain gain any extension in my elbow.   Glad I found that fifth opinion.   The surgery was immensely successful, but I want to make sure that I go about this off-season the right way.

     Finally, I do coach 13-14 middle schoolers too, and am extremely thankful for the wealth of information that is available here to help them.   I am proud to say have done my best to protect the young arms in which I am entrusted so the same thing does not happen them.   We played 23 games last spring and the most innings any pitcher had was 20.   I got many complaints saying that I did give the kids the best chance to win, but their health and future is worth more than any victory.   I am glad to see that someone with your accomplishments holds children's future in such a high regard.


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     Continually slamming your olecranon process of the elbow into its olecranon fossa caused the bone chips and resultant bone spurs that necessitated your surgery.   We have to make certain that you never again permit the olecranon process to powerfully extend into the olecranon process.   In most cases, youngsters slam the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa when they try to throw curves.   Therefore, I will address the proper position of the olecranon process and olecranon fossa when we throw curves.

     The reason why curves cause so much trouble to the elbow relates to the fact that from the end of the pendulum swing to leverage, pitchers must rotate their forearms two hundred and seventy degrees without bringing their forearm closer than ninety degrees of their upper arm.   Unfortunately, the rotation of the forearm encourages pitchers to bend their elbow to less than ninety degrees.   This is the critical aspect of learning to properly throw curves.   Pitchers must learn to never bring their forearm within ninety degrees of their upper arm!!!

     I recently received an email from someone who said that he had a teaching aid that might help youngsters learn this critical curve ball skill.   He sent me samples of his device.   It is a band that youngsters wrap around their elbow with one strap above the elbow and one strap below the elbow.   Youngsters place the stays on either side of their olecranon process and close the two Velcro straps.   In this way, the teaching aid applies pressure whenever youngsters attempt to bend their elbow to less than ninety degrees.   I am using it with my trainees and it helps.   Even the professional guys with whom I work find it helpful to keep their forearm to upper arm relationship at ninety degrees.

     However, keeping the ninety degree forearm to upper arm relationship is not the only skill you must learn.   You must also learn to keep the olecranon process and olecranon fossa out of harm's way.   That is, you must learn to never completely extend the elbow joint on any pitch that you throw.   I teach that pitchers must keep the tip of their elbow pointing out towards the side, never, never, never downwards.   Pitchers must also never, never, never drop their elbows under or pull their elbow inward on any pitch, but especially with their curves and sliders.

     I teach my pitchers to maintain the forearm to upper arm angle at ninety degrees throughout their curves.   In this way, we make certain never to slam the olecranon process and olecranon fossa together.   But, we also make certain to maximize spin velocity.   The major problem pitchers have in learning to throw curves is in extending their elbow.   When they extend their elbow, they have to wrap their wrist in order to achieve the proper twelve-six, horizontal spin axis on their curves.   Extending their elbow while supinating their forearm causes the olecranon process and olecranon fossa to collide and chips to fly.

     For this reason, I do not teach youngsters to throw sliders until their have the strength from my wrist weight and iron ball training programs and have learned the proper technique to protect their elbow.   I have no problem with teaching ten year olds how to properly throw curves, but I will strongly advise them not to pitch competively until they are thirteen and then no more than one inning.   Also, I advise them to practice their pitching skills for only two months per year until the growth plates in their pitching elbow have matured.

     I am so glad that you understand how important it is not to damage growing pitching arms, but I am so sorry that you had to learn this lesson with so much pain.   However, thank you for using your lesson to help others avoid your pain.

     The website on which to learn about the device of which I spoke is http://www.throwmax.com.

     With regard to when you should start training after surgery to remove bone chips, bone spurs and resize the olecranon process, I would have started almost immediately.   I work with a professional pitcher who had the same surgery in mid-November 1999.   It took me two weeks to shame him into coming back to my training site to start training.   On the first day, I had him simply put the wrist weights back on his arms and move them gently through the pronated swings.   I had him gently practice the iron ball exercises for only the ninety degree elbow pitches, i.e., the curve and the screwball.   With the baseball throws, I had him gently throw only the curves and screwballs.   Within two weeks, he was back to his normal training program and by the time that the doctor said that he could start training, he had completed another training cycle and was throwing as hard as he could.

     To fully recover from surgery takes at least one year.   However, this does not mean that we should not start rehabilitation almost immediately.   In the long run, immediate rehabilitation will enhance the recovery process.   At this time, this same young man is starting my motor skill perfection training cycle where he throws one hundred and twenty pitches everyday for ninety days.   I permit only persons who demonstrate perfect technique with all the pitches that I teach to undergo this training cycle.   After throwing eighteen hundred of the same type of pitch within three months, pitchers create motor engrams in their motor cortex which enable them to automatically repeat these motor skills without conscious thought.   I compare it to when Magic Johnson dribbled down the court on a fast break, he could pay attention to everything else because he dribbled on automatic.

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253.   I'm 13, I really want to add another pitch to my mix.   I throw a fastball and a change. What are some other pitches I can throw?   How to I get my fastball to tail?   How are different ways to hold a change?   If you have pictures of the hand and the fingers on where the ball should be will you please send and label them?   I'd really appreciate it.

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     I would strongly recommend that you learn to throw the screwball or, at least, the sinker aspect of the screwball.   The two seam maxline fastball tails.   I do not teach changeups.   Any pitch where the horizontal velocity is less than the velocity of the pitching arm is a changeup.   I prefer to teach pitches that move as changeups; such as curves, sliders, screwballs and sinkers.   I do not recommend that youngsters or even adults without my wrist weight and iron ball training program until the third training cycle work on sliders.

     I apologize that I do not have illustrations in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   However, I have tried very hard to verbally describe the grips and releases of the pitches I teach.   Happy reading.

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254.   I coach at the 16-18 yr old level and just as I instructed younger players not to try and master the curve ball.   I have also tried to explain to the older kids to try and master some type of a change up instead and concentrate on perfecting their fast ball; i.e. for velocity and location.   I have not been very popular with some of the coaches who have taught these kids to throw curve balls.   Their argument is based on the fact that a properly thrown curve ball is not stressful on the arm as the motion used in throwing a curve is the most natural motion of the arm and wrist in delivering the pitch.   I agree with them on this point but only for an adult.

     Some years ago, I read an article about this very subject, I believe it was written by a medical person or a kinesioligist.   What this person tried to explain in the article was that until a youth stops growing and I take that to mean 18 to 21 years of age, their bones and tissue are constantly growing.   This person went on to say that a youth attempting to master a curve ball will interfere with the growth of the bones in his or her wrist and forearm, something about bones not growing egually.   And of course this would eventually lead to serious arm problems.   Could you please shed some light on the subject for me?   Am I wrong in advising these kids to work on just two pitches, a change up and fast ball?


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     I have no problem with pitchers of all ages learning the proper force application techniques for all pitches.   I strongly oppose youngsters under twelve years old pitching competitively using any pitch.   Fastballs can damage growth plates as easily as curves.   I further recommend that thirteen year olds up until their medial epicondyle growth plates mature pitch no more than one inning per game.   The medial epicondyle growth plate matures between fifteen years old to seventeen years old depending on the skeletal maturation pattern of each youngster.

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255.   What is your book's name?

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     I may have mistakenly assumed that you were on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.   On my website, I offer two free books, Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers.   I was referring to Chapters 20 and 21 of the Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Again, happy reading.

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256.   I am writing an article about the screwball for Health24News.com.   If you could take the time to answer a couple of questions it would be greatly appreciated.

1.   Why is the screwball such an effective pitch?
2.   Does the unnatural motion of the pitch cause injuries to the pitchers who throw it, and if so what types?
3.   How rare is the pitch?
4.   Do any moments from your career involving the screwball stand out in your mind?


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1.   The true screwball has a horizontal spin axis just like the true curve.   There are two reasons why the true screwball has greater effectiveness than the true curve.   One, because so few pitchers know how and can throw the true screwballs, batters cannot recognize the pitch in time to respond successfully to it.   Two, because the true screwball moves downward and to the pitching arm side of home plate, it enables pitchers to succeed against the opposite-sided batter.   The success of all pitchers lies in their ability to get the opposite-sided batter.

     Like the true curve has the lesser quality precursor, the slider, the true screwball has a lesser quality precursor, the sinker.   Like the slider, the sinker has a downward spiral spin axis, but moves toward the pitching arm side of home plate rather than the glove side of home plate.   Like the slider, the sinker is an excellent pitch in fastball counts that enable pitchers to get strikes without the potential of well-timed, hard-hit pitches.   While not a good two-strike pitch, the sinker, like the slider gets pitchers to two strikes without exposing their quality two-strike pitches, the curve and the screwball.

2.   The proper motion for the screwball is not unnatural, it is the most natural arm action of all possible types of pitches and requires the least forearm rotation to achieve leverage from which pitchers straight-line drive their pitches through release.   The problem with pitchers learning the screwball relates to properly training the muscles about the elbow and in the forearm, wrist, hand and finger to apply force with a maximally pronated forearm.   However, pitchers learn to apply force with their forearms maximally supinated, so it is simply a matter of a properly designed and applied training program.   I provide my program free of charge on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.

     I have never had any of my pitchers ever have a pitching arm injury from throwing screwballs.   But then, I have never had any of my pitchers ever suffer a pitching arm injury of any type from any pitch that I teach how to throw.

3.   Every pitcher I train learns how to properly throw true screwballs.   Over the past three years, about a dozen pitchers have joined me in the true-screwball-spin-axis club.   For many years, it was an exclusive club of one.

4.   I loved every moment I stood on a mound and challenge a batter from my first pitch in youth league baseball in 1954 through 1998 when I pitched my last competitive game.   Now, I spend my days teaching others the joy of pain-free, highest quality pitching.

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257.   I'm sure you have seen the fastball in the mid 80's that begins to float straight in belt high around the 3rd or 4th inning and begs to be crushed.   Hitters will usually accomodate the fastball of this young man with whom I work in this regard when he's having trouble controlling the curve and has to throw a lot of fastballs, which is when his arm will tire and....well....you know the story.   When his curve is working, different story.   I think it would be better for him, however, not to rely so much on the curve.

     He has not ever worked on strengthening his shoulder for the rigors of pitching.   He does a lot of long toss on off days - one reason, beside the genetics, why his arm remains strong.   I have not yet encouraged him not to do the long toss.   I worry, however, that his shoulder will eventually give out unless he changes his mechanics.   Plus, I believe the improper force application is detracting from his command.   The low outside corner is a concept he understands but cannot find yet at will.   (All of the kids with whom I work throw the ball to the catcher and hope it lands somewhere in the strike zone.)

     I began working with this young man and others a few weeks ago.   He has seen a videotape I made of him throwing and read my commentary about some of his major flaws.   It hit home.   (It's always an eye-opener when kids see themselves for the first time.   My son, a hitter, not a pitcher, said to me the first time " I look like THAT??!!"   Yup.   We fixed a flaw I had been trying to TELL him about all season in one session.)   My plan is to start these kids now on your conditioning program.   I will also begin to explain to them some of the basic concepts of proper force application and see if they can adapt.   I believe this young man, because he has a strong arm and because he has a pitcher's mentality, can improve a lot.

     Thank you for your continuing interest in my project.


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     I agree that videotape is a good teaching tool.   However, unless young men understand and agree with the basic concepts, they cannot make the required adjustments.   I hope that in addition to explaining my concepts that you show them how to get to my website.   It is great that you will take the time to help them, but it is better when they take the time to help themselves.

