Question/Answer 2002

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1.   What do you think about the comment that kids can throw curveballs, splitfingers, sliders or any kind of pitch because research showed that biomechanically your body and arm use the same motion and muscles except that pitchers pre-set the pitches?   Also, a pitching legend said that when he lifted his leg higher, he generated more force to his pitches?

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     The problem with adolescent pitchers is not what pitches they throw, it is the amount of repetitive pitching stress that they place on the growth plate of their elbow and shoulder.   Of course, bad pitching motion places greater stress than correct pitching motion and will cause injuries faster, but adolescent pitchers must minimize their stress on the tender growing bones in their pitching arm.

     When pitchers lift their front leg higher than when their femur is horizontal, they raise their center of mass and decrease their stability.   When pitchers increase the instability of their body, they decrease the consistency of their release points.   With regard to high front leg lifts generating more force, I ask force to do what?   The rear leg generates the force to move the body forward when it pushes off the pitching rubber.   The pitching arm is the only limb to apply force to the baseball.   I do not see where the front leg applies any force when it is off the ground.   I recommend that the front leg apply force in the pitching motion by pushing back toward second base after the body of the pitcher has moved ahead of it.

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2.   From reading recent posts, you mention that when the back shoulder starts to rotates forward , the upper arm will be horizontal to the ground.   But, if the forearm is in the socalled high cocked position, there will be a tendency for the forearm to bounce backward as the elbow and upper arm move forward.   This sounds like external rotation of the shoulder/humerus to me.   If as you say the forearm should not move backward as the shoulder and humerus move forward are you saying that external rotation happens later in the delivery of the throwing arm or that external rotation is very stressful on the shoulder and is avoided if the forearm moves forward as a unit with the trunk, shoulder and upper arm and elbow?

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     I try to minimize the inward (internal) and outward (external) rotation of the shoulder joint (humerus).   I believe that pitchers should lengthen their driveline with body rotation.   This action decreases the inward rotation during the upper arm and forearm acceleration phases.   After release, the outward rotators plioanglosly (eccentrically) decelerate the force that the inward rotators applied.   This differs from what I call, 'forearm bounce.'

     Forearm bounce occurs when pitchers arrive at leverage (the moment when the upper arm starts forward) with their forearm vertical.   In this situation, the upper arm (humerus) starts forward and unless pitchers have 'locked' the forearm with the upper arm, the forearm moves backward and downward relative to the upper arm and, at some point, hits bottom 'bounces' and starts upward again.   This 'forearm bounce' unnecessarily stresses the subscapularis attachment and the medial aspect of the elbow.   I recommend that pitchers arrive at leverage with their forearm behind vertical and 'lock' their forearm with their upper arm.

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3.   Could you please define/clarify 'behind vertical?'   When viewed at transition from the side and from the behind the pitcher, where is the forearm relative to the upper arm?   From the behind the pitcher at transition, the mental image you seem to be giving to me is that the elbow and upper arm are at shoulder height, the elbow and forearm are in front of the acromial line, the forearm is somewhere between horizontal and vertical relative to the ground and the angle between the forearm and upper arm is between 45 and 90 degrees?   In other words, there needs to be some bend in the elbow when viewed from the side?

     I certainly agree that the least stressful way to lengthen the drive line is with proper body rotation.   This creates effortless power rather than powerless effort.   The effort that many kids think they "feel" is really the unnecessary stress they are feeling in the shoulder joint/throwing arm from poor throwing mechanics and not using there bodies correctly.


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     To prevent 'forearm bounce', I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arms to driveline height.   I recommend that, at driveline height, pitchers have their forearms in proper position for the type of pitch that they want to throw.   When we look at the forearm position from the side, I recommend that the forearm be 'behind vertical.'   I do not place a precise angle from vertical.   However, to prevent the baseball from moving upward during the drive toward home plate, I do not want the forearm horizontal.   Theoretically, I suppose that a forty-five degree angle would be appropriate.   However, I prefer to watch each pitcher and make certain that the forearm does not move backward and downward when the upper arm starts moving toward home plate.   I suppose that if pitchers permit their forearm to move backward and downward, we could recommend that pitchers start their upper arm acceleration with their forearm in the position to which they move it backward and downward.   In any case, we have to stop 'forearm bounce.'   I also recommend that pitchers 'lock' their forearm position with their upper arm.   These two recommendations appear to prevent 'forearm bounce' in the pitchers with whom I work for two hundred and eighty consecutive days here at my Pitcher Research Center.

     The angle between the forearm and upper arm varies according to the type of pitch that pitchers want to throw.   For Maxline and Torque fastballs, I recommend ninety degrees.   For Maxline curves and Torque sliders, I recommend forty-five degrees.   For Maxline and Torque screwballs and Maxline sinkers, I recommend one hundred and twenty degrees.   To view these angles, we should stand to the rear.   However, the rapid acceleration from leverage through release makes the eye and video cameras worthless.   You will need my five hundred frames of sixteen millimeter film per second to analyze.   However, we should see these angles just before the start of the upper arm acceleration phase.

     I agree that pitchers wrongly interpret wasted effort as meaningful.   However, the purposes of lengthening the driveline are to increase the time over which pitchers have to apply force and to decrease the amount and intensity of shoulder joint inward rotation.

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4.   How important is it to keep the head still and right on the target?

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     The entire body needs to be under complete control.   The body serves as a carriage for the pitching arm.   The body does not add to velocity, but it can take velocity and consistency away.   As for the head, it is a good thing to see where you want to throw the baseball.

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5.   Thousands of coaches out there that think the body add to velocity.   To get back to the head, it seems when the head is focused squarely on the target from the start of a wind up or the stretch position, and stays on target, without ever looking away from target.   Am I adding too much emphasis to this

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     What you say about the head is true, but the head does not throw the baseball.   I would put my focus on what throws the baseball and make certain that it is doing everything correctly before I examined the peripherals.

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6.   My son is beginning his sophomore year and is a 3/4 thrower.   His velocity is 78-83 with good movement on his fastball.   He throws about a 12 mph differential on his change and he has a very good splitter.   I have invested a good deal of money in pitching clinics with reputable instruction.   His new high school coach wants him to change to your style of over the top more 1 o'clock to o'clock style and I am hesitant.   The last thing I want to do is change something that is working.   What is your suggestion?   Is there a chance for injury by changing arm slot now?   Should we stay with his natural slot?

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     I am shocked to read that a high school baseball coach wants to change you son to my style.   I agree that it is a good idea, but I question whether the coach understands my force application technique sufficiently to teach it.   Although I strongly recommend that pitchers drive a vertical forearm through release, I do not look at what I teach as overhand.   I want my pitchers to keep their shoulders level, stand tall and rotate.   The vertical forearm represents the best way to satisfy my first law of force application for pitchers; drive their pitches in a straight line from leverage through release toward home plate.

     When pitchers throw with their forearm at forty-five degrees outside of vertical, it means that they are reverse rotating too far and taking their pitching arm laterally behind their back.   Before they can drive their pitches toward home plate, they have to first get their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body.   This action causes their forearm to fly out away from vertical thus taking force and consistency away.   Additionally, this action will eventually destroy the inside of their elbow.

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7.   A few months ago, I wrote to you about weight training for baseball.   At that time, you stated that sport specific training was 'more than enough' to get results.   I know that you have information in your book concerning training for throwing, but do you have any suggestions for running speed and bat speed?   I read this statement concerning functional fitness.   "Strengthen the movement, not the muscle".   Can you explain what this may mean?

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     The most important principle in Physiology of Exercise is Specificity.   That is, you get what you train to do.   If you want to be a great at jumping jacks, then train by doing jumping jacks.   While I have no problem with general fitness exercises, when it comes to pitching, pitchers require pitch specific training to achieve their maximum abilities.   With regard to velocities of all types, first strengthen the musculo-skeletal system to withstand the increased force that you want to apply, then train to explosively apply that force.   Velocity is power.   Power is strength of movement in the shortest time period.

     The comment is clever, but movements do not strengthen, muscles do.   Nevertheless, the intent of the writer is to tell you to be specific to the movement that you wish to enhance.

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8.   My fastball is above 85 mph.   I believe that I could benefit from your program.   What do I do?

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     Although many have suggested that I should have a selection process to determine with whom I work for my forty week training program, I am not smart enough to know what is in someone to know that they will not work as hard as they can and benefit from my program.   Therefore, I operate on a first come-first serve basis.   The first twelve to send in their deposits reserve a space for my next group.

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9.   How is the video coming?

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     We are back working on the videotape on almost a daily basis.   It has become an immense project and I am enjoying every minute.   The fellow with whom I am working is permitting me to do all of the grunt work.   It is extremely time-consuming, but fun.   With over 500 scenes at this time that I have to trim, I will spend some hours sitting at the computer.   As you can tell, I am not rushing a video out there for quick profit.   This has been a lifetime endeavor and I want to get it right.

     I will first announce it's completion and readiness on my web site.   Give me a look about once a week starting in about a month.

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10.   Do you think that running sprints while wearing a weighted vest and swinging a bat while wearing wrist weights would be beneficial?   Also, I seen an advertisement for weighted gloves to improve arm strength/speed.   What is you opinion?   Someone suggested wearing wrist weights while throwing.   Would this be dangerous?   If throwing while wearing wrist weights is a good idea in your opinion, would you want to throw with maximum effort?

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     The primary principle in the Physiology of Exercise is Specificity.   Specificily means that you become good at what you train to do.   If you want to be the best at running sprints while wearing a weighted vest and so on do them.   But, I doubt that it will help you run faster after you remove the vest.   Just think of the medicine ball analogy.   Within seconds after switching to passing a basketball after passing the medicine ball, the effect of the medicine ball disappears.   The reason is that since the arms no longer require the additional motor units (groups of muscle fibers and the nerve that innervates them), only the motor units required to deal with the reduces work load operate.   I would suggest using time as an overload for high velocity movements rather than the amount of the resistance.

     I would strongly suggest that you do not throw baseballs with weights on your pitching arm.

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11.   I am a physical therapist looking for a continuing education seminar that integrates pitching mechanics with injury prevention and rehabilitation.

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     The best I can offer is my Coaching Pitchers book that is free on my web site and my instructional videotape when I finish it.

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12.   When you say "use time for an overload" are you suggesting that for running sprints at full speed that if you are running 90' sprints now, you should start progressively increasing the distance that you run at full speed?   Also, when training for bat speed just increase the number of swings in each set?   Does the same principle apply for throwing? Increase the number of pitches that he throws at full speed?

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     In my 2002 Section X, I discuss Principles for Designing a Pitcher Training Program.   In my 2002 Chapter 33 of my Coaching Pitchers book, I explain Interval Training.   If you still do not understand after you read these materials, please email me again.   Happy reading.

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13.   How fast was your Maxline and torque fastballs?   Do you know anyone in the metropolitan area DC, Virginia, Maryland area that teaches your technique?

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     When I pitched major league baseball, I did not have my Torque fastball or my Maxline curve.   I have no idea at what velocity I threw my Maxline fastball.   I was only concerned with getting batters out.   Major League baseball would be better served if they threw away their radar guns and went back to signing and advancing pitchers to the Major Leagues who got batters out.

     The only place of which I am aware that teaches my methods is at my Zephyrhills, FL Pitchers Research Center.

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14.   I am a catcher in high school.   I experienced an injury this past fall while catching.   When the game started my thumb was fine, as the game went on, and the coach changed from a right handed pitcher to a left handed pitcher it really got sore.   It would hurt to squeeze the glove.   After awhile I started to get lazy behind the plate.   I called time and took my glove off, and my thumb was black and blue.

     I took myself out and went to the ER.   They took X-rays and said that I just hyper extended it.   They put this like cast thing on and said not to take it off.   It would take about 6 weeks to heal.   I waited about 7 weeks, and then I started getting back into shape for the spring.   When I started to work with pitchers and get back in the grove of playing, it really was sore again.   After ice and some pain reliever, I was fine.   But, I just seems when I catch it really hurts and makes me really mad, because I don't want it to effect me when the season comes around.   So, what kind of stuff should I do or who should I go see about this injury?


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     I teach pitching.   Nevertheless, I have knowledge of the anatomy of the thumb.   The thumb does not have a middle phalange.   The growth plate of the first metacarpal is at the opposite end when compared with the second through fifth metacarpals.   On the anterior surface between the proximal phalange and the distal phalange, the thumb has a sesamoid bone similar to the patella (kneecap) in the knee.

     Black and blue means that you had bleeding.   If you permit the baseball to continually hit your thumb rather than the pocket of your glove, you will injure your thumb.   I have seen catchers loop a tailored and taped sponge over their index finger to protect the distal end of their second metacarpal against bruising, but nothing for the thumb.   Basically, I recommend that you learn how to catch the baseball in the pocket rather than with your thumb.

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15.   Today, my son who is a freshman in high school began the "mandatory" conditioning with all of the prospects that are not involved in a winter sport.

     I explained to the head coach a couple of weeks ago that my son has been training 3 days per week since his Babe Ruth season ended at the end of July.   I informed him that he was throwing, hitting, training for bat speed, fielding and running sprints on each of these days.   I explained that we have been getting improvement in all areas.   I asked him if it would be okay if my son continued with his training vs the group conditioning.   He advised me at that time that the conditioning was mandatory.

     A couple of weeks ago, the coach held a meeting with the kids that are to be involved in this program.   One of the first things he told the kids was that "none of your dad's is smarter than I am".   I'm sure that was directed at me.

     The conditioning program consist of allot of plyrometrics some running and lifting weights 3 days per week.

     My concerns with this program are that (1) if he is making progress with his current program it would be best to continue with what he has been doing.   (2) he will be overtraing and his sport specific training will suffer.   (3) all that this conditioning provides is a basic level of fitness that may benefit the kids that would just be laying around all winter.   (4) that the plyrometrics are dangerous.

     Today, when I picked my son up from the school he advised me that his knees were hurting from all of the jumping.   We have trained all fall and winter without experiencing any pain.   My worst fears have become reality.

     My son is only a freshman and has to prove himself to the coaches.   I am stuck between a rock and a hard place because I know that if I question the coaches program he will be upset and probably take it out on my son.

     I know that I have written alot, but I am trying to give you the whole picture.   I am very frustrated right now and just need some good advice on how I could deal with this situation in a way that will not affect the coaches attitude toward my son.   I really don't care if he likes me or not, but I do not want my son's opportunities being limited.


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     The Boss might not always be right, but he is always the Boss.   The same thing can be said of High School Coaches.   Your son has no alternative but to do what the coach says, or he does not play.   It is not uncommon for someone to become sore from doing any exercise that they have not been doing.   I would not worry about it.   He became sore from jumping, not doing deep knee bends. The only thing that you can do is stay away and let your son take care of himself.   After he graduates high school, your son has control over with what coach he trains.

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16.   I just read another person's theory on pitching.   He says that pushing off the rubber is one on of the most obscure things he has heard and it injures the shoulder.   He believes in tubing and he says weight training can hurt the arm.   It seems people are buying his program like wild fire.   What do you think of this?

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     I never comment on another person.   However, I do comment on theories. Without a strong pushoff the pitching rubber, pitchers cannot satisfy Newton's third law.   Specificity of training tells us that if we want to get good at pulling on rubber tubing, pull rubber tubing.   My pitchers use wrist weights and iron balls to increase their skeletal strength.

     With regard to the public buying his program, this is a free county that accepts the concept of 'let the buyer beware'.   Like everything in life, we have to think for ourselves.   I will never say anything bad about anybody else as I have no insight into their motives, so I assume that they are honorable and believe that everything they say is true and will help youngsters learn how to pitch without injuries.

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17.   My son has been complaining about having an aching back allot after throwing.   I noticed that he is again, crossing over his body (by this I mean that his stride is not towards home plate, his stride foot is contacting the mound to the right of the line towards home plate), could this be causing his back problems and if so how can we correct it?

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     You did not say where the discomfort is.   If it is high, then it is the muscles that decelerate the scapula.   If it is low and to his left side, then it is the muscles that decelerate his trunk rotation.   If it is in low and in the middle, then it is from bending forward.   I do not teach bending forward.   I do teach a Torque technique where pitchers step to the pitching arm side of the driveline, but not too much.   I also teach a Maxline technique where pitchers step to the glove side of the driveline.

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18.   I spoke to my son and he said that it is his lower back.   He said that it feels to be in the middle, so I will watch him throwing and see if he is bending his back.   As far as his stride, I would say that if you marked (on the mound) the spot where your stride foot would land, and be in line with the center of the plate that he is a foot to the right of that point.

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     To determine whether pitchers have 'closed' or 'open' strides, you draw a line from the 'ball' of the rear foot on the pitching rubber perpendicular toward home plate.   If the front foot lands to the pitching arm side of that line, then the pitcher has a 'closed' stride.   If the front foot lands on the glove side of that line, then the pitcher has an 'open' stride.   For my Maxline pitches, I recommend an 'open' stride of not more than three inches from the line.   For my Torque pitches, I recommend a 'closed' stride of not more than three inches from the line.

     If his sore back persists, then he should do my 'knee drop' exercises.   I describe them somewhere in my 2001 Question/Answer section.   He also needs to bring his front foot much closer to driveline for the feet.

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19.   Things are starting to jell in the straight line dept.   The biggest question I get from my college kids is how can you eliminate the circular movement of the trunk without losing power?   I tell them that there is no elimination of circular movement of the trunk.   There is a change from circular horizontal movement of the trunk to a circular vertical movement that fits in with the straight line movement.   Am I in the area on this one or do I need a better explanation?

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     I tell my kids that I love trunk rotation.   What I do not like is reverse trunk rotation.   I tell them that instead of reverse rotation beyond the acromial line pointing to the opposite-sided batter that takes away power to the pitch, I want a powerful forward rotation out front where the trunk rotation adds power to the pitch.

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20.   I am a javelin thrower that tore my ulnar collateral ligament 67% on my right arm.   I have been rehabbing it ever since taking 2 months off of the intense rehab and doing some light rehab while going to school in Europe.   It has now been 13 months since surgery and I still have quite a bit of pain in my right elbow.   How long does it usually take before being able to come back to 100% throwing?   How long should I take before throwing hard?   I am on a rehab program, but I feel like I am not keeping up to it weekly even though I do everything and more.

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     The human body responds to physical stresses that we voluntarily place on it in several ways.

     First, the stress has to be very specific for the response that you desire.   In this case, you want to stimulate the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and adjoining muscles, bone and fascial structures to increase their ability to withstand the stress of throwing a javelin.   This means that you have to precisely replicate that stress.   Bench presses will not do it.   It must be specific.   Because your rehabilitation is taking so long, I question the quality of your program.

     Second, the amount of stress that you apply must exceed your present injured capabilities without further injury.   This is a balancing act.   You must push yourself to the edge of re-injury, but never cross it.   The best way to do this is to start doing the appropriate activity at below your present capability and gently increase the resistance and the repetitions.   It takes a couple of weeks just for the involved physiological systems to get up to speed to start to build to a higher level of capability.

     Third, you have to train daily.   You should always train at the same time of day and never miss a day.   The session does not have to take much time, but it must stimulate a physiological response.   If you take a couple of days off, those systems will start to shut down.   For every day of training that you miss, it will take you one and one-half more days to get back to where you were before you took the day off.   That means that the one day off cost you two and one-half days of progress.   Never miss a day.   Even after you achieve your goal, never miss a day as long as you want to perform at that level.   It takes one-half the resistance and repetitions to maintain, but stop training for a month and you will have lost 100% of the micro-anatomical advantages that you trained to gain.

     Lastly, you injured yourself because you placed more stress on this part of the body than it could withstand.   Either you used improper force application technique or you were inadequately trained.   Before you return to throwing javelin, you need to carefully analyze your technique.

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21.   As the father of a young pitcher (just turning 12) who has pitched competitively for two years, I would appreciate your advice on his training regimen.

     Prior to his pitching competitively I researched methods to strengthen the rotator cuff and all other shoulder, arm and torso muscles stressed during the act of throwing a baseball.   As a result of that research (which included discussions with sports medicine professionals), we designed a program utilizing a comprehensive streching routine, light weights (2 to 5 lbs.), surgical tubing and medicine balls to tone and strengthen the following muscles and muscle groups: the subscapularis, the infraspinatus and teres minor, the major and minor rhomboids, the posterior deltoid, the anterior deltoid, the supraspinatus, the latissismus dorsi, the lower trapezius, the triceps, the biceps brachii and brachialis, the pectoralis muscle group, and the wrist flexors and extensors.   These pitching specific exercises are performed twice a week, one set only and from 10 to 15 repetitions each.

     These exercises are supplemented with core abdominal and leg strengthening exercises.   My son is also a competitive ice hockey player and as such has extremely strong legs for his age.   The motivation behind the development of this regimen was injury prevention and not performance enhancement.   To date my son has remained injury free without so much as a twinge in his shoulder or throwing arm in spite of throwing over 90 pitches during several games.

     In "Strength Training for Young Athletes" Kramer & Fleck, 1993, a number of citations are made to scientific research showing that "resistance exercise can be the most potent exercise stimulus for bone growth and develoment." (pg. 11)

     I realize that you do not approve of young athletes (under age 16) pitching competitively.   I also realize that you not only have the scientific training to advise on this issue but that you have also experienced first hand the stresses and strains of pitching competitively at the highest level.   My questions to you are these; Am I doing the right thing in increasing my son's strength and flexibility in regards to the muscle groups utilized in pitching while at the same time still allowing him to pitch competitively (something he loves to do)?   Are we not able to compensate somewhat for skeletal immaturity with a specific and complete set of strengthening and stretching exercises?


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     I have answered every question that you have asked in my Coaching Pitchers book.   Please take the time to read it so I do not have to write it again just for you.

     I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen and, then, only one inning per game.   My soon-to-be-released videotape will show you what.

     The exercises that you mention have nothing to do with pitching and will not help him prevent injury even if he did not have an immature skeleton with which to work.

     Nothing can compensate for an immature skeleton.   You will have to wait until his skeleton is mature before it can withstand the stress of pitching and the training program that will strengthen it.   However, your training program will cause the growth plates to close prematurely and permanently alter the growth potential of the effected bone shafts and ossification centers.

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22.   What do your studies find that stride length is equal to your inseam length plus your foot size.   Example 32" inseam 12" foot = 44" stride.   This measurement can be used to check a pitchers delivery after a game or bullpen.   If stride length is over or under measurement proper rotation is not occurring.   Which can give feedback to adjust delivery.   Adjustments vary with individuals checkpoints.

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     I teach pitchers to step, not stride forward.   Like walking, they must be able to move their body ahead of their front foot.   If they step too far to comfortably move their body ahead of their front foot, then they stepped too far.   They try various step lengths starting from obviously too short and increasing by small amounts until they find the step length that works for them.   You might be correct that we could quantify it and if I find myself short of something to do one day, I might look into it.   Let's see.   If I set up my digital camcorder perpendicular to where I would expect them to step and thirty feet away to minimize parallax error.   Hum.

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23.   Thank you for your frank and prompt reply.   You have prevented me from continuing to make well meaning, but misinformed mistakes with my son's skeletal health.   I apologize for not having read your book carefully enough.   It is a rather challenging work.   But I intend review it thoroughly and educate myself, in regards to kinesiology, as well as I can so as to get the most out of your writing.   Your research and conclusions are light years ahead of conventional baseball wisdom and challenge parents such as myself to completely rethink our approach to the sport of baseball and the development of young pitchers.   I will certainly acquire your video as soon as it becomes available.   I am sure it will make it easier for non-professionals such as myself to understand and correctly apply the important technical aspects of your work.

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     Thank you and it will be worth your effort.   Together, we will make sure that your son gets everything positive out of baseball that he can without destroying his pitching arm.

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24.   After seeing your program in operation, I told our strength coach about what I saw and how your guys threw for 280 consecutive days in conjunction with wrist weights and the iron ball.   His question was when do they rest to let the muscle rebuild?   My question is after a college and summer season how much rest if any do pitchers need?

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     Rest causes muscle atrophy, not hypertrophy.   Pitchers have to build the bones, tendon attachments to bone, ligament, connective tissue and muscle to withstand the forces that the want to generate and never permit it to atrophy.   My pitchers train with my wrist weight and iron ball exercises for one hundred and eighty-two days to get to the level of strength that I feel injury-proofs them.   After they achieve that level, they cannot permit it to decline.

     One month without training will completely remove all of the micro-anatomical adjustments that the body made to achieve that level of performance.   Therefore, they must continue to train daily at a maintenance level.   Maintenance requires much less effort, but it must be daily.   I require one-half of the resistance with one-half of the repetitions, but at near full intensity.   My wrist weight exercises at maintenance level takes about five minutes.   My iron ball exercises at maintenance level requires about ten minutes.   My baseball exercises at maintenance level requires about fifteen minutes.   They can spend thirty minutes per day to keep their high level of training.   I did it from 1967 through 1997 without any adverse effects and with a great deal of joy.

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25.   Does it make sense that warming up with a weighted bat will increase bat speed?   When my son does his batspeed training in the garage he uses a weight on his bat to warm up because he doesn't have as much room to do the warmup that he does in the gym.   I've noticed that his batspeed in the garage is higher than when he is in the gym.   Is it possible that the weight is the difference?   I'm not implying that we should use weight when training, just when warming up.

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     Warm-up refers to increasing the blood flow to the muscles someone is about to use more rigorously.   Rehearsing the proper motor unit firing sequence for the activity someone is about to perform prepares the specific musculature.   Combining the two makes sense.   He should take a minute or two between this warm-up activity and the competitive activity to permit blood to permeate.

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26.   What kind of throwing would you suggest a college pitcher do the day after he threw approximately 100 pitches in a game?

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     After pitching a game, pitchers need to eliminate the waste products and start resupplying the nutrients for the fast-twitch glycolytic muscle fibers.   I recommend that pitchers take their pitching arm for a gentle jog shortly after they finish pitching, that is, do a bucket of taper-down throws.   That night, I recommend that pitchers carbohydrate load.   The next day, I recommend that pitchers stimulate these muscles strongly and carbohydrate load again.   The next day, I recommend that pitchers do a blood flow intensity workout and continue to carbohydrate load.

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27.   What is the ETA on the video?

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     After several months of ten hours of work per day, we are at the end stage.   We have all of the video in, we have all of the graphics in and we have all of the dialogue in.   My videographer only needs to lay some music tracks where appropriate and combine the two halves.   I do not have the specifics of length, but it is about an hour and fifteen minutes long with over 450 scenes and 200 graphics.   I have my fingerprint on every frame, so it says shows and says what I want it to say.

     I will announce it first on my web site.   Look for an Instructional Videotape on which to click with the specifics.   Of course, I still have to have high-quality copies made and get the side and spine labels, sleeves and mailing envelopes, but I expect it will be within a week.

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28.   My son is 11 years old lefty and works consistently with pitching and has had much success to this point.   For the last couple of off seasons he has worked with minor league and one former major league pitcher.

     They all teach him that when he lands, his trunk and hips open in an explosion of power and PULL his foot off the rubber just before the ball is released.   You are one of the best pitchers ever and I believe I understand that you instruct to PUSH off the rubber on landing and rotation.

     Is it just two different schools of thought?


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     I worry more about your statement that an eleven year old works constantly with pitching than with the incorrect technique they are teaching him.   Even with perfect technique, that much pitching will destroy his pitching arm.   Keep him to two months per year until his growth plates mature.   Do not permit him to pitch in games until he is thirteen years old.   Do not permit him to pitch more than one inning per game.

     For fear that he will train harder, I do not want to give you the correct technique for how to use the rear leg in the pitching motion.   However, Newton's law of reaction gives us the answer.   For every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.   This means that if he want to apply more force toward home plate, he needs to apply more force toward second base.   I carefully explain how to do this in my Coaching Pitchers book and I demonstrate how I recommend how to do this in my Instructional Videotape which should be ready in about a week.

     Protect your son!

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29.   You suggested that pitchers " stimulate these muscles strongly" the day after pitching and the next day "do a blood flow intensity workout".   Specifically,what do you mean?   Your in season maintenance program, throwing, or both?   What kind of throwing?

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     'Stimulate these muscles strongly' means not at full-intensity training level, but close.   'Do a blood flow intensity workout' means just get the blood flowing, but without much stress.

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30.   Assume home plate is north.   You say to grip Magnus fastballs, pitchers place the distal phalanges of their 2nd and 3rd digits vertically across the middle of a big loop.   This seems clear.   Distal phalanges both point north, the top of the 8 on the big loop stitches point west, correct?   The seams to the east side of the baseball are close together and my fourth digit is on or below the bottom of the narrow seam.   Correct?

     To grip Magnus curves, pitchers lay their 2nd and 3rd digits diagonally across the narrow seams of baseballs.   Are the narrow seems laying east west or north-south?   Are my fingers diagonally pointing NE-SW or NW-SE?

     To grip Magnus screwballs, pitchers lay their 3rd digits diagonally across the narrow seams of baseballs.   Same questions about the direction of the seam.

     Any other clarification you can give on the proper grip would be appreciated.


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     You must have a very early version of my Coaching Pitchers book, I have changed some terminology.   I think the best answer is to wait for my Instructional Videotape.   I take considerable time and care to precisely demonstrate grips and releases.   I hope that you will like it.   Give us a couple of days for last minute alterations and a few more days to get the videotapes copied and we will be ready to ship.

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31.   First of all I'd like to compliment you on the content of your website.   It's quite unusual to find information that is scientific and credibly delivered by a former professional athlete.   Usually athletes and coaches oversimplify and scientists tend to present information in such a way that it is hard to apply to real life.   Your information is extremely useful to those of us who are willing to spend some time understanding it.

     With that said, I have a basic question about the shoulder motion during throwing.   I had surgery to repair damage to my teres minor(according to the doc) while I was a junior in high school.   I had played tennis and baseball, but the injury mainly resulted from serving in tennis.   After the surgery, I served underhand all spring and was never able to hit balls over my head or throw a ball.   I'm now 26(ten years later) and I can't throw a football or baseball more than threee times without extreme pain in the rear of the shoulder socket.   I'm sure my technique was always bad since I've never really learned to generate power with my core muscles, and I've never properly pivoted.

     I've had x-rays and everything shows up negative in the shoulder, so I'm convinced that I am letting my arm get way behind me and so bad technique is causing the pain.   I've seen your recommendation of how to exercise the bones and ligaments that support throwing, but I'm not sure how to teach my body to turn so that my arm stays in front and I can maintain the vertical forearm you discuss. How would go about reintroducing throwing if you had gone 10 years without it and you had to learn all over?   I'd like to be able to play catch with my son.


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     I have trained tennis players with my Maxline Fastball, Torque Fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve wrist weight exercises.   The problem with the discomfort in the back of your glenoid fossa relates to taking your elbow and your tennis racquet behind your acromial line.   With regard to reintroducing throwing, I recommend that you purchase my instructional videotape.   Give me a week and it should be ready for shipping.

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32.   My 13 year-old brother wants to become a major leauge pitcher.   Although I think it isn't likly that he will be one, I want him to have every chance that he can get.   He never has played on any baseball team, and has never had any instruction by anybody except himself.   I need some help on how to train him, so he is at least good enough to go on a baseball team this summer.   I have read some books but I have no idea what to do.

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     ote my Coaching Pitchers book for just this situation.   I am also near finishing an instructional videotape to accompany my book.   If you download my book for free and purchase my videotape and train as I recommend, then you will find out how good you and/or your brother can be.

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33.   My son is eight years old and his beginning his first year of Little league.   I came across your website and book this week and have begun reading.   There is a lot there.   I am concerned about my son's health in regards to all sports not just pitching.

     After reading some of the chapters I came across your encouragement to not allow our chldren to pitch until they are 13 and then only allow them to pitch one inning.   I believe what you say is true, but how would anyone ever field a team if each pitcher were to only pitch one inning(is there a difference between 1 three out inning and an inning that is 25 or more pitches), just curious.

     I am going to coach my son's team and having the knowledge I now have from you.   I will not allow him to pitch, but my team is in a player pitch league.   How do I allow other children to pitch when I will not allow my own?

     Also, what is the difference between throwing 20-30 balls from SS to first as opposed to pitching.   You might have covered this in your book, but as you know it is lengthy and I am still reading.


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     I have carefully laid out my rules for Youth Baseball in Chapter 12.   I am far more concerned that we do not deform the skeletons of youth pitchers than I am with conforming to some arbitrary set of rules.   You have answered your own question in your third paragraph.   And, there is a difference between throwing from a position and pitching, but even position players suffer from premature growth plate closure.

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34.   Ted Williams said most good hitters are "self taught."   I have always just accepted that to mean, in one way or another, most good hitters have been blessed with enormous talent.

     So, I have been reading some about "ballistic overload training" for both hitters and pitchers.   Pitchers throw heavy and light balls to increase arm strength and speed; hitters do the same with weighted bats.   The theory, as you may know, goes something like this:   The body will train itself to make the mechanical adjustments as well as develop the needed muscle strength when "stressed" to perform.

     So, it is theorized, that you teach an athlete basic mechanics of a given activity and let the athlete teach himself the relatively minor, sometimes imperceptible, adjustments needed to perform under the stress of overload training.   By doing this the athlete, sometimes without even knowing it, will make adjustments to perform better.

     Does this make sense to you? is it consistent with your theory of training pitchers?


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     Some athletes do have strong proprioceptive awareness that enables them to 'feel' the proper way to apply force.   But usually, some well-meaning coach comes along and tells them that what they are doing is wrong and overwhelms that proprioceptive gift.   But, most youngsters do not naturally gravitate to the proper way to apply force, whether for hitting or pitching.

     I have answered your question about the 8, 10 and 12 ounce weighted baseballs thoroughly and frequently.   I am strongly against it.

     I have found that whatever 'feels' unnatural today, after a week of practice will 'feel' very natural.   I designed my force application based on the applicable laws of Physics and the reality of human Applied Anatomy.   The fact that my pitchers can throw almost 150 pitches a day, at full intensity, everyday, for 280 days without any discomfort demonstrates that my pitching motion is a natural and appropriate use of the muscles directly related to the pitching arm.   Of course, my major league record for appearances and relief innings pitched is evidence that how I applied force worked.   But, now that dozens of pitchers that I train have the resiliency that I had does support the notion.

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35.   I'm 16 years old and a sophomore in high school.   I plan on playing baseball this spring, just like every spring and I was curious on what you thought were some good lifts I could do to help me out during my Physical Conditioning Class.   The season won't get going for another month, and I want to be as ready as possible.   And, could you give me some in-season lifts I can do to keep my strength?

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     In Chapter 32 of my Coaching Pitchers book, I take considerable time to explain the importance of Specificity of Training.   Lifting weights will only make you better at lifting weights.   If you want to train for pitching, you need weight training that is specific to pitching.   I have spent thirty-six years developing my Pitcher Training Program.   It is in Section XI of my book.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book that will be available in about a week.   Watch my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com for the Instructional Videotape icon to appear on my home page.

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36.   I have enjoyed reading your book.   Although I admit, it's quite a tough read.

     Anyway, I'm a senior in High School, a little south of you in Englewood, FL.   I'm having a very difficult time with the curve ball, and I was wondering what is your opinion on the theory of shortening the stride leg for breaking pitches?   It seems to me, that it will do nothing but cause your arm to be late.


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     The key to a quality, injury-free curve does not lie in the length of the step of your front foot, it lies in the pitching arm action.   You need to 'pronate' your forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release and keep your elbow at shoulder height and do not pull your upper arm across your body.   If you did not understand this explanation due to the technical nature of the words, you can give me a few days to complete the Instructional Videotape that I am making to accompany the words in my Coaching Pitchers book.

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37.   I am an athletic trainer in a norther state and I have recently moved to an area that is very big on baseball.   I work with high school athletes, American Legion, and youth baseball programs.   I have coached baseball at the high school level in the past and have a goal to help the youth and high school players in my area prevent injury and improve performance.   I have only recently started to go through your books and have found them to be fascinating especially after viewing many other theories that are out there.

     I was wondering if there are any little leagues that have adopted your recommendations for youth baseball.   My second question is if you feel that little leagues are edging toward your recommendations by adopting limits on innings pitched per game or week or if this even has any benefit to their young arms.

     Would you agree with the statement that in regards to the throwing motion, any flaw in mechanics, from the feet to the head, will cause harm to the weakest link which in the throwing motion is the shoulder and elbow joints.

     Thank you for providing an outlet for pitching information that is based on true scientific principles.


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     We share the same goals.   I know of nobody that has adopted my Youth Baseball rules.   I have no idea what Little League Baseball, Inc. is doing or on what they base their rule adjustments.   Perhaps it is the thousands of twelve year old arms that pitching destroys every year.   But, they don't tell us about the number of Little League batters that die every year from being hit by pitched baseballs.

     Any flaw in the mechanics of any human movement when pushed to the physiological limits of the effected system will harm the weakest link.

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38.   I am dealing with a pitching coach who has the attitude of "just throw the ball".   We both agree on what I need to do to get my curve ball where it needs to be, however, when I ask him "How do I get there? How do I accomplish that?", he has no idea, and blurts out "Just keep practicing".   Well that's all well and good, but if I'm practicing incorrectly, it's not going to do any good.

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     I understand your frustration and I also understand his answer.   He does not know how to teach you to throw a curve.   I did not know how until eight years after my professional baseball career and it took me another thirteen years to learn how to teach others how to throw a curve.

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39.   I have read different books about pitching.   All authors agree that young pitchers, example 13 yr., must include a routine, light weight (2-5 lb).   I believe that professionals do they best to write the books.   But one thing is have been player or former in major league baseball and other thing is Science.   I only believe in Science not in empirical studies as is the case of authors of those books.   The point is that my 13 yr. soon have been working under the plan of weight light.   What do you think?

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     As my Coaching Pitchers book and my soon-to-be-release accompanying Instructional Videotape say and demonstrate, I do not want adolescent pitchers doing any weight training that will cause the premature closure of their growth plates or worse.   At thirteen years old, every growth plate in their pitching elbow is wide open and in a state of rapid skeletal growth and development.   More than two months per year of pitching is more stress than these growth plates can withstand.

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40.   For a right handed pitcher when the stride foot is planted should it point at a 45 degree angle towards third base as is recommended by several sites.   This would seem to exclude a heel to toe landing and would also seem to keep the hips closed during the follow through while the back foot is pushing off the pitching rubber, causing the pitcher to fall to the right.   Or should the stride foot land, heel to toe, pointing toward the target (home plate).   I can see where keeping the stride foot pointing toward third base while stepping off the mound will prevent the hips from opening prematurely, but once you are landing it should be heel to toe pointed at home plate?

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     If I said somewhere that pitchers should step forward with their front foot such that it is at a forty-five degree angle to the driveline toward home plate, please disregard that statement.   Better yet, please tell me the Chapter and paragraph and I will immediately change it.   What I say is that pitchers should step forward with their front foot as though they are walking and move their body ahead of their front foot.   I think that the foot has to be at least pointed toward home plate or more open to permit the forward movement of the body and the pivot that enables them to push back toward second base.

     Because I want the body to forward rotate a full one hundred and eighty degrees, I certainly would not want the hips to remain closed.   In fact, I want them to never close and to open as quickly as possible.

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41.   I'm having difficulty understanding exactly how to implement the training that you teach in your book.   In chapter 32 concerning ballistic training (swinging a bat), you discuss the overload principle.   You state that the athlete should gradually increase the resistance.   Also, you discuss the 20 percent principle.

     My specific questions are:
1.   How much weight should you increase in each stage?
2.   Do you move on to the next stage (weight) when your average speed meets the previous weights average speed?
3.   Does the 20 percent principle mean that 20 percent of the training should be with the weighted bat and 80% with the normal bat?
4.   You state that you should train daily.   Should you train with both the weighted bat and the normal bat everyday?
5.   During a training session, should you train with the normal bat first and end with the weighted bat? I have read where it was advised to start with the normal weight, go to the weighted bat and finish with the normal.
6. Is 100 swings per day at maximal effort too much or does it depend on the individual?

     What do you suggest?


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     I teach pitching.   I recall answering a general question about training that someone related to batting, but I do not have a training program for hitting.   With regard to my Pitchers Training Program, my Instructional Videotape is almost ready that shows what we do.   I am also offering copies of my 280 training program that tells what pitchers should do, what number of repetitions of what amount of weight, every day for the 280 days.

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42.   It's the time of year when we start getting ready for summer ball again. Why do I have a few parents/coaches every year that want to showcase the better players at various ages and send them to a higher level of play vs. other communities doing the same? (travel team baseball).

     This year again it seems to be the parents of 13-16 year olds mostly who want to play higher level ball where the better players play the better players and the lesser skilled players are left with only today's leftovers.   Of course they're left with no quality coaches either because the better coaches are the fathers of the better players.   I have been discouraging this for years but every year we hear from the folks who think better ball players play more games, pitch more innings, and completely forget about the kids that are not as skilled as their own.

     What do we tell these people?   Or is it simply selfish adults trying to live their dream through their children?   As you state in chapter 12, "Adults care about winning, kids want to play."   We've been successful so far at keeping all of the kids going, but I sure wish there was a way to make the selfish people pay attention to development instead of winning.


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     Parents mistake accelerated biological maturation for talent.   They do not realize that the physical advantages that these youngsters have will disappear within a couple of years and they will be left without skills and with no physical advantages.   They need to learn how to assess the biological age of their sons and properly guide their sons through what will be a very trying time in their lives.   Giving them a false impression of their athletic abilities at 13-15 years old is not the way.

     In Chapter 12 of my Coaching Pitchers book, I provide my recommendations for Youth Baseball.   If the misguided parents will not follow, then take the parents of the equated and delayed biological maturity and form leagues that follow my rules.   They will all play, they will learn the skills and they will have fun.

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43.   I'd like more information about enrolling in your training program.   Is it filled for the session beginning August 2002?   How much deposit do you require?   Do most or all of your students complete the entire course?   Do your students play ball at local Junior Colleges?

     My son graduated from high school last June.   He is currently rehabbing from "Tommy John" surgery.   He had some scholarship offers but now he is "out of the loop".   He expects to be ready to pitch this summer and is trying to plan for the next school year.   It sounds like your instruction would require taking another year off from school baseball.   Perhaps your instruction is a better option than playing college ball next year.   I wish the correct choice was more obvious.


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     Thank you for your interest in my 2002-2003 forty week training session.   I only accept twelve young men.   They must have at least two years of college eligibility remaining and be in good academic standing.   They must throw 85 mph and higher.   They must be highly motivated to work hard for 280 consecutive days.   They must get a job and/or attend junior college classes.   They must take good care of my facilities.

     We are about one-half full for next year.   I must interview with each young man before I discuss how they can reserve a spot.   I prefer that they and their parents visit my Pitcher Training Center.   The only persons who have not finished the entire course are the few who mistake my kindness for softness and do not behave as I require.   I strongly encourage my students to take part in May tryouts at all local Junior Colleges.   If I did not believe that one year with me is a better option than playing college ball, I would not offer the choice.

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44.   I have taken a job at a local high school as a pitching coach.   I am having some problems with some of the parents and I am hoping you will be able to assist me.   Some parents are having problems with your pronation theory, that is, pronation finish on the maxline fastball, curveball, slider, and sinker.   These parents object to me using these methods because they fear it will injure their children.   I was wondering if you might be able to provide me with a better medical explanation on how the pronation finish will not injure their arms.

     I have referred some of them to your site for answers but they seem uninterested in taking the time to read the information or ask you any questions.   I have found myself in a tough position; I am trying to teach these young men so that they are their best and at the same time trying not to please the parents, but to keep them at bay.


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     I have finished my instructional videotape.   Tell them that they can buy a copy.   Give them my web site address and tell them to click on my Instructional Videotape icon.   I believe that my Maxline Pronation Curve explanation will show that any other way of throwing a curve is dangerous.   This experience shows you why most high school coaches tell the kids that they will do what they say or they can get off the team.   I advise parents to stay out of their kid's way.

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45.   Sorry if you thought that I was saying that you advocated landing with the stride foot at an angle towards the third base line, but rather that others were.   So I'd thought I'd check with you for your professional opinion as I have always taught my son when planting his stride foot to point his toe directly at home and then land heel/toe.

     This landing flat footed or on the ball and instep of the foot with the foot towards the third base line and not centerline towards home seems to be commonly taught as I've been exposed to it over the last 9 years and have always resisted.   In fact, my 16 year old son is now taking pitching lessons and the pitching instructor (this is a national chain) is insisting that my son land this way otherwise he says he will lose 3-4 MPH and accuracy.   They need additional training time in order to correct his poor landing mechanics, before results will show.

     After three lessons my son's pitches are now high and inside and when he does get one over he is throwing across his body. His lead foot is also drifting away from the centerline towards the third base line complicating the problem of throwing across the body.   The other night during warm ups, from 30 feet, my son was throwing to the instructor and landing heel/toe with his foot pointed directly at the instructor when the instructor stopped him and said he wasn't throwing correctly and wanted him to practice a closed landing even during warm ups.   The instructor does throw this way and said he did so in college ball.

     I stopped the instructor and questioned this landing technique.   I asked him how my son can follow through if his hips are closed.   The instructor told me "pitching is like hitting and that you don't see a hitter pointing his foot towards the mound in order to produce power through the hitting zone; its kept in a closed position".   I feel that a hitter doesn't have to take that additional step towards the mound to follow through.   Plus, a hitter usually tries to make peak contact just in front of the plate, while a pitcher is trying to extend his release point as far as possible to gain that 1 or 2 extra feet in speed.

     My son wants to give landing with a closed foot a chance.   He's confused.   Who should he believe, his dad who never played organized baseball after he was twelve (a causality of little league pitching) or these "so called" experts?


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     Pitching is not like hitting.   With the lack of scientific knowledge displayed by that answer, you should have known to leave immediately.

     If you want to get it right, my instructional videotape is ready.   Go to my web site and click on my Instructional Videotape icon.

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46.   This is the moment I have been waiting for.   I am going to send you my check tomorrow!   But, who would you like me to write the check out to?  I can't wait to get the tape!!

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     Thank you for your interest.   Please make the check out to Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Service or to me.

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47.   My 16 year old son had Tommy John surgery 13 months ago.   He began throwing 2 months ago.   He recovered with mild pain and then no pain at all in the elbow.   His velocity and control are both very good.   Two weeks ago after a 4 inning (45 pitch) outing, his elbow began to hurt (like it did before surgery).   He did not tell us or his coach.   Last week, he threw 2 innings and the pain intensified (finally today he told us and his coach).   He also cannot full extend his arm, maybe 95% of normal range of motion.

     He followed his doctor's instructions for getting back into throwing shape and he goes to physical therapy 1-2 times a week.   We will see his doctor as soon as we can get an appointment.   But, I thought I'd ask if it is normal (whatever normal might mean) for a pitcher to experience similar pain post surgery as he experienced before surgery.   By the way, his ligament was not 100% torn before the surgery.


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     I am floored with thirteen years old pitchers needing to repair ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.   I can't blame the kids, kids do not know any better.   I can't blame the coaches, they are blinded by the personal glory that they seek.   Parents have to take charge.

     Now, you want to rush this kid back into pitching.   You don't know why it happened in the first place, but here you go again.   What are you seeking?   Your son and most kids have terrible pitching technique.   They have forearm flyout.   They have forearm drag behind the acromial line.   They have reverse forearm bounce.   They have forearm loop.   They have elbow pull.   They have elbow drop.   They have immature elbow skeletons that cannot withstand the stress of pitching.

     This kid should wait until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle fully matures at around sixteen years old.   Take him swimming.   Take him camping.   Teach him soccer.   Do anything but permit him to throw anything.

     He already has sustained irreparable damage to his pitching arm.   Try not to permanently deform it any more than you have.   He will have plenty of time after his skeleton matures to become all the pitcher that he can be.   But, I cannot help someone with premature closure of the growth plates of the elbow that results in stunted growth and development.

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48.   I have read your book and even printed out a large portion of it, and while pictures would be nice and a video would be even better, I cannot justify spending $100 on it.   I was expecting maybe $50 at most.

     I realize you are not doing this to make money, and that you are probably just hoping to cover your own production expenses, but I believe you should rethink your sale price.   I admire you both as a great pitcher and as someone who is trying to show people how to pitch injury-free, and I think that young pitchers would benefit greatly from your video, but only the "rich kids" are ever going to see your video.

     I organize and coach a little league program in a small town, where most of the kids are from rural areas and cannot afford the video at that price.   I have been trying to teach pitchers according to your book, and it has been difficult to say the least without photos or video.   Since my coaching position is voluntary, I cannot purchase your video.   I think you would sell a lot more copies, and therefore show a lot more kids correct pitching techniques with a lower price.


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     I have spent the past thirty-five years of my life preparing for my Coaching Pitchers book and this Instructional Videotape.   I spent tens of thousands of dollars on 500 frames per second pin-registered cameras, stop action film analyzers, high speed film and three-chip digital camcorders.   Check with you local videographer, but they do not give studio time away and I used about three hundred hours to give you the best product I could.

     You are getting the book for free and you are getting advise for free.   I also wish everything else in the world were free.   I suppose that you work for free and use public transportation.

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49.   I am eager to get my copy.   I will get a money order made and send it to you.   I am curious about how you could cover all of the material in your book in only one hour.   I am hoping that the tape details the wind up, and delivery, from downward forward head pat position through release, the grips and release for every pitch and all of the other good stuff you cover in your book.

     Does the $100 covers shipping, handling etc?   I am dying to get it this week because I have an insane schedule next week and really want to view the tape ASAP.   Any way to expedite a copy?


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     I talk fast.   Actually, I leave people to read the book for the materials for which they do not require pictures.   I hate that $99.95 plus shipping and handling stuff.   For USA customers, it is a flat $100.00.   I will pay the postage.   However, it is media mail postage.   It will take a little longer than first class or overnight, but it will get there.

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50.   Last year, during JV baseball, my 16 year old son played 18 games.   Tryouts started March 1st, followed by a summer baseball schedule of 35 games through the end of July.   He played third base and pitcher.   He had no arm problems or back problems through the end of July.   Three days after the end of summer ball, while on vacation playing catch at Myrtle Beach on 8/1/01, he developed severe lower back pain.   He tried playing catch the next day and quit after a few throws.

     He then went into soccer mode, went to a soccer camp and then through soccer tryouts and made the varsity soccer team.   He played in the first few games with minimal complaints, some pain when doing headers or twisting, but according to my son the discomfort was minimal.   At the beginning of September the American Legion coach called and asked if he would play on the fall baseball team.   Their first games were a labor day weekend showcase, more than a month after he had last tried to throw.   As he hadn't played baseball in a month I took him to the batting cages and after a few swings he stopped as the pain was too much.   When he got to the showcase the coach had him warming up to pitch, but he told the coach he couldn't throw as it hurt to much.   He stopped playing fall baseball.

     I took him to the doctor and eventually we had bone scans done which showed a bilateral fracture of the pedicles of L5.   He was advised to terminate all sports, which he did, and he spent over three months in a back brace, which was finally removed on 01/27/02.   The doctor mentioned that this is seen in pre-pubescent female gymnast, but was unusual for a 16 year old baseball player.   My son, who is 5'8", 130 Lbs., spent a lot of time at the end of summer ball doing 250'+ long ball tosses.   He was out-throwing a lot of guys who are much bigger than him.   I was uncomfortable with this as I thought it was putting too much stress on him, but he never had any complaints.   I think that the catch he was playing on the beach was only the straw that broke the camels back.

     The doctor has advised that he will have permanent problems which will affect him later in life and that he should avoid any occupation that involves heavy lifting, such as construction.   My son is now in participating in baseball clinics and lessons and is concerned about his back as the doctor told him that any re-injury would probably end his career, although they said it is OK to return to sports without restriction.   Do you have any idea why this happened, was long toss a problem, what activities should he avoid, and what exercises should he do to strengthen the area to prevent its re-occurrence.


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     I understand that the vertebrae are one of the last bones to skeletally mature.   I have no information on the location or date of maturation of growth plate in the vertebrae.   Perhaps you could find research into the skeletal maturation of vertebrae.   Off-hand, I would imagine that the spinous and transverse processes have growth plates, but I do not know.   If this is true, your son may have placed more stress on one of these growth plate than it could withstand.   The fifth lumbar vertebrae receives a lot of stress with rotational activities.   The combination could be the cause.   Your son's height and weight indicates that he might be a delayed biological maturer.   However, his arm strength indicates that he is an accelerated biological maturer.   At sixteen years old, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle should be closed.

     If it is a growth plate problem, then when the growth plate matures, the problem goes away.   If it is a defect in the fifth lumbar vertebrae, then who knows.   However, unless the vertebrae had direct contact with nerves that exit the spinal column at that level, I doubt that a re-injury would end his ability to rotate his upper body.

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51.   In a response to a recent question about post-game arm care you recommended doing a " bucket of taper-down throws" in addition to a " carbohydrate load", etc.   Would you suggest the same routine for a female softball pitcher?

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     Whenever athletes perform above aerobic levels for extended periods of time, I recommend a taper-down shortly after the activity and a high complex carbohydrate diet after.

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52.   I have a question about bending at the waist in pitching.   The old fellows used to express that the waist should be bent backward toward second base as the body moves toward the plate and most pitchers seem to follow through forward and downward with the waist bending forward or "crunching".   You do not support either of these actions so could you state the lack of benefit from some form of forward waist bending that might occur as the body moves toward the plate, the upper torso unwinds with the throwing shoulder moving toward the plate (bringing the upper arm forward with it), and the forearm extending toward the plate.   It seems to me that the contraction of abdominal muscles curving the back forward has the potential to accelerate the entire shoulder-arm group forward thus adding to total velocity at release.

     Thank you very much, let a needed revolution in baseball continue, the kids need a break from the adults!


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     When pitchers 'bend their back', they decrease the distance over which they can apply force, they decrease the force that they can apply, they decrease their release height, they decrease their release height consistency, they protect their pitching arm against elbow drop injury and they decrease the force application of their forearm acceleration through release.

     Pitchers primarily bend their back when they have their front foot ahead of their body.   Without the ability to push against their front foot, they could not 'crunch' their abdomen against the thigh of their front leg.   This decreases the distance over which they apply force.

     Using the front leg as a brake permits pitchers to bend forward, not abdominal muscle contraction.   The Rectus Abdominus around the linea alba is all they have to 'pull' the thorax forward.   They have no hip rotation.   They have no trunk rotation.   They have no shoulder rotation.   It should be obvious that rotation is much more powerful.   I could list the muscles if you want, but even the oblique abdominals help rotation, that do not help trunk flexion.

     When pitchers bend, six foot tall pitchers become five foot tall pitchers.   Bending the rear leg also contributes to lowering the release height.   When pitchers stand tall and rotate and keep their shoulders level, they release their pitches at high as their height permits.

     When pitchers stand tall and rotate, they always release their pitches at the same height.   They greatly increase their 'vertical hold.'   The spin axis of their pitches determine where their pitches cross home plate, not fatigue.

     When pitchers bend, they drop their elbow.   Dropping the elbow places unnecessary stress on the elbow.

     Dropping the elbow also minimizes the ability of the forearm to act independent of the upper arm.   Pitchers become whole arm pitchers rather than sequential upper arm acceleration follow with forearm acceleration through release.

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53.   The summer after sophomore year I stopped playing summer ball early because I would get swelling and a slight shooting pain in between the two bones in my arm.   I was told I strained my medial collateral and that rest and some rehab would fix it.   I rested for about 4 months doing theraband rehab during that time.   After the four months I started throwing working my way back and pitched all of my junior year with no problems whatsoever.   I went on and played in the summer after my junior year where I had to stop my season short again because of soreness in my elbow.   This time the pain was much worse than the summer before, and I would swell and get a slight clicking noise when I moved my elbow, the clicking was very stressful and was followed by immediate relief after the click.   Tasks such as drying my hair off after showering and reaching for items across a table became painful in my elbow.   So I stopped and took another 5 months off with rehab.

     Our spring season is here now and the results were not the same as last year.   I actually threw off the mound today and was able to throw with same velocity and accuracy but felt pain in between my two bones in my elbow, this is my senior year and so taking time off to rest is tough seeing as there is only about 5 months left till I graduate.

     I was wondering if there were any things other than the theraband that I could do to help this.   I also have been trying to build the muscles around the elbow in order to help take some stress off it.   Like you mention in one of your articles my elbow soreness is from a pitching mechanic flaw that I have had and tried to fix, also I throw a slider which tends to put a lot of torque on my arm as well.

     I have seen many doctors and all tell me that it is a little stretched but that I haven't lost any strength, and so I don't know that if maybe the ulnar nerve is what is causing the real pain, and it is not my medial collateral at all.   If this was the case I could continue through the pain if it wasn't career threatening.

     I had aspirations of going in the draft this year, or getting signed as a free agent, and so I don't know if I would be better to get surgery now, or even if I am a candidate for this surgery.   They have not been able to tell me all that much here at school other than to heat it up and stretch it, and then ice it after practice which I have been doing regularly.

     So basically I was wondering if there was anything you know of that would help my arm for the coming season that I would like to pitch in.   I know I have been very vague and I apologize, but its because I don't know much about this.


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     You experience pain because your pitching motion places unnecessary stress on your arm and you have never properly trained your arm to withstand the proper stress of pitching.   The only answer is to change your force application technique and to train your pitching arm to withstand the stress of this new technique.

     What I have just described is what I have spent thirty-five years learning how to teach.   I wrote it in my Coaching Pitchers book and show it in my accompanying Instructional Videotape.

     To answer your last question, my program requires a minimum of 280 days.   There is no instant soup for this problem.

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54.   I have been teaching that the pitcher comes to a set position with his feet about 6-8 inches apart aligned to the plate.   From this point, I have been teaching either a leg kick (which I am reevaluating) that accomplishes important alignment goals by utilizing a process of "up-down-and in" that avoids a premature hip opening [using a "toe-toe-toe" thought process where the toe is pointed downward in the up-down-in motion until it flattens as the foot opens approaching landing]...or, a slide step directly to the plate to offset the running game.   In your approach, you have the pitcher come to set with his feet 12-16 inches apart (I think).   Then when the pitch to the plate is made, the front foot first moves toward the rear foot and then returns inbound to the plate for a "step" stride.   My questions are:

     Do you teach a slide step in any form from this "long" set position?   And, is the rearward movement of the front foot toward the rear foot sort of a "weight loading" procedure?   (It seems that there is very little done in rotational alignments at that point keeping hips and shoulders near the acromial line, I think?)

     And, could you give me your understanding of a balk based upon your experience?   I have read it over and over and had the violation called or explained in as many ways as the questioners that I asked.

     Last year, the Boston Red Sox abandoned defending the running game by never using a slide step.   Do you think this is sound? And do you see advantages to controlling the running game with your methods?


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     With regard to pitching technique, I refer you to my Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape.   I have explained my recommendations on all of the questions that you have asked in those materials.

     With regard to pickoff moves and balks, I control the running game with a variety of techniques.

     First Base:   Right-handed pitchers have to learn how to rotate about their vertical axis.   Left-handed pitchers have to learn the step-off snap throw.   I do not believe in altering the proper pitching motion.   I believe that pitchers decide before they step on the pitching rubber whether they are throwing to first or home plate.   If something occurs when they are throwing to home plate that disrupts their focus, they should step off.

     All pitchers should vary the time period that they hold the baseball before they throw to home plate.   All pitchers should frequently step off the pitching rubber when fast runners threaten.   I do not agree with less than pickoff intensity throws to first base.   If you are going to throw to first base, do it seriously.   However, I do not recommend throwing to first base.   My pitching motion releases the baseball toward home plate as quickly as is possible and still throw quality pitches.   The best deterrent to stealing is strike one.   I do not believe in pitch outs.   Pitchers should throw quality non-fastball strikes.

     Second Base:   Right and Left-Handed pitchers need to master my 2nd base pickoff move where they reverse pivot and step off with the pitching rubber foot.   They should also use the pickoff move where they lift their front leg and reverse rotate all the way to second base.   They should do all of the other things that I recommend for first base.

     Third Base:   Right and Left-Handed pitchers should always pitch from the set position with base runners on third base.

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55.   When I told our athletic trainer of your conditioning with 25 lb. wrist weights, he said he was under the impression that if the weight got above a certain point the bigger muscles took over and the rotator muscles no longer did the work.   What can you tell me about this?

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     When trained with appropriate increases in resistance and number of repetitions, the muscles involved in any activity will make physiological adjustments to accomplish the training overload.   For the pitching motion, I refer your trainer to Section IV:   Applied Human Anatomy that contains Chapters 13 through 19.   He will learn of the function of the thirty-six primary pitching muscles.   Muscles are muscles, they work whether the action that they facilitate is rotation or whatever.

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56.   Have you received my money order?   Has my tape been sent?   Sorry to pester you, but I'm very eager to study the tape.   Have you gotten a lot of orders?   Have you gotten a lot of gripes about the price?   I have little doubt that it is worth the price.

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     I received your order on Friday, February 01, 2002.   Our procedure is that I take the addresses to my processing guy on Saturdays and he ships them on Mondays.   Your videotape will go out on Monday, February 04, 2002.   We ship media mail.   I will be very interested in the time our postal service needs to get it to you.

     We are very pleased with the response we have received.   I have received one complaint about the price, but after I reminded my friend that I have researched the material on the video for thirty-five years, that I am giving him my Coaching Pitchers book for free with regular free upgrades, that I am giving him free advise, that I have placed my 280 Day Pitchers Training Program on my web site for free and that he can purchase any upgrades that I make of this videotape for twenty-five percent of it's sale price, he said that he would get a copy and see whether it is worth the money.

     I expect a very detailed list of your opinions of every section that I included in this videotape.   I am already planning ways to improve it.   Unless something dramatic occurs, I would expect an upgrade in the summer of 2004 after my present and one more group graduates from my program.

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57.   In reading your website you talked about the rear foot being off the ground during release.   Could you talk about what this accomplishes and the timing of it in the pitching sequence?   Is this important enough to stress with college pitchers or will it simply be an overload as far as concentrating on too much?

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     With any pitching motion that I have ever seen, the rear foot leaves the pitching rubber well before pitchers release their pitches.   With my pitching motion, I emphasize forward body rotation.   I want the shoulder pointing toward home plate at release of my Maxline pitches.   The only way to accomplish this is to have the rear leg beside of ahead of the front leg.

     I recently decided that the first time that I have them pitch from the set position which is at the start of my second training cycle, I would spend considerable time teaching them the proper footwork.   They must push off the pitching rubber with plantar flexion of the rear leg and turn that leg such that they have the anterior surface of the leg facing forward.   In this position, they can rapidly recover the rear leg and move it ahead of their front leg to have it land in a straight line with home plate.   If they do not do this, then they cannot finish their pitches.

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58.   In your book you spoke of Tommy John coming to you after he was released by the Angels in 1986.   Specifically, what was he looking for, more velocity, better command,movement,or a more stress free delivery?   After changing his leverage position how did it affect velocity,movement,and command?

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     Tommy had difficulties with his command.   He wanted to know what he was doing wrong.   I found that he had a forearm loop because he was late in getting his forearm into position for the start of his upper arm acceleration phase.   I had him turn his hand outward at the forty-five backward angle of the pitching arm and immediately start to correctly position his forearm for the pitch he wanted to throw.   I also showed him how he frequently reverse rotated his shoulders too far on some pitches that caused him to circle outward into forearm flyout and he could not finish his pitches.

     That he went on to successfully pitch several more years, I could suppose that the work we did had a positive influence.

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59.   We are proceeding with the pitching challenge without your direct participation, but we do have someone who is very much in your camp, I think.   But, I have insisted that he not reference others in his write-up in case he has interpreted your info incorrectly or is using straight-line analogies that don't hold up.

     One that concerned me is about drag racing and the shortest distance between two points being a straight line.   As I said to him, that assumes there is a straight road.   If the only smooth path to the destination is curved, then I'd rather be on it than through the furrows.   The elbow can't move from back to front unless it clears the shoulder, so either the shoulder moves out of the way or the elbow circles it to the side or over the top.   Maybe it's more a way of visualizing and thinking than doing.

     I am going to re-read your writings myself this weekend (not much of a football fan anyway).


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     I never authorize anybody to speak for me.   I do not recognize him or anybody else as my spokesman.   How he interprets what I recommend does not necessarily represent what I said.   My Instructional Videotape that accompanies my Coaching Pitchers book is available.   I believe that they speak for themselves.

     My drag racing analogy demonstrates that pitchers can only accelerate their pitching arm to velocities from which the muscles that decelerate the pitching arm can safely stop.   While the statement that the shortest distance between two points is a true statement, I have never used it as a justification for anything in my pitching motion.   Straight-line force application is a result of Newton's Law of Inertia.   Any force application that is not straight-line requires a constant adjustment of the baseball to remain on the curved path and wastes force as well as unnecessarily stresses the pitching arm.

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60.   I didn't get far before I noticed you have info on your site about the video tape.   I wish you luck.   The internet thrives on credit cards not checks.   I will resume reading and let you mull over that thought. Interestingly another person has just come back to me today (after a falling out) hoping I will again list his video series (also $100 range with a generous commission offer.)   Sooner or later most instructors catch on that there is value in an independent reviewer/recommender of instructional programs.   You are still, I believe, missing an opportunity that would not cost you a dime in participating in the upcoming pitching challenge.   I will not resume reading.

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     Thank you for your input.   However, I will not accept credit cards or give commissions.   You may read or not read, that is your choice.

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61.   Am I missing something?   While someone cites you as talking about taking the front heel to the plate, I find only references to aligning the rear foot to the plate as it comes off the rubber.

     Also, On Section IX in 1 b you say "For fastballs, pitchers need to supinate their forearm until the palm of their hand face forward.   For curves, pitchers need to supinate their forearm until the palm of their hand face inward toward their head."   Should one of those be pronate or are you referring to two different clockwise rotations to avoid pie-throwing?

     Also on that page, " I recommend that pitchers keep their shoulders level and rotate through release."   This is not what he is interpreting (is it?) of having the shoulder process pointing to home plate before forearm/wrist action. I take what you say to mean it should be there at release not prior.


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     I have no recollection of ever saying anything about 'taking the front heel to the plate.'   This is an example of why I do not authorize anybody, even the most well-meaning to speak for me.

     Between the forty-five degree backward angle of the pitching arm and driveline height, pitchers must position their forearm for the pitch that they want to throw.   When pitchers arrive at this position, they palm faces forward.   I recommend that they immediately supinate their forearm ninety degrees for all pitches.   Then, between this position and driveline height, they have to further adjust their forearm position.   If not, they will arrive at driveline height with their palm facing outward which is the position only for the reverse breaking ball series.   For fastballs, pitchers have to supinate an additional ninety degrees.   And, for the breaking ball series, they have to supinate an additional one-hundred and eighty degrees.   It is only from these positions of supination that pitchers can pronate their pitches through release.

     I recommend that pitchers always keep their shoulders level, stand tall and forward rotate one-hundred and eighty degrees on my Maxline pitches.   Whatever someone says that differs is of his interpretation, not what I recommend.   On my Maxline pitches, pitchers need to finish with their acromial line pointing toward home plate, obviously with the pitching shoulder forward.

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62.   I am a 42 year old, sedentary, pudgy fellow who wishes to lose some body fat and increase my muscle tone and strength in general, not aimed at any specific activity.   I am dieting via Sugar Busters! and trying to exercise three times per week.

     As I read your training advice, I should work out everyday, or is this advice applicable only to athletes in training?   I always understood that muscles needed a bit of time to recuperate from being taxed.

     I hate aerobic work, but understand I should do something aerobic to help the ticker.   Modern theory says high intensity running for one minute, thirty seconds or 20 seconds followed by one minute, thirty second or 10 seconds of rest, followed by another "sprint" is better than sustained, methodical plodding on a treadmill.   Your thoughts?

     Another item of note: in your book, you give much attention to what we should NOT teach about pitching.   I have read much psychological theory stating the word NOT does not register with the human brain and that teaching is much more effective if the teacher stresses the DOs than the DO NOTs.   In working with kids over the last decade or so, I have found this to work quite well.   Your thoughts.


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     As one who is fighting his genetic heritage for extreme chubbiness, I may not appear to be the best person to give advise on weight control.   Nevertheless, I strongly believe in daily exercise of at least one-half hour of rigorous walking or mild jogging.   I also strongly believe that more of the answer lies in what we eat and how much.   Do not eat animal fat foods.   Do not eat much vegetable fat foods.   Eat mostly vegetables and fruit.   Do not eat meat of any kind every day.   Get protein from vegetable sources.   Eat as little as you can.   Do not eat three meals per day or anything within three hours of bedtime.   Good luck.

     I believe that I address your last question in Chapter 34, Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition.

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63.   I am not allowing anyone to invoke any other instructor's name in this.   So, it will in no way be labeled as the Marshall method and your name will not be associated with this in any way, I promise.

     The only reason I pointed out the other questions was to caution that while you may be clear in your own mind about what you are saying, some of what you say is subject to being misunderstood.   I don't think you can always blame the reader when an author is not understood.   Sometimes the author has to accept responsibility, don't you think?

     My point was that it is too easy to read "straight line" (or maxline) and interpret that to mean every part of the body is moving in a straight line to the plate.   Clearly that is not physically possible.   For a ball to move from the 45 degree back position to the release point in a straight line, other parts of the body and other joints must clear that line and allow the hand to travel through.   To me that means that other larger muscle groups, from hips and abs to pecs and delts (for deceleration), are not contributing as much to the force applied to the ball, but are still required to turn away.

     If the pitching shoulder and hips move forward then the opposite must be true on the glove side, so that rotational forces are still being applied, otherwise you generate restricted power from hips and abs.   When this gets interpreted as the front foot points to the plate, the back foot points to the plate, and the only need is to go straight, then the shoulders and the hips open early, and maxforce is sacrificed to maxline.   Then whatever it is you are trying to get across has gotten lost in translation.

     I understand your starting point in physics and such, your desire to look at all this fresh and not be clouded by the advice of others.   While that may be admirable it is also limiting.   Physics also explains why satellites can continue at a nice 17,000 mph clip around the earth without ever leaving orbit or falling to the ground.   The straight line force to leave is balanced by the gravitational force, Remove one of the forces (i.e. release the ball in the analogy) and it will still move in a straight line tangential to the arc - in the direction traveled at the point of release.   In other words the law of inertia you cite still is in effect even if the ball is accelerated along a curved path.   The only real question is which path generates maximum release velocity and depending on how muscles work in dynamic balance and leverage, that may not always be in a straight line.   It can depend on which muscle groups and fulcrums (joints) can best get that satellite (ball) up to speed whether 17,000 or 90. Surprisingly, scientist discovered that getting a rocket to orbital velocity is also best accomplished by rotational changes in direction.   Thus the danger of analogies.

     On the other matter, my advice to you about credit cards and the internet:   You may know more than I about pitching, but I have you at marketing.   That has been what I have been a practitioner of for over 25 years (now 53).   If you want others to follow your path (in a straight line) you might accept the reality of what you don't know on other topics.   The way you are asking for orders doesn't work as well.   Period.   This is not anecdotal, but a statistical fact - based on much research.   (Research is good.)


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     I agree that authors have a responsibility to help readers understand what they are saying and describing.   That is the reason why I made a videotape.   Between my Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape, I am doing my best to help everybody understand how to prevent pitching arm injuries.

     Straight-line drive is an unachieveable goal, but an image to follow.   The closer one gets, the better the result.   Only two things have to be straight-line, the path of the baseball and the center of mass of the body.   All other parts of the body are rotating.   Your attempt to discuss muscle actions and how satellites operate leave much to be desired.

     I describe Laws of Force Application.   Newton described Laws of Motion. When baseballs become ballistic projectiles, Newton is in charge.   Analogies are great when people use them in the intended context.

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64.   Section IX, p. 4 of 13, Forearm Swing to Starting Height, "permit their elbow to open slightly."   How does the elbow move from this position to "open?"

     Maxline Fastball Forearm Position, "lock forearms ...at 22 1/2 degrees angled forwardly toward pitching arm side"   Upper arm is at 90?   Forearm angled toward home plate 22 1/2?   Torque Position is forward angled to non-pitching arm side.

     Maxline Fastball, Curve and Screwball Release, "keep their upper arms high and outside."   Upper arm shouldn't get lower than shoulder height, correct?   That's "high".   What is "outside?"


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     Section IX is under edit.   I managed to edit a couple of pages.   Please give me more time and use what I describe on the videotape.   However, I will find time soon to finish it.

     I believe that your first quote refers to the pendulum swing.   At the forty-five degree backward angle, pitchers should turn their palm outward from a palm forward position.

     On your second quote, I am talking about the angle of the anterior surface of the forearm.   On Maxline Fastballs, I want pitchers to slightly turn the anterior surface of their forearm outward (twenty-two and one-half degrees) to facilitate forearm pronation.   On Torque Fastballs, I want pitchers to slightly turn the anterior surface of their forearm slightly inward (twenty-two and one-half degrees) to facilitate forearm supination.   I show this clearly on my videotape.

     On your third quote, I am trying to get people to understand that elbow drop and elbow pull are harmful.   Pitchers must never permit their elbow to drop below horizontal and never move across the front of their body.

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65.   I think you may view us (the parents) as stereotype Type A parents that are driving and forcing our son to excel to the point of putting him in harm's way and causing lasting a severe physical damage to him.   Perhaps you view me as living out some long lost childhood dream through my son.   This, I assure you is not the case.

     To give you insight I share the following.   Oh sure, in Little League we (his parents) wanted him to excel, but it's been YEARS since either of us has pushed or attempted to live vicariously through his experiences.   We hold him back, we have kept him off of traveling teams, we have sent him to three years of weekly pitching training with an ex-pro pitcher who has taught him proper mechanics in order to avoid future injuries.   Any assumptions that we are the stereotype parents are off-base.

     I was, an still am, seeking advice on how to rehab my son.   There are many other questions that are related.   Can he still pitch?   How long should he expect to wait to pitch again?   You suggested that he should wait until his growth plate mature and that there is plenty of time.   But, my son asks, how does he manage his career to enable him to play baseball in college and potentially post-college?   How does he get noticed if he's not pitching?

     As background to his injury here's some more info.   His ligament did not rupture.   But it was torn (repeatedly) and the was lots of ossification (forgive my spelling).   The surgery was our last resort and we waited till his growth plates had closed naturally (equally in both arms) before allowing the surgery. We had a consult with Dr. Frank Jobe prior to the surgery and he agreed that it was needed. My son followed the Jobe protocol for his rehab (and this was under the supervision of a PT).   In the past week he has had additional diagnostic work on has elbow and shoulder and he has been "shutdown" from baseball for the past two weeks pending the results of the MRIs and X-Rays.

     My son is driven.   He wants to pitch.   He loves to pitch.   How can we help him get back on the mound?


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     If the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of this young man's pitching arm has completely matured with contiguous trabeculae, then he can not longer interfere with its growth and development.   However, that does not mean that he cannot continue to permanently deform his pitching arm.

     If this is the case, then he needs to learn how to properly apply force to his pitches and begin a Pitchers Training Program.   I provide both with my Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape.   Go to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and download my entire book and learn how to purchase my videotape.   I offer the book for free, my advice for free and my 280 Day Pitchers Training Programs for free.

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66.   I started playing baseball when I was 10 years old.   When I moved to new York I used to pitch to my brother with a rubber ball I threw hard all the time.   We used to play every Sunday at the school yard. but then my arm started hurting.   But, it wasn't the elbow nor the shoulder it was close to the triceps, behind my arm.   That was when I was around 15 years old, after that I could pitch but only two or three innings before my arm started hurting again.   Because of this I stopped playing baseball even when I knew I could've made it to the majors.   I had good speed and movement that I learn in my country.   Well, now I'm 33 years old and I still love baseball but I started exercising to go to some tryouts because I throw harder than before it started hurting again the same pain my arm gets weak when I have that pain.

     I played softball for 5 or 6 years and my arm never bother me but now it's the pain is back.   What should I do or what you think could be causing this?


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     Your throwing motion has placed greater stress on the teres minor/major muscles.   The flaw in your motion is that you pull your elbow across the front of your body.   You should never pull your elbow or drop your elbow, rather you should keep your elbow at shoulder height and even with the front of your chest.   My Coaching Pitchers book with my Instructional Videotape will explain how you need to change your throwing motion and how to train this area to prevent further problems.

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67.   I am 14 years old and live in a far northern state.   Recently, I completed a science project about Major League pitchers.   I asked the question, Is there anyway to predict a MLB pitcher's ERA by observing his physical attributes?   In my research, I used much of your book "Coaching Adult Pitchers."   Thank you for making your book available to me.   I also would like to ask you if you have a training program for a person my age.

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     Until the growth plates in your pitching arm have fully matured, you cannot do my wrist weight and iron ball exercises, but you can do my baseball exercises.   With my 2nd base pickoff transition throws, my wrong foot transition throws, my set position transition throws and my windup throws, you should master my Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve, Maxline True Screwball and Maxline True Sinker.   I am assuming that you are a right-handed pitcher. With my 3rd base pickoff transition throws, my wrong foot transition throws, my set position transition throws and my windup throws, you should master my Torque Fastball and Torque Slider.   At your age, you could pitch one inning per game and two games per week.   Please do not train to pitch for more than two months per years until the growth plate of your medial epicondyle has fully matured.

     I would love to see ten to fifteen year old youngsters learning how to correctly apply force and throwing these pitches with command.   Then, when the growth plates of the pitching arm mature, they can start my 280 Day Pitchers Training Program and by the time that they are Juniors in High School, they could be following my pitch sequence charts and humiliating batters without deforming their pitching arms and without pain.   I live for that day.

     With my 2002 Newly Revised Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape, all you need is your commitment.

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68.   I'd like to share this information in my baseball discussion forum, many there would be interested.   Would you mind if I copied the text/information and posted it in the forum?

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     That is a kind offer.   However, I want to make one thing very clear.   I want to eliminate pitching arm injuries.   I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book to explain how to do that.   My Instructional Videotape provides the pictures that my book cannot provide.   They are intertwined.   People have to download my book and read it while they watch my videotape.   The videotape should not stand alone.   Consequently, if you could tell your readers where to download my Coaching Pitchers book for free such that they can decide whether they want my video, then I would happily accept your kind offer.

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69.   How about DVD?

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     I am sorry, but your videotape will be copy protected.   While my goal is to teach everybody how to pitch at their best without discomfort, but I do need to recoup some of the tens of thousands of dollars that I have spent over the past thirty-five years of researching pitching.   I am afraid that I cannot permit unauthorized copies.

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70.   Do professional pitchers ever call or ask you for advise?

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     Only after they have career-threatening injuries and their team trainers, therapists and physicians cannot fix them.   But, I do not like to work with them. After I fix their problem, rather than continuing to work to learn my whole program, they leave.   I am only interested in seeing how good they can be and they are only interested in how much money they can make.   These should not be conflicting positions, but they want instant easy money, not hard work.

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71.   I am anxious to see your videotape, and would be glad to provide feedback once I have viewed it. I recently talked with a professor acquaintance of mine from a nearby major university, he believes in your methodology, and the science behind it, so I am anxious to see the results of your hard work.

     I plan on visiting your facility to see you work with pitchers first hand.   While I have been delayed, I will definitely do so in late February, or early March.


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     We welcome everybody at my Pitcher Research Center. If you cannot find the directions, please let me know.   I remember how to get here.

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72.   The elbow angle at leverage is 90 degrees, correct?   Do you still use the Throw Max to teach curve balls?   I won't teach any breaking pitches to my son until I get your tape.   I have him throwing something we call a "cutter" that simply has him throwing a fastball, but gripping the ball as a two seam fastball, but with digit two on the far right seam and digit 3 next to it.   He threw to me today and the ball moved down and away from a right handed hitter.   Wicked looking pitch. Any problem throwing it?

     I have read all of your postings, including the grips of the pitches which I asked about recently and you answered that you thought I must have an old edition of the book.   In fact, it was 2000, but I downloaded 2002 and the grip and release descriptions are the same as they were in 2000.   I will keep teaching what I understand to be the Maxline drive until I get the tape.


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     The elbow angle at leverage for all pitches is not ninety degrees.   No, we do not use the Throw Max device for the curve or any other pitch.   I strongly recommend that you do not teach your son the cutter.   You will put his olecranon process at risk.

     I recently edited Section IX.   I do discuss the elbow angles that are appropriate for each of my pitches.   That is where I wanted you to go.   In my videotape, I go into great detail on grips and releases of pitches, but I have not had time to incorporate that information into my book.

     I promise you that, together, we will get your son all the information that he needs to become the best pitcher he can be without pitching arm injury.

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73.   You know when you have the tapes in hand, when you have the tapes in hand.   I certainly won't ask for my money back.   You have a unique product and my sending the money to you as soon as the tape became available shows my interest and good faith.   We are now two weeks since I mailed a money order and still no tape.   I am leaving Wednesday and will not return home until Friday.   I really wanted to take the tape with me to study while gone so that when I returned home, my son, who is also eager to learn your technique, and I could know that he is learning to pitch correctly.

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     You are correct, sir.   I have learned once again the lesson that I learned a long time ago, if you want something done the way you want it done, do it yourself.   I wanted to wait until we had them in hand, but my video guy assured me that they would arrive before any checks arrived.   I believed him.   I am sorry.

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74.   I sent my order in as soon as I saw it posted on the site.

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     I appreciate your interest and I will be very interested in your constructive criticisms.   Together, we will make this videotape better and help young men to pitch their best without injury.

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75.   I was throwing the football around with my friend the other day.   I was very cold.   I have never hurt my elbow or shoulder, but I was throwing with a technique I never used befoe and now my shoulder hurts.   It hurts closer to my upper back, but on the tip of my shoulder.   It hurts like heck and its like a burning sensation.   Do you know what it is?

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     I do not advocate throwing a football to improve pitching.   Don't do that.

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76.   I am trying to get my local youth baseball to enact a Pitch Count Limit, as opposed to the current Innings Pitched Limits and I would like your opinion.

     I have no medical training or background, other than several shoulder operations, blamed, by the military and workers compensation, on pitching while a youth; so I don't know what the real deal is.   My oldest son, now age 36, played primarily as a pitcher and shortstop from age 9 till a senior in high school when he switched to center field because of 'sore arm'.   He's also had one shoulder operation.   He was forbidden to throw breaking pitches until he was 14, but did start using a knuckleball about age 12.

     I believe the current rule [innings pitched] does not take into account:
[1]   The number of pitches thrown by a normal youth [ages 9-14] in an inning
[2]   That, in most cases, the youth pitcher tends to play an infield position when not pitching.
[3]   That, or so it appears to me, the same forces/actions are used to pitch and play an infield position.
     You have the medical background and the baseball training background, so what's your call?   Pitch Count or Innings Limits.   If it's a Pitch Count, what do you consider an optimum number of pitches to allow?   I'm hoping to get your opinion, either way, and would like to have your permission to show your response to the league director.

     I've been out of youth baseball for over 20 years and, due to an error in judgment.   Now, I am involved with my youngest son who's going into his 3rd year of playing.   He's 10, league age 11 [6-30-91], and my concern is with the coaching he receives from some well meaning but unknowing coaches in our league.   I had planned to spend my time in the bleachers, but have had to become more involved; so any info to catch me up to date, or displace the wrong methods I've learned, on training would be greatly appreciated.


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     If you had read any of my Question/Answer sections, then you would know that I recommend that youngsters do not pitch in games until they are thirteen years old and, then only one inning per game.   I further recommend that they do not even train to pitch for more than two months per year.   I very carefully explain in my Coaching Pitchers book and its accompanying Instructional Videotape why youngsters cannot withstand the stress of pitching more than I recommend.

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77.   I've been waiting for your videotape.   By the way I threw my first no-hitter last season.   Not bad for a thirty-two year old lefty.   I used one of your methodologies to do it (pitch sequence).   I started off each batter with off speed pitches and wouldn't let them get their timing down for the fast ball and then I would throw the fast ball and they would swing very late or hit week grounders or fly balls to the opposite side.

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     Congratulations on your no-hit game.   What joy pitching correctly is.

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78.   Use a credit card for payments and I'll buy it today, even if it $25.00 more with the credit card purchase.   In other words, charge $110.00 using a credit card and $100 cash payment, that should make up for extra costs, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.   I don't like to use them either but they are a necessary evil to succeed in business.

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     I just cannot get myself into credit cards.   Not only do I believe that people abuse them and buy things that they do not need, but I am not interested in impulse buying.   I want people to have to go to the post office, their bank or wherever to get a money order or cashiers check.   That means that they have thought about what they are doing with their hard-earned money.   I want people to read my Coaching Pitchers book and believe in what I am saying before they spend.   I want people to be committed to learning what my book and videotape teaches, not as some fad of the moment.   I know that I will not get as much money, but I could not stand the thought that someone bought my videotape on a whim or as a that they thought someone would like.

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79.   I read your revised section IX last night. This was the best explanation yet of your pitching method.   Your previous versions were written for your doctoral committee.   This one was written for the general public.

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     You are the first to realize that I originally wrote my Coaching Pitchers book to meet the rigors of scientific scrutiny.   It had to be in the language of the disciplines, that is, the discussion of the muscle activities had to follow Kinesiological terminology and so on.   I have spent the years since I wrote it researching through teaching how to better teach and train.   Section IX is the first that I edited with the general public in mind.   I felt that it was the most important.   In the months ahead, I hope to have time to go through other parts.   Right now, I think I will do Chapter 22 next.   I want to get a handle on the grips, forearm drives and releases of my six pitches.   I tried hard to cover that in my video.

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80.   A former pitcher of mine who is now in pro ball has a partial tear of the supraspinatus muscle.   They told him he doesn't need surgery and have him on a rehab program.

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     To tear his supraspinatus muscle while pitching, he has a reverse forearm bounce and/or excessive shoulder joint inward rotation.   He needs to change his force application technique.   The supraspinatus muscle should play only a minimal role in pitching with considerable help from the anterior, middle and posterior deltoid muscles.

     I doubt that his rehabilitation program is of any value to his efforts to return to maximum intensity.   You did not say to what level of baseball he wants to return.   If it is professional, he will need an intense program, like mine.   If it is something less or no more pitching except playing catch with his sons, then what they are doing will cost serious money with little benefit, if any.

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81.   I keep reading interviews with coaches and players and scouts that if you keep throwing the slider that over time your fastball will slow down.   Is this true?   I love what Gene Mauch told you in your playing days that a first pitch change up would get hit out of the park and it was no good to throw it.   It seems you had a allot of respect for him especially because he gave you chance to pitch.

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     When people do not understand how to correctly apply force to pitches, they make statements like throwing sliders causes reduced fastball velocity.   Throwing sliders wrong, or I should say, the way that professional baseball pitching coaches tell you to throw sliders will destroy your pitching arm, not just for fastballs, but for all pitches.   My Torque slider technique will not effect the pitching arm release velocity of any other pitch.

     Gene Mauch never said, 'first pitch change-up would get hit out of the park,' he asked how can you throw a change-up on the first pitch when you have not thrown a fastball.   He thought that change-ups related to fastballs.   Change-ups actually relate to pitching arm velocity.   Having said that, I do not teach change-ups in the common use of the pitch.   I teach screwballs, sinkers, curves and sliders, all of which are change-ups in that the pitching arm velocity is maximum, but the pitches are ten or twenty miles per hour slower.

     I have Gene Mauch to thank for my major league pitching career.   Every major league player needs someone to believe in him and give him a chance.   Gene was my man.   I would love the world to be completely objective and hire people to do jobs who have the best abilities without regard for any other factor, but that is not true.   Someone has to believe in you and mentor your progress.

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82.   Where should the person with the radar be while measuring the speed of a pitcher?   If a radar gun has a small dent on the receiving dish, does this give you the wrong reading?   Also, I throw a lot harder than my friend.   From the mound to the catchers glove the ball takes about .60 seconds to get there.   But, for my friend's ball it takes .75 (rounded off about 10 throws).   How come the radar puts him at 80 and me at 70 if we are the same height?   He throws overhand I throw 3/4

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     I am not an expert in radar guns or believe that scouts or coaches should use them to determine who should sign or who should pitch.   Nevertheless, radar guns send signals out in a straight line and those signals hit objects that reflect the signal back to the radar gun.   The radar gun measured the time that the signal went out and came back and the next went out and cam back.   The displacement differential divided by the time differential provides the velocity.   It is an average velocity over the time between the two signal.   I would not think that a dent would matter.

     How did you measure that your pitch takes 0.60 seconds from your release to the catcher's glove?   Unless you have a high speed timer and high speed film, I seriously question the validity of that statement.

     I don't think that the radar gun cares how tall you are or from where you release your pitch.   It puts his velocity at 80 mph and your velocity at 70 mph because of the displacement and time differentials.

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83.   I have read through much of your book online and I know you speak of several types of injuries.   How about soreness near the top of the triceps muscle?   My 13 year old developed soreness here throwing long toss and he has been throwing for the past 4 months.   Could this be from throwing?

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     Soreness at the proximal end of the triceps brachii muscle where it attaches to the infraglenoid fossa is rare and reasonably meaningless.   I suspect that he had discomfort in his teres minor muscle in the lower back of his shoulder.

     First, I strongly recommend that 13 year olds do not even practice pitching for more than two months per year.   Teres minor discomfort relates to pitchers pulling his upper arm across the front of his body.   It is too small of a muscle to decelerate the entire pitching arm.   I teach my pitchers to never pull their pitching arm across their body.

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84.   Does long toss fall into this 2 month time period?

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     Any time that youngsters throw baseballs in any way, shape or form counts.   Throwing baseballs places unique stress on the growth plates of the pitching arm.

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85.   I have some questions and request a few clarifications so I can teach my son properly and not have to "unteach":
1.   Do you still advise against youngsters learning the slider and sinker?
2.   Are there a Maxline and Torque two seam fastball?
3.   Where is Circle of Friction?   Does it vary?   I understand where it was on the fastballs.   Where is it on the screwballs and sinkers?   How do I determine it?
4.   Which side of middle finger am I using on curve and screwball?
5.   Do you divide baseballs differently?   It appears that on the fastball, the ball is split in the middle of the horseshoe.   On the curve and sinkers, it appears that the line you drew on the ball runs in a different direction.   I can't find this described in the book or video.   Would coloring the balls 1/2 and 1/2 be of any value in picking up the rotation?
6.   Screwball.   Thumb forward or hand and fingers forward?   I understood you to say both things on the video.
7.   First pitch to teach my son RHP, is Maxline fastball, correct?   Then, Torque or other pitches.   He is 11.
8.   On Maxline pitches, you instruct to set up on the far left of the rubber (my son's glove side) correct?   You also say to step to glove side of your drive line.   Does he then step further to the glove side or does he step at the outside corner or the left handed hitter?   I am obviously confused and I couldn't pick this up from what your pitchers were doing.   And I would reverse this for the Torque fastball, stand to the extreme right of the rubber and step, further right of driveline, at the right handed hitter, at the 3d base corner?


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     I do not teach my high school graduate clients how to throw sliders until after the complete my second training cycle.   The slider is a dangerous pitch to the proper development of the olecranon process and fossa to learn.   I would not recommend that youngsters practice it.   On the other hand, the sinker is a good pitch for youngsters to learn.   They will actually pass through sinkers on their way to screwballs, it they do get to screwballs.   Until they can train with my iron ball exercises, it is difficult to get the forearm, wrist, hand and finger strength to throw true screwballs.

     I do teach two seam Maxline and Torque fastballs, but only after pitchers master the four seam pitches.   There are some other variables involved in the necessity of two seam fastballs that only apply later in their college careers.   For now, I recommend that youngsters only learn the four seam fastballs.

     The Circle of Friction is primarily involved with Marshall Effect pitches, that is, the two seam pitches of sinker and slider.   My True Screwball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Four Seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs are four seam pitches.   I see now that I should not have mentioned my two seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs.   I recommend that youngsters concern themselves with the Circle of Friction of their sinker.   To draw the Circle of Friction on baseballs, you need to take one loop of the four loops and fill in the circle that the loop transcribes.

     While it is true that my four seam Maxline and Torque fastballs have small circle of frictions on one side of the baseball because I teach pitchers to turn the vertical four seam spin axis toward the pitching arm side and glove side of home plate.   This results in these fastballs moving to one side or the other of home plate.   These are advanced skills and I would be happy if youngsters can achieve horizontal spin axes.

     The ring finger side of the tip of the middle finger applies force to both my True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve.   It also applies force to my Maxline True Sinker and my Torque Slider in the same ways.   Pitchers must always drive behind the baseball and never pull the baseball.   To apply force with the index finger side of the tip of the middle finger would be to pull the baseball.

     We draw a stripe through the middle of our four seam pitches baseballs.   We draw circles in one loop of our two seam baseballs.   We pay very close attention to the spin axes of all pitches.   To show where pitchers should place the tip of their middle finger on the line through the center of the baseball for two seam pitches, I drew a thin stripe through the middle of our circle baseballs.   We do not do that on a daily basis.

     On my True Screwball, pitchers have to have the thumb side of their hand in front and they need to have their index and middle fingers horizontally facing forward.   The ring side of the tip of their middle finger horizontally applies force to the seam such that the baseball leaves the hand on the ring finger side of the middle finger and the baseball spins with a horizontal spin axis.

     I look forward to the day that all ten through fifteen year old pitchers can throw all six pitches correctly.   However, I do not want them throwing for more than two months per year and I do not want them pitching in games until they are thirteen and then only one inning per game.   At sixteen, they can do my 280 Day Pitcher Training Program.   Then, as high school juniors, with all that strength and skill, they will dominate hitters and earn outs rather than hope the hitters make mistakes and give them outs.

     I apologize for the Maxline and Torque driveline for the feet confusion.   It is a very recent teaching method.   At present, I draw a two inch wide line from both edges of the pitching rubber straight forward.   These two parallel lines will be twenty inches apart for six feet.   This is another reason why my guys train on mound covered with astroturf.

     On Maxline pitches, pitches place must keep their body outside of the glove side line.   With my 2nd base pickoff throws, pitchers place both feet on that line.   With my wrong foot throws, pitchers place their rear foot on that line and their front foot six inches outside of that line.   When they move their rear leg forward, their rear foot should move directly down that line.   The same goes for the set and windup positions.

     On Torque pitches, pitchers must keep their body outside of the pitching arm side line.   With my 1st and 3rd base pickoff throws, pitchers place their rear foot on that line and stand as though their throwing target is 1st or 3rd base.   When they move their rear foot, they step toward 1st or 3rd base on that line.   With my wrong foot throws, pitchers place their rear foot on that line and their front foot touching the line with their toe.   When they move their rear leg forward, their rear foot should step around their front foot and again land on that line.   The same goes for the set and windup positions.

     This stuff is very new, within the past two weeks.   We are always learning better ways to teach these skills and I will try to keep everybody updated.   Obviously, I will include everything new we do in the next video, but I had to take what we had at that time and use it.   I had to go back and introduce the whole 1st and 3rd base pickoff stuff for the Torque driveline.   I hope that I never stop learning how to better teach pitching, but there will always be a gap between what today is and what yesterday was.

     Your beginning statement about everybody wants something different from the videotape is so very, very true.   However, I must include everything that a father needs to teach his son how to correctly throw the pitches that he needs to be successful at his highest level.   You represent these fathers.   I love these fathers and I am extremely interested in everything that you say.

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86.   Which pitches should be taught and learned?   In what order?   Do you have pitchers work on one pitch until the "master" it or teach one per session or what?

     I love your quote in the book about common sense and your brilliant pitching coaches.   The quote belongs on the next video.   So, does tying this in to your '75 injury which is very relevant to your mission.   You show the rebound wall, I'd like to see the pitching area a little more clearly, specifically where you mark the astroturf.   Each section should end with key points.   Have them appear on the screen.   The drivelines for the feet should be explained.   The training stuff was superb.   It is by far and away the most informative part of the video.


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     I teach my Maxline Fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve on one day and my True Screwball and Torque Fastball on the next day.   I have not found an answer for right-handed pitchers who throw a Maxline drive True Screwball, except to practice it before they practice my Torque Fastball.   Left-handed pitchers do not have the same problem. I would not worry about practicing my Maxline True Sinker and I recommend that youngsters do not practice my Torque Slider.

     I tried very hard not to include anything but absolutely necessary material that I have in my Coaching Pitchers book in my Instructional Videotape.   I understand that some people might be too lazy to read the book, but without reading it, they will not have the academic basis that they will need to teach it to their sons, themselves or others.

     I showed me standing on a practice mound, but we had not yet painted the drivelines for the feet on them.   That is a very recent development.   I explain it in another question.

     At first, I did discuss the purpose of each section like I did with Section IV.   However, when I tried it, it seemed repetitive and demeaning to the viewer.   Nevertheless, I can see how I must find a way to do this at the start and end of each section.

     I used what I had for the training stuff.   Many of these kids were finishing only their 2nd training cycle.   I would like a couple of years of guys who have finished their fourth training cycle for their wrist weight and iron ball exercises and their baseball throws after they complete the entire program and their pitching arms are out of regression.

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87.   Thanks for the clarification on Maxline and Torque set up. I understand the 2" lines 20" apart and keeping the body on the proper side of the line.   When pitching, where should the front foot land in relation to the applicable line?   The back foot?   I understand on or near the line, is that correct?

     We teach youngsters the Maxline and Torque fastballs and the sinker, correct?   What about the curve?   Can he injure his arm pronating to the extremes your guys pronate?   Of course, he won't be doing so with anything heavier than a baseball.

     I mentioned a pitch my son throws that we call a "cutter" and you strongly advised against throwing it.   We have not thrown another one.   My question is, why not?   The pitch is gripped like your Torque Fastball, with both fingers on the extreme right side of the horseshoe seam.   He then just throws a fastball, releasing the ball off of his index and middle finger tips straight ahead while his arm naturally pronates.   Is this a cause of "forearm bounce?   I will heed your advice, but like you, I want to know the "whys" because the pitch is so pretty and effective and simple to throw.   If it will damage his arm, then he won't throw it.   I also want to be sure that what you are calling a cutter and what we are calling a cutter is the same pitch.

     If I sent some video via E mail, would you look over it and tell me?   I think I can send short videos via QuickTime.


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     Whether throwing the Maxline or Torque drivelines, pitchers place the 'ball' of their rear foot on the appropriate line and it should land on the same line out front.   The difference lies in where the front foot goes.

     I recommend that we teach youngsters my Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve, True Screwball, Maxline True Sinker and Torque Fastball.   I would wait on the Torque Slider until they have completed my 2nd training cycle.   No, he cannot injure his pitching arm by pronating his curve release.   The danger lies in fighting the natural pronation by trying to supinate the release, like when they try to incorrectly throw 'cut' fastballs and sliders.

     If indeed your son 'pronates' his release of his 'cutter', then it might be okay.   However, unless you describe 'cutter' differently than I, I doubt that he naturally 'cuts' the release.   If the baseball moves to the glove side of home plate, it is a cutter.   If the baseball moves to the pitching arm side of home plate, it is a 'tailer.'   Everybody I have every seen throw a 'cutter' does not pronate the release.   If his elbow points downward at and immediately after release, he is placing his olecranon process and fossa at risk.   You saw the surgical result of that activity even if you did not know at what you were looking.   They had to remove the head of the radius bone.

     I understand that desire to send me video to check what your son is doing.   However, I cannot start that without foreseeable problems.   Sorry.   You and he would better spend your time learning the other pitches, especially my True Screwball and Maxline True Sinker.

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88.   Is there any way you can combine all of the chapters into one (or combine groups of files into a few larger files)?   It would greatly expedite the download and print process, especially in this day of DSL and cable modems.

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     You are correct.   I could combine all chapters and sections into one.   However, that would be a large file for me to transfer every time I wanted to edit anything and it would take a long time for many to download.   I aaplogize for the inconvenience.

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89.   I just got the videotape.   I was so excited to watch it.   I just skimmed through it and in my opinion its the best tape in the market.   I love the how it followed the book and I loved the examples with the kids throwing.   Excellent detail on the pitching grips and motions.   It has inspired me and I intend to follow everything you teach.   I don't have any bad things to say about it.   I am going to go back now and watch it again over and over.   THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

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     I hope that you now have the information that you need to become the best pitcher that you can become.   If you have any questions or need for clarifications, please let me know.

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90.   I now understand what you mean about fighting natural pronation on the cutter.   Makes perfect sense.   We won't do it.   But, isn't the Torque fastball thrown by supinating the hand on the release?   Isn't that fighting natural pronation?   Please clarify.

     Yesterday, you suggested waiting on the screwball until he is older and his hands and wrist are stronger.   Would the same basic logic about strength apply to learning the curve/   Can we safely learn Maxline fastball, sinker, and, pending clarification from you, Torque fastball?


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     I do describe the wrist, hand and finger action on my Torque Fastball as supination.   However, pitchers drive through the center of the baseball and the forearm does not supinate.   Therefore, it is relatively easy for the forearm to pronate after release without jeopardizing the olecranon process and fossa.

     I never said that youngsters should wait to learn the screwball.   I said that they will have to develop strength in their wrist, hand and fingers to get into proper position to impart the True Screwball spin axis.   I recommend that youngsters practice my Maxline Fastball, my Torque Fastball, my True Screwball, my Maxline True Sinker and my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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91.   I received your tape and it is very comprehensive and well done and I hope it is well received and understood by many more coaches.   Kids will benefit greatly.   It is the best I have seen and I do have many of the household names in pitching instruction.

     As for your call for suggestions for improvements, I'll work on it, but I am reminded of a quote by Johnny Parker, the Strength Coach for the football Giants, when told that Lawrence Taylor would begin joining the team lifting sessions.   LT had always succeeded on his "natural" abilities, but must have been feeling his skills diminishing as his career progressed.   Parker said "Even if he only improves 2%, it would be like if the sun got 2% hotter, everything would burn".   Hopefully, your work will improve from its current lofty status.

     You made developing pitchers easier and more exciting for me this season.   I do work with young men 17 and older.


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     As you use it with your young men, would you also please let me know how the training works for you.   It is not good enough that I can make it work with my young men, others must have the same success or I have more work to do.

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92.   What do you think of the article by James A. Whitehead et al, 'Elbow Injuries in Young Baseball Players,' in The Physician and Sportsmedicine Volume 27, Number 6, June 1999 and the article on 'Growth Plate Injuries' on MDchoice.com?

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     I agree with everything in the Whitehead reference except their recommendations.   You cannot train growth plates to withstand greater stress.   These are great medical doctors, but inadequate exercise physiologists.   The only way to prevent the damage to which they refer is to minimize the stress by limiting the time period over which the youngsters apply the stress.

     I did notice that they did not have the work of Joel Adams in their references.   His report contained the only quantifiable research that I have ever seen.   Read Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book and see what percent of adolescent pitchers suffer some degree of damage due to pitching several months per year.

     The Growth Plate Injuries discussion contained more good stuff.   However, they again say that youngsters should train to protect their growth plates.   It is the training that prematurely closes the growth plates.   Youngsters must minimize the stress on their growth plates.

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93.   Where can I purchase those wrist weights and the iron balls from?

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     The particular style of wrist weights that we use is called, 'Rehabilitation Weight.'   Mr. America Manufacturing, Incorporated makes them.   I buy them through a friend of mine who owns a Sporting Goods store.   I would assume that you could find them on the web and order from them directly.   Let me know how that goes.   I prefer theirs because the seams are molded plastic that have held together well.   Other wrist weights have had cloth stitches that gave out after a few months.

     I order my six pound iron ball from School-Tech, Incorporated at 748 State Circle in Ann Arbor, MI 48106.   Their fax number is (734)761-8711.   I special order my eight, ten and twelve pound iron balls.   Actually, they are lead balls.   If sufficient people are interested, I suppose that I could order sets of these three balls and ship them to you.   They cost about three times their weight plus shipping.   The cost for shipping thirty pounds to different parts of the United States varies.   You would have to check with UPS.   Since these are lead balls, you have to tape them with athletic tape and do not lick your fingers after touching them.

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94.   There is a man selling an unusually shaped, very light bat to increase the bat speed of hitters.   In tests with 90 high school students, the boys averaged an approximate 5 mile-per-hour increase in their bat speed after three weeks of training.   He argues that swinging a heavy bat in the on deck circle will actually slow the swing down.

     Does his theory makes sense?   If so, would training my son to throw with lighter than regulation baseballs work under the same theory?   Understanding that I am talking about doing this in addition to regular training, not as an exclusive means of practice.   If you don't think it would benefit, would there be any harm in doing it?


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     I do not trust his research findings.   I disagree with his theory.   Underloading will not work with pitching.   The five and one-half ounce baseball is to light to use underload training.   However, you must not practice anything in addition to my baseball throwing exercises.   There is considerable harm to practicing more per workout and to practicing more than two months per year.   Be careful, you are starting to go postal with training your son to pitch.

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95.   Instead of using 10 pound wrist weights and 6 lb. iron balls, could youngsters use lighter wrist weights and, say, 12 oz. baseballs in the same manner that your students use the weights and iron balls?   Please note that I am not suggesting that youngsters throw the 12 oz. baseballs, but perform your iron ball exercises with them.

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     No.   No.   No.   No.   No.   Do not place any more stress on the adolescent pitching arm than the five and one-half ounce baseball.   For the growth plates of the adolescent pitching arm, more is not better.

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96.   I do not see your first or third base pickoff moves described in your book.   I have read the descriptions of the various second base pickoff moves and some of the other drills and I have watched the videotape, but I am a little unclear about the various starting positions.   Do the pitchers start off in the stretch position?   Your book describes a mirror that the boys are looking into when you described the second base pickoff moves, and that has me confused.   I think the demonstrations on the videotape or pretty clear, but the various boys appear to be starting from different positions.

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     I developed the first and third base pickoff position exercises while I was making my Instructional Videotape.   I have not had time to add it to my Coaching Pitchers book.   We learn something every day at my Pitchers Research Center.   My book and, now, my video are always going to be behind what we are doing.   That does not mean that what the book and video recommend is wrong or harmful, it only means that we have made adjustments that help students learn the pitches better.   When I have time, I will upgrade the book and video.

     As an adolescent, your son can only perform my exercises with his baseball throws.   Right and left-handed pitchers use my second base pickoff throws to practice the correct pitching arm action for their Maxline pitches.   Right-handed pitchers use my third base pickoff throws to practice the proper pitching arm action for their Torque Fastball.   Left-handed pitchers use my first base pickoff throws to practice the proper pitching arm action for their Torque pitches.   I have all pitchers start in the set position.   The adjustments that you see my students make with the second base pickoff where they turn their body to face second base are acceptable adjustments.   The key is that they isolate the pitching arm action. Your son should find what feels comfortable for him while keeping his feet properly aligned for the Maxline pitches.

     The mirrors are for the post-adolescent pitchers to use when they train with their wrist weights.

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97.   What is the rationale for starting from the extreme sides of the pitching rubber? Margin of error?   Is there any harm in teaching a child that after release of his pitch, he should end at the waist?   I know you're motion does not advocate doing so, but can any harm come from it?

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     Pitchers start at the glove side of the pitching rubber to throw their Maxline pitches.   This gives them room to drive their pitches laterally away from the pitching arm side of their body.   Pitchers start at the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber to throw their Torque pitches.   This gives them room to drive their pitches laterally toward the glove side of their body.

     Pitcher must never drop their pitching arm until after it reaches as far forward as possible.   What the pitching arm does after that does not matter except to protect pitchers from baseballs hit back at them.   Much harm and pitching consistency can result from teaching pitchers to drop their pitching arms down to their waist.   Pitchers must learn to keep their elbow at shoulder height and never pull their elbow across the front of their body.

     I do not recommend that pitchers do something that they should not do.   Remember, pitchers should apply force on straight lines.   They cannot do that when they drop or pull their elbows.

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98.   What is wrong with pitchers grabbing some dirt with their pitching hand after they have completed the pitch?

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     When pitchers bend forward to grab some dirt, they create many problems.   I thoroughly explained why pitcher should never, never bend at their waist in an earlier answer.   Pitchers must stand tall and rotate.   Pitchers must keep their pitching elbow at shoulder height and slighly in front of their acromial line.

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99.   I used to play in the MSBL.   I haven't played baseball or anything in about 1 1/2 years.   I hurt my shoulder.   Right before I would release the ball, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder that would sort of deaden my arm.   I had my shoulder x-rayed by a specialist who said there was fraying on the rotator cuff and also some ligament or tendon on top of the shoulder that would roll out of it's guide or track on the bone and get inflamed.   What is your recommendation to me if I wanted to start pitching again.   I want to get into great shape where I won't have to worry about getting injured and not being able to go out on the mound.

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     I never trust X-ray specialists.   You sound as though you could have had a subscapularis, infraspinatus or the tendon of the long head of the biceps brachii problem.   Improper pitching motion causes all of these problems.   You would have to change how you apply force to your pitches and strengthen your pitching arm.   That is what I explain in my Coaching Pitchers book and my Instructional Videotape.   You can download my book for free from my web site and, if you like what you read, you can go to my Instructional Videotape icon and learn how to purchase it.

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100.   My son is going to be 19.   He had started our community college and went out for the baseball team, made the team, his coach told him to stay healthy and do good in school you will be a starter!   My son is learning disabled and no matter what I have tried to do, he does not like school!   He had tried and I gave in, knowing that I would only hurt him and my very lonely pocketbook!

     Just to let you know a little about him, he is 6 foot tall and weighs about 170.   From what I hear he is a junk ball pitcher.   We had taken him to a college showcase and he got to pitch to 6 players and struck out all!   A professional scout said he was very impressed!   I am sure you have heard it all, so I will not go any farther.

     My question is now what do I do?


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     In professional baseball today, unless your son throws ninety plus miles per hour, they will have no interest.   You did not mention at what velocity they clocked him at the college showcase and I know that they clocked him, they always do.   If he had actually impressed the scout, he would have taken his information or even tried to sign him.

     I train pitchers for forty weeks.   They have to have jobs.   After they finish the forty weeks, they tryout with junior and senior colleges for scholarships.   How they perform may or may not get them scholarship offers.   I work with kids to help them get college scholarships.

     If he cannot do college school work, the only remaining option is professional baseball.   So, he goes to professional tryouts.   It all comes down to, if he cannot throw ninety plus miles per hour, he will not pitch professionally.

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101.   Where do I get the information on where the tryouts are?   I have bought many of the baseball papers, but I can't find any information.   Please lead me in the right direction.   If my son changes his mind about school, I will surely get back in touch with you.

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     The best way to learn of affiliated team tryouts is to call the teams and ask for their scouting department. Then, ask them when and where they will hold tryouts.   I have a list of their telephone numbers.   The better way is for your son to learn how to study and go to a junior college.

01.   Anaheim Angels   (714)940-2000
02.   Baltimore Orioles   (410)685-9800
03.   Boston Red Sox   (617)267-9440
04.   Chicago White Sox   (312)674-5116
05.   Cleveland Indians   (216)420-4200
06.   Detroit Tigers   (313)962-4000
07.   Kansas City Royals   (816)921-8000
08.   Minnesota Twins   (612)375-1366
09.   New York Yankees   (718)293-4300
10.   Oakland Athletics   (510)638-4900
11.   Seattle Mariners   (206)346-4000
12.   Tampa Bay Devil Rays   (727)825-3137
13.   Texas Rangers   (817)273-5222
14.   Toronto Blue Jays   (416)341-1000
15.   Arizona Diamondbacks   (602)462-6500
16.   Atlanta Braves   (404)522-7630
17.   Chicago Cubs   (773)404-2827
18.   Cincinnati Reds   (513)421-4510
19.   Colorado Rockies   (303)292-0200
20.   Florida Marlins   (305)626-7400
21.   Houston Astros   (713)259-8000
22.   Los Angeles Dodgers   (323)224-1500
23.   Milwaukee Brewers   (414)902-4400
24.   Montreal Expos    (514)253-3434
25.   New York Mets   (718)507-6387
26.   Philadelphia Phillies   (215)463-6000
27.   Pittsburgh Pirates   (412)323-5000
28.   St. Louis Cardinals   (314)421-3060
29.   San Diego Padres   (619)881-6500
30.   San Francisco Giants   (415)468-3700

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102.   A boy, age 12, underwent elbow growth plate surgery last August and was cleared to play hockey through the winter.   Last summer he pitched a lot, but hurt his arm on a throw from center field.   What can you tell me about this type of surgery and prospects of pitching this summer?

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     This unfortunate young man is an example that throwing is dangerous to the adolescent pitching arm.   You do not have to be a pitcher.   To repair the growth plate of the medial epicondyle, surgeons have to return it to its proper position as they would a broken bone.   However, they need the bone to reattach to the shaft of the bone.   Once it fully matures, it will be strong.   Unfortunately, we do not know what the trauma and the reattachment will have done to the normal development of the bone.   How much smaller than normal will it be?   Did the groove for the ulnar nerve develop correctly?   There are a lot of questions that we will not know until after completed skeletal maturation.

     I recommend that he not pitch or throw anything rigorously until after the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of his non-pitching arm has completely matured.   Unless he is a delayed maturer, this typically occurs after fifteen years of age.

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103.   I have been out of baseball for six years, but considering a comeback.   I'm 24 years old.   I am a RHP who was scouted heavily throughout high school.   I have always had a really strong arm with good pitching skills.   I am 6'2, 190 lbs.   I know I can work harder than anyone else, but physically, do you think that I can make a strong comeback after being out for so long?   If so, how would you recommend I get started?

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     You are not even close to being too old to find out how good of a pitcher that you can become.   You need my Coaching Pitchers book, your personal training facility and my Instructional Videotape.   You will need to follow the daily workouts of my 280 Day Pitcher Training Program.   It will require one hour per day of quality training.   If you have questions during the process, please email me and I will guide you through it.   All you need is the commitment.

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104.   I watched your video twice yesterday evening.   All I can say is "Wow".   It is outstanding in it's instructional content.   It really put into perspective that which you have previously written in your Coaching Pitchers book.   The X-ray progression of the maturing elbow was a real eye opener.   I didn't realize that the arm is still skeletally maturing between the ages of 15 and 16.   The exercise portion really helped to understand the correct form and technique you've described as well as the mechanisms you've constructed for that purpose.   And lastly, the way the young men's pitches were breaking and moving says it all.   It is overall an excellent beginning to what I feel will be a clinic on correct pitching technique and how to be a thinking pitcher.   Great job.

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105.   My son plays outfield.   I know that you recommend that outfielders practice your Maxline Fastball technique.   Unfortunately I have scoured your book and cannot find a complete, concise explanation of how to throw a Maxline Fastball.   I'm not opposed to ordering your videotape, but I'm afraid that 90%, although interesting, would be wasted on a boy that doesn't pitch and doesn't intend to.   Am I overlooking a chapter in the book?

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     I understand your concern.   In a revised Section VI, I discuss my pitching motion.   However, this is general to all pitches.   My explanation of the grips, forearm actions and releases for my pitchers should be in Chapter 22.   Unfortunately, I have not had time to rewrite that chapter.   I have a very thorough demonstration of this on my Instructional Videotape.   It is the next chapter that I plan to rewrite in layman friendly language, but I cannot predict when.

     If your son might like to fool around throwing curves that will not injure his arm or screwballs that nobody else can throw or if you would like to understand whether your son is biologically delayed, equated or accelerated, how his throwing arm matures or how to train his arm after the growth plates of his throwing arm matures, then the video is the answer.

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106.   I am a high school baseball coach and have heard that throwing the lighter incrediballs can put extra strain on the elbow due to the quicker arm speed and lighter ball.   You cover many baseball injuries on your website and I was wondering if there was any truth to this, or if you know of any web-sites that might have information about this.

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     I cover this information in Section VIII: Principles for Designing a Pitcher Training Program in my Coaching Pitchers book.

     The principle of Specificity tells us that athletes get the fitness for the precise task that they perform.   Training is specific to the resistance that they accelerate, the joint angles at which they apply force, the number of repetitions that they perform, the type of muscle fiber that the activity requires and much more.

     The concept of underloading is that the resistance that athletes want to accelerate is too great for them to do so with the proper force application technique.   For example, when an eight year old tries to swing a thirty-two ounce baseball bat.   To learn the correct motor unit firing sequence for hitting pitched balls, these youngsters benefit from swinging striking implements that they can control.   Underloading training influences motor control.

     There may well be an age where the five and one-quarter ounce baseball exceeds the ability of youngsters to accelerate them with proper force application technique, but I doubt that high school athletes are included in that group.

     My Pitcher Training Program stimulates osteoblastic activity to lay down more bone matrix to provide pitchers with a stronger foundation from which to apply force.   It stimulates ligament and ligament attachment growth and development.   It stimulates tendon and muscle fiber attachment growth and development.   Simultaneously, it teaches the proper force application techniques for the six pitches that I believe pitchers must master to be the best pitcher that they can be.   Properly designed adult training programs stimulate the body to adjust to a judiciously applied overload.   Only overloading physiological systems results in a response that increases the ability to withstand greater stresses.

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107.   In my understanding. underload is not about whether or not you can control the weight.   It's purpose is to allow for ballistic/plyometric workout, the same concept, say, as using a PowerChute for resistance during a run, at the instant of release the body explodes forward, developing an overspeed response in the shift to underload.

     I would wonder if the shift to underload results in excess/uncontrolled speed and the damage is the possible result of mechanics breaking down without the normal resistance which keeps it in check.   (Another reason for underload being contra-indicated.)

     On the other side, am I correct in thinking you recommend overload training precisely because it would highlight any deviation from optimal force application?   Learning through exaggerated feedback?

     Then, what happens when the pitcher, say, shifts from throwing 7 oz or more to 5-1/4?   After all, 5-1/4 is not necessarily an optimal weight just the weight determined by the rules of the game.   But, in this case then 5-1/4 becomes a relative underload with the same risk of mechanical breakdown.

     This concerns me because we have long advocated some form of Pyramid training, i.e. weighted balls, weighted bats, resistance tubing, etc.   Maybe what you say about specificity means that only actual game weights should be used at all times?   This clearly is not consistent with almost every training program for every sport out there.


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     The original design purpose of underloading relates to motor control.   In my baseball bat example, it makes no sense to train with a regulation weight baseball bat with youngsters unable to swing that weight with proper force application technique.   Even with those who can handle the weight, it makes sense to use lighter bats to teach the proper swing in combination with a weight training program that strengthens the skeletal structure, the ligaments and the muscle tendon and tissue attachments.

     The use of weighted baseballs does not provide sufficient stimulation to create the desired physiological response.   I use weighted balls to stimulate osteoblastic activity specific to my force application techniques.   My training balls weight six, eight, ten and twelve pounds.   This carefully controlled stress stimulates osteoblastic activity as demonstrated by increases in bone matix size and density.   Weighted baseballs only subject the participants to greater stress without influencing their force application technique or stimulating a physiological response.

     Your conclusion that 'specificity means that only actual game weights should be used at all times' is correct.   I do not claim that throwing my weighted iron balls will increase release velocity directly.   I claim that by gently strengthening the bones, ligaments and muscle attachments of the pitching muscles in the force application techniques that I teach will injury-proof the pitching arm and permit pitchers to apply their maximum force without concern.   As a result, my pitchers achieve their maximum release velocity.

     For those who do not understand proper force application, but only try to copy the techniques of the 'hot' pitcher of the moment, even my wrist weight and iron ball exercises will not prevent serious pitching arm injury.   My best evidence that my force application techniques satisfy the laws of Physics and Applied Anatomy is that my pitchers do a minimum of 144 repetitions of my wrist weight exercises, my iron ball exercises and my baseball throws every day for 280 days in my Pitcher Training Program without injury and nobody who uses my methods has ever suffered a pitching arm injury.

     I agree with your concern that you 'have long advocated some form of Pyramid training; weighted balls, weighted bats, resistance tubing, etc.'.   None of these methods satisfy the critical first test, 'Specificity of Training'.   I carefully explain all this and more in Section VIII: Principles for Designing a Pitcher Training Program in my Coaching Pitchers book and demonstrate it in my accompanying Instructional Videotape.

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108.   My apologies for not responding until now.   I had read, or tried anyway, your book on the web.   Quite frankly, it was so far above my head I am still woosy from the altitude.   But, that's a failing on my part, not yours.

     I do understand your reasoning against Youth pitching.   However, you and I both know that NONE of the sanctions, excuse me, none that I am aware of, will stop letting kids pitch.   All I am trying to do is to get rules enacted that will act to lessen the damages and to educate parents of the damage potential.


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     I am trying to eliminate all pitching injuries, including those due to immature skeletons.   The responsibility for how many innings youngsters pitch lies with the parents, not the coaches or administrators.   When they see how youth pitching is destroying the best pitching arms of a generation, they will stop the madness.

     I am trying to find time to rewrite my Coaching Pitchers book in more layman friendly language.   However, with my recently released Instructional Videotape that closely parallels my book, I believe that you could understand more.

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109.   Last year we coached 3 and 4 year old T-Ball.   However, our 7 year old son and 8 year old daughter talked my husband into coaching their first year of youth baseball.   It is called "Pinto Ball".   We have never heard of this before.   My husband played sports all his life, at the same park that our kid's played for last year.   However, we moved to a new area this year, and to help the kid's (all 4 of them) make new friends, we signed them up here at a local park.   However they do things very different here.   And to top it off, when I had to call all the parents last night for the first time, several of them made it very clear that this park is all about winning.   Last year our old park was all about sportsmanship and fun.   What is so different about T-Ball vs Youth Base Ball?

     Tonight my husband is at the team's first practice.   I was too chicken to attend.   He was a nervous wreck.   Any advise or tip's would be so very much appreciated.


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     Find parents who share your opinion and start your own league.   Seven and eight year old baseball and they are concerned with winning?   That is ridiculous.   Until youngsters have completed their skeletal maturation, they should only be concerned with skill and strategy development and fun.

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110.   After reading your book and information, I decided to not let my 8 year old pitch.   Now, his coach wants him to catch.   Is there any risk for elbow or arm injury with him catching?

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     I have no problem with eight year olds learning to throw my pitches, except the torque slider.   However, he should practice throwing for no more than two months per year.   At thirteen years old, he can pitch one inning in games twice a week, but still no more than two months per year.   Throwing is throwing whether pitching, catching or whatever.   No more than two months per years.   I love baseball and pitching, but there are many other activities from which he will benefit for a lifetime, for example, family activities like camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and so on.   Teach him those activities while his skeleton matures.

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111.   Where can I buy the wrist weights that you use?

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     I located the wrist weight manufacturer.   You telephone (800)251-6040 and ask them for the retailer that is closest to you from whom you may purchase the wrist weights.   I purchase the five and ten pound long strap therapeutic weights in their RSS Series.

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112.   I am an assistant coach on a college baseball team.   I am pursuing my master's degree in biomechanics and am basically doing my thesis on pitching.   I have chosen to examine the effect on pitcheres of raising the mound height (10", 12", & 15" with same slope of 1 inch per foot) and increasing the slope (to about 1.5 inches per foot).   I am interested how these changes influence the trajectory and velocity of the ball.

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     I know that, somewhere in my Coaching Pitchers book, I discussed the effect on pitchers when major league baseball lowered the mound height five inches in 1968.   It decreased the distance that pitchers had to throw the baseball and helped pitchers throw their pitches lower in the strike zone.   I did not see then and still do not see how that helped hitters.   But, they did not ask me.

     Raising mound height helps the groundskeepers get the proper slope for the infield to permit rain to run off.   In your scenarios, when you leave the slope at one inch per foot for six feet, it also raises the height of the pitches by two inches and five inches, respectively.   However, when you increase the slope to one and one-half inch per foot for six feet, instead of a six inch drop, you get a nine inch drop.   Groundskeepers will have puddles on the infield.   Until they adjust their drivelines, pitchers will throw the baseball into the ground.

     The mound should be fifteen inches higher than home plate and the bases with a slope of one inch per foot for six feet.   Who gave major league baseball the authority to mess with the demensions of the baseball field?

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113.   My son is 11 and loves the game of baseball.   He has pitched some over the past year or so, but not much.   It does not take many throws before he experiences pain on the inside of his throwing elbow.   I know it is due to a breakdown in his mechanics however, I'm not sure technically what to look for.   To compound the problem, I have received conflicting information from different sources.   He has a tremendous aptitude for the game and I refuse to allow it to be damaged due to injury that can be prevented.   I am not allowing him to pitch until he learns the proper mechanics.   Is there some resource I can obtain that might help me see what to look for in his motion?

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     I want to eliminate all pitching injuries.   Eleven year olds should not experience pain when they throw.   In Section VI of my Coaching Pitchers book, I explain my pitching motion in layman friendly language.   If that is not sufficient, I recently released my Instructional Videotape to accompany my Coaching Pitchers book.   To learn how to receive it, please click on the Instructional Videotape icon on the home page of my web site.

     You have made the correct decision about not permitting your son to pitch until he can throw without discomfort.   After you have read my book and reviewed my video, if you have questions, I will be happy to discuss them with you via email.

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114.   My 15 year old son has just been given the terrible news that he has a slight tear in his medial collateral ligament.   He has been in a rehab program since first hearing the bad news.   I have all the confidence in his doctor.   His doctor had even taken my son's MRI 's with him to a recent seminar.   During the seminar he shared these MRI's with other specialist's.   He was speaking with a professional team doctor and they agreed that reconstruction surgery would most likely cause my son to be over-looked by scouts to pitch at the next level.   We were also told that it would be about 2 years to rehab to put him back on the mound and then he might be only at where he is now.   Our doctor told us that professional team doctor said, being my son is only 15, he should focus on another position other than pitching, rehab his elbow, and avoid surgery.

     Although we are sure not to have surgery, my son has been a very dominant pitcher.   He did not throw any breaking balls until last season on his high school team.   He has been looked at by 4 division II colleges, and 1 division I college.   All have express interest in him but only through allowable recruiting practices.   My questions are: Is there any chance that there is a rehab program available to have him pitch again?, Is this tear something that will affect him by playing another position that may harm him more? and What do I say to the college coaches that have been writing and asking him to attend their baseball skills evaluation camps this summer?   He has already signed up for one camp that we have paid for already.   I don't want to hurt my son's chances of attending and playing at the next level and I want him to help him succeed and prepare for the next level.


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     You have overlooked that most important question.   What is wrong with your son's pitching motion that caused him to tear his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?   Until he corrects his force application technique, everything else is irrelevant.

     Is there any chance that there is a rehab program available to have him pitch again?   Unless the rehabilitation program understands what your son is doing wrong with his force application, understands the proper pitching motion sufficiently to train specifically to strengthen the bones and the ligaments, tendons and muscle attachments to those bones specific to that motion and understands how to judiciously apply the stress over a six month period, I doubt that it will help.

     Is this tear something that will affect him by playing another position that may harm him more?   Throwing is throwing.   If he throws incorrectly on the mound, he probably throws wrong from the infield or outfield.

     What do I say to the college coaches that have been writing and asking him to attend their baseball skills evaluation camps this summer?   We will get back to you.

     Have you read my Coaching Pitchers book?   I wrote the book to teach parents and pitchers how to eliminate pitching arm injuries.   The first question I ask is:   Has the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of your son's medial epicondyle completely matured?   If the answer is yes, then we can get to work.   If the X-ray shows that it has not completely matured, get back to me when it has and do not read any farther at this time.

     I do not believe doctors can look at MRIs and determine tears in the Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.   I have rehabilitated many pitchers whose doctors have said that they had a tear in their UCL.   It is a different matter if pitchers have ruptured their UCL.   That diagnosis is clear.   The only way to deal with this situation is to start him on my Pitcher Training Program.   My program teaches him the proper way to apply force to his pitches while strengthening the bones, the UCL and other critical ligament and critical tendons and muscles.

     Unfortunately for this situation, I work only with high school graduates.   My pitchers learn what is required to be the best pitcher that they can be.   College coaches like my injury-proofed pitchers.   They also like that they are a year more mature than high school kids.

     To learn more about my Pitcher Training Program, you should download my Coaching Pitcher book for free from my web site.   If you and your son like what you read, I have recently released an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.

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115.   Even without seeing your video, I am having major success in using your material especially in the decelerating phase.   The kids understand what I teaching them, but their coaches and parents can only attack.   They say it's impossible for the body throw in a straight line.   I know I should ignore them, however I can see the kids looking at for a retort.   I devised a trinket to throw, similar to a hatchet or the famous tomahawk of the American Indians.   The only way you can throw this thing straight is to use your theory of pitching, the straight-line theory.   It is amazing in that I can't explain the dynamics of the movements, but if you take the tomahawk behind your back in a reverse rotation you can't come close to hitting the target.   Yet, if you go straight back, it is as accurate as shooting a rifle.

     My question is this; the arm motion is straight back and then straight forward, but also rotational.   I have them throw it just like they throwing a baseball.   What would be a scientific explanation of this motion in a language that the non-scientific mind can grasp?


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     The pathway that the baseball follows is backward toward second base, then elliptically upward to driveline height and straight toward home plate from leverage through release.   The action of the acromial line of the shoulders is to reverse rotate until the front shoulder side points toward the opposite-sided batter, then forward rotates to perpendicular to the driveline when the pitcher moves to his front foot and forward rotates until the pitching shoulder points toward home plate.   The body rotates, the baseball drives in a straight line from leverage through release.   The rotation of the body increases the length of the straight driveline.   It does not need to change the pathway of the baseball to deviate from a straight line.   The tomahawk throw idea is interesting, but I worry that you will bend at the waist rather than stand tall and rotate through release.

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116.   What exactly is Tommy John surgery?

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     I have explained Tommy John surgery many times in my Question/Answer sections.   Please read my book and my Question/Answer sections.

     Tommy John surgery repairs ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.   The Ulnar Collateral Ligament attaches between the humerus bone of the upper arm and the ulna bone of the forearm on the medial aspect of the elbow.   Surgeons drill holes in the humerus and ulna bones, thread a section of the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from the wrist of the non-pitching wrist and secured the ends to the bone.

     The surgery successfully corrects the medical problem, but not the cause, which is bad pitching motion.   Unless these pitchers correct the flaw in their pitching motion, they will injure other parts of the medial aspect of the pitching elbow.

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117.   My question is not about pitching, but perhaps you can help.   I coach 13 and 14 year olds at the PONY level.   The president of our league is insisting on rosters of a minimum of 12 players.   Our league plays only 17 games from late April until late June plus a double elimination tournament the last week of June.   We bat only 9 players in the order and each player must play a minimum of 12 consecutive outs (2 innings) per game.   All players must pay a fee to play plus participate in 2 fundraisers.   If you do the math you will find that with 12 players either 5 or 6 are relegated to part time duty for each game.

     I am concerned that this combination of requirements is detrimental to the concept of encouraging participation in our program and in fact is driving young men away from baseball if they aren't among the ones who play full time.   I would also like to point out that with the exception of about a half dozen boys the players are quite competent at the basics of the game and can be full time players if given the opportunity.   With all of this in mind and knowing that going into a season with only 10 players is not desirable because of potential injuries or other absences is there any guideline or recommendation that exists with regard to optimum roster size or relaxed participation rules that can help us to maximize player participation.   We don't play after the end of June because our local league participates in the PONY program and 28 of the boys are selected to participate on 2(13&14 year old) all star teams.   I don't agree with the idea of all-star teams but I don't make the rules.


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     I do not know how many innings this league plays per game.   However, the most equitable way to assign the innings is to divide them equally among all players.   I assume that you have an open substitution rule that would permit you to substitute at any time.   I would devise a completely objective method of assigning innings.   I would use numbers rather than names and have players draw their numbers for each game.   For example, player one would play specific innings, player two different specific innings and so on.

     If I were a player, I would not participate if I did not get to play as often as everybody else.   If everybody paid the same and helped fund raise the same, then I would feel part of the group.

     I also disagree with the All-Star idea.   At thirteen and fourteen years old, the accelerated maturers disproportionately participate.   This excludes the equated and delayed maturers some of whom will eventually grow taller and be stronger than the accelerated maturers.   However, without the opportunity to develop their skills and strategies, they will not succeed.

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118.   Your videotape is revolutionary and taped in your backyard.   COOL!   I recently showed the tape to all my students and their parents as I felt so obliged for health reasons.   The elbow injuries were appropriately shocking and has led to reevaluations of their approach to their son's baseball throwing activities.   I have been trying to limit throws with only some success.   You have had more success than I.   Thanks!

     The first reaction to some of your exercises were "Yikes, what's that?"   But after an open discussion they could see for themselves that actually, it all makes a lot of sense.   So, good feedback from a group of kids ranging from 11-16 years of age (only the 16 year old is beginning weight training).   All the rest practice "straight-line acceleration".   They are pleased!   Thanks again!


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Dear Sir, Thank you for the kind words about the videotape. I hope that the kids and their parents have a better understanding what pitching can do to them and for them. Used correctly, pitching can be a great asset to young men. Used incorrectly, pitching can harm them permanently.

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119.   I have some theories regarding the modification of the pitching mound heights that indicate that significant changes are worse for pitchers as the height has been lowered.   What do you think?

     First, I believe that the pitching mound height was lowered from 15 inches to 10 inches around 1968 after Bob Gibson was so dominant with an ERA under 1.00.   MLB wanted more offense and pitchers were targeted.

     Second, most of the feedback that I get from MLB pitchers and all the other college and HS coaches that I talk to seem to feel that this change resulted in fewer fastballs and more junk thrown by pitchers.

     Third, I have been teaching "tall and fall" pitching for 15 years and chose to take that route because the concept that the lowered mound made it more difficult to "change planes" of the pitch's descent.   Pitches from the original higher mound HAD to change more planes (descend more) to be called strikes.   In other words, the higher release point as a result of the "tall and fall" technique somewhat compensated for the 5 inch lowering of the mound.

     Fourth, and this comes from an admittedly unscientific, but rather obvious fact of a hitter's career as seen by a nonparticipant, who thusly, holds an odd edge in perceptual objectivity.   Is it not a fact that the majority of "pitches" seen by a batter in his entire life time of baseball come from a low release point because of BP pitches thrown from the flat in front of the mound and "lower" machine pitches?   Don't those practice pitches come from release points BELOW the "old" release point of pitchers striding off of a 15 inch mound?   In other words, BP and machine pitches are more FLAT and thus more similar to the FLAT pitches thrown from today's 10 inch mound thus having a configuration/flight path similarities.   In other, other words, aren't modern day drop and drive pitchers that start from a 10 inch mound basically throwing rather FLAT STUFF in comparison to pre 1968?   Aren't these "live" pitches much more similar to all the pitches they see in BP which the hitters see MANY, MANY more of every day-every year than they do REAL PITCHES in a game?   And, aren't flat pitches easier to hit?

     I argue that pitches today from the 10 inch mound change fewer planes than pitches thrown in yesteryear from the 15 inch mound.   Advantage to hitters from my view.   And, I also think the numbers, and you, back this up.   Hasn't MLB gotten exactly what it had asked for in 1968?   MORE OFFENSE!

     I have heard that the Braves program stresses the need to change planes and tends to select those pitchers with "higher" release points.   It certainly seems that way to me when I watch those Atlanta lads do their thing although Maddux is somewhat an exception (because sinkers and change-ups seem to be what they are from whatever release point height).


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     With regard to the height of the pitching mound, I recently received a question from an assistant baseball coach who is working on his Master's degree on the same topic.   My answer is in my 2002 Question/Answer file.