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258.   I emailed about 2 weeks ago and told you that I may have torn my rotator cuff.   Well, I got my MRI results back and it showed that I had a deep contusion.   Then, my second day back in football practice the first hit I took my shoulder popped back out.   The athletic trainer popped it back in and I went to the doctor the other day and he told me not to play anymore this year and is sending me to a specialist.   I am going there Tuesday.   Should I lift weight to get it stronger for baseball because I am a pitcher and I don't want it to pop back out when I am pitching?

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     The glenoid fossa of the shoulder is a very shallow fossa such that the proper pressure applied to the head of the humerus, such as when tackling in football, suddenly applied will dislocate the head of the humerus posteriorly.   I recommend that pitchers not play defense where they have to tackle.   In my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I describe the weight training program that I recommend for pitchers.   Please read Chapters 24 and 25.   I designed this program to specifically train the pitching arm.   You can do whatever shoulder exercises and weight lifting that you want, but only my program will specifically train your pitching arm.

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259.   My son plays college baseball and is a catcher.   Two weeks ago he had a complete tear of the anterior bundle of the medial collateral ligament at its mid substance.   The addition finding is abnormal signal at the medial epicondyle about the periphery and within substance of the common flexor tendon indicating a partial tear without avulsion.

     The lateral collateral ligament is intact.   Current thinking is to rest the elbow for 6-8 weeks than test it out slowly over the Holidays.   If there is no serious pain, continue rehab and see if he can play his last year.   Is this sound thinking or should we just bite the bullet and have the surgery?


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     I am sorry to hear of your son's injury.   Unfortunately, catchers are taught a throwing motion that encourages unnecessary stress to the medial collateral ligament.   If the medial collateral ligament were completely torn, then the only solution would be to have Tommy John surgery.   I have heard of partially torn medial collateral ligaments regaining strength with carefully controlled rehabilitation, so if only the anterior bundle is torn, it might recover.   Whether your son has the surgery or not, he will have to adjust his force application technique to eliminate unnecessary stress to the medial collateral ligament.

     If your son waits the six to eight weeks and learns that his medial collateral ligament will not stand the test, then he could have the surgery.   If he has the surgery now, he will miss this coming season anyway.   I suppose that I am recommending that you follow the doctors advice.   He will have time to rehabilitate and learn how to properly apply force to his throws well before next fall's practice.   Good luck.

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260.   Thank you very much for the reply.   No matter what happens in the next few weeks, could you recommend a baseball trainer that our university trainer could talk to about a new throwing technique to take come of the pressure off of the elbow.   I know we will have to face the music of new mechanics with or without surgery.

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     The best that I can do with regard to adjusting your son's throwing motion is to recommend that he reads my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I realize that catchers have a different purpose with their throws and, as a consequence, they have to adjust their throwing motion to meet their needs.   Nevertheless, he should start by learning how to throw with the full transition of pitchers and then learn how to abbreviate the transition for the fast release required of catchers.   I have trained several catchers with very successful results.   I believe that if he learns how to start with a horizontal forearm at leverage, he can learn this on his own.

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261.   I catch for a college in Illinois. One of my pitchers is working with you and I was wondering if you know my coach. I was also wondering if we teach the same things here that you teach down there.

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     As with a lot of names I hear at my age, your coach sounds familiar.   However, without further information, I cannot place it.   I doubt very much that he teaches the same force application techniques for pitchers that I do.   I have developed my theories over the past thirty-five years of professional pitching, college coaching and personal training.   My theories are unique to me.   That is a way of saying that my ideas are outside of the mainstream of all other pitching coaches of whom I am aware.   However, if you have visited my website at www.drmikemarshall.com, then you know that my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books are free to anyone to download.

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262.   I happened to see that you had answered questions about this injury, so I am hoping you can answer some of mine.   I am almost 24 years old and I got injured on May 17, 2000 at work.   I was pushed into a metal/steel sharp object.   I eventually had surgery on 8/22/00.   The reason it was so long was because my job sent me to "THEIR" doctor who was downplaying my injury.

     The ironic thing is that I do not play baseball and I have never routinely thrown anything (besides a pass at a woman) so this injury is sort of strange.   I also have nerve damage which is bringing me complications such as continuous swelling of my right hand (my dominant hand), excessive headaches, popping in my elbow, throbbing pain up and down from my hand to my bicep and severe weakness in my hand.

     These are my symptoms.   Do you have any advice or comments?   I did play football in college as a cornerback.   But, I never had any elbow injuries or arm pain and I never threw (like a quarterback), so I am some what confused.


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     Ulnar collateral ligament tear with nerve damage means that the ligament on the inside of your elbow that attaches the ulna bone with the medial epicondyle of the humerus received damage and your ulnar nerve which lies in a groove immediately behind the medial epicondyle also received damage.   Damage to the ulnar nerve brings tingling and/or nimbness to the little finger and the little finger side of the ring finger.   Ulnar nerve damage will cause throbbing pain from your little finger up to the elbow's ulnar nerve groove.   Damage to any nerve over-stimulates the brain and results in headaches.   The weakness in your hand probably relates to the ulnar nerve damage.

     While you did not say what they did to repair the damage to your medial collateral ligament, I speculate that they used the tendon from the palmaris longus of your non-injured hand to replace your damaged ligament.   This should correct that problem and you should have minimal residual discomfort.   This is not true for nerve damage.   I suspect that the ulnar nerve damage is responsible for the ongoing symptoms.   Nerves are very slow healing structures.   About all you can do is take pain relievers that diminish your discomfort.

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263.   I have a 12 year old boy who is a left-handed pitcher.   Coaches from everywhere tell me he has so much potential.   I need to find somebody in my area who gives pitching lessons.   I live in Indiana.   Do you know of someone near my area?

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     I do not have a network of coaches around the country whom I can recommend.   The best I can do for you is to offer my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book.

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264.   I remember you saying something about muscle contractility and that it would be good if we could improve on how fast our muscles contract.   Now I also remember something about if we found an object that was lighter than a baseball we could improve the muscle contractility.   Would it be good to try and find something lighter than a baseball to throw (a limited amount, maybe the same amount as the six lbs. shot that I throw)?   Do you have and objects in mind that would be lighter, that I could throw.   My only thought would be a wiffle ball.

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     Because the baseball weighs only five and one-quarter ounces, underloading does not work.   Underloading is where athletes practice the precise skill against a resistence less than competitive levels.   The theory is that because they can accelerate the underloaded object faster than the competitive object, they will create a new motor engram (motor cortex computer program) with decreased contraction/relaxation cycles which will result in faster limb velocity.

     Underloading does work with baseball batting, because baseball bats weigh thirty-two ounces.   At this time in your program, the way that you should work to increase your arm velocity is to pitch in competitive circumstances where you try to throw as hard as you can.   There are other techniques that you should use after you spend a season throwing as hard as you can.

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265.   The surgeon did not take the tendon out of my other hand and use it to repair my medial collateral ligament.   He told me that he tied it back up.   He told me that he decided not to use a tendon from somewhere else because I was young and it would heal on its own (on my rehab sheet, I've seen the writing--ulnar collateral ligament tear with decompressed ulnar nerve, so if that tells you something).

     At my rehab facility, there is a baseball player with the same injury, but they did use a tendon from somewhere else to fix his problem.   My rehab guy told me that they used that on him because he will be going back to baseball and that he is a regular athlete who is in a repetetive throwing sport.

     The problem is that I am VERY active and I would like to engage in numerous sports such as tennis, golf, boxing, kickboxing, basketball and maybe even football again.   With the nerve damage, is there a possibility of me sustaining permanent strength or flexibility problems in my hand, arm, or elbow (what about arthritis)?   Will I be able to achieve maximum strength and flexibility like I used to have?   What kind of time period would you guess at for me to be 100% again?


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     The fact that the doctor did not use the tendon of your palmaris longus to repair the tear to you medial collateral ligament indicates that it was probably not completely torn.   If it were completely torn, I do not believe that he could have tied it back together.   If it were completely torn, I would have recommended the use of the other tendon.   While the use of the other tendon also involves recovery time, it is not as long or as uncomfortable as waiting for the ligament to heal itself.   With reduced blood flow when compared to muscle tissue, ligaments take considerably longer to heal.   Nerves take even longer than ligaments.

     With regard to the regain of function from injured nerves, it depends on whether the nerve tissue is within myelin sheathing and whether the nerve beyond the injury has died as a result of the injury.   The ulnar nerve is a myelin sheath nerve.   This means that it can regenerate within the sheath.   However, nerve regeneration is approximately one millimeter per month.   Also, regenerating nerves regain about sixty percent of full use.   As you can see, without full knowledge of the extent of your injury, I cannot predict your recovery period with any certainty.   However, you will recover.   To help the healing, you will have to encourage blood flow to the injured area.   I recommend twenty minutes of ice bucket submersion at least twice a day.

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266.   I am a fan.   I am building a baseball camp. The camp will feature instruction, plus a tournament for young people 12 and under.   One of the camps features will be instruction by former Major League baseball Players on various topics.   I can't think of a more important topic than player safety.   I would like to speak to you about the possibility of your being a guest speaker.

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     In my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, which is on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com, I strongly advise parents not to permit their young pitchers to pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   I could not attend a function that encourages the opposite.   Nevertheless, thank you for the kind words and invitation.

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267.   Nice info on this site, I like the stuff on adolescent pitching, I am an athletic therapist and conditioning coach.

     Currently, I am working with a 15 year old pitcher who, to date, has been playing very well.   He is in off-season and I am putting him through a conditioning program.   He has an injury which needs to be addressed.   It is on this topic that I desire your input.

     He gets tingling in the fingers during the beginning/wind-up/cocking phase of his throw.   He also gets some tingles at the final release portion when he finishes with a wrist flexion.

     His physiotherapist and I believe it is a combo of technique (he is seeing a pitching coach), scalene, SCMastoid muscular tightness, and some poor shoulder stability and strength (rotator cuff, serratus).   Now these sources seem very probable, however the challenge is how to administer a training regime that will address these issues and resolve them during the off-season.   At this point ideas revolve around flexibility emphasis, some stability exercises and some type off eccentric exercises.

     I would like to know what is your opinion on particular exercises that should be implemented.   Any comments and input would be greatly appreciated, and as I read through your book chapters I will be certain to send any opinions I generate.


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     I need to know precisely where, on which fingers and the extent of the tingling that this young man experiences.   He could be aggravating either the ulnar or median nerve.   While possible, I doubt that the problem originates where the nerves exit the spinal column.   The fact that he experiences tingling at the end of the throwing motion when he flexes his wrist indicates the medial nerve and effects the index, middle and inside half of the ring finger on their anterior surfaces.

     Both the ulnar and median nerve are myelinated nerves which while possible to irritate are very resilient.   The ulnar nerve wraps around the posterior aspect of the medial epicondyle of the humerus and when pitchers move their forearm closer than ninety degrees to their upper arm at leverage, can result in irritation to the ulnar nerve as well as serious force application flaws.

     With regard to the sternocleidomastoid tightness, the levator scapulae elevates the scapula during the throwing motion when pitchers bend at the waist.   I recommend that pitchers do not bend at the waist.   I recommend that pitchers rotate their shoulders with a vertical rotational axis.   In addition to decreasing the length of their drivelines, bending at the waist generates less force than trunk and shoulder rotation.

     With regard to shoulder stability, the glenoid fossa is very shallow which permits considerable movement.   I prefer to look at this as a positive.   With increased range of motion comes decreased injury possibility.   This is one of the reasons why I submit that overhand throwing is a natural motion for our upper extremity.   Problems arise only from improper force application techniques.   Never has any of the dozens of pitchers I have trained ever had a pitching arm injury with my force application techniques.

     This leads me to my recommendation for the conditioning program.   This fifteen year old can read and should read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   Once he understands the principles underlying the force application techniques I recommend, then he will adjust his motion to remove the unnecessary stress he causes and his arm will cease to tingle.

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268.   What is bad about under 13 playing competitive ball (pitchers I mean)?   What is the difference between throwing on the sidelines or in a sandlot pickup game and throwing in a competitive game?

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     The intensity and duration of throwing makes the difference.   The growth plate of the medial epicondyle cannot withstand too much force application intensity for extended time periods.   I have not crystal ball to predict precisely what is too much for each young pitcher, but, if I am wrong, I prefer to err on the side of caution.   I recommend that until their medial epicondyle growth plate fully matures, on average at about fifteen years old, young pitchers should not train for two months per year and should not pitch competitively until they are thirteen and then, for only one inning per game.

     I hope that my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book provides you with more information on this subject and my recommendation for how sponsors of youth baseball can provide the learning opportunity without the lifetime damage to pitching arms.

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269.   I would be very grateful if you could solve a problem regarding the striking of a ball.   I am conducting some research into different levers used in sport.   Can you please tell me the levers used in hitting the ball?

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     In 1966, I took my first high speed film and it was of baseball batting.   I was a minor league shortstop and I wanted to learn how to increase the velocity of the center of mass of the baseball bat.   I answered this question over thirty years ago.

     All human activities require that performers understand the lever systems available to them.   In baseball pitching, I even label the position from which pitchers initiate their driveline toward home plate, leverage.   At leverage, pitchers have their upper arms at shoulder height and their forearm horizontal with a ninety degree angle between them.   I recommend that they keep their shoulders level and their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line.   From this position, pitchers have the musculoskelal system properly positioned to apply maximum force.   As the pitching arm approaches release, pitchers wait until their upper arm reaches its most forward moment as they move their body ahead of their front foot and at the instant that their elbow achieves its forward-most position, they force-couple their forearm acceleration through release with their front foot push back.   These parallel and oppositely directed forces summate to increase their release velocity.

     I understand that you are interested in baseball batting, but baseball pitching uses the identical process.   In baseball batting, the leverage position is also the position from which the center of mass of the baseball bat is in line with its moment of impact from which batters initiate their driveline toward contact.   Like baseball pitching, batter must position the musculoskeltal system of their rear arm to apply maximum force.   Their rear arm initiates the forward force that accelerates the center of mass of the baseball bat from its zero velocity at leverage to the maximum force capable from the rear arm extension.   However, like with baseball pitchers, baseball batters must never permit their drive elbow to completely extend, but rather, they must pronate their forearm through contact with a slightly bent elbow that protects the olecranon process from slamming into its olecranon fossa.   Also, like with baseball pitchers, baseball batters wait the center of mass of the baseball bat approaches contact to apply the force-coupling parallel and oppositely directed force.   The front arm of baseball batters apply this parallel and oppositely directed force. Just before baseball batters fully extend their rear elbow joint, they powerfully stop the forward movement of the handle end of the baseball bat with their front arm.   This sudden deceleration to a stop and, possibly, even reverse movement of the handle end of the bat creates a fulcrum between the hands of the front hand and the rear hand grip on the baseball bat which results in a summation of forces to maximally accelerate the center of the mass of the baseball bat through the moment of contact.   When baseball batters achieve their maximum bathead velocity with the center of the bat contacting the center of the baseball, they achieve baseball batting perfection.

     While, during my four years of playing minor league shortstop, I greatly enjoyed striving for this perfection,   I have directed my energies thereafter to preventing that perfection.   Nevertheless, I vividly recall those too few moments when I achieved baseball batting perfection and watched the baseballs that I hit soar until gravity brought them back to earth.

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270.   I have a 16 year old son who is a member of our provincial team here in Canada.   He is starting his junior year in high school now, is 6'3", 188 pounds and a righthander.   In April, he was late getting to a game and was told to warm up quickly as the team needed him on the mound.   He had a poor warmup and stated after his arm didn't feel right.   He seemed to recover and pitched well enough to be picked as one of the top pitchers in the province and selected to the team.

     He complained after each outing, however, of stiffness in his elbow.   In June at a tournament in the U.S., he seemed to completely lose his velocity.   This was the first time it actually hurt when he threw, not after he threw.   He said he had pain shooting up his arm into his shoulder and tingling.

     He was seen by a sports specialist who took X-rays, they showed no structural damage.   He was also sent for a bone scan, it too was negative, although the technician did say he still had large growth plates.

     It seemed to improve with rest, no throwing.   Then he started to rehabilitate in the pool to get ready to throw and it got worse (he overdid it).   He has gone back to the specialist for the team, been sent for cat scan but no results yet.

     It has now been 4 months since he threw, still has pain when lifting, etc.   I see him rubbing it occasionally.   The general consensus seems to be tricep tendonitis, for now, and it isn't improving.   He does all other kinds of workouts and so on for the rest of his body and has been to a personal trainer that a scout from San Diego recommended.   He has arm exercises that don't cause pain, but he is getting pretty frustrated.   Any ideas what the problem is?   His last specialist heard a clicking when he held his arm out, forearm to the ground and straightened it.   He has that click in the other arm too sometimes but not like this.

     Hope you can help.   He is hoping to go to your academy sometime, really is a hard worker.


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     What did the technician mean when he said that your son had large growth plates?   Unless your son is a very delayed skeletal maturer, your son should not have any open growth plates at sixteen years old.

     I do not worry about clicking sounds.   While there are several causes for clicking, unless the X-rays show bone chips, they are probably meaningless.

     "The general consensus seems to be tricep trndonitus."   When pitchers fail to allow full vascularization (blood flow), they will experience tightness which leads to injury.   I suspect the fascia of the triceps brachii attachment.   It is possible to have small fascial tissue and such injuries do not heal without proper rehabilitation and, even then, it will require several months to heal.

     "He said that he had pain shoot upward into his shoulder and he felt tingling."   I need to know precisely from where he had pain shoot upward and where in his shoulder the pain went.   The tingling probably occurred in his hand and fingers.   Again, I need to know precisely where and what fingers.

     "He started to rehabilitate in the pool and it got worse."   What got worse?   Precisely where did he experience discomfort?   What did he do in the pool that would make his pitching arm feel worse?   I regularly recommend that pitchers swim to relieve anti-gravitation muscle overuse.   I do not understand how swimming would make anything worse.   I recommend the abbreviated breast stroke with frog kick and the crawl stroke at comfortable intensities.

     "I see him rubbing it occasionally."   Precisely where does he rub?   You said that he might have triceps tendonitis?   The triceps brachii attaches to the olecranon process on the posterior surface of the elbow.   It is a powerful muscles with good capilarization, so it should respond well.   The ulnar nerve runs through the ulnar groove in the posterior aspect of the medial epicondyle.   That could explain tingling.

     I suspect that he has small tears in the elbow fascial tissue on the proximal, posterior aspect of the forearm.   These tears emit considerable discomfort.   However, with continued proper training, they heal, but not quickly.

     I have some concerns about the large growth plate comment.   If your son were thirteen or fourteen, I would suspect the olecranon growth plate and recommend stopping all stress until X-rays show that that growth plate has completely matured.

     If you and your son are interested in receiving my pitching guidance, please read the instruction page on my website for when I will next offer sessions.

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271.   Thanks for getting back to us so quickly.   I sat down with the young man and his mother this morning to try to address some of your questions.   In the bone scan, his mother asked the technician what those black spots were on the scan.   They were on his wrists and elbows.   She said those would be growth plates and that he was still growing.   He went from 5'9" 18 months ago to 6'3" now, but hasn't increased height since July.   He is however putting on a lot of muscle and seems to look more like a man now than he did in photos in the spring.

     I asked him about the stiffness in his elbow.   The stiffness and pain all seem to be in back of the elbow, just above that pointed area where the forearm bone comes out.   It is a soft area, on mine and his it feels like a hole there when you straighten out your arm and let it relax.   I checked about the pain in his shoulder and tingling.   The pain actually went to the back of arm, up to the shoulder and seems to have been in the biceps, triceps area.   He couldn't remember exactly where the tingling went, into his hand was his comment.   It has been a while and he was pretty upset about getting taken out of the game at the time.

     His pool work started the first couple of days that he went pain free.   He tends to overdo and went to the pool and did the front crawl, 55 lengths of our pool which is about 1/2 the length of a competitive pool.   When he came home he iced the arm and it started hurting the next day.   As far as rubbing it, he constantly rubs the back of the arm, just above the elbow (see above) and digs his fingers into that area as if looking for a chip.   He says he has a little bump in there that he can feel, and a similar but smaller one in his other arm, same spot.   It hurts when he presses hard on the bump in his pitching arm, not on the other one.

     He is pretty upset in that he was rated as having a chance to play on the youth select team, for older players and had been told he could have had a shot at the National team in the future, but he basically lost last year and the exposure to the scouts and universities at Nationals.   He is determined to work out all winter and improve, but has not been able to do anything other than core work, and legs.   He is now thinking he has babied the arm too much and would like to start working it hard, but I am not so sure.   His arm is certainly weaker now than it was, which of course upsets him.

     Hope this info is what you are looking for.   We really appreciate your help.


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     I remain puzzled about the growth plates.   The fact that he has grown extensively during the past few months indicates that his growth plates are open, thus permitting long bone growth.   This leaves me wondering about the status of his developing olecranon process.   The olecranon process is that pointed area where the forearm bone comes out.

     It is normal to be upset that everything does not go perfectly in our lives.

However, being upset does not correct the situation.   Rather than rush into something that may or may not help, I recommend that the young man read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   He needs to learn how to correctly apply force to his pitches and why.   Chapter 24 contains my training program.

     I do not believe that he has anything seriously wrong with him, but the description of his symptoms does not lead to a precise diagnosis.   If it is developmental, then he will grow out of it.   Rest leads to atrophy rather than the cure he needs.   Therefore, he is correct to want to strengthen his arm.   However, I recommend that he learns how to correct apply force and train accordingly.

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272.   I heard of your forty week program through webball.   They told me to write you to access this program.   I am a former pro player and now college coach.   I would like to use your program for myself and then maybe be able to pass it on to others who have had problems with their arms.   I would greatly appreciate it if you sould send it to me.   If not, thanks anyway.   I will then probably have a few more questions.   Hope to hear from you.

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     You can find my Coaching Adult Pitchers book at my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.   Chapter 25 contains my forty week program.   If you look under instruction, you will find when I personally instruct young men in how to complete my forty week training program.

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273.   I am a 16 year old pitcher.   People say that I short arm the ball.   I was wondering if short arming the ball makes you throw any slower, or not as good, compared to fully extended.

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     I am not certain what "people" mean when they tell you that you 'short arm' the baseball.   It could mean that you do not use a full transition phase when you take your arm back to prepare to throw it forward, i. e., like catchers do to decrease the time it takes them to release their throws to second base.   It could also mean that you start your forearm acceleration phase too soon such that your driveline is very short.

     I recommend that pitchers use a controlled transition that starts with a pendulum swing action of the nearly, but not completely, extended pitching arm to a forty-five degree downward forearm angle that I call the 'head pat position'.   From this position, I recommend that pitchers permit the baseball to continue along an elliptical path backward and upward while they first rotate and raise their humerus (upper arm bone) to shoulder level.   It is important to decrease the elbow angle to ninety degrees and lay the forearm backward to horizontal.

     I call the position where the upper arm is level with the shoulders, where the elbow angle is ninety degrees, where the forearm lays backward parallel to the ground and where pitchers start moving the baseball toward home plate, LEVERAGE.   It is from leverage that pitchers start their long, straight-line drive through release toward home plate.