     The advantage of high release points relates to what I call, 'seeing the ball twice'.   I teach my kids to throw their four seam Magnus Effect fastballs at the highest part of the strike zone.   Hitters get one look to which to respond.   I teach my kids to throw their two seam Marshall Effect minus ten miles per hour pitches at the same release height and downward angle as their four seam fastballs from which they move downward to mid-thigh height.   Hitters get one look to which to respond.   I teach my kids to throw their four seam Magnus Effect minus twenty miles per hour pitches at the same release height and downward angle as their four seam fastballs from which they move downward to just below the knee height.   Hitters get one look to which to respond.

     However, every pitcher cannot achieve the same release height and downward angle.   I have several tall pitchers with high release points and downward release angles.   I also have several short pitchers whose release points are as high as possible, but they cannot achieve downward release angle with their four seam Magnus Effect minus twenty miles per hour pitches.   Consequently, they have to throw these pitches with an upward release angle and hitters get to see these pitches twice, once on the way up and again on the way down.

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120.   I have an 11 year old boy that pitches.   He says he feels some discomfort in the triceps area.   He feels nothing in the joint area of the shoulder, it is well below [backside of bicep].   His mechanics are better than the average 11 year old.   Any suggestions as to why he may have this?   I have heard that it is a common occurrence during a growth phase.   We do not overpitch any of our kids on our team although they do play a lengthy season.   We insist on tubing exercises along with proper warm-up and cooling down regimens as well.   For the most part they go 2 innings apiece unless the pitch count gets above 30-35, then they are done period.   The only difference between himself and other pitchers is he seems to break his hands sooner than most. He throws pretty much over the top with a somewhat severe shoulder tilt kind of like a Bartolo Colon although he does not bring the ball as close to the ear as Colon does.   Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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     I do not worry much about discomfort that pitchers experience in the middle of muscles.   I worry a great deal about discomfort that adolescent pitchers experience at the attachments of muscles and where ligaments hold bones together.   I worry a great deal about eleven year olds pitching competitively.   If you had read my Coaching Pitchers book and my Question/Answer files, you would know that I strongly recommend that adolescents do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   I also recommend that they do not even practice pitching for more than two months per year.

     With regard to his force application technique, I explain my pitching motion and the reasons for it in Section VI of my Coaching Pitchers book.   I also recently released an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.   Tilting the shoulders to the glove side places unnecessary stress on the pitching arm.   My recommendation is for your and your son to read my Coaching Pitchers book and watch my Instructional Videotape.

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121.   What injuries did you have during your career?

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     I was in a car accident when I was eleven.   My uncle died and I suffered a severe back injury that has pained me daily since.   In 1975, I tried to add the 'pull the window shade' technique curve to my pitches and separated the seventh rib from my sternum on my non-pitching side.   In 1978, while playing touch football, a player hit me on the outside of my right knee and tore my Medial Collateral Ligament.   Other than that, I had a pitching arm that permitted me to pitch competitively every day through fifty-six years old.

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122.   Recently, I read in your 2002 Question& Answer section.   You said that pitchers need to throw 90 mph to be considered in the professional ranks.   Can I add more velocity to my fastball?   What area of strengthening should I be working on?   I'm 17 yrs old, 6'2" 185 lbs., a junior in high school and working with lights weights.   I have been clocked at 78-80 mph, which was up from the previous year by 5-6 mph.   I'm willing to work and commit to making it to the next level.

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     I have no way of knowing what maximum release velocity you can achieve.   However, I do know that if you strengthen the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscle attachments of the pitching arm specific to my pitching motion, you will apply the maximum force of which you are capable to your pitches and, thereby, achieve your maximum release velocity.   And, you will be able to do that over and over without injury for however long that you continue my training program.   In addition, you will learn to throw the variety of pitches that challenges hitters to correctly anticipate the velocity and movement of the pitches that he will receive.   That is the best that you can do and that is success and winning, whatever the score of the individual games.

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123.   I am a huge fan of yours!   I am a 14-year-old pitcher and your book has helped my game tremendously!   I was wondering if I wrote to you would you autograph a baseball card for me?   If so, at what address could I do this?   If you don't have time to answer, I understand.   Thank you very much for your valuable time and for being such a great role model to me!

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     I prefer to answer questions that will help you become the best injury-free pitcher that you can become.   I do not sign autographs.   I am a role model for my children and grandchildren.   For you, I am a source of information.

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124.   I am a 17 year old senior in High School.   I am 6'5" and 190 lbs. and still growing.   This is my first year pitching.   I've pitched one complete game so far.   Could you give me some information about your program?   And, is there anything out here that you could recommend for training?   I know I am a bit behind developmentally, but I am the best athlete at my school (starting Varsity Quarterback) and I love pitching, so I'm thinking about pitching in college.

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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book to help young men such as yourself learn how to correctly apply force to their pitches and how to train to become the best pitcher that they can become.   I recently released an Instructional Videotape to accompany my book.   With my book and videotape, you should be able to complete my 280 day Pitcher Training Program.

     I also provide pitching instruction.   You can read about my instruction by clicking on the Pitching Instruction icon on my home page.   I only take the most motivated young men.

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125.   I am a 20 year old sophomore at a major university.   I found your website through your ad in the March 13-19 edition of Baseball Weekly and heard about you in articles in Sports Illustrated.   I realize that many people are not meant to play baseball, but I have read many improbable stories similar to me, and I refuse to quit until I am basically physically unable to play.   Not only would I like your book and video, but I am more than highly interested in coming to your camp in Florida.   The only problem would be the money necessary to pay for the expenses and finding a job, as per the recommendation found on your website.   If you could, would it be too much to ask for any advice as to how to circumvent these obstacles, and for so late in the year.

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     The young men training at my Pitcher Research Center have no problem finding a job.   SaddleBrook Golf and Tennis Resort has many job openings during the winter months and restaurants and other service jobs are readily available.   You would only have to put in applications at several places and you would have a job.

     To learn more about my forty week training session, please give me a good time to call you and we can discuss it.

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126.   My son is a red shirt Freshman at a major Northern university.   He is presently on the active roster and in Florida on their annual spring swing.   He entered college in September 2001.   At that time he was throwing 87 mph with very good control.   He began to experience pain in his forearm during Thanksgiving break that year.   The trainer shut him down for ten days and then brought him back slowly for two weeks.   When he began throwing off the mound the pain returned.   They tried this three times before sending him for x-rays and finally a MRI.

     The X-ray showed a stress fracture just below the elbow.   The MRI was inconclusive because it was taken too long after the X-ray (or so they said).   It seems like the training staff screwed up to me.   Regardless, he missed all of last season.   Last summer, he was in a summer league.   His mechanics were all messed up and his velocity way down.   He claimed he had no pain, but I wonder if that was the case.   This year, he was throwing only 80 mph and lower.   His control is way off.   The pitching coach had him drop down to side arm.   His control is somewhat better and his velocity is not up there.   He is still in the learning process in I assume.

     He wants to try to regain what he has lost after the season.   They are not going to work with him on this until after the season is over.   I would like your opinion on this.   I know you do not work short term with pitchers at your facility, but I am hopeful you can suggest an alternative route for him to take.   We are willing to send him to see you if that is an option.


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     A stress fracture just below the elbow is not sufficiently specific.   Did he fracture his medial epicondyle?   Did he fracture his olecranon process?   I need more specific information.

     Your son has entered the abyss of the medical downward spiral.   The trainer at the school hears pain, so he recommends rest.   But rest does not heal pitching pain, rest causes atrophy and increased weakness which lead to the pain in the first place.   Then, the trainer trys to rehabilitate the pitching arm with exercises that are not specific to pitching and insufficient to generate a training response.   Without any adjustment to the force application technique that unnecessarily stressed the pitching arm in the first place and with further atrophy, your son tries to pitch again with the same result.   Now enters the doctor and they inconclusive medical tests.   More rest, more inadequate rehabilitation and more pain results.

     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and produced my Instructional Videotaoe to accompany my book to show parents, coaches and pitchers how to properly apply force to their pitches and how to properly train the pitching arm to withstand the normal acceptable stress of pitching.   Therefore, I have no suggestion except to complete my 280 day pitcher training program.   He could do it on his own.   I only work with young men who commit to train with me for 280 days starting the third Saturday in August.   If your son had come to me when this first happened, he would be done with my program and pitching without pain.

     Even without knowing precisely what your son injured, I can tell you that changing his throwing motion to throwing sidearm is not the answer.

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127.   I have 3 sons (10, 8, and 3).   My ten year old is pitching and has a good, strong arm.   I am trying to get him to "come over the top" as opposed to the 3/4 motion he seems to be more comfortable with.   What is he losing in velocity by coming 3/4?   Also, could this be hurting his arm?

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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and produced my Instructional Videotape to accompany my book to enable parents to help their sons learn to pitch without pitching arm injuries.   If you have any questions after you read my book and watch my video, please email me.   Together, we will help you sons to become the best pitchers that they can become without injuring or deforming his pitching arm.

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128.   I have a 16-17 year old son, who up until last year never had arm problems.   He pitched his Freshman year of high school with a 12-1 record.   He lifted weights with trainer supervision in fall of 2000.   He started pitching lessons in February 2001 under supervision. He could not get loose and had arm pain after 3 weeks.

     I took to an orthopedist who diagnosed rotator cuff tendonitis.   He did 8 weeks of physical therapy, but when he came back just throwing, he still was not right.   He did nothing for entire summer and tried again in fall. He still did not feel right and went back to orthopedist who did an MRI and discovered what was thought to be slap legion.   He had orthroscopic surgery where they found no tear, but a severely stretched ligament that they reduced.   He was in a sling for 6 weeks and, then, he did 8 weeks of physical therapy.   He began a throwing program for 5 weeks and began pitching again.   For 2 weeks, he threw great, but in his 3rd week, he had arm pain again.   He went back to the orthopedist who did another MRI and diagnosed distal clavical osteolosis.   He received a cortisone shot and is now doing heavy band work with no throwing for 3-4 weeks.

     Does this sound as proper rehabilitation?


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     I have never heard of a 'slap legion.'   What I need is the specific location of the pain and where during the throwing motion that the pain bothered your son.   Distal clavical osteolosis indicates the front of the shoulder.

     Your story is typical.   Young pitcher has discomfort.   Doctors treat it medically.   They give shots, they rest, they do rehabilitation and they do surgery.   The shots cure nothing.   The rest results in atrophy and further weakness.   The rehabilitation is insufficient to stimulate the proper physiological response.   And, the surgery finds nothing or fixes nothing.

     Sixteen/seventeen year olds should not have any open growth plates, but they do have tender skeletal, ligamentous, tendonous and muscular tissue that require strengthening.   The original discomfort occurred because of unnecessary stress due to improper force application and was aggravated by insufficient fitness.   I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and produced an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book to teach parents and pitchers how to properly apply force and train for pitching.   You have to stop the medical downward spiral.   I recommend that your son start my 280 day pitcher training program.

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129.   I noticed there are references to pictures in the book, but there are no pictures.   Do you have the book in print?

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     When I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book, I put in notes of where I wanted an illustration.   Then, when I investigated the cost of those illustrations, I could not afford them.   When it became clear that readers needed to see my pitching motion and my training program, I decided to spend the tens of thousands of dollars on an Instructional Videotape to accompany my book.   I still need some illustrations and I hope to some day have the money to get them made.   However, until then, I offer my video.   To learn how to receive your copy, please click on Instructional Videotape on my home page.

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130.   I have watched your tape several times and most of your book.   I am wondering how you handle pitchers defending themselves against balls hit back at them as their glove will end up on the second base side of their body.   Also, am I correct in assuming position players would go through the process of pushing back with their lead leg?

     I tried your pitching motion last night and I was surprised how hard I threw the ball with pushing the lead foot toward second.   It really did seem to put a lot less stress on my arm.   I am wondering if this would be a good place to start with an adolescent as it is going to be quite a change from the traditional way of pitching.   That is, have them do their regular motion except they would step toward home instead of stride.   They would then push their stride foot back toward home as they went to release.   If they felt much faster as I did, then it might encourage them to get into the program in greater detail.

     I know you focus on pitching but could you explain how a catcher would throw a runner out at second.   I assume he would not do a pendulum movement with his arm as that would take too long? P.S.   I love that you do not accept credit cards.


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     When my pitchers finish their pitching motion, they have their pitching arm side facing home plate.   This means that if batters hit baseballs in the direction in which they are facing, they can move quickly and easily to field the baseballs.   However, if batters hit baseballs behind them, they cannot.   Right-handed pitchers can cover first base more readily.   Fortunately, when batters try to hit back through the middle, they typically hit to the glove side of pitchers where we have the advantage.   Most batters do not try to hit back through the middle until they have two strikes on them.   My pitch sequence requires pitchers to throw inside pitches in these situations and force batters to turn on the pitch and hit ground balls to third and first basemen.

     Outfielders should learn my Maxline Fastball technique.   Catchers learn my Maxline Fastball technique for throw to second and first base.   Otherwise, catchers and infielders should learn my Torque Fastball technique.   I suggest different footwork for catchers than typical, but everybody should use their front foot for additional oppositely-directed force.

     I would start with my pickoff position throws.   They teach youngsters how to properly use their pitching arm.   For visual confirmation of these techniques, you should follow the examples in my Instructional Videotape.   After they demonstrate the proper use of their pitching arm, then, they should learn my wrong foot throws.   They teach youngsters how to get their shoulders in proper position to extend their driveline.   After they demonstrate the proper shoulder position, then, they should learn my set position throws.   At this point, the proper use of the front foot becomes important.

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131.   I am a 16 yr old Junior pitcher at my high school for the varsity baseball team.   I've been pitching for the varsity team since I was an 8th grader.   I'm looking for some tips on how to make me throw faster and have more movement on my pitches.   We have a new coach this year who was a pitcher on a college team.   He is showing me how to improve my form and will teach me new pitches when I am ready.   I have been throwing everyday after school for about 3 weeks now, working on my mechanics and spot pitching.   He tells us not to throw hard, but to work on placement and mechanics, which I understand.   Last year during games, my father said that I never use my legs when I pitch.   I know I can throw harder if I do use my legs.   I throw very hard for only 16 years old and I would like to reach my maximum velocity before my senior year.   If you have any weight lifting programs or exercises I could use during the season and off season to improve my speed or stamina, it would be greatly appreciated.

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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and made my Instructional Videotape to help young men learn how to properly apply force to their pitches and how to properly train to withstand the stress on their pitching arm.   However, you have to read the book and, if you believe that I am teaching you correctly, then you have to buy and watch my videotape.   Then, you can ask me all the questions that you want.   I have already answered these.

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132.   I am a sophomore right-handed pitcher at a junior college.   I had a good year last year and was drafted in the 26th round by the New York Yankees.   My fastball is in the 88-91 mph range and reaches 93.   I also signed a scholarship with a major university this past fall.

     I have a question regarding my delivery that I feel is creating soreness in my anterior and posterior deltoid.   I throw from a high three quarters slot and throw slightly across my body.   Do you think this is causing discomfort in my shoulder?   In addition, do you think I would stay more consistent in the low 90s if I did not throw across my body?


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     Pitchers must not pull their elbow across the front of their body, rather they should always keep their elbow slightly ahead of their acromial line.   When pitchers stop rotating their shoulders and pull their elbow across their body, the only muscles that can perform the acceleration and deceleration are the anterior and posterior deltoid muscles.   When pitchers keep their elbows out, the pectoralis major can accelerate and the teres major and latissimus dorsi can decelerate their pitching arm.   The danger comes to the subscapularis muscle on the front of the shoulder when the anterior deltoid cannot keep the elbow ahead of the acromial line.

     I discuss this in detail in my Coaching Pitchers book and show it in my Instructional Videotape.   It sounds as though you have the raw material to become a quality pitcher, but you need considerable refinement.

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133.   What do you think of the saying used in baseball amongst coaches and players that throwing the baseball from 60 feet is not a natural thing to do, that the body wasn't made to do that?   It seems like every baseball magazine and news on the internet regarding baseball I read has a story about an injury, rotator cuff-Tommy john surgery, pulled labrum, dead arm.   I can understand the freak injuries that can incur, but these because of pitchers not doing the right thing.   There are a couple of young potential pitchers who are out for the year because of some type of arm injury.   Doesn't Major League Baseball look into why this is happening?   I mean this is ridiculous!   Someone must be doing something wrong right.   It seems more and more pitchers are getting hurt.   What do you think of this?

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     On my videotape, I say that because every muscle of the pitching arm has a positive role in my pitching motion, my pitching motion is a natural activity for the pitching arm to perform.   The problem is with how other coaches teach their pitchers to apply force.   The techniques that they use are not natural and injuries result.   Major League Baseball, whoever that is, does not investigate the causes of pitching arm injuries.   They all are doing something wrong.   No pitcher that has completed my full training program with me has ever injured themselves.   No pitcher should ever injure their pitching arm by pitching.   You are right, it is ridiculous.

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134.   Would you come to Massachusetts for a pitching clinic?   Or, can we come to see you?   I have three 10 year-old boy's that just moved up to the majors this year and all three have very live arms.   But, they do not know how to pitch.   I have worked with them for the past three years, but the time has come to be fine tuned.   I follow this site and often refer to it.   What advice do you have for us the largest problem is control some day's the boy's will pitch 30+ out of 50 for strikes other day's 12 out of 35.

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     I wrote my Coaching Pitcher book and produced my Instructional Videotape to accompany my book to enable parents, coaches and pitchers to understand pitching without me.   I am sorry, but I do not do clinics.   Further, if you had read my book or my Question/Answer sections, you would know that I do not support 10 year olds pitching competitively.   You will destroy their pitching arms before they ever learn how to pitch.

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135.   You had an excellent pickoff move to all bases for a right hander.   I have no idea how to teach pickoff moves, holding runners close etc.   Any pointers?

     We're working with your maxline fastball, torque fastball and maxline sinker.   I am trying to break down the force application into simple steps.   My son is continuing to bring his elbow behind his body, but we are working on it.


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     I will include a section on pickoff moves in my next videotape.   I have shown how I recommend all pitchers throw their pickoff for second base, how I recommend that left-handed pitchers throw their pickoff for first base and how I recommend that right-handed pitchers throw their pickoff for third base.   All we are missing is how I recommend right-handed pitchers throw their pickoff for first base and how I recommend left-handed pitchers throw their pickoff for third base.

     The controlling scientific aspect for these pickoff throws is that pitchers imagine that their have a pole vertically running through their body from the top of their head downward.   They first step toward third or first base with their rear foot while rotating on that pole.   They simultaneously reach both hands toward third or first base the same distance as they step.   Next, they step the same distance toward first or third base while they pendulum swing their pitching arm to leverage.   Lastly, using their front foot as a pushback recoil foundation, they rotate their pitching arm side forward and forearm snap their four seam Torque Fastball release to first or third base.

     To stop taking his pitching arm laterally behind his body, your son has to stop reverse rotating his hips and shoulders.   I have my guys point their front arm at the opposite-sided batter, i. e., right-handed pitchers point their front arm at the left-handed batter.   We have to get used to the idea that we do not reverse rotate, we only forward rotate.   The set position makes it difficult in that coaches teach pitchers to place their rear foot parallel with the pitching rubber when it is better for pitchers to point their rear foot toward home plate.   That is why the windup is better for pitches than the set position.

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136.   I am a baseball coach at a 5-A High School.   I have a big strong sophomore pitcher who is experimenting with a sidearm delivery.   He throws the ball with decent velocity and accuracy overhand, but from the side he tends to not only slow everything down, but also loses velocity.   Because I never threw sidearm I am having problems giving him proper teaching fundamentals to work on.   Do you have any idea what I can do to help him gain some confidence and ability from throwing sidearmed?   I think he will be successful if he can improve from there.

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     I would never recommend that any pitcher throw sidearm.   My Coaching Pitchers book is free to read and download at my web site.   You need to click on FREE BOOK!!!.   I have recently produced an Instructional Videotape to accompany my book.   To get your copy, you need to click on Instructional Videotape.   With these materials, you and he should be able to learn how I teach pitchers to apply force to their pitches and how I train pitchers to withstand the appropriate stress related to pitching.

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137.   Is the circular path used by a pitcher and a hitter in baseball and a golfer in hitting a golf ball more like an octagon than a true circle like the straight line path for the above three sports motions would be more like an oval path than a true straight line?

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     The force application pathway for baseball pitchers swings downward, backward and upward to driveline height where it goes straight forward from leverage through release.   That is not a circle, an oval or an octagon.

     The force application pathway for baseball batters circles horizontally outward at shoulder height to the driveline of the pitch, adjusts vertically to the height of the pitch where it goes straight forward from leverage through contact.   That is not a circle, an oval or an octagon.

     The force application pathway for golf drivers circles backward, downward and forward to driveline height where it goes straight forward from leverage through contact.   That is not a circle, an oval or an octagon.

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138.   Got your video and played it last night.   I liked it very much.   The X-rays were terrific, I think you need more of them.   Where your students show off the finished product was again excellent.   I like the wrong foot throwing exercises.   The part about advanced kids getting caught up to at a later date was very effective.   The growth plates explanation and X-rays are great.   The comparisons between you and Andy Messersmith were outstanding.

     You have to explain why you wouldn't pitch the way you did.   You showed your credentials, former pitching motion and so on.   But, any idiot would say that would be good enough for me, so why change?

     I would like your wrist weight exercises and the grips on your pitches in slow motion.   Before and after clips of your students would be very effective.   I would like more slow motion and freeze frames of the throwing motions of your students.   I would like to see more of the bad habits like forearm flyout, high guard and so on defined more slow motion and freeze frames.


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     Thank you for your critique.   If you see anything else when you continue to watch it, please let me know.   If you have seen videotapes that others have made, please give me a comparison.

     I also want to show the before and after and more of the perfect techniques.   However, to accomplish that, I would need to have at least two groups complete my 280 day Pitcher Training Program and that will not happen until June 2003.   I felt that people wanted to see what I do even though I was not ready to show everything.   I will make those adjustments with my second videotape that I will start working on in June 2003.

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139.   I've been a huge fan of your since I saw you pitch at Shea in the 70's.   I wanted to tell you that just last week my friend and I were talking about how there will never be another reliever like yourself; so many games and innings.   Never.   Maybe some lefty will pitch in over 106 games but they will only go 50 innings tops.   We're huge baseball fans and wish that more pitcher threw complete games, hand more shutouts, pitched on 4 days rest, etc.   Thought you might like to know that you were the point of conversation on e week ago in Brooklyn between two 36 year old fans.

     Do you think it's a little ridiculous that pitchers can now be thrown out of the game if the ump thinks that they are purposely throwing at a player?   I mean, it's a bit much in and of itself, but for Major League Baseball to support the umps to do this is absurd.   Is it not part of the game to brush a guy off the plate?   So, he gets hit?   So what?   You dig in and try to go up the box.   But, for Major League Baseball to take this stance is dumb.


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     Pitching in 106 games was fun, but I like my records for 208 closing innings, 13 consecutive games and 84 games finished better.   These records show that I was ready to pitch the tough innings every day.

     There were times when I wanted to hit a batter and I did it.   It is only a five and one-half ounce baseball and they wore helmets with ear flaps.   Now, they let them wear elbow pads and face masks.   When I coached college baseball, I taught my hitters how to get hit by pitches.   We wanted the free base.   Today's professional hitters want to dive into home plate and swing as hard as they can without any concern that the baseball could hit them.   I never let batters do that.   I threw inside to keep them off my outside and off-speed pitches.   The brushback rule is unnecessary and causes problems.   Must be that some former hitter who wanted to stand close to home plate and did not like getting hit is in charge.   Pitchers know better.

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140.   If pitching, batting and golfing are not a circle octagon or oval, what are they?

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     Pitchers move their pitching arm downward, backward and up to driveline height.   That is not a circle, but a curved pathway.   From leverage through release, pitchers drive their pitching arm straight toward home plate.   That is a straight line pathway.

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141.   When I look at your video from my new founded scientific approach, and I love it.   When I look at it through my old jock intelligence, where you have to show me or prove to me that what you claim is factual, I need more evidence.   That is why I asked for slow motion and free frames.   Other videos are boring, repetitive and just plain bullshit.   They feel they have to make it long so you get your money's worth.   Slow motion and freeze frames are the most effective ways to teach anything.   One point you should make more strongly is that, after 280 days, the arms of your pitchers don't hurt, but feel better than when they started at day one.

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142.   My 23 year son was told by the doctor that he had multi-directional instability [right shoulder] and possible superior labral tear.   He had surgery back on Aug 31, 2001 and the operation seem to have gone well.   However, after therapy and throwing for the last six weeks or so, he still hurts in the front part of his shoulder when he tries to add any speed to the ball.   He's at the point of which way to go.   Another MRI?   More surgery?   More therapy?   He sometimes feel good after he's warmed up for extended period of time.

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     You and your son have experienced the medical downward spiral.   Initially, your son had a minor irritation of his subscapularis attachment due to improper pitching motion.   He went to a trainer or a doctor and was told to rest for a couple of weeks.   The rest caused the injured area to atrophy (weaken) even more.   Then, he was told to do a rehabilitation program that was neither specific to pitching or sufficiently rigorous to stimulate the appropriate physiological response.   Then, when he tried to pitch and he still experienced pain because he neither corrected his pitching motion or strengthened his subscapularis attachment, the doctor wasted money on MRIs which were inconclusive and surgery which found no structural damage.   Downward and downward he goes.

     If, at the beginning, he had corrected his pitching motion and completed a quality training program, then he would have been fine.   However, for some reason, people believe that doctors know something about pitching and training.   If pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, develop bone spurs or chips and so on, then and only then, see doctors.

     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and produced my Instructional Videotape to accompany my book to teach coaches, parents and pitchers how to properly throw baseballs and how to properly train their pitching arms.   That is my recommendation. Read my book and watch my videotape.   Then, adjust his pitching motion and complete my training program.

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143.   What signs or communications do you recommend that a pitcher and shortstop use for the pick off?   We are using a simple spin move and have the pitcher use an indicator, such as touching the leg while the ball is in the glove.   Once the indicator is on, the shortstop watches for when the runner is most vulnerable and then thrusts his glove at the bag.   This is the trigger that starts the count for the pitcher to start his spin.   I have had a hard time finding information on this subject.

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     I used my reverse pivot move to pick baserunners off second.   After every pitch with baserunners on second base, I looked at my shortstop and second baseman.   If they thought that they could get to second base before the baserunners, they would nod their head.   I would nod back.   Pitchers must know that they are going to perform a pickoff, they cannot throw the baseball home.   If the infielders do not break to the base, pitchers have to step off and make plans for their pitch to the batter.   Pitchers must never throw the baseball to the batter with thoughts of a pickoff on their mind.

     My pickoff started when I looked at the baserunner.   When I started to turn my head back toward home plate, my infielder would break toward second base.   Because I knew they speed from frequently practicing this play, I would reverse pivot and throw the baseball between them and second base such that they could catch the baseball while in motion and dive to the base.

     Planned pickoffs with the spin move do not work frequently enough to warrant the risk of throwing the baseball away and permitting the baserunner to advance.   I think that stepping off, lifting the front leg and reverse pivoting to step off and holding the baseball are better ways to prevent baserunners from stealing third base.

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144.   In a recent post, you mentioned that you "suggest different footwork for catchers than typical, but everybody should use their front foot for additional oppositely-directed force".   I understand the oppositely-directed force concept, but wondered if you could explain in detail the footwork you recommend.

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     Coaches teach catchers to use the three step footwork.   They take their first step with their front foot when they catch the baseball.   They take their second step with their rear foot to move away from the batter.   They take their third step with their front foot when they throw.

     I teach my catchers to take their first step with their rear foot to move away from the batter when they catch the baseball.   I teach my catchers to take their second step with their front foot when they throw.   Because my technique is one-third faster from catch to release, catcher have to practice catching the baseball like a shortstop turning a double play, gripping the baseball to throw and smoothly moving the throwing arm to leverage with an abbreviated pendulum swing.

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145.   How much wrist lay-back do you teach for pitchers.   I try to get them to use as much wrist that they are comfortable with.

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     Pitchers can add force to their fastballs when they flex their wrist joint from the extended wrist position.   However, they cannot similarly add force to their non-fastballs.   Pitchers can add force to their breaking balls (curves) when they pronate their forearm from the supinated forearm position.   However, they cannot similarly add force to their reverse breaking balls (screwballs).   Unfortunately, pitchers have no way to add force with their wrist or forearm to screwballs, all they have is hand and finger action.

     When my pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height with their forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical, I tell them to 'lock' their forearm with their upper arm.   I want to insure that they do not permit their forearm to move backward and downward when they start moving their upper arm forward.   I place no similar restriction on their wrist, hand and fingers.   I believe that the acceleration of the baseball generates sufficient force that the wrist, hand and fingers have to work hard just to keep up.   Therefore, without specific instruction, I believe that pitchers will train their wrist, hand and fingers to add force as they gain the strength to do so.

     I would concentrate my coaching efforts on the proper force application technique with broader strokes, that is, the pendulum swing backward, downward and upward to driveline height before the body moves forward, moving the body ahead of the front foot and driving from leverage through release in a straight line.

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146.   Please forgive me if I am repeating a question that someone has already asked, but your website has a lot of information to sort through and it is somewhat overwhelming.

     My 11 year old son recently complained about his shoulder after baseball tryouts.   We brought him to the doctors and they took X-rays.   They determined that he had separated the growth plate in his right shoulder.   We are bringing him in for further evaluation, but I thought you may be able to give me more information on what he has done to his shoulder and what I should do as a coach to make sure it heals properly.


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     If you have read my Coaching Pitchers book and my Question/Answer files and cannot determine the answer to your question, I am very happy to answer anything I can.   I do get irritated with those who do not read and ask very basic questions, like how can I throw harder?

     The answer that you seek is in my Chapter 09: Research into Adolescent Pitching Arm Injuries.   Dr. Joel Adams discusses Little League Shoulder:   Osteochondritis of the Proximal Humeral Epiphysis of Boy Baseball Pitchers.   Epiphysis means growth plate.   This is the injury that your son suffered.   Immature skeletons cannot withstand the stress of repetitive pitching.   Individuals differ on how much they can withstand.   The severity of the unnecessary stress that their bad pitching motions place on their skeletons differ.   We have no way of predicting precisely how much each youngster can withstand.   That is why I recommend that we err on the side of caution.

     I recommend that pitchers with open growth plates in their pitching arm not practice baseball pitching for more than two months per year.   I recently added my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program for youngster up to and including twelve years old.   They do not pitch in games, but they learn how to correctly apply force and how to throw my Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve, Torque Fastball and True Screwball.   I also recently added my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program for youngsters thirteen up to completed growth plate maturation.   I recommend that these youngster pitch no more than one inning per game and also practice pitching for no more than two months per year.

     Dr. Adams did not find that youngsters with separated growth plates of the proximal humeral epiphysis suffered long term impairment.   However, he is through pitching until this growth plate completely matures.   You can find the answer for at what age this growth plate completely matures in Chapter 07:   Growth Plates of the Adolescent Male Elbow.

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147.   I played for you as a Freshman pitcher.   I still many stories of when I played for you and it was only for one year.   I had four different coaches and, by far, I took away the most from your teachings. I still am able to throw my screwball, but still can't get it to bite.

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     I certainly do remember you.   You did a great job.   I wish that I had done a better job for you.   However, I have continued to learn and I am now in a position where the NCAA does not limit what I can do.   I do a much better job helping young men find out how good they can be.

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148.   I have noticed that pitchers (high school) on our staff that have the most natural wrist lay-back also seem to be the smoothest in delivery (I'm talking fastballs as you so noted).   I had seen somewhere that the coach recommended getting as much wrist into the ball as possible.   This was many, many years ago and my recollection is fussy and I have not seen any information on it since.   Since my boys that throw with the wrist and hand in straight line (as opposed to a laid-back wrist) seem to be more jerky in their motion, I thought I would check this observation out with you since you have done such detailed structural studies on these matters.   However, it may be that the smoothness comes from other elements of their mechanics.

     I do use your website and on-line text.   In reading your text, I have changed one of my long used errors of having the boys bend their backs to get elbow to knee in follow-through.   Now, I have them rotate forward and get their body ahead of their front foot and use the rear leg and rear foot as a counterbalance.   As the body rotates forward, the rear leg comes up almost as if the throwing arm is attached to the rear leg by a string.   The boys seem very coordinated with this motion and have increased their velocity and accuracy in doing so.


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     I agree that young men throw better when they include wrist joint action.   The question is why do some not use wrist joint action.   The wrist joint muscles are weaker than the shoulder girdle muscles, shoulder joint muscles, elbow joint muscles and forearm muscles.   With all the force generated by the time the wrist joint muscles get to add their force, possibly they are not sufficiently strong to add anything and to try to do so would injure them.   These muscles will strengthen with the proper pitching motion and practice and add force when they can.   I recommend caution.   Do not make these muscles try to do something that they are not properly trained to do.   My 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program appropriately trains these muscles.

     I am glad you have moved from the Bender camp into my Rotator camp.   You will find greater force application and greater release height consistency.   While my Coaching Pitchers book confirms many elements of mechanics, my Instructional Videotape demonstrates them.   If you are teaching pitching, you should have my video.

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149.   In your response to questions you often have disagreed with rest as a proper cure for an arm injury.   Are you saying that rest is never a good part of rehabilitaion?   What injuries if any would you prescribe rest for?   If we are throwing during rehabilitaion, how hard, how far, for what length of time?   Can throwing make the injury worse or does it depend on the intensity?

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     You break a bone, you put a cast on it and do not use it.   However, when you take that cast off, you will have a greatly reduce bone density.   You rupture an Ulnar Collateral Ligament, you have surgery to repair it and immobilize it.   However, when you start to use it, the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles have atrophied.   Rest causes atrophy.   I never rested.   I trained every day from 1967 through 2000.   I always did my wrist weight exercises.   I always did my iron ball exercises.   I threw baseballs every day.   I may modulate my intensity, but I always trained and I recommend that my pitchers train every day until they no longer want to pitch competitively.   I suppose that I have an advantage in that I know when discomfort is no big deal and when discomfort is a sign of bad things to come.   Nevertheless, if pitchers do not have forearm flyout, do not have reverse forearm bounce, do not pull their arm across the front of their body and do not drop their elbow downward, then they should be able to complete my 280 Day Adult Training Program and train every day thereafter.

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150.   I understand the pole running through the body creating an axis upon which the pitcher will rotate for his pick off move.   Assume for all questions, a right handed pitcher throwing to first base.

1.   The first move is a small step toward third base with the right foot while simultaneously reaching both hands toward third base all while turning on the "pole axis"?
2.   The next move is a small step with the left foot toward first while raising the arm to leverage?
3.   Finally, the right side of the body rotates on the pole toward first and snaps a torque fastball to first? Is this correct?

     This seems that it would take a long time and give the runner numerous tips that the throw is coming.   What am I missing?   And I admit being a 30 year fan of the game, but still not quite clear on the balk rules.


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     I find it difficult to believe that I miswrote statement #1 so badly.   I have corrected it.   I hope that this clarifies my answer.   When I am writing, I wait a week and edit everything.   When I answer emails, I do not.   I apologize.   This is the pickoff action that I used to pick off Herb Washington in the 1974 World Series.   It is fast and it works.

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151.   I need clarification on the second and third base pickoff throws as drills for learning Maxline and Torque techniques.   These are done assuming that the pitcher is throwing to second and third respectively, so that the pitcher must adjust his position on his practice mound relative to his "catcher" (we have a net much as shown on your videotape) so that what is normally throwing to home plate is now throwing to second or third?   Correct?

     Pitchers start in the set position facing away from their "catcher."   To prepare to start the exercise, pitchers reverse rotate their shoulders to face the "catcher" simulated second base.   To start the exercise, pitchers swing their pitching arm to ear height then straight backward away from the catcher.   When the upper arm has moved backward in a straight line away from the catcher as far as possible, pitchers raise their rear foot (right handed pitcher, his right foot??) off the ground and start the upper arm forward.   Correct?

     I've watched the tape a zillion more times and I learn more from it each time I watch it.   I've shown it to a few friends and they think your a nut, but these are folks who still think the Earth is flat.   I am to view it with another fellow tomorrow.


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     I recently completed my rewrite of Section XI.   Please give it a read and let me know what you think.

     The idea of the pickoff throws is to prevent any input by the body to interfere with learning the pitching arm action.   My Maxline Pickoff position has the front and rear feet on my Maxline Rear Foot Driveline, whereas my Torque Pickoff position has the front and rear feet perpendicular to the target and only the rear foot on my Torque Rear Foot Driveline.   My Maxline Pickoff position simulates a reverse pivot pickoff throw to second base whereas my Torque Pickoff position simulates a reverse pivot pickoff throw to first or third base.   The rear foot for right-handed pitchers is their right foot.

     Major League Baseball thought I was a nut until I set all the meaningful closer relief pitching records, then they said that I was a physical freak.   How will they respond when every pitcher that trains with my program can pitch every day without discomfort?

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152.   A parent came in with some weighted baseballs and suggested I use them to strengthen the boys arms.   I have never seen these type of balls before but they range in weight from 1 to 2 times the weight of a baseball.   No instructions were included but I assume they are to be thrown.   I am reluctant to use them for kids in the age group of 15-17.   Do you have an opinion of these weighted balls for high-schoolers?

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     I have discussed weighted baseballs several times in my Question/Answer sections.   The quick answer is that they are insufficient to stimulate a positive physiological response, but they are sufficient to exacerbate any unnecessary stress that pitchers incorrectly apply to their pitching arm.   This means that they can cause themselves serious injury without any chance of strengthening anything.

     It may seem ironic, but I train adult pitchers with six, eight, ten and twelve POUND iron balls.   These are sufficient to stimulate a positive physiological response.   Because they are so heavy, they also supplement how I teach pitchers to apply force to their pitches.

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153.   You have never been fond of signing autographs because you believed that people should collect autographs of teachers and doctors.   I have always respected your stand on this issue.   But now, I see you are doing a signing session and charging $250.00 for a signature.   If you don't believe in autographs, that's fine, but charging an insane amount of money like that is crazy!   I do not have your autograph and do collect Cy Young winners and do need your autograph for my set, but there is no way I can afford $250.00.

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     I am not charging $250.00 for my signature.   But, you and everybody else can stop this autograph nonsense.   Please do not participate.   I cannot believe that five hundred people give a damn.   I would much rather have you read my free book on pitching and send you my Instructional Videotape for your $100.00 check.   I will always believe that baseball players are not heroes for youngsters to idolize, that they should reserve that honor for the parents, teachers and so on.   It is the adults that make up the evil part of the memorabilia hobby (business).   If you simply collected the cards and so on without the added value of the autograph, then it would be a hobby.   But, you know that.

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154.   What is the 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program?   Where is it?

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     I discuss my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program at the end of my newly revised Section XI.   If you have read that and do not know where to find it, then I need to correct that.   I placed it and my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program and my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program in my Pitcher Training Programs file that you can find on my Home Page.   Click on Pitchers Training Programs and click again on 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program.   Then, set aside two months for you and your son to do the program.   By the time he is a Junior in high school, he should have completed several 60 day sessions and my 280 Day program and be ready to take charge in his high school games.   However, please follow my guidelines on the number of days he practices per year, when he pitches in games and how many innings he pitches in games.   I am looking forward to outstanding Maxline Fastballs, Maxline Pronation Curves, Maxline True Screwballs and Torque Fastballs.

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155.   Just wondering about your high autograph private signing fee.   Seems to contradict what you have always told collectors in the past.

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     I have never stated my position with regards to adult autograph collectors.   I have clearly stated my position with regards to youngsters whose parents abdicate their responsibility to be role models for their children.   But, you are not the first to feel victimized.   Please read my earlier response to this email.

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156.   What reaction do your pitchers get when they get to college and are throwing with such a conventionally unorthodox motion?   Do college coaches try to "fix" them or do they leave them alone because of their effectiveness?

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     Conventionally unorthodox motion.   If something is not broken, don't fix it.   Over one hundred years of baseball pitching has left us with hundreds of thousands of destroyed pitching arms.   The conventionally orthodox motion is broken, we must fix it.   The fact that nobody else knows how to fix it does no diminish the need to fix it.   As a minor league shortstop in the early 60's, it was clear to me that we had to fix it.   I thought that college coaches would know how to fix it.   I thought that college professors would know how to fix it.   But, search as I did, I could not find anybody to fix it.   I did find college professors to show me how to learn how to fix it myself.   I have spent my life doing just that.   I do not presume that I am done learning.   But, when I and those I teach never have a pitching arm injury, I think that I am on the right track.

     Those who know that they know should teach.   I am.   Those who know that they don't know will learn.   Those who don't know that they don't know are those teaching adolescent, high school, college and professional pitchers the conventionally orthodox pitching motion and continue the great history of pitching injuries.

     The primary reason why I do not work with youngsters and young pitchers for less than forty weeks is that those who don't know that they don't know will try to change them and they will not perform or understand my technique sufficiently to withstand their assaults.   Coaches in professional baseball are the worse because they have the money leverage.   I have two young men who have worked with me for over five years with major league talent that these coaches have harassed, threatened and discriminated against for years.   Were it not for these peoples, these kids would be quality major league pitchers.

     I have not yet worked with sufficient numbers of young adults for forty weeks and the kids have not yet had sufficient time to master my program to show the superiority of my methods.   It takes years to pitch as I teach.   Nevertheless, a former assistant coach of mine coaches the pitchers at a NCAA II college.   Last year, with four of my kids, they won the national championship.   At twelve kids per year and four years to master, it will take awhile before we impact professional baseball.   However, with the help of educated parents and youth coaches, we can impact pubescent and adolescent pitchers.   In several years, these youngsters will impact high school baseball and so on.

     I am in it for the long haul.   We will eliminate pitching arm injuries and give the kids the skills to dominate hitters.

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157.   I have read your most of your book and most of the Q&A and have watched the tape several times.   You piqued my curiosity when I visited you Pitcher Research Center and you showed me a little of your hitting theories.   I understand you don't want to get too involved with hitting although I think your readers would find your thoughts stimulating.

     You showed me your very open stance, but I sense that the key to having that open stance would be the willingness to bring the back leg along the line you described.   If one were to hit in a more traditional way (in other words, pivoting on the back leg, but keeping it in relatively the same position as one swung), would you still recommend your open stance?   Do you recommend the same approach in terms of stance for left handers and right handers?   Someone once told me that left-handed hitters should stay more upright in their stance (a la Griffey).   By the way, you say pitchers should stay tall in their deliveries, should hitters stay tall in their stance for the same reason?

     I have been telling my son to keep his hands near his back shoulder in his stance and then to bring his hands back as the pitcher releases the pitch.   This, to me, correlates to your law of Inertia.   The problem is that my son seems to be straightening his right arm too much (he is left-handed).

     Because he brings his hands back like this, he seems to be fighting against himself as I think he is trying to go forward before his hands are back which make him late on pitches.   I have been telling him to try to simply turn his left knee in a bit as you showed me.   I'd very much like you to expound on this concept of starting the body in the stance.   I have told him about your acromial line not going past home plate which he seems to have no trouble with.   He finds it very uncomfortable to set up in his stance with his hands near his left ear as you showed me.   I am telling him that he should try to keep his elbows flexed as he starts his swing and keep them flexed until he hits the ball.   Then, he should extend though the ball.   I would think that perhaps this idea of staying though the ball may be akin to applying force for as long as possible.   I have been having him do the punch drill you showed me.   By the way, Barry Bonds was demonstrating that technique on ESPN last Sunday night.

     I believe you told me that you should try to hit the center of the ball (mass) with the sweet spot of the bat.   This would seem to produce line drives.   Would one hit home runs that way?   Can you explain how a baseball get backspin when hit.   I assume that backspin makes the ball goes farther.   Some coaches tell kids to hit down on the ball to create backspin.

     My son is told to keep his front shoulder in as he swings, that he will drag the bat through the zone if he opens his front side too early.   Any comment on that?   Do you think kids should finish their swings high.   In this issue of Sports Illustrated, they say that that's the current craze.   When contacting the baseball, do you feel the palm of the bottom hand should be facing down and the palm of the top hand should be facing up?   Do you delay the adduction of the wrists to right before you hit the ball?   Is there any player in the majors that hits in the manner you suggest?   My son's coach tells the kids to swing the bat everyday.   I agree with this, although I doubt any of the kids actually do it.   Are there any growth plate issues with swinging a bat too much?


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     That will teach me.   For years, I never talked about pitching because I knew that people would not understand and want to ask me questions.   Therefore, I wrote a book and produced a videotape.   I should never have talked with you about hitting.   I will never be able to answer your questions without another book and another videotape and I do not have the circumstances required to write a book or produce a videotape.   The smart thing for me to do is shut up.   Thousands of kids are not destroying their bodies hitting like they are pitching.   The need is not there.

     However, the physics is the same.   The answers lie with Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion that someone has to turn into three laws of force application for baseball batting.   The motor skill acquisition principles remain the same.   The physiology of exercise principles remain the same.   High speed film, some intelligence and hard work and we would have the answers after ten or fifteen years.   But, I teach pitching.   Why would I want to teach hitters how to hit?

     If you have read my materials, you know that asking me who hits the way I teach or who would I recommend that you watch violates the basic research premise that you start with science.   I don't give a damn who the hitter de jour is.   Hitters must apply force to the center of mass of the baseball bat in straight lines from leverage to contact.   The contact velocity of the center of mass of baseball bats equals the force that hitters uniformly apply to the bat times the time over which they apply that force divided by the mass of the bat.   If hitter want to apply greater force toward the oncoming baseball, then they must apply greater oppositely directed force away from the oncoming baseball.   These are the principles on which you build great hitters, not imitating the hitters de jour.

     I do not advocate open stances.   I advocate hitters getting the center of mass of their bat into the plane of the oncoming baseball without any lateral force.   To accomplish this, hitters must not reverse rotate.

     Every skill requires a trigger movement.   For pitching, I recommend simultaneously raising both hands and the front foot slightly.   How about we stay with that for hitters?   Hitters could stand with their hands at chest height with the bat angled at forty-five degrees.   When the pitchers starts his motion, they could raise their hands to shoulder height with the bat horizontal and simultaneously slightly lift their front foot.

     Who cares about back spin, let us see if hitters can simply hit the baseball.

     Hitters apply force toward the oncoming baseball with their rear arm.   The front arm goes along for the ride until the bat reaches the leverage position.   At that time, the force coupling principle takes over.   When parallel and oppositely directed forces simultaneously operate on one end of an implement (baseball bat, hockey stick and so on), the center of mass of that implement receives the summated forces that they generate.

     When oncoming baseball pass through the hitting zone, they pathway is essentially horizontal.   Therefore, the pathway of the baseball bats when they pass through the hitting zone should also be essentially horizontal.   Don't nit pick.   This requires that hitters quickly anticipate the horizontal plane on which the baseball will follow and adjust the plane of their bat to that plane.   Centripetal imperative determines the pathway of the baseball bats after they pass through the hitting zone depending on the contact plane of the baseball and bat, not some predetermined location coaches dictate.

     Obviously, pubescent and adolescent hitter stress bones with open growth plates.   How much is too much?   I don't know.   Nevertheless, I recommend that these hitters do not practice hitting for more than two months per year.   Take them camping, fishing, and so on.   Broaden their lifetime activity skills.

     This is all the writing on hitting that you will receive.

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158.   I currently coach 13-14 year olds.   I pitched in college and coached varsity high school baseball for three years.   While my credentials don't match yours, I am a big believer in your principles.   After reading some of your research from the internet ( dated 4/28/01), I have one primary question regarding breaking pitches.

     I believe your position is that young pitchers should not throw curves and sliders (cutters) until the medial epicondyle growth plate has fused.   Does throwing these pitches causes a premature closure in growth plates?   I developed elbow problems that ended my pitching days after my sophomore year (college) and it was my ulnar nerve pathway that didn't allow me to continue ( after every pitch I would shake my arm to make the tingling go away).

     Does the Medial Epicondyle Growth Plate need to fuse on its own naturally before curves and sliders are safe or does premature closure indicate future medical problems?   I need to advise these kids parents of the risks vs. the rewards of throwing a variety of pitches.   Your advise and detailed explanation is appreciated.   I intend to distribute your work and ideas as broadly as possible.

     I can and have taught the straight change-up (both "circle" change and "slip" change), but some of these kids want to throw curves to be more competitive.   I wrote a booklet on pitching years ago as a labor of love (while coaching at the high school level) and would like to update it with your copyright protected ideas.


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     I do not believe that youngsters should not throw curves.   I strongly recommend that they learn how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve.   I do believe that they should not learn sliders or cut fastballs, not because of open growth plates, but because they have to fully master my Maxline Pronation Curve technique before they try.   However, I do limit their pitching to two months per year, no competitive pitching until they are thirteen and only one inning per game.   These limits should not limit their skill development, only the amount of stress on their growth plates.

     The growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures between fifteen and seventeen depending on the individual rate of biological maturation of each adolescent.   Only bi-lateral X-rays show for sure.

     Incorrect force application technique for curves, sliders and cutters unnecessarily stress the medial epicondyle area and stretch the ulnar nerve that moves through the ulnar nerve groove behind the medial epicondyle.   That explains the tingling your experienced.   You have to learn to keep your elbow up and not pull it across your body.   My Coaching Pitchers book and my Instructional Videotape explains and shows what you should do.

     I do not believe in or teach any form of changeup.   I teach fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls.   Again, I explain this in my book and video.

     Anybody can reference copyrighted materials, the stealing occurs when they present the material as their own.

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159.   I want to thank you for giving me the chance to obtain your autograph at the show you will be doing.   I've been reading alot about it how people disagree with the price.   But, they don't understand that you are worth every penny.   Your career speaks for itself.   I'll be saving up to send in a baseball card to get signed.

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     I will not be doing a show.   I was asked to sign 500 items at my convenience by myself in my home for $50,000.00.   I accepted.   Now you know what he paid and you can decide for yourself what you should pay.   Those are the only circumstances under which I will sign.   I do not understand why anybody would pay this much, but I hope this puts it to rest.

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160.   I feel confident, based on talks with numerous orthopedists pitching a few innings on weekends and throwing during the week according to your pubescent plan will not permanently injure my son.

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     Beyond the potential of physical harm that pitching more than two months can cause, I believe pubescence is a time to learn lifetime skills.   While working together to learn how to pitch does bring father and son closer together, camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, swimming and so on do an even better job that both can do for the rest of their lives.   I prefer kids learn many sport and lifetime skills before the late adolescent years when friends and girls become more important than parents.

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161.   With regard to the whole autograph controversy.   If someone has more money than sense to pay you $50,000 to sign your name 500 times, then more power to you.   Amazing.   Then, some guy told you how $250 per autograph made sense!   Another guy whined over the price!   I have a great idea: don't pay it!

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     I too have enjoyed the autograph controversy.   Usually, I ignore all offers.   But, in my own home with nobody around and that kind of money, I thought I would try it once.   I hope that it puts an end to the constant requests to attend card shows.

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162.   I've been following your work and methods for some time now and I consider it my bible for coaching pitching.   I've been giving private instruction and coaches clinics since 1996.   I also coach high school baseball.   I'm a former professional pitcher (26 years old) 93-98.   I "left" the game due to injury to my shoulder.   I must say that reading your book switched a light on in my head and it has become the basis for teaching my young (10-12) and older (14-20) pitchers, as well as the coaches and parents I instruct.

     All of my parents and coaches (with the exception of my high school age pitchers) follow the advice I give them based on your recommendation of pitching 1 inning per game.   From what the parents have relayed back to me, all their kids have become the best pitchers on the team.

     Richard Todd contacted me a while back for his "pitching challenge" on Webball.com.   He said he thought my style was the best interpretation of yours and he asked me to submit my "method" for his poll.   He did mention that he asked you to submit as well and you refused, so I suppose he came to me thinking I would parrot your instruction; which I included as well as the approach I use.   I thought 1000-1500 words weren't enough, but I did the best I could in the short time frame I was given (4 days).


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     I did not refuse Mr. Todd.   I told him to use Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book.   He refused.   I appreciate that you are using my materials.   However, I would prefer that nobody try to interpret my materials.   I worry that you have not read my recent rewrites.   Also, I do not find your name on my list of those who have purchased my Instructional Videotape.   Consequently, I doubt that you can represent my materials.

     Having said that, everybody is free to use my materials in their writing as long as they reference me.   People who do not reference from whom they learned an idea are plagiarizers, that is, thieves.

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163.   My 16 year old daughter is a javelin thrower.   She just underwent surgery to her ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow.   MRI showed it was avulsed from the bone, but only slightly retracted.   She had bone anchors to reattatch the ligament to the bone.   Can you tell me what the difference is between the Tommy John surgery and this type of surgery.   She wants to return to throwing we have been told 6 months after surgery was done.   Do you know the success rate of this type of surgery?   It has been 10 weeks since surgery now and she does tingling sensation from her elbow down to her hands there is no numbness just tingling, is this normal?

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     The Ulnar Collateral Ligament holds the humerus bone of the upper arm and the ulna bone of the forearm together medially.   Avulsed from the bone means that one end tore away, probably the ulna bone attachment.   They simply took the part that detached and reattached it with staple-like anchors.   The hope is that the bone and ligament grow together again.   With Tommy John surgery, they take a piece of the tendon of the palmaris longus muscle from the other arm, drill holes in the humerus and ulna, thread the tendon through those holes and connect the ends.   Tommy John surgery is simple and effective.   I do not know how well ligaments and bones reattach, it may have something to do with for how long they have been reattached.

     The tingling down the lateral aspect of her forearm to her little finger is not a good sign.   Tommy John had the same thing happen to him. It means that she has ulnar nerve irritation.   While tingling is better than loss of sensation, the doctor screwed up and you need to tell the doctor.   After I told Tommy John what his loss of sensation in his little finger meant, Dr. Jobe had to do another surgery to relocate his ulnar nerve.

     The reason why your daughter avulsed her Ulnar Collateral Ligament is that she placed greater stress on it than it could withstand.   This means that she either placed unnecessary stress or she was inadequately trained to withstand necessary stress. I would suggest both.   She needs to learn how to properly apply force to her javelin throws and she needs to properly train.   I would recommend that she uses my force application technique and training program for my Maxline Fastballs.

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164.   What would help make me a better pitching instructor for both my young kids and high school age pitchers?

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     Read my Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition chapter.   Teaching motor skills is very complex.   Understanding the scientific basis is important to youngsters.   Breaking complex skills into smaller components is important to youngsters.   Teaching the critical aspect of the skill first works best for youngsters.   (In pitching, this is the leverage through release action of the pitching arm.)   Verbal imagery is important to youngsters.   Watching skilled performances is important to youngsters.   Watching themselves is critical to youngsters.   Patience.   Perfect practice.   Reward for continued practice.   Knowledge that learning motor skills requires many years.

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165.   Could you tell me if the skeletal growth patterns of the adolescent boys are the same as girls their age?   My 13-year old daughter plays competitive fastpitch softball.   She was sidelined with an elbow injury over 6 months ago. Last month she developed tendonitis in her pitching hand.   Seems like she's having a whole lot of joint problems this year, much more than in years past.   She's a pitcher and anxious to get back into competition, but right now she's on the bench (Dr.'s orders!).   She hurt her elbow during a practice, throwing overhand - I believe the motion is much like baseball pitching.   She described it exactly as I've read in your articles: popping noises followed by a large pop and severe pain.   She hurt her hand throwing underhand (windmill pitching).   Could she be having growth plate problems too, or is this more of a boy-thing due to the rapid rate of growth?

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     Growth plates are growth plates, whether for males or females.   Research shows that females mature somewhat earlier.   However, I am sure that biologically accelerated males mature earlier than biologically delayed females.

     Tendonitis in her pitching hand does not relate to growth plates.   However, elbow problems could relate to growth plates.   You did not give me precise information.   Nevertheless, if the pain is on the inside of her elbow, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle is probably involved.

     For further information and X-rays of how the growth plates of the elbow appear and mature and what damage too much throwing can cause, you can purchase the Instructional Videotape that I produced to accompany my Coaching Pitchers book.

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166.   My son is releasing the ball very high, from the top of his head to eye height.   Where should his release point be?   The good news is that his elbow is staying in front of his body and at shoulder height.   This is a major improvement.

     On the Maxline pickoff throws, you instruct to "drive the pitching arm forward."   You also describe a 180 degree rotation on Maxline v 100 degree on Torque.   180 degrees = right shoulder pointing to the short stop side of 2nd base at the start and toward a left handed hitter at the finish?   And 100 degrees = same spot backward, but toward a right handed hitter at the finish?   I am having a little trouble visualizing the torque rotation.   Using the acromial line as the hands of a clock, please describe the rotation from start to finish in both set position and a wind up.

     And in the Torque set position instructions you advise to "push back toward second base and simultaneously rotate their shoulders."   I thought there was limited shoulder rotation on torque pitches?   Please clarify.


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     I am presently instructing my pitchers to pendulum swing their front arm directly toward the glove-side hitter.   This action prevents pitchers from reverse rotating too far.   On Maxline pitches, pitchers stand on the extreme glove-side of the pitching rubber and stay to the glove-side of home plate throughout the pitching motion.   This means that pitchers can forward rotate until their pitching arm points toward home plate.   On Torque pitches, pitchers stand on the extreme pitching arm-side of the pitching rubber and stay to the pitching arm-side of home plate throughout the pitching motion.   This means that pitchers have to rotate their shoulders to face home plate which requires that pitchers throw their pitchers with their shoulder rotation rather than after the shoulder rotation.

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167.   Congratulations on that big $50,000 dollar check for signing 500 hundred items!   That is very impressive.   I bet there are a ton of people in this world who would love to get paid to write their name.   I thought you had a valid point about not signing autographs, but I guess everyone has a price!   So now you might as well sign free autographs, right?   Will you be doing more of these signings?   Thanks for giving us the opportunity to purchase your great name on our items.

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     I still have a valid point about kids not considering major league baseball players heroes.   They need to look to their parents and so on.   I will never stand in a crowd and sign autographs as though I am important.   I am important only to my kids and grandkids.   I have never stated my opinion about signing autographs for people who hope to make money off my autograph.   I have refused to attend signing sessions.   I will continue to do that.   All this means is, someone offered me $50,000 to sign 500 baseballs, bubble gum cards and 8" by 10" photographs in the privacy of my home over a two week span of my convenience and I agreed.   I may or may not ever do this again.   But, it will always be on my terms.   I worked hard for my major league career, I will not give it away.

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168.   After studying your book and watching your videotape, it seems like professional pitchers who "almost" used Newton's theory on force seem to be Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan when he was with the Angels.   They used the rock back technique and kept their foot at the forty five degrees angle, kept their elbow in front of the acromial line and kept the belly button without moving side to side.   However, it seems they were not properly trained to "tailor" their pitching motion.   Am I kind of right on this?

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     Like I say on my videotape, pitchers should seek their own perfection.

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169.   I've just been named manager of an American Legion Baseball Team.   I have several pitchers.   What do you recommend as a pitch count per game and days of rest?   These kids are between the ages of 16-18 years old.

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     At sixteen years old, pitchers can start my 280 day adult pitchers training program.   If they have completed my program, I would know precisely how to advise you.   In general, I recommend that 16-18 year old pitchers go twice through their lineup.   I recommend this for two reasons.   One, I do not want untrained young pitchers to exceed their physiological limits.   Two, I doubt that they have pitches of sufficient variety and quality to face hitters three times in one game.

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170.   Do you have advice on training for old-timers that still want to pitch.   One thing I notice if I try to throw in the seventies, is that my hand gets very tired quickly to the point that I can't grip the ball any longer.   I can throw maybe a dozen of those higher speed pitches before having this sensation.

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     You should do my Adult Pitchers Training Program. I recently rewrote Section IX and Section XI.

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171.   For simplicity sake and because he is better at it now, I have Josh using the torque delivery more than the maxline.   He can throw the sinker from the torque delivery, correct?   Can all pitches be thrown both Maxline and Torque?   I haven't shown him the curve because I am still not comfortable throwing it, so I don't feel comfortable trying to teach it to him.   He is throwing the Torque fastball and sinker.   He is learning a change up and is throwing a knuckleball, but literally using the knuckles (not fingertips) of digits 2,3,4 on the ball and holding the ball with digits one and five.

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     About twenty percent of major league pitchers use something similar to my Maxline technique.   The other eighty percent injure their pitching arms.   I recommend that your son learn my Maxline technique.   Having said that, pitchers learn the true screwball spin axis better with the Torque drive, but they will have better game success with the Maxline drive.   I would not bother learning changeups or knuckleballs.   They will be of little use as an adult pitcher.   I am disappointed that he is not learning my Maxline Pronation Curve.   You should have him do the Maxline pickoff position to learn the proper arm action.   I would think that the iron ball throws on my Instructional Videotape will show the proper arm action.

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172.   Release point height help, please.

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     Pitchers stand tall and rotate with level shoulders.   Therefore, pitchers should release their pitches at about ear height.   I recommend that pitchers release all pitches at a downward driveline angle to where four seam fastballs cross home plate waist high.   When pitchers throw high with my level shoulder rotation technique rather than bending at their waist or dropping their elbow, it means that they need to tilt the axis of their rotation slightly forward.   However, I bet he is bending at his waist and dropping his elbow.

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173.   My son lets the ball go somewhere between 3" above his head and the top of his head.   Are you saying that he is bending at the waist, THUS releasing too high?   What does "tilt the axis of their rotation slightly forward" mean?   Tilt at the waist a bit rather than actually bending and throwing (as his coaches keep telling him) with a "flat back."

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     Pitchers throw too high for several reasons, but the most common is that they have an upward curved pathway in their driveline.   Then, when they pitch against hitters, in the excitement, they hurry their motion and release too high.   When pitchers bend at their waist, they introduce an upward curved pathway into their driveline.   When pitchers drop their elbow, they introduce an upward curved pathway into their driveline.   When pitchers lean their shoulders toward their glove-side, they introduce an upward curved pathway into their driveline.

     I recommend that pitchers rotate with level shoulders.   If pitchers rotate with a vertical spin axis, then they will release their pitches horizontally forward at their driveline height.   Depending on how tall they are, this might be okay.   However, if this driveline angle is too high, then pitchers have to introduce some downward angle into their driveline.   I tell them to tilt their axis of rotation slightly forward until their driveline is at waist high to hitters.

     'Flat back' means that the coaches are instructing your son to bend at the waist.   The old bend your back theory that has ruined hundreds of thousands of pitching arms over the years.   They are also teaching your son to pull his arm across his body with that follow through nonsense.   That action will destroy his pitching elbow.   I prefer that parents teach their youngsters without coaches and games until they master my motion and pitches.

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174.   My son is learning fastballs.   As an incentive and an extra fun "novelty pitch", I chose to teach him your Sinker after you called it the most effective pitch on the video.   He is getting pretty good with it.   The next "novelty pitch" we will add is the Maxline Curve.   He tossed a couple in the back yard today and seems to have less trouble with it than I have.   I figure he has NEVER learned the wrong way, so learning the correct way will be easier for him.

     I found a place in Canada that sells 1 and 1.5 kg. iron balls?   My son is physically weak and it would seem that light weights with multiple repetitions would help.   I have and will abide by your instructions here, but I thought I'd give it one more run so you would understand that I don't want him heaving 6lb balls or 5 lb wrist weights.   Just a little more than a couple of baseballs.


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     I do not consider any of the pitches that I recommend, 'novelty pitches.'   Pitchers need all pitches equally.   I would teach him my Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve, Maxline True Screwball and Torque Fastball.   I would start with Maxline and Torque Pickoff throws only.   When he learns the proper arm action and achieves the proper spin axes, I would have him add my Wrong Foot Throws.   When he masters those throws, I would introduce my set position throws.   I would not have him pitching against hitters until he learns the skills.   Competition thwarts learning.

     I am concerned that he is throwing too many pitches at competitive intensity with bad technique.   I certainly would never advise that you find more ways to apply inappropriate stress to his pitching arm.

     My advice is for you to follow my 60 day adolescent pitchers training program without any competitive baseball.   He should master his skills before he pitches to hitters.

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175.   A pitcher has been diagnosed with tendonitis in the tendon of the infraspinatus on his non-throwing shoulder.   It was a football injury from a tackle during last season.   It is very tender especially when the bat is traveling to extension.   An MRI was negative this week.   He has not been on any medication.   If it was his throwing shoulder, I would continue exercise to tolerance.   I need advice.   In what circumstances would you recommend an anti-inflammatory like vioxx or celebrex?   What would you do pre-game?   Am I correct in allowing him to play as no additional damage could occur?   It is just a matter of him playing with the discomfort.   My feeling is start an anti-inflammatory, shoulder exercises and participate as discomfort will allow?

     Your video was a tremendous purchase and addition to my knowledge base.   Thanks for all the effort and information you have provided for people interested in helping people be the best they can be & injury free.


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     The infraspinatus attaches just posteriorly to the top of the head of the humerus.   Is that where he complains of pain?   If he injured his shoulder making a tackle, then he might have stretched the ligament that prevents the head of the humerus from dislocating posteriorly.

     You are correct that I recommend that pitchers complete my pitch specific wrist weight exercises only with their pitching arm.   However, even my pronated swings and three movement deltoid exercises should help him.

     He appears to experience discomfort when he decelerates his bat.   He could do some rowing-type exercises.   I would train him with low resistance and high repetitions.   The medications that you mentioned treat inflammation.   Nothing heals muscles except training.   If doctors regimen his doses, I would not worry about it.

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176.   I have made it clear to my son that I am his pitching coach, not his youth league coaches.   Until I discovered your stuff, I was teaching him incorrectly.   I showed one of his coaches your video and he said you were crazy.   Hmmm.   Let's see.   Cy Young award and a PhD?   What do you do for a living coach?   What is your educational background?   Oh you graduated from High school?   Anyway, he wasn't the head coach.   The head coach and I have discussed this to some degree, but we will discuss it more seriously this week.   I will be satisfied if he thinks I'm nuts for teaching your method, but respects my right to teach my son to pitch as I want to teach him.   If he pitches well, pitch him (he is one of the better pitchers on the team).   If he pitches poorly, pull him, just like any other kid.   But let ME coach is pitching.   I truly believe the coach will be cool with that arrangement.   If not, then he won't pitch.

     We have eliminated the high leg kick completely.   His two major problems are: 1) he is stepping WAAYYYY too far forward and 2) he is bringing the ball laterally behind his head.   He gets his arm to leverage without taking it behind his body, but then he lays his forearm backward toward first base.   Then, he has to bring the ball from laterally behind his head back to his pitching arm side.   By this time, he's all messed up.   Is that forearm flyout?

     I will show him the video that I took of him tonight.   He is a very smart boy and can pick up what he is doing incorrectly after he sees himself.   I will show him your materials and what you say about what he is doing.   I will try to emphasize the straight drive line, shortening his first step and rotating.   I think he will do it correctly, it will take a lot of repetition which is why we will follow your 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program.


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     You are a model of what parents should be.   Do not permit these coaches to bully you, intimidate you or turn your son against you.   Wait until you encounter the geniuses that coach high school baseball.

     When I train my pitchers with my Wrong Foot technique, they learn that they must not stride so far with their Set Position technique that they cannot get their body ahead of their front foot.

     When pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height, they should have their forearm vertical from the front view, but at about a forty-five degree angle behind vertical from the side view.   When pitchers start their upper arm acceleration phase, they must 'lock' their forearm with their upper arm to prevent their forearm from laying horizontally backward.   If your son permits his forearm to lay backward and, from the front view, you can see a horizontal forearm, he has a reverse forearm bounce which in this case will lead to forearm flyout.   He has to have the feel that he can drive behind his shoulder and forearm rather than pull his arm through.   Pulling his arm leads to a whole arm action rather than separated upper arm and forearm accelerations.   He should practice more Pickoff position throws and emphasize his forearm drive through release.

     Those who think that they know, but don't know that they don't know and don't want to know are dangerous.   Unfortunately, they coach our sons.