     To increase the length of their driveline, pitchers should step forward and push off the pitching rubber to move their body ahead of their front foot.   It is very important to make certain that you keep your elbow ahead of your acromial line!!!   Then, when the body is ahead of their front foot, pitchers should simultaneously push back with their front foot and start their forearm acceleration through release.

     I explain all this in greater detail in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book that you can read and/or download for free at www.drmikemarshall.com.

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274.   I read an article in Coaching Management where Dr. Bagonzi discussed how to throw curves.   He also explained how to throw screwballs and cited you.   Do you endorse his comments?

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     A friend sent me a copy of an article written by Dr. John A. Bagonzi in Coaching Management.   Dr. Bagonzi credited me with having the most startling type of screwball.   While I appreciate that he recognizes that pitchers throw varying qualities of screwballs and that the one that I threw and teach is superior, I would prefer that he did not use my name.   My friend asked me whether I agreed with what Dr. Bagnozi wrote about the techniques for throwing curves and screwballs.   This is the problem.   I do not.   I strongly disagree with most of what Dr. Bagnozi writes and believe that what he teaches with seriously injure even the skeletally mature pitching arm.   I certainly do not want anybody to think that I teach his techniques.

     I have a website at www.drmikemarshall.com at which I offer my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books free for anybody to read and/or download.   As a way of disassociating my name from this article, I respectfully request that you include my concerns in your next release and direct readers to my website.

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275.   I am very interested in your Chapter 2.   I would like to do some research which need to assess bone age.   But now the problem is that I need atlas plate for Australian children.   Where can I get it?

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     The only atlas of hand and wrist skeletal development of which I am aware is the Greulich and Pyle atlas.   You may have to make the assumption that Australian children follow the same developmental pattern.   Even if children of different cultures and genetic heritage mature at different rates and ages, I suspect that they follow the same developmental sequences.   What we are actually examining is how much skeletal maturation remains.   All children eventually skeletally mature.

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276.   MY SON WOULD LOVE TO PITCH.   WE LIVE ON ST.MAARTEN.   HIS CHRISTMAS VACATION STARTS DEC 16- JAN 4.   HE IS 16 YEARS OLD.   IS THERE ANY POSSIBILITY I CAN ARRANGE WITH YOU AT THIS TIME TO COACH HIM?   HE COULD FLY UP TO FLORIDA.

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     I offer only ten week training sessions for high school juniors and seniors only from the first Saturday in June until the second Saturday in August.   If you are interested, please read my Instruction page on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com and contact me for further details.

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277.   Thanks so much for your prompt reply.   I checked out two books on the atlas of hand and wrist skeletal development which were published in 1950 and 1971 by Greulich and Pyle.   In 1983, Tanner and Whitehouse published another atlas of hand and wrist (TW2-method).   The problem is that I could not get clear pictures.   Is there any separated atlas for skeletal age assessment sold?   Or do you know where I could get them?

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     When I assess the skeletal age of youngsters, I use the 1950 Greulich and Pyle atlas.   My plates are sufficiently clear for me to read.

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278.   In your free book Chapter 2 the fifth line, you mentioned eight carpals.   But, in the skeletal age evaluation sheet, there are only 7 carpals (this number should be correct), is that right?   In middle phalange part, there is no middle phalange III as there is no middle phalange in thumb.   My question is normally what the order of these metacarpal and phalange bones is?   For example, the second metacarpal bone is counted from radius or ulna side?

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     If I have only seven carpals on the evaluation sheet, I have made a mistake.   Sorry.   I will look into it.   The thumb is digit I.   Therefore, there should be not middle phalange I.   The middle finger is digit III.   There is definitely a middle phalange III.   Again, I will look into it.   I am my own typist and I do not type that well.   I am also my own editor and I am a worse editor for errors than I am a typist.   With regard to metacarpals, the thumb side is metacarpal I.

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279.   Just thought I would get back to you now that our specialist called.   She advised that his CAT scan showed a perfectly normal elbow, no loose bodies etc.   He still has pain when he flexes the arm and if he holds it out in front of him, bent at the elbow and moves his arm to the right (righthander) against resistance.

     He shoveled snow today (got 3 feet overnight) and came in shaking it, but 5 minutes later said it didn't hurt now.   Our doctor in the city thinks he has myo-fascial tightness (my spelling hope its close)and needs to stretch it out.   I am putting him on your exercises in chapter 24 and he starts physio tomorrow to try to stretch it as well.   Does this sound reasonable to you?

     Is there something else he should do?   His pitching coach from the provincial team said to stick his hand in a bucket of grain and move it around?   Let me know what you think if you have time.   We are working our way through your book, very interesting.


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     The CAT scan report satisfies any concerns about bone chips and spurs.   I did not have much concern previously, but now, I feel he will be fine.   I agree with the doctor that he has tears in his the posterior elbow fascia.   While this type is injury is painful, it is not significant and will eventually dissipate.   The exercises I recommend have successfully rehabilitated this discomfort in many others.   He does not require much resistance, but he does need daily training.

     All training is specific.   If he sticks his hand in a bucket of grain and trys to force his hand to the bottom of the bucket, he will become good at getting his hand to the bottom of a bucket of grain.   Actually, I do not care if he does this exercise as it will force the elbow attachments of the wrist and hand muscles to increase their blood flow.

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280.   THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND REPLY.   I SUPPOSE I WAS HOPING YOU COULD WORK WITH HIM DURING THE DEC PERIOD.   AFTER WHICH YOU COULD ADVISE ME WHETHER YOU FELT HE HAD ENOUGH POTENTIAL TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE 10 WEEK PROGRAM.   IT WOULD MEAN TAKING HIM OUT OF SCHOOL A LITTLE EARLY.   UNLESS HE COULD JOIN YOUR CAMP A LITTLE LATE.   I THINK HE GETS OUT OF SCHOOL THE END OF THE SECOND WEEK OF JUNE.

     PERHAPS YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE ELSE YOU COULD RECOMMEND FOR THE DEC. PERIOD.


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     I understand the need to know whether a young man has sufficient potential to warrant a ten week training program.   I believe that a ten week training program is the appropriate length of time for the young man to determine whether he has the commitment to do the work to find out whether he has the potential.   Two weeks is far too short and even with all my experience, I could not make such a prediction.

     My ten week progran starts the first Saturday in June and goes for ten weeks until the second Saturday in August.   If I started it later, it would run into the start of my forty week program.   I have to start everybody on the same date and we all follow the same schedule.   It would not be possible for me to work with the group totally individually where everybody was doing something different every day.   I would go crazy.

     I do not know of anybody to recommend.   Perhaps if you and he would want to come to Zephyrhills, FL during his Christmas holiday and see the setup to determine whether you want him to come here and he to determine whether he believes in what we do and he wants to be a part of it.   I have no problem with anybody coming at any time for as many days as they need and asking any question that they want.   However, I want to be clear that I would not work with him, he would be watching me work with those presently here.

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281.   My daughter is a softball player for a local college team.   She is a catcher and has problems with her elbow for the last several years.   No one seemed to know what the problem was so we never knew how to correct it.   Usually at the beginning of the season is when she would have the most problems and it would get better from there.   She would have pain in the inside of her elbow and lose the feeling in her fingers.   The veins also seemed to pop out on her forarm and hand.   A couple of days with ice and rest and she was ready to play again.

     This time after two weeks of practice with her college team it is much worse than normal.   She said she heard a pop when she threw and hasnt been able to throw since.   The school doctor said it he thought it was Tommy Johns elbow and that it could be career ending.   She done rehab for a month with no results.   The doctor said surgey was the only way to repair it the elbow but it was not a guaranteed to work.   He had an MRI done, but said that it did not show up what it should have if it was Tommy John's.   It seems we are at a stand still with this.   The injury occurred in September and she is anxious to have something done so as not to miss next years season also.   Would a MRI always show the signs needed to determine if it is truly Tommy John's?   Where should we go from here?

P.S.   In case it is of any consequence, her elbows are different than normal.   When she holds her arms straight out, palms up. her elbows curve inward.   Can that be causing a problem?


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     Pain on the inside of her elbow includes the five wrist and finger muscles and the medial collateral ligament.   Tommy John surgery replaces the medial collateral ligament with the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle of the non-throwing arm.   Numbness in her fingers indicates irritation to either the median or ulnar nerve.   Irritation of the median nerve causes numbness in the index, middle and the medial half of the ring finger.   Irritation of the ulnar nerve cause numbness in the little finger and the lateral half of the ring finger.   I suspect the ulnar nerve.

     Throwing injuries result when throwers place more stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments than they can withstand.   Injuries to the medial epicondyle area usually result from forearm bounce and flyout.   Forearm bounce occurs when throwers permit their forearm to move backward and downward while they drive their upper arm forward.   Forearm flyout occurs when throwers bend their elbow to less than ninety degrees and when they start driving their upper arm forward, their forearm circles outwardly.   Because the young woman is a catcher, I suspect that she uses the typical catcher throwing technique that almost guarantees injury to the medial epicondyle area.   Catchers are incorrectly taught to raise their forearm vertically and, then, start their upper arm forward drive.   This action causes the forearm to move backwards and downward and overly stresses the inside of his elbow.

     I have little confidence in an MRI showing ruptured medial collateral ligaments.   I cannot imagine that the young woman has rehabilitated for a month and the therapist has not recognized that she does not have a medial collateral ligament.   Without the medial collateral ligament, the ulna bone should move away from the humerus bone.   Certainly, she could not apply any force with the inside of her elbow without the elbow moving apart.   I would also think that any doctor would readily diagnose a ruptured medial collateral ligament.

     If she has ruptures her medial collateral ligament, the only remedy of which I am aware is the 'Tommy John' surgery.   Tommy and his son, Tommy, visited me a couple of months ago and his repaired medial collateral ligament continues to work well.   If she has the surgery and starts her rehabilitation, before she starts throwing, she must make certain to correct her force application technique to remove unnecessary stress from her elbow.   While written for pitchers, the force application technique I recommend on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com.   She must have her forearm laying horizontally backward when she starts her upper arm forward.

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282.   We are a little confused about your exercises.looking over the exercises and In the forearm extensions, when you raise the arm to slightly beyond vertical, is it straight?   Also is it raised to the front, side or at a 45 degree angle to the shoulder.   As well in the next exercise, easy leverage throws, you describe basically the same position to start and then have the pitcher lower their elbows to shoulder height and forearms to horizontal.   I take that to mean he bends his elbow ahead of his shoulder to get it to horizontal.   Am I misinterpreting this?

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     As I read your description of the forearm extensions, I realized how much the program has evolved since I put it on my website less than a year ago.   I now call the easy leverage throws, force-coupling throws.   I am so busy helping the young men who train here everyday and building a new training center that I have not updated the material with the adjustments we have discovered.

     The forearm extensions train the outward rotation muscles of the shoulder joint.   We are increasing the ability of the bone of the upper arm, the humerus, to outwardly rotate.   Pitchers stand with their arms hanging downward with the back of their hands facing forward looking into a mirror.   To raise their arm into position, they start raising the back of their hand upward while raising their upper arm to horizontal with their level shoulders.   They will pass through a position where their forearm is horizontal with their hand in front of their shoulder and their elbow bent at ninety degrees and their upper arm at the same height as their shoulders.

     At this point, pitchers should stop raising their upper arm and start outwardly rotating the bone of their upper arm.   When their forearm moves slightly beyond vertical, they are in position to start the forearm extension exercise.   Pitchers must make certain that the tip of their elbow is slightly (about an inch) ahead of the line from the middle of their non-pitching shoulder through the middle of their pitching shoulder, the acromial line.

     To execute the forearm extensions, pitchers gently lay their forearms backward and downward until they encounter resistance.   At this point, they try to relax the muscles that are preventing further backward and downward movement and gently permit the forearm to move slightly farther backward and downward.   When pitchers achieve their most backward and downward position, their rotate their forearm forward and upward to slightly short of vertical and repeat the exercises.

     We are attempting to enable pitchers to lay their forearm back to horizontal with the ground without any discomfort.   Most pitchers come to me with the ability to perform this exercise immediately without difficulty.   Others take varying time periods to achieve this position.

     The easy leverage throws that I now call, the force-coupling throws, start at the end position of the forearm extension exercise.   The first movement they make with this exercise is to push off their contralateral foot, for right-handed pitchers this would be their left foot, while their carry their pitching arm in the laid-back forearm position.   Before their ipsilateral foot contacts the ground, for right-handed pitchers this would be their right foot, they drive their pitching hand in a straight line forward toward home plate.   While this action includes inwardly rotating the bone of the upper arm, I want pitchers to focus on the straight line drive of the wrist weight and iron balls to lengthen the driveline beyond a simple inward rotation of the humerus.

     The next exercise, the power leverage throw, simply adds a step with the contralateral foot to the beginning of the force-coupling throws exercise and repeats the force-coupling throws.

     I hope that I have clarified these exercises and I understand that pictures would be better and I am continuing to search for a publisher and an illustrator and to put out a videotape that shows all this.

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283.   HOW MANY YOUNG MEN DO YOU HAVE FOR THE 10 WEEK PROGRAM? AND MY SON WANTS TO KNOW IF ANY OF THE MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHERS STUDIED WITH YOU.

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     I have two duplexes at the training site with four one bedroom apartments.   They could accommodate sixteen young men, four in each apartment.   However, I prefer three in each apartment for a total of twelve.   Nevertheless, because I have difficulty saying no to those who feel strongly that they need my help, because it is only ten weeks, it is possible to have sixteen.

     In August 1998, I started training high school graduates in my backyard as a result of friends sending sons and sons of their friends who had a strong desire to become the best pitcher that they could become.   I started with four young men that year.   Of those four, all have pitched successfully in college, which is my purpose.   In 1999, I also had four.   They also are enjoying college success.   My purpose is to help high school graduates, not professionals.

     Having said that, I have worked with individuals over the years and several have pitched professionally and a couple at the major league level.   In addition, I did fairly well professionally as well.   You could read about it on my website in my Professional Credentials section.   At present, I have three former students training with me who are at varying levels of professional baseball careers.

     I have little interest in young men who only look to professional baseball rather than see pitching as a means by which to help support a college education.   The four years of college baseball after my program is the very best way to advance your pitching skills in preparation, not only for a lifetime of life style choices as a result of the education, but also for the life of a professional baseball pitcher both on the pitching mound and off.

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284.   The young man is doing your exercise program and some elastic work from his team as well.   He says this is causing dull pain, particularly tricep extensions with the elastic.   He is wondering if he should stop or continue.   I told him I thought he could expect a little pain, but I am no doctor.   It also hurts when he pronates it in his bucket of grain, a little he says.   It is never a sharp pain.   Should he stop or not?   He is really getting worried as it has been 5 months now with pain of varying degrees and his coaches want to see him throw in Winnipeg in about one month.

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     First, I do not care what deadlines other have placed on him, he should throw when he is ready, not when they want him to throw.

     Second, without training, the discomfort will never go away.   I am not a big fan of the elastic bands or the grain in a bucket exercise, but I do not think that either will cause him any difficulty.   He should not stop.   He must get blood flow into the pitching muscles, preferably with the exercises that I recommend at a controlled intensity.

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285.   Thank you for your efforts to educate people about pitching.   I have tried to study and become knowledgable about your approach for many years.   I met you before a game at Arkansas Tech University when you were teaching at Henderson State University.   I'd ask you about a book and remembered your response that it would be difficult because it would be outdated in a week.   I was so excited to find your web page last week.   At your games at HSU, I would be like a "fly on the wall" just watching your pitchers go through their routine and trying to understand.

     I have been pouring over your book and Q & A's with great enthusiasm.   I admire your effort to help people become better instructors.   Is it frustrating for you as so many people do not want to hear what they won't try to understand?   I will certainly never reach your level of understanding and application.   I do make a great effort and think I understand more than most instructors of pitching.

     Would you please advise on a couple of issues?   I have twin sons, 21 yrs old.   One is a LHP at a Division 1 school and one is a catcher just turned pitcher in the Dodger organization.   The LHP went to the doctor this week for back spasms.   About once every 3 weeks it will spasm on the right side in the lumbar region, knock him to the ground for 5 min or so then go away.   The doctor shot x-rays and first suspected a "pars defect" in a lumbar.   He was shot with dye went back and was told he has facet inflamation in two lumbar vertebrae, on the right side.   Also, a hot spot showed up on the medial epicondyle hence; "medial epicondylitis."   Doctor told him not much can be done and strengthen the abdominals.   He does throw slightly across his body so staying on the driveline and force application are key corrections.   Would you please offer your comments?

     Also, at birth I noticed his left arm was somewhat crooked.   If you look at him from the front, his right arm is straight but his left arm is crooked medial towards his body.   Over the years, I had the arm checked and x-rayed.   Doctors said it was a 17 degree bend in the arm that was genetic at birth.   I always asked should I be doing anything the straighten the arm like hanging from a bar.   Each time they said no as it was genetic, the arm was structurally fine and it would destroy the integrity of the joint.   My LHP thinks it is getting shorter.   If he raises both hands in front horizontal the left arm will be about 5 inches shorter than the right arm.   The doctor this week told him it was probably bone spurs causing it to shorten.

     My RHP signed as a high draft out of high school as a catcher.   He has caught the last three seasons in the California league and Florida State league.   He was asked to give pitching a try in this fall's instructional league.   It was a positive fall as he worked at 93-94 and threw strikes.   I'm sure they want to continue with him as a pitcher.   He is structurally fine with no injuries.   We are using the two week training plan.   I went days 1-3 with no weights to teach technique.   I am now starting over with 5 pound wrist weights and the 6 pound ball.   When that cycle is over, I plan to start over with the 10 pound ww and continue day 14.   I may find it with further reading, but I'm not sure what maintenance load to follow when he leaves in February.

     Any comments would be appreciated.   At this point, I am a little concerned with my LHP.   The doctor has scared him.   I know the right answer is out there.


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     I do not get excited about back spasms.   I also do not look for exotic causes.   When stress is greater than muscle is physiologically fit to handle, it responds negatively, either with tightness, stiffness, soreness or spasm.   The cure is a training program that gently increases the stress to this area to above competitive levels.   If pitching causes the back spasms, he needs to reduce the pitching intensity, but throw with greater regularity and gradually increase the intensity.   I do have a lower back exercise program that I use with extremely difficult cases, but most respond to a reduced intensity pitching program.

     Discomfort in the medial epicondyle area indicates improper technique especially forearm flyout and forearm bounce.   The loss of elbow extension range of motion indicates bone chips which may develop into bone spurs.   Pitchers can throw with them for awhile, but eventually, they will require surgery.   I was pleased to read that you are teaching your sons my force application techniques, that you have taught my two week program.   I have recently adjusted that program to three weeks and I hope to have time within a couple of months to add the correction to my website.

     Other than you and your sons reading my Coaching Adult Pitchers book and making the adjustments I recommend, I can only answer your questions as best as I can.   I do also offer ten week training sessions that start the first Saturday in June and forty week training programs that start the third Saturday of August.

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286.   I went to pick up my young man from his physiotherapy today and the therapist called me aside to talk about his elbow again.   He apparently was digging around at the tricep tendon and said it was causing him a lot of pain.   He suggested we take him to a local doctor here in town and explore the possibility of a cortisone shot.   He said he has a feeling he could "bang away at that elbow for a year and it won't get any better.   He then said he has no problem with force and pain when the arm is straight, but he has pain when the elbow is totally bent and he is applying force.

     I told him I wasn't sure about a shot, but I would get back to him.   He kept mentioning he thought this was chronic tendonitis and one shot might set it right.   He doesn't recommend more than one, he said.   I wondered what you thought of this, I had a shot when I was pitching and had it in the off season and was fine the next year but I always wondered if it got better because I wasn't throwing, not from the shot.   Please let us know.   Thank you for all your help.


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     Cortisone shots do not promote healing.   They do not increase blood flow to the area.   I do not recommend them.

     However, it does seem that we have identified the area of concern, the triceps brachii attachment.   I continue to believe that he has fascial tears that do not influence the strength of his muscle contraction except to the extent that the discomfort lessens his intensity.   I understand the discomfort.   I have trained many young men through this discomfort and I have experienced it myself.   It requires daily training at a slightly uncomfortable intensity.   My exercises are specific to baseball pitching and will result in the fastest possible healing.   However, because fascia is connective tissue with poor vascularization, it will take time, possibly several months depending on the degree of tear and whether the outer surface of the bone is affected.   Nevertheless, it will not get better without effort.   And, when it does start to feel better, it is not completely healed.   He will have to continue to train thereafter.

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287.   Thank you very much for responding to my questions about my LHP's back spasms.   The doctor has advised more abdominal exericses, but really I now understand that he needs specific training that gently stresses the back muscles involved until the strength is back above the competitive levels needed for the task involved.   At the same time, continued throwing to tolerance may be continued all the way back to competitive levels.

     Each time I read your books I feel I am obtaining a greater level of understanding.   "Training specificity" has really made an impact and am currently improving my action plans for player development.

     What are your thoughts on the split-finger fastball?   The results seem to be a pitch that is effective against LH and RH hitters.   However, it seems these results are short term and at a high cost to the arm.   I am really interested in the effect on the arm of the pitchers who apply force with their fingers spread.

     Also, through your website and information you are helping so many of us understand pitching.   How can we help you?


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     You are correct that training the abdominal muscles will not prevent back spasms.   Back spasms result from insufficient fitness of those muscles to perform the task.   The only way to prevent back spasms is to increase their fitness specific to the task that they need to perform.

     With regard to the split-finger fastball of Bruce Sutter fame, the only aspect of that pitch with respect to its functionality is the spin axis of the pitch en route to home plate.   I threw a pitch that people called a hard screwball, that I call a true sinker that had the same spin axis as Sutter's pitch.   I explain the pitch and spin axis in Chapter 18, Daniel Bernoilli.   It is under the Marshall Effect.

     The problem I have with the split-finger force application technique is that the baseball is jammed between the index finger and middle finger, phalanges II and III, respectively.   With this tenuous and hand-size limiting grip, pitchers cannot develop the release consistency required for ongoing success.   Also, the stress placed on the single index finger frequently exceeds its present and trainable limits.   This can cause serious injury.   I would not undertake a training program to strengthen the index finger in this action because the training program probably would cause the injury.

     I teach the same spin axis and spin velocity without the predictable likelihood of injury and the certainty of inconsistency.   Split-finger pitchers require extra time for their index finger to recover from pitching between starts.   While their arm has recovered, the interossei muscles that squeeze the second and third metacarpals together have not. With my sinker grip, pitchers jam the baseball between their middle and ring fingers, phalanges III and IV, respectively.   While the ring finger does have to make a training response, the little finger is there to assist.   Further, the focus of release pressure is on the tip of the middle finger which has the index finger to assist.

     I have a saying, "Pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of the middle finger.   Strength to transfer the force of their arm totally to the baseball and generate high spin velocities and skill to create the proper spin axis."   I train my young men to greatly strengthen the tip of their middle finger with specificity to all pitches.