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177.   I know you broke several major league endurance records and never sustained a arm injury.   But, from reading your book, you did not train with wrist weights or iron balls.   How did you train?   And you said not to hold your "old" pitching motion against you, but you had a pitching motion very similar to pitchers today but you still pitched a lot innings.

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     I most certainly did train with wrist weights and iron balls.   That is why I had the bone, ligament, tendon and muscle density and strength to withstand the unnecessary stress that I placed on my arm without injury.   Similar is not same.   I knew how to focus on my forearm acceleration through release rather than unnecessarily stressing my pitching arm during the transition phase.   Nevertheless, I could have thrown higher quality pitches with greater variety had I known what I know now. I do not know about others, but not being the very best that I can be does not satisfy me.   Now that I know how I could have been much better, I will never settle on teaching others to be less than the very best that they can be.   Therefore, do not use the pitching motion that I used.   If I could do it over with what I know now, I would not use that pitching motion, why should others?

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178.   We have a 14 year old boy (5'9", 155 lbs) on our team who throws a 65 plus fastball (both two and four), circle change and a cut fastball.   We do not allow curves or sliders to be thrown and also limit the pitchers to 60 pitches per game and 4 days rest.   This kid has been complaining about muscle pain in his low bicep and specifically in the bend of the elbow (not the sides or bottom of the elbow, but the soft area at the lower part of the bicep).   He has also mentioned that his fingers feel numb when he is experiencing the muscle pain in the bicep (particularly in the index and middle finger).   This pain occurs sometimes, but not all the time, and usually occurs when he is throwing hard (his fastball).   He can throw with less velocity and not complain as much.

     His parents took him to an orthopedic specialist and a sports trainer.   They have indicated that he lacks flexibility in the shoulder region and the pain he is experiencing is related to the shoulder.   They provided a series of stretching exercises with tubing for him to gain better flexibility and conditioning in the shoulder region.   According to them there is no structural damage;although they did not take an MRI or X-ray.

     This kid loves to pitch, his parents want him to pitch, but as a coach I am concerned that I will ruin his future if he pitches.   As I said before there are times when he feels fine and pitches great with no arm problems and other times he is in pain.   Do you believe that the specialist/trainer are correct in their diagnosis?   Does this diagnosis sound feasible; if not what are your ideas?   To me, if his fingers are going numb sounds like a nerve problem?   What should I do as a coach?   If I don't let him pitch, he will probably go to another team and pitch.   I really want to help the kid and do what is right for the team.


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     Cut fastballs are far worse than curves and sliders.   I recommend that he learn how to throw my Maxline Fastball, True Screwball, Maxline True Sinker and Maxline Pronation Curve.

     The discomfort that you describe comes from extreme forearm flyout.   This young man reverse rotates too far.   It is only a matter of time until he injures his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and/or the attachments of the five critical pitching muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.   I can only guess how much damage he has done to the growth plate of his medial epicondyle, especially with regard to premature closure.

     The tightness in the front of his shoulder indicates that he is pulling his pitching arm rather than driving behind it.   It is only a matter of time until he injures the attachment of his subscapularis muscle.

     If this young man experiences tingling to numbness in his little finger that the lateral side of his ring finger, then he is irritating his ulnar nerve.   This further shows that he is pulling his pitching arm forward and unnecessarily stressing the inside of his elbow.

     This kid is in danger of permanently damaging his pitching arm.   It should come as no surprise that I recommend that he immediately stop pitching, read my free Coaching Pitchers book on my web site and watch my Instructional Videotape.   After he learns how to properly throw the pitches I mentioned above, he can resume his pitching under the guidelines that I recommend.

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179.   As the father of a 12 year old that is currently pitching, your information has been most helpful.   You have succeeded in protecting at least one boy's arm.   I had just started working him more, with the plan to increase the work this year, join a tournament team, etc.   But thanks to you, that's on hold.

     I think my kid's bones are a bit ahead of the curve (he's over 5' 9" and should max out at 6' 0" to 6' 2"), but the muscles aren't there yet.   So, I'll still wait a while to work him very hard.   The YMCA has a non-competitive league that allows for teaching skills, but without the pressure to perform that ruins so many kids on the sport.   Unfortunately, the city leagues follow the Pony system and start heavy competition at a very early age.   By the time they're 13, they've been playing for half their life, and besides the physiological damage, they're just tired of baseball.

     From the stretch, where exactly do you recommend the acromial line be at set?   If we view the acromial line as an angle to the rubber, the traditional set position is perpendicular.   I assume your method has a much more open stance?   If it's the traditional 90 degrees to the rubber, then the 45 degree rear foot is turned inward in a very awkward position.   So I assume you want the acromial line at set to be between 45 degrees and parallel to the rubber?

     You have repeatedly stated in email answers that at leverage, the acromial line is pointing roughly between the batters box and second, the humerus is parallel to the ground, the forearm to humerus angle should be close to 90 degrees, with maybe a slight variation depending on the pitch, and the elbow is in front (third base side) of the acromial line.   I take this to mean that both the elbow and the ball are in front of the acromial line, with the forearm pointed roughly toward second, depending on the pitch.   It took me a LONG time to understand this from your book and emails, but so far so good.   However, with Mr. Newton's law, you also want to put the force over the greatest distance.   With a 90 degree arm in this leverage position, I'm losing a good 12+ inches of drive line.   It would seem to me to be better to leave the forearm to humerus angle longer, at about 160 degrees or so, with the arm extended more toward second.   Of course, a pitcher would then have to collapse the angle to about 90 degrees during acceleration.   Am I missing something, or what is the justification for leaving the arm angle at 90 degrees, forcing the ball to start a foot closer to home?

     You have said several times that it is anatomically impossible to raise the humerus above the shoulder.   I don't get it.   I can raise my upper arm vertical with my wrist in almost any position.   By no means can I pitch a baseball from that angle, but I raise it up there every time I hide the cookies on the top shelf.


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     I recently started instructing my pitchers to aim their front arm directly at the glove-side hitter.   I want pitchers to raise both arms and their front leg slightly to trigger the pitching motion.   Next, I want pitchers to pendulum swing their front arm directly at the glove-side hitter and their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height.

     The angle of the rear leg during the set position requires that pitchers stand with their acromial line at forty-five degrees to their driveline.   In the windup, pitchers should point their rear foot as directly as possible toward home plate.   The very worse pitching flaw is reverse rotation of the shoulders beyond where the acromial line points at the glove-side hitter.

     The acromion process prevents the humerus from moving above horizontal.   Therefore, to get the humerus above horizontal, pitchers have to raise their acromion process.   However, to upward rotate the acromion process requires the use of the trapezius muscles and the trapezius muscle is antagonist to the muscles that accelerate the upper arm forward.   As a consequence, to raise their forearms to vertical, pitchers tilt their shoulders to their glove side and which reduces their rotational velocity and decreases their command.

     When the upper arm accelerates forward, pitchers should 'lock' their forearm at about a forty-five degree backward angle.   This would place the baseball behind the acromial line with the elbow slightly ahead of the acromial line.

     Pitchers should forwardly rotate their shoulders as far as possible to get the pitching elbow as far forward as possible.   Then, pitchers should forwardly accelerate their forearm straight forward.   This will extend the forearm to humerus angle, but not much as pitchers must keep their elbows at least slightly bent throughout the throwing motion to protect their olecranon process.

     I show all of this clearly shown in my Instructional Videotape.

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180.   I appreciate your kind words about my abilities as a father.   My wife recently told me a story that I'd like to share with you.

     She asked our son, 'if he could be anyone in the world, who would he want to be.' She instructed him not to answer right away and to think about it.   After pondering the question for quite some time, he looked at her and said, 'Dad.'   She asked if he would not rather be President Bush or Derek Jeter.   He answered, 'No, Dad.'

     I know I have sent you a huge number of e-mails and at times, I know I have been a pest.   But the reason I have been a pest is so my son continues to feel about me the way he does.


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     First, you are never a pest.   You ask questions to help you help your son.   I am with you all the way.   Second, sons and daughters should look to their parents as role models.   That is their responsibility for bringing them into the world.

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181.   I am in the process of purchasing wrist weights and iron balls.   But, in the meantime, can I do the three movement deltoid and pronated swings with a ten pound hand held weight?   I read somewhere that you said this stops blood flow!   Is this true?

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     You can do them with whatever you want.   However, in order to have a 'relaxation instant', you need to have wrist weights.   When you use your hands to hold weights, the gripping muscles remain contracted throughout.

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182.   If we come to your Pitcher Training Center for a visit, would we be able to shake your hand, talk to you, visit a bit about what the pitchers are doing, talk to your students, can we throw with them and can we video your pitchers and your facilities?

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     Shake hands, yes.   Talk, yes.   Talk about what the pitchers are doing, yes.   Talk with the students, yes.   Throw with the students, no.   Watch how they throw, yes.   Videotape the pitchers and facilities, yes.

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183.   You say a split finger fastball can hurt the digitorum flexor muscles because of the stress it causes the tip of the middle finger.   What about a forkball where you have to spread your fingers wider than the split?   What does a forkball do spin axis wise?

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     You actually mean the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle.   Pitchers typically hold forkballs between the proximal phalanges of the index and middle fingers while squeezing the baseball with the middle and distal phalanges.   At release, pitchers try to release the baseball with equal pressure from both fingers such that the baseball has no spin or some forward spin.   Like the knuckleball, I do not teach this pitch because it requires too much practice time that I prefer to use with reverse breaking pitches.

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184.   Neste also plays first base and brings a timely bat to the lineup.   His 15 RBI tie him for sixth in the county.   But, his biggest contribution has been on the mound, where he has 46 strikeouts.   For that, Neste gives thanks to pitching coach Mike Marshall.   "He believes that we can throw every day, that I can throw every game," Neste said.   "He believes it strengthens your arm and I don't feel any pain.   I work with 30-pound wrist weights and throw a 12-pound shot put like a baseball.   "He's taught me that I don't have to blow by guys.   I can outsmart them.   "Everybody wants to hit a fastball, but they can't hit the off-speed pitches."   "A lot of guys are taught after they throw, they ice down their arm and they run.   There's nothing wrong with that.   Dr. Marshall is a really talented guy.   I throw every day with no problems.   He's a genius."

     My question, is a shot put same as the iron balls?   Also, I was wondering a how much a set of iron balls would cost?   Are you still taking a payment and shipping like you stated earlier?   I would like a set starting from 6 lbs. to 12lbs. to complete your training program!   For the wrist weights, I just need a 6 lbs. and 10 lbs. wrist weight correct?   The article says a 30lbs wrist weight?


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     My 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Programs details the daily activities.   For my wrist weight exerciese, pitchers start with 10 lb. wrist weights and increase by five pound increments to 25 lbs.   For my iron ball exercises, pitchers start with 6 lb. iron balls and they increase by two pound increments to 12 lbs.   I have adjusted my wrist weight program to stop at 25 lb. wrist weights rather than the 30 lb. wrist weights of earlier programs.   The 6 lb. iron ball is a Junior High School shot put.   The 8 lb. 10 lb. and 12 lb. iron balls are neither shot puts or iron balls.   They are lead balls.   I know of only one supplier.   They have asked me to operate as an intermediary, that is I order several of each weight, package them and UPS ship them.   I have a few of each on hand for my Pitcher Research Center that I could package and ship immediately.   However, if many people want these three lead balls, then I would have to estimate the need and order more.   The cost to me is twice their weight plus thirty percent for shipping or $78.00.   I am thinking of charging $100.00.

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185.   Did you say that you would sell me the 8, 10 and 12 lb. lead balls for $78.00?   Could you wrap athletic tape around the balls?   I am willing and ready to purchase the balls.   Could you could tell me where I can purchase the wrist weights and 6 lb. iron ball?

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     I believe that I provided the information regarding purchasing the wrist weights in my Question/Answer 2002 file.   You contact the manufacturer and they will tell you the distributor closest to your residence.   I believe that I also provided information on where to purchase the six pound iron balls.

     I have to do some research with regards to the eight, ten and twelve pound iron balls.   I need to take them to one of those mailing places and see what they will charge to box and ship to your residence.   I will need your address.   I will gladly tape the balls for you.   The final charge will be one hundred dollars plus whatever they charge.   When I determine this amount, I will let you know.   Then, when I receive your payment, I will ship them.

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186.   I have a 10 year-old son.   This is first year of pitching.   I would like to find a simple, layman's explanation of the basic mechanics.   I have read some of your stuff but it's a bit technical for me.   Sorry. I have searched the net and cannot find a basic explanation, from set up to finish, of pitching mechanics.   You know, like the primary four or five things to teach a new pitcher (other than lay off the breaking stuff - I ruined my elbow at 16 years old b/c I threw breaking pitches from the time I was 12 - stupid).   Please let me know if you can help.

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     In Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book, I have written in simple layman's language the proper force application techniques for pitching.   I have spent years writing these materials and you want me to take the time to re-write them just for you?   How about you giving it a try.   I have also produced my Instructional Videotape to accompany my book.   Further, if you read all of my materials, you will understand what I recommend to teach your son the pitches that he needs to be a successful high school and college pitcher without destroying his pitching arm.   I will gladly answer your questions and do whatever I can to help you help your son, but you have to put some effort into it.

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187.   I've been a lawyer for 14 years and receive multiple calls every day from people just wanting a tip, or a direction. I give it to them, like you, sometimes rudely, so I know how you feel about somebody apparently wanting something for nothing.   That was not my intent at all.   I did not intend to offend you and I am sorry you took my request as one for a complete, personal rewrite of your years of experience and research.   But wouldn't it have been cool for me say, "Hey Matt, I wrote to Mike Marshall, a famous major league pitcher (we could have sat down together with the baseball encyclopedia and gone over your career, etc.) and he ACTUALLY wrote me back and gave me some tips on what you can do to be a better pitcher."   He then would have gone to school and talked up Mike Marshall, an "old school" Major League great admired by his dad.   Thank you for your "advice." I will read your materials if I choose to>

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     The rudeness is that you refuse to read what I have written and given to you without cost.   Read Section IX.   I am not an amusement toy.   If you choose, with your help, I can teach you how to teach your son how to become the best pitcher he can be without destroying his pitching arm.

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188.   I want to apologize if I gave you the impression that your web site is difficult for anyone who is disabled.   Exactly the opposite is true.   I work as a computer consultant, for obvious reasons, I have an interest in usability issues.   Your web site does not have ANY of the major issues that prevent the elderly or disabled from exploring it:

1.   Text is formatted large enough to be easily read
2.   Black text on a white background is by far the easiest to read
3.   None of the fonts on your site are likely to cause eye fatigue
4.   There are no "problem" combinations for the color-blind
5.   JavaScript "mouseovers" (which require good eye-hand coordination) are avoided
6.   The site uses no image maps or graphical menus (which cannot be be parsed by software for visually-impaired)
7.   There is no use of multimedia with no alternative (such as audio files with no transcript for the hearing-impaired)
     Your site is very simple, but simplicity is rarely a bad thing.   Studies show that most users are annoyed by the 'bells and whistles' that many web sites employ.   If you were, say, a nutritionist, I would strongly encourage you to add color photos of food, graphics and artwork (to make your recipe pages more attractive) and multimedia to display important techniques (e.g, a video clip showing how to separate eggs).

     For a site designed to present scientific evidence, where most of the pages are intended to be printed out, all of those things would be detrimental to the main purpose.   Other than making the printed forms available for download in Adobe Acrobat (PDF file) format, and the navigation issues I mentioned, I would not recommend that you do a lot of 'tweaking" of your site.

     There are a few points in your letter that I would like to respond to:
     I was not advising you to discard your current questions page in favor of a FAQ.   I agree with your reasoning about being able to follow the sequence of questions.   I don't know what percentage of people actually read through all those questions, but I am sure that some people (like me) do slog their way through.   What I am suggesting is that you offer BOTH.   There should be a "20 Questions with Dr. Mike Marshall" page, accessible from the main page, that lists the questions that you get asked time and again, where the answers never change, e.g.:
01.   Is it OK for my son to pitch in Little League?
02.   When is it OK for him to throw curves/sliders?
03.   What is "Tommy John" surgery?
04.   Should I throw with weighted balls?
05.   Should I throw footballs?
06.   Should I lift weights/run laps/swim?
07.   What kind of food should I eat?
08.   Can you recommend a good orthopedic surgeon?
09.   Can you help me with my hitting?
10.   How long should I let my arm rest after surgery?

     That's 10 questions right there and I'm sure you can think of the other 10.   If in doubt, include any question where you have ever told the writer to read all or part of your book in your response.

     Your response, by the way, is an issue I often encounter with scientists, doctors and engineers.   In your profession, there is a "best" way to do things.   As a result, all other methods are less effective or efficient and (to that degree) inadvisable.   In my profession, communications, the 'right' method is the one where the response provides the most information with the lowest commitment of resources, and the questioner is lest likely to be frustrated by the difficulties in finding the answer.   To use a medical metaphor, that requires multiple levels of treatment.   Many visitors have simple questions that do not require extensive thought or individual consultation.   These people simply need an over-the-counter remedy (e.g., "Don't throw footballs"), which can be found in the FAQ.   Others require a lengthy response, but not personalized treatment.   Those people are the ones who need to be directed toward your book.   The people who have a unique situation are the folks who need to be in your Q&A section.

     My fourth point was a suggestion that you include general-interest material on your web site, as a way to attract more people to it.   In your responses, you often make statements that I, as a fan, find fascinating.   In one response, you alluded to the importance of conducting yourself properly on the field (don't ask me where; there is a lot of material on the site).   Based on my recollection of your demeanor on the field (as I remember, you tried to show no emotion), I believe I know what you meant.   But I am not certain.   You have made a number of one or two sentence comments (all uncomplimentary) on the quality of play in the modern game.   People might be interested to hear you expand on those views.   In your response to my question, you stated "Location is greatly over-rated".   That is directly contrary to the comments of many successful pitchers.   To name just one, Tom Seaver's book says location is the most important factor in getting people out, followed by movement and then velocity, which appears to be the inverse order.   While I find the subject of collecting memorabilia and autographs to be boring, a lot of people sure seem to be interested by it.   So far this year, you've already answered half a dozen questions about it.   It might be a good idea just to put your views down at length and in one spot for posterity.   I do not believe in using controversy (or personal attacks) to attract attention; I do not advise clients to pander to an audience.   On the other hand, if one's goals are to bring ideas to a wide audience, I see nothing wrong with offering material that a broad cross-section of people would find interesting.

     The new version of Chapter 28, for example, could be broken into four interesting, informative articles about how to identify each type of hitters by looking at their stance, bat position and stride.   That might seem like obvious information to you, but it is the sort of thing that I have spent 20-odd years gleaning from writers like Roger Angell or Tom Boswell.   Add a few photos of current players, with callouts pointing to the features you raise, and dozens of sites would probably link to those pages.

     I will note that increased traffic will increase the volume of undesirable users.   Some new visitors would bug you for autographs, or ask you to comment on things you don't like to discuss.   I don't know whether the phone number on the site is your personal number or not; I can assure you that more than a few idiots would call you on it.   That obviously would not be desirable.   On the other hand, many of the people who showed up would be people my age, who have sons, remember your achievements and would be favorably disposed toward buying your videotape.   That might enable you to get the resources to do some of the things you have (to date) been unable to do.

     Whether a wider audience is worth encountering a flood of messages saying "What the hell were you doing on that pitch to Joe Rudi in '74?" or "Was Joe Schultz really like that?" is up to the individual.   I know how to increase site traffic, but I also know that the consequences are not always desirable.

     I enjoyed looking at your material and I have learned quite a bit from it.   While I can't justify buying your videotape, I wanted to offer something that would be of value to you in return.   I wish I could offer to add the little footers to your web pages (it would be about an hour's work for me), but I am a little busy and I would hate to promise something that I cannot deliver.

     I did download your revised Chapter 28 (I didn't know it had been updated) and I will look at it when I finish this message.   Again my thanks for responding; if you have any questions or comments about anything I've written, I'll be happy to answer them.


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     It is clear who is the web site professional and who is not.   I took a class, built my web site, pay the monthly fee and maintain my web site not to make money, but to prevent future generations of pitching arm injuries.   I did not want to die with my knowledge unshared.   I greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions.   I plan to tackle the 'next chapter' idea soon, maybe even later today.   When I put my Coaching Pitchers book on my web site, I knew that it would force me to write in more layman friendly language and to complete unfinished chapters.   Finishing Chapter Twenty-Eight was something I have wanted to do for several years.   As I use this chapter to teach my students proper pitch sequences, I have made several minor adjustments.   I will wait until we are finished with all sequences to update the chapter again.   I have finished updating my pitching motion in Section IX and my training program in Section XI.   I believe that those sections are all I will need to update further as I learn more about how to teach young men how to pitch without injury.

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189.   I am a 32 year-old right handed pitcher.   I have joined a competitive over-30 men's baseball league and am enjoying the hell out of pitching again for the first time in about ten years.

     I have been experiencing some pain in my pitching arm on the side (between the bicep & tricep).   The pain is very noticeable after I pitch if I apply pressure to the area by squeezing what I think is the bone.   The pain becomes severe enough to significantly reduce my speed, and hinder my ability to throw strikes.   I have been able to dramatically reduce my pain by evaluating my delivery vs. some of your suggestions, and by icing.   The greatest help has been to avoid dragging my arm from behind and to turn my body to pitch in a more of a straight line.

1.   Does anything else come to mind in terms of eliminating the pain while pitching?   I do NOT have any shoulder or elbow pain.

     In terms of pitching, I have a tremendous curveball, probably one of the best that you will see.   I also have a decent fastball - my velocity is better than ever, but it seems to have lost the movement that it used to have.   That's about it.   I know I could be much more successful if I had a larger arsenal.

1.   Do you have any tips for making the fastball move?
2.   I think I could easily learn other pitches, but I have never been taught.   I am especially interest in learning a sinker and change.   Which of your books or other materials can teach me?


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     The discomfort that you describe results from you Brachialis muscle fighting the forearm flyout from throwing your curve.   What you are doing is bringing your forearm close to your upper arm while your elbow points toward second base.   Then, when you start your upper arm acceleration phase, when you bring your elbow forward, your forearm makes a loop and flys outward.   But, you want to throw a horizontal spin axis curve, so you fight the forearm flyout and tilt your shoulders to your glove side.   The stress of this action is greater than your Brachialis can withstand without making a physiological adjustment.   Therefore, it barks at you.   This is unnecessary stress.

     What you need to do is not bring your forearm close to your upper arm until your elbow points towards toward third base (assuming that you are right-handed).   In this scenario, you pendulum swing toward second base until your arm reaches your driveline height.   While you turn your forearm into the proper position with which to throw your curve, you do not bring your forearm close to your upper arm.   After you start your upper arm acceleration phase, THEN you bring your forearm well inside of vertical with your shoulders level.   After you forwardly rotate your shoulders until your elbow is as far forward as it will reach, then you can slightly tilt to your glove side and forearm accelerate your curve ball through release.

     To make fastballs move laterally, you will have to have either the small circle of friction of my four seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs facing slightly forward or the large circle of friction of my two seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs facing slightly forward.   To get more movement, you have more of the circle of friction facing forward.   My Instructional Videotape demonstrates the grips, forearm actions and releases of these and all my other pitches.

     I do not believe in or teach changeups.   I do teach four seam and two seam Maxline and Torque Pronation Curves, my Torque Slider, my four seam and two seam Maxline and Torque True Screwballs and my two seam Maxline and Torque True Sinkers.

     It is all in my Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape.   Since I have carefully explained and demonstrated the answers to these questions in my book and video, I prefer not to do so again in email responses.

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190.   Incredible website from the Iron Man, you were the best!   I remember those years you had with the Dodgers!   Perhaps you could answer this inquiry, I hope it doesn't sound too strange.

     I've read that you were a proponent of weight training.   Is this correct?   Did you use a Weider system or York Barbell course or one of your own design for your workouts?   You were very developed, perhaps more than any other player I remember, way ahead of your time.   You were listed as 5'10" and 180 lbs., though I thought you were a little bigger.   Also, how accurate would you estimate these heights/weights to be?


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     With a doctoral degree in the Physiology of Exercise and specialties in Kinesiology/Biomechanics and Motor Skill Acquisition, I designed my own training program.   Now, I am giving it away for free in my Coaching Pitchers book.   While my program has evolved over the nearly forty years I have worked with it, it is essentially the same that enabled me to set the four most prestigious closer relief pitching records.

     You are correct, I was not 5' 10" tall, I was 5' 08 1/2" tall.   I did weigh 180 lbs. when I was with the Montreal Expos.   However, as I continued to weight train, I gradually added muscle to weigh 205 lbs. with the Dodgers.

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191.   I read Section IX in much detail.   My son and I went down to the ballpark tonight to work on some of what we have learned.   I am afraid I will have many questions, and I simply want to know if you will entertain them.   If not, I understand.   Perhaps I just need to invest in the video.   Otherwise, here are my first few questions:

1.   As I understand the position of the rear foot for both the stretch and windup, the rear foot is to be pointed towards home plate until the foot actually leaves the rubber.   Of course, I was taught the old way, where the foot (in the windup) begins pointed toward home plate, and then the foot turns to be parallel with the rubber.   Am I correct in understanding your materials that the rear foot stays pointed towards home plate until it leaves the rubber?   The reason I ask is that when my son then raises his left leg (he's a righty), rather than his left knee facing third base (like when I used to pitch), it now points almost directly straight towards home. He appears then to almost "walk" off of the rubber, striding directly towards home, pushing off like a "walk" rather than with the side of his foot.   Interestingly, his control calmed down almost immediately when he pitched this "new" way.   I just want to know if we have the right concept.

2.   You recommend that pitchers keep their shoulders level, and rotate.   I understand the level shoulders, but what rotates?   Does this mean the hip rotation?

3.   Perhaps most interesting is your discussion (in the first few tips) on pushing back towards second base with the front foot "in an explosive manner."   As I understand this, when the front foot hits the ground, and the body moves ahead of the front foot, at that point the pitcher pushes his body backward with his front foot, towards second base.   Do I understand this correctly?   And does the push backwards occur before, at, or after release of the ball?

     According to my son, and he threw about 25 pitches tonight from both the windup and stretch, he felt less strain on his arm, and his comments were not prompted.   Hence, it would seem he was following the better part of your technique.   His velocity was about the same, but his control was quite a bit better.   By the way, something else that seems to help him quite a bit is pointing the glove arm directly at home plate before and as he is driving off of the rubber (with control and only slight leg bend as you teach).   My idol was Tom Seaver, and so I tried to get my right knee a little dirty, pushing off the mound with a huge stride and rear leg bed.   I wish I had your information about 30 years ago.   It's much easier and more comfortable.


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     I appreciate that you are reading my material.   It will help me help you and your son.   However, I have answered these questions in my book and Question/Answer files and demonstrated them in my Instructional Videotape.   Nevertheless, I will again.

     The position of the rear foot on the pitching rubber is critical.   In the set position, I recommend a thirty degree angle toward home plate.   In the windup position, I recommend a forty-five degree angle toward home plate.   We have two purposes.   One, we want to eliminate any reverse rotation of the hips and shoulder beyond the acromial line pointing at the glove side batter.   Two, we want to recover the rear leg forward as quickly as possible.   He should 'step' forward with his front foot and 'walk' over it until his rear leg is ahead of his front foot.   These actions help him not take the baseball laterally behind his body.   Consequently, he can drive his pitches in a straight line from leverage through release.   This minimizes unnecessary stress and maximizes control.

     I recommend that pitchers 'keep their shoulders level and stand tall and rotate'.   Pitchers must forwardly rotate their shoulders.   I want pitchers to point their glove at the glove-side batter and forward rotate until they point their pitching arm at home plate.   I want at least one hundred and fifty forward degrees of shoulder rotation.

     I recommend that pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot while they rotate their shoulders and accelerate their upper arm.   When their elbow reaches as far forward as possible, they should have their body ahead of their front foot.   At this moment, they should push backward toward second base with their front foot and simultaneously forearm accelerate their pitch through release.

     Since I recommend that pitchers 'stand tall and rotate', I do not want pitchers to bend their rear leg at all.   Why would six foot tall pitchers want to pitch at the height of five foot tall pitchers?   Further, pitchers cannot rotate with bent rear legs.

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192.   This is the two high school junior brothers who trained with you for ten weeks last summer.   We just wanted to tell you how our year went on the mound.   My brother had a good year at bat and pitching.   He struck out 84 kids in 42 innings.   Just the other night, he struck out 22.   He struck out 20 in 7 innings and 22 in two extra innings.   He is going to have a article written about him in Baseball America for striking out so many kids.   I also had a good year.   I led the team in many different categories.   I went 5-0 with a 1.59 era.   Thanks for all the help.

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     Thank you for taking the time to update me on your baseball season.   It looks like your commitment and hard work paid off.   I may have shown you the work that you needed to do, but you did the work and deserve the credit.

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193.   I need to know if I have totally mismanaged by wonderful son who loves baseball and can't get enough.   My son is 14 and has been throwing some kind of ball since he was a toddler.   He just turned 14 a month ago.   He is a very strong boy 5'11" 150 lbs..   About two years ago, we took him to a medical strength and conditioning center and they tested him for muscle strength, flexibility, and uniformity in the major flexor and extensor muscles of his body.   Testing demonstrated considerable over in some muscles and almost no development in others.   After consulting with an orthopedist, he felt it was ok for him to start a light weight training program to develop uniform strength.

     There was considerable worry on my part about growth plates, but the orthopedist thought that as long as the weights were kept light, it was ok.   Over the last two years the change in my son was dramatic.   He leaned down, became much more flexible and has had extraordinary success with baseball and basketball.   He continues to ask for more weight, and I have said no and his trainer agrees.   He feels a lot of pressure because the high football coach wants him to play QB next year and wants him to really push weights.   He is an 8th grader but practices with a 4A varsity baseball team and of course they have him long tossing everyday and tell him to do it more and farther.

     He has played baseball just about 8 months of the year for the last 4 years.   I spoke to you the other day after you generously called me back in NC.   He has pitched quite a bit in the last 2 years with his AAU team, won a state championship, and finished with 2 wins and 2 saves in the nationals.   Recently, he went to a camp (Coast to Coast) down in Puerto Rico and was MVP and a Reds scout told him he was going to put him on a prospects list.

     I should note, he has never had so much as a sore muscle in his arm or elbow and is known as the rubber arm because of it.   He throws from the left side with better than average velocity and throws two breaking pitches he call the big one and the little one.   The big one is a big slow roundhouse curve and the little one he says he throws a lot like a fast ball that breaks in on the hitter tightly at the last moment.

     After reading your book, I am blown away by its thoroughness, have written for your tape today, but am very concerned that he has been doing too much and that maybe I'm screwing up his growth plates by the light weight lifting and throwing.   He appears to me to be in mid puberty, has very dark hair on his legs but not arms, guessing pubic hair, early soft hair on his face and underarms, pimples but soft to early muscle definition.

Question.   In the absence of ever having any injuries or arm problems, wanting him to reach maximum potential, should he back way off on everything he is doing, including the light weight training and flexibility stuff and long tossing.   Do you think we could have already messed him up by his love of training.   I'm sincere when I say he loves to train.   He literally begs for more.


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     That he has never complained of discomfort in his pitching arm is good.   However, that does not mean that he has not stimulated the growth plates to premature closure, thus preventing full long bone growth of the humerus.   Nevertheless, without outward symptoms of discomfort, he is probably not meaningfully harmed.   To check his status, I would bi-laterally X-ray his arms AP and ML from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm.   I would check the maturation status of his olecranon process, lateral epicondyle, radial head and medial epicondyle for each arm separately and compare to see whether the pitching arm maturation is the same or accelerated.   I suspect that he is an accelerated maturer.

     When he has completed medial epicondyle maturation, turn him loose.   At that time, I recommend that he complete my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   Until then, I recommend that he read my Coaching Pitchers book, watch my Instructional Videotape and learn my force application techniques and variety of pitches.

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194.   I'm going to x-ray my son today or tomorrow.   I'll let you know.   I'm heartened by you response to no pain, no probable injury, although I'm still worried about those growth plates.   When I told my wife about your site and research, she said going fishing and hunting instead of baseball 24/7 would be a nice relief.   I only wish I'd found out about your research 4 years ago.   What's amazing, is that I have been heavily criticized by other coaches for not letting him do even More!!   I have 3 younger children and you can be assured it will be different with them.

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     I am very interested in the comparative analysis of the growth plates of the pitching arm with the non-pitching arm.   Also, while not as discriminating as the Greulich/Pyle Hand-Wrist X-ray method for determining biological age, the adolescent elbow does demonstrate biological age.   The ossification center for the olecranon process appears at twelve years old.   The ossification center for the lateral epicondyle appears at thirteen years old.   The growth plate for the lateral epicondyle matures at fourteen years old.   The growth plate for the olecranon process matures at fifteen years old.   And, the growth plate for the medial epicondyle matures at sixteen years old.

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195.   I can't believe you won't rewrite your books a fifth time just to accommodate me!   I read part of one of the chapters once!   What more do you want me to do!   People.   You gotta love 'em.   Yet another reason we lawyers are thought of as highly as we are.

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     He has come around a bit since then, but people in general think that I owe them something because I played major league baseball and earned a Cy Young Award.   Speaking of rewrites, I am completing about my sixth rewrite of Chapter Twenty-Eight with another in about a month.   My kids and I are having a ball learning to pitch the sequences, but we are discovering small adjustments that I need to make.   After twenty years of coaching pitchers, I finally have a group to a point of basic skill that I can teach them how to maximize the value of the pitches that I teach.   I can hardly wait for my next group.   This group has taught me the best teaching methods yet.

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196.   I would like to thank you for your excellent web site, your book, and the work you have done to bring pitching from art to science.   Sadly, I missed meeting you at West Texas A&M by two years.

     I write the only newsletter that specifically covers baseball injuries, "Under The Knife."   I have a sports medicine background and feel that injuries are the most important yet least covered subject in baseball. Naturally, more than half of the injuries.   I write about each day involve pitchers and I believe your expertise would be invaluable to my readers.

     I would like to ask two things of you:

1.   I would like to get permission to quote your book in my newsletter from time to time, when appropriate.   Of course, I will always properly attribute the use of your work and will include a link to your site.

2.   I would like to interview you, either by phone or email, for publication to my readers.   While I cannot offer compensation for your time, I would not take up any more than you feel you can give and I will include in my newsletter a link to your site once a week for a month.   This could give you as many as 5,000 impressions to my readership, which consists of a very highly involved readership and includes several Major League employees.


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     My life's goal is to eliminate pitching arm injuries.   I will gladly help you with your work.   I assume that you have read my Coaching Pitchers book as well as my Question/Answers files.   All you need now is the Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.   be available via email daily for as long as we can.

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197.   Thank you for writing back, and for your thoughtful reply.   I have taken a look at your online book for pitchers.   It is incredible in its depth.   Are you still looking for a publisher?   I work at a major university.   May I print a copy of your book off of your site and submit it to our University Press to see if they would be interested in pursuing it further, perhaps adding illustrations from the art department and publishing it?   I envision it being a popular, well selling book.

     From 180lbs with the Expos to 205 lbs with the Dodgers is pretty incredible.   I read the section of your training pitchers using iron balls, wrist weights and so on.   Could you please answer the following questions for me?

1.   When you gained weight from 180 to 205, do you remember what all around weight lifting movements you performed in training in order to gain weight?   Did you perform any dead lifts or squats?   You had huge legs!

2.   Did you lift weights in the off season or during the season or both?

3.   Did you have a special diet?

4.   Not too many players weight trained in those days, or did they?   I think your weight training program is just as unique as your pitching theories, and must be as scientific with choice of exercises!


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     I would be happy to work with anybody who would publish my Coaching Pitchers book.   However, I have enjoyed the freedom that the Internet permits me to update my book.

     I did the weight training exercises that I describe in my Coaching Pitchers book and show in my Instructional Videotape.   I never would or advise anybody to do dead lifts or squats.   Whatever leg development I had was due to jogging, pitching and genetics.

     I do not and never have had any special diet.   I eat basic unprocessed food as much as possible with lots of vegetables.

     When I pitched, no pitchers dared to train for fear of becoming muscle-bound.   My understanding of the benefits of weight training differed.   Besides, it was my career and I would do whatever I wanted to become the best pitcher I could be.

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198.   My son tripped over a helmet in the dugout.   The ER doctor said he had a subtle fracture in the growth plate right above the wrist.   They put him in an arm length cast.   I will be taking him to a specialist, but I thought I'd ask if you have an opinion of how serious this is.   My son is 12.   It was his non throwing hand.   Also tell your readers to keep the dugout in order.   Thank you for your reply.   The X-ray looked just like in your video.   The doctor said it was wide open.

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     Did he say whether is was the distal growth plate of the radius or ulna bone.   Neither is a good injury, but the growth plate of the radius bone has less importance with regard to wrist action.   Stress of any kind usually stimulates premature closure, but they heal strong.   This could influence the mature length of the bone.   Only time will tell how negatively this injury will effect his wrist action.   The wrist joint of the front arm of the baseball swing does have considerable rotational force placed on it.   Let us hope for the best.

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199.   If you played for 14 years, then how come your stats do not appear in any major league directory's?   I expect a detailed response, explaining why I shouldn't turn you in for mis-advertising.

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     You got me.   It has all been a lie.   I never played major league baseball.   I did not pitch for the Detroit Tigers in 1967.   I did not pitch for the Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins or the New York Mets.   It was all a figment of my imagination.

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200.   The ER doctor mentioned the radius not the ulna.   I understand the Ulna is near the elbow and my son said he had no pain in the elbow.   He bats left and throws right and the injury is to his left arm so when he swings the left hand will be his top hand.   In that sense, I guess he is lucky it was not his throwing hand.

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     Both the Radius and Ulna bones articulate with the distal end of the humerus of the upper arm.   The Ulna only flexes and extends the elbow joint.   The Radius primarily rotates around the Ulna bone.   The Radius is on the little finger side of the forearm.   I agree that any damage to the growth plate of the distal Radius of the left forearm is less apt to bother left-handed hitters.

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201.   I followed your advice and pitched pain free for the first time.   Also, I was sore (a good sore) the next day in places where I know I should be if I pitch correctly.

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     The vast majority of pitching arm discomfort responds well to my force application technique and my pitcher training programs.   And those serious pitching arm injuries, such as ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments would not have happened if the pitchers used my force application technique and completed my pitcher training program.

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202.   My son is a 15 and a half yr old sophomore.   His current HS coach has expressed concerns that my son is not playing summer season baseball for him.   He is correct in his concern as we honestly told this coach of my son's intention to play his summer season elsewhere.   Right or wrong, my son's playing time has been severely curtailed, having pitched only 10 innings out of 150 total innings to date this season.

     When he has received a moment on the bump, he has tended to air it out trying to impress the coach.   The pitchers in general do not stay very well tuned as my son was actually in better pitching shape prior to the commencement of the season than he is now.

     To my point.   Last week after pitching only 2 clean up innings he awoke the next morning with a pain on the medial and posterior aspect of the elbow.   Between the two bones as he describes it.   The team trainer and pitching coach after a brief series of tests pronounced his malady as tendonitis.   A general doc has done the same.   However I do not completely trust either of these opinions, therefore, I am having a sports ortho take a more educated look.
<>br>      Does damage to the UCL typically occur in such an acute manner?   Or is this injury typically more of a overuse, chronic type of cumulative injury?   I am aware that acute/chronic often overlap.   I also realize that his arm distinguishes not between the bullpen, the game or any throwing, if his force application technique is flawed.

     After reading your very generously provided information I realize that force application and proper physical preparedness is ultimately where the real cure resides.   My son spent the off season lowering his arm angle from completely over the top to low three quarter.   However as I understand it, his forearm and hand are not vertically aligned with the upper arm just prior to ball release, but more in a manner that I interpret as forearm flyout.   He has taken very strongly to mimicking Pedro Martinez's arm slot.   I suspect this is where the root of his problem resides.   Often he appears to be getting under the ball as well as dropping and pulling his elbow inward in the acceleration phase.   I have mentioned my concerns to him on a number of occasions to no avail.   The school of hard knocks and bitter experience are now teaching him a lesson that I suspect most athletes have learned at one time or another.   The body does rebel.


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     The medial and posterior aspects of the elbow is not a definitive diagnosis, nor is tendonitis.   Nevertheless, when pitchers apply greater stress to the medial and posterior aspect of the elbow and it responds with discomfort, it is typically due to improper technique.   He is probably dropping his elbow under the baseball at release as well as taking his arm laterally behind his body which results in forearm flyout.   When he drops his elbow under, he will extend his elbow until he slams his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa.   To avoid this problem, pitchers must point their elbow upward.   To avoid forearm flyout, pitchers must stop reverse rotating their hips and shoulders.

     At fifteen and one-half years old, I am not concerned about his growth plates.   I am also not concerned about his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   However, his technique would destroy an adult elbow.   He must stop hyper-extending his elbow.   He must keep his elbow slightly bent throughout the pitching motion.   He is old enough to start my Adult Pitchers Training Program.   My wrist weight and iron ball exercises will teach him the proper pitching arm action.   I recommend that you and he read my Coaching Pitchers book and watch my Instructional Videotape.   The book is free on my web site, but you will have to purchase my video.

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203.   I just saw the movie, "The Rookie".   How would you explain his increase in velocity from 86 mph at twenty years old to 98 mph at thirty-six years old.   Have you seen the movie?

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     I did see the movie.   It was a very interesting story.   I remember well the thrill of the first game that I pitched in the major leagues.   However, I do not like that idea that all you have to do is throw 98 mph to pitch major league baseball.   I believe that it takes a lot of hard work and skill to throw the proper variety of pitches.   I have nothing against 98 mph, but major league pitchers need more.

     I have given considerable thought to how he increased his velocity by twelve miles per hour between his early twenties and thirty-six years old.   Most Exercise Physiologists attribute pitching velocity to percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers.   However, he has the same percentage at thirty-six as he had at twenty.   Therefore, fast-twitch percentage is not the answer.

     We know that he had complete shoulder reconstruction surgery.   While I do not have the surgical report, I assume that they tightened the ligaments across the front of the shoulder.   During adolescence, in addition to jeopardizing growth plates, too much pitching stretches shoulder and elbow ligaments.   Shoulder and elbow ligament laxity decreases release velocity.   Therefore, he could gain from tighter anterior shoulder ligaments.

     Injured pitchers typically eliminate flaws in their force application techniques.   Therefore, he could have streamlined his pitching motion.

     The film showed that he continued to throw.   I do not know how frequently or how much, but I believe that he threw sufficiently to get his pitching arm decently fit.   I would have trained him more rigorously, but he threw quality batting practice regularly.

     In conclusion, I would explain this phenomenon with three factors. 1. The surgery tightened his anterior shoulder ligaments which gave him a stable basis from which to apply force. 2. He altered his force application technique to remove the flaws that previously caused pain. 3. He trained his pitching arm over a sufficiently long time period to gain fitness.

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204.   My 11 year old son does not want to do the pitching exercises.   He "just wants to pitch."   Should I make him do the exercises?

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     The pickoff and wrong foot throws teach how to properly use and strengthen the pitching arm for all pitches.   He needs to realize that he needs to 'work' on skills and strength with these drills.   Only great concert pianists spent hours working on their scales, the rest just wanted to play.   I recommend that you require that he complete the pitching exercises.

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205.   My son hurt is elbow at the age of 12.   The initial injury caused pain on the medial side of the elbow.   He stop playing for a season and his arm got a little better.   He went back to playing this year and the pain begin after a few pitches.   He can pin point and show a certain spot that he feels the pain.   He throw the ball real hard for this age.   He is so disappointed and upset that he can't play.   How long does this type injury take to heal.   The X-rays and MRI showed everything to be normal.   Is it hard to detect fractures in a growth plate?   In your years of experience, what have you seen in boys (12-14)with injury and recovery.   To me, it just seems like a long time to have pain.

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     In equated maturing young men, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle does not mature until sixteen years old.   You will have to compare his biological age with his chronological age to determine whether he is an accelerated, equated or delayed maturer.   Growth plates do not fracture, they pull away from the bone.   Like with Osgood Schlatter's Disease with the lower leg, the only way to stop the pain is to stop stressing the growth plate and permit it to grow and develop to maturity.   I know that it is hard to believe, but whatever he does in baseball before he is a junior in high school is meaningless.   Why permanently deform his pitching arm during adolescence?   Take him swimming, fishing, camping whatever, but stop stressing the growth plate of his medial epicondyle.   Adolescent pain means stop.

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206.   I am going to take you up on the iron ball offer.   Would you please tape them for me?   Do I send the check same address as the instructional tape I sent to?   How much shipping will cost?

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     In anticipation that you would want to know what the packaging and shipping costs would be for thirty pounds of lead balls, I took time out of my very busy day and went to our packaging and shipping store.   They told me that the packaging would cost approximately $10.00 and UPS shipping would cost approximately $25.00 to your zip code.   Therefore, if you send me $135.00, then I will tape the lead balls and have them package and ship them to you.   Remember, if you send me a personal check, I will have to wait one week for the check to clear before I can ship them.   A money order is best.   Please send the money to the same address to which you sent the money for your copy of my Instructional Videotape.

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207.   I am the father of a 14 year-old player, played organized "kids' ball" from ages 8 through 14, managed/coached both boys & girls programs for six seasons and currently play in an adult "over 40" league (I'm 44).   I was never an adolescent pitcher.   As a coach & manager, I've thrown many hours of batting practice in the boys' leagues.   I must vehemently take issue with your assessment of potential arm damage for young pitchers.

     Here is why. Among the pitches you recommend young arms practice throwing is the screwball.   Because of the reverse angle twisting strain placed on the elbow (along with wrist snap), this pitch is a hazard even for arms my age!   One need look no further than such ex-stars as Mike McCormick, the former Giant lefty of the 1960s.   Mike used the pitch as his "go-to", or "out pitch" and his throwing arm is now shorter than his right one because of it.   Mike also has a permanent elbow bend.   That is to say, he cannot fully straighten his throwing arm.   You are also said to have suffered similar damage to your throwing arm, as well.

     I believe in knuckleballs.   Knuckleballs are tough to control, but have virtually no negative effect on the arm.   The grip I prefer is the one used (and described in his book, "Ball Four") by ex-major leaguer, Jim Bouton.   With the bottom of the "horseshoe" (stitching) facing to your right (and on top of the ball), grip the ball with the first, middle and ring fingers in the space between the laces.   The pinky goes to the right of the ball (below the horseshoe) and the thumb is placed on the opposite site of the ball from the pinky.   I believe this illustration also adorns the book's cover, as well.

     The key to throwing a good, spin-free knuckle, is the length of the fingernails, which ought to reach the end of the fingers.   This, according to Bouton.   Several others also used a similar grip.   Among them: Wilbur Wood, Eddie Fisher, and current Red Sox pitcher, Tim Wakefield.   The grip your web page shows is the preferred grip of such knuckle "whizzes" as Phil Niekro, his brother Joe, Hoyt Wilhelm and I believe Tom Candiotti, as well.

     You also advise against youths pitching until age 13 and only one inning per week at that point.   This is laughable.   In my hometown (Washington, Pennsylvania), league players begin pitching by age nine.   In all my years of involvement in the local program, I've yet to see anyone permanently damaged because of pitching too early, or too often.   I disagree with having kids pitch at age nine, though.   I would prefer they not pitch until at least age eleven.   This way, more emphasis can be placed on hitting mechanics at an earlier age.   I believe the results would speak for themselves.


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     When pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm backward to driveline height while turning their palm outward at the forty-five degree downward forearm angle, they arrive at leverage with their forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical with their palm facing outward.   From this position, pitchers do not have to 'twist' or even change their forearm position at all.   This means that the 'True Screwball' that I teach places the least amount of stress on the pitching arm.   I have no idea how Mr. McCormick threw his screwball, but I threw it the way that I teach and I threw it competitively through five consecutive Roy Hobbs National Championships in the over-50 category.   My pitching arm is no shorter or in any other way damaged from over thirty years of throwing screwballs almost every day.   More important to your layman's way of looking at things, throwing screwballs have never caused any pitching arm problems to the over 100 pitchers to whom I have taught my screwball.

     The only problem that I have with teaching the knuckleball is that pitchers have to practice it so much at the exclusion of their other pitches.   A little mistake with a knuckleball makes it a slow straight pitch.   I prefer that pitchers never to throw slow straight pitches.

     I continue to recommend that pubescent and adolescent pitchers do not throw for more than two months per year.   The argument that you have never seen permanent damage has no meaning.   You would not know permanent damage if you saw it.   Can you tell when growth plates close prematurely?   Can you tell when Ulnar Collateral Ligaments or Glenohumeral Ligaments lengthen thus causing elbow and shoulder joint laxity as adults?   You and other parents can subject your children to competitive pubescent and adolescent pitching if you wish.   I would not do it.   Since nothing pitchers do before their junior year in high school means nothing with regard to college scholarships, why take the chance of ruining pitching careers before they begin?

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208.   Thank you so much for your advice that a pitcher with arm problems stop pitching this year.   I total agree.   It is just so hard for him.   He loves baseball.   Several other players have injured their elbows and shoulders.   One child age 14, just had shoulder surgery, because of pitching.   Since, I emailed you, I have taken him to a Sport Medicine Orthopedic doctor.   He also recommended that he stop throwing all together and wait till his growth plates close.   He stated that he had medial epicondylitis and a fracture of his growth plate with fragmentation.   He took an X-ray of the left elbow to compare to the right and you would not believe the difference.   He said that as he matures it would close and fuse together and it was going to take time. My son is thirteen, 5' 8" in height and weighs about 156 lbs.   He has good under body strength.   He lifts weights.   All of this happened last year.   I wonder if lifting weights, along with pitching so hard caused this to happen.   I have learned a lot.   I hope other parents will be made aware of the importance of limited pitching and know that it could happen with just one throw.

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     I have received several emails asking about various injuries, from players who have had Tommy John surgery, or from other coaches who are concerned about putting players at risk.   I prefer to believe the information on my Instructional Videotape and have youngsters to learn the skills without stressing their growth plates.

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209.   I'm a 15-year-old pitcher who is undergoing severe physical and physiological pain due to chronic pain in my right shoulder.   I've seen 3 orthopedic surgeons in a span of 6 months.   All have found nothing conclusive to give reason for my pain, and have prescribed physical therapy to strengthen my muscles (which after 50 sessions, resulted in nothing, except lost money).   I have done my exercises religiously, and cannot begin to describe the frustration involved with the injury.   I have also had many x-rays, and one MRI, which also proved inconclusive.   One doctor suggested I had a "low threshold for pain" which didnt go too well with me.   I have gone from the fastest throwing, most successful pitcher in my league (Im not lying about my successes), to a cripple who can barely play a game of catch.   I would give anything for a doctor to diagnose me with a torn labrum, or a ripped tendon, so it would quell my doubts and give me peace of mind.   Im at the crossroads, and must decide if, and when I should pull the plug on baseball.   Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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     I am very sorry that you are suffering so trying to do something that you enjoy.   At fifteen years old, the growth plate for the humeral head is still open.   Your pain could be a result of this growth plate.   There are no exercises to rehabilitate this pain.   You just have to wait until the growth plate matures on its own.   The doctors should have noticed the open growth plate for the humeral head.

     It would be very difficult to diagnose this problem.   I am not sure that I know the difference between physical and physiological pain.   Maybe you meant physical and psychological pain.   I would prefer that you tell me specifically where you feel the pain and at what point in the pitching motion the pain occurs.

     I recommend that you stop pitching until the growth plate of the humeral head completely matures.   You could strengthen your shoulders with swimming crawl and breast strokes.   After the growth plate of the humeral head matures, you should read my Coaching Pitchers book and watch my Instructional Videotape that accompanies the book.   If you use my force application techniques and my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program with a skeletally mature pitching arm, then you should be able to return to pain free pitching.   You are a long way from any crossroad with respect to pitching.

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210.   I'm working on putting my pitching staff together for my American Legion Team.   I feel like using a pitch count is the best thing for my pitchers.   If I remember correctly, you gave me a number of 60-65 pitches to go by per game, but how much rest do you think is needed between starts, 4 to 5 days?   I've seen many kids being used too much and the last thing I want to do is hurt a kids arm.   We have 11 kids that will pitch this summer for me, but I'm thinking of going with a six man rotation and using the other kids on a every two to three days of relief work.   Am I going in the right direction?

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     I have never liked pitch counts.   I prefer to use At Bats.   When pitchers have only two pitches that they can throw for first pitch strikes, then I use them for either nine or eighteen At Bats.   If they have a quality fastball, then I will permit them to pitch twice through the lineup.   Twice through a lineup should give you four innings and sometimes five.   For American Legion baseball, I would never permit any pitcher to pitch more than twice through the lineup.   With three days between games, twice through pitchers should be able to go once through a lineup in relief.

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211.   Fifteen months ago, I underwent Tommy John surgery.   I have been working to rehab my elbow and continue pitching at the collegiate level.   Unfortunately, the athletic training facility at my University is somewhat unfamiliar with the surgery.   They have worked along side the doctor who performed the surgery to design a rehabilitation program.   However my concern is this: the doctor who preformed the surgery suggested that I undergo the procedure somewhat hastily, he diagnosed the injury with only an X-ray, which he said showed a small bone fragment which meant I had torn the ligament.

     I was under the impression an MRI was needed but he said it would only show what he already concluded and would only be a waste of money.   I agreed to undergo the surgery, and felt as though my rehab was continuing adequately until the point of about 1 month ago.   I was back to normal pitching at only 8 months, and from that point till 1 month ago had no problems.   My arm, however has begun to hurt again, and I believe it to be the same type of pain that caused me to undergo the first surgery.   I have talked with my surgeon about my arm problems, and he has insisted that it is only tendonitis, and that is common with pitchers recovering from the surgery.   However he still will not order an MRI.

     I know that there is no way that you could possibly understand all of my case from just what I have told you.   But I was wondering if you could suggest another doctor who may be more qualified in dealing with Tommy John surgery that practices in my area.   I was wondering if you could provide me with the names of some doctors you would recommend I could see.


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     You have had the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of your pitching arm replaced with the tendon of your Palmaris Longus muscle of your non-pitching arm.   I doubt that any surgeon would replace a perfectly good Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The fact that you are now experiencing discomfort in the same area does not mean that the surgery was not successful.   Because you ruptured your Ulnar Collateral Ligament, you had some serious flaws in your pitching motion.   Unless you have corrected those flaws, you will injure other tissue in the same area.   The remedy to your situation is proper force application and a proper training program.   My Coaching Pitchers book and my accompanying Instructional Videotape explain proper force application and proper training.

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212.   I know you aren't a hitting instructor, but what do you make of releasing the bat with the rear arm?

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     Newton's three laws of motion generate three laws of force application for all activities.   Before I pitched, I played professional shortstop for four full minor league seasons.   My first high-speed films were of baseball batting.   I wrote a Kinesiological analysis back in the mid-60s.   Rather than study film of hitters de jour, I examined how to satisfy Newton's three laws and the limits of applied anatomy.

     I have a theoretical force application technique.   However, without a hitters training center, I would not recommend a force application technique or a training program.   Research is critical.   Nevertheless, I would never advise hitters to release the bat with their rear arm.   First, you might not be able to safely decelerate the bat with only the front arm.   We certainly do not want hitters to injure themselves or let the bat fly.   Second, force coupling is a critical aspect of batting and it requires that hitters apply oppositely-directed forces on either side of a fulcrum.

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213.   I received the tape.   An amazing amount of data.   The high school head coach watched it with me tonight.   He is a scout for the Atlanta braves and he just watched with his mouth wide open.   Great drills.   We are going to spend the weekend going over it.   Do you ever allow coaches to come down and spend a day with you to pick your brain and make sure we have it right?   I am an MD and would love to come down and do just that.

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     My Pitcher Training Center is open for anybody to visit at anytime.   I want everybody to pitch without injury, I am keeping no secrets.   We have had the fun of dozens of visitors since we opened at this new site on Christmas 2000.   My forty week kids start the third Saturday of August and end the fourth Saturday of May.   That means that they are ending two weeks from today.   Some leave early for tryouts near their homes.   In the past, I have accepted high school juniors during the ten summer weeks.   However, this summer only previous forty week kids are coming for an advanced 'recoil' training program.   My point is, you are welcome anytime, but I do not know who or how many will be here.

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214.   I just finished reading a nice tribute to a present-day reliever.   It contained a "Finishing Touch" column listing the top ten10 all time converted save percentages.   Not surprisingly, all those listed garnered their statistics in the late `80's and `90's.   It is not exceedingly difficult for any major league pitcher to get a save starting the 9th inning without inheriting any runners.   I would estimate that all, but perhaps 10% of the of the listed relievers' appearances involved precisely that situation.

     As far as I'm concerned, guys like you were used in a manner that was far more critical to the team's success.   I root for the local team.   Our reliever clearly has been the best reliever on the team over the last several years.   Sometimes the other relievers have been so bad that it has really hurt the team to "save" him for these golden opportunities.


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     The strategies of baseball evolve.   In the last thirty years, the use of relief pitchers has changed more than any other aspect of the professional game.

     In 1972, my Montreal Expos manager, Gene Mauch, told me that if the first batter got on base, I was in the game.   I asked Gene that if he has so little faith in the started, then why would he permit him to start the inning?   He said, okay, you start the inning.   Before this decision, managers did not permit relievers to start innings.   I agree with permitting relievers to start innings.

     When I managed my college teams, I told my starters that I would give them five batters every inning that they started.   However, if I did not believe that they could throw quality pitches in challenging sequences to five batters, then they would not start an inning.   I prefer that starters be mad about me removing them too early, than defeated if I left them in one batter too long.

     I agree that receiving a 'save' for pitching only the ninth inning is not as difficult as coming in with baserunners in scoring position, but it is today's game.   That is why I do not consider 'saves' as a meaningful statistic.   The meaningful closer statistics are: appearances, innings pitched, consecutive game appearances, games finished and wins.   These statistics show that closers helped their teams.   Quality closers pitch in at least half of all games, average nearly two innings per appearance, can pitch in more than six consecutive games, finish almost all of their games and earn double digit wins.

     I do not know to whom you believe 'we' former closers should speak up.   I doubt very much that anybody is interested.

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215.   Recently, I have been feeling some pain in my right elbow during and after my games.   When Im at home and drinking a bottle of water or whatever it may be, I would start to feel pain when I hold anything in a certain position that would hurt my elbow.   The next morning I would wake up and not feel any pain at all.   Even working out with the weights it does not bother me.   Its only recently that I have felt this pain during and after games and I was wondering what you think the problem maybe.   And if it leads to Tommy John surgery what could I be looking at for the cost of the surgery so I can come back to pitch for my college team?

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     If you ruptured your Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the discomfort would not go away.   I would need you to be more specific about the location of your pain.   If it is behind your medial epicondyle, then you have irritated your ulnar nerve.   If it is below your medial epicondyle, then you have irritated fascial tissue.   If you use the 'traditional' pitching motion, it can be any of these problems and much more.

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216.   I have taken my son to a recognized authority on arm injuries.   This person works with many professional athletes.   Basically, he diagnosed a grade two or two minus tear of the posterior band of Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   He seems to feel fairly confident of a full recovery.   However, when viewing injury lists of many major league pitchers often UCL sprains that are initially diagnosed as 4- 6 week injuries actually turn out being season ending Tommy John procedures.

     At this point we have ruled out any summer ball.   We intend to use your video to enhance his ability to withstand stress to this region and also to correct his force application technique.   At what point in recovery do you feel it would be appropriate to commence the 280 day training program?


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     In addition to growth plate problems, stretching and tearing elbow and shoulder ligaments result severely limit adult pitchers.   It is true that these ligaments will eventually heal.   However, they will leave loose elbow and shoulder joints.

     I recommend that you and he wait until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has completely matured.   Once this occurs, he can start with my ten pound wrist weights and my pickoff position exercises.   I would not start my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program for several months after he has started my ten pound wrist weight exercises with the pickoff position and after he feels very strong and secure with the inside of his elbow.

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217.   I don't have a rebound wall and don't have the resources to build one.   What is a secondary option and can you just throw to the air?

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     You must throw the iron ball exactly like you would throw a baseball, not up into the air.   You will have to throw it and go get it.

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218.   A future pitcher of mine injured his arm to the extent that Tommy John surgery might be needed.   My question is should there have been some warning signs that he may have ignored?   It seems to me that if you rupture your arm to this extent the damage was accumulating over time, is this true or am I wrong?   Also he had a very good hard curve, can this possibly lead to the problem?   I don't recall that he over rotated which I know could lead to this problem.

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     The only warning sign of which I am aware for Ulnar Collateral Ligament rupture is extreme forearm flyout due to late forearm preparation or reverse forearm bounce with a tight medial epicondyle muscle bundle.   The pitcher probably will not have any soreness.   It only takes one time of applying greater unnecessary force to an improperly pitching arm for the UCL to snap.   Having said that, I doubt that he ruptured his UCL.   If he had, you and he would know, you would not say, 'Tommy John surgery might be needed.'

     Coaches should always check the medial epicondyle muscle bundle before pitchers warm-up to pitch in a game.   If the muscles are tight rather than flaccid, then do not permit the pitcher to compete.   Tightness means unfit for use.

     My advice is; pitchers must perform my force application technique and complete my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.

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219.   I agree with your views concerning adolescent pitchers and the limits that should be placed upon them as they are developing.   I'd like to know your feelings concerning young players playing catcher and/or shortstop.   Do you feel that the number of throws required by these two positions, particularly catcher, is damaging to the arm?   Also, I'd like to know your opinion on the throwing motion involved in fast pitch softball.   As the father of two boys and a daughter just beginning youth sports, your responses are appreciated.

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     Nobody knows how many throws individual pubescent and adolescent pitchers require to damage the growth plate of their medial epicondyle.   Throwing is throwing whether from catchers, infielders or outfielders.   However, pitchers usually throw more and with greater intensity.   Also, pitchers try to throw non-fastball pitches and do not know how to properly use their arm.   Consequently, pitchers face the greatest danger.

     Fast pitch softball stresses the growth plates of the pitching arm.   However, because the elbow does know bend to ninety degrees as in overhand throwing, the stress is less focused.   I still say, pubescence and adolescence is the time to learn the skills and strategies of games.   After growth plate maturity is the time to train the muscles and bones to maximum strength.   Whatever youngsters do prior to their junior year in high school means nothing with regard to earning college scholarships.   Do not destroy their arms before they have a chance to find out if they can be any good or want to.

     Pubescence and adolescent is for fun and variety.   Baseball and softball for no more than two months per year.   Swim, camp, fish, hike, play other sports, but do not destroy throwing arms.

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220.   What are the basic do's and don't's in evaluating fourteen to seventeen year old pitchers?

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     Until adolescent pitchers become adult pitchers (growth plate maturity), nobody can meaningfully evaluate their abilities.   That is because nobody can know how much pitching arm damage their pubescent and adolescent pitching has caused.   Did their growth plates close prematurely, did they lengthen their Ulnar Collateral ligament, did they lengthen theie Gleno-Humeral ligaments, did they injure their olecranon process or fossa, did they enlarge their coranoid process, did they deform their radial head, do they have chips or spurs in their elbow, have they formed calcium deposite in previously torn Ulnar Collateral Ligaments and more.

     Perhaps the proper evaluation questions are:   What do their Ulnar Collateral Ligament laxity test show?, What do thier Gleno-Humeral Ligaments laxity test show? and What are their bone density measures for the medial epicondyle and humeral head regions?   These are the basics for evaluating late adolescent and young adult pitchers?

     I recommend that until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle fully mature and pitchers have learned my force application technique and completed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, nobody can truly evaluate them.   However, it might take a while before everybody gets this message.

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221.   I didn't realize that reverse forearm bounce could affect the UCL.   What are the mechanics that take place that cause this?   What are the signs that an UCL has been torn and needs the surgery?   Also, on your next tape you might want to include the mechanical flaws that you've been talking about in slow motion.

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     Reverse forearm bounce is when pitchers take their pitching forearm up to vertical at leverage such that when they start their upper arm forward, their forearm moves backward and downward until it bounces back upward.   This severely stresses the inside of the elbow or Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   Looping is a result of late forearm preparation and causes forearm flyout which also severely stresses the inside of the elbow.   When pitchers bend their elbow beyond ninety degrees with their elbow pointing toward second base on their curves, they also cause forearm flyout when they start their upper arm forward and this also severely stresses the inside of the elbow.

     When the Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures, it requires surgery.   Youngsters also slightly tear their UCL.   This can heal properly or with calcium deposits.   But, almost always, UCL tears lengthen the UCL which leaves the ulnar-humeral joint loose. Loose joints decrease force application and invite soft tissue and fascial injuries.

     In this videotape, I personally demonstrated the flaws.   When I have videotape of a new crop of students with my digital camcorder, I will use their incoming tape to show these flaws.   However, for this videotape, I only had regular videotape of the incoming techniques and the quality would have been worthless.   Of course, if I were financed by a major corporation and a video team, then I could have done all this and more.   However, I am one guy trying to do a hundred thousand dollar job on my own.   I will try to do better.

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222.   When I get on my computer, my shoulder close to my collar bone hurts, but only when I am moving the mouse.   It doesn't hurt me to pitch, but getting on the computer does.   Sometimes it is a burning sensation.   What do you think this is?   Will it affect my pitching?

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     Burning sensations mean that you are pinching nerves.   Relax.   Stretch.

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223.   You probably overwhelm most people with the medical terminology, but that is not beneficial to me at all.   If the attempt was to "Put me in my place" in regard to asking you about evaluating young pitchers, it's inconsequential.   I don't have the equipment or the resources to answer your questions.   I do have extensive knowledge developed by years of minor league training for pitchers who possess common faults in their actual delivery and mechanics.   I merely thought there was a "Basic" guide or tool that most of your so-called experts use, that would prevent or lessen the degree of "Improper mechanics" developed by young pitchers falling onto false confidence by being successful using threatening, possibly career ending mechanics that cause bad mechanical habits that cause injuries which need to be diagnosed by prognosticating physicians.   Point me in the right direction if I asked the wrong person the wrong question, please.

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     I was neither trying to overwhelm you or put you in your place.   I gave a serious answer.   This is the terminology that I use in my book.   I know of no other way to refer to the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.

     My point is that evaluating the future pitching abilities of fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen year old pitchers lies more in the soundness of their pitching arm than the techniques that they use.   If they have destroyed their pitching arms as adolescent pitchers, then they will never reach their potential as adults.

     If high school graduates with strong commitments to become the best pitchers that they can be come to me without any damage to the skeletal structure of the pitching arm, then my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program will show them how to reach their potential.   However, if they have chips, spurs, avulsions and all the other things I mentioned, they will always have problems.

     I have carefully laid out the force application flaws in my Coaching Pitchers book and on it's accompanying Instructional Videotape.   To my knowledge, these are the only places where anybody discusses, describes and corrects the injuring producing pitching flaws.   I discuss, describe and correct forearm flyout, late forearm preparation, reverse forearm bounce, early bent elbow curve looping, elbow pull and elbow drop.   I suppose that I could rewrite all this just for you or you could read my book and watch my videotape.

     Section IX of my book carefully describes the force application technique that avoids all flaws.

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224.   Just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your conversations with some of your friends from baseball, Red Adams, Tommy John, Gene Mauch, John Boccabella, Rusty Staub and others!   Great insight in your conversation with Tim Foli!   I've always thought how important it is for a pitcher to have your fielders on the same page when you are pitching.   I came across the interviews on the MLB radio archives, wonderful!

     I didn't know you had devised exercises for Tommy John to help his arm strength.   You are very insightful, and well spoken.   I think a lot of people don't know the real Mike Marshall.   Very thoughtful, insightful conversations, and always a gentleman too.   Will you be doing more interviews on the MLB radio?   Also, a baseball question about your career.