     My goals are to eliminate pitching arm injuries in adolescent and adult pitchers and to elevate the skill of pitchers such that young men without extraordinary velocity gifts can successfully compete as I did.   I want all who share my love of pitching to achieve their potential and experience the joy that I felt standing on the mound knowing that if I threw my pitches at my highest level, I could embarrass any batter.   I had this joy of competitive pitching in national championship games through age fifty-six.   If not for familial arthritis, something for which I know of no preventative action or cure, only symptom alleviation, I would still pitch competitively.

     Consequently, the only help I request is to spread the word.   I want everybody to read my books.   I do wish that I could get them published with full illustrations, but I have had no success.   I am afraid that publishers do not believe that my books are commercial.

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288.   I came across your web site when I was in search of a portable pitchers mound for my 2 (pitcher) sons.   Thanks for the great information.   I will share the site with my sons.   I also am thinking about trying to build the practice mound.   As I am totally non-mechanical is there any one you know of that sells the equivalent unit at a reasonable price?

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     Several years ago, I owned a plastic molded portable mound.   I cannot recall the manufacturer, but for some reason, I believe it was located in Iowa.   Obviously, I no longer use that mound, I prefer to build my own.   This means that my mounds are not portable, but I do not need them to be.   In Chapter 22 of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book, I have instructions for constructing a pitching mound.   If you have difficulty understanding these instructions, please email me with your questions.   At present, I am building six more mounds.   They is easy to build, they are available immediately after rain, they do not require any upkeep and they last forever.   However, they are not portable.

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289.   I grew up a Dodger fan, thus I recall many of your great pitching accomplishments via Vin Scully.   Those years you pitched are among my favorite Dodger memories.

     My question is regarding my 18 year old son who is experiencing elbow pain.   At times a pitcher, but primarily an outfielder, he is trying to make a Division 1 college team as a walk-on.   I have tried to direct his energies to baseball as an outlet for his energies, and admittedly, have pushed him to live my dream to see him play college baseball while pursuing a degree in Economics.

     My conflict is just how far he should go trying to make the team playing with pain.   His tryouts go until the end of this fall quarter.   He is hoping to make the team as a redshirt freshman so he'll have time to repair the elbow.   Without surgery or another "quick fix" he stands to lose at least one year of eligibility.

     He had therapy this past summer with a sports doctor that included exercises and arm strengthening, and worked diligently at the program, but still has pain to the point where moving a computer mouse hurts and at times he cannot straighten his arm.   If he has bone spurs, how long is the recovery time from surgery?   If it is a ligament tear, is surgery the fastest remedy?   What is the Tommy John surgery?   Or is it best he give up baseball-which he really does love, even away from his demanding father, until the elbow heals with passive therapy.


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     No baseball player, whether pitcher or otherwise, should ever experience pain when throwing.   That is the purpose behind my website.   If pitchers properly apply force to their pitches and properly train to achieve the appropriate fitness, they should throw every day without any discomfort.

     With regard to bone spurs, a pitcher with whom I work had surgery for spur and chip removal, as a result of improper force application techniques prior to my involvement, last November.   I had him training within ten days.   A year later, he is completing my 'lock in' training cycle, where he has thrown one hundred and twenty pitches a day every day for ninety days.   He is over halfway through the program without any negative effects from the surgery.

     With regard to ligament tears, ligaments do not heal quickly.   I assume that your young man has problems with the inside of his elbow, possibly his medial collateral ligament (MCL).   Tommy John tore his MCL completely from his medial epicondyle.   To repair, the surgeon took the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle of his non-pitching wrist and used it to tie the bone of the upper arm, humerus, to one of the bones of the forearm, ulna.   This carpentry work provides the stability across the elbow joint that enables the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and a slip of the flexor digitorum superficialis, to throw baseballs.   In addition to tearing his MCL, Tommy John also detached these muscles.

     Whether your son gives up pitching is his decision.   However, I am confident that he can rehabilitate his injury and learn the proper way to apply force.   My Coaching Adult Pitchers book contains the information he needs.   However, I realize that, without illustrations, it is difficult to interpret.   Nevertheless, he needs to understand the force application principles I recommend.   If he wants more personal attention, please read my Instruction section where I offer my services for ten and forty week sessions, starting in June and August, respectively.

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290.   Your thoughts are outstanding.   I believe that the lack of illustrations has made your site a unique learning experience.   Too often, one buys a video or a book in the hope of it being a "quick fix".   Your site is not like that.   One has to make a commitment to absorbing and practicing what you have to say.

     My question: what adjustments would an outfielder have to make in order to apply your force application techniques?   In particular, I am interested in your comments on throws from the outfield to the infield that occur, for example, on sacrifice flys.   Assume that players involved possess fully mature growth plates.


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     I appreciate your prospective on the value of commiting to learn.

     Outfielders should learn my maxline fastball technique.   Because their rear foot is not tied to a pitching rubber, outfielders have an advantage over pitchers in that they can achieve higher forward body velocity.   The problem that they might have regards their body moving forward while their throwing arm moves backward.   The key to success is to not permit their reverse rotation to go beyond their acromial line pointing toward their target and their olecranon process not going beyond their acromial line.   Outfielders can certainly get a much more powerful front foot push back.   I have seen outfielders go into a forward roll after their throw which demonstrates an extreme front foot push back.

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291.   I just had Tommy John surgery, however I have pain even after four months.   My question to you the doctor pretains to the normality of that and why am I feeling pain.   Should I get another MRI to check the problem or is this pain normal?

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     Tommy John surgery involves taking the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from the wrist of the non-pitching arm and using it to tie the ulna bone of the forearm to the humerus bone of the upper arm.   This repair should not cause any ongoing discomfort.   It is a simple tendon tie and it does not have nerve endings in its new location.

     What people do not know about Tommy John's injury is that he not only ruptured his medial collateral ligament, but he also detached all five muscles from his medial epicondyle, which include, from proximal to distal, the pronator teres, the flexor carpi radialis, the palmaris longus, the flexor carpi ulnaris and a portion of the flexor digitorum superficialis.   During his surgery, surgeons had to reattach these muscles.   For these muscles to reattach required several months.   This injury does cause considerable ongoing discomfort.

     Tommy's surgeons further complicated his recovery when they crimped his ulnar nerve.   As a consequence, Tommy's ulnar nerve died below his elbow which prevented stimulation to several hand muscles and the skin overlying his little finger and the lateral half of his ring finger.   Tommy had to have another surgery to repair this problem.   Then, Tommy's ulnar nerve began regenerating down it's myelin sheathing.   While such regenerations achieve only about sixty percent of normal function, it was sufficient for Tommy to return to major league pitching.

     With this background, let us examine your discomfort situation.   Clearly, you ruptured your medial collateral ligament.   They repaired that and that should not cause you ongoing discomfort.   What we do not know is what did you do to the muscles that attach to your medial epicondyle.   Injury to these attachments will cause ongoing discomfort.   To diagnose your injury, I would have to know precisely where you experience discomfort.   If it is distal on your medial epicondyle, as I suspect it is, then you have injured, possibly including tearing part of the outer surface of the bone, the flexor digitorum superficialis.

     If what I suspect is true, it could require several months of daily rehabilitation for you to become completely discomfort-free.   I would recommend the training program contained in my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.   I designed these exercises specifically for baseball pitchers and, properly executed and applied, they will enable you to recover more rapidly than any other program.

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292.   I'm collegiate head baseball coach.   Our baseball program is in the Department of Kinesiology and Athletics.   We have 6 PhDs and 6 master prepared instructors to teach classes in Biomechanics and Kinesiology.   When I read your material, it doesn't overwhelm as much as your ordinary Jock coach.   There is definately a place for science in baseball instructions.   But, major barriers of change must be overcome to do so.   It seems to me that someone of your intelligence could help a person of my experience bring your knowledge to a lower level of understanding to these jock coaches or to coaches who are fed up with the myths of pitching instructions of the past 20 years.   Most of your material is way way way over their heads.

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     I thank you for your interest and welcome any discussions that you would like to have with regard to my books.   I miss collegial debates.

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293.   Do you sell these mounds?   Are you still in Southern California?

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     I do not sell the plastic molded portable mounds of which I wrote.   I build wooden mounds for my pitcher training area.   I describe how to build my mounds in my Coaching Adult Pitchers and Coaching Adolescent Pitchers books.   I directed you to this person to whom I gave the plastic molded portable mound that I purchased from a company, I believe in Iowa, during the 1970's.   I do not know whether they are still in business.

     I live in Zephyrhills, FL near Tampa.   I believe that I provide my address and telephone number In the Academic Credentials and Professional Baseball sections on my website.

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294.   I have a couple of misunderstandings that I would like your help in clarifying:

1.   "From the downward forearm head pat position, pitchers raise their elbows upward under their foreams at shoulder height."

     At the downward head pat position, isn't the forearm lower than the elbow?   Since the forearm at leverage is to be horizontal, the elbow is never under the forearm until the forearm starts acceleration and moves from horizontal (backward) to vertical to horizontal (forward).   To raise the elbow under the forearm sounds like the high guard position that you advise against.   Am I reading this incorrectly?

2.   In the setup for the Maxline throw, you have the pitcher stand on the pitching arm side of the rubber with feet at forty-five degrees from the pitching rubber.   This setup has the pitchers shoulders pointing toward the first base side.   Then, on the rock back, the shoulders (and hips) reverse rotate to point toward homeplate.

     Doesn't this reverse rotation risk placing the hand/arm behind the body (bringing the arm back too far behind the body) which puts the pitcher at risk for injury.   My son was taught to setup with feet parallel to the pitching rubber which places his shoulders pointing to the middle of home plate.   From this position he "comes to balance" and "breaks" his pitching hand from the glove.   All through his transition type motion, the line extending from one shoulder to the other points toward home plate.   I have an even harder time visualizing the torque setup with feet perpendicular to the pitching rubber and the shoulders pointing to first base.

3.   I'm a little confused about the forearm positions for the Maxline and Torque Fastballs and Screwballs.   (I'm also confused about Curve balls, but I thought maybe I should understand fastballs and screwballs first).   At the horizontal leverage position, what is the angle between the upper arm and the forearm?   Which way does the hand face?   Does this change during travel through vertical?   What does the hand and arm do at release?

4.   During recovery, the pitcher continues his body rotation such that they can turn their heads toward second base.   This doesn't seem like the optimal position to react to balls hit up the middle directly at the pitcher.

     Thanks for the books and the question and answer material.


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     What fun to receive such strong questions.

1.   At the downward forearm head pat position, the entire arm points downward at forty-five degrees.   Therefore, the forearm is below the elbow.   The first move the pitchers make from this position is to rotate the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa.   The second move is to raise the upper arm to horizontal or level with the shoulders.   During this process, the forearm has to move upwardly also.   I want the forearm to also move upward only to horizontal with the ground.   The ability to lay the forearm back to horizontal is a basic fitness required for successful pitchers.   The purpose of my wrist weight exercises is to train the outward rotation muscles of the shoulder joint to enable pitchers to achieve this position.   The forearm must never go above horizontal until the start of the forearm acceleration phase through release.

2.   In my rock-back setup, I have the feet and shoulders at forty-five degrees from the pitching rubber.   When pitchers rock-back with the start of the toward second base pitching arm pendulum swing, I have pitchers reverse rotate their shoulders such that their acromial line point toward home plate.   With the techniques that you mentioned, i.e., standing with the feet parallel to the pitching rubber, pitchers will definitely take their pendulum swing laterally behind their back.   Further, the 'balance' position advocates starting the body forward while starting the pitching arm backward.   This activity causes the body to get way ahead of the pitching arm and, consequently, places unnecessary stress on the front of the shoulder and forces pitchers to 'pull' their arm forward rather than drive their arm forward with their shoulder powerfully behind.   Pitchers can maximally forward rotate their shoulders only one hundred and eighty degrees.   I advocate that they point their front shoulder toward home plate until their body moves ahead of their front foot and, then, when they start their force-coupling with their front foot and forearm acceleration, they powerfully replace their front shoulder with the rear shoulder.   This enables pitchers to maximally extend their drivelines and keeps the straight line force application that the Law of Inertia demands.

     The purpose behind having pitchers stand with their feet perpendicular to the pitching rubber on the torque pitches was to start their pendulum swing to the pitching arm side of second base.   With their feet pointing toward home plate and their shoulders pointing toward first and third base, pitchers have to start their pendulum swing laterally.   This means that I wanted their front shoulder pointing short of home plate.   I have recently changed this.   Now, I use the maxline setup for the torque pitches as well.   While this causes some pitchers to take their arms too far laterally behind their bodies and, consequently, causes some circle out at the start of their upper arm accelerations, I have them keep their shoulders level and rotate their shoulders to their glove side way out front.   If they keep their pitching arm in an arm wrestling position and strongly supinate their forearm, wrist, hand and finger through release, they can achieve they proper torque driveline.

3.   On all pitches, the angle between the upper arm and forearm at leverage is ninety degrees.   With fastballs, the palm of the hand basically faces forward towards home plate.   With maxline, pitchers should turn their palm slightly toward their pitching arm side.   With torque, pitchers should turn their palm slightly toward their glove side.   With breaking pitches, i.e., curves and sliders, pitchers should turn their palms inwardly toward their head.   With reverse breaking pitches, i.e., screwballs and sinkers, pitchers should turn their palms outwardly away from their head.

     I recommend that pitchers have their forearm and palm locked in the appropriate position for each pitch at leverage and keep them in that position through release.   I do not believe that pitchers can develop the consistency that they need if their forearm and palm change position from leverage through release.

     At release of all pitches, the fingers powerfully apply the force that the pitch requires.   For fastballs, this means that the fingertips powerfully drive through the center of the baseball to maximally accelerate their pitches.   For breaking pitches and reverse breaking pitches, pitchers convert as much of their pitching arm's forward velocity into spin velocity as they can.   On curves and screwballs, they should only be able to get the pitch barely to home plate.   On sliders and sinkers, the triceps drive should add ten miles per hour to their curves and screwballs, respectively.

4.   I recommend that pitchers continue to rotate their shoulders in order to learn how to get their pitching shoulder pointing toward home plate.   I have found that pitchers like to watch their pitches and, as a result, they fall short of the full shoulder rotation.   I recommend that they do this as part of learning, not as part of competition.   I would like them to see what the batter does to their pitches, but only after they have learned how to maximally rotate their shoulders with the maxline drive technique.

     I have considerable concern for the 'balance' position and that pitchers are to 'break' their hands to start their pitching motion.   When pitchers start their body forward while they start their pitching arm backward, they set up a situation where they can never get the olecranon process of their pitching arm ahead of their acromial line.   Consequently, they place unnecessary stress on the attachment of their subscapularis.   When pitchers injure their subscapularis attachment, they have serious problems.   I cannot say strongly enough.   PITCHERS MUST NOT START THEIR BODY FORWARD UNTIL THEY HAVE TAKEN THEIR PITCHING ARM BACKWARD TO MY DOWNWARD FOREARM HEAD PAT POSITION!!!!

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295.   I am 16 years old and I just had the Tommy John surgery and I was wandering what I could do to get stronger, and how did this occur?   I have asked some people about it and they said it was throwing the splitfinger fastball.   Is this a possibility?

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     No.   Tommy John surgery means that you ruptured your medial collateral ligament.   This means that you placed more stress on your medial collateral ligament than it could withstand without rupturing.   Pitchers unnecessarily stress their medial collateral ligament with improper force application technique.   Essentially, pitchers take their pitching arms too far laterally behind their body such that in order for their pitching arm to get back to the pitching arm side of their body, it has to travel laterally behind their body.   For right-handed pitchers, this means that their pitching arm starts from a position toward first base and has to travel toward third base before it can make the turn toward home plate.   The centrifugal force of this action cause the forearm to flyout away from the body and unnecessarily stress the medial collateral ligament.   The cure is to learn to take the pitching arm toward second base or straight behind the body rather than laterally.

     The splitfinger fastball places unnecessary stress on the muscles that flex the index finger, not the medial collateral ligament.   That pitch had nothing to do with your injury.

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296.   Thank you for your clarifications.   I find it takes me a couple of read throughs to fully digest the information.   I did have one more question that I forgot to include in my first email.   What does the glove hand do during the time from initial setup when the pitcher starts the pendulum action with the pitching hand through stride, forearm acceleration and recovery?

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     I prefer not to discuss the actions of any limb other than the pitching arm until later.   Pitchers should focus only on the force application techniques of their pitching arm.   If they perform correctly with their pitching arm, they will probably do fine with their non-pitching arm.

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297.   You could be the quintessential pitching instructor the baseball world has been looking for.   So, think about it because the other so called experts are chomping at the bit for your material.   I would refuse to put the material into the hands of Quacks.   You could be long gone before any your pupils decide to teach anybody your system.

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     Thank you for your interest.   I have no concern about others taking my material.   If they stop teaching their harmful techniques and substitute mine, I will have achieved my goal.

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298.   My family and I live in Melbourne, Australia.   My 12 year old son is on the Victorian State All-Stars and also plays on the 14 year old All Stars for his Little League team.   He was also on the All-Star teams in the US before we moved down under.

     He is a pitcher and is experiencing problems with not having enough variety in his pitching.   He has a "very mean" fastball, but unfortunately too predictable for the batters.   I'm looking for a guide to help me help him with pitching techniques including instructions on change-ups, sliders, how to keep the batter off-guard, etc.   Can you provide any suggestions? Help of this kind can be somewhat limited in Australia!


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     If you have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers book, then you know that I consider twelve year olds to be too skeletally fragile to train as pitchers for more than two months per year.   During those two months, they should practice the proper techniques for throwing all types of pitches.   I realize that, without illustrations, it is difficult for youngsters to understand how I teach the curve, sinker and screwball.   I would never want a skeletally immature pitcher to practice throwing sliders.   Nevertheless, that is all I can offer at this time.

     Please stay tuned to my website as I am working on getting illustrations and/or putting together instructional videotapes.

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299.   Just thought I would drop a note to let you know how my young man is making out with that elbow problem (tricep tendon and fascia problems).   He has been on your program for 3 weeks and went to his sports medicine specialist yesterday.   She was considering shooting him with cortisone 3 weeks ago, but after looking over his elbow and doing strength tests she said she wouldn't give him one as he has come along so fast.   I left her a copy of chapter 24 which she thought was fascinating and she has your web address now to look over the rest of the program.

     Thank you for helping.   He has only mild tenderness now when flexing and is getting ready to start throwing at 50% in the next week or so.


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     Thank you for your update.   I knew that my program would rehabilitate his problem.   However, I always have concern when I am not the person guiding the progress.   Adjusting his force application techniques is more important than the judicious application of increasing stress on the pitching muscles.

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300.   Before I tell you how to do the book publishing without making any compromises, let me tell you that the people in the sport world perceive you as very controversial.   Here is my point and a very valid one.   Because you are a very controversial individual, that is a strength that you should use it to your benefit.   Second, you are a true genius.   Third, you are a former standout major league pitcher who has a doctorate and is the only person that has one to write a book in his expertise, pitching mechanics.

     Tom House has a doctorate in sports psychology, so how in the hell did he become an expert in pitching mechanics.   IN my eyes, you are set to become the SAVIOUR to all the young arms in the world, which will be ruined if the present thoughts on pitching continue.

     I don't want to put pressure on you, but you have to get in the public eye ASAP.   Back to your book, in case you don't realize you have already PUBLISHED your book.   It on the NET and it is free.   So your problem is, and believe me it is a little one, is to get the world to visit your website.   That is the secret and you can do this without compromising anything and make some bucks also.


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     I understand that I have 'published' my books.   However, they need illustrations.   Therefore, they have diminished value. I do want all pitchers to pitch without discomfort.   I believe that my techniques will help them accomplish this goal. In January, 2001, Baseball Weekly will carry an advertisement for my website.   I have withheld wide distribution of my website because I was, and probably still am, not ready for an onslaught of young men requesting my ten and forty week programs.   I can only accept twelve young men for my ten week training program and twelve different young men for my forty week training program each year.   I am concerned with what I will do if more than that want to come here.

     I appreciate your support for what I am trying to do and trust that the knowledge that you have helped young men is sufficient reward for your efforts.

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301.   One of our coaches told me about you.   I am doing my senior term paper on professional baseball players.   I really would appreciate it if you could answer the following interview for me.   This is a lifelong dream for me to be able to play in the pros.   I am a senior left-handed pitcher.

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1.   Name?     Michael Grant Marshall

2.   Profession?     Associate Professor of Physical Education

3.   Places of Employment?     St. Leo College, Henderson State University and West Texas A&M University.

4.   What made you decide to become a pro baseball player?     They offered me money.   I used it to finance my education.

5.   What training did you receive?     From my university studies, I developed a training program that enabled me to earn a Cy Young Award.

6.   Did you go to college and where?     Michigan State University from the fall quarter of 1960 until the spring quarter of 1978.

7.   How long did you play in the pros?     I started in 1961 and finished in 1981.

8.   What was your salary?     None of your business.

9.   Would you recommend this career to another person?     Maybe as a second career or hobby, but never as a first and only career.

10.   What were the benefits of this career?     None.

11.   What were the disadvantages?     It put real life on hold.

12.   Do you have any advise for someone who would like to pursue a career in professional baseball?

     Get a degree in a career that you enjoy and use professional baseball as an exercise outlet.

13.   Do you have any additional comments that would assist me in my attempt to become a pro?

     Without proper training, plan to suffer arm pain and eventually surgery.   Read my Coaching Adult Pitchers book.

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302.   My whole purpose is for you to succeed and get your message out ASAP to the parents of the world that amateur coaches are ruining their kids arms.

     You are absolutely right about an onslaught to your 10 week and 40 week programs, which is why I would recommend that you teach your course over the Net.   Teaching courses over the NET are being done all over the world.   That way you can accomadate thousand of clients, pupils as well as coaches, which would eventually lead to DR MIKE MARSHALL'S Instructional schools being franchised all over the baseball world.

     My other suggestion would be to write a small contraversial preview book to introduce your real book to the public.   Inform parents of the danger to their sons and, by all means, hammer the crap out of all the so called Quacks milking the public for pitching instructions.

     I know what you doing there in Florida with your school etc is important to you and I wish you loads of sucess in that venture.   However, I feel that you can immediately be the most positive force ever in the pitching mechanics field, if you pursued the path or a simular one that I just wrote about.   I thank you for time. The kids of America need you in the worse way to save their arms. Please help them now.


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     The reason that I refuse to offer short term instruction is that I know that to do so only puts money in my pocket, it does not help the youngsters.   I tried two week courses.   I tried four week courses.   I have learned that anything less than ten weeks does not provide sufficient time for all youngsters to make the requisite adjustments to their force application technique.   In those ten weeks, the youngsters need my undivided attention on a daily basis.   I understand your idea of teaching over the Web, but it would not permit me to have the daily hands on access that I believe is necessary to insure success for the youngsters.