     You had a great season with the Mets in 1981.   I've always wondered why no one signed you for 1982.   Back in 1982, I was watching the NBC Game of the Week, and one of the announcers mentioned the California Angels had signed you for the pennant stretch.   That was the last I heard, until a few weeks later when an announcer said your comeback didn't work out as you pitched in the minors and didn't do well.   Did the Angels sign you?   Who did you end up pitching for that year?   Did you play in the minors?   How did you do?   I can't believe major league teams were that stupid not to sign you, especially after you set the record for AL appearances only two seasons earlier in 1979!

     You never got the credit you deserved.


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     MLB radio asked me to come to New York City at the end of last May to do a week of broadcasts.   I had never done anything like that before and I love NYC, so I went.   I had a great time.   However, they have never contacted me again.   Maybe they did not like the job I did.   You would have to ask them.

     In 1979, I won the American League Fireman of the Year Award for the Minnesota Twins.   During that off-season, I worked on behalf of the Major League Baseball Players Association to resolve negotiations for a new contract with the Major League Baseball Owners.   Apparently, I was effective.   Within two weeks of the Memorial Day agreement, the Minnesota Twins released me.   The Twins later admitted that they released me because of my part in the negotiations and because other teams wanted me out of baseball.   The Mets signed me after the 1980 contract settlement because their manager, Joe Torre, wanted me.   When they released Joe, they released me.   I wanted to return in 1982 and had offers for spring training, but my ex-wife demanded that she receive one-half of what I earned.   My agent did get the California Angels to try me out, but I did not want to pitch in triple-A.   I decided it was time to start my life after baseball, so I moved to Florida and looked for college coaching jobs.

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225.   I am about to buy the 6 lb. ball from School Tech.   It has two kinds, indoor and outdoor, which one do I chose?

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     Outdoor.

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226.   I have spent several (OK, more than several) hours reading your book online and I found it insightful, but also quite difficult to understand.   Without an anatomical reference handy, I imagine it is quite incomprehensive to the layman.   A suggestion would be to include some pictures, some are available with no copyright infringements from old anatomy books such as Gray.   If you would like, I could possibly do this over the summer, as I'm currently in the midst of exams.

     I also had a couple of questions concerning the motion you suggest:

1)   You recommend different degrees of rotation for your Maxline and Torque pitches at 180 and 100.   Is this difference discernable to a batter?

2)   I believe that you've indicated that the rear foot which starts at the pitching rubber should be in front of the front foot at the time of release.   This would indicate potential greater velocity as the pitcher will also be moving forward and the linear velocity will be added to the rotational velocity. However, I do not recall reading anything about hip rotation.   You've mentioned keeping the shoulders level and rotating.   In this case, are you trying to say to rotate the hips and then move the rear foot forward, or, at the same time?   Sorry, I know little anatomy, so perhaps I phrased or misinterpreted what you have written.

3)   You've mentioned leaving the rotation of the upper arm and forearm extension until after they have moved their bodies forward.   This also makes physics sense if the arm was in a 3/4 position or thereabouts.   I was wondering about your opinion about sidearm pitching.   The rotational velocity generated would be much greater due to the moment arm about the lead foot I suspect.   Is it possible to generate more velocity in this manner?   Is it safe?   Are my questions unanswerable at the present time?

4)   I read in detail the acceleration and deceleration of the baseball in your high speed film study.   Unfortunately, the graph did not come out.   Would it also be possible to see the pictures of the motion?   I recently attempted to figure out what I could do to increase my velocity while filming myself.   Unfortunately, the camera records at a meager 30 fps and drops frames regularly, so I was unable to do any type of analysis.

     Also, a few more pictures would be helpful in aiding comprehension.   Again, if you need some help in adding pictures or editing your book so that it is somewhat readable without references, I would be happy to help.   I was also wondering how many spots, if any, are available in your pitching program.   I'm 23 and in 5th year of Engineering Physics at the University of British Columbia, but have yet to pitch competitively in any fashion.   I threw approximately 70 miles per hour when I was 14 with good control, but I haven't pitched since then, and am currently training to join my university team.   Although it would setback my graduation by a year, I was wondering if I would qualify for the program.


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     Anatomical schematics, such as Netter's, would greatly help readers recognize the locations of the skeletal landmarks and muscles.   I have several anatomy books that contain great pictures.   However, pictures require considerable byte space.   I operate a small web site without selling worthless gadgets.   I put the anatomical schematics that I have in my Instructional Videotape.   The pictures that you request are on my Instructional Videotape.   I could use the name of another web site that contains anatomical schematics.

     With my Maxline force application technique, pitchers wait until after they forwardly rotate their shoulders before they forearm accelerate their pitches.   With my Torque force application technique, pitcher forearm accelerate their pitches simultaneous with the end of the forward rotation of their shoulders.   There is a clear difference between the two techniques.   I hope that batters are trying to recognize that difference.

     Rather than talk about rotating the hips, I tell pitchers to step-through with their rear leg.   I want pitchers to get as far forward as possible without leaving their rear leg behind.   A natural consequence of this action is that they have to rotate their hips.   I prefer that they think about stepping forward with their rear leg and rotating their shoulders.

     To achieve maximum results, pitchers have to drive forward in straight lines and powerfully pronate their forearm through release.   Pitchers should release as high as possible and have their non-fastball pitches move downward.   Sidearm pitching prevents all of this.

     To what graph are you referring that did not come out?   I never claim that I do not make mistakes, but I and others have gone over my displacement, velocity and accelerations graphs several times with the same results.

     At 23 years old with no pitching experience and almost an Engineering Physics degree, I suggest that you use my materials for fitness purposes.   With my Coaching Pitchers book, the accompanying Instructional Videotape and my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, you should be able to develop yourself into the best pitcher that you can be.

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227.   Dr Marshall's recommendation to Question #218:   "Coaches should always check the medial epicondyle muscle bundle before pitchers warm-up to pitch in a game.   If the muscles are tight rather than flaccid, then do not permit the pitcher to compete.   Tightness means unfit for use."

     I remember reading a comment by yourself indicating that Tommy John had a tight medial epicondyle muscle bundle prior to rupturing his UCL.   As I recall, you also indicated that a potassium/sodium imbalance was involved due to his jogging in a sweat suit.

     How would a lay person palpitate and determine which degree of tautness is too much?   On the surface this seems to make very good sense as anybody who has ever attempted to run or play through a muscle cramp can testify.

     Secondly, you also seemed to indicate that wrist weights and pickoff throws for a period of time may sufficiently allow for commencement of your 280 day training program?   For general purposes, am I correct in assuming that the UCL typically responds well to this type of training?

     As an aside and in general, how has your training methods worked for this type of injury?   Also, do you believe that pitchers unknowingly or through misdiagnosis, frequently try to pitch through minor UCL sprains and thus increase the severity of injury?   From our personal experience a proper diagnosis is not all that easy to come by.


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     I love it when readers ask questions after they have read my materials.   Thank you for your efforts.

     Unfit, unstressed, relaxed muscle is flaccid, that is, soft and pliable to the touch.   Under training, even relaxed muscles is tight, that is, hard and incompressible to the touch.   Fit, relaxed muscle is flaccid, soft and pliable to the touch.   The danger occurs when muscle is under training and not yet fit.   Before games, I ask my pitchers to bend their pitching arm elbow and turn their palm upward.   I take hold of their wrist and ask them to relax their arm as completely as possible.   With my other hand, I place my thumb on their medial epicondyle and follow their flexor carpi ulnaris muscle down the ulnar side of their forearm, their pronator teres muscle across to the top of the radial side of their forearm and their flexor carpi radialis muscle diagonally down the forearm to the radial side of the wrist.   If I find that these muscles are hard and incompressible, then I know that these muscles are unfit for competition.   If pitchers respond with discomfort with my medium pressure, then I know that these muscles are unfit for competition.

     My wrist weight pickoff position exercises with the minimum weight of ten pounds, my iron ball pickoff position exercises with the minimum weight of ten pounds and my baseball pickoff position throws will mobilize the physiological resources of the involved musculo-skeletal system to respond to training overload.   In general, I require pitchers to perform these exercises for two weeks before I initiate overload increases.

     Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries are difficult to separate from medial epicondyle fascial tears.   My experience is that forearm pull and forearm drop causes medial epicondyle fascial tears.   Ulnar Collateral Ligament problems results from forearm flyout, reverse forearm bounce and late forearm preparation.   Before training, pitchers have to correct these flaws.   With proper technique, my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program strengthens the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the medial epicondyle area.   However, I do not believe that my program shortens Ulnar Collateral Ligaments that pitchers stretched with too much pubescent and adolescent pitching.

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228.   What an arm-saving and unique resource your video/book is to young pitchers.   Thank you.   My fourteen-year-old and I will shortly begin your 60 day training program.

     While I understand that you don't ordinarily give live instruction outside of your 180 day on-site training program, I wondered if you might consider the following:   The baseball organization my son plays with will be playing in a tournament near Zephyrhills, FL from June 29th-July 3rd of this year.   This year, I expect that there will be a gameless afternoon on either July 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

     Would be willing to work with a group of say, five to eight, thirteen to fifteen-year-old pitchers for a short instructional session at your training facility?   It would be wonderful for both our coaches and pitchers to be introduced to your ideas in person.   If this would work for you, please let me know your availability and fee for such a session.   If this type of thing doesn't work for you, there's no need to explain.   Thanks again for the superior quality of all your pitching instruction.


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     Anybody can visit my Pitcher Research Center anytime that we train.   We typically train from 9:30AM until 11:00AM.   I have no idea how many are going to train here this summer on a daily basis.   I am not taking any new summer students this year.   The coaches and boys could watch the young men training and ask questions.   They should prepare by having read my Coaching Pitchers book and watched my Instructional Videotape.   However, I will not conduct a seminar.   No fee.

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229.   I have a 14 year old son who hasn't reached puberty, is growing fast, and can throw hard and likes to throw a round-house curve.   He is left-handed and the high school coach can't wait to get him.

     I am an orthopaedic surgeon and see pitcher injuries in college to little league athletes all of the time.   It is hard to convince my son and others about your premise.   Now that I have read your whole book twice, I feel very obligated to limit my son's pitching and help the kids in our area.   Our high school coach is very interested in your techniques.

     I know you have great credentials.   Do you have any recent success stories of how you have helped high school or college athletes be successful?   In other words do you have examples of endurance and less injuries in successful college/pro careers?

     Finally, a recent article I read states that the posterior musculature of the shoulder/arm is overlooked and actually weakens during a pitcher's season.   This causes deceleration problems, supraspinatus inflammation/decreased function, followed by more movement of humeral head, impingement, etc.   By doing posterior exercises they cured elbow problems and prevented elbow problems in athletes.   They propose that a weak supraspinatus causes humerus drop below horizontal and places more stress on medial elbow.   Do you believe that form/pitching motion cannot be properly maintained over time intra-game/intra-season without an ongoing proper strengthening program?

     What about lifting weights and speed training in the immature 14 year old skeleton?   Can my son do squats, plyos and posterior cuff/shoulder strengthening without regard to amount?   My brother has put him on a specific program of 75% of max, 3 reps/3-4 sets, 3 times a week with very slow progression on weight(similar to Russian philosophy).   He states you can gain strength without injury even if you lift everyday.   Will you comment on what strengthening amount is needed in this age to build a good foundation.   Your book helps, but I didn't know age specificity.


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     I shutter when I hear 'round house curve.'   That means that he has considerable forearm flyout.   Forearm flyout places unnecessary stress on the medial aspect of his elbow.

     I have numerous examples of how I have helped high school graduates up to college players with two years of eligibility remaining have success.   Every year I accept twelve pitchers of this description to train with me for forty weeks starting the third Saturday in August.   They come to me without scholarship offers, with injuries and/or without college pitching success.   I promise to teach them what they have to do and learn to become the best pitcher that they can be.

     This year's group is in its last week of training and things are happening.   A junior college pitcher who pitched just three innings with his team last spring just signed a bonus contract with an affiliated team and left for extended spring training yesterday.   At this time, six other young men have received scholarships.   I expect three others to pitch junior college baseball next fall and may yet receive financial help.   The remaining two discovered that they no longer want to commit to pitching.   I consider every one to have succeeded.

     I have never had any pitcher ever suffer a pitching arm injury as a result of my force application technique.   To the contrary, pitchers with irreversible pitching arm injuries have succeeded despite those problems with my technique.   Nevertheless, I would prefer that pitchers do not have these problems when they come to me.

     I certainly never overlooked the need for deceleration training.   That is what my Wrist Weight exercises are about.   I call it, 'Plioanglos Training.'   I have done it since 1967 and continue today even though I no longer pitch.   My students do a maintenance level of their wrist weight exercises every day throughout their season.   My program strengthens their decelerators to safely stop twenty-five pound wrist weights for ninety-six repetitions.   Pitchers cannot accelerate their pitches any faster than their brakes can safely decelerate their pitching arms.

     While I agree that dropping the elbow below shoulder height places it at risk, I do not believe that the supraspinatus is the cause.   When pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arms backward and upward to driveline height with their palm facing outward, they outwardly rotate their upper arm.   This places the anterior deltoid in position to abduct or raise the humerus rather than the supraspinatus.   The supraspinatus inwardly rotates during the upper arm acceleration phase and outwardly rotates during the upper arm acceleration phase.   I agree with ongoing training to prevent loss of function, I do not agree that the supraspinatus is the target.

     I do not recommend weight training youngsters with open growth plates.   I recommend skill and strategy development for no more than two months per year.   After the growth plate and ligaments mature, go for it.   Bi-lateral elbow X-rays from mid-shaft ulna and humerus will tell us when the growth plates of the elbow mature for pitching, but you will also need to check the growth plate of the humeral head if he is going to lift heavy weights.   Usually, after sixteen years old, he can start slowly with heavy training.

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230.   What about accuracy?   You hear people/coaches say that repetition is what increases accuracy.   That a lot of pro pitchers, when asked about accuracy say, "I threw all the time," or "I threw into a tire thousands and thousands of pitches."

     It seems your program doesn't have that many reps, especially in the adolescent.   Does everyone seem to pick up accuracy at the same rate under your program.   I know psychomotor skills are different.   Muscle memory and coordination differ.   Does your program address these differences, or does it not matter?

     Finally, how about the psychology of pitching?   Do younger pitchers need any special mention to build a foundation in this area?

     Also, if you had a 14 pre-puberty, non-skeletal mature son, how would you handle a 3 game/week schedule?   And would you start the adolescent program in this season with him playing first base, or wait until later in the year.


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     Accuracy is a function of technique.   If the technique removes variables that decrease consistency, then accuracy improves.   I teach pitchers to apply force to their pitches from leverage through release in the straight lines that they want their pitches to follow after they release them.   When pitchers learn to do this, they have accuracy.   However, when pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body such that they have to return it to their pitching arm side before they can start it toward home plate, their forearm will fly out to the side and they will have to forearm pull to correct.   Two flaws do not make accuracy.   Also, pitchers cannot repeatedly perform motor skills without muscle fatigue.   Therefore, pitchers cannot learn accuracy with long practice sessions.   Forty-eight pitches properly performed will form a non-fatigue muscle memory that leads to accuracy.

     I wish that everybody learned motor skills at the same rate.   They do not.   Everybody has to develop their own plan to learn the motor skill.   I graduated college with the belief that I could teach any motor skill to anybody.   After thirty years, I know that I cannot teach any motor skill to anybody.   They teach themselves, I just cheer them on.   You should read Chapter 34 of my Coaching Pitchers book.

     I find that pitchers become confident pitchers when they learn to throw pitches that hitters cannot hit.   Rah, rah stuff without quality pitches does not succeed.

     I would start the 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training program and let him pitch one inning per game twice a week.   I would not train on the days that he pitches, but I would use the game warm-up session to practice the pickoff and wrong foot throws.

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231.   I am a 20 year old pitcher.   For about 2 months now, I have been having some arm problems.   After every time I pitch, my arm will be throbbing and pulsing very intensely.   The majority of the pain is up and down my triceps and into my elbow (both medial and lateral).

     About 3 weeks ago, I got an MRI to see what was going on in my elbow, because I had felt some tightness on the medial side of my elbow (suspected UCL?).   The MRI was fine, everything appeared to be intact, however there was a lot of inflammation around the capsule and the ulnar nerve.

     I also have trouble flexing the medial tricep muscle.   So, the question I have is, if there is inflammation putting pressure on my ulnar nerve at the elbow, can that create throbbing in the upper arm? If so, what treatment should I consider?   If not, what would cause severe throbbing in my upper arm and elbow after throwing?


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     It sounds to me that you are locking your elbow out straight.   Pitchers must always keep their elbow slightly bent.   You are probably also pulling your elbow downward and across your chest.

     I recommend that you read my Coaching Pitchers book, especially Section IX where I explain my pitching motion.   I designed my force application technique to removes flaws that injure the pitching arm.   I also offer an Instructional Videotape that follows my book, but with pictures.

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232.   You asked me, "To what graph are you referring that did not come out?"   I believe it's the graph in the high speed film study Chapter 30, Figure 30.1.   I didn't comment on the results of your calculations, but rather that there is no graph.   I have a tendency to avoid non-SI units.

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     I cannot draw the lines for the graphs.   I have to leave that for readers.

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233.   I will try to forbid the roundhouse curve and look forward to starting your adolescent program.   Thanks for coming forward with what we as orthopaedic surgeons ought to be telling the coaches/young players' systems.   Do you have a national organization in Kinesiology that helps in position statements to protect the public?   Our Academy has position statements against trampolines, 3-wheelers, etc.   It would be nice to see your whole bibliography on the subject of injuries, and research and see if our Academy would be interested in opening the subject.   Thanks again for enlightening me.

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     When I was a graduate student at Michigan State University, I had great hopes that my discipline, Physical Education, was ready to take the next great leap forward by taking every motor skill and researching it as I have done baseball pitching.   Unfortunately, they decided to exercise rats.   I am afraid that Kinesiologists have followed water down the path of least resistance.   I stand alone with my warnings about pubescent and adolescent pitching.

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234.   I've attached a file with points marking the graphs included in text format.   You've done a great deal of work and I'm very touched that you would share it with people in the manner that you have.   I would like to help you, though you probably have many offers.   In any case, I have started up a website on my server if you would need more bandwidth or a mirror or anything.   From the looks of your spartan tastes, I'm guessing you would not like to include payment by credit card, etc. for your videos.   Given the amount of thought you've put into this and that you expect from people, it is just as well, though it may help you recuperate some money for your efforts.   Again, if you need help in distributing or editing your book (for instance, in PDF form with pictures), feel free to contact me.

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     As you noted, my web site is spartan.   That is not because I graduated from Michigan State University, the home of the Spartans, but because I am one guy trying to do this by myself.   I managed to learn just enough about web site design to build and maintain this web site.   I know that there are people, apparently like yourself, who can do a much, much better job.   However, with my limited time, finances and purpose, my web site serves my purpose.   This does not mean that I do not appreciate your kind and generous offer, I do.   It is just that I do not have the means to accept your offer.   This does not also mean that I would not like to know what bandwidth, mirror and PDF mean.   It is just that I do not have the means to learn.   Nevertheless, I appreciate anything that you do that helps me deliver this material to more people to eliminate pitching arm injuries.

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235.   You suggested that coaches check the pitcher's medial epicondyle muscle bundle for tightness or flaccidity before pitching in a game.   THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MANY OF US "LAY-PEOPLE" TO KNOW FROM YOUR RESEARCH!

     Is there any way that you can embellish us, in practical terms, with "HOW" to check this muscle bundle?   I bet this knowledge, all by itself, will save thousands of injuries in addition to creating a practical opening into your teachings.   GOOD STUFF HERE!


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     I think that I already did this, but it is sufficiently important to repeat it.   The critical throwing muscle is the pronator teres.   With four other muscles, it attaches to the medial epicondyle of the humerus.   From top to bottom, the pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and flexor digitorum superficialis muscles attach to the medial epicondyle.   The pronator teres attaches to the radius bone on the lateral aspect of the forearm.   If the pronator teres is firm to the touch and tender to pressure, it is not prepared to powerfully contract one hundred times.   If the flexor carpi ulnaris if likewise firm to the touch and tender to pressure, it is not prepared to powerfully contract whatever number of breaking balls the pitcher wants to throw.   This pitcher should not pitch.

     I ask pitchers to give me their forearm and relax their entire arm.   I support their arm at the wrist with their elbow bent at ninety degrees and their palm facing upward.   This position places the radius bone on the lateral side of the forearm.   I locate the middle of their pronator teres muscle between the medial epicondyle and the top one-third of the radius bone.   With my thumb on the pronator teres, I use my support hand to turn the forearm to have the palm face down to face up.   I also put firm pressure on the pronator teres and ask the pitcher to tell me how much discomfort he feels.

     Next, I check the flexor carpi ulnaris.   The flexor carpi ulnaris muscle attaches to the wrist on the little finger side.   Therefore, it runs down the medial aspect of the forearm when the palm faces upward.   I place my thumb on the middle of this muscle, apply firm pressure and ask the pitcher to tell me how much discomfort he feels.

     Obviously, if either muscle is tight and pitchers complain of discomfort with thumb pressure, then they should not pitch competitively.   Tight muscles are not fit, they are susceptible to injury.

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236.   My 20 year old son, due to start the first game of the NCAA regionals on 5/31, has been diagnosed, via an MRI, with a partial tear of the "labrum" in his right shoulder due to another ILL ADVISED HEAD FIRST SLIDE!   The MRI shows that the shoulder/rotator cuff is in perfect condition.   However, he feels considerable soreness when his throwing arm is in the "driveline" start position.   I have been calling this the "max external rotation limit".

     After consulting with a doctor who was a former sports medicine doctor for an NFL team, he is considering taking the advice that more injury to this muscle/joint/connection will not occur, and that a cortisone injection will solve the swelling/pain issue for this minor tear.   He may need minor surgery after this college season which, regrettably, may affect his participation in the Cape Cod Baseball League season this summer.   He throws four pitches and is comfortable in the low 90's, so there is considerable stress at this position in the throwing motion.

     I actually did see this foolish slide, as he is an exceptional defensive and offensive player too, and this seems not a throwing motion injury because he has been comfortably pitching more than well, it does seem a collision/hyperextension injury.

     His throwing motion fundamentally matches your "straight-line acceleration" concepts except that he gets under the ball at a point slightly farther back than the 45 degree rear arm swing point that satisfies your natural positioning of the femur/fossas rotational relationship.   He also plays 3-4 defensive positions including catcher, and, therefore, needs to have a slightly tighter, or more compact throwing motion for timeliness reasons to accomplish these responsibilities.

     My next e-mail will be asking how to alleviate bloody noses as I REALLY want to "POP him one."   I have been teaching "feet first only" slides for his entire life for THIS EXACT REASON!   Parenting is tough enough as it is, but parenting/coaching is REALLY TOUGH, especially when you watch arms and legs get shredded with ill-advised play.

     Again, thanks a million.   People do not yet understand the impact of your contributions to the game of baseball.   "Keep on truckin."


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     With regard to your son's condition, I would not have much concern.   Serious throwing arm injuries typically occur when throwing.   True, a sliding injury can effect throwing short term, but if he does not now injure this tender area by throwing too much or hard, he should recover without difficulty.

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237.   I have been trying to research some information in regards to my son's recent finding of an injury to his shoulder.   He is a pitcher for J.V. in school.   He is 15 years old.   During the year, he developed very bad shoulder pain.   We visited an orthopedic locally and he recently had an MRI done.   The findings from what they can see was a broken growth plate and they expressed concern that have not seen anything like this.

     In the meantime, they have taken him out of any sort of sports and therapy until they determine exactly what this is.   His doctor said that he has never seen anything like this and that they will re-X-ray and look at this again in 3 weeks.   In his X-ray his growth plate looks like it is 2 inches more opened than in his left shoulder.

     Have you ever heard of this kind of injury and can you please advise me what I should if anything do at this point?   I trust his orthopedic, but question his concern that he has not seen this before and will also be researching this.   Any kind of advise or information on this would be very helpful to me and reassuring.


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     In Chapter Seven of my Coaching Pitchers book, I discuss the appearance and union order of the growth plates of the pitching arm.   For baseball pitching, the critical growth plate is the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.   However, the growth plate of the proximal humeral head is also very important.   In Chapter Nine, I provide an article by Dr. Joel Adams that discusses the Proximal Humeral Epiphysis of boy baseball pitchers.   Epiphysis is the scientific way of saying growth plate. You should familiarize yourself with this information.

     When pubescent and adolescent athletes place stress on bony attachments that adhere to the shaft of the bone with cartilaginous growth plates, the stress can exceed the adherence ability of the growth plate and the bony attachment can pull away from the shaft of the bone.   This is what happens in Osgood Schlatter's disease to the tibial tuberosity of the lower leg.   This is what happens in Little League Elbow to the medial epicondyle of the elbow.   It can also happen to the growth plate of the proximal humeral head in the shoulder.   Unless the bone attachment has severely displaced and cannot correctly ossify where it belongs, the cure for Osgood Schlatter's disease, Little League Elbow is rest and Little League Shoulder is rest.   He must not similarly stress this growth plate until it has completely ossified with the shaft of the bone.

     Your statement that the growth plate appears two inches open is very troublesome.   If this is true, they will have to relocate it in its proper position.   Otherwise, it cannot correctly ossify with the shaft of the bone.

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238.   Are rotator cuff injuries due more to a mechanical flaw or insufficient strength training?

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     Like the quadriceps muscle is actually the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedialis and vastus medialis muscles, the rotator cuff is actually the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor muscles.   When pitchers leave their elbow behind their acromial line and drag their pitching arm forward, they will likely injure the subscapularis attachment to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus on the front of their shoulder.   When pitchers powerfully inward rotate their humerus rather than powerfully pronate their forearm, they will likely injure the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles on the top and slightly posterior head of the humerus of their shoulder.   When pitchers pull their elbow across the front of their body rather than keep it outside at shoulder height, they will likely injure the teres minor muscle on the posterior surface of the head of the humerus of their shoulder.   I would consider these injuries a result of improper force application.   Nevertheless, these muscles have a positive function in my throwing motion and do require my wrist weight and iron ball exercises.

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239.   Thank You so much for that information and where can I obtain your book?   His doctor is also concerned as he has never seen anything like this and has him totally disabled at this point until he looks into this more.   Thank you again you have helped me to understand.

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     My Coaching Pitchers book is on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   You click on FREE BOOK!!! to go to the book and click on each chapter and section in order.   You may copy the book from my web site for free.   If you want the Instructional Videotape that I made to accompany my book, you click on Instructional Videotape and follow the directions.

     Please keep me updated on your son's injury.   If the ossification center has completely pulled away from the bone such that it is no longer in contact, then on orthopedic surgeon will have to return it to it's proper position.   If it has only slightly pulled away such that it remains in its proper position in contact with the bone, then normal growth and development without further stress from the throwing movement should permit the ossification center to mature.

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240.   I have two boys (17 & 19) that have torn the medial condyle bone apart and are still in rehab.   I have been working with them with microcurrent, spray and stretch, massage, heat, nutrition, and tens.   Can you tell me more about proper pitching mechanics on the elbow to >prevent future injury and please explain "Tommy John Surgery"?

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     At seventeen and nineteen years old, these young men probably do not have open growth plates in their elbows.   Therefore, for them to tear up the medial epicondyle, they have only their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Pronator Teres muscle, Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle, Palmaris Longus muscle, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle, Flexor Digitorium Superficialis muscles and fascial tissue.   Without precise knowledge as to where and how, I cannot diagnose what they have injured.

     Pitching injuries occur because of improper force application technique and/or inadequate training.   I provide the proper force application technique in Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I also provide the proper training program in Section XI.

     'Tommy John' surgery replaces ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.   Surgeons take the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle from the non-pitching arm and tie the humerus and ulna bones together.

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241.   I am 20 years old, have attended Jr. College for the past 2 yrs and feel frustrated.   I have researched the internet and found your school.   I feel from what I have read, I NEED YOU.   I am a left handed pitcher and throw in the mid to upper 80's.   I would like to make it to the next level and feel you and your school could help me do that.

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     You sound precisely like the pitcher for whom I designed my forty week program.   Someone with a strong commitment to pitching.   Someone who knows that he is better than he has shown.   Someone who is eager to learn.   And, like me, someone who will never be satisfied with his life until he finds out whether the best he can be is good enough to pitch at the highest levels.

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242.   I bought a 6 lb. shot put from that place in Michigan.   I also bought a 8 lb. shot put from them.   Can this take the place of the iron balls?   Also, can I purchase the 10 through 25 lb. wrist weights from you?

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     The six pound iron ball that you purchased is the diameter that we want.   However, the eight pound iron ball is too big around.   The iron balls that I use for eight, ten and twelve pounds are made of lead, so that they are much closer to the six pound iron ball diameters.   Maybe you should use the six pound iron ball to complete the first training cycle before you consider buying the remainder.

     I have no way of getting the wrist weights other than through my retail source.   That cost plus shipping would almost double the cost.   You should be able to call the folks who make the wrist weights and they will tell you your nearest retail outlet from whom you should purchase them.

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243.   Could you please describe to me the best way to protect yourself when you are hit by a pitch?   What is your body supposed to do as it comes in contact with the ball?   I know there are correct ways to get hit by baseball to avoid injury, but I seldom see anyone talk or write about this art in detail.   Ron Hunt used to drive pitchers crazy and he didn't wear any padding like many do today.   Don Baylor was often hit too though I think he was much bigger and probably wouldn't have felt anything less than a sledgehammer.

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     I do not know about Don Baylor, but I played with Ron Hunt and he wore a one-half inch rubber pad from his waist to his arm pits.   I wondered why he did not faint from heat stroke.

     The way I taught my college hitters to reflexively react to pitches that came toward them was to turn their body away from the baseball, step backward with their front foot, tuck their front elbow close to their belly button and look down at their rear shoe.   Where possible, I recommended that they have the baseball hit the fleshy part of the back of their shoulder while they continued to rotate away from the baseball.   We had them wear heavy sweat shirts, padded the upper arm of the front arm and made them wear the big welders goggles and threw tennis balls at them while sitting twenty-five feet away from them behind a protection screen.   When they showed the ability to absorb the hit with reverse upper body rotation, we had them practice hitting tennis balls with shovel handles and occasionally threw some at them.   They had to learn to commit to the swing and still reflexively protect themselves when the tennis ball hit them.

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244.   My son is 17 years old and is ending his " tennis life".   His one love was always baseball, which he played as a kid (from 7- 13).   He is serious about going back to his first and only love, baseball, and play the position that he played early on.   My question is:   What do you recommend as the best way for him to get started again?
1)   train physically (running, long throws etc...) prior to playing for a team
2)   get a local pitching coach to work with him privately
3)   read, watch all the pitching tutorials possible
4)   all of the above


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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and made the Instructional Videotape just for young men like your son.   The book is free on my web site.   He can read it on-line or he can print it.   In the Instructional Videotape file that has its icon on my home page, he can learn how to receive my video.   Also free on my web site is my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   In my Pitching Instruction file that has its icon on my home page, I explain the circumstances under which I offer personal pitching instruction.   In future summers, I plan to offer ten week training programs to an extremely limited number of high school pitchers who are between their junior and senior year.

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245.   What is the best way for a pitcher to increase his velocity on his fastball?   In your professional opinion, do you think velocity on the fastball is important?   Does your 40 week training program increase a pitchers fastball velocity?

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     Release velocity equals the amount of straight-line force toward home plate that pitchers apply to their fastballs times the time period over which they apply that force divided by .01.   For pitchers to increase their release velocity, they have to increase their straight line force and/or increase the time period that they apply that force.   I train pitchers to apply greater force.   I teach them how to apply their force in staight-lines toward home plate.   I teach them how to apply their force over longer time periods.   When pitchers increase their force application and master my force application techniques, they increase the velocities of all pitches.   Velocity is important.   For college success, pitchers should throw at least 85 mph.   For professional success, pitcher should throw at least 90 mph.   With the quality of the non-fastball pitches that I teach, my pitchers have had success with lesser fastball velocity, but we must have every pitcher achieve their maximum fastball release velocity.

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246.   I am going to be a Junior in High School in the coming school year and I would like to know what a good long toss program would be to help gain mph's.

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     To increase your fastball release velocity, you have to apply greater force over a longer time period in the specific driveline that enables you to throw strikes.   Long toss programs do not satisfy these criteria.   You should be completing my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   This program is free to read and/or copy on my web site.

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247.   I have watched the videotape of the curveball grip and release and I have watched your students demonstrate the iron ball exercises at least 20 times, but I still don't get it.   When I try to throw the pronation curve, I throw a fastball with a little spin on it.   Can you offer any further explanation that might make the release of this pitch click in my mind?   I have no difficulty throwing the sinker or screwball.   I've never tried to throw the slider.   I know the curve is thrown with the pinkie forward.   I know the arm is angled 45 degrees inside of vertical.   I understand the grip.   My problem is with the position of the wrist and fingers just before, during and after release.

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     The best analogy that I can imagine is to try to throw a regular curve that would break sideways away from the pitching arm.   Right-handed pitchers would throw the curve to break toward the right-handed batter.   Pronation means that the palm starts by facing inward toward the head and moves to facing outward away from the head.

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248.   Does it make sense to swing a weighted bat or more than one bat in the on deck circle?   Does it make sense to train with a heavier bat with the idea that you strengthen the muscles involved in the baseball swing?   You have previously suggested to me that you do not believe that under loading is beneficial for hitting.

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     When batters swing a weighted bat, they strengthen the muscles that hold the bat up against gravity, not the muscles that accelerate the bat through release.   I strongly recommend underloading for hitting.   I teach hitters by hitting tennis balls with thirty-four inch shovel handles appropriately fitted for safety.

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249.   If you believe in underloading for teaching hitters, why did you tell me you didn't think there was any validity to the device this guy is selling on his web site that uses the underloading principle?

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     Forgive my Old Timers memory, but I do not ever recall hearing anything about this guy's device.   However, I am certain that I have said that underloading is valuable for improving batting strength and skill.

     I just went to the website.   All I see is a guy trying to make money.   Since 1967, I have used broom handles and whiffle balls and shovel handles and tennis balls to teach my hitting technique.   You do not have to pay anybody anything.   However, the precise force application technique is critical.   The lighter weight helps youngsters learn while they get sufficiently strong to swing regular bats as they swing the lighter ones.   There is no magic, no hype, just simple scientific principle.   I would not spend a dime on their stuff.

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250.   I understand pronation.   I don't know that I understand ulnar flexion.   And do the second and third fingers actually point down before release?   To do so, the wrist has to be flexed.   Did I just explain ulnar flexion?   From this position, I simply forcefully pronate wrist, hand and arm?   The ball releases over the top of the third finger?

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     Wrist flexion is when the palm of the hand moves closer to the anterior surface of the forearm.   Ulnar flexion is when the lateral surface of the little finger moves closer to the lateral or ulna bone side of the forearm.   The forearm pronates while the wrist, hand and fingers ulnar flex in continuation of the forearm pronation.   The critical element is to not drop or pull the elbow.   These actions interfere with forearm pronation.

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251.   I stumbled upon your website a few hours ago and am just now able to scrape my chin off the floor.   Never have I seen a website provide such detailed and helpful information!   I scanned some of the question and answer sessions and didn't see a question about this, but if it is addressed somewhere please accept my apologies.

     In light of the Cansecos and Caminitis who claim at least 50% of major leaguers use some form of anabolic steroids, I wondered just how true this could be.   I'm not going to ask what your opinion on the percentage is.   What I would like to know is if these substances could significantly help pitchers?   I heard someone on sports radio (donuts to dollars he wasn't a physician) mention the only way it could help a pitcher is if he were injured and this would allow him to recover more quickly.   That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and it seems that over the last few years there are more and more pitchers throwing nasty 92+ mph sliders and the like than before.


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     Anabolic steroids have been around for many years.   The research on their effects is well documented.   They are performance enhancers.   Users dramatically add muscle without the overload principle stimulating muscle tissue to hypertrophy.   However, there are numerous dangerous physiological and psychological side effects.   Persons may achieve some short term gains, but they will pay a terrible price.

     I have no personal knowledge of anybody with whom I played who used steroids.   However, over the past ten years, I have heard young men discussing steroids.   I always recommend against it.   But, with the big money in baseball today, they appear ready to take the chance.

     I believe that persons who use steroids should be banned.   Just like the Olympics took Ben Johnson's gold medal away, I believe that those who have won Cy Young Awards or Most Valuable Player Awards who confess or are found to have used steroids should have them taken away.   I do not feel the same for 'recreational' drugs, but for performance enhancing drugs, I do.

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252.   A recruited pitcher of mine who injured his elbow has seen two doctors, one of whom says he needs Tommy John surgery and the other says he doesn't.   An MRI was involved in the diagnosis.

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     'Tommy John' surgery replaces ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.   Ruptured UCLs permit the ulna bone to move away from the humerus bone.   It is an either/or situation without any disagreement.   If one surgeon says that he does not need surgery, then the UCL is not ruptured.   It is not difficult to diagnose.   Therefore, I would not have the surgery.   The pitcher needs to learn how to correctly apply force and properly train those muscles in their actions to withstand the normal stress that pitching requires.   I recommend Sections IX and XI of my Coaching Pitchers book and the accompanying Instructional Videotape.

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253.   What is this that I read?   Did you trick a pro team into drafting a player from your pitching school?

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     No.   A young man came to me last summer who had completed his junior college career without any success.   I think he said that he may have pitched five innnings, but severe lack of control and elbow pain limited his ability.   He asked me if I could save his pitching career.   When healthy, he could throw over ninety miles per hour, but he was always in pain and he did not have any quality non-fastball pitches.   I had him join my forty week training class that started the third Saturday of August 2001.

     He worked hard and learned how to throw hard without discomfort and how to throw quality non-fastballs.   Several colleges were interested in him.   He had some academic problems, so I advised him to start taking classes at one of the nearby junior colleges, either the Dade City, FL branch of Pasco-Hernando CC or the Plant City branch of Hillsborough CC as other students were doing.   I did not know which one he chose.

     About a week before the end of his forty week program, a professional team offerred him a free agent contract with a sizeable signing bonus.   While I would have preferred that he return to college to test his new skills, he decided to sign and he left to attend their extended spring training until the June signees arrived.

     On draft day, I received a telephone call from a local reporter who said that that professional team had drafted this young man from the Dade City branch of Pasco-Hernando CC, but the baseball coach had never heard of him.   I never told anybody anything about this young man.   I have no idea how the draft people would designate him as a pitcher from Pasco-Hernando CC.   I simply told the reporter that he had spent the previous year training at my Pitcher Research Center in Zephyrhills, FL.   I mused that they should have said that he was drafted out of Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitcher Research Center.   Later, I found out that he had actually taken the class at the Plant City branch of Hillsborough CC.

     I did not trick anybody about anything.   The professional team signed him at least two weeks before the draft.   I understand that because he took a class, the contract was invalid and they had to draft him to make it valid.   That is the business of major league baseball.   I believe that the draft is a restraint of trade and illegal.   However, this young man is not the only pitcher who has trained at my Pitcher Research Center who was drafted.   We had three this year.

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254.   My fourteen and a half-year-old son recently complained of inner elbow pain (for the first time) and I thought it best to have him looked at.   He was seen by a fine orthopedic.   Bilateral X-rays revealed normal and consistent growth in both elbows (and his growth plates were described as "wide open"), but a subsequent MRI revealed a "slight" medial collateral ligament injury that was described as a "thinning of the area" (but not a tear) in the bothersome left pitching elbow.

     During the initial exam, the doctor also X-rayed both his wrists. As far as I can see, the normal "bump" on the top outside edge of both his wrists appears to be unusually large.   Furthermore, both wrists "dip down" somewhat as they connect to the hand.   After examining his wrists, the doctor suggested that we have a pediatric orthopedic take a look at them.   He suspects that the wrist may somehow be influencing his throwing motion and thus affecting the elbow.   We intend to proceed with the doctors' recommendation but I wondered if you have heard of a similar situation that might be the cause of a medial collateral ligament injury.

     What sort of rehab is typical for this sort of injury?   Is it a condition that could have long term impact?   Or, with rehab and proper force application techniques, will the arm have the chance to reach it's maximum potential?   I recently purchased your video and have read your book.   It is due to your excellent material that I thought to have my son's inner elbow pain looked at early.   We had planned to get started on your sixty-day training program right away but the doctor has suggested no pitching for the time being.


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     Sorry to hear about the stretching of your son's Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   This is the ligament's response to more stress than it can tolerate.   At fourteen years old, the growth plate of his lateral epicondyle should be mature.   At fifteen years old, the growth plate of his olecranon process should be mature.   If, indeed, both of these growth plates are wide open, then he is a delayed maturer.   Remember, I recommend that youngsters with open growth plates do not practice pitching for more than two months per year, do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game.   Parents need to be even more limiting when their sons are delayed maturers.   That is why I asked parents to determine their son's biological age.   Thirteen year olds can actually be eleven years old.   In which case, they should wait two more years before they pitch competitively.

     The latest research says that Ulnar Collateral Ligaments can heal on their own provided that they do not continue to receive more stress than they can tolerate.   Unfortunately, they appear to heal in their new stretched length.   This longer UCL causes a loose joint.   Loose joints do not provide the stability that pitchers require their maximum release velocities.   'Tommy John' surgery replaces ruptured UCLs and tightens the ulnar/humeral joint.   After 'Tommy John' surgery, several major league pitchers found that they could throw harder than before surgery.   I attribute this to the tighten UCL.   With the solid ulnar/humeral joint, pitchers can forearm accelerate their pitches more than with the loose ulnar/humeral joint.

     All you can do is make certain that he does not do any more damage to his UCL.   That means that he should not throw any more this year.   In a year, check his growth plates again.   If the growth plates for his lateral epicondyle and olecranon process have closed and the growth plates for his throwing and non-throwing arms remain consistent, but slightly open, then he can initiate my 60 Day Adolescent Training Program next year, without competitive pitching.   If, the X-rays of a year later, show that the growth plates of his medial epicondyle have fully matured, then he can complete the ten pound wrist weight training cycle of my 280 Adult Pitchers Training Program, again without competitive pitching.   If everything remains fine, then the year after that, he can continue the training program and incorporate competitive pitching into his activities.   Until then, I recommend swimming and basketball shooting to stimulate blood flow to the UCL area.

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255.   Thank you for the wise console Dr. Marshall.   Since my son also plays in the outfield, I'm wondering if you would suggest he stop this activity altogether or if your suggestion that he stop throwing only applies to his pitching.   Or, as another possible alternative, what do you think about him playing first base?   Or, I guess as a last resort, DH?   While I'll certainly shut down his baseball activities altogether if that is the wisest course of action, I would be saddened to have to take him away from the game he so dearly loves, even if it's only temporarily.

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     I worry about his force application technique.   He must not place unnecessary stress on his UCL.   Now, he may not do that when he is not pitching.   Nevertheless, the safe thing to do is remove any high intensity throwing.   I have some concerns about batting. However, if he says that he does not feel any discomfort batting, then I suppose that would be okay.   He might have to make a high intensity throw even at first base.

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256.   When I was about fourteen years old, I broke my elbow.   However, it was not baseball related.   It was due to arm wrestling which for some reason my gym teacher made mandatory.   It was a Salter I medial epicondyle fracture.   I got a cast for a few weeks, they said it was ready to come off.   Then, I did some Physical Therapy to regain Range of Mption and strength equal to my left arm.   Last year when I started throwing again, I felt some pain on the medial aspect of my elbow.   And when I push my arm down all of the way it seems to be putting stress on something in my elbow.   So, I went to the doctors again.   They took some X-ray's and he said it was healed fully, and that there was some sensitivity around the medial epicondyle, but he also said it was closed.

     He then showed me some stretches and told me to warm up for about ten minutes before throwing my hardest and to ice it after, and when it regains strength it should feel normal again.   My question is, will it feel normal again after regaining strength by throwing more lightly then harder and harder as time goes on.   Or, will it be permanently disabled.   Or, could it be a muscle that I think feels like a bone.   Also, like I said before, I didn't break it while throwing, but while arm wrestling.   Whatever you conclude from the information I gave would be greatly appreciated.   Hopefully, it's good news.   Also, I am not a pitcher.


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     Adolescent arm wrestling.   Novel idea.   We do not destroy their arms fast enough with pitching.   Pop goes the ossification center of the medial epicondyle.   What ignorance.   We have no way of knowing the long term effect of this fracture.   But, you did not mention any problems associated with the Ulnar Nerve, so I am hopeful.

     The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is another candidate for the source of discomfort.   So is the fascial layer around the medial epicondyle.   I attribute these problems with improper force application techniques.   The UCL will give you problems when you have forearm flyout and/or reverse forearm bounce.   The fascial layer will give you problems when you pull your arm across the front of your body or pull your elbow downward.

     To learn the proper way to apply force, I recommend that you read Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book.   You must not reverse rotate which causes forearm flyout.   You must not take your forearm to vertical before you start your upper arm acceleration.   You must not pull your arm across your body. You must not drop your elbow below shoulder height.

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257.   I am the coach of a Babe Ruth baseball team of thirteen to fifteen year olds.   I have a fifteen year old who is complaining of pain in the tricep area the day after he pitches.   I have never heard of this before.   Pain in the elbow or shoulder is all that I have ever seen in the past.   Does this sound like weak tricep muscles or could there be something more serious?   I don't have allot of coaching experience.   Just trying to do my part to help the kids the best I can.   I do limit the pitchers to no more than 3 innings a couple of times per week.   Never on consecutive days.   Any ideas?   He tells me that he is icing after the game.

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     I need you to be much more specific.   The triceps brachii muscle is a big muscle.   Do you mean where the triceps brachii attaches to the infraglenoid fossa in the shoulder or where its tendon attaches to the olecranon process in the elbow.   If it is where the tendon attaches to the olecranon process, then you might have a problem with hyperextension.   He might be extending his elbow until his olecranon process slams into his olecranon fossa.   This is very bad.   It means that he is dropping his elbow under his pitches.   He probably starts with too much reverse rotation of his shoulder such that when he brings his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body, the centrifugal force causes his forearm to flyout horizontally.   To try to adjust his release to toward home plate, he will pull his elbow across in front of him.   This action causes him to drop his elbow under the baseball at release and slams his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa.

     Icing will not correct a terrible throwing motion.   He must learn how to properly apply force to his pitches.   Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers books provides the correct pitching motion.   It is free to read and/or copy from my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I have also put together an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.

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258.   I had the chance to see you pitch at Jarry Park as the top reliever in National League.   Your screwball really amazed me since very few right-handed pitchers threw that pitch.   And more surprisingly, your screwball had a lot of lateral movement when sinking should have predominated.   How did you manage to get that movement?

     A mystery to me, those sinker type pitchers like Tommy John, Randy Jones, why did they have so much success relying on that pitch essentially.   What's the difference between a screwball and the sinker (not the sinking fastball) in term of movement?


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     Reverse breaking pitches such as the true sinker and true screwball are the easier on the pitching than breaking pitches such as the slider and curve.   I discuss all pitches in Chapter 20 of my Coaching Pitchers book that is free to read and/or copy from my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.   The relationship between my true sinker and true screwball is the same as the relationship between the slider and curve.

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259.   Do you still use a net to throw into?   Could supply me with the information to order a net?   Also, where can I get the wrist weights like you use?

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     I purchase my ten foot square throwing nets from StanMar in Fernandina Beach, FL.   Call (904)261-3671.   I purchase my wrist weight from a local supplier.   You will need to telephone the manufacturer at 1(800)251-6040 to ask for the retailer near you.   You want the RS Series long strap five and ten pound therapeutic weights.   They sell them individually.

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260.   When doing the 60 day programs, how far should the target be?   When doing the 280 day program, how far should the target be?   When the forearm is pronated, there is little pressure on the medial epicondyle, correct?   Then, if all growth plates except the medial epicondyle have closed, can the weights be started?

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     The receiving net should be at the back tip of home plate for the age appropriate distance.   For adults, the age appropriate distance is sixty feet six inches from the front of the pitching rubber to the back tip of home plate.   I use white rope to make a two inch vertical stripe from the top to the bottom of the strike zone.   Pronating the forearm does indeed reduce the stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. However, that does not mean that youngsters can start their wrist weight or iron ball exercises before the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures.

     The growth plate of the lateral epicondyle matures at fourteen years old in equated maturers.   The growth plate of the olecranon process matures at fifteen years old in equated maturers.   They mature earlier in accelerated maturers and later for delayed maturers.   That is why I ask parents to determine the biological age of their sons.   They need to know whether he is an accelerated, equated or delayed maturer.   I strongly recommend that everybody wait until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle fully and completely matures before youngsters start my wrist weight and/or iron ball exercises.

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261.   What is the counterargument to those who know that overload training strengthens muscles?   Swing a heavy bat, they say, then when you use your regular bat, it feels lighter.   What does underloading do that increases the ability to swing a heavier bat?

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     The Overload Principle does improve muscle performance.   However, Exercise Physiologists have to understand the Biomechanics of the activity.   In batting, the muscles whose force we want to improve drive the bat horizontally through the hitting zone.   Heavier bats train the muscles that hold the bat up against gravity, not the muscles that drive the bat horizontally through the hitting zone.   We could set up some kind of a pulley system that would provide resistance in the horizontal plane.   That becomes very complicated.

     Underloading or using implements that are lighter than the baseball bats the players use in competition permit youngsters to swing with proper technique.   When they practice these better technique swings over and over, they master their technique.   I recommend the force coupling technique over the release the bat with the rear arm technique.   It is safer and far more powerful.   Underloading strengthens muscles when youngsters practice some number of swings at maximum intensity over some number of sets.   When I coached college baseball, I used twenty-four swings and four sets with my shovel handle-tennis ball underloading drill.

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262.   My elbow only hurts when I extend it.   I hurt it sliding.

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     You jammed your olecranon process into your olecranon fossa and the hyaline cartilage is swollen.   Ice it if you like, but the swelling should go away in a few days.   The olecranon process matures in equated maturers at fifteen years old.   If you are younger, you may have injured the growth plate of your olecranon process.   In the future, never slide head first and hold both arms up over your head when you slide feet first.

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263.   Why the five pound wrist weights?

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     We start with ten pound wrist weights on both arms.   After the first training cycle, we increase to fifteen pounds.   You will need five pound wrist weights to increase to fifteen pounds.   If you do not want to increase to fifteen pounds, then you will not need five pound wrist weights.

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264.   I was surprise to read that your Torque screwball breaks away from right-handed hitters and your Maxline curveball breaks away from left-handed hitters.   Am I reading this wrong since a screwball is supposed to break away from lefties and curveball away from righties?

     I remember a former Expos pitcher who threw his curve to right-handed hitters.   They stepped back, but he was still able to catch the inside corner.   Does your curve ball or screwball have that type of effect?

     Do you teach how to change speeds on your screwballs/curveballs.   I heard one major league pitcher say that he threw his screwball at three different speeds.

     Finally, I'm confused with the slider.   Should pitchers use the football throw, the Karate chop or doorknob twist technique?


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     I call my two force application techniques Maxline and Torque.   To throw Maxline pitches, we stand on the glove side of the pitching rubber and drive the to pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate.   To throw Torque pitches, we stand on the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber and drive the pitches to the glove side of home plate.   These lateral forces applied to my horizontally spinning screwballs makes them move toward the pitching arm side and glove side of home plate.   When right-handed pitchers use my Torque force application technique to drive their screwballs toward the glove side of home plate, the baseball moves away from right-handed batters.

     My Maxline Pronation Curve does appear to break into right-handed batters.   However, the spin axis only makes the pitch move downward, the lateral driveline gives the appearance that it also breaks into the right-handed batter.      My four seam True Screwball is twenty miles per hours slower than my fastballs.

     Pitchers should learn to throw sliders as two seam Torque Pronation Curves.   Please never use the techniques that you mentioned.   You will injure your elbow.

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265.   Why does the underloading principle not apply to pitching?

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     With regard to underloading, the important Physiological of Exercise principle is Specificity of Training.   Specificity of Training requires that participants perform the skill with correct force application techniques.   Baseball bats are too heavy for youngsters to practice with correct force application techniques.   Therefore, we underload.   Baseballs are not too heavy for youngsters to practice with correct force application techniques.   Therefore, we do not underload.

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266.   My son has been involved in martial arts since the age of four.   He has also played youth baseball since the same age.   He is now nine years of age and still involved in both sports.   He will compete in the Junior Olympics in martial arts later this month.   He was playing on a nine year old travel baseball team up until I stopped him about a month ago to concentrate on the Junior Olympics.   He is suppose to return to his baseball team after his competition.

     After reading your materials, I am extremely concerned about allowing him to return to baseball.   I have always been extremely careful about not over doing it when it comes to baseball.   I suffered a serious arm injury from playing baseball.   I ended up losing about two inches of my radius in two elbow operations.   Although I played baseball in college, the injuries I suffered as a little leaguer effectively ended my baseball career and still affect me with physical limitations today.   I have never allowed him to pitch and I will not allow him to pitch until he is mature enough to do so.

Are there any reported cases of arm injuries in martial arts?   It is a beautiful sport with large amounts of stretching and great flexibility exercises.   But, some of the things he can do with his flexibility most nine year olds can't do, such as the splits both ways, extremely high kicks, and very flexible shoulders.   Most of the repetitive exercises are kicking of some kind.   Are there any potential problems to keep an eye out for?   He never has complained of any joint problems, I just want to be extra careful.


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     All growth plates are susceptible to injury.   With all the power kicking, I would worry about the growth plates in the knee and hip. with all the power kicking However, until he complains of discomfort, I am not certain how much damage can occur other than premature closure or ligament lengthening. with all the power kicking I would adhere to my basis premise. with all the power kicking Children should not practice any motor skill for more than two month per year.

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267.   I have read a little sketchy excerpts on batting that you have written.   Do you have plans to outline what you believe would be a program to develop hitting?   What is a good way to develop muscle specific batting strength?   I've heard that chopping trees with an axe can really develop the same muscle strength and coordination that it takes to develop a great swing.

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     Because I played shortstop professionally for four years before I started to pitch, I have an interest in and knowledge of batting.   My first high speed film was of me batting.   I did a thorough Kinesiological analysis of batting for a graduate class.   I coached college baseball for seven years and developed a hitters training program that worked very well.   However, I am not prepared to discuss my program because I do not offer a forty week program for hitters from which I can learn the best way to teach hitting.   Nevertheless, the principles are the same as I used for pitching, i.e., straight-line force application, uniform acceleration and stronger oppositely directed force.

     The principle of Specificity of Training requires that youngsters swing in precisely that same manner as they would in games.   Chopping trees is not baseball batting.

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268.   I visited your school in January.   Now that the group has finished, what improvements did you notice?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      One junior college pitcher who pitched just three innings last year in his second year of junior college signed an $18,000.00 contract with the Florida Marlins after they drafted him out of my pitching school.   Three signed senior college scholarships.   Six signed junior college scholarships.   Two others decided that they did not have it or did not want to work hard enough to get it.   I say that we had one hundred percent success.

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269.   In your next version of your Instructional Videotape, please spend a lot more time on the curve.

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     I certainly will.   By this time next year, I will have many more pitchers with quality videotapes from which to chose to demonstrate.   It takes a year to build pitchers with sufficient quality to show how to do it correctly.   The first videotape simply showed what we do to train those pitchers.   I also plan to take some five hundred frames per second sixteen millimeter film of the releases of all pitches as we discussed earlier.

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270.   Any reason that your Torque curveball, Torque screwball, Torque sinker are not on your video?   Since the Torque screwball is not on the video, correct me if I misunderstanding the trajectory of that pitch.   With the Torque force, the ball is heading inside to the left-handed hitter, but it comes back due to the screw effect to catch the inside corner such as the Maxline pronation curve would do in an opposite way.

     How does your True screwball compare to Maxline and Torque force.   There are so many questions I would like to ask you (overhand, overhand 3/4, 3/4, sidearm approach), changing speed of curveball or screwball (nobody talks about hard/slow curve), sinker or screwball? What is the better pitch or are both equal, and so on?


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     Whether my Pronation Curve, True Screwball or True Sinker are Torque or Maxline depends on the driveline, not the technique pitchers use to achieve the spin axis.   In this way, pitchers can drive their pitches to both sides of home plate equally well.   Pitchers drive Maxline pitches to the pitching arm-side of home plate and drive Torque pitches to the glove-side of home plate.   My Pronation Curve and True Screwball have horizontal spin axis that cause them to move downward.   The lateral aspect of the Maxline and Torque drivelines give the appearance of these pitches moving to the pitching arm and glove sides of home plate.   My True Sinker does move to the pitching arm side in addition to the lateral drivelines of Maxline and Torque.   With Maxline True Sinkers, the spin axis adds to the lateral movement to the pitching arm side.   With Torque True Sinkers, the two oppositely directed lateral forces negate and the pitch moves downward.

     With regard to velocity differences between pitches, four seam Maxline and Torque Pronation Curves and True Screwballs are twenty miles per hour slower than fastballs whereas two seam Maxline and Torque Pronation Curves and True Screwballs are ten miles per hour slower as are True Sinkers and Sliders.   In Chapter Twenty-Eight, I discuss when pitchers should throw which pitch and to whom during the first three At Bats.

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271.   I remember hurting my shoulder as a kid when I tried to throw a waterlogged softball.   Several years ago my son did something similar.   He tried to through a soft ball farther than his sister.   He winced with pain and grabbed his shoulder.   He stopped throwing for the day.   A week later we went to the doctor and he said there was no real damage and to rest it for awhile.   My son was seven years old.   Today, he is nine going on ten and still complains of soreness when he tries to through a baseball a long way, like playing outfield.

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     Your question explains why I recommend that nobody throw the slightly heavier baseballs.   Throwing injuries occur when youngsters place greater stress on their pitching arm than it can withstand.   Throwing heavier objects adds to the stress.   Improper force application adds to the stress.   Immature skeletal structures cannot withstand as much force as mature skeletal structures.   Exercises do not make immature skeletal structures stronger.

     While you did not indicate where in the shoulder your son experiences the pain, I will assume on the front of the shoulder at the attachment of the subscapularis muscle.   The subscapularis muscle attaches to an ossification center that attaches to the proximal shaft of the humerus via its growth plate.   Doctors are not able to discern slight pulls of the ossification center away from the shaft, but youngsters feel great pain.   This growth plate does not mature until at least sixteen years old.   After all growth plates in the pitching arm mature, I have a great program to strengthen his arm.

     Subscapularis muscle attachment discomfort also indicates improper force application technique.   It shows that he leaves his elbow behind his acromial line and pulls his upper arm forward.   Therefore, he also needs to learn how to correctly apply force to his throws.   Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book describes how I recommend youngsters apply force to their throws.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that accompanies my book.

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272.   In your videotape, you show yourself pitching in what looks a little league game.   Tell me if I am a dummy but it seems you always had perfect or almost perfect mechanics from the start.

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     I had already graduated from high school when I pitched in that game.   While I intuitively did some things biomechanically correct, I still had many flaws yet to correct.

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273.   You say that 4-seams breaking balls are 20 mph slower than fastball and break 2 feet.   I agree with the movement, but I've always got more speed from 4-seams than 2-seams.   Is your Torque pronation slider a real slider or more like a slurve.   Usually, aren't good slider just 5 mph less than fast ball?   You say that your slide is 10 mph less than fastballs.   Is your Torque pronation curve the same as your Torque curveball?   You're telling us to throw the Torque slider like the Torque curve.

     Your Maxline driveline drives pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate.   I'm a right-handed pitcher. When I throw your Maxline Pronation Curve to right-handed batters, doesn't the lateral movement of the curveball destroyed by the Maxline driveline to cause the curve to only have downward movement?   What do I need to do to throw behind the right-handed hitter and get the curve to break back to the inside corner? Does the same go for the Torque screwball?


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     Pitchers want their four seam curves to be twenty miles per hour less than their fastball velocity.   I have had pitchers throw them fifteen and twenty-five miles per hour less.   We practice until we get it to twenty.   Did I really say that these curves break two feet?   I do not know how I would have calculated that.   I would say that we want to drive our curves straight forward and have them move downward to knee height.   Maybe that is two feet, maybe is it more or less.   However, it is essential that curves do not start upward and that curves do not move below the knees.

     If everything is equal, four seam curves will decelerate faster and move downward more than two seam curves.   After all, they have twice as many seams contacting the air molecules.   Further, I teach pitchers to keep their elbow bent a little more on their four seam curves and tricep drive their two seam curves harder.   These variables also account for the higher velocity for the two seam curves.

     Currently, I have a moratorium on teaching sliders.   I only teach four seam and two seam curves.   My two seam Torque Curve substitutes for sliders.   We always want a horizontal spin axis, so they would not be slurves unless by mistake.   After my pitchers master the four and two seam Maxline and Torque Curves, I will revisit the slider with them.   The spiral spin axis of sliders encourages pitchers to drop their elbow and attempt to supinate their forearm.   Both of these actions result in unnecessary stress on the pitching elbow.

     Obviously, I have changed my thought process since I made my videotape and differ from what is currently in my book.   I operate a Pitcher Research Center and I make adjustments as the students demonstrate something is not working as good as it should.   The pitching arm action is identical for all forms of curves, four and two seam, Maxline and Torque.   The difference lies in how pitchers grip the baseball and their choice of drivelines.

     The purpose of the my Maxline Pronation Curve is to prevent the right-handed spray hitters from dumping a two strike breaking ball into right field.   When right-handed pitchers stand on the glove-side of the pitching rubber and drive their Maxline Pronation Curve to the pitching arm-side of home plate, right-handed spray hitters initially believe that the pitch is a Maxline Fastball that will move inward and hit them.   Therefore, they straighten up to avoid being hit.   However, my Maxline Pronation Curve does not move inward toward them, but, instead, moves downward to knee height for called strike three.

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274.   I am using your force application technique.   It is very similar to the one I used to use long time ago.   After I release of the baseball and push off the rubber, my rear leg goes up and I am balanced on my front leg.   Is this suppose to happen?

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     In Section IX, I carefully explain the pitching motion that I recommend.   With regard to the rear leg, pitchers should step forward off the pitching rubber in a straight line toward home plate.   When pitchers rotate their body, rather than bend forward, their rear leg neither swings outward or moves upward.

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275.   Our ten year old son is pitching in an all-star little league tournament in a few weeks and I've been told by his coach that he should develop an off-speed pitch to keep hitters off balance.   He says better hitters at the all star level will hit the fast ball thrown consistently where in league play this pitch alone was sufficient to get hitters out.   Any suggestions that are appropriate for the muscular/skeletal development of a 10-year old.   Maybe a circle change?

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     If you had read my materials, you would know that I strongly recommend against youngsters under thirteen pitching competitively.   After thirteen until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures, they can pitch one inning per game.   You are jeopardizing the proper growth and development of his pitching arm that will diminish his pitching abilities for the rest of his life.

     In the alternative, I recommend a 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program that teaches him how to properly throw curves and screwballs.   This program is on my web site under Pitcher Training Programs.   My Coaching Pitchers book is also there.   You can copy it for free.   And, under Instructional Videotape, you can find how to order an Instructional Videotape that I made to accompany my book.

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276.   I have a 12 yr old lefty who I believe God has given a very strong left arm for the purpose of being a big league pitcher someday.   I know lots of father's hope this for their young sons but I've had this feeling from the day he was born.   Other then long-tossing and working on proper mechanics we have not done any extensive training with him.

     I believe as he enters his teen-age years now is the proper time to get into stretching and some light weigh-lifting.   Is this right?   He throws between 65-68 MPH and has a great knowledge of the game for a kid his age.   He's been in my high school dugout since he could walk and loves the game of baseball.   Just this year we added the circle change-as his hand is finally big enough to throw it and he had professional pitching instructor show him that football grip curve which I allow him to throw 2 or 3 times a game.   He's also tinkering with a knuckle ball, but I've told him power pitchers don't use a knuckleball.

     We work hard on pitching to the count and knowing situations and when to and when not to change speeds.   Also I keep a close eye on his pitch count cause we all know that the success he has as a 12 year old doesn't mean a thing.   It's all a process of getting ready for the next level which in his case is high school.   Have fun and learn the greatest game on earth.   I am going to be checking your website out soon, but in meantime I would be interested in any suggestions or tips that you could give me to help make my son the best he can be.


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     You are absolutely correct, the success that your son has as a twelve year old does not mean a thing.   The success that he has as a Junior in High School is what counts.   How do you prepare him for success as a Junior in High School is the proper question.   I answer this question in my Coaching Pitchers book and an Instructional Videotape that I made to accompany my book.   My book is free on my web site.

     The first thing that you do is no harm.   You do not damage any growth plates in his pitching arm.   You do not stretch any ligaments in his pitching arm.   To accomplish this, you must limit the amount of stress that he places on his pitching arm.   Twelve year olds should not pitch competitively.   At thirteen years old, pitchers can benefit from pitching one inning per game until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle fully matures.

     The second thing that you do is teach skills.   He should learn how to correctly apply force to his pitches.   He should learn how to correctly throw curves and screwballs.   My materials provide this information.

     Forget circle changeups, knuckleballs and all other silly pitches that will never be good enough to use at the highest levels.   Learn my Maxline and Torque Fastball, my Pronation Curve and my True Screwball.   The football grip curve will destroy his elbow.

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277.   I just wondered if you could tell me how to throw the Isaac Newton curve.   I have a hard time with my curve ball.   It is pretty pathetic.

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     The Isaac Newton Curve.   That is a good name for my Pronation Curve.   The key is the release.   Pitchers pronate their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release.   The side of the middle finger laterally drives through the horizontal seam at the top of the baseball in a manner similar to trying to shake off something stuck to the end of the middle finger.   I realize that you will have to forget everything else that you have learned about throwing curves.   You do not 'pull down the window shade'.   You do not 'throw a football'.   You have to think outside the lines.   The lateral drive of the middle finger across the top of the baseball will create the horizontal spin axis we want.

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278.   In some answers you state that the body is a carriage and the back leg is not important for velocity, while in other spots you state that Newton's law requires push off with back leg.   What am I not understanding?

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     When it comes to satisfying Newton's Law of Reaction, I believe that the front leg is more important than the rear leg.   However, in order to use the front leg, we must first use the rear leg to move the body ahead of the front foot.   To prevent the rear leg from becoming an anchor that interferes with the forward movement of the body, we must also quickly move the rear leg straight forward.   The shoulders can only forward rotate when the rear leg moves forward.   Newton's Law of Reaction requires that for every action force we generate, we apply an equal and oppositely-directed reaction force.   Therefore, while the rear leg significantly contributes, the front leg provides the force-coupling action with the forearm acceleration and, as a result, contributes more.

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279.   At forty years old, I have been throwing your pitches when I throw batting practice to our team.   When I throw with maximum effort, I experience severe biceps pain and weakness.   I note that you stated in an earlier answer that you don't worry about pain in the middle of the muscles.

     I propose to you that the biceps is a strong supinator, therefore a strong antagonist to the strong pronation during forearm release.   Therefore, my improperly conditioned biceps is having trouble with decelerating the pronated throw.   I guess I should start the balls and wrist weights.

     What do you think about the role of the biceps as a decelerator to your pronation?   Also, as an orthopaedic surgeon I do see a lot of muscle injuries (Quads and hamstrings mostly).   I think although maybe it will recover fully, the biceps pain in a thrower signals improper technique and/or improper level of conditioning for the magnitude or quantity of pitches that caused the pain.


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     I agree that the Biceps Brachii can supinate to decelerate the powerful forearm pronation action that I recommend, but I usually get complains about the Supinator on the lateral epicondyle.   I question whether the Pronator Teres and Pronator Quadratus can exert more force than the Biceps Brachii can easily decelerate.   I wonder if you are using the Biceps Brachii to combat the centripetal force of forearm flyout.   Also, is it possible that you are mistaking the Biceps Brachii discomfort for Brachialis discomfort?   My students do complain of Biceps Brachii discomfort, but it either goes away shortly or it was actually the Brachialis and we correct the forearm flyout.