     With regard to others offerring my instruction:   I want that to happen. However, to properly train others to be competent requires considerable time.   At this time, I have only two whom I believe could teach youngsters and they would require me as a backup.   They do not have sufficient Kinesiological and Anatomical background to deal with all situations.   If this sounds too complicated, it is.   If coaches do not know the pitching arm muscles and what discomfort in any of them mean with regard to either the training effect or force application technique, then they are jeopardizing permanent damage.   Even I have encountered very difficult circumstances that have required several weeks to resolve.   This is not a simple process that I can readily package and sell.

     I am not certain what another book would accomplish.   I hammer insufficiently prepared pitching coaches pretty well in my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers books and in my Question/Answer section.

     My approach is to alert as many interested parties as possible with the Baseball Weekly advertising and by word of mouth, such as yours.   I am averaging about seventy hits per day on my website.   I would like to greatly increase that number, but I have limited time and resources.   I prefer to use my energy on the young men who have delayed their college experience a year to work with me for forty weeks.

     I thank you for your interest and enthusiasm.

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303.   I know I can't get you to change your mind at this moment, but keep my email handy in case you see the value of the preview book.   I very busy these next couple of days, but I enjoy these little chats so much I hate to stop even for business.

     All I can say now is that I was told by a marketing consultant is that if you want a message to be put out to the general public is to make it as controverasil as hell, piss the establishment off, and tell in the title of your book that they are doing it all wrong.   Of course, he also said that I better have excellent proof to back up my accusations.   That was exactly 6 months ago, at that time I didn't have enough solid evidence to back up my accusations, only a couple of biomehanics and kinesology reports. I needed to be more thorough.

     Well, nothing can be more thorough than your two books, they are already publish on the net, they are for free.   So, next year I plan to write a book to tell all parents that all pitching instructions on the market are incomplete and will eventually cause permanet damage to your son arm, elbow, or shoulder. I will explain to the public that I have used these instructions and they did indeed cause pain and injury to the pitchers.   And after each accusation I make, I shall refer all my critics and other interested baseball people who want proof of my accuactions to your web site.

     I pointed it out to you before in my previous emails that you put yourself at the top of the apex of pitching instructors.   The more you delay, these bogus pretenders will steal your material change the wording and claim that they now have newly discovered scientific evidence.   Their books will be short and sweet.   It will be for free,and it will be sent out in a information packet to concerned parents.   If you have a problem with this, let me know and I'll back off.


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     I have no concern about others claiming my ideas are theirs.   You have my full support and best wishes.

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304.   I pitch college baseball. This is my junior year and I am draft eligible.   Ideally, I want to get drafted and continue my baseball career, but who knows.   My roommate told me about your website and your philiosophy on maintaining a healthy arm.   I was curious to hear what your findings were.   I had tendonitus last season for about a month and had to sit out.   I rehabed and then played all summer and did very well, my arm has never felt better.   I was wondering if during your research or testing of your philosophy did you ever come across players with tendonitus and how your methods interacted with it?

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     Tendonitis is a catch-all term for any time that pitchers strain the attachments of pitching muscles.   The cure is to train those muscles such that the stress of pitching does not exceed their physiological limits.   The purpose of my Coaching Adult Pitchers book is to show pitchers how to properly apply force to their pitches to achieve the highest quality pitches and to show pitchers how to train their muscles such that they can never exceed their physiological limits.

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305.   I am an outfielder, and my goal for the upcoming season is to make more acurate, harder throws into the infield.   I have been applying your teaching and doing the suggested exercises for approximetely a month now, and the preliminary results have been excellent.   With the use of a video camera and a VCR that lets me advance frame by frame, I have eliminated a case of forearm flyout and general elbow soreness.   For your advice on throwing, I am very appreciative, I feel like a whole new ballplayer.

     My question: I feel the anterior deltiod of my throwing arm when I throw.   There is no pain, it just feels as though the muscle has been "worked".   Half an hour after throwing, it feels fine.   I would like to know if this indicates anything.   With the improved "mechanics", I am employing, I am uncertain if anterior deltoid fatigue is to be expected or if the warning signs should be going up.

     Once again, thank you for your advice.


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     The muscles on the front of the shoulder are part of the appropriate muscles that accelerate the baseball.   Therefore, you should feel that you are stressing them.   Nevertheless, we do not want unnecessary stress. I have little concern for any injury to the anterior deltoid muscle.   It is a powerful muscle with great vascularization.   However, the same is not true for the subscapularis muscle's attachment to the lesser tuberosity.   It is possible that you are not able to distinguish between the anterior deltoid and the subscapularis attachment.

     If you are not making certain that your olecranon process (elbow) is ahead of your acromial line (the line from one shoulder through the other), then you could be unnecessarily stressing your subscapularis.   Because you say that this awareness disappears shortly after you throw, I doubt that it is your subscapularis.   My advice is that you continue with caution and gradually increase your intensity.   I understand the desire to 'go for it' when you start to feel stronger, but you have to remain under control and progress gradually.

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306.   Do you have your book in a ready to print format?   I would like to print and read it.   Could you send it to me in an email?

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     I placed my two books, Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers, on my website chapter by chapter to enable those who did not want to download the entire book, to download whichever chapters they felt were important to them.   While I suppose that for me to email those chapters one by one to you would be less expensive, it would take most of my day.   I am afraid that your only recourse is to download whichever book or chapters you want from my website.

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307.   Thank you for the advice.   I wanted to ask you one last thing.   I developed a very painful case of biceps tendonitis taking batting practise last winter.   I am a right handed batter, and the tendonitis was located at the lower biceps of the right arm, in the region where the tendon starts to taper out to the biceps.

     I swung a bat this week for the first time in 3 months, and I felt the lower biceps twinge.   Batting is the only time I feel this sensation.   I have been doing weight training and icing the biceps region on a regular basis to help improve blood flow to the the area.   But it is obviously still there, although the sensation is only a fraction of what it used to be.

     Obviously, I am doing something wrong in my swing, but I can't understand where.   I'd like to ask, at what point(s) of the baseball swing is the biceps (of the arm of top hand on the bat) placed under stress?

     I know you are a trainer of pitchers, but I hope that your background in biomechanics can help me correct this.   My current physician, doesn't know the difference between baseball and a bobsled.


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     As I have written elsewhere, my first high speed film analysis involved baseball batting.   At the time, I was playing minor league shortstop.   Therefore, I have my force application recommendations for baseball batting.

     The biceps brachii and/or the brachialis, which lies immediately below the biceps brachii on the distal end of the anterior surface of the humerus, should not operate during the contact with the baseball aspect of the baseball swing.   The action of the rear arm of the baseball swing through contact with the baseball involves the triceps brachii.   The action is much like a fighter's overhand right hand with a powerful forearm pronation finish.

     However, during the recovery phase, the rear arm assists the front arm to safely decelerate the baseball bat.   Therefore, both arms have to pull the baseball bat back toward the body which requires double-sided elbow flexion.   By decelerating the baseball bat with both arms, you should not have any unusual discomfort.   I suspect that you do not use the rear arm in the manner I describe above, but rather, you try to pull the bat through the hitting zone with your rear arm.   Try the punching action that I describe and see whether that corrects your problem.

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308.   I am going to spend the coming weeks disecting my swing to determine why the biceps is bothering me.   I'll let you know how I make out and the adjustments that proved successful.

     Hopefully, I will be at spring training in mid March 2001.   I would love to visit your facility to watch your students work.   I will email when the time comes near to see if visiting would be convenient for you.   Thank you once again for the advice.


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     All are welcome to visit at any time.   We are twenty-five miles northeast of Tampa on Highway 301 and Vinson Avenue in Zephyrhills, FL.

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309.   I am a graduate student in a sport studies program doing some research on how science research has changed some aspect of overhand throwing in baseball (pitching) to prevent injury or to enhance performance.

Question 1:   Has there been any recommendations made from orthropedics or sport medicine that have changed the way pitchers throw, train or prepare before games?   For example, do pitchers train any differently now than they did years ago based on recommendations from sport medicine and research showing that injury could be prevented or performance could be improved?   In what way?

Question 2:   Have pitchers always worn jackets in between innings pitched to keep their arms/shoulders warm?   Is this scientific based in terms of injury prevention and performance related?   If this was not a normal practice many years ago, was it scientific research that sparked this now traditional behavior of pitchers to keep the arm warm in between innings pitched?

Question 3:   Could you briefly describe how things once were in any area related to pitchers (therapy on the shoulder, injury prevention practices, how long to rest in between games pitched, motion of throwing) and describe how it has changed over the years and how the change came as a result of what was learned through research in the field of sport medicine?

     Please feel free to type your response within this email (you can answer right under each question).   I really appreciate any response that you provide as it will be of great assistance to me in completing this project.


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     For an university professor, such as myself, there are few pleasures greater than conversation with a probing graduate student.

1.   No.

2.   When I started pitching professionally in the middle 1960's, the bat boy would immediately run jackets out to any pitcher who happened to get on base.   This was before Charlie Finley ruined the game with the designated hitter.   Otherwise, the bat boy gave jackets to pitchers immediately upon entering the dugout after pitching an inning.

     I have no idea why baseball people thought pitchers should wear jackets to keep their arms warm between innings.   Except on nights with temperatures below forty degrees outside in Jarry Park in Montreal, I never wore jackets between innings.   I also never wore long sleeve sweat shirts, only tee shirts.   My scientific reason was to prevent water and electrolyte loss with unnecessary sweating.

     Research shows that athletes cannot replenish water during athletic contests such that it will maintain performance.   Athletes should water satiate themselves before competitions start and, while they can consume small amounts of liquids, they have to basically rely on their blood volume levels remaining sufficiently high for performance quality to continue.   Sweating causes electrolyte loss with a disproportionate loss of potassium relative to sodium.   This results in muscle cramping, not a good thing.

     Wearing jackets causes a hothouse micro-environment between the jacket and the perspiring skin that exacerbates the water loss problem.   It is far better to leave the jacket off such that perspiration stops and the blood returns to nourish the pitching muscles.

3.   I know Jobe and Kerlan in Los Angeles, Andrews in Birmingham and many other respected orthopedic surgeons associated with professional baseball.   Based on exercises that I designed for myself, Jobe offered exercises that many team trainers require of their pitchers.   Compared to what I do, it is child's play and has child's play results.

     When I started pitching, all pitchers pitched until they could not get batters out.   There were no pitch counts, there were no limits.   We pitched, we did not throw for the radar gun.   Today, if pitchers velocity start to drop, they remove them.   We had to get batter out without regard to our velocity.   I do not believe that any change came as a result of research, except my own.

     If you have visited my website at www.drmikemarshall.com, then you should have read my Coaching Adolescent Pitchers and Coaching Adult Pitchers book which contain much of the research that I have done.   I have seen others attempt to use high speed film or videotape without sufficient scientific rigor to prove useful.   I have seen others attempt to design training programs.   However, without understanding the Newtonian and Applied Anatomical requirements for force application, they were stumbling in the dark.

     In summary, professional baseball pitching continues to rely on the anomalies of human genetics without any scientific contribution.

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310.   I pitch for a northern University and would like to enhance my arm strength and speed yet during the off-season.   I am interested in purchasing wrist weights and iron balls you have spoken of on your site.   Please give me some direction about where to find them.   My folks would like to purchase as a Xmas gift.

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     Try 1(800)521-2832.   Purchase items BE195M-4, BE198M-4 and TR161P-4.

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     This question concludes the questions readers asked me during 2000.   For the questions reader ask me in 2001, please go to Question/Answer 2001.   Keep the questions coming, you make my day.

     Happy pitching.



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