     I have found that hamstring injuries usually involve the short head of the Biceps Femoris.   I attribute this injury to improper motor unit firing sequence causing co-contraction of antagonist muscles due to the tibial portion of the Sciatic nerve innervating the long head of the biceps femoris, Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus and the peroneal portion of the Sciatic nerve innervating the short head of the Biceps Femoris.   When the quadriceps group ballistically contracts, the short head may not have received its reciprocal innervation message to shut down.

     I have found that quadriceps usually involve the two-joint Rectus Femoris muscle rather than the one-joint Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Vastus Intermedius muscles.   I attribute this injury to the hip action.   When our center of mass is behind the gravitational line, we use our thorax flexors to stabilize the hip.   When our center of mass is in front of the gravitational line, we use our thorax extensors to stabilize the hip.   Therefore, when we use the Rectus Femoris to flex the hip while the other quadriceps muscles extend the knee, if the thorax extensors are contracting, the Rectus Femoris tears.   I think that this is another motor unit firing sequence problem with co-contraction again causing the injury.

     Nevertheless, I agree that discomfort results from improper force application and/or inadequate training.

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280.   One of my pitchers has soreness in his rear deltoid after he pitches.   Mechanically what does this indicate?

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     The posterior Deltoid muscle decelerates the pitching arm.   Soreness could mean inadequate training or improper technique.   While it is a very difficult muscle to injure, it should not be sore for more than a few days early in my wrist weight training program.   If he has discomfort over an extended time period, I would suspect improper technique.   In all probability, he is pulling his pitching arm across his chest.   The strongest muscle available to decelerate this action is the posterior Deltoid.   He must stop pulling his arm across his chest and drive it straight toward home plate.

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281.   You hit the nail on the head.   I paid attention to my throw.   When you have thrown with forearm flyout for years, it is hard to overcome.   I now understand that simply pronating doesn't necessarily solve everything.   Through this process, even with knowledge of anatomy and treating many pitchers with problems, it is difficult to master all of your concepts and teach them to someone else, unless you can perform them yourself!

     I am going to go through the 60 day program with my son one week behind.   This will allow me to convey to him how to do it correctly.   I would recommend to anyone that is trying to teach this method that they do all of the exercises/throws themselves, before teaching it to someone else.   What has been your experience on teaching it to players? Is it hard to get them to understand?   Now, back to my pickoff throws.


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     I wrote Chapter 34: Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition to help parents learn how to teach their children.   I believe that the first step teachers must take is to build the proper vocabulary for the particular skill.   With that vocabulary, they must next build a logic for how to perform the skill.   Youngsters need to connect with the skill intellectually.   Next, they need to see quality performers execute the skill.   These can be pictures, videotapes and personal demonstrations.   However, even when I could demonstrate the skills at a high level, I had an additional problem that all demonstrators have, I could not see myself.

     Like all demonstrators, I think that I know how I am performing skills.   However, in reality, I do not.   I would have to watch myself on high speed film to see exactly what I am doing.   Therefore, when I demonstrate skills to my students, I always do it in pairs.   Both students see what I am doing.   Then, they can watch each other and tell the other whether they are doing what I did, I cannot.

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282.   I have begun the 280 day training program with my son this week.   I'm doing it right along side of him and I must say it is amazing.   I find the film is extremely vital to performing the exercises correctly.   It is very helpful for me to put the VCR in slo-mo and breakdown the wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   Once I begun performing the techniques correctly it seems like all you've been saying kind of just clicked.   When we went to the mound to do the throwing exercises, the isolation of the upper arm acceleration and the forearm acceleration phases made more sense.   I was also amazed at the areas of my arm that I could feel were working that I'd don't think I'd ever stressed before.   And all this with no pain - amazing.   I tell everyone that will listen about your program.   I told them that this will be "the" pitching program in the next 3-5 years.

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     You are using my book and videotape precisely as I intended.   I want Dads and sons working together to understand pitching and training with my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   Please email me with any questions you might have as you proceed.   You did not tell me your son's age.   I hope that the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has completely matured.   If he is a high school Junior or Senior next summer, I offer an eight week summer program.   When he graduates, I offer my forty week program that starts in August.

     I am happy that you share my enthusiasm for my program.   I want to eliminate pitching arm injuries and show the seriously committed how to get the most out of their pitching pleasure.

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283.   My son is 16-1/2 years old and following your maturation guidelines it looks as if he has matured to a point of being able to us the weight training.   He only began playing baseball last year, so I've not had to deal with the little league mentality and allot of bad throwing postures.   I've been working with him by using your book for about a year and a half.   I purchased the video a couple of months ago and it has really aided in the training process and my understanding of your force application technique.   I've not pushed for velocity but instead am interested in correct technique, the coaches of the JV team clocked him at 79 mph (velocity being all they care about).   I've asked them not to give him that information.

     We do have a young man that will be a junior next year that has been clocked at 87 mph.   I've shown him the video and have talked to his father.   The son was really excited and I hope to get he and his father involved as well.


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     I totally agree with you not emphasizing velocity.   Whatever his maximum release velocity will be will come as a result of proper technique and training.   Emphasizing velocity only introduces flaws before he masters technique and responds to the training.   Whatever I can do to help you and your son and his friend and his father, please ask.

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284.   Could you explain the differences between external rotation, forearm loop and forearm bounce?

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     The shoulder joint, which means the humerus bone of the upper arm, outward rotates.   This means that its anterior surface rotates outward. Some call this external rotation.   During pitching, the humerus is in an outwardly rotated position at leverage.   That is, the forearm is forty-five degrees behind vertical.   When the upper arm accelerates forward, the forearm moves from forty-five degrees behind vertical to pointing horizontally toward home plate.   This means that the Pectoralis Major, Teres Major, Anterior Deltoid, Middle Deltoid, Subscapularis and Supraspinatus have inwardly rotated the humerus.   After release, the muscles that outwardly rotate the humerus have to decelerate this action.   My straight-line force application techniques minimize this rotational movement of the humerus.   I believe that too much inward rotation unnecessarily stresses the weaker of these muscles.

     Forearm loop describes the pathway of the baseball when pitchers bring their forearm close to their upper arm before they start their upper arm acceleration.   At leverage, the upper arm points backward toward second base.   If the forearm is bent close to the upper arm at leverage, then when the upper arm starts forward, the forearm loops outward such that when the upper arm is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, the forearm flys outwardly from centripetal force to straighten the pitching arm.   This unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow, reduces release velocity and decreases consistency.

     Forearm bounce describes the action of the forearm when pitchers bring their pitching arm up to vertical at leverage.   When the upper arm accelerates forward, the forearm moves backward and downward until it bounces and moves back upward.   This bounce unnecessarily stress the inside of the elbow, reduces release velocity and decreases consistency.   Pitchers with forearm bounce will frequently throw their curves high over their catchers' heads.

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285.   I have been reading your FREE Book.   Mostly it is over my head.   However, it has inspired me to not be so pushy about how quickly my son picks up serious baseball.   Thank you for your insight.

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     I love baseball and I want every youngster to share my feelings.   However, we cannot destroy their pitching arms before they have a chance to learn how good they can be.   Two months per year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures is more than enough to learn the skills without unnecessarily stressing their pitching arm.

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286.   I believe my son has the makings of a fine baseball pitcher.   I took him out of baseball for a year as everyone was trying to push him further than I thought he should go.   As a former pitcher, I injured my arm and lost a great opportunity for the Majors with the old Brooklyn Dodgers.   I believe with the proper training he can be a good one.   He has everything going for him.   He is very strong for his age.   At 15 years of age, he stands 6ft and 170 lbs and still growing.   He mainly plays third base and outfield.   But, in the couple times he pitched, he did very good with several strike outs.   He did it with fastballs as I never allow him to throw curves.   Please advise if your school accepts young players.

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     I greatly enjoy working with serious-minded, committed high school juniors and seniors.   The problem lies with what length of time is sufficient to help them rather than confuse them.   I tried training these young men for two weeks, four weeks and ten weeks.   I found that two weeks did not work, four weeks succeeded about one-half the time and ten weeks worked very well.   Unfortunately, ten weeks is very long to sixteen and seventeen year olds.   They cannot get jobs and I do not want them to lay on the couch all summer.

     Next summer, I am going to try eight weeks for high school Juniors and Seniors.   I expect to accept about six per year.   I have room for twelve pitchers.   I plan to fill the other openings with young men who have completed my forty week program and who return to continue their development.   I hope that these older pitchers will help the younger pitchers, not only learn pitching, but also find constructive things to do with their time.   If this is of interest to you, let me know.

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287.   We are doing the Pony League.   Like most parents, I am excited that my son does well.   I want him to be successful and really don't want to hurt him.   I am glad that I read your articles and will definitely hold off on the pitching.

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     I want all youngsters to enjoy baseball.   Two months per year is enough.   No competitive pitching until thirteen years old.   One inning per game until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures.   If youngsters complete my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program and my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program, they will learn the skills that will enable them to succeed without damaging their pitching arm.

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288.   We would definitely be interested in your Summer program.   Please let us know more about it.

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     If you would click on my Pitching Instruction icon on my web site, you will find my discussion of my new eight week summer training program for high school Juniors and Seniors.   I have tried this at various time lengths before.   Two weeks is a waste of time.   Four weeks is about fifty percent effective.   Ten weeks is effective, but a long time for sixteen and seventeen year olds without jobs.   Therefore, I have decided to try eight weeks.   I expect to have about six high school Juniors and Seniors and six college pitchers who have completed my forty week program.   I want to use my college guys to help teach and entertain the high school guys.

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289.   I have a 12 year old son who injured his elbow pitching.   I have read all your books, followed all your advice on only pitching 1 innings per game, no curve balls only fastballs, but Zach still suffered a serious injury.   He has had elbow stiffness, soreness and discomfort for 3 years.   His growth plate is detached about 3 mm.   After reading articles on the strain on a youth pitchers elbow, I would never have let him pitch.   Our orthopedic surgeon has recommended internal fixation of the epicondylar.   He has tried immobilizing and therapy, but the joint blows out again after minimal throwing.   He throws extremely hard for his age.

     He is a great baseball player, but I am nervous about his future.   I have read books and online material, even heard you on sports radio and value your opinion.   Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.   I feel so helpless telling a 12 year old who loves baseball more than anything he might not be able to pitch again.


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     I am very sorry to read of your son's difficulties.   However, my recommendations say no more than two months per year of pitching and no competitive pitching until thirteen years old and I mean thirteen biological years old.   That is why I show parents how to assess biological age.   Young men can be chronologically thirteen years old and be only eleven years old biologically.   Nevertheless, it is still possible with improper force application to put more stress on the growth plate of the medial epicondyle than it can withstand.

     If he has had elbow stiffness, soreness and discomfort for three years, then he incorrectly applies force.   The fact that he can throw very hard speaks to his muscle contractility and nerve conduction velocity.   He may well have advantages over other pitchers.   However, if he destroys his skeletal structure, he will never know.   In addition to pulling the ossification center away from the shaft, he may have lengthened his Ulnar Collateral Ligament which will give him a loose elbow joint and decrease his ability to generate forearm acceleration through release.

     His only course of action is to stop throwing.   He must allow his pitching arm to mature without any more pitching stress.   I recommend that you get bi-lateral X-rays of both elbow from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm.   You should compare the two to see whether he has accelerated the growth plate closure of his pitching arm.   Then, you should examine his non-pitching arm for the presence of the ossification centers for his olecranon process and lateral epicondyle.   The ossification center for his olecranon process appears at age thirteen.   I show and explain all this in my Instructional Videotape.

     When the growth plate of his medial epicondyle fully matures, then he should start my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program.   When he becomes a Junior in high school, he should start my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   All pitching prior to his Junior year in high school is irrelevant to his college pitching career.   In the meantime, he can swim, fish, camp, shoot baskets, study and so on.

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290.   The biggest roadblock I have when I teach pitching is when I say 'straight-line'.   Do I get the weird looks.   However, I stay the course and have been giving a lot of analogies to show the straight-line concept.   I was wondering what the scientific term or explanation is for a straight-line curve, like a longitude line from the north pole to the south pole, or a latitude line, like the equator going around the earth in a curve path, but also it's a straight path.   This is the one that works the best.

     I gave your video to a non-baseball group to view.   It scared the hell out of them.   You need a national campaign to get out your ideas.


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     I teach straight-line drive, not straight-line curve drive.   I do not want the pitching arm to curve outward, inward, upward or downward.   I want an absolute straight-line all the way through release.   I am finding that I need to emphasize that even more than I thought.   For example, when I teach my Pronation Curve, I now teach that the hand, wrist and fingers should drive straight forward and never move inward or downward until after release.

     I have had great response to my Instructional Videotape.   However, I consider it a first effort.   I want to have digital videotape from another forty week group before I go back into the studio.   Then, I will have starting and ending video and I can show flaws and corrected flaws.   Therefore, when I finish the next video sometime in the summer of 2003, I will be ready to extend it to a larger audience than just those who had found my web site.

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291.   I have a sharp pain on the right side of my upper chest (bottom of shoulder) where the armpit meets.   Did I stress this while throwing?   What muscle causes this pain?

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     "A sharp pain on the right side of your upper chest at the bottom of your should where your armpit meets."   That is an interesting description.   It could be the attachment of your subscapularis.   If it is, it means that you are leaving your elbow behind your acromial line.

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292.   You can never truly pitch in a straight line, because you have to rotate your body.   So, how can you possibly pitch in a straight path when all your power comes from the rotation.   Since you cannot pitch injury free why bother at all to switch to straight line.   Pitching hurt or with pain is part of the game that can't be avoided.

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     Even if we could not achieve pure straight-line force application, the closer we can get to it, the less the unnecessary stress and the greater the consistency.   I want a full pendulum swing of the pitching arm up to the driveline.   From that point, I want as straight a driveline through release as possible.   It is simple to rotate the body yet drive the pitching arm in a straight line toward home plate, I see it every day.   All power does not come from the rotation of the body.   The forearm acceleration coupled with the front foot push back provides considerable power through release.   The body only helps the upper arm acceleration and increases the length of the driveline.

     Pitching should not hurt.   Pain is not a part of pitching unless pitchers unnecessarily stress their pitching arm.   The farther from straight-line force application, the greater the amount of unnecessary stress and the higher the chance of pitching arm discomfort.

     I have no trouble convincing young men to straight-line drive.   I tell them that if they take their pitching arm laterally behind their back, then they have to return it to the pitching arm side before they can throw the baseball toward home plate.   They instinctively understand that this means that their pitching arm will continue to move sideways while they try to drive their pitch toward home plate.   It is called centripetal force. Centripetal force causes circles.   Pitchers must avoid circles.   If pitchers want their pitches to go in straight lines toward home plate, then they must drive them in straight lines toward home plate.

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293.   In the following questions, the pitchers is right-handed.

1.   Are your torque curve and your torque screwball the same pitch as far as movement?   Both have 12-6 rotation, both have the same application force and they move away from right-handed hitters.

2.   You told me that your Maxline Pronation Curve looks like a backup curve against right-handed hitters.   Is it the same for the Torque screwball against left-handed hitters?

3.   An Internet expert says that you had a 12-6 screwball rotation that was moved away from right-handed hitters.   Was he referring to your Torque screwball?

4.   In your book, there's no mention of your two-seam fastball, two seam curve or two-seam screwball grips.   Since your four-seam fastballs have different grips, would it be worth mentioning these grips somewhere.

5.   Is it true that bigger is a curve, slower it will be?

6.   What about the importance of fingers pressure and choking the ball in and out for break/speed variation/

7.   Nobody seems to throw the real curveball anymore.   The one I see, especially from left-handed pitchers, goes straight to the front shoulder of left-handed hitters then dives across the plate on a diagonal plane to catch the low outside corner.   That's not the curveball of the 60's or early 70's.   It can't be a slider because it starts too high and moves too much.   Is it a slurve?   I'm having problems trying to recognize the types of pitches these days when it was so easy before.

8.   Have you ever pitched a backup slider?


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1.   If pitchers were able to achieve perfectly horizontal spin axis with my Pronation Curve and True Screwball, then their movements would be identical.   If this were to happen, the hitter would get to see both pitches move the same with completely different forearm actions.   Pitchers need more than one humiliater pitch to finish At Bats.

2.   My Maxline driveline gives the appearance of movement toward the pitching arm side of home plate, it does not backup.   My Torque driveline gives the appearance of movement toward the glove side of home plate, it does not backup.   The horizontal spin axes on my Pronation Curve and True Screwball changes the flight direction of these pitches only downward, the lateral driveline only gives the appearance of sideways movement.

3.   I have no idea who your Internet expert is or on what he bases his opinion.   I threw horizontal spin axis True Screwballs with Maxline and Torque drivelines.   When I used my Maxline driveline, my True Screwball appeared to move away from glove side batters.   When I used my Torque driveline, my True Screwball appeared to move away from pitching arm side batters.   I have taught several of my students to do the same.   I believe that I am the only person who teaches reverse breaking pitches. I know that I am the only person who can teach my Maxline and Torque True Screwballs.

4.   Pitchers grip the two seam pitches the same as they grip the four seam pitches except they turn the baseball so that the two seams are horizontal rather than the four seams.   Everything else remains the same.

5.   Spin velocity and horizontal velocity determine how much curves move.   High spin velocity and low horizontal velocity generates the most change in direction.   I teach my students to never throw curves with upward release angles.   I prefer that they release their curves with the same downward drive angle as their fastball and I want four seam fastballs thrown at the highest aspect of the strike zone.

6.   I teach my students to drive the ring finger side of their middle finger horizontally through the horizontal seam on the top of the baseball.   The pronation wrist, hand and finger action generates much greater middle finger drive.   Anytime pitchers supinate their release, they counter the natural pronation action and decrease their spin velocity.

7.   The sideways movement of the curves of which you speak result from their forearm moving outside of vertical and coming around the baseball.   Forearm flyout from looping and late forearm turnover and forearm supination cause these actions.

8.   Backup sliders result from pitchers dropping their elbow under their release and their forearm way outside of vertical.   It is a limited and dangerous action.   I kept my elbow up and drove over.

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294.   What advice can you give to pitchers in the Over-40 leagues?

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     I pitched in over-30, over-40 and over-50 leagues simultaneously until I was fifty-six years old.   Then, I injured my pitching arm trying to stop a stand-alone closet from falling.   I tore my anterior capsule, had surgery and rehabilitated only to regain full use of my arm.

     I found that I had to train daily year-round, but at reduced intensities.   However, since I live in Florida, we played from late January to mid-November, I only had about ten weeks where I did not pitch in at least two games per week.   From the time that I completed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Program, I trained almost daily and never had any stiffness or soreness in my pitching arm.   I did not consider my day ready to begin until I have complete my pitching workout for that day.

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295.   I wrote you roughly ten days ago.   I know you are a busy man with far more important people to deal with, but I was hoping for some sort of response.   Perhaps, people with just ordinary questions aren't that important.   Thanks for your attention or lack thereof.   I'm just a Dad trying to do right by my son.

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     I always answer every email that I receive.   This email is the only email that I have received from you.   Please try again.

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296.   A four seam Maxline Fastball w/Sinker Spin Axis?   This is a new one.   How do you throw it?

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     It is a two seam Maxline fastball with a sinker spin axis.   I recently decided to move the sinker spin axis out of the reverse breaking ball category and put it in the fastball category.   The sinker spin axis mean that the circle of friction is on the top, front of the baseball as it travels toward home plate.   Pitchers throw it the same as they throw the four seam and two seam Maxline fastballs except that they ulnar flex their wrist at leverage to place their fingers horizontal and, than, they flex their wrist through release as usual.

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297.   You wrote, "'Flat back' means that the coaches are instructing your son to bend at the waist.   The old bend your back theory that has ruined hundreds of thousands of pitching arms over the years.   They are also teaching your son to pull his arm across his body with that follow through nonsense.   That action will destroy his pitching elbow."   How has bending their back ruined pitching arms?   How does following through ruin arms?

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     When pitchers bend forward at their waist, they have to pull their pitching elbow downward.   This action places unnecessary stress on the inside of the elbow.   Pitchers should drive their pitching arm straight toward home plate from leverage through release.   The pitching arm should continue toward home plate after release.   The pitching arm should decelerate to a stop toward home plate.   The whole idea of pulling the pitching arm downward and across the body in a follow-through motion unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow.   I am trying to get rid of this mistaken idea.   There is no such thing as 'follow-through'.   Pitching arms accelerate and decelerate and they should do so in straight-lines toward home plate.

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298.   I know you don't want twelve year olds pitching, but I permitted my son to pitch 26 innings this season.   We started playing in March.   He never pitched more than three innings in any weekend, generally less than forty pitches.

     Perhaps the pitching itself will not matter until he is a Junior in high school, but he learned allot.   He learned mental toughness.   He about focusing on the task at hand and not the consequences.   And, I learned how to help him without not pressuring him.   Our baseball experience this summer has been terrific and will help him in school, in band, in any other activity.

     I may very well have him X-rayed just to make you (and me) happy.   He has NEVER complained of his arm hurting and I've never seen signs that made me think he was hurting.   Two teams I watched this weekend, 11 year olds, played a six inning game in which one pitcher threw 108 pitches and the other 97.


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     I agree that youngsters and parents learn allot from playing youth baseball.   I am all for it.   I recommend pitching one inning per game starting at thirteen years old.   However, I worry about premature growth plate closure and stretching elbow and shoulder ligaments, both of which do not cause discomfort, but do limit youngsters when they become adult pitchers.   There are too many variables involved to precisely predict what the appropriate amount of pitching is for each youngster.

     If you have him X-rayed, have the radiologist cover from mid-shaft of his ulna and radius to mid-shaft of his humerus of both arms from the side flexed and extended and from the front extended.   I doubt that he will recognize any abnormality, but compare the widths of the growth plates of the medial epicondyle and the proximal radial head, the presence of the ossification centers for the olecranon processes and lateral epicondyle, the sizes of the coranoid processes and the depths of the olecranon and coranoid fossas.

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299.   Did I read correctly that you have 'revisited the curve'.   Have you changed the release?   I saw something in one of the recent letters on your web site.

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     I am always looking for the better way.   I revisit everything, especially when I see that my students are having difficulties learning something.   I still say that my Pronation Curve requires pitchers to pronate their forearm, wrist, hand and finger through release.   However, rather than the baseball releasing over top of the tip of the middle finger, I now say that the ring finger side of the tip of the middle finger drives the horizontal seam at the top of the baseball forward while it moves laterally.   I no longer believe that the baseball leaves over top of the tip of the middle finger, but rather the tip of the middle finger imparts a horizontal spin axis to the baseball as it moves laterally across the baseball.

     I recognized this action when I had an advanced skill student do my 'Recoil' training cycle.   I found that he generated additional horizontal velocity as well as spin velocity with this action.   He could throw a high quality Pronation Curve from the pickoff position.   I am working with six graduate pitchers this summer on the same skill and they are demonstrating the same results.   I probably should have kept this to myself until I verified the concept with additional pitchers, but this discovery is very exciting to me as it will remove the elbow injury danger from the curve.

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300.   Please forgive my quickness to jump to conclusions.   You'll see from the date of the original that I copied to this one, I did send one to you over two weeks ago.   No doubt that it was sent.   The doubt is if you received it.   With the Web and email being as they are, I'll accept the chance that you didn't receive it.

     That aside, I came to you because of 1) your record as a MLB player, 2) your second career as a MD, 3) your affinity for teaching the proper methods of pitching.   In the original letter to you, I ask some off the cuff questions about your torque and pickoff throw drills.   Never mind those questions, I have since read your book, and discovered those techniques and drills.   Is there a way I can download the entire book at one time?

     My son is eleven, 5-1, 90 lbs.   He is in the 95% in height and the 85% in weight.   He is projected to be 6-3 and 180 lbs.   This information came during his recent checkup.   Apparently, he is also begun puberty.   I don't know if that helps you with a rough idea of his build, but lanky is the proper adjective.   I do appreciate your time, and if you can help me with some answers in the first letter, I'll be forever beholden to you.

     I have read many of your articles and other teachers have referenced you in their programs.   I have hesitated to purchase any 'program' for my son sheerly because of your opinions.   Naturally, every eleven year old boy wants to be the next Randy Johnson, but he understands that he is growing and his body isn't ready for the overload that pitching a nine inch, five ounce baseball requires.   I can't understand why people torture their kids with complete games and one hundred pitches and so on.

     I take him to camps and he plays third and catcher.   He is taught basic mechanics of pitching as well.   I have been told by allot of people that he has instincts for the game that they'd expect in a much older ballplayer.   Matter-of-fact, a college coach told him last season that his swing was extraordinary and that he'd be looking for him in a few years.   My son's eyes lit up and it was amazing how he reacted to that praise.

     He's led the league in throwing out baserunners for the past two years, as a catcher.   At third, his throws are flat and laser-like.   In and out of the glove fast.

     My question is: why is pitching so hard on the arm while third basemen and catching aren't ballyhooed to be?   Also, I have pitched him.   I know that will draw your ire, but he loves the power and attention that being on the mound gives.   I have him on a pitch count, sixty.   He doesn't try to throw hard, he concentrates on location and tries to outwit the batter.

     But, another question comes to mind.   Why is it that us Americans limit our pitchers while kids elsewhere pick balls up and pitch from younger ages and their arms don't fall off?   Or, is it that they don't have the training, and we do and we acknowledge the harm?

     Also, looking at your pre-pubescent program, I see terms WW and Maxline and Torque exercises and I am at a loss of what they mean.   Will that be in your book and video?   Also, why are they done as pickoff tosses?

     I know you are busy and this was lengthy, but I appreciate your time.   I will order the video and the book I'll download.   Will it be possible to purchase a copy of he book in the near future?   On a personal note, I give more credence to your philosophy of pitching than I would to a teacher that didn't last in the big leagues.   I look forward to your programs and I wonder if you'd take a early reservation for your 2009-2010 class?


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     For the sake of complete disclosure, I have a Ph.D., not a MD.   With regard to others who reference my material, I do not know them or their material.   I have the same respect for what they say as lawyers do for persons who act as their own attorneys.   Please do not confuse their silliness with my thirty-five years of true research based on scientific fact.

     High intensity throwing, whether as a catcher, infielder, outfielder or pitcher stresses the growth plates of the pitching arm.   Improperly throws curves adds greater stress.   I recommend that, until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle fully matures, all youth baseball players should not throw for more than two months per year.

     We also have child labor laws and vaccination schedules for our children.   I like to think that we act on knowledge.   I disagree that the children from other countries who throw hard all the time do not have their arms fall off.   Until their Junior year in high school, how well youngsters pitch is irrelevant.   We should not jeopardize the proper growth and development of their pitching arms.

     WW stands for wrist weights.   Only my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program should use wrist weights (WW) or iron balls (IB).   My 60 Day Programs use only baseball (BB) throws.   I discuss this fully in my Coaching Pitchers book and show everything in my Instructional Videotape.

     For me to make copies of my book and mail it to people would cost far more than when they copy it from my web site.   Also, I can update my book easily on my web site.   I understand the credibility people give to major league pitchers, but the truth is, they probably have no idea what they are doing.   I also understand that people do not give credibility to researchers who cannot pitch.   Fortunately, we do have a research-trained doctoral degree holder who used his research to become a reasonably successful major league pitcher.

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301.   I am interested in reserving a space for my son in the 2003 eight-week summer program.   What do I need to know and do?

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     Thank you for your interest.   I have protocol set up for my 40 week students, but not for my eight week students.   I want students who will work with me to become the best college pitcher they can be and, if they get a chance, the best professional pitcher they can be.   I want students who are ready to invest years into their development.   I do not running fantasy camps. Students should plan to return for the remainder of my forty week program after they graduate from high school.

     I have to leave it to the students and their parents to determine the level of their desire and chance of their success.   Students will need to throw at least eighty miles per hour as a Junior in high school to expect college success.

     I will expect these Junior and Senior high school students to sign my Lifetime Partnership Agreement.   It states that they will pay one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for my eight week summer program.   It states that they plan to return for another eight week summer training program and/or the remainder of my forty week training program.   It states that they will pay ten dollars ($10.00) per day for coaching and fifty dollars ($50.00) per week plus their share of the utilities until they have trained with me for forty weeks.   After forty weeks, they can train at my Pitcher Research Center without any charge for coaching.   Additionally, if they get the chance to pitch professionally, they will pay me five percent (5%) of their pitching-related earnings.   Lastly, to reserve their space, they will return my notarized Lifetime Partnership Agreement and a two hundred dollar ($200.00) non-refundable deposit.

     If your son meets these requirements and wants to attend my 2003 eight week summer program, then I would like to speak with him.   Please email me your telephone number or call (888)658-8850 and leave your telephone number and a good time for me to call.

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302.   I have a shovel handle trimmed, smoothed and sanded and cut to thirty inches.   My son actually did it himself.   Now, what drills do you do with the tennis balls and shovel handle?

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     I also recommend that you drill one-quarter inch holes near the bottom and the length of your son's forearm from the bottom and thread one-quarter inch cloth rope through them and tie them off at double the size of his fist with square knots.   To aid his grip, I would place athletic tape on the shovel handle for four inches above the two holes.   He should place one of these rope loops around one hand and twirl it once before he grips the shovel handle.   This will protect the thrower from the shovel handle should his hand slip off.

     The first drill is the rear arm only drill.   Your son should grip the shovel handle with only his rear hand above the higher rope loop.   With his front hand, he should grip his shirt under the armpit of his rear hand.   The thrower who is behind a protector twenty-five feet in front of the batter should be able to sit in a chair and throw tennis ball with a dart-like throwing motion to precise locations.   I break the strike zone into nine locations, high, middle and low and inside, middle and outside.   I recommend twenty-four tennis balls in a bucket that the thrower throws about every three seconds.   I recommend that the thrower start with the high, outside location and teach the hitter how to wait until the baseball is even with their rear should before they hit it to the opposite field.

     Let me know of the quality of his efforts and I will continue with the second activity of my hitters' skill development drills.

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303.   How do you throw the two seam Maxline fastball?   Do you grip with or across the two narrow seams?   Ulnar flexing my wrist at leverage means that I flex my wrist away from my body (RHP), correct?   From this position I accelerate, pronate and release, correct?

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     Pitchers throw my two seam Maxline fastball across the seams in exactly the same way that they grip and throw my four seam Maxline fastball.   The only difference is that they should turn the baseball to have the two seams horizontal rather than the four seams.

     In Chapter 18, I define Ulnar Flexion.   The ulna bone is on the little finger side of the forearm.   When the little finger moves laterally closer to the ulna bone, they ulnar flex their wrist.   Ulnar flexion of the wrist goes hand-in-hand with pronation of the forearm.   The ulnar flexion of the wrist adds velocity to the release and increases spin and horizontal velocity.   The key to my Pronation Curve is the horizontal and lateral movement of the ring finger side of the middle finger through the horizontal seam at the top of the baseball.   This causes the baseball to spin horizontally forward without having to come over top of the middle finger and removes that action as an upper limitation of the pitch.   It also prevents elbow trauma because the forearm pronation and wrist ulnar flexion prevents supination, circle out, flyout, elbow drop and elbow pull.

     This information is at least six months ahead of my book.   But, that is the purpose of the Question/Answer sessions.

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304.   If, at the leverage position, the back of the pitcher's hand is facing directly at his head, then is this adversely affecting the pitch?

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     After pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height, they should have their palm facing away from their head.   When their pitching arm reaches driveline height, pitchers should have their acromial line pointing at the glove-side batter.   This means that their elbow is pointing just short of second base.   Pitchers should have their forearm approximately forty-five degrees behind vertical.   The next step is critical, especially for curves.

     Between the pendulum swing to driveline height position and when pitchers move their upper arm forward until the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline where the elbow points either toward third or first base, pitcher should rotate their forearm into the proper position to accelerate their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release.

     I am changing my definition of the leverage position from where pitchers first move the baseball toward home plate to this position where pitchers have their acromial line perpendicular to the driveline and their forearm in position to accelerate their pitches through release.

     To answer your question, I do not want pitchers to rotate their forearm into position for their acceleration through release until my new leverage position.   The problem occurs when pitchers attempt to rotate their forearm early, especially with the curve, they bring their forearm too close to their upper arm with their elbow pointing backward.   Then, when they move their upper arm forward such that the elbow points toward third or first base, they create centripetal forces that cause their forearm to loop, circle out and flyout.

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305.   Good effort.   We anticipated that the next drill was isolation of the bottom hand.   Were we right?

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     After he perfects the rear arm action to hit the high, outside pitch to the opposite field, we move to the rear arm only to hit the middle, outside pitch to the opposite field.   He has to perfect the rear arm action for pitches in the nine locations before we move to the next stage.   Remember, kids do not like to practice the scales when they learn the piano, but if they do not learn how to properly play the scales, they will never play music.

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306.   Please share more on the Maxline fastball with Sinker Spin Axis.

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     Pitchers throw my two seam Maxline fastball in exactly the same way that they throw my four seam Maxline fastball.   The only difference is that they should turn the baseball to have the two seams horizontal rather than the four seams.   To throw my two seam Maxline fastball with Sinker spin axis, pitchers turn their two seam grip more diagonally such that one loop faces forward and drop their wrist into a maximum ulnar flexion position such that that loop is on the top, front surface of the baseball.   Basically, they throw a two seam Maxline fastball with a tilted forward, vertical spin axis.

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307.   I am 20 years old and I pitch college baseball.   During 'fall ball,' I began to feel a pain right on the right side of the tip of the elbow on the back of my pitching arm.   It felt like it should crack and then be okay, but it didn't.   Then, my forearm had this tired type of feeling and I kind of lost the sensation in my fingers, I felt like I couldn't really feel the baseball.   I told my coach and took three weeks off without pitching at all.   During that time, I iced my elbow regularly and did tube exercises.   By the time I was ready to throw again, it was winter.

     When it came time for spring ball, I felt the same type of pain in my elbow and it was no different.   I took plenty of Motrin and pitched on opening day.   I pitched three more starts on lots of Motrin and the pain became too intense to even just toss the ball.   My velocity decreased from topping out at 91 MPH to fastballs in the mid 80's with severe pain.   I told my coach and he shut me down for the season.   I went to three orthopedists.   I had X-rays and MRI's taken.   The doctors first said tendonitis, then another told me it wasn't tendonitis but instead an impingement.   After five weeks of Physical Therapy, I was finally given the okay to throw half-speed.

     The pain is still there right in the back and outside of the tip of my elbow.   The doctors say there is nothing wrong with my tendons or bones and now they are sending me to have Cat Scans to make sure we haven't missed any 'loose bodies'.   But, I don't have any loss of range of motion.   I have done lots of research and believe I might have an issue with nerves since the pain is so concentrated and I have that loss of sensation in my fingers when I pitch.   What can I do to get healthy, all I want is for someone to find something and tell me why at 20 years old I can't pitch.


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     You did not say in which fingers you have lost sensation.   If it is your little finger and the little finger side of your ring finger, then you are irritating you Ulnar Nerve that passes behind the medial epicondyle.   That is what I suspect.   This means that you have forearm flyout, reverse forearm bounce, elbow drop and elbow pull.   Your solution lies in correcting your pitching mechanics, not rehabilitation.

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308.   When I have that loss of feeling in my fingers its in my thumb, index and middle finger.   They don't feel totally numb, but I just feel like I can't feel the baseball off my fingers.   I worked with a pitching coach after the pain in my elbow and we made sure my elbow is above my shoulder and so on and he said my mechanics were sound.   Then, at Physical Therapy, I worked with someone on my mechanics and they also found no faults.   They just said I probably drop my elbow when I get tired.   I will try to avoid that, but, at this point, I still can't throw a baseball over 50 miles per hour pain free.   My elbow aches on a normal basis, even though I haven't pitched in months, I am just not sure where to go with this next.

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     The thumb, index finger and middle finger indicate the Median Nerve.   While this nerve passes through the underarm and anterior elbow, the problem probably lies where it passes through the anterior wrist.   You might wrap your wrist or do some other wrist action that irritates the nerve.

     With regard to your mechanics, unless you understand straight-line drive, I doubt it.   You have pain on the back and outside of the tip of your elbow because you unnecessarily stress that area.   I listed several ways that you might do it.   You could reverse rotate too far.   You could start your body forward before your pitching arm is ready to move forward.   You might turn your forearm over too late.   In fact, you probably do all these and more.   The 'traditional' pitching motion incorporates all injurious flaws.

     Your elbow will ache until you correctly rehabilitate it.   To do that, you will have to learn the correct way to apply force to your pitches.   It would seem to me that if a pitching coach and a physical therapist told me that I threw correctly, but I still had pain, I would question that they know what they are doing.

     Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book explains how I recommend that pitchers apply force to their pitches.   The place to go with this next is my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program that starts the third Saturday in August.   I will make room for you somewhere.

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309.   I agree wholeheartedly about the straight line drive.   However, it took me about eighteen months through written communications, emails and reading your book to finally get the whole picture of straight line drive.   It will take another year to produce another informative video and the world can't wait that long.   So, I suggest that you make CD's on each separate part to the pitching delivery.   For example, on the first CD, show the head pat front to back, on the second CD, 2 show the pendulum swing from front to back and so on until you show all aspects of your whole delivery.   CD's are very easy to make and copy and inexpensive to produce.   This way, your message will get to the people who didn't have the patience to filter out all the words that your books and email describe as I did.

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     I think that the front view of my wrist weight exercises and my rear view of my iron ball exercises clearly demonstrate straight-line drive.   I would agree that the rear and front views of my baseball throws are not as clear.   However, that is because I had to use pitchers who had completed only two cycles of my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   It takes time for pitchers to make the adjustment from the 'traditional' pitching motion to my straight-line pitching motion.   I want to wait until another group has trained for 280 days.   I also want to do some high-speed filming of releases.   Further, I am continuing to learn.   True, what I learn is more and more pitch specific and smaller details, but it is significant.   I want to see what results I get with this next group before I discuss my new stuff.

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310.   My son thinks he is throwing your curve.   He grips it like your curve, has his forearm at 90 degrees at leverage, then pronates hand, wrist and arm.   The ball breaks six or more inches from the third base side of home plate to the first base corner.   The pitch looks good.   I know he is not throwing your Maxline Pronation Curve.   Is there any harm in him throwing this pitch until he learns the curve properly.   I think he is getting a 3-9 or 2-7 spin axis rather than a 12-6.

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     The fact that the curve moves from the pitching arm-side to the glove-side of home plate indicates that his forearm is outside of vertical and his hand is coming around the outside of the baseball.   While this is not exactly what we want, it may not be bad.   That depends on whether he drops his elbow downward or pulls it across his body.   If he is keeping his elbow at shoulder level and to his pitching arm side such that it moves upward after he releases the pitch, then he will be fine.   If not, he is placing unnecessary stress on the inside of his elbow.

     I am working with six returning guys this summer.   We are working hard on my Pronation Curve.   To do this, we use the pickoff position and use leverage throws.   This isolates the action of the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   Without proper mechanics during forearm acceleration through release, everything else is irrelevant.   We are six weeks into our group investigation and making great progress.   These guys are throwing great high velocity horizontal spin axis curves with outstanding horizontal velocity that enables them to drive their Pronation Curves horizontally forward at the top of the strike zone and keep the break within the bottom of the strike zone.

     As with every new thing I learn, my previous explanation falls short.   I have said that pitchers should release this pitch over top of the tip of their middle finger.   I recently revised that explanation to say that pitchers should horizontally and laterally drive the ring finger side of the tip of their middle finger through the horizontal seam on the top of the baseball.   I am staying with the latter explanation and searching for a visual image analogy.

     Have you seen performers spinning plates on several thin poles?   To keep these plates spinning, they hold the pole with one hand and brush their other hand along the side of the plates.   If we could remove gravity and turn this example ninety degrees so that performers brush the plates across the top, then we might have what we need.   However, instead of using the whole hand to brush across the top of baseballs to get the horizontal spin axis, pitchers use only the middle and index fingers.

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311.   In question and answer #261, you replied that swinging heavy bats helps one develop the muscles to hold a bat UP!   I, in my own uneducated, unbiased, inexperienced way, have developed a drill for youngsters that is: easy to do, develops camaraderie, and solves a myriad of basic youthful hitting problems associated with the development of a "good" (how pompous of me!) swing.

     I call it, the BAT PULL DRILL.   It has a partner providing swing resistance from the 'load-up position' through contact by holding the barrel of the bat with both hands and providing resistance, or reverse forces against the 'PULL and flick of the wrists' swing until the point of contact with a total release of the bat into the follow through after that.


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     At least your drill provides resistance in the same plane as the activity.   It is similar to using a pulley system.   Properly executed, your drill would not only train the appropriate muscles, but the proper force application technique.   Youngsters need to feel the overload and how to properly overcome that overload.   That is the same principle on which I base having my young men throw six pound iron balls.   The overload teaches them to streamline their movements.   However, I have some concern for the variability in your method.   It is not possible to measure the resistance the partner's apply.   Consequently, you cannot quantify the program.

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312.   Did you see the story that CNN did on that place in Birmingham, Alabama?   I heard him say that the growth plates of kids do not close until they shave.   Is that true?   I also saw that they use high-speed cameras and videotapes where pitchers wear these round things.   The guy talked like they are doing research on pitching.   What do you think?

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     I did see the piece.   They have great epuipment.   I wonder how they finance the cost?   When I worked on my doctoral degree at Michigan State University in the mid-1970's, my committee chair told me that the Education Department wanted to set me up with that equipment and facilities.   In 1965, I took my first high-speed film.   I took my first high-speed pitching film in 1967, my second in 1969 and my third in 1971.

     After each filming, I analyzed the data and presented the results to the professors in the Education Department.   Their job was to critically analyze my data collection, method of analysis and conclusions.   These were invaluable sessions.   I clearly recall my Kinesiology professor, William W. Heusner, asking me whether I was a reported or a researcher.   What he meant was am I simply reporting what the subject did or am I researching whether he is performing the skill correctly.   The difference is critical.

     I enjoyed watching the high-speed film.   However, all I heard was reporting.   I saw numerous flaws in the film, but all the gentleman could say was that they study the great pitchers and compare their pitchers with them.   This means that they are teaching the pitching mechanics taught since baseball started over one hundred and thirty years ago.   This 'traditional' pitching motion has destroyed hundreds of thousands of pitching arms.   A computer is only as good as the data entered and these guys do not enter good data.

     Lastly, while facial hair is one of the primary and secondary sexual maturation characteristics, it is the least reliable to assess.   In 1967, I completed my Master's Thesis in which I completed an investigation of the association between sexual maturation and physical growth and motor proficiency in adolescent males.   In 1978, I completed my doctoral dissertation where I compared an estimate of skeletal age with chronological age when classifying adolescent males of motor proficiency norms.   My research demonstrated that adolescent males of the same age are not same biological age.   I determined that we need to understand how adolescent males biologically mature.

     My Sexual Maturation Indicator Value (SMIV) alone accounts for 68.8% of the variability in biological age between adolescent males.   Height alone accounts for 61.9% of the variability in biological age between adolescent males.   Weight alone accounts for 49.6% of the variability in biological age between adolescent males.    Chronological Age alone accounts for 44.9% of the variability in biological age between adolescent males.   If we use Chronological Age, Height, Weight and my SMIV test, then we can account for 83% of the variability in biological age between adolescent males.   Shaving does not indicate growth plate closure.   That was an uninformed, simplistic statement.

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313.   I appreciate the revised explanation of the curve. If you recall, I wrote you several times because I could not understand how the ball could go over the top of the middle finger and yet have a 12-6 spin axis. It would have to spin counterclockwise if it moved over the middle finger.   I like the plate image. I understand exactly what you mean. I'm not sure some of your younger students will because I haven't seen that act in a long time!   I sincerely appreciate your quick critique of the "slurve" or slider or whatever it is my son is throwing. I am comfortable that he is keeping his elbow up, so I'll let him throw the pitch. He feels better now that it has your blessing!

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     The 'traditional' way to release curves is to supinate the forearm, curl the wrist under and flip the baseball over the top of the middle finger.   If is possible to get horizontal spins, but you place tremendous stress on the inside of the elbow.   Also, pitchers can do this technique only so hard before it becomes painful.   My technique removes the stress from the inside of the elbow and has no upper limit to the intensity with which pitchers can throw it.

     If your son is keeping his elbow up and out and pronating his forearm, then the fact that he is permitting his elbow to move outside of vertical, while not good, is tolerable for the time being.   I would have him lean to his glove side to help him keep his forearm inside of vertical.

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314.   Explain the "Recoil" training cycle? I really appreciate your never ending search for a better way to do and explain things.   I will work with my son at length next year on learning the curve.   Are you still recommending the Pubescent and Adolescent Training programs?

     His season ends with the state tournament this weekend and "National" tournament the following week.   I have promised him that we will shelve our gloves and balls until January or so, although he is now talking of playing 'Fall Ball.'   I will discourage him from doing so, or at least discourage him from pitching if he plays in the fall.


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     My 'Recoil Training Cycle' is for students who have completed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   It trains pitchers how to get more forearm acceleration through release.   I prefer to have them complete it the summer following the year that they train with me.   That way, we can work on any pitches with which they are having difficulties as well as improve their releases.

     If he starts in January and pitches into July, that is seven months.   That is way too much especially since he does not want to work the drills.   The pickoff position leverage and transition throws are extremely valuable and least stressful on the growth plates.   If he truly wants to pitch high school and college baseball, then he has to recognize that he cannot jeopardized the normal growth and development of the growth plates in his pitching arm and he must master the proper releases of his pitches.   He needs horizontal spin axes for his curves and screwballs.

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315.   On the two seam Maxline fastball with the sinker spin axis, do pitchers have their thumb forward, pinkie forward or palm forward?   When pitchers ulnar flex their wrist at leverage, does that mean that they bend the wrist away from the body, then pronate through release?   What should the ball do if thrown properly by a RHP?

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     With the circle of friction on the top, forward surface of the baseball, this pitch will move downward away from the circle of friction.   Except that pitchers have their fingers horizontal rather than vertical, it is the same pitch as the four seam Maxline fastball and two seam Maxline fastball.   Pitchers drive their index and middle fingers through the horizontal seam at the top of the baseball to produce a vertical spin axis that tilts forward at forty-five degrees.   Like all fastballs, the palm faces forward throughout the release.   Pitchers should keep their shoulders level and maximally forward rotate their shoulders.

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316.   How much does jogging and/or running play a part in your pitching training program?   Did you do long distance/   I read somewhere that you should jog 30 yards and then run 30 yards.

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     Jogging is an aerobic exercise that metabolizes lactic acid as well as improves cardiac output.   Early in the year, I have my position players do what I call, 'speed-ups' where they jog for about ten yards and speed up for about ten yards.   The purpose of this drill is to teach them how to gradually increase the motor unit firing sequence for running to prevent 'hamstring' pulls due to co-contraction.   I still jog about two and one-half miles every day and hope to always be able to do so.

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317.   I understand what you thinking and I truly respect what you doing, but 12 months ago I had a hard time explaining to anyone what the straight line was because nobody would listen.   But, with my 60 freeze frame per second high speed film, I'm opening up allot of eyes.

     Two very important points that I can't show yet are the weight over the front foot and the rock back.   I under stand both of these points, but just a short CD on these two points and the pitching guru's of the world are HISTORY.   I hope you can understand why I don't want to wait another year, but if I must.


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     I understand your frustration.   I want to have all the answers yesterday too.   However, haste makes waste and I want to do it right.   My first effort was fine, but I knew that I would need much more.   I am trying to be patient and do a much better job the second go-around.

     The 'rock-back' is where pitchers in the set position move their center of gravity from over their front foot to their back foot at the same time that they pendulum swing their pitching arm backward.   This action lengthens the arc of their pitching arm and delays the forward movement of their body until their pitching arm reaches driveline height.   In this way, we enable pitchers to drive behind their pitches rather than pulling their pitching arm forward.

     Recently, I have added another pendulum swing to this choreography to make it a three movement skill.   While the center of gravity and pitching arm move backward, I want the front arm to pendulum swing straight toward the glove-side batter.   This pendulum swing should start with the forearm of the front arm horizontal across the chest of the pitcher and move downward, forward and upward toward the glove-side batter.   When done with wrist weights, this action helps pitchers learn the correct pitching rhythm and prevents reverse shoulder rotation.

     Pitchers have to learn how to move their body ahead of their front foot smoothly, but quickly.   If they permit their rear leg to stay back, swing upward or outward, they will severely decrease the quality of their forearm acceleration through release.   I work with my students without baseballs.   I have them rock-back with the double pendulum arm swing, move toward the forearm of their front arm as they step straight forward with their rear leg, rotate their shoulders forward as they keep their rear leg vertical with their foot near the ground.   I call this last action, 'getting the body around the baseball'.   I want the lateral surface of their rear hip facing forward at release.

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318.   There are horizontal spin axes and vertical spin axes, but on the respective axes the ball can rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise.   Fastballs are horizontal axes with the ball rotating counterclockwise; curves are horizontal axes but rotate clockwise.   Correct?

     The vertical axes is for the sinker and fastball with sinker spin.   Correct?   Both rotate counter-clockwise on the vertical axis, correct?   Is there a pitch that rotates clockwise on a vertical axis?


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     Your designation of clockwise and counter-clockwise has always puzzled me.   Since I want curves and screwballs to have horizontal spin axes with the top seam moving forward, I could label that clockwise.   Since I want Maxline and Torque fastballs to have horizontal spin axes with the bottom seam moving forward, I could label that counter-clockwise. However, if I stood on the other side of the baseball or the pitcher were left-handed, then what do we do?   We have to come up with another way to describe the spin direction.   I prefer to describe which seam moves forward.

     Another way is to discuss which side of the middle finger applies force.   Curves receive force from the ring finger side of the middle finger.   Screwballs receive force from the index finger side of the middle finger, at least, sort of.

     Another way is to describe on which side of the baseball the hand passes after it applies force.   On curves, the hand passes on the outside of the baseball.   On screwballs, the hand passes on the inside of the baseball.

     Another way is to describe in which direction the palm of the pitching hand faces.   On curves, the palm faces toward the head.   On screwballs, the palm faces away from the head.

     To achieve a horizontal spin axis with screwballs, the palm faces away from the head with the fingers horizontal.   To achieve a horizontal spin axis with curves, the palm faces toward the head with the fingers horizontal.   To achieve a vertical spin axis with two seam Maxline fastballs with Sinker spin axis, the palm faces away from the head with the fingers vertical.   To achieve a vertical spin axis with Torque Pronation Sliders, the palm faces toward the head with the fingers vertical.

     However, the Torque Pronation Slider technique has great dangers.   While conceptually it is simply spinning the plates along their sides, youngsters typically drop their elbows and supinate their forearms.   These actions place their olecranon processes and their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments at risk.   Consequently, I recently decided to teach only four and two seam Pronation Curves.   If, after they master these for several years and they want to add the Slider, I can reintroduce it to their mature, well-trained adult arm.

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319.   I will have my son do the pickoff and wrong foot throwing drills.   Here is where being a dad comes in.   He knows how "married to" your ideas I am.   He will learn this way, as you instruct, or he'll play right field.

     We will spend time he wants to spend playing baseball working on his hitting.   He had an .077 average that leaped to .400 when we adopted the Charlie Lau swing.   If you have a better method of swinging the bat, teach me how to teach it and I will.   But, the results this 11 year old had from conventional "keep your weight back" swings to the Lau "weight forward, rotate onto your back toe and follow through" method were dramatic.   He went from batting 8th to hitting cleanup!


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     I will rest easier knowing that the son of one of my most frequent questioners is placing less stress on his arm and learning the correct way to accelerate his forearm through release with proper releases.   I believe that my 'force coupling' baseball swing is far superior to the 'let the bat go with the rear arm' technique.   However, I do not have the time or research circumstances that I require to advise or put together a video of sufficient integrity.

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320.   I don't know if you fully understood my question and I'm sure I didn't fully understand your answer so I'll try again.   In your book you said Tommy John used the description , 'holding a pie tray full of water and making sure nothing spilled'.   Is this the position that I want to achieve just before acceleration?

     In your video when talking about pointing the shoulders to the glove side hitter, you demonstrated this in conjunction with the pendulum arm swing.   You said that at about the 45 degree downward angle you rotate your hand out to get to the position for that particular pitch.   Judging by this part of the tape if I'm throwing a fastball the ball is facing home plate or the first base dugout if I'm a left handed pitcher at the apex of my pendulum swing.   Am I close or completely off?


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     The problem that we are having results from me continuing to learn and adjusting what I recommend as a result.   I did tell Tommy John to hold a pie tray full of water and not spill it.   However, I now say to pendulum swing both arms.   I want the rear arm to pendulum swing up to driveline height backward short of second base.   I want the front arm to pendulum swing up to shoulder height forward toward the glove-side hitter.

     On my video, I said that, between the forty-five degree downward angle of the forearm and driveline height, pitchers should rotate their forearm into the proper position for the pitch that they want to throw.   However, I now say that between the driveline height and when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline is the correct time to position the forearm for the particular pitch.

     I apologize, but this is why I did not make a videotape earlier, I continue to learn.   We will both just have to struggle with these adjustments.   That is one reason why I have the Question/Answer file.   I talk about improvements that are six months ahead of changes in my book and over a year ahead of the second version of my videotape.

     What you described for the fastball will probably work fine.   However, with the curve, you could get some forearm looping and flyout.   At the apex of the backward pendulum swing of the pitching arm, I want the palm facing outward.   When the upper arm starts moving forward until the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline is the proper time for pitchers to rotate their forearm into position to throw curves.   This also works for fastballs and screwballs.

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321.   I have a few questions.

1.   Your Maxline and Torque four seam fastballs have different grips.   One has the horshoe toward the pitching arm and he other has the horseshoe toward the glove.   But, the two seam fastball grip is held across the two narrow seams.   Would it be the same grip for both Maxline and Torque fastball?

2.   What's the difference (grip, wrist angle, release) between your Maxline two seam fastball with sinker spin axis and the true Maxline sinker?

3.   What is your favorite arm slot?

4.   Do you remember Steve Carlton's slider?   He says that he was throwing it overhand.   Is it possible, because the pitch would dive across the plate and end up on the right-handed hitter's back foot.

5.   There is supination involve while throwing your Torque fastball.   Is there no danger for injury?

6.   Both application forces use different techniques.   Isn't that giving tips to the hitter as where the ball is going?

7.   Have you been utilizing both force application techniques in your Major League Career?

8.   Could we call your two seam curve, a hard curve, and your four seam curve, a slow curve, since there is 10 mph difference between them.   It's a lot.   What would be your approach for throwing these two pitches?


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     Here are my answers.

1.   On two seam fastballs, the horseshoe faces downward and we grip across the two seams.

2.   I no longer teach the Sinker as a part of the screwball series. It was too confusing for pitchers to learn two releases for reverse breaking pitches and the two seam Maxline fastball with True Sinker spin axis flows easily from the two seam Maxline fastball.   Pitchers only need to learn to leave their wrist in an ulnar flexed position.

3.   The forearm should be near vertical at release on all pitches.   It is not a 'slot', it is a straight-line drive imperative.

4.   Mr. Carlton tilted his shoulders dramatically toward his glove side to get his forearm as vertical as possible.   This gave him a spiral pitch that moved downward more than sideward.

5.   I teach pitchers to supinate only their wrist, hand and fingers on the release of my Torque fastballs.   Nevertheless, they are in danger of locking the elbow.   I make certain that they keep their elbow bent and the elbow pops upward after release.

6.   Maybe, but it is better than having only one technique such that they hitters do not even have to try to recognize in which direction the fastball will move.

7.   No.   I did not learn the Torque technique until after I retired.   That is another reason why I say that if I had known what I know now, I could have been a good pitcher.

8.   My two seam curves and screwballs are ten miles per hour faster than my four seam curves and screwballs because only two seam decelerate them on their way to home plate and because we keep our elbows bent throughout the forearm acceleration of the four seam pitches.

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322.   How about time to explain your force coupling for hitting whenever you get a few moments.   I don't need a video, I'm just interested in the principles.

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     'Force coupling' occurs when two parallel and oppositely-directed forces that operate on opposite sides of a fulcrum on one end of the lever summate to accelerate the other end of the lever.   In baseball batting, this means that batters drive the bat forward with the rear arm until the bat reaches the start of the hitting zone.   At that moment, while the rear arm continues to drive the bat, the front arm applies an opposite force.   As a result, the two forces summate to accelerate the center of mass of the bat through the hitting zone.

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323.   My point of reference is always standing behind a RHP when I designate clockwise and counter.   Most folks understand 'clockwise' and 'counter' easier than they do 'horizontal spin axis.'   If your goal is communication (my major in college 20 years ago), then you must communicate on the level of the audience.   I find out daily just how numb the general public is.   Reading some of your Q and A's, I know you know of what I speak.

     I have never attempted to learn your slider or even thought of teaching it to my son for two reasons:   first, you called it your least effective pitch.   Why learn a least effective pitch?   Second, or rather, 1A.,   is the arm injury danger potential.

     I like your middle finger designation.   Easy to follow.

     To get the fingers vertical, I have to lock my wrist, correct?   To have my fingers horizontal, I would bend or flex my wrist, correct?


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     For pitchers to get their fingers horizontal on my Pronation Curves, they have to keep their forearm inside of vertical.   If they bend their wrist too much, they can develop problems with the tendons on the anterior surface of their wrist.   For pitchers to get their fingers horizontal on my True Screwballs, they have to keep their shoulders level and ulnar flex their wrist.

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324.   I just wanted to say that your training is getting more popular slowly but surely and that's a good sign that people are actually believing in your pitching theories.   I know you said in recent emails that you have learned a lot with this recent group.   My question is when is version 2.2 coming out?   I can't wait to see it and learn some new information.

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     Because of the immediacy of my Question/Answer files, I will discuss my latest insights there first.   About six month later, I will upgrade my Coaching Pitchers book.   I will have to wait until my next forty week group completes their training to have the digital videotape with which to upgrade my videotape.   I also want to take more high speed film of releases which requires that my best performers are at the top of their game either right before or right after their competitive seasons.   I am hoping to get back into the video workshop next summer.

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325.   My son is a lefty.   He had a great sophomore year.   He pitched four innings with too many curve balls.   Next day, his elbow hurt.   The doctor took X-ray.   They found a partial Ulnar Collateral Ligament tear.   The doctor said that is was from over-extension.   My son had and MRI on 12/10/01 which confirmed a partial UCL tear with no stress fractures.   My son rested for six weeks.   His arm felt good, so he started light throwing, but his arm hurt.

     The doctor ordered a bone stimulator for ten hours per day for 48 days.   My son started throwing lightly in March with the coaches asking everyday if he was ready.   He pitched 1 inning. He threw 8 pitches got out of the inning, but his arm was sore.   He took a week off, seemed okay, threw long toss, pitched on 03/23/02.   He threw 1 inning and his arm was sore.   His arm swelled.   He had a bone scan on 4/15/02.   Now, they found a stress fracture in the head of his radius and a tear in his Triceps tendon attachment to the olecranon process and possible lateral epicondylitis.

     My son started physical therapy 3 times a week.   He felt that his arm never felt this good in a long time.   In May, he started tossing the ball with me.   He learned new stretches from therapy and added them to his regular stretches every time before he threw the ball.   He also iced his pitching arm and ran after every outing.   We threw every day for a month and he felt he was ready to pitch.   To make sure his mechanics were right, I got him a pitching coach.

     In his first outing, he warmed up and then threw on flat ground about 70% and he only threw fastballs.   Coach really liked what he saw, felt mechanics were good and only suggested minor changes.   His arm seemed okay.   He kept throwing daily and, last week, coach had him throw a few curves and changeups.   After about 30- 40 pitches, my son felt throbbing in elbow in between pitches.   He said that now, it did not hurt while pitching, but also after throwing.

     On 7/8/02, my son went back to his orthopedic.   The doctor again took X-rays and said everything looked fine.   He checked his elbow and felt that his UCL was not strong enough for pitching and he said that we should get a second opinion.   On 7/16/02, we have a appointment with another Orthopedic.   All during this time from November till now, we have read your book and I am mailing paperwork for video.

     I wish I would have known what you teach years ago.   Also, my younger son, he just turned 16, and he also pitches and plays on varsity.   He will benefit from all of this.   My question to you is: Can my son be ready for his senior year?


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     I wish that I could tell you that I had never heard this story before.   I hear this story every week.   The problem lies with how he applies force to his pitches.   The 'traditional' pitching mechanic has destroyed hundreds of thousands of pitching arms for over one hundred and thirty years.

     I don't know what to tell you about his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   What I do is train pitchers with UCL trouble.   If the UCL is so loose that it cannot hold the humerus and ulna bones together such that pitchers keep injuring the medial epicondyle muscles, then the only recourse is replacing the UCL.   This surgery seems to work well.   Many pitchers have had the surgery and been better than before they ruptured their UCL.

     If I have followed your discussion, your left-handed pitcher son is now eighteen years old and entering his Senior year in high school.   The best that I can recommend is that he gets ten pound wrist weights and do my wrist weight exercises with the proper technique as my video shows.   Hopefully, the wrist weight and change in force application technique will take the pressure off his UCL.

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326.   My son has been pitching since the age of seven Pinto level for PONY baseball (he did not through curves until high school).   He has been on all the ALL-Star teams, AAU and high school varsity baseball for four years.   He played Junior College for two years and played Division I baseball for a Big-10 school.   He is a left-handed pitcher (throws 87-88 with three pitches, 6'3", 210lbs).   He has also played outfield and 1st base through the years when he didn't pitch.   He is now twenty-two years old with one year of eligibility left for NCAA Division I baseball and would really like to play one more year and possibly have a chance at being in the amateur draft.

     He recently went to a sports doctor with a pain in his left shoulder (only when he pitches).   The MRI revealed a minor labrum tear.   Do you know anything about the success of the 'scope' surgery and the rehabilitation period to get back on the mound?   Should he even do the surgery?


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     I have no definitive information about recovering from surgery for a minor labrum tear.   However, tearing the labrum indicates improper force application technique.   He needs to learn how to drive behind his pitches rather than pulling his pitching arm forward and across his body.   He will never have a chance to play professional baseball with a labrum tear.   He needs to get the surgery and undergo a rigorous training program and adjust his throwing motion.   I recommend my training program (See Section XI of my book) and my pitching motion (See Section IX of my book).

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327.   I'm no expert on hitting, but I think you oversimplify the Lau method by focusing only on releasing the bat with the top hand.   The release of the top hand is a consequence of having the hitter extend completely through the hitting zone.   You can't completely extend and follow through keeping both hands on the bat as the top hand is 'shorter' than the bottom hand because of the nature of the stance.   Lau also emphasizes complete hip rotation by coming up on the toes of the rear foot and hitting off of a firm front leg much as golfers do.   I am not suggesting that there isn't a better way to hit, but there is more to it than letting go with the top hand.

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     I mentioned only the rear hand release because that alone makes the whole concept unacceptable.   I have no problem with hip rotation.   Otherwise, how would batters rotate their shoulder.   In pitching, where we throw with only one arm, the idea of extending the driveline is good.   However, in batting, we want maximum bat head velocity.   If the front shoulder is one end of Lau's swing arc, that is an awfully long radius to the circle he wants hitters for follow.   That does not leave much room for correcting a swing in motion.   Also, that leaves only the front arm to decelerate the bat.   Lastly and probably most importantly, hitters cannot drive the center of mass of the bat in a straight-line to contact and cannot force-couple.

     The rear arm is shorter that the front arm in the baseball swing?   After my hitters rotate their shoulders such that their rear shoulder points to the pitcher, their rear reaches much farther forward than their rear arm.

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328.   Here are some questions.

1.   Your two seam fastball grip is held across the two narrow seams.   Why don't you use the one along the seams?

2.   You told me that you were not teaching the True Sinker anymore, but it's part of your video.   That's why I would like to know the difference between the Maxline two seam fastball with sinker spin axis and the True Sinker.   At least from the release point of view since your two seam sinking fastball is not on your video.

3.   You said that you didn't used the Torque Fastball during your Major League career.   You were using though the Torque screwball and torque curveball.   What was your approach then with fastball on the pitching glove side?


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     Here are my answers.

1.   Pitchers should 'hook' the seam with the joint between the middle and distal phalanges.

2.   My two seam Maxline fastball with sinker spin axis and my former True Sinker have the same spin axis, but the two seam Maxline fastball with sinker spin axis has much less spin velocity.   I dropped the True Sinker because learning the correct spin axis for my True Sinker interfered with learning the correct spin axis of my True Screwball.

3.   I had the Torque screwball, but not the Torque curve or fastball.   I tried to backdoor the glove-side corner with my Maxline fastball.

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329.   I do not read Chapter 28 as having substituted two seam Torque Curves for two seam Torque Sliders.   You should make that correction.

     Screwball instead of sinker for my son?   Based on my review of your video, the only difference between the two is placement of the middle finger.   On the screwball, the middle finger is on the glove side seam of the two narrow seams whereas on the sinker, the middle finger is on the top, or pitching arm seam.   All other fingers are in the same locale.   And, the release is the same.


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     I just returned from Chapter 28, not a 2TSl in sight.

     The screwball spin axis is horizontal, the sinker spin axis is vertical tilted forward.   I feel that trying to learn two separate spin axes does not work.   Therefore, I tell my pitchers to try to learn the screwball spin axis.   If all they can achieve is the sinker spin axis, we accept that for now.   I want to use the sinker spin axis only for the two seam Maxline fastball.   While it has less spin velocity, it has greater horizontal velocity.

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330.   Begging your pardon, 2TSl's are all over Chapter 28.   In Table 28.08, there are no less than sixteen.   Table 28.21 also has a bunch.   What am I seeing that isn't there?

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     The tables that you mention are tables that describe the results of my 1973 and 1974 seasons and the recommendations therefrom.   I threw sliders.   The tables that pertain to what I recommend that youngsters follow today do not contain any sliders.   These are tables 28.02, 28.03, 28.04, 28.09, 28.10, 28.11, 28.16, 28.17, 28.18, 28.22, 28.23 and 28.24.

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331.   Are you coaching or provide coaching to pitchers?

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     In my Pitching Instruction file on the home page of my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com, I explain the circumstances under which I provide instruction.   Basically, for high school graduates, I will only train them for forty weeks starting the third Saturday in August.   For high school Juniors and Seniors, I will train them for eight weeks during the summer.

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332.   Baseball is crazy not to request your services as a roving instructor.   Often times I think baseball utilizes the principle of out of sight out of mind.   None of the instructors of which I am aware actually have the background to teach perfect principles and techniques of pitching.   You have the ability to talk to these clubs.   Please talk to my favorite team, they need your help.

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     Thank you for the kind words.   I do have access to the general managers of the major league teams.   They know who I am.   If they wanted me, they could contact me instantly.   They do not.

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333.   When I throw the pronation curve, the long finger presses against the seam and starts the spin on the ball.   However, the index finger (radial side) is the last thing that touches the ball.   This allows me to only pronate and throw exactly as I do the fastball.   Looking down on the top of the ball with no pitching motion of the upper arm, the ball spins counterclockwise.   It spins the same way as a roundhouse curve, but comes off of the index finger last.   Different positions of the forearm 70 to 90 degrees and different heights of delivery affect whether it has more vertical or horizontal motion at the plate.

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     The ring finger side of the middle finger presses tightly against the horizontal seam at the top of the baseball.   To impart the horizontal spin, the middle finger moves laterally.   As the middle finger brushes through the top of the baseball, it forces the top seam forward.   I strongly suggest that you practice all releases of pitches with the pickoff position leverage throws.   The pickoff leverage throws isolates the forearm, wrist, hand and finger action.   You should have your forearm well inside of vertical.   To throw curves with the spin axis you describe, your forearm is well outside of vertical, probably because you are throwing it with the whole pitching motion and have forearm flyout.   I keep my students at the pickoff position leverage throws for several weeks or until I see that they have mastered the release.

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334.   I just found out that Barry Bonds has been taking Creatine and Amino Acids.   Is this why he's taken off, or are these "acceptable" in your view.   Barry Bonds has long been what I considered the ideal hitting machine.   He walks a lot, doesn't strikeout much, has power and speed.   Being an educated man, I'm sure you realize that over the course of a season, there are certain laws of Mathematics that will bring players into particular ranges, depending on their skills, physical makeup, etc.

     Anyway, in your opinion, what would you consider UNACCEPTABLE drugs, and what would be ACCEPTABLE.   The reason I ask you are:   1.   You know medicine and baseball.   2.   You know what is good for the body and what is harmful to the body.   3.   You are a former pitcher who is training future pitchers (who might be harmed by steroid pumped batters).   4.   I know of a nutritional company that sells Creatine, and I find it hard to believe they would sell something that is toxic and destructive to a person.   I don't know of anyone who would be better suited to determine what is acceptable and not acceptable in this performance enhancing drug problem Baseball is going through, then you.   Your opinion as a former pitcher should weigh heavily regarding what should be acceptable.   You're a doctor, and should be very well acquainted on what will destroy a player and what won't.   I believe you'd be able to help so many baseball players, if you'd at least get your voice out there on the subject.


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     I have no definitive research on Creatine and Amino Acids. Creatine is a part of the Phospho-Creatine self-sustaining biological energy cycle for the type of fast-twitch muscle fiber that we can use only in 'fight or flight' emergency situations.   I think that it is hype and of little value.   Amino Acids are critical in building the Actin and Myosin protein filaments that make up the basic contractile unit of muscle.   However, I think that we get all we need from appropriate dietary intake and anything more makes for expensive defecate.

     I am very concerned about steroids.   I would ban their use with the admonition of lifetime exclusion from major league baseball.   If found in current players, I would remove their statistics from the record book and take back any awards that they may have won as a result of their fraud.   The commissioner has power to do anything for the 'good of the game.'   He should not negotiate this matter with the Major League Baseball Players Association.   He should enact this ban unilaterally and prevent any player who does not submit to testing until he does so.   Steroids are and will continue to ruin the game.

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335.   The information you provide is invaluable and has prompted me to buy a used kinesiology textbook, so I can become better educated with regard to your book.

     Here is my question.   My 14 1/2 year old son is 6' 2" and 145 pounds and appears to still be growing.   He is the first baseman for his team and pitches a few innings a week in relief.   In two outings in which he had to pitch three innings or more, he had a lot of soreness in the biceps of his throwing arm.   He described the pain as a dull ache about three inches above the elbow, right in the "meat' of the biceps.   He has had no pain in his elbow, shoulder or any other joint nor any other muscular soreness.

     I am wondering if this is just lactic acid buildup because he may not be in shape to pitch.   His throwing at first base consists mostly of relay throws and warming up the infielders between innings.   Should he be throwing more to increase his lactic acid threshold, or is there another problem here?


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     Discomfort in the Biceps Brachii area, probably the Brachialis muscle, indicates that he is fighting forearm flyout.   Forearm flyout results from pitchers reverse rotating their shoulders too far such that the baseball moves laterally behind their body.   This means that catchers can see the baseball laterally behind the body.   Then, when he returns his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body, he creates a centripetal force that strongly pulls his forearm away from his upper arm and his Brachialis muscle tries to stop so that he can use his Triceps Brachii muscle to accelerate his pitches through release.   He has to stop using the 'traditional' balance position and reverse rotating so far.

     In beginners, it is possible to use the fast-twitch glycolytic muscle fibers that metabolize muscle glycogen and produce lactic acid.   Any form of mild aerobic exercise will metabolize lactic acid and eliminate any discomfort it causes.   I recommend gentle swimming, namely the breast stroke.   However, after these initial bouts of lactic acid discomfort, pitchers move into metabolizing other energy sources that do not generate lactic acid.

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336.   My brother is 25 years old, he currently pitches minor league baseball.   He walked on at college as a shortstop/pitcher.   They ended up making him a fulltime starting pitcher.   He throws in the high 80's - mid 90's.   The problem is, in the last few years, he has be so durable that he has thrown many innings.   Thus, last year, he was sidelined with some arm injuries.   He missed most of spring training, then stayed for extended training.

     I heard your interview.   I was very interested in what you had to say as it applies to my brother.   My question to you is there anything I can do to help him get on your program.   It sounds like you work with younger kids/teens (non-professionals)?   Would there be any way he can contact you or get your program?   I am going to talk with him about this, he is a very hard working man.   I feel his problem is the instruction and direction he gets from hsi coaches.   His concern is that they want to run the show and will not be receptive to outside training.


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     I also work with professionals.   This off-season, I will have six spending their entire off-season training with me.   They need to get stronger, correct flaws that unnecessarily stress their pitching arms and improve the variety and quality of their pitches.   I do not believe that any professional baseball organization has anybody who knows how to train or teach pitching.   I recognized that when I played and I took over my own training.   That is how I trained myself to set records that nobody will break.   I believe that young pitchers have to take control of their careers.   If they are not able to develop their own training program based on high speed film and advanced courses in the Physiology of Exercise, then maybe they should go to someone who did.   They can try what I say and decide whether they agree or not.

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337.   It's been a year and seven months since I first spotted your website.   Your name recognition and the scientific content of your material was the attraction.   Mainly, I was already reading and favoring scientific reports on the pitching motion for about two years prior to finding your site.

     The truth is I never pitched baseball in a competitive baseball league.   My main forte was teaching hitting.   However, to teach hitting better, I figured it would be wise to learn more about pitching.   Thus, the beginning of my pitching instructional career.   After many moons, I figured out that all the books and video instructions on pitching were totally worthless.   Eventually, 90% of the pitchers that I thought I was helping through these books and videos were coming up lame and could not pitch anymore.

     My son is a medical doctor and my daughter is a physical therapist.   They directed me to a Biomechanics organization.   I started to read the reports and studies on the pitching motion. My kids became interested in the pitching motion because over and over and over again, pitchers would come to them for rehabilitation and then go back to pitching and return for rehabilitation over and over again.   They concluded that there must be some thing wrong in the mechanics that these pitchers are using.

     After reading these reports and studies, I started to implement their findings into my teaching instructions.   I was having a slow process of success following these findings on these reports and, then, I read your material for the first time.   I realized that your research was far above theirs.   If it had not been for the previous knowledge of these reports, I probably would be in the same mind frame as the rest to the baseball world, who consider you a quack, aloof and condescending.   Your message of change must be marketed and brought to the public as soon as possible.

     To do this by yourself is a monumental task.   I wish you could get a program together with a staff of trusted aides to do a major promotion on your material.   After nineteen months, I can steadfastly argue your point one by one against any so called guru of the old traditional pitching instructions.   I know your are a loner like myself, but you are the main man and I have to encourage you to promote your material in a national campaign.

     Your straight line approach is the answer to saving allot of kids from permanently injuring themselves.   So please consider exposing yourself on a national level.   You can apply for government grants to help with the financial aid to do this project.   As your followers, we can add by indorsing your product, but you and you alone must get it out nationally.   The public is ready for the change.


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     I applaud your interest in promoting my materials.   I am more cautious in my approach.   I continue to learn and get better results.   I prefer to continue as is for awhile longer.   I need until next June to have sufficient digital videotape to upgrade my Instructional Videotape.   Nevertheless, we have to expose the 'traditional' pitching motion as the cause of hundreds of thousands destroyed pitching arms.

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338.   Here's a couple of questions for you:

1.   John Smoltz throws an outstanding low and outside fastball to RH.   Can you accomplish that, with your two seam Torque fastball?   Do you have good movement with it?   Forget about velocity.

2.   Not locking your elbow while throwing the fastball, does it take some speed off the fastball?

3.   Could you voluntary take off some speed on your fastball?   How?

4.   What would you do with the Maxline or Torque curve, grip wise, to take some speed of the curve.   I know four seam and two seam curves have 10 mph difference.   But, with the same grip, how do you take some speed off?

5.   I saw on a video what Dan Plesac call his slider.   He actually grips the pitch like a four seam curve and throws it like a curve, but with the elbow level with the shoulder and a release point past the usual curve.   The follow through shows that Plesac brings his pitching hand under his glove side armpit.   Could it be your Torque curve?


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     Here are a couple of answers for you.

1.   I have always considered movement more important than velocity.   When pitchers can throw four seam and two seam Maxline and Torque fastballs that move differently, hitters have a challenge.   However, if they can throw all those at ninety-five miles per hour, it would help.

2.   No, because it injures the olecranon process and fossa, locking your elbow takes velocity off fastballs.

3.   No, I can get the spin axis with sufficient spin velocity without decreasing horizontal velocity.

4.   Two seams decelerate the horizontal velocity of curves one-half as much as four seams.   I also have pitchers keep their elbow bent more throughout on four seam curves to increase spin velocity and decrease horizontal velocity.

5.   I have no idea what Mr. Plesac does.   I certainly would not compare it with what I teach.

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339.   Fascinating.   I have two pictures of him pitching taken from the third base dugout side.   When his pitching arm is fully extended behind him, his torso completely obscures his arm.   Just as you predicted, his arm is too far laterally behind his body.   Your analysis appears to be spot on.   I will show him the pictures and explain to him how he can stop the soreness.   Is there a particular chapter in your book that describes the flyout you describe?

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     I discuss my entire pitching motion in Section IX.   I have probably discussed forearm flyout more in my Question/Answer files than in my book.

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340.   I am interested in going through your forty week program.   I am 24 years old and have been out of baseball for five years.   I blossomed early in my career.   I was pitching in the mid 80's at age fourteen with great breaking stuff.   I lived baseball up until I was sixteen.   I spent hours each day after school training to be a Major League pitcher.   Everyone knew that I would someday play pro ball.

     At age sixteen, I got caught up in the party crowd, got out of shape, and got a bad case of 'Mackey Sasser syndrome.'   I was throwing pitches over the backstop.   I quit trying at baseball and have regretted it ever since.   I have since completed a college education and, currently, have a mid-management position in the financial services industry.   I know I have what it takes.   I can work harder than anyone.   I know that I do not belong in the business world and need something like this forty week program to bring me up to speed and get me playing pro ball.

     What are your thoughts?   Yes, I have been out of baseball for awhile.   Can I realistically make a comeback if I dedicate my life to it?   Nothing has ever given me the satisfaction that I used to get when taking the mound.   I am 6'1" and weigh 190 pounds.   I know that I have what it takes.   I just need a few good resources to help me get started.


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     Unless you can throw ninety-five miles per hour, no professional team will take a twenty-five year old.   Without at least two years of college eligibility, your chances are very slim.   I could not in good conscience take money from you.   You are welcome to complete my forty week program on your own and email me with questions.

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341.   I have some questions.

1.   Table 28.02 says pitchers should throw two seam Torque curves on the first pitches to pitching arm-side pull hitters during his first at bat.   Whether the first pitch is a ball or a strike, they should follow with a four seam Torque fastball.

2.   Table 28.03 says pitchers should throw two seam Torque screwballs on first pitches to pitching arm-side pull hitters during his second at bat.   Whether the first pitch is a ball or a strike, they should follow with a four seam Torque fastball.   So, second pitch, both at bats, they throw four seam Torque fastballs.

3.   Against pitching arm-side pull hitters, all pitches are thrown from the pitching arm side of the rubber.   Does this include Maxline pitches?

     With my son for next year, we will learn one curve and one screwball. Any problem using your pitch sequences, but not differentiating between two and four seam pitches, except for fastballs?


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     I have some answers.

1.   Pitching arm-side pull hitters want pitches belt high and below to hit.   Therefore, we throw fastballs belt high and above away from them and non-fastballs away from them.   My two seam Torque curve is the best non-fastball with my two seam Torque screwball second.   These non-fastballs give us the best chance of throwing non-fastball strikes.   I would prefer to not throw fastballs on second pitches, but young pitchers may not throw sufficient non-fastball strikes.   Therefore, we throw the type of fastball with which this type of hitter has the most difficulty.   I would call these sequences, 'Beginners Level.'

2.   For the reason stated above, we throw second pitch fastballs.   I would prefer to wait until pitchers have thrown a strike with a non-fastball.

3.   In the first three At Bats, we do not move pitchers around on the pitching rubber.   We are trying to learn what pitch sequence works best against this specific hitter within the general sequences for this type of hitter.   Remember, we always treat batters as pull hitters the first time that we face them.   They have to prove that they can hit the baseball to the opposite field with confidence and authority, an undercut bloop does not count.

4.   Turning the baseball ninety degrees is basically the only difference between four seam and two seam pitches.   However, I would advise that he learn the four seam Pronation curve, but the two seam True screwball.

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342.   My son was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his elbow.   What typically leads to a pinched nerve in the elbow?   What are the alternatives (aside from a surgical procedure to move the nerve) if the problem persists?

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     How old is your son?   I want to know the maturation of the growth plate of his medial epicondyle.   The Ulnar Nerve passes through a groove behind the medial epicondyle.   You cannot 'pinch' the nerve like you can a nerve that exits the vertebral column.   However, you can irritate it.   When pitchers irritate their Ulnar Nerve, they experience tingling down the little finger side of their forearm and numbness in the little finger and the little finger side of their ring finger.

     Some pitchers have irritated their Median Nerve.   The Median Nerve passes across the anterior surface of the elbow and through the anterior surface of the wrist.   When pitchers wrap their wrist, they can irritate the Median Nerve.

     Neither situation requires surgery.   He has to learn new force application techniques.

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343.   We have all seen pitchers who as they pendulum swing pronate their arm so that, at leverage, the left-handed pitcher has the ball facing the shortstop.   Is this type of swing causing potential injury?   Is it taking away from velocity and control?

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     I do not want the baseball facing backward at leverage.   I want the palm facing away from the head.   Between the end of the pendulum swing and when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline is where pitchers should rotate their forearm in to the proper pitch that they want to throw.   When the baseball faces backward at leverage, the forearm has farther to rotate to get into proper position.   It adds unnecessary stress that reduces velocity and control.

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344.   Do you demonstrate your curve and screwball grips on your video?

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     I personally demonstrate the grips and releases for curves and screwballs.   But better, my kids demonstrate their grips and releases with their iron ball throws.

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345.   My son will be 16 in October.   Doctors have said that his growth plates are 80-90% closed.   The doctor has taken a very conservative approach to diagnosing his problem (over a five month period).   X-rays were clear, MRI showed nothing unusual.   They finally did a nerve test.   He had noticeable weakness in his pinky and thumb.   Diagnosis was constriction of the Ulnar nerve.   He was on anti-inflammatory for two weeks and in a splint at night for three weeks, goes back to the doctor this week.

     He will be put on a doctor-prescribed throwing program.   He first experienced the pain last December.   He was pitching.   It was so sore he could not grip a bat.   He could not throw or bat for two weeks because of lingering pain.   He did not throw for three months.   In March, he had started Spring throwing and went for a pitching lesson, mainly for a mechanics check.   He threw from flat ground, loosened up real well, then probably threw harder than he should have and developed the pain again.

     Doctor visits started then.   This doctor works with pitchers, including pitchers from a major league team.   X-rays were clear.   He rested a couple of weeks, then told to throw and work through it.   Basically, he did that by throwing only 60-65 mph but only able to throw three innings.   The last two games he actually began getting the speed closer to what he typically throws (80s+), but still only completed four innings.

     He required surgery to solve another minor medical problem that he had and rested the arm for six weeks.   He began throwing again, catch on flat ground and long toss.   As soon as he started pitching again or threw with harder velocity, his arm hurt.   He hasn't pitched since.   MRI was done, showed clear.   Then the nerve test.


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     Unless your son is a very delayed maturer, sixteen years old should be safe for him to pitch without concern for the growth and development of the growth plates of his pitching arm.   Therefore, his problem is unnecessary stress.   Unnecessary stress results from bad force application technique.   Undoubtedly, he is using the 'traditional' pitching motion that has destroyed hundreds of thousands of pitching arms in the over one hundred years of its use.

     It is time for him to stop reverse rotating his shoulders too far.   It is time for him to stop pulling his pitching arm.   It is time to stop dropping his elbow under his pitches.   I could go on with the flaws of the 'traditional' motion, but, for your son to pitch without discomfort, he will have to forget all about how everybody does it and embrace my pitching motion.   I describe it in Section IX of my free Coaching Pitchers book and show it in my Instructional Videotape.

     Pitchers never throw harder than they should have.   They have to throw as hard as they can.   'He will be put on a doctor prescribed throwing program.'   This statement scares me more than anything else you have said.   I have spent forty years scientifically investigating how to safely apply force to pitches and a doctor has developed a throwing program.   I doubt it.   He may say something like throw ten fastballs from twenty feet and so on.   But, I guarantee you that he does not have the slightest notion of how to satisfy Newton's Three Laws.

     One last thing.   Clear X-rays and MRI's do not mean that everything is fine.   He may have premature growth plate closure.   He may have a loose humeral-ulnar joint because he has stretched his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   He may have a loose glenoid-humeral joint because he had stretched his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.   None of these show up on X-rays or MRIs.

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346.   How much practical application from the 280-day training plan (iron ball, etc.) or instructional video can be used for a 16-year-old who does not pitch, but plays shortstop and needs to improve his velocity.   He registered four consecutive throws of 84 mph on a Stalker radar gun in a controlled environment (on turf in a sports dome) in February.   While that's fine for a sophomore, he has been told he needs to be in the 88-90 range his senior year.

     We do long toss (3 sets, 15 each or two sets -- depending on his arm feels that week) from September through March and then try to get at least one 3x15 set in a week once high school/summer ball kicks in.   He trained/played under a former profession infielder for three years (12-14) and the last two years has been instructed by another infielder coach.   Both did wonders with his footwork.   His strength/conditioning coach has helped him cut his 60-yard dash time.

   Now, we're stuck on improving arm strength to improve his radar gun clockings from shortstop.   Any suggestions?


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     I use my Maxline and Torque fastball techniques to strengthen the throwing arms of position players all the time.   I would strongly recommend it for your son.   You will have to adjust the number of repetitions to account for throwing only one type of pitch each day.   I played minor league shortstop for four full years.   I find my pickoff and wrong foot throwing techniques especially beneficial for position players.

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347.   What, in addition to your videotape, do need to obtain to start working with him on your program August 1st.   My son currently plays on a talent-laden 18-under Connie Mack-AABC team that will compete in district/regional competition the next two weeks.   He played WR-DB and did all the kicking/punting/returns on his high school football team as a sophomore last fall, but will just kick/punt this fall.   So, we can get a program such as this into working order.   If he's at 84-85 mph now, what realistic goal should be set for early December.

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     I would recommend that you and he review my Coaching Pitcher book, especially Sections IX and XI.   My videotape and book go hand-in-hand.   I have no idea what to expect his velocity to be in December.   I only know that he needs to get allot stronger with his pitching muscles and master my Maxlinea and Torque fastball force application techniques.

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348.   I take a professional interest in your teachings.   I'm a baseball writer who thinks it's akin to a crime that young pitchers get hurt as often as they do.   But today, I'm writing about something a bit more specific, the pitches you threw.   I'm working on a book that includes pitch repertoires for many hundreds of major league pitchers.   If you don't mind, I'd like to run our "Mike Marshall entry" by you.

Mike Marshall
Pitch Selection:   1.   Fastball, 2.   Screwball, 3.   Slider. 4.   Palm ball
Note:   The Seattle Pilots forbade Marshall from throwing his screwball in 1969.
Sources:   Ball Four (Jim Bouton), The Relief Pitcher (John Thorn).

     We don't necessarily list the pitches in order of frequency, but rather quality.   So, I suspect it might be appropriate to list your screwball ahead of your fastball.   But, what I wanted to ask you is, did you really throw a palm ball?   In Chapter 25 of your book, that doesn't show up as one of your pitches at all.   Also, I wanted to ask if it's true that the Pilots wouldn't let you throw your screwball.


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     If you want to know what pitches I threw in what percentages, you already have the best information from my Chapter 25.   I threw my two seam Maxline fastball, a silly slider and four and two seam Maxline and Torque true screwballs and Maxline and Torque true sinkers.   I think Dave Gustie (spelling?), a fine relief pitcher for the Pirates, threw a palm ball changeup.   I never did.   Sal Maglie did not understand or like my screwball, but I threw what I wanted.   Ensuing years demonstrated the effectiveness of my reverse breaking pitches.

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349.   My 13 year-old son has been pitching from the 10 years of age.   He never before had problems.   The problem that he has now is that after throwing a game he finishes with tinglings in the fingers of its arm.   Could you to recommend me something to avoid that type of problems?

     In addition to the tinglings, could you comment on my son's dream to pitch in the big leagues?   He is so good, but it is difficult to predict the future.   I believe that it is valid that he has dreams.   How would you hope a pitcher that throws a ball to 72 mph at 13 years old.   What will throw at 18 years old?


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     The tingling that your son feels in his fingers after pitching is because he is irritating his Ulnar Nerve.   The Ulnar Nerve passes through a groove that is behind the inside of his elbow.   When he pitches, he drops his elbow under the baseball and stretches his Ulnar Nerve.   He has to stop turning backward so far and keep his elbow up after he releases his pitches.

     I have no way of knowing how fast he will throw at eighteen years old.   I do not know whether he is an accelerated maturer or not.   If he is an accelerated maturer, then seventy-two miles per hours is not exceptional.   However, I worry more about thirteen year olds who pitch too much that they might injure their pitching arms.

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350.   After printing out, perusing, but not studying, your free book, I'm more than just intrigued.   I'm eager to get going toward developing a workout program for my sixteen year old son and to incorporate the same principles for his eighteen year old sister who plays Division I softball.

     I must admit the free book is quite overwhelming for a non-physiology student.   My daughter is the smart one in the family, so I'm trusting there will be guidance.   My kids have had throwing mechanics with a local throwing guru.   But with this stuff, I'm sure we will be reaching into the outer limits of what we think we already knew.   I will now attempt to declassify your information.   I'm hoping to have this program, shall we call it, Advanced throwing for young adult shortstops, in place by August 1st.   That will give my daughter almost three weeks to absorb some of the principles and take them along with her to college.


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     I look forward to your comments, or should I say your daughter's comments?

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351.   I know you don't recommend this, but what if a pitcher's hand was facing his head at leverage what would be the affects?   Also, our trainer saw your video and saw the wrist weight exercises.   His question was, could this action cause dislocation?   How about with someone who previously had a dislocation?

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     I have recently redefined 'leverage' as the moment when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.   At the end of the pendulum swing, I want the palm facing away from the pitcher.   At leverage, I want the forearm to be in position for the type of pitch.   When pitchers throw curves, they should have their palm facing their head.   If they have their palm facing their head at the end of their pendulum swing, then they will have rotated their forearm into position for a curve too early and they will likely circle their arm outward into forearm flyout.

     The wrist weight exercises prevent shoulder dislocation.   Unless students have some injury like previous shoulder dislocations, we start at ten pounds.   To begin, we train at gentle intensities.   We gradually increase the intensity and the resistance until we can easily decelerate twenty-five pounds to stops after full intensity straight-line drives.

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352.   My son is a high caliber player.   But, this spring he was diagnosed with a chondroblastoma in his right hip.   On July 1st, he had surgery to remove the tumor.   Doctors said it was about the size of the end of a thumb.   They also put in a bone graft to replace the area.   I'm concerned about what stresses are involved in pitching or baseball in general.   Should he forget about pitching?   Right now he's in a body cast, but we were wondering what type of rehabilitaion would you recommend.

     Our doctors have been great, but I've found many do not know the rigors of a competitive athlete and I'd like another opinion.   I also realize you can't give real medical advice over the internet, but would still like to hear your comments.


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     The doctors should be able to tell you when the surgery has healed sufficiently to permit normal movement.   The human body is remarkable in its ability to recover and strengthen.   While I am not certain what movements he cannot do, I am sure that he can start with few repetitions and little resistance and steadily increase both and the body will respond.   I know that is what I did when, after I had major back surgery, my doctor said that I would never be able to pitch again.   Two years later, I set the American League record for appearances and games finished.

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353.   I am still trying to understand forearm flyout.   I understand it to be horizontal movement of the forearm away from the shoulder perpendicular to the trunk.   When does elbow extension occur?   Is it after the trunk is facing the plate and the upper arm is horizontally adducting?   If this is so, then flyout is premature extension of the elbow?   I know that reverse rotation causes it.   But, I want to know the precise definition in terms of when the elbow is inappropriately extending.

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     Forearm flyout occurs between when the pitching arm reaches driveline height and when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline.   The centripetal force of the pitching arm returning from laterally behind his body to the pitching arm side of the body forces the forearm to continue to move laterally, much like the last guy in the 'crack the whip' line when ice or roller skating.   The forearm flys outwardly, hence my term 'forearm flyout'.

     The Triceps Brachii cannot extend the elbow joint to apply force during forearm flyout because the Brachialis is contracting to protect the olecranon process from slamming into the olecranon fossa.   As a result, the elbow drops under the baseball at release which is tangent to the flyout arc rather than a straight-line drive.   The elbow should not extend until the forearm acceleration phase begins after pitchers have forwardly rotated their shoulders to the proper position.

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354.   I have been viewing with great interest your video on pitching.   I was particularly fascinated to finally see a tangible example of the pitching motion you describe in your books.   Also, I was very glad to be able to see exactly how you hold and deliver your various types of fastballs, curves, sinkers, and sliders.   Mastery of all those pitches would be an overwhelming arsenal.

     Within the next year or so, I am anticipating an influx of pitching students anywhere from 10 to 16 years old (maybe a little older).   I want them and especially their parents to be aware of the state of their arms from age to age.   To that end, I am going to require that they provide me with an X-ray analysis of both their elbows, both initially, when I first meet them, and about once a year if they decide to continue in my care.   I want this analysis to be done by a qualified orthopedic doctor of their choice.

     What questions should I require to be answered about the state of the development of their elbows in regard to the areas vulnerable to injury from pitching?   The pictures of Andy Messersmith's elbow are particularly educational and disturbing.


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     I appreciate that you understand and appreciate what I am trying to do for adolescent and adult pitchers.   When I agreed to work with fifteen year olds, I required bilateral A/P and lateral X-rays of flexed and extended from mid-shaft humerus and forearm.

     The appearance of the ossification centers for the olecranon process and lateral epicondyle clearly describes the status of the pitching arm to apply maximal force.   The Triceps Brachii muscles cannot powerfully extend the elbow when the olecranon process remains growth cartilage.   These are good guides for parents to understand for when their youngsters are ready to pitch.   Without a mature olecranon process, they are at risk.

     The only flaw in your design is the ability of radiologists to analyze the X-rays.   They can see these structures, but can they adequately compare the rates of maturation of parallel structures in both arms?   Can they tell us the status of the Ulnar Collateral or Gleno-Humeral Ligaments?   The Gleno-Humeral Ligaments are in the shoulder.   I have neglected discussing the growth plates of the shoulder.   We should also X-rays the shoulder to analyze the growth plates of the humeral head and lesser tuberosity.   The Subscapularis attaches to the lesser tuberosity and can suffer significant injury.

     My thought on training immature pitching arms is to teach them the proper releases of all pitches with my pickoff and wrong foot techniques.   I prefer to keep them away from the set position or windup until they master the proper releases.   The danger is in the set position and windup throws.   This is where reverse rotation, early and late forearm preparation, forearm flyout, elbow pull and elbow drop rear their ugly heads and injuries result.   The transition between my wrong foot throw technique and set position technique remains the most difficult for youngsters and adults to learn.   I am working hard on solving this stumbling block.

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355.   I was reading the question and answer section where you said some Major League Baseball Players were training with you this off-season.   About a year ago, I believe Peter Gannon, the baseball color commentator on MLB on ESPN, mentioned your name.   He said that your accomplishments are astounding and nobody will probably break you records.   He said when sportswriters asked you about how you did what you did, you answered, like you do in your book, Kinesiology, Physiology of Exercise and Motor Skill Acquisition.   He claimed that was the future of baseball (especially Pitchers).   I think with more exposure you could be the pitching coach of the century and nominated into the Hall OF Fame, though you should have already have been there.

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     I expect to work with six professional, not major league, pitchers with whom I worked in recent years this off-season.   I have worked with other professional pitchers, including major leaguers, over the years.   However, I now place the requirement of twenty consecutive weeks over two consecutive off-seasons on my help.   I have found that the major and minor league pitchers who contact me for help want to spend less effort and time than I believe necessary.

     I am unaware of Mr. Gammons comments, but what you attribute that he said that I said is true.   The answers to no more pitching arm injuries lie in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition.   I said this first in the 1960's when nobody cared what I had to say, again in the 1970's when everybody printed what I had to say and every day since.   Just because people do not understand Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition and how it relates to pitching is not sufficient reason to continue a 'traditional' pitching technique that has destroyed hundreds of thousand of professional, college, high school and youth baseball pitchers.   That technique is wrong, it is broken and I know how to fix it.

     With five years ranked seventh or better in the Cy Young balloting, the first and, in my opinion, the only relief pitcher who earned the Cy Young Award and the relief pitcher with the four meaningful records of relief pitching, namely appearances, innings, consecutive game appearances and games finished, I agree that I should be in the Hall.   However, sports writers make that decision.   I prefer the acknowledgements that I have received from people who understand baseball, like Gene Mauch and Walter Alston.

     With regard to working as a major league pitching coach, I would consider that a step backward from what I am doing.   However, if a General Manager would put me in charge of pitching throughout a major league organization and permit me to develop pitchers as I want and make me the final arbiter of where they pitch, how they pitch and when they pitch, I would consider it.   I am not holding my breath.

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356.   I am 23 years old and haven't pitched pain free for about 5 years.   When I left high school, I was throwing relatively hard at around 80-85 mph.   The summer after graduation I was playing catch and my shoulder hurt when I threw a baseball, but not when I did anything else.   There was not much pain even when I would threw a football.   At that time, I was throwing harder than ever, in the upper 80's to low 90's.

     I was rather naive about the conditioning and care my shoulder needed because I would throw as hard as I could basically without any warm-ups and without icing afterwards.   I have gone to Junior college and a division 3 school, but the pain wasn't subsiding.   With about a week off, my shoulder pain was severely less than if I tried to throw a couple days a week.   Through time, the pain has lessened.   I visited doctors when I was about 20 and had an MRI taken.   They said that they didn't see anything and that my shoulder was structurally sound and my rotator cuff was fine.

     This pain is in the back of my shoulder where the arm meets.   Could you give me your opinion on what the injury might be and steps I can take to rehabilitate/   I would like to get back to throwing in the low 90's and I would also like to know what you think might be the best route for me to take since I am out of college, as far as where to look to play.


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     Discomfort behind the shoulder involves muscles that decelerate your pitching arm.   The area that you describe indicates the Posterior Deltoid and/or the Teres Minor muscles.   To unnecessarily stress these muscles, you have to be pulling your pitching arm across your body.   The solution to stop this pain is to stop pulling your pitching arm across your body.   I recommend that pitchers drive their pitching arms in straight-lines from leverage through release and even through deceleration.   Pitchers must never pull their pitching arm either across their body or downward.   I am sorry, but I have no suggestions of where to pitch for college graduates.

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357.   I pitched a lot when I was younger, probably way too much when I was way too young, as I started pitching seriously when I was 10 years old.   I never could throw as hard as others.   I didn't grow much until after high school, but I had good control.   I ended up going to college, but, by the time, I had started to grow enough to generate reasonable velocity.   Eventually, I stopped pitching and earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.   What I really wanted to ask you was about a pitch I developed myself and used quite a lot.   I was wondering whether it would be any more dangerous to a pitcher's arm than a fastball.

     Grip the baseball as you would a 2-seam fastball, with your index and middle fingertips grasping across both seams.   Now, let the ball sink a little towards your palm, but without touching your palm, such that it is suspended by your fingertips and your thumb, but that the line between your fingertip pressure point and your thumb pressure point is above as much as possible the center of gravity of the baseball.   Now, as you release the ball, orient the 'U' of the horseshoe towards the plate.   Instead of snapping your wrist in the normal fashion, snap your wrist such that the pressure points rotate towards home plate at the same time.   The pressure points move forward in a line perpendicular to the line between the pitchers mound and home plate.   Notice that the wrist is snapped towards home plate, like a fastball, but the wrist is approximately 90 degrees from its normal orientation, relative to the forearm.

     When the wrist is snapped forward like this, because the pressure points holding the ball are located above the center of gravity of the ball, the ball rotates backwards like a curveball with the top of the ball rotating forward towards home plate before eventually releasing.   Because the ball moves backwards relative to the wrist before releasing, the pitch acts naturally acts like a changeup and because as a function of this backwards motion the ball rotates backwards like a curveball, it also naturally achieves a curveball-type motion.   By varying the distance above the center of gravity one can vary the amount of spin and hence the amount of change-up and curve action.   By putting the pressure points along the centerline of the ball, the ball develops very little spin and the minimum of change-up action, acting like a hard-knuckleball although I never found this version to be too effective.

     In my experience, this pitch was pretty effective, though I never really had the time or opportunity to develop it fully.   I called it the "U-ball", for obvious reasons.   But, I pitched in my early 20's on a number of Sunday leagues with some success using this as my curveball.   It seemed to me a lot easier to control than what I would think is it's closest relative, the forkball.   But, I always worried about the different angle of the wrist compared with the fastball.   I never had much in the way of elbow trouble, but I have in recent years had some trouble with my shoulder, probably related to throwing a lot of innings when I was younger and throwing for the Sunday leagues without enough training during the week.   What do you think about the "U-ball"?

     You mentioned in one of your question-and-answer sessions that Tommy John did not suffer from problems with his force-application technique.   It seems to me that, relative to your work, Tommy John did 2 things wrong.   1. He threw somewhat sidearm and 2. he stepped somewhat toward 1st base, or across his body.   Am I right to perceive these issues with his mechanics?   Or was this more a function of camera angles?   What could you comment on, in general, on the mechanics of Tommy John?


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     Despite your attempt to thoroughly explain your pitch, I cannot visualize what you do.   However, pitches are defined my their spin axis, not their grips.   I recommend pitches with horizontal and spiral spin axes and high spin velocity that pitchers can throw at maximum intensities without unnecessarily stressing their pitching arm.   However, I am glad that it gave you some pleasure.

     Tommy John suffered his Ulnar Collateral Ligament rupture as a result of a biochemical imbalance.   I never said that his force application was perfect, only that it was not the reason for his injury.   I agree with your generalized assessment of his technique and I would make adjustments that I describe in Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book.

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358.   Love the pitch sequence stuff now that I understand it!   Now, how does the pitching coach signal each of these pitches to the catcher?   Next question:   how does the catcher signal 4TSc v 2TC plus the requested location.   I'm not very experienced with signals, so this seems pretty complex to me.   I guess the pitch can have a number (FB 1; C 2, Sc 3).   Then signal seams.   Then signal Maxline or torque?   Do you have another way?

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     Pitchers call their pitches.   We use one finger for fastballs, two fingers for breaking balls and three fingers for reverse breaking balls.   When catchers put down one finger and we want to throw a breaking ball, we brush our shirt above the belt to add one.   When catchers put down one finger and we want to throw a reverse breaking ball, we brush our pants below out belt to subtract one.   We use the roll back and roll over system, i. e., one from one equals three and three plus one equals one.   We have the catcher sit on the glove-side one-third of home plate and catch whatever we throw to either side of home plate.

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359.   I have some questions about your videotape.

1.   I'm not used to nets, or walls.   A real catcher would have give me a better perspective of every pitches.

2.   I was expecting your true sinker and slider grip to be across the two narrow seam.   But, you hold the ball along the 2 seams.

3.   You say, at the end of your video, that your most valuable pitch of the six his the true sinker and the less valuable is the torque slider.   Could you explain because you did remove your true sinker from your program because of conflict with your screwball.   What about the torque slider?   Why?

4.   I feel that there's not enough breaking pitch to throw away from right-handed hitters.   At least from your video.

5.   Real slider, curve with 1-7 rotation, screwball with 11-5 rotation, are they potential pitch that could be added to your program or the danger is to big?   Did you only throw 12-6 screwballs through your major league career?

6.   Only if you know about:   I'm very curious about Kerry Wood injury and surgery.   We are talking about a rare talent.   They say that he hurt his arm while throwing a big hard breaking slurve.   Do you know how he threw that pitch and why he hurt himself?   How in the world could a major league coach let such a thing happen to a phenom like that with all the monitoring around him.


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     I appreciate your words about my videotape.   Here are my answers to your questions.

1.   Pitchers do not learn how to pitch as rapidly when catchers catch them.   Catchers complain when pitchers bounce pitches.   Therefore, we throw baseballs to nets.   We throw our iron balls to reinforced concrete walls.

2.   Yes.

3.   The two seam screwball meets the need of my true sinker.   But, I did not remove the sinker spin axis, I moved it to the two seam Maxline fastball as an alternative.   When pitchers try to learn the slider before they master the proper release action for the curve, they tend to undercut their release and hyperextend their elbow.   I have not given up the slider, I delay it until I see that pitchers will not injure themselves.

4.   We can throw four and two seam Torque curves and screwballs to pitching arm-side hitters.   I think that is enough.

5.   Curves with spin axes outside of vertical place the elbow in great danger.   Screwballs with any spin axis does not place the elbow at risk.

6.   I have no idea about Kerry Wood.   However, Major league pitching coaches do not have any idea what they are doing.

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360.   My son ended his baseball season.   He played very well at the national tournament, making only two outs, both on very well hit balls and reaching base on hits or walks the other six times he batted.   He pitched a spectacular game in the state quarterfinals, striking out a heavy hitter on a Torque curve and pitching his team to the semis.

     We are putting balls and gloves in the deep freeze for several months.   If he asks to practice hitting, we will.   If he asks to practice fielding, we will.   But, if he asks to practice pitching, we will not.   We will start with the 60 day program in February, focusing on Torque and Maxline force application techniques for fastballs, screwballs and curves.   For now, we're going fishing.

     Thanks for the great information, the prompt and thorough responses and most of all, for being available to us dads.


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     I worry about you starting my 60 Day Adolescent Pitcher Training Program in February.   To continue learning my curve and screwball, I have no problem with your son occasionally practicing pickoff throws from leverage, but do not start my program until June.

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361.   I'm shocked by your response that he can throw occasionally.   He also never complained of arm pain or soreness, nor did I see any signs that he had them and was hiding them.   At the national tournament, we saw your Adult Male Maturation tables at work.   One team of 12 year olds had a pitcher who was at least 6' 3".   The same team's shortstop was about 4' 8".   Quite a contrast.

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     Just to make certain.   I did not say that he could throw in any conventional way.   He can practice his releases with pickoff position leverage throws.   These throws do not stress any growth plates in any meaningful way and they eliminate any harmful flaws.   It is the set and windup positions that are so harmful.

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362.   I have been diagnosed with post interossis nerve of the radial nerve.   I believe that is irritation in the right forearm.   This started in about February.   I am in physical therapy and receiving ultrasound and doing a variety of stretches.   I was wondering if you had and information on how to treat this or had some ideas.

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     The Radial Nerve is the posterior division of the three divisions that supply the muscles of the upper extremity.   In the upper arm, the Radial Nerve innervates the three heads of the Triceps Brachii, Anconeus and Brachioradialis muscles.   In the forearm, the Radial Nerves innervates the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus, Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis, Supinator and Extensor Carpi Ulnaris.   It also serves muscles that extend the fingers.

     You say that the irritation occurs in the forearm.   The Radial Nerve passes through the elbow under the Brachioradialis muscle on the lateral side of the forearm.   At that point, it innervates the Brachioradialis, Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus and Brevis and Supinator muscles.   Unlike the Ulnar Nerve, it does not pass through a bony groove that can irritate the nerve.

     You did not give me your symptoms.   If you could specify precisely what you feel and where, we might be able to determine what is causing the irritation.

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363.   Last year, I watched a 12 year old break his arm while pitching in an all -star tournament.   It was heart breaking as he may never pitch again.   I would really like to avoid that kind of anguish for my two sons.

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     What a horrible story.   We have to treat our children better.   I am trying to alert parents to the dangers of youth pitching.   If, like you, I had sons who wanted to pitch, I would do the following.

1.   Until they were eleven years old, I would use my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program.   I would use my pickoff position, leverage and transition throws to teach them the proper way to release my four-seam Maxline fastball, my four-seam Torque fastball, my Maxline Pronation Curve and my Maxline True Screwball.   They would learn the set position or windup throws.   They would not pitch competitively.

2.   At eleven years old, I would again use my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program.   I would add my wrong foot, leverage and transition throws to learn how to position their shoulders to properly position their pitching arm to release my four-seam Maxline fastball, my four-seam Torque fastball, my Maxline Pronation Curve and my Maxline True Screwball.   They would learn the set position or windup throws.   They would not pitch competitively.

3.   At twelve years old, I would use my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program.   I would add my set position and windup throws to learn how to properly use their front arm and both legs to position their shoulders to properly position their pitching arm to release my four-seam Maxline fastball, my four-seam Torque fastball, my Maxline Pronation Curve and my Maxline True Screwball.   They would learn the set position or windup throws.   They would not pitch competitively.

4.   At thirteen years old until completed growth plate maturation, I would again use my 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program.   If my sons had learned how to correctly throw four-seam Maxline fastball, my four-seam Torque fastball, my Maxline Pronation Curve and my Maxline True Screwball in the strike zone, I would teach them how to sequence these pitches to the four types of hitter and permit them to pitch one inning per game no more than three times per week for a total of two months per year until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures.

5.   When bi-lateral X-rays showed completed maturation, I would start them on my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.

6.   After they completed my program, we would work to improve their consistency and knowledge of pitch sequencing.

     Without regard to whether they have the physical gifts to throw ninety miles per hour, they will have injury-free fun learning the chess game that is baseball pitching at its highest level.

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364.   In a recent answer you said you have a group starting on the third Saturday in August which would be August 17, 2002.   Is this true?   If it is would it be more beneficial for me to visit at this time to see the program get off the ground as compared to coming later and seeing a more finished product?

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     I think that every step in the process is beneficial to witness.   The strength training is ongoing throughout, but the motor skill learning has clear phases.   I start with the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   Without the proper release action for the pitches, the rest is a waste of time.   Next, I add length to the driveline while keeping the release action.   The critical third step is taking the driveline length and release action to the set position body action.   I am working on a 'no-stride' drill to facilitate this process.

     The set position is where the 'flaws' of the 'traditional' pitching motion appear.   Those flaws place the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers in positions where it is impossible for them to provide the proper release.

1.   The reverse rotation causes forearm flyout and pitchers cannot straight line drive through release.

2.   The balance position forces the pitching arm to try to catch up with the body and pitchers cannot get behind their forearm to drive through release.

3.   The high guard position causes a reverse forearm bounce and a forearm loop and pitchers cannot keep command of their forearm acceleration through release.

4.   When pitchers pull their elbow across the chest or pull their elbow downward, they cannot drive the baseball straight toward home plate.

     Every step in the process interests me.   I leave it to you to decide what stage you want to watch.   We train for 280 days and every day is important.

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365.   I'm a little late for my 12 year old as he has pitched the little league limit of six innings per week during the season.   According to his doctor, he is just starting puberty so I am limiting how much he throws.   He can learn better techniques, however.   Incidentally, he is also a marvelous chess player and his school team placed in the national tournament last year.   I believe pitching is mostly mental once the physical aspects have been mastered.

     The 14 year old is just starting to pitch so now is a good time for the video.   He is very gangly due to his rapid growth and is "losing touch" with his body.   Do you agree that a rapid growth period is a key time to create muscle memory?


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     I also love chess and agree that pitching is the ultimate chess match.   However, you have to have the variety of pitches to successfully compete.   I don't know that during a rapid growth spurt is the best time to learn motor skills.   He will learn how to use his arm only to find six months later that it is another inch longer.   Nevertheless, it is good to not have flaws to unlearn.

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366.   Initially I thought I had tennis elbow as the bottom of the elbow outside was burning just in front of the bone and the top of the forearm was also burning.   My GP doctor diagnosed me with tennis elbow and gave me two cortisone shots in the lateral epicondylitis area.   But, I still had pain in the elbow area for 2 weeks, after a month the pain in the elbow subsided I tried some exercises on my own with light weights lbs.   (wrist curls).   I then got a dull ache in the forearm about 3 inches up from my elbow joint.   I also tried to rotation exercises which also produced pain in my forearm area.   Burning type pain.   The Ortho doctor had diagnosed me with post interossis nerve irritation.

     This dull ache like pain in the middle was constant of my forearm 2-3 inches in front of my elbow joint that wouldn't go away even with icing.   Pain in my elbow area mainly subsided.   In Physical therapy, the symptoms were re-aggravated with a burning pain towards the bottom of my forearm and 1-2 inches above that point.

     In PT, they then have had back up to passive stretching of the hand with the elbow bent verses range of motion exercises which seemed to aggravate my symptoms.   I think I may have irritated my arm initial hitting golf balls in cold weather (I live in Minnesota) where I hit some shots thin and got the symptoms of tennis elbow.   Basically, the feel was like mis hitting a ball on the end of the bat allot of vibration.

     I am doing passive stretching now bending the hand back elbow bent my real concern is return to sport, golf and because this involves rotation of my forearms this seems to be the exercise that reaggravites the burning sensation.   I still have some burning pain off and on though it has subsided.   My fear is that returning to golf will re injure the area for two reasons, 1.   Irritation of impact or 2.   The rotation of my forearms, etc.

     In PT exercises, the return the burning sensation is rotation of my forearms, the pain returns in about a day or two I do not have pain right at the time of doing an exercise.   It is in my right forearm that has the problem.   Is there some exercises I can do to prepare this area with regard to supination.   Maybe it is those supinator muscles you mentioned.


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     You have described the Radial Nerve pathway through the elbow.   The burning sensation lower in the forearm results from the irritation above starting in the Sensory and Motor Cortexes of the brain.   I still have no idea what is irritating the nerve.   It lies under the Brachioradialis muscle and over the Supinator muscle.   When you rotate your forearm inwardly, you may compress the Radial Nerve.   I don't know that I want to give you my supination/pronation exercise.   Has the doctor checked for everything else that might inflame the nerve?

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367.   It is interesting you also play chess.   I have read your chapters on the pitch sequences to use on various types of batters and it makes a lot of sense.   I wonder how many professional teams do this type of empirical research.   They certainly have availability of data.

     I am reminded of Jim Bouton's comments in "Ball Four" about pre-game meetings and what to pitch batters.   "Just throw him the heat."   "Don't give this guy anything to hit," etc.   Not very scientific.   I believe you were on that Pilots team the year he played, but you may have been injured.

     With regard to my younger son (and older son), I will not allow them to throw a traditional curve ball so they have "invented" an off speed pitch they refer to as the "funky pitch."   He holds the ball with his middle finger on the seam and his index finger barely touching.   The result is less speed and the ball breaks down and away from right handed batters.   He does not rotate his wrist as with a traditional curve ball, the middle finger pressure seems to impart the spin.   Do you see any issues with this?   Tommy John lives here in Charlotte and he calls "his version" of this pitch the "one finger curve" which he teaches to local coaches.

     Because of a shortage of pitchers this year, my younger son once had to pitch his weekly limit of six innings entirely in one game.   In hindsight, this was not a good idea, but we did monitor his pitch count.   By mixing his funky pitch with his fastball, the result was a 61 pitch perfect game.   I am not trying to brag on him, I am just agreeing that mixing pitches is crucial.

     His control is remarkable and other coaches (and a former professional) have commented that his mechanics are very good.   However, these are layman's views compared to the amount of research you have done.   You are the only professional of which I am aware that has studied the science of pitching.   I hope that we will be able to use the video to full advantage and ensure that he develops proper techniques.   He loves to pitch (more than batting) and it is difficult for me to convince him that he should not pitch this fall.   Coaches have called asking him to pitch and I have said no.   I am considering letting him play on a team with older boys so that he will play a position and not be expected to pitch at all.


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     The professional teams do chart every pitch of every game.   However, they have the next day's starter do the chart in some hope that he is paying attention to what is working and what is not.   In reality, I would not take the data he collects as valid.   I have never seen any team look at that data after the game.   They do try to make hitter charts as to where specific hitters actually hit the baseball.

     The Seattle Pilot story of clubhouse meetings where hitters tell pitchers how to pitch the hitters from the other team is true for most teams.   It is another silly attempt to inject science into the game, but it was meaningless.   I worked it another way.   I told the coach in charge of player defensive positioning where I wanted the defense when I pitched to each batter.   That worked reasonably well until we encountered defensive players who would refuse to move.   Then, it became a matter of who made more money and more trade security.

     Any pitch with any grip that requires pitchers to supinate their forearm at release places the elbow at risk.   I am in the process of developing my Pronation Curve that, when pitchers perform it correctly, removes the risk.

     When I hear someone say that coaches say that someone's pitching mechanics are very good, I become concerned.   They compare what pitchers do to the 'traditional' pitching motion.   The 'traditional' pitching motion has destroyed hundreds of thousands of pitching arms over its over one hundred years of use.   I will bet that he uses the balance position, reverse rotate his acromial line well past home plate and so on.

     First, we have to get him to use my pickoff position leverage throws to learn the proper forearm, wrist, hand and finger action for all pitches.   Then, we can talk about what else to do.

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368.   I have several questions for you.

1.   I've watched your video and can't understand the mechanic involved in throwing your pronation curveball.   Ulnar flexion of the wrist followed by forearm pronation gives the ball a 12-6 forward rotation, but, at the end, your hand is turned with palm away from the body.   I know that all of the flaws involved in throwing a normal curve, e. g., forearm flyout, loop, ... ) is to be avoid, but what make you call that pitch a curve.   It breaks sharply downward that's for sure, but the wrist at the end is in the screwball position.

2.   I may be missing something, but I would have liked to see your full motion of the Maxline and Torque delivery, in slow motion, step by step.   Everything there is too fast.

3.   The same goes with all the mistakes pitchers are making while throwing a baseball.   Too much time showing your pitchers practicing, drills, but not enough time showing proper technique.

4.   Since your slider and sinker are held along two seams, is both of your two seam fastballs have the same grip or it's across the two seams.   What about your two seam curveball and screwball grips?

5.   If you want a fastball low inside against a LH, can your two seam Torque fastball move enough in?   Do you put finger pressure on that pitch since it has the same grip as the two seam Maxline fastball.   I suppose that you use the same supination as the four seam Torque fastball.


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     Here are some answers.

1.   When pitchers pronate, they turn their palms outward.   That is why I call it a Pronation Curve.   You have to get rid of 'traditional' thinking that the only way to achieve a horizontal spin axis is to supinate your forearm and have the baseball come out over your middle finger.   My way achieves a better spin axis with no upper limit to spin velocity.   Pitchers get stronger over the years and throw higher spin velocity curves.   The best way to see the hand action is to watch the iron ball throws.

2.   I showed all baseball throws in one-half speed.   The only way to show it slower is to have more than thirty frames per second which is the frame speed of digital camcorders.   With thousands of dollars and a full film crew, I could film my pitchers with high speed cameras.

3.   Every wrist weight and iron ball exercise shows the proper technique.   Also, I had to use students at the end of their second training cycle.   They were not highly skilled.   That is why I say I will do another videotape after I finish training my next group.   I will have more quality performers to show.   I will also have examples of them when they arrive and when they finish.   It provides a better opportunity to show flaws with corrections.

4.   Same thing.

5.   To throw a fastball low and inside to glove-side spray hitters, I teach two seam Torque fastballs.   The slight turn to the glove-side that I teach my pitchers forms a circle of friction on the pitching arm-side of the baseball and that circle of friction moves the baseball toward the glove-side of home plate.

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369.   I understand the mechanics of how pronation prevents injury, but how do I explain to college kids how pronation can add to velocity?

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     Pronation permits pitchers to apply force to their Maxline fastballs longer than supination and it does not unnecessarily stress their elbow.

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370.   I saw your video for the first time last night.   Are there opportunities for coaches to have one on one instruction from you?

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     Anybody at anytime can attend our training sessions.   I will gladly demonstrate and explain anything.   We train from 9:30AM to 11:30AM every day.   I will also gladly answer any email questions that you might have.

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371.   I was wondering if you have ever seen the book on pitching by this other guy?   Do you think this book is any good?

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     For almost forty years, I have conducted my own research.   I do not read what other people write.   I do not know the gentleman to whom you referred.

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372.   How do I get these fast twitch fibers?   Is there a way I can work them out, do certain foods help?

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     Life is real, life is earnest and the grave is not it's goal, but it not fair.   Genetics determine the percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers we have.   Blame Mom and Dad.

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373.     I'm starting to realize all the power generated by the pronation curveball and the spin velocity potential.   The result is a sharp breaking downward pitch.   I don't know if any Major League pitchers are using pronation, but we shall see a new generation of pitchers coming out from your school.

1.   My question though:   what is the difference between your Maxline pronation curve and your Maxline true screwball?   I thought the only difference was the wrist angle, but if there's a pronation the wrist should be the same.   So, why the 12-6 screwball?   What's the difference?

2.   On the video showing you in action, I saw a real good slider and a screwball with side spin breaking away from the left-handed hitter.   I think it's the last pitch shown.

3.   You told me before that the only difference between your Maxline two seam fastball with sinker spin axis and the True sinker was that the two seam fastball had MUCH LESS velocity than the True sinker.   Since you've told me that both pitches have the same spin axis, what make the True sinker have that extra spin?


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     My pitchers do achieve very high horizontal spin axis with my Pronation Curves.   Unfortunately, I do not have dozens of scout searching the world to provide me with the best pitching prospects.   Nevertheless, I greatly enjoy watching these young men work hard to become the best that they can be.

1.   The pronation action for my Pronation Curve definitely differs from the release action for my True Screwball.   However, they should both have horizontal spin axes.   That does not mean that they move the same and they are certainly different for hitters to recognize.

2.   I would not call my slider good.   I would say adequate.   I used all types of spin axes and drivelines with my screwballs.   Those three batters were Molitor, Yount and Cooper in their prime and I was thirty-eight years old.   I am glad that you enjoyed.

3.   Fastballs spin more slowly than screwballs.   On two seam Maxline fastballs with sinker spin axis, we try for maximum horizontal velocity.   On True Sinkers, we try for maximum spin velocity.

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374.   The video arrived yesterday and I am half way through my first viewing.   Some of the iron ball drills those kids were doing are incredible.   I have handled a 12 pound shot put and I am amazed.   Seeing them actually pitch your technique pitches afterwards was very impressive.   Are these college age (18-20) pitchers?

     I clearly have a lot more studying to do before I start my boys on your pickoff drills.   Initially, the drills look awkward and counterintuitive, but they do teach the correct techniques.   I want to try the drills myself so I can better explain them.

     We are both educated men, albeit in very different fields.   One issue I have always had with baseball is that too much of the teaching is based on 100 year old techniques and, to some degree, superstition.   There seems to be very little new development in teaching baseball and, in particular, pitching, except for what you have done.

     Your own career was substantially improved from your personal research and diligent approach to changing your own methods of pitching.   Some of the films of your own early pitching are unrecognizable when compared to your current methods.   Why is baseball so reluctant to respect science and methods that have been proven to work?   Why is anyone with an opinion that challenges the old thinking automatically discounted as a flake?   Do professional pitchers ever come to you and ask for a "makeover," or are they afraid of rocking the boat?


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     I work with high school graduates and college pitchers with at least two years of eligibility remaining.   Therefore, they are eighteen through twenty-two years old.

     My pickoff position isolates the action of the pitching arm.   Without the rotation action of the body, pitchers can make certain that they drive their pitching arm in straight lines from leverage through release.   If you make certain that your youngsters do not take their pitching arm laterally behind their body, they will be safe.   I tell my students to never reverse rotate their shoulders beyond where their acromial line is perpendicular to their driveline toward home plate.

     I always tell my students that if I had known what I know now about the pitching motion, I could have been great.   I cannot stand to see how I threw.   I had far better technique ten years after my last major league game.   Today's pitching coaches teach the same 'traditional' technique that baseball has used for over one hundred and thirty years.   The 'traditional' technique ruins thousands of pitching arm every year and yet they cling to it.   They do not understand research, all they can do is copy.

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376.   I have been visiting your web site for some time now.   I am very impressed with your knowledge of pitching and your sincerity for helping pitchers.   I have just ordered the video for my son, he is a 6'0 185lb JR RHP at 5A high school.   He throws in the mid 80s consistently and is dedicated to increasing his velocity to 90 by baseball season.   He also is a quarterback on the football team.

     There lies the problem in structuring a Pitcher Training Program that will best suit his needs.   He will not be able to do the Adult Pitchers Training Program everyday, but he does have a free period prior to football practice each day where he goes to the baseball field for about 45 minutes.   You see the situation, I look forward to hearing your response.

     Another matter that I would like for you to address, again, is weighted baseballs.   One of our high school players just returned from a showcase where they were pushing the weighted ball training.   I think that our high school coach is planning on using them in the off season.   I have read all that you have written about them in the Q&A sections, but I would like see you address them once more.


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     I would not start your son on my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program while he is training vigorously for football. That is too much physical stress.   To learn the proper releases, he could practice the pickoff position leverage and transition baseball throws.   That would not add to his training stress.   I have an eight-week summer session for high school Juniors and Seniors.   But, I do not start them on the training cycles, I only teach them the skills.

     If by weighted balls, you mean eight, ten and twelve ounce baseballs, then I strongly disagree with their use.   I use six, eight, ten and twelve pound iron balls.   The critical difference is that pitchers cannot use injurious techniques with my iron balls, but they can with the lightly weighted baseballs.   Therefore, those weighted baseballs can cause serious injuries and are insufficient to stimulate the required physiological adaptations.

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376.   My boy is nine years old and he has developed a side arm motion across his body.   He drags his right foot across the ground during his release and his right knee is barely above the ground.   He throws like this whether he is on the mound or in the outfield.   Some days his pitching is perfect, but lately he has lost control.   Out of every ten pitches, at least one is way out of the strike zone (I'm talking about four to six feet outside on the side which he releases).   He can barely get the ball from first to third in the infield.

     I can't begin to tell you how many countless hours we've spent this spring and so far this summer to try and get him to throw overhand.   Both my father and I pitched sidearm, but we could also throw overhand.   My son simply cannot throw overhand no matter how hard he tries.   I don't believe he has any physical problems, I simply think it is all psychological.   He has been throwing things side arm since he was a baby, so I believe it is just a bad habit that he can't break.


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     I have encountered several young men who have had difficulty throwing overhand.   First, I explain to them that they can never become a complete pitcher with sidearm pitches.   Then, I start them on my pickoff position leverage and transition throws.   They have to throw overhand.   If they persist with sidearm action, I have them throw to the net to the pitching arm side of where they are throwing.

     I have to remind you.   He is only nine years old.   He should not throw much other than to learn the proper releases.

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377.   Here is a quote from a recent chat session w/ ex-big-league pitcher:

Caller:   I am young pitcher with a Semi-pro team.   My arm is sore and I am afraid to say anything.   Any suggestions?

Pitcher:   If it doesn't hurt to throw, you're fine.   But if it hurts to throw, you have to say something.   All pitchers have pain before, during and after when they throw but if it brings you to tears while you're throwing, you better call Dr. Jobe."

     After reading your website I was scared for the young man and the advice he was getting from "experts".   I have no question, I just hoped this quote would help to keep you motivated to do your work and to let you know that I appreciate the job that you are doing.


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     I cringe at the advice as well.   No pitcher should ever pitch with pain.   I pitched from 1972 through 1999 without pain.   Pain is typically a result of improper force application technique.   If I knew where he has pain, I will know what flaw his pitching motion has.

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378.   I have been reading allot about ground reaction force and before I get involved with it, I like to hear what you have to say about it.

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     It is in my book.   Newton's third law is the law of reaction.   For every action force, there is an equal and oppositely directed reaction force.   In baseball pitching, this means that if pitchers want to apply greater force toward home plate, they must apply greater force toward second base.   I accomplish this in my force application technique in two ways.   First, when pitchers step forward off the pitching rubber, they push back toward second base with the rear foot.

     My second and unique method with which my pitchers can increase their reactive force is my push back toward second base with their front foot.   In addition to increasing the length of their driveline, when pitchers push back toward second base with their front foot, they increase their reactive force.   If someone is stating this concept as their own, they are plagiarizing and should be exposed as a common thief.

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379.   First of all, your video is excellent!   I recently saw a top major league closer, pitch and could only imagine what you thought of his mechanics.   What Major League pitchers are close to the mechanics you teach?

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     I do not watch much major league baseball.   I could not tell you of anybody who does everything that I recommend.   There may be some who do some things I recommend.   As I say in my video, I want all pitchers to find their own perfection with the techniques that I recommend.

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380.   I'm watching your video on a daily basis, only one segment at the time so that I can assimilate correctly.   I hope when time will come that you will let us know what is to be expected on your new version next year.   In the meantime, here are some gray zone to me.

1.   The driveline of the application force helps to create an illusion (horizontal) on certain pitches.   Because your curve and screwball all have horizontal spin axis, the application force works on the pitches to create an illusion that the pitch really breaks one way or an other.   Would you compare that effect to the rising fastball illusion?

2.   It's not the case right now but once horizontal spin axis is mastered, some other spin axis could be worked on with the screwball.   Would the Maxline force provide more effect on that type of screwball than the one with the horizontal spin axis?

3.   The real backup/backdoor approach can't be used since all of your breaking pitches have horizontal spin axis except the sinker and slider.   But right now, the real slider is not taught for the reason you told me.   My point:   Application force could negate the lateral movement of some breaking pitch.   Example: 11-5 screwball with Torque method, trying to backdoor that pitch on the glove side corner of the plate.   I'm sure that you used the backdoor against RH with your screwball.   Torque backdoor slider against left-handed hitters?   Impossible.   What is the application force to be used for not having are breaking pitch negated by the recommended one?

4.   The speed difference between your fastball and breaking pitches is -10 mph, and -20 mph.   Major League pitchers can have more subtle change of speed on fastball and breaking ball.   Marichal had two fastball speeds, Seaver three, Catfish Hunter too.   Nobody can instruct me on that, I'm sure you know the trick without changing my arm speed.


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     Keep studying my video.   Here are my answers.

1.   My four seam Maxline and Torque fastballs use the four seam spin axis to resist gravity.   However, I want pitchers to turn the horizontal spin axis forward in the direction I want the pitch to move to also have a small circle of friction to help the lateral driveline.

2.   I want a horizontal spin axis.   However, it takes pitchers awhile to get the required fitness that enables them to achieve horizontal spin.   Whether pitchers use my Maxline or Torque drivelines only adds lateral force to the pitch.

3.   I am not fond of the back door type of pitches.   I prefer pitches that move away from the middle of home plate, not toward it.

4.   The arm speed of pitchers remains the same for all pitches.   The change in velocities relates to how much horizontal velocity they convert to spin velocity.   That said, because four seams decelerate pitches more than two seams, four seam fastballs are slightly slower than two seam fastballs.

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381.   I'm reading three scientific reports and they all cover Ground Reaction Friction, but they all explain it differently and I wanted your opinion.   One report actually did a study in that they said that about only 20% of the Ground Reaction Friction comes back up the anatomic joint linkage system to the hand throwing the baseball.   So, my next question is how much Ground Reaction Friction do you think goes to the throwing hand

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     They are still measuring the force that pitchers apply to the ground with their front foot.   They have not yet realized that pitchers should move over their front foot.   That is the problem with reporting what pitchers do rather than researching what pitchers should do.

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382.   This is where I lose the average baseball pitcher's ability to understand scientific data.   They find it very difficult to understand weight back toward 2nd base when moving forward with front foot and weight over front foot, period.   I'm trying to connect with their brains with Ground Reaction Friction because they do realize that 200 lbs. of body weight against the ground can be significant.   So, I am trying to explain that by pushing against the ground with their weight and with the right timing, a pitcher can increase his torque up to perhaps seven times his body weight.   I got that figure from one of the scientific reports.   Any misstatements here?

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     The front foot pushes back toward second base.   That push back moves the body forward.   There is no 'weight' back toward second base.   How much pitchers weigh is irrelevant.   I have no idea what that report was trying to say with seven times the body weight.   I have no idea what pitching motion they were analyzing.   I know for sure that they were not analyzing my motion.   If I were you, I would not get involved with this report.

     With regard to my pitching motion, we move our pitchers ahead of their front foot.   It lengthens the driveline, which enables our pitchers to apply force longer and release their pitches closer to home plate.   The key to our success is the ability to get the shoulders forwardly rotated beyond where their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   The 'traditional' technique teaches pitchers to release their pitches at this point.   However, my force application technique teaches pitchers that this point is leverage and the beginning of the powerful forearm acceleration through release.

     To get pitchers to forwardly rotate their shoulders to have their acromial line pointing toward the pitching arm side batter, we have to get our rear leg ahead of our front leg.   We recently designed our 'no-stride' throw to use between our wrong foot throw and our set position throw.   Essentially, the no-stride throw is the same as the wrong foot throw, except that the pitchers use the set position pitching rhythm and release their pitches before the rear foot contacts the ground out front.

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383.   In your videotape you said that years ago you learned the pitching pronates after each pitch is released.   I don't see many major league pitchers really pronate after each pitch.   What are the benefits of this?   Because most people supinate and "follow through" when they release a pitch!

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     I said that ALL pitchers pronate their forearms after they release ALL pitches.   I did not equivocate.   Everybody pronates after release ALL the time without regard for the pitch they throw.   The reason that you do not see it is that it happens fast, way too fast for the naked eye, way too fast for video.   I discovered this in 1967 and still nobody else knows it.   I showed this in high speed film on my videotape.   Yet, you still do not believe it.   Do not feel bad, none of the mis-labeled experts know this either.   It is a critical reason why they and the 'traditional' pitching motion continue to destroy pitching arms.

     Pitching does not have 'follow-through'.   Pitching has deceleration.   Deceleration ends when the pitching arm reaches forward as far as it can.   After deceleration, pitching had recovery.   Follow-through is another reason why mis-labeled experts and the 'traditional' pitching motion destroy pitching arms.

     Pitchers must drive their pitching arms in straight-lines from leverage through release and through the entire deceleration phase.   When pitchers pull their pitching arms across the front of their body or pull their pitching arms downward, they are unnecessarily stressing their pitching arm and injury results.

     The most important muscle in the pitching arm is the Pronator Teres.   It is the muscle that arises high on the medial epicondyle and attaches to the proximal end of the radius bone.   It is the muscle that drives the forearm forward during the forearm acceleration phase.   Without regard for the type of pitch, immediately after pitchers release their pitches, the Pronator Teres pronates the forearm.   It happens fast.   If pitchers are trying to supinate their forearm, it will appear as though they did supinate, but they did not.

     The reason why the 'traditional' method of throwing curves destroys pitching arms is that the mislabeled experts do not understand the role of the Pronator Teres muscle in pitching.   I doubt that most of them know the Pronator Teres muscle exists.   I do and I know the role.   I also know that we have to use its force positively, not fight it.   That is why I developed my Pronation Curve.   It is a totally new way to apply force to curves.   Pitchers have to discard their 'traditional' thoughts about how to release curves.   We no longer release the baseball over the top of the middle finger.   Now, we drive the ring finger side of the middle finger horizontally through the top of the baseball with forearm pronation and wrist ulnar flexion.   We can throw this curve as hard as we want without unnecessarily stressing the pitching arm and we will never injure the pitching arm.

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384.   When and where is this forearm flyout in a delivery?   What motion can fix this?   This is not the same as the Tommy John problem is it?

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     Forearm flyout occurs when pitchers reverse rotate their shoulder too far such that they take the baseball laterally behind their body.   This means that before they can throw the baseball toward home plate, they first have to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body.   This lateral movement of the baseball centrifugally carries the baseball and the pitching arm too far to the pitching arm side of their body and unnecessarily stresses the inside of the elbow.

     The Tommy John problem commonly refers to rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   Forearm flyout can cause pitchers to rupture their UCL.

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385.   I thought you might like to see this article forwarded to me by a friend of mine who is a sportswriter for Freedom Press.   The writer, by the way spent 8 years in minor ball in the international league and had two surgery's on his elbow.   Since seeing the tape and reading your book, I've become somewhat of a enigma around here.   Locally, everybody knows I'm a big sports guy, so I'm turning a few heads with your data and sending everybody to your web site.

     I'm telling everybody who will listen about the mistakes being made with young pitchers and everybody is wondering why my 14 year old has backed way off his previous mound time.   Being a physician myself hasn't hurt my credibility.   In fact, I've had a couple of dads call me asking for advice to help some sore arms and elbows.   Again, I just give them your website, tell them pain means something is wrong, and to seek out a good sports oriented orthopedist.   I'm not going to comment on the article except to say that a lot of people have a lot to learn.

     We just got back from a great baseball trip to Australia with a traveling group of all stars and to your credit, some of the coaches on the team were aware of your work and seemed to really buy into it.   They were very careful with all the guys arms, not letting anybody overwork or do stupid stuff.   Your message is getting out there.   Hope you enjoy the article.

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Breaking pitches can wear down young arms
By Bill Kolb
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.

     Matt Coney-Tyler was right on track in 1997.   At the age of 12, Coney-Tyler was one of the hottest pitchers in the ranks of Walnut Creek Little League in California.   He had everything you need to be a successful young pitcher: good velocity on his fastball, the ability to change speeds and a knack for locating his pitches.   Then, something happened that very nearly ended his nascent pitching career: he learned how to throw a slider.

     "It definitely wreaked havoc on his arm," said Coney-Tyler's father, Tim Tyler.   "Prior to that he was just throwing a fastball and a changeup, and he'd had no problems.   I attribute his troubles to the slider."   Tim Tyler, a longtime coach in Walnut Creek Little League, said Matt was diagnosed by an orthopedist as having suffered a severely strained biceps and what could only be characterized as a "sore elbow."   When Tyler questioned the possible source of such an injury, the doctor said that it almost certainly could be attributed to the new pitch.   Matt, now 17, will be a senior at Las Lomas High School in the fall.   He is a catcher and relief pitcher on the Knights' varsity squad.   He, too, is convinced that the combination of the slider and his playing catcher, another position that allows no rest for the arm - whenever he wasn't pitching is what did him in.

     "I was actually trying to learn a curve," Coney-Tyler said.   "But I was taught to turn my wrist over - more of a slider.   All that twisting was hard on my elbow.   And I was throwing every game.   I think my arm just got tired."   Father, son and doctor are not alone in their shared belief that fatigue and throwing a breaking pitch were the sources of Matt's arm pain, and a large part of his pitching only four games over the following two years.

     According to a study by the American Sports Medicine Institute, 47 percent of youth pitchers suffer elbow, upper arm or shoulder pain.   The data suggest that these young athletes either are throwing too many pitches, or they are throwing pitches that they shouldn't be throwing at their particular stage of physical development - namely curves or sliders.   "These pitchers are at the formative stages of their careers, both from a physical and athletic standpoint," Oakland A's team orthopedist Dr. Jerrald Goldman said.   "Parents and coaches need to be aware of how many innings pitchers are throwing, how many overall pitches are being thrown, and what pitches they are throwing."

     According to Goldman, throwing too much too soon can lead to injuries in the shoulder, upper arm and most often the elbow - particularly if the player is in the midst of a growth spurt.   Preadolescent growth plates and layers of cartilage inside the bone that generate new bone matter are especially susceptible.   And, with the youth baseball postseason in full swing, this is the time of year when young pitchers are most likely to begin feeling the effects of a full season of work.   Those pitchers, possibly looking for an extra edge against some tougher competition, could be tempted to try something new - and potentially dangerous.

     The fatigue factor increases with each pitch as the summer wears on, further increasing the likelihood of a breakdown in mechanics and a subsequent injury, Goldman said.   It may be hard to believe, but Coney-Tyler was one of the fortunate ones.   His injury, though painful, was relatively minor, and his father was savvy enough to realize that pushing him any further at age 12 could have long-term ramifications.

     San Ramon, Calif.'s, Erik Johnson, a former utility infielder for the San Francisco Giants, had a similar experience.   Johnson pitched on the 1978 San Ramon team that went to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Johnson, then 12, threw so many pitches - many of them sliders - in the Series that it put his career as a pitcher on hold for almost three years.   "I threw 144 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, a lot of them hard sliders," Johnson said. "I was throwing (the slider) incorrectly, and I didn't pitch again until I was 15.   I shouldn't have been throwing the breaking ball.

     Kids aren't strong enough to throw that pitch. You need professional instruction to throw that pitch."   But Johnson, too, was lucky.   "The best thing that ever happened was that we let my arm rest," Johnson said.   "Something wasn't right, and we shut it down. I have no arm troubles now.   It healed, but it took awhile."   Now the director of baseball instruction for EJ Sports in San Ramon, Johnson teaches the fundamentals of pitching to Little League-age pitchers.   Partly because of his personal experience, one of the primary tenets of EJ Sports' instruction is safety.

     "The best pitch in baseball is a fastball spotted on the plate," Johnson said.   "I think it's totally unnecessary for kids to throw breaking balls.   I don't support it at all.   I don't want any of my kids throwing breaking balls."   Others have not been as lucky as Coney-Tyler and Johnson.   "There is a condition actually called 'Little League Elbow,"' Goldman said.   "But Little League is getting a bit of a raw deal, because it has done a lot to prevent this sort of injury."

     Goldman added that Little League has been an active participant in studies regarding arm injuries and how to prevent them.   Little League has established guidelines in an effort to protect young pitchers.   According to Bill Schaeffer, the assistant administrator for District 4, which encompasses most leagues in Contra Costa and Alameda counties in California, no one ages 8 to 10 can pitch more than three innings in a game, and no more than six innings per week.   For 11- to 12-year-olds, no pitcher may throw more than six innings per week.   In tournament play at all levels, no pitcher may throw in consecutive games if he throws more than one inning the previous game.

     "We haven't really looked at pitch counts because that's hard to keep track of," Schaeffer said.   "A lot of managers keep track of pitch counts just (to protect the pitcher).   We don't recommend throwing curveballs until a player is 14, but some parents and coaches want to win so bad that they teach their kids to throw curveballs.   "We don't have anything that limits the types of pitches that can be thrown.   Kids can throw curveballs, two-seam fastballs, four-seam fastballs, sliders, change-ups."   One of the problems, Schaeffer said, is that some parents don't understand the dynamics of a growing body and the wear and tear pitching provides.

     "I've heard of instances where a child doesn't do well in the game, then dad takes him home to throw 50 pitches in the back yard to tune him up," Schaeffer said.   "Sometimes it's not what the child does when they're involved in a Little League game or practice but what happens when they go home.   "Sometimes a kid ends up with an arm injury, not necessarily from throwing curveballs but from throwing too many pitches."   There's a significant difference between a 12-year-old elbow and, say, an 18- or even a 9- or 10-year-old elbow.   According to Goldman, a large part of the problem that 11- and 12-year-olds run into is that, in the middle of a growth spurt, muscle develops at a rapid rate while bone development lags behind.

     "The secondary ossification centers - the growth plates or physeal plates don't fuse to the long bones until an individual is mature - 16 or 17 years old," Goldman said.   "And, since this is where the muscle and tendon joins the bone, it becomes the most inflamed in 11- and 12-year-olds."   Because of the twisting motion in the successful delivery of a slider or a curve, there is an extraordinary amount of strain placed on the medial side of the elbow (the inside part of the elbow, palm up) when a pitcher follows through, Goldman said.   That's right where the bone is weakest during such a growth spurt.

     This strain causes the muscle and tendon to pull severely at the junction with the bone, and often leads to injury.   In severe cases, the muscle is so much stronger than the growing bone that it can pull off pieces of the bone.   "The problem is the way the pitch finishes," Goldman said.   "There is a great deal of stress put on the side of the joint, and the joint is not built to handle the stress."   Dr. Alvin Loosli, a physician at the Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, sees plenty of pitchers with sore arms.   He attributes many of their problems to a fundamental lack of preparation.

     "It's not about pitch count or curveballs, necessarily," he said.   "It's about conditioning - getting the arm ready to do the work.   "If the season starts in March, kids should start throwing around Thanksgiving, maybe two times a week.   By Christmas, they should be getting in 100 throws three times a week."   Loosli stresses the importance of preseason strengthening and preparation, in-season strength training with light weights (3 to 5 pounds) and rest periods between throwing sessions.   "If the only focus is on curveballs or pitch counts, you're missing the whole thing about preseason conditioning," he said.   "My criteria for throwing a curve are if a player is strong and has done a couple of months of throwing.   Then, maybe you can start throwing 10 curves a week."

     Loosli also is highly concerned by the tendency of some athletes to try to preempt pain by using pain relievers before pitching.   "Racehorses were the first athletes to be drug tested, because it was common to give them pain medication before they ran," Loosli said.   "What happens to a racehorse with a sore foot if you keep sending it around the track?   You end up sending him to the glue factory.

     "It's very common for some well-meaning adult to give a kid Advil before he pitches, and that does more harm than good.   We need to treat these young baseball and softball players like racehorses.   Pills only after, never before - practice or play.   That's the way you get worse period."

     Another study of youth pitching injuries published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise followed 300 pitchers ages 9 to 12 for two consecutive years and recorded their complaints of arm pain.   Players who threw 75 or more pitches per game were 50 percent more likely to suffer elbow pain than those throwing fewer than 25 pitches.   Every increment of 10 pitches per game increased the likelihood of elbow pain by 6 percent.   Shoulder pain occurred in one-third of the games played. Elbow pain occurred in one-quarter of the games.

     Goldman said that shoulder pain also is indicative of too much strain being placed on a growing bone.   "A lot of time is actually being spent on this," Goldman said.   "But it's really a common-sense thing. If a kid is tired, don't have him pitch.   If it hurts when you throw, don't throw.   "Mostly, it's about not doing the stupid thing."

     Some keys to avoiding injury, according to Goldman, Loosli and the USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee, are: Encouraging strength training in pitchers of all ages before and during the season, as well as regularly throwing away from the mound.   Implementing a mandatory rest period after each outing that corresponds to the number of pitches thrown.   Based on feedback from the individual, these rest periods should be lengthened if fatigue or pain becomes an issue.   Teaching proper technique for each pitch.   Allowing young pitchers to begin throwing fastballs at age 8, changeups at 10 and curveballs or sliders at 14, but not sooner.

     "The first thing is, once a pitcher is hurt, they can't touch a baseball again until they don't hurt," Goldman said.   "After that, you need to make sure that the pitcher is using the proper mechanics in the throwing motion, and make sure that the muscles are strong enough to handle the load."   While it is not common, Goldman said surgery can become necessary in the most severe cases.   For the most part, strength conditioning, good mechanics, rest, ice, the occasional ibuprofen tablet - after throwing, of course - and good old-fashioned common sense are the antidote for what ails young pitchers.

     Just ask Matt Coney-Tyler, who has fully recovered from his injury, and is throwing - yes, even the occasional curveball - with no pain.   "It was definitely a good experience for me," Coney-Tyler said.   "I learned what not to do.   And I learned some other things.   I lift weights now to make my arm stronger, ice, use good mechanics and throw a lot of fastballs."


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     I don't know what is scarier, the injury reports or the recommended solutions.   'Expert' pitching coaches teach pitchers to supinate curves in the same way that they teach pitchers to supinate sliders.   The only difference is that they tell pitchers to throw sliders like fastballs, which causes pitchers to hyperextend their elbows.   I no longer teach sliders to adult pitchers until they have mastered my new Pronation Curve technique.

     I can understand why Little League Baseball equivocates with their solution to the problem of destroying adolescent pitching arms, they want to keep the money flowing in.   But, what is it with these other guys.

     I really liked the guy who said that youth pitchers should throw more to get into shape for pitching.   Has he never read the results of the studies on chronically stressing the growing skeleton?   It has been clear for years that chronic stress on the growth plate changes their normal growth and development.

     Then, you have this other 'common sense' guy.   Well, common sense is the fool's excuse for lack of knowledge.   His ideas are to treat youth pitchers like little adults.   Take anti-inflamatories after pitching.   Don't throw this type of pitch.   Have an expert teach the proper pitching motion.   And, so on.   These comments show a complete lack of knowledge of normal skeletal growth and development as well as the kinesiology of pitching.

     The growth plate of the medial epicondyle does not care what pitch you are throwing or, for that matter, what object you are throwing.   When you place greater stress on it than it can withstand, you will irreversibly alter its normal growth and development.

     I stand by my recommendations.   Youth pitchers must not throw for more than two months per year.   Youth pitchers must not pitch competitively until they are thirteen skeletal years old.   Youth pitchers must not pitch more than one inning per game.   After the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures, then, pitchers can train.   However, unless they use my force application technique, they will still injure themselves.   They will just not have ruined the skeleton of their pitching arm and I can fix them.

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386.   In an answer to a question you said that you had a new group starting on the 3rd Saturday in August.   That would be August 17.   Is this still the plan?   What time would you start?   Thank you for sharing this information and making your facility available for observation.

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     The new group arrives on Saturday, August 17th.   On Sunday, I videotape them pitching an inning with their present pitching motion.   On Monday, we start our first day.   During the first two weeks, they will be learning the basic exercises and getting their bodies to mobilize their resources to meet the training overload.   After two weeks, they will start the first training cycle of four training cycles.   Each training cycle lasts forty-eight days.

     During the first training cycle, they will practice only my pickoff position, but both leverage and transition throws.   During the second training cycle, they will add my wrong foot and no-stride throws.   During my third training cycle, they will add my windup and set position throws.   It takes about twenty-three weeks to complete the first three training cycles.

     During the remaining seventeen weeks, they take seven weeks to finish the fourth training cycle, after which, they refine their pitch sequences to prepare for competition.   By the time summer arrives, they should be ready to go three times through opposing lineups.

     We welcome everybody to visit at any time.   I am starting a new eight-week summer course for high school Juniors and Seniors.   Eight weeks is not enough time to complete a training cycle.   Therefore, they will only learn proper force application techniques and gain a base level of fitness.   With six throwing exercises to master, I will introduce one each week.   This might be a better time for coaches to see how each exercise promotes my force application techniques and teaches my pitches.

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387.   I read in the first three years Nolan Ryan was in the American League he pitched more then 900 innings, which is ridiculous!   No one can pitch that many innings (with the exception of you) especially a starting pitcher these days.   While you broke allot of records because of your knowledge of pitching, Nolan Ryan did not have that knowledge technically on the pitching arm and throwing a baseball in general.   What do you attribute this to?   His answer in his book was the condition program he had.   He worked on his lower body (squats and more) jog and do upper body exercises.   In your book you say specificity of training trains you for the activity you train for.   But in Nolan Ryan's case it seems his weight lifting actually helped him in throwing so hard and so long for 20 something years.

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     The only way that you pitch three hundred innings in one season is to start forty games and average seven and one-half innings per game.   That means that you are starting every fourth game.   That means that you are getting allot of batters out. That means that you have high quality pitches.   Pitchers pitch with their pitching arms.   They stand up with their legs.   If you do not have an exceptional pitching arm that throws exceptional pitches, you can train your legs all you want and you will still never pitch three hundred innings.   Nolan Ryan was the most gifted pitcher that I have ever seen.   For most of his career, he had very good force application techniques, although I would have recommended some adjustments that I believe would have made him better.   I also would have taught him my reverse breaking pitches.   If he had had the change sinker that he used after he was forty years old for his entire career, he would have improves his career numbers considerably.   Please send me a sixteen year old Nolan Ryan next summer for my eight-week summer program.

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388.   You say that we must accomplish a 180 degrees forward rotation using the Maxline Application Force.   What would help me is to know the starting position of the feet on the rubber (left end of the rubber) and the finishing position through release.   In the windup delivery I can't accomplish as much rotation without having my back turn toward home plate.   Maybe my starting position is not correct.

     With the Torque Application ( right end of rubber), there's a 110 degrees rotation.   If my front leg drive is toward the pitching side of the plate, I have my arm crossing over my front foot with the 110 degrees rotation.   Am I pitching across the body?


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     I teach my pitchers to point their acromial line at the glove-side batter during the double pendulum swing transition phase.   Then, during the forearm acceleration drive through release, I tell them to forwardly rotate their acromial line until it points at home plate.   That is almost one hundred and eighty degrees of shoulder rotation.   In reality, if I had an overhead camera that precisely measured the degrees of shoulder rotation, it would be less, but my pitchers definitely take their acromial line well beyond perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

     Whether they use my Maxline or Torque drivelines, I want them to rotate their shoulders the same.   I agree that the Maxline driveline appears to permit greater forward shoulder rotation, but it does not.   The difference is that, with my Maxline technique, we forearm accelerate through release after we rotate our shoulders, but, with my Torque technique, we forearm accelerate through release while we rotate our shoulders.

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389.   I'm not trying to change anything mechanical, just want to get the right terminology to explain to my students why the traditional instructions they were taught are insufficient and by introducing them to ground reaction force, and that it will set a light bulb off in their brains, if it is explained right.

     So lets for example just come up with a formal explanation of grf. what is ground reaction force? answer, it's the body weight hitting the ground and producing what?   That's the number one answer I want.   We already covered the way grf is wasted when the front foot hit the ground using the traditional methods.   We already covered how your system of instructions recovers the Ground Reaction Force back to the body.

     Here what I'm looking for, I use a 50 pound barbell weight to demonstrate the loss of grf by holding it at shoulder level and drop it straight down to the ground.   The SPLAT noise it make is impressive, when I compare it to the same SPLAT noise the front foot make when using the traditional method of instructions.   Now when you use your method does the GRF spring back to the body or bounce back to the body or is there a better way to explain it, so that the unscientific mind can see our point of view.


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     Ground force reaction measures the amount of force that pitchers apply to the ground with their front foot.   Since I recommend that pitchers move their body ahead of their front foot, my pitchers would apply considerably less force to the ground with their front foot.   Consequently, I do not care about ground force reaction.   It is a measurement without meaning.   Forget it.   Teach your pitchers how to get their rear leg ahead of their front leg without it moving outward to the side or upward.   My new no-stride throwing technique teaches that very skill.

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390.   I have a few questions on your training methods as far as the wrist exercises.   How much?   How long?   With the iron ball exercises, how much force should I use?   At what distance?   How many repetitions?   I would like to know your stance on resistance bands for stretching and strengthening your pitching shoulder with the internal and external rotations.

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     I answer all the questions that you have about my pitchers training program in my Coaching Pitchers book and Instructional Videotape.   With regard to resistance bands, if that becomes a sport, then I will recommend that you use them.   Otherwise, I recommend my training program.

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391.   When a kid has his throwing arm in the high cock position and his front foot still hasn't hit the ground, his foot will hit the ground like the 50 pound weight.

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     Pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height before they start their body forward.   Between this moment and when they move their pitching arm into leverage, they should step forward.   They should step into leverage.   Then, when they move their rear leg straight forward, they should forearm accelerate their pitches through release.   At release, they should have their shoulders forwardly rotated as far as possible toward home plate.

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392.   I couldn't agree more with your comments.   It's amazing that they perceive a problem, but have no clue how to solve them.   I'm disappointed that physicians, especially the orthopedic guys and pediatricians.   They have not looked at or addressed this problem in a large public forum or with a position statement.

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     I have seen some position statements, like from a group in Birmingham, AL.   Unfortunately, they did not base their opinion on research, but in trying to appease youth baseball programs.   I am similarly disappointed that my fellow Physical Educators have not addressed this in a large public forum.

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393.   Here is the scenario.   A major college pitcher entering senior year who has, for the first time, seen himself on videotape.   We observed wrist cocking and then, as you watch the rest, it appears very ugly with hyper-extended elbow and the shoulder leading and the forearm kind of horizontal, but toward the left shoulder rather than straight back.   Hopefully, you get the picture.

     I have been reading your materials and the questions and answers and I thank you in advance for the thoughtfulness and patience you demonstrate.   Please understand my preliminary reading has me nervous and understanding your message is a whole approach.   I guess under the circumstances what should be corrected first and what is realistic in terms of change as fall ball is only a month away and D-1 pitching coaches do not spend much time or have much sympathy for analyzing mechanics.


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     Pitchers cannot see what they do.   It is a good idea to take videotape.   High speed film is much better.   Then, if pitchers understand what they should be doing and why, they can start the process of changing their force application techniques.

     I advertise that pitchers should not waste eligibility.   But, that is precisely what they do.   They go to college with a scholarship not knowing what they are doing and never learn what they should be doing and why.   They waste four years of eligibility.   If they were to take one year off before they start college and train with me, they would learn what they are doing, what they should be doing and why.   Then, when they go to college, they can be perfecting what they should be doing.

     With only one year of eligibility remaining, you do not have sufficient time to take a year off to learn these lessons, return to college and become totally comfortable with your new technique and pitch selections.   Nevertheless, if you have thoughts of pitching after college that is precisely what you need to do.

     Your case reminds me of a young man with whom I worked about five years ago.   I worked with him before his Senior year of college baseball.   He did well, but not good enough for the affiliated teams to draft him.   He played independent baseball and did fine, but he had personal relationship concerns that prevented him from continuing to train during his off-seasons.   Now, after quitting independent league baseball, he has pitched in local men's leagues and perfected his motion and his pitches.   Five years too late, he is showing that he has the ability to pitch beyond college.   But then, it is his life to waste.   Unless older pitchers can throw 98 mph, the 'Rookie' story does not happen.

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394.   In chapter 28, you say that pitching arm-side pull hitters should be pitched from the pitching arm side of the rubber.   So, Torque pitches are to be expected.   But, in your pitch sequence, there is a 4MF and a 2MSI (Table 28.02).   The same goes for all other type of hitters.   Does that means the same hitter is being pitch from both ends of the rubber since both application force have opposite starting position on the rubber?

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     We definitely want to throw pitches away from pitching arm-side pull hitters.   So, we stand on the pitching arm-side of the pitching rubber and throw pitches to the glove-side of home plate.   However, we can throw the appropriate type of fastball from the pitching arm-side of the pitching rubber to the pitching arm-side of home plate.

     These pitch sequences apply only for the first three At Bats against hitters.   After that, pitchers need to study how individual hitters responded to the first three At Bats and design how they want to pitch them in their fourth At Bat.   After the fourth At Bat, pitchers need to study how individual hitters responded to the first four At Bats and design how they want to pitch them in their fifth At Bat.   And so on.

     We first treat all hitters as pull hitters.   After they prove that they can hit the baseball to the opposite field with authority, we treat them as spray hitters.   After they prove that they also can pull the baseball with authority, the games begin.   Then, we stand on both sides of the pitching rubber and throw to both sides of home plates from both positions.   After they show that they can adjust to what we are doing, we make them have to continually adjust to new sequences.

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395.   I am 15 years old and I have currently been having problems with my pitching shoulder.   I have only started two games in little league and I am just now beginning to think about pitching seriously in high school.   However, this past year during my starts, my baseball coach confronted me after the game and said that I was side arming the ball.   I know that I sidearm the ball, but for the past few years my arm has felt better when I do go down to that 45-70 degree angle.   I believe it goes back to an injury that I suffered when I was 10 years old.   I don't quite know what the doctor's diagnosis was, but I do know that I had my arm in a sling for 3 weeks.

     Since then, whether I was pitching or not, I have not been able to throw overhand without pain in shoulder.   When I was about 11, I started throwing sidearm in games, and had until now.   My coach and dad believe it is a bad habit and say that it is not good for my arm, but I really don't know what to think.   After watching some MLB pitchers such as Byung-Hyun Kim however, I have come to believe that my style is more deceptive and I think I get a little more movement on the pitches.   Overhand, I am a mediocre pitcher who can locate sometimes, with a good sinker.   Sidearm, I am deceptive with a good curve, and two-seam sinker.

     Overall, what I am asking is this.   Is pitching sidearm detrimental to my young arm?   Is this a bad habit?   Also, do you have any suggestions on how I could throw overhand without hurting my arm given my hazy descriptions?


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     It is very important for pitchers to drive their pitches in straight-lines toward home plate from leverage through release.   It is possible to do this with a side-arm delivery.   The major league pitcher that you mentioned does this very well.   However, the side-arm style is very limited in pitch selection and movement.   Their curves and screwballs do not break downward.   They cannot make their fastballs move toward both side of home plate.   Opposite-sided hitters can see their pitches very well.   The only advantage is that very few pitchers throw side-arm.

     The shoulder has two major growth plates that do not completely mature until nineteen years old.   That could be the source of your discomfort.   However, you also have important pitching muscles that attach to the shoulder.   You could have strained them.   You also have shoulder capsule connective tissue that surrounds the shoulder.   You could have injured that.   It is almost impossible to know for sure.

     If I were you, I would try my pickoff position leverage and transition throws.   These throws require you to use only your pitching arm without significant body movement.   They are over-hand throws.   They teach you the proper releases for my pitches.   I would proceed gently and see how your shoulder responds.

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396.   Knowing that Torque or Maxline pitches can be thrown the other way of the rubber sometime make sense, though the maximum drive line is not accomplished.   I would like some precision about other thing, please.

1.   Your Torque Slider that you teach is the 2-S Torque pronation curve. Little finger leading, fingers pointing downward, ulnar flex and pronation of the wrist, everything should lead to an horizontal spin axis.   But, you say that this slider has a spiral spin axis.   I can see the dot on the video.   I don't understand how you are obtaining a spiral spin axis while throwing a pronation curve (horizontal spin axis).

2.   You say that the sinker is to the slider what the screwball is to the curve.   Spiral spin axis characterize slider/sinker pitches. But the true slider generate more horizontal break normally than the sinker.   The true sinker generates more downward movement than horizontal break.   Can you explain me that?

3.   I've talked to you once about your e-book as part of another web site.   It seems that OLD stuff of yours is there.   I don't know because everything there has got your signature.


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     When pitchers throw Maxline pitches from the glove-side of the pitching rubber to the pitching arm side of home plate, they get the advantage of driving the baseball laterally.   When they throw Maxline pitches, notably the fastball, from the glove-side of the pitching rubber to the glove-side of home plate, they have to forwardly rotate their shoulders farther and drive the baseball at a point about twelve inches off the glove-side of home plate.   You could call this a 'back door' fastball.   The purpose is that hitters cannot simply assume that when my pitchers stand on one or the other side of the pitching rubber, they will throw the baseball only to the opposite side of home plate.

1.   I do not teach the slider until pitchers show that they can properly release their curves.   The problem with sliders is that pitchers mistakenly think that they have to drop their elbow under their release and supinate their forearm.   Properly thrown, the slider release is the same as the curve release, except that the drive the side of their middle finger diagonally through the top of the baseball instead of horizontally.   This give the baseball a spiral spin axis.   Until they master the pronation release, this pitch is too dangerous to practice.

2.   I said that the slider is to the curve as the sinker is to the screwball.   The slider and sinkers spiral and the curve and screwball spin horizontally.   The true sinker moves downward because the circle of friction is on the top, forward surface of the pitch.   The slider moves laterally because the circle of friction is on the top, side surface of the pitch.   In general, circle of friction pitches move away from the circle of friction.

3. When I first put my book on my web site, someone from the site you mentioned emailed me.   I have no control over what they put on their site.   Obviously, if you want my latest information, you will need to be on my site.   I never go to other web sites that discuss pitching.   All of my thoughts are my thoughts.   It is called academic integrity.   I only read refereed research periodicals, not off the top of the head silliness without any scientific basis.   And, I find that most refereed research periodical articles are without merit.

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397.   I have been watching your video, reading the book and the Q&A, and I have a few questions.

     Why do you use two force application techniques (Maxline and Torque)?   You mentioned something somewhere about 'room' to locate pitches, but I couldn't visualize it.   I understand what function you have assigned each, and the different motions themselves, but I was not able to glean the theory behind the innovation.

     You stated that accuracy is a function of technique, and that your pitchers drive the ball in straight lines toward the selected location, but couldn't one method or the other locate the ball anywhere aimed?   Traditional coaches, the craft oriented coaches as opposed to the scientific oriented ones, stress that the pivot foot start from the same place each pitch, and either the front foot or hand adjusts.

     Somewhat related to the last question concerns tipping off pitches.   Most traditional coaches rail on about tipping off pitches to hitters, yet I have seen it reported that both Koufax and Gooden in their primes tipped off, though not knowingly, their pitches, yet still dominated.   Today, some hitters claim they cannot hit Greg Maddux's circle change even when they know its coming.   How important is this issue in relation to having two force techniques coming from extreme sides of the rubber?

     I can picture your "drivelines for the feet", but am still unsure of the exact foot position.   In the set position where the pivot foot is close to parallel with the rubber, how far is the pivot foot toe past the end of the rubber, if at all?

     It is often said that hitting is timing, and pitching is upsetting timing.   If so, then wouldn't a pitching strategy of randomizing location, movement, and speed of each pitch be most effective?

     I am not sure I understand the functional difference between the pronation curve and the true screwball.   Both have horizontal spin axis, and break down and slightly in to the pitching arm side batter.   Other than speed, how do they differ?   The traditional curve was supposed to break down and somewhat away from the pitching arm side, while the screwball did the reverse.

     At the end of the classic pitching motion, the pitching hand of many pitchers collides with the glove side hip.   With your Maxline technique, it seems that the arm would hit the pitching side hip, although most of your young students seemed to follow through the traditional way.   The wrist weight exercises demonstrated in the video tended to stop at pronation and the arm did not drop all the way down.   Please clarify the optimal position.

     I hope I have not missed the obvious with some of these questions.   Every time I watch the video and consult the book I pick up a little more.


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     I teach my Maxline force application technique to enable pitchers to drive pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate such that the move away from the center of home plate.   These pitches are extremely effective against glove-side pull hitters.   I teach my Torque force application technique to enable pitchers to drive pitches to the glove side of home plate such that they move away from the center of home plate.   These pitches are extremely effective against pitching arm side pull hitters.   I do not want any pitches moving toward the center of home plate, I want them to start toward and move away from the center of home plate.

     To maximize the lateral movement, I have my pitchers stand on the glove side of the pitching rubber and throw to the pitching arm side of home plate when they first throw their Maxline pitches and stand on the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber and throw to the glove side of home plate when they first throw their Torque pitches.   I understand that hitters quickly make the assumption as to where my pitchers are throwing their pitches.   However, although we would lose the lateral movement, we can throw our pitches to either side of home plate.   That is precisely what happens when pitchers stand only in one spot on the pitching rubber.

     When pitchers stand only on the pitching arm side of home plate, they throw best to the glove side of home plate.   This helps them with pitching arm side hitters, but they have trouble with glove side hitters.   In my scheme, this makes them half-effective.   My pitchers have pitches for all types of hitters.

     Some hitters cannot hit certain pitches no matter what they do.   Pitching arm side and glove side pull hitters typically cannot hit pitches that move away from them.   If pitchers can throw these pitches, they will have success against these hitters.   However, pitching arm side and glove side spray hitters typically can hit pitches that move away from them.   If pitchers can only throw these pitches, they will not have success against these hitters.   I love pitches with high quality that stand alone.   However, for those of us without these extremely high quality pitches, I prefer a variety of movement, speed velocity changes and locations.   When we throw varieties of pitches that move contrary to what hitters want to hit, we will limit the hits and limit the extra base hits.   Skill will outclass power.

     In Chapters Twenty-Four through Twenty-Eight, I provide what pitch pitchers should throw first, second and so on.   I scientifically analyzed every At Bat during my 1973 and 1974 seasons and present the results.   From that data, I provide pitch sequences that I recommend pitchers follow.   They are not random, but specific to the four types of hitter and their weaknesses.   However, they do utilize the movement and speed variables.

     My Pronation Curve and True Screwball do have the same spin axis.   However, that does not mean that my pitchers can achieve that spin axis with their True Screwballs.   Nevertheless, I do have several pitchers who can achieve the perfect horizontal spin axis with both pitches.   They remain very effective due to the fact that hitters see entirely different arm and body actions, but the pitches move similarly.   In the final analysis, my True Screwball achieves higher spin velocities and, as a result, moves more dramatically.

     I teach pitchers to drive their pitches in straight lines through release and the deceleration phase.   When the pitching arm stops moving straight forward, it tends to drop downward.   The 'traditional' technique teaches pitchers to pull their pitching arm across their chest and downward.   This places unnecessary stress on the inside of their pitching elbow.   As a result, 'traditional' pitchers lose consistency and injure the inside of their pitching elbow.

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398.   I'm from California and enjoyed watching you as a Dodger pitcher over the years.   I remember you as an intellectual player who demonstrated the advantage of staying in top condition, and who had the most complete understanding of human physiology in the game.

     I am coaching my son's little league team.   When working with young pitchers (8 to 11 years old), I have them work only from a stretch to maintain balance and release consistency.   I attempt to instruct them on using their entire body while keeping a somewhat relaxed arm.   I particularly focus on the hips and the rotation of the hips augmented by pulling back the glove hand to help pull the torso toward the plate.

     I'm trying hard to teach good body mechanics.   I let my players throw 2 pitches, a fastball and a change up.   Most of the boys do not have big enough hands to throw a circle change, so I just have them grip it with 3 fingers and take a little off the pitch, so it is not a real change up, but just a mild off speed pitch.

     I was very upset when I found out the All Star coach taught all of the pitchers to throw curve balls and sliders.   These kids are nine and ten years old!   I have always been taught that kids throwing these pitches are at great risks of hurting their elbows (after looking at your web page, it appears they can damage the growth plates).   Two of the pitchers were on my team and I told them not to throw those pitches, but they were intimidated by the coach and threw them anyway.   I told their parents and intend to speak with the league president.   Before I do I wanted to make sure you agree with me and ask you where on your web page you address this specifically.   I looked around, but could not find it.   Is the material on your video general enough for instructing young boys aged 8 to 12?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I have a 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program for eight to eleven year olds.   My program includes my Pronation Curve and True Screwball.   However, I use only my pickoff and wrong foot throws.   I strongly recommend that youngsters do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and, then, only one inning per game.   I also would not permit these youngsters to throw for more than sixty days per year.   Nevertheless, I would teach them how to correctly throw curves and screwballs, but, again, only with my pickoff and wrong foot positions.

     The set position is the most dangerous throwing position.   The windup position is less dangerous, but still dangerous.   A major flaw in the set position is placing the rear foot parallel with the pitching rubber.   This horrible rear foot position almost forces pitchers to take their pitching arm laterally behind their body.   From that position, everything else is downhill to pitching arm injury.

     I deal with this injury potentials in youth pitchers in Chapters Four through Twelve.   I speak at great length about adolescent pitching in all of my Question/Answer files.

     I also spend a great deal of time on my Instructional Videotape showing why we have to be so careful with our adolescent pitchers.   Further, I show my pickoff and wrong foot throws and how to throw my curves and screwballs.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

399.   A pitcher of mine has developed some pain on the medial side of the elbow.   I don't believe he over rotates but he does throw the traditional curveball.   In his pendulum swing, his arm is parallel to the ground when his front foot lands, his arm fairly straight toward second base, but not completely extended.   His fingers are right on top of the ball.   He is not a sidearm pitcher, his arm path is a 3/4 path.   Have I given you enough information to attempt a guess as to the cause of his pain?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Pain on the inside of the elbow results from supinating when pitchers throw curves, from pulling the pitching arm across their chest or downward and, certainly, from forearm flyout.   Some medial epicondyle discomfort is minor and will go away with a few days of continued basic training.   However, it can also be very severe and require several months of continue basic training.   It will never go away with rest.   It may seem to go away, but when pitchers return to the same intensity, the pain will return.

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400.   I will be working with pitchers who are under 13 years old, as that is the way Little League is structured.   I am sure that I will have a greater understanding of the kinematics and the potential dangers to these young boys.   I tend to be relatively careful with pitch count.   I limit pitchers to 2 innings.   Perhaps after I learn a little bit more, I will become even more conservative.   I am extremely interested in learning about taking the arm back properly and proper footwork for safer pitching.   You said that you would not permit young kids to throw more than sixty days per year.   I am assuming you are talking about any kind of throwing (i.e. playing catch in the back yard, going up to the park for infield, etc.).   Am I correct in this assumption?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book contains how I recommend that pitchers apply force to their pitches.   In general, pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward and their front arm straight forward.   They should simultaneously shift their body weight backward such that their pitching arm reaches the driveline height (above their ear) before they step forward with their front foot.   Then, they should step forward off the pitching rubber with their rear foot and rotate their forearm into leverage position for the pitch that they wish to throw.   They should move their entire body forward ahead of their front foot with their rear leg vertical and close to the ground.   After they have forwardly rotated their shoulders to point toward home plate, they should forearm accelerate their pitches through release.

     The set position places the pitching arm into positions that place unnecessary stress on it and injures it.   I recommend that until twelve years old, youth pitchers do not use the set position to learn how to throw pitches.   They need to learn how to properly release their pitches and my pickoff and wrong foot positions accomplish this with a minimum of appropriate stress.

     You are correct in that I recommend no more than sixty days of baseball throwing per year of any kind.   They should spend their time learning other sports and recreational activities.   I love baseball.   I love pitching. But, I know that too much baseball pitching destroys the growing pitching arm.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

401.   Thanks for the helpful info.   My son has changed his release dramatically only in a couple of weeks even though the side arm tendency is still evident.   How many hours a week can we safely practice the pickoff position leverage and transition throws?

     By the way, I read your book almost in its entirety, and was blown away.   I can't believe how ignorant I was, and for that matter, how ignorant everyone else in the little league world is.   Being the coach of my son's team, I am now faced with a moral dilemma (and I know you know what it is).   The only thing I believe I could do now is to quit coaching and not allow my son to pitch for the new coach.   It shouldn't be this way.

     Our league uses a pitching machine for the first two innings and I can recommend that we use it for all 6 innings, but I'm sure the idea won't fly since they won't have pitchers for tournament play.   Seems as though I stuck between a rock and a hard place.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The beauty of my pickoff position leverage and transition throws is that it isolates the pitching arm action without adding forearm flyout.   Nevertheless, I would not go more than sixty days per year.   If, at age twelve, he has mastered the proper release action for my Maxline fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve, Maxline True Screwball and Torque fastball, he will be far ahead of other pitchers.   At age twelve, I add the windup and set position throws.   Those are the danger motions.   We have to be very careful to keep his drivelines straight.

     I understand your dilemma.   However, the health of your son's pitching arm is the only consideration.   He must have a healthy pitching arm when he enters his Junior year in high school.   We also want him to have mastered all the releases.   Everything else is immaterial.   At age thirteen, he can pitch one inning per game a couple of times per week.

     You are stuck between your son and anything that can cause him harm.   That is not a rock or hard place, that is a parent's job.

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402.   Thank you again for taking time out to chat with me about infield throwing workouts for my son/daughter.   I went back into the 280-program and lifted 001 and 002 (I assume that is Day 1 and Day 2) with a maxline workout the first day and torque the second.   I have modified them to fit what I believe is what you suggested for the Pickoff Position Leverage throws.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

001.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  12 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  12 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  12 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  12 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  12 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  12 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The ones I took out were fastball pickoff (not leverage as you suggested to use) and curveball/screwball ones.   How does this look for a program that would use Day 1, Day 2, Day 1 Day 2 rest, Day 1, Day 2, rest Or how would you set up the rotation?   I'm looking at each of the six parts being five weeks, 7 months from mid-Aug to Mid-March when we visit your facility in Zephyrhills, Fla.   As I stated to you on the phone, I wish we could have started with a visit to you, but the timing didn't work.   I greatly appreciate your willingness to work on the phone and through the Internet to help modify the 280 program for my kids.   We'll provide the sweat and effort and we appreciate your experience!


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I corrected your first day program.   Over the first three weeks, you will need to gradually work up to the basic training level.   I will make changes for the first three weeks and every five weeks thereafter.   When I show the numbers, I will start at 001.   When you see these numbers change, it means that every day between them are the same program.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

001.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  12 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  12 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  12 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  12 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  12 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  12 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

005.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  15 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  15 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  15 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  15 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  15 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  15 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

009.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  18 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  18 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  18 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  18 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  18 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  18 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

013.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  21 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  21 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  21 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  21 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  21 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  21 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

017.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  24 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  24 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
05.  16 bucket twirls:
06.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
07.  24 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  24 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
--
09.  24 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  24 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

056.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  12 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  12 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
--
05.  12 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
06.  12 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
--
07.  16 bucket twirls:
08.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
09.  12 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
10.  12 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
--
11.  12 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
12.  12 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
--
13.  12 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
14.  12 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
--
15.  12 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
16.  12 baseball Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

091.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  08 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  08 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
05.  08 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
--
06.  08 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
07.  08 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
08.  08 10 lb. WW Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
--
09.  16 bucket twirls:
10.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
11.  08 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
12.  08 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
13.  08 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
--
14.  08 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
15.  08 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
16.  08 06 lb. IB Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
--
17.  08 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
18.  08 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
19.  08 baseball Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
--
20.  08 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
21.  08 baseball Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
22.  08 baseball Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

126.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  06 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  06 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
05.  06 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
06.  06 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
--
07.  06 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
08.  06 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
09.  06 10 lb. WW Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
10.  06 10 lb. WW Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:
--
11.  16 bucket twirls:
12.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
13.  06 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
14.  06 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
15.  06 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
16.  06 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
--
17.  06 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
18.  06 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
19.  06 06 lb. IB Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
20.  06 06 lb. IB Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:
--
21.  06 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
22.  06 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
23.  06 baseball Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
24.  06 baseball Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
--
25.  06 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
26.  06 baseball Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
27.  06 baseball Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
28.  06 baseball Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:

Comments:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

171.  Date:____________________

Discomfort report: ________________________________________________

                                        Workout 

01.  16 10 lb. WW pronated swings:
02.  16 10 lb. WW three movement deltoids:
--
03.  04 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
04.  05 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
05.  05 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
06.  05 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
07.  05 10 lb. WW Maxline fastball crow-hop transition throws:
--
08.  04 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
09.  05 10 lb. WW Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
10.  05 10 lb. WW Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
11.  05 10 lb. WW Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:
12.  05 10 lb. WW Torque fastball crow-hop transition throws:
--
13.  16 bucket twirls:
14.  16 06 lb. IB finger spins:
--
15.  04 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
16.  05 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
17.  05 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
18.  05 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
19.  05 06 lb. IB Maxline fastball crow-hop transition throws:
--
20.  04 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
21.  05 06 lb. IB Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
22.  05 06 lb. IB Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
23.  05 06 lb. IB Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:
24.  05 06 lb. IB Torque fastball crow-hop transition throws:
--
25.  04 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff leverage throws:
26.  05 baseball Maxline fastball pickoff transition throws:
27.  05 baseball Maxline fastball wrong foot transition throws:
28.  05 baseball Maxline fastball no-stride transition throws:
29.  05 baseball Maxline fastball crow-hop transition throws:
--
30.  04 baseball Torque fastball pickoff leverage throws:
31.  05 baseball Torque fastball pickoff transition throws:
32.  05 baseball Torque fastball wrong foot transition throws:
33.  05 baseball Torque fastball no-stride transition throws:
34.  05 baseball Torque fastball crow-hop transition throws:

Comments:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     They should use this throwing program for as long as they want to play.

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403.   I am curious to know what you think about this current measure of a pitcher, the 100 pitch count.   Is this a legitimate concern?   It seems as though lately a good pitcher is one that can go six innings and give up two runs.   If this assumption is true, I find it hard to believe that a power, strikeout pitcher like Nolan Ryan would be allowed to have 7 no-hitters.   Recently the Cubs allowed their young phenom, Mark Prior, to go the distance and throw a 135 pitches.   The local press is slamming the manager, Bruce Kimm, for the complete game and the high pitch count.   What do you think?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I have my kids throw a minimum of forty-eight ten pound wrist weight throws, forty-eight six pound iron ball throws and forty-eight baseball throws every day.   With the proper force application technique, the number of pitches pitchers can throw competitively relate only to the amount of stored muscle glycogen and muscle triglyceride and their ability to throw pitches that hitters cannot hit.   Nevertheless, my rule of thumb relates to whether pitchers have my three types of pitches, i. e., fastball, breaking ball and reverse breaking ball, of sufficient quality to force hitters to swing defensively for three trips through the lineup.   Consequently, it is not a matter of pitch count related to pitching arm injury, but controlling the hitters.   Only if they pitch perfect games would I permit my starters to complete their games, but then, I would have my starters on a four man rotation.

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404.   In a recent answer you said that Nolan Ryan had good force application technique and that you would have made a few suggestions to improve it.   What were the good techniques that he had and what would you have suggested?   Did he have forearm bounce or forearm loop?   I have videotape of him and I feel that I can learn from your answers.

     In trying to get a feel for the pronator curve I throw a curve with a firm wrist, no flexion or supination, and right after release I pronate.   Am I close?   I get good spin, but right now it's not real powerful.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Sorry, I made a mistake.   I never should have discussed Nolan Ryan's early pitching motion.   I believe that he had the best pitching arm of my era and I would have loved to have made some adjustments to his motion and his variety of pitches.   Please do not study his videotapes and assume that I recommend anything that he does.

     My pronation curve requires pitchers to pronate their forearm rather than supinate.   This means that the pitching arm cannot circle around the outside of the baseball, that is supination.   Pitchers cannot bend their wrist too much, only slightly.   When pitchers pronate their forearm, they move their hand horizontally to the outside and the ring finger side of their middle finger passes through the top of the baseball.   That brushing action causes the baseball into a horizontal spin axis, or 12 to 6 o'clock spin axis. It is critically important to drive the baseball straight forward which means to drive the pitching hand straight forward.   Pitchers cannot drop or pull their hand, forearm or elbow.   Pitchers should practice with my pickoff position leverage throws until they master the proper release.

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405.   Thank you so much for your prompt attention and reply.   The program you have set up should be quite easy to follow.   We will, as per your instruction, mix in a rest day at least once a week.   I am going to take the rest of the week to accumulate the supplies (two 6-lb iron balls, 4 10-lb ankle weights, four buckets, 40 lbs ready mix and The Wall).   I already have a catch net for the baseball throwing.   We'll also use the rest of the week to continue to review the tape for proper movements (we're striving for perfect practice) and we realize the first workouts will be slow as we learn the exercises.

     When my daughter goes to college in two weeks for her freshman orientation, throwing the iron ball will become somewhat impractical.   Any suggestions on a replacement or do we do just go with warm-up exercises (which in themselves are outstanding) and throwing?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I would not mix in a rest day.   I thought that you wanted some days off.   I have no problem with taking a day or two off each week because they are not learning the complex motor skills of throwing breaking pitches and reverse breaking pitches.   I have no suggestions for replacing my iron ball exercises.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

406.   This is the last time I will bother you.   I want to see if I understand forearm flyout.   As I cock my arm back to pitch, an imaginary line that runs between my shoulders should run from 2nd base to home plate.   Is forearm flyout when my hand and elbow (while cocked) are on the 1st base side of this line(kind of behind my back so to speak)?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     First, you are not bothering me.   Please continue to ask questions about anything that I have not made clear.   You are providing me with a service that I need.

     In your question, you say the 1st base side of a line from second base to home plate.   Should I consider you right-handed or left-handed?

     Forearm flyout occurs when the forearm is outside of vertical.   If you stand with the upper arm of your pitching arm at shoulder height and your forearm at ninety degrees pointing straight upward, that is a vertical forearm.   When the forearm moves laterally away from your body outside of vertical, that is forearm flyout.   When the forearm is also at shoulder height, that is the worse case scenario of forearm flyout.   That position will destroy the inside of the elbow.   If you find yourself in their position when your acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, you will unnecessarily stress the inside of your elbow.   Pitchers should not have their forearm positioned for the pitch that they want to throw until their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.   Please do not 'cock' your forearm behind your body.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

407.   I most definitely will keep you posted.   We plan to get started Sunday Aug. 18.   The delay is to accumulate the supplies (ordered iron ball and ankle weights sets yesterday, building rebound wall beginning today and will do buckets next).   I will send my daughter with an iron ball to Purdue and she will do what she can.   Otherwise, all the exercises and throwing drills will be done according to the plan you revised.   Thank you again.

     Correct me if I'm wrong.   I see the iron ball as an overload device as well as a training device that forces the thrower to continue on the 'Maxline' to complete the task.   This creates the muscle memory that will continue to work when a baseball is placed in his hand.   My question, though, is: is this creating a muscle imbalance.   The throwing arm will become stronger than the non-throwing arm, that will cause problems?   Or, is the imbalance far enough away from the body core that it doesn't matter.   It seems both of your forearms are extremely developed.

     While were on the subject of forearm development, a coach that we have used has both of the kids working on a 'stone' lifting drill.   They place both hands flat and palms facing each other.   They put their elbows on a flat surface.   While keeping both hands flat and their elbows on the table to isolate their forearm muscles, they compress the two sides of the stone and lift, but without actually gripping the stone with fingers.   Any thoughts?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Athletes should train bi-laterally whenever possible.   My pitchers train bi-laterally with their wrist weight exercises and bucket twirls.   Otherwise, without teaching them to throw ambidextrously, they have to train their throwing arm more.

     The 'stone' lifting exercises does not sound like the best way to lift a stone.   Does baseball or softball require its players to lift stones?

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408.   In Q&A #399, you mentioned something that surprised me.   The questioner had some arm trouble around the medial epicondyle, and you said rest simply won't cure it.   I have soreness immediately below my medial epicondyle.   I injured it making a sidearm throw to a teammate before I was properly warmed up about 4 months ago.   The pain goes away when my arm is warm, but the injury has neither gotten worse or better since.   My plan was to rest it completely after this season.   The tissue just below the medial epicondyle, on the forearm, hurts when I press it, and when my arm is cold it hurts when I extend it fully.   Given that diagnosis via email is difficult, can you provide some rehab guidance?

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     It sounds as though you have a fascial tissue tear.   The only way to 'cure' it is to continue to throw correctly until the discomfort goes away.   I would never tell adult pitchers to rest their throwing arm completely after a season.   You should have an off-season maintenance throwing program.   Throwing a few days a week with make a huge difference in how many more years you will be able to throw.   But, with an injury, you need to get blood flow to that area every day.

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409.   I know all training has to be specific.   But, I read somewhere that the fast twitch muscles that we are born with get better with exercising, (squats-and general weight lifting).   Isn't this overloading even though its not specific to baseball pitching it surely does help doesn't it?   What good is weight lifting anyways then?

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     All muscle fibers improve their abilities to function with the proper type of training.   Specificity of training is very precise.   If you do not train precisely as you compete, the training will not help you compete.   Not only are squats are bad for your knees, but they will not help you pitch.   General weight lifting makes you a good general weight lifter.   Only pitching makes you a better pitcher.   Even my wrist weight and iron ball exercises do not make you a better pitcher.   They make you injury-proof.   They strengthen your skeletal system, which includes ligaments and tendons to withstand greater forces than throwing five and one-quarter ounce baseballs can generate.   That is for what weight lifting is good.

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410.   I am 25 yrs old, 6'3", 230 lbs.   I was scouted from my Junior year in high school through my Senior year in college and not drafted.   I pitched at 88 mph and occasionally hit up to 90 mph.   I had the best pitching record of all NCAA pitchers my senior year with a 10-1 record.   While waiting for regional post season play, trying to be an overachiever, I pulled a muscle in my elbow and didn't get drafted.   Two years later, I have a deep down urge to give my pitching another try.   I am looking for someone to assess my situation and advise a direction.

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     Twenty-five years old pitchers who only throw in the high eighties do not have many options.   You would have to throw about five miles per hour faster and have great non-fastballs.   Then, you would have to pitch in one of the Independent Leagues for chump change and do very well.

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411.   The excitement is building as we, as a family, put together the training appariti to begin your 220-day position player throwing program.   I also mentioned to my daughter's college softball coach when we called Wednesday to tell the coach that my daughter would be showing up on campus with weighted buckets, iron ball and wrist weights.   The coach spent the next hour talking about your program.   She was especially interested in the warm-up exercises with the buckets/wrist weights/iron ball).

     The buckets were easy.   I'm building the wall and have two iron balls on order from a local sporting goods store.   However, they can't locate the 10-pound ankle weights.   In your Q/A, you mentioned that Mr. America Mfg. has rehabilitation weights for sale.   I did a search for the company, but came up empty.   Could you be so kind to provide a phone number so I could order the ankle weights myself today?

     Our projected starting date is Aug. 18, but if all the equipment is on hand, we're going to jump the gun a little.   My daughter and son have reviewed your Instructional videotape and are gaining a grasp on the exercise movements.   I was very pleased with the response I got from the college softball coach.   Too many times coaches at the college level turn a deaf ear toward information from the outside because they are afraid to admit they don't know something!   Anyways, my daughter's coaches have been different from the beginning of the recruiting process two years ago and they, as people, were a key factor in my daughter choosing them, even after a painstakingly long and nerve-wracking process to be admitted.   Her coaches are reading your book on-line as we speak and appear receptive to new concepts.


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     I know that I have answered this question in my 2002 Question/Answer file.   You want the ten pound RS Series long strap therapeutic weights.   Call (800)251-6040 to find your local representative and they will order what you need.

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412.   You have succeeded in scaring me to death, so don't punish me too badly if I ask some questions that come from my skeptical side.   I have read much of your book and many emails.   I am taking your words very seriously, otherwise I wouldn't be scared.

     My son is 10 and has pitched for at least 2 years.   He has never complained of pain other than in his bicep, and sometimes his left side, midway between his belt and arm pit.   We have worked diligently on proper mechanics with books, video and lessons and have refrained from breaking pitches, concentrating on fast balls and change ups.   He does follow through across his body and I will be buying your video in an attempt to correct this.   We live in Florida and he plays allot of baseball.   He is a player sought by many teams, batted .650, 3 K's, 20 home runs, excellent pitcher and solid fielder.   He smiles in the batters box and loves baseball.

     My wife asked my son's doctor yesterday about doing the X-rays and he laughed it off.   I personally would like to have his arms X-rayed to establish a baseline by which to compare annual X-rays for a long term personal study.   I'm gong to push the issue if you believe it will be a good thing to do.   I understand that there is not allot of data that has been collected on this subject, so I am asking you to respond to a couple of questions based on your experience.

     From your experience in baseball, what would you estimate is the percentage of major league pitchers that pitched in youth ball (ages 9-14)?   I'm aware that many minor league infielders turn their interest towards pitching in order to make it to the show.   I'm told many never pitched in high school.

     What information do you have that demonstrates waiting to pitch competitively will assure high school success leading to college baseball or beyond?   Could you tell me about the levels of success adopters of your program have achieved that implemented it at the age of 10?   How does this compare with your experienced estimate of MLB pitchers that pitched in youth ball?

     Youth baseball is big business, especially in Florida with at least 8000 players in one travel league and some other states.   Could you tell me about what is motivating you to recommend against throwing more than 2 months/year and pitching competitively before the age of 13?   What significant event(s) lead you to make your recommendations?   Your approach could be easily remedied by using pitching machines in youth baseball games, or as you state, pitching umpires.   If the medical evidence is so overwhelmingly convincing why isn't youth pitching being stopped?   Is it because of years of doing it the same old way, a resistance to radical cultural shifting of America's pastime and perhaps Gamma's hams?

     I have been sharing some of your recommendations with other parents and I have received responses ranging from stimulating conversations to quizzical looks to statements that effectively say you are trying to protect your pitching records!

     As you can see, no competitive pitching until 13 is a difficult topic for many to swallow.   None of my other research has shown such strong suggestions/recommendations as yours regarding pitching; including the American Journal of Sports Medicine.   I'm scared and looking for some more information, your personal feelings and your experiences before I make a decision that might break my son's heart.


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     I want your son to become the best pitchers that he can become.   If he destroys his pitching arm before it has a chance for normal growth and development, then he will not achieve this goal.   I like the idea of X-raying both arms from the mid-shaft of his humerus bone down to the mid-shaft of his radius and ulna bones.   Take anterior and lateral views.   If you do this once a year, perhaps on his birth date, you will be able to watch when his olecranon process shows up and when it matures.

     Your son's discomfort in the lower Biceps Brachii area indicates that he has forearm flyout and he is unnecessarily stressing his elbow flexor muscles to prevent hyperextending his elbow and injuring his olecranon process and fossa.   The rib discomfort on his non-pitching side indicates that he is pulling his pitching arm rather than driving behind it.   This will result in front of the shoulder and inside of the elbow problems.

     I have no definitive studies regarding how many major league pitchers did not pitch in high school.   I pitched in high school only during my Senior year.   Before that, another pitcher one year ahead of me did all the pitching.   He was good.   He pitched college ball and did well.   He pitched professional baseball and did well.   However, when he reached the major leagues and had to maximally stress his pitching arm, he broke down due to his adolescent growth and development abnormalities.

     The American system has destroyed thousands of pitching arms.   That most major league pitchers pitched adolescent baseball does not mean that we should follow that dangerous path.   However, I do like that allegation that I do not want adolescent pitchers to pitch so that they cannot break my records.   I assure you that if I were that despicable of a person, I would strongly encourage them to pitch as much as possible.   They would alter the normal growth and development of their pitching arm and never pitch even high school baseball.

     I propose that youth pitchers learn the proper release techniques for all pitches, learn the proper force application for all pitches, make certain that they do not unnecessarily stress their pitching arms and after the growth plates have completely and normally matured, train and pitch as much as possible.   Perhaps one of these pitchers will break my records.   I have no such hopes for youth pitchers in the present system.

     You already know why nobody makes the same recommendations that I do.   Money.   Youth sports is big business.   They know that they destroy pitching arms.   But, instead of stopping, they blame the problem on curves.   Curves are not the problem, the problem is the chronic stress.   That is, pitching too much for too long each year.   Medical doctors have reported the damage that youth pitching causes.   I have a bibliography at the end of Chapter Nine in my book.

     I have 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Programs and 60 Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Programs in which youth pitchers develop the skills that they will need as adult pitchers.   I love baseball.   I love pitching. I also love your son and every other young person who wants to pitch.   I don't want them finished before they start.   Nothing matters before his Junior year in high school.   I know better than to talk with National organizations, they do not care.   Therefore, I talk with parents. Now, if he destroys his pitching arm, it is your responsibility.   I have met my ethical and moral responsibility.   My Instructional Videotape answers your question much better than my words.

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413.   Thank for the information on tracking down the wrist weights.   For questions from future clients, the manufacturer does NOT sell direct to the public.   I was unable to find any distributors in Ohio or Western Pa.   However, I was able to order directly through the manufacturer's immediate distributor in Chattanooga, Tenn., Rehab Medical.

     The phone number for Rehab Medical is 423-238-7800 or 800-358-5588.   The wrist weights can be purchased on-line at RME1.com.   I ordered the deluxe 10-lb weights for $14.95 each (plus shipping).   They promised me delivery by mid-week.   Hope this info can help somebody in the near future.


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     Thank you for the information.   I will pass it on.

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414.   I keep watching your video with a lot of pleasure. I'm learning a lot.   Here are some questions?

1.   Even before buying your video, I threw a screwball.   My technique was not as good as it is now.   Forget about the movement, I had the feeling that the spin was different than my standard curve.   It was tougher to hit hard, something that I can't explain?

2.   You want pitchers to throw your pronation curve with their forearm bent, more for the 4-S type.   Why do you want the forearm with an inside angle instead of vertical?   It is the only pitch that you want thrown that way.

3.   When you say, stay away from forearm flyout, what would be the maximum angle permitted?   It's tough to stay always at vertical or less.

4.   We are not machines.   You don't want our 4-S and 2-S Fastballs to have the same speed.   Add extra, take off a little bit on FB.   How can we accomplish that without changing our arm speed?   You know, a + fastball when the hitter is not expecting that little change of speed.


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     By cramming as much information into my Instructional Videotape, I hoped that viewers would get more out of it as they watched over and over.

1.   I do not understand your first question. Are you saying that the screwball that you throw with my technique is a superior pitch?

2.   I tell pitchers to keep their forearm inside of vertical on my Pronation Curve to make certain that they do not start their forearm action with any supination.   Although it would be a better pitch, in reality, pitchers rarely throw this pitch with their forearm inside of vertical at release.

3.   I want pitchers to pronate all pitches.   They cannot do that when they allow their forearm to flyout.   They can do it if they step into leverage.   I want their forearm vertical after they forward rotate their shoulders to the point where their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

4.   When pitchers throw two seam curves and screwballs, I want them to powerfully triceps drive through release.   That action plus having only two seams decelerating the baseballs makes these pitches ten miles per hour less than fastball speed.   When pitchers throw four seam curves and screwball, I want them to keep their elbows bent through release.   This action plus having four seam decelerating the baseball makes these pitches twenty miles per hour less than fastball speed.   In both cases, the forearm velocity remains the same as fastball forearm velocity.

     I do not recall ever advising pitchers to take any velocity off their fastballs.   Two seam fastballs are naturally faster than four seam fastballs because they only have two seams decelerating them.   Otherwise, I recommend that pitchers throw all fastballs at their maximum release velocity.   Velocity differentials of less than ten miles per hour have very little effect on hitters.

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415.   I am thirty-six years old and playing in a twenty-eight and over baseball league.   In February, I started to throw again after about six years off.   I practiced my pitching mechanics two to four days a week.   For about three months, everything went well.   However, once I joined the team in May and started to play left field, I developed forearm, Bicep and Tricep tendonitis and some discomfort in my elbow.

     I still practice with some other players two days a week and throw lightly.   But, on game days and at least some other times, my arm hurts when I throw and my velocity and distance on throws from the outfield just seem to be getting worse and my arm isn't really getting any better.   I'm very attentive to mechanics and other people have told me I have a very smooth delivery, but I have never had what you'd call a strong arm, as I really did not play at all between the ages of 12-22.   Anyway I love pitching and would like my arm to get better so I can start throwing in some games.   Any comments appreciated.


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     I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and made my Instructional Videotape to help pitchers train and throw properly.   You are either improperly trained or use bad techniques or both.   The Biceps Brachii and Triceps Brachii muscles are not in the forearm. Therefore, I have difficulty determining what you are doing that has caused your problem.   However, forearm discomfort usually results from inadequate training.   The fact that you have some elbow discomfort indicates that you are dropping your elbow under when you throw.

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416.   I read a pitching study where the author broke the pitching motion down in percent, such as the wind-up consisted of twenty percent of the motion, cocking was sixty percent, acceleration was two percent and the follow-through was eighteen percent.   I saw some merit to this approach and was wondering what you thought of it and how would you break the stages of your research to percent, such as the head pat percent, the pendulum swing percent, the acceleration percent, the deceleration percent and the follow-through percent.

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     Percent of what?   It appears that this author has taken the time pitchers use in their wind-up pitching motion and determined the percent of time that they use for these phases.   I see no merit in that.

     By the way, I no longer discuss the 'head pat' position.   I have pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm all the way up to driveline height with no meaningful forearm action except to arrive at the driveline height with the palm of their pitching hand facing outward.   I call this, my Transition Phase.   My Upper Arm Acceleration Phase moves the pitching arm from this position to my Leverage Position where the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.   It is at this leverage position that I want pitchers to have their forearm properly aligned to throw their desired pitch.   From this position, pitchers enter my Forearm Acceleration Phase where they powerfully drive their pitches through release while imparting the proper spin axis for their desired pitch.   After pitchers release their pitches, their pitching arm should continue on the straight-line path toward home plate.   This initates my Deceleration Phase where pitchers safely decelerate their pitching arm to stops without injury to their brake muscles.   After the pitching arm stops moving straight forward toward home plate, the brake muscles that safely decelerated the pitching arm return the pitching arm toward the body.   This is my Recovery Phase.   No follow-through phase exists.

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417.   I have some follow-up questions to my last series of questions.

1.   As far as the screwball spin versus the standard curve spin, okay, it's a reverse breaking ball, the screwball is tougher to react to than the standard curve.

2.   It make sense that the 2-S Fastball is faster than the 4-S because of less deceleration.   But, every baseball person says that the pitch with best velocity is the 4-S.   I have that feeling too.   Nobody talks about a 98 mph FB thrown with a 2-S grip?   They say that the 2-S has more movement, so it should be slower?   I'm confused.

3.   Are you establishing the starting iron ball weight for your students?   I'm not used to that.   The normal baseball should feel like a golf ball in your hand after training.

4.   What about these exercises, you know for the shoulder raise, I don't know how it's called, but it looks like a heavy boxing glove?   Can dumbbell replace this?

5.   Concerning subtle change of speed, <10 mph, it's just that I thought 3-5 mph change could fool a batter.   You know Marichal, he was my idol and he was doing everything wrong as far as technique, said once that his 2 speed fastballs could do it for him if he had to choose.   Don't tell me Greg Maddux doesn't change speed with his fastballs.   That's his game.   Seaver, Ryan, Catfish Hunter all had more than one FB speed.   I believe the best changeup is a + FB.   It's a secret weapon and to be effective, you must set hitters with slower speed.   With great control and movement I think it works.   Throwing at 95% of your power gives you extra reserve for further innings.   5-6 innings is almost a standard for starting pitchers.   Either they don't know how to pitch, or they pitching to hard.   You would have pitched 300 innings with today pitchers.


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     Here are my answers to your follow-up questions.

1.   Maybe it is your use of adjectives, but I still do not understand your point about screwballs.   You said that you throw a screwball and you felt that your screwball was more effective than my screwball.   However, you do not throw a horizontal spin axis screwball.   My horizontal spin axis screwball will always be more effective because the movement is straight downward.   That increases its strike percentage.   It also looks more like a fastball immediately after release.   Sinkers and sliders have some value when hitters expect fastballs, but they are of little value when hitters expect breaking pitches.

2.   You should know by now that people in baseball say things without any scientific validity just to hear themselves talk.   When pitchers throw their four seam and two seam fastballs with precisely the same force application technique, the two seam fastball will be faster due to the reduced friction of the seams against the air molecules.   When pitchers convert horizontal velocity to spin velocity, they can make any fastball slower.

3.   The Medicine Ball Effect is very short lived.   My six pound iron ball exercises teach proper force application technique, but more importantly, stimulates osteoblastic activity that increase the size and strength of bone, ligaments and tendons.   The baseball feels like a baseball.

4.   I have two preliminary wrist weight exercises, pronation swings and three movement deltoids.   We use ten pound wrist weights.   We slide our hands inside of these taped wrist weights so that we do not have to grip them.   Gripping dumbbells prohibits muscle relaxation and, hence, blood flow.   Apparently, you have not read a couple of chapters.   I explain this concept in Chapter Thirty-Two.

5.   Any velocity change of less than ten miles per hour is of little value.   Hitters can extend their drivelines to compensate even for ten mile per hour differentials.   However, hitters have more difficulty with movement.   Four seam, two seam and two seam Maxline fastballs with sinker spin axis have relatively the same velocity, but very different movements.   The four seam arrives at about six inches higher than the two seam and the two seam Maxline fastball with sinker spin axis arrives at about six inches lower than the two seam.

     I would hate to throw any pitch at ninety-five percent of the best that I could throw it and have a hitter hit it out of the park.   I think that I will stay with my best effort on all pitches.

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418.   In urging my pitchers to intentionally pronate it appears that some have an easier time of it than others.   It seems that some are less flexible in this movement than others.   Is this to be expected and how do you deal with it?   In your video you talk of powerfully pronating the maxline fastball.   Where is the difference between the fastball and the sinker in terms of the hand action?   Is it possible that if you pronate too much that you're releasing the ball with your hand on the side of the ball and you wind up losing velocity?

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     Pitchers pronate their forearms on all pitches whether they want to or not.   The problem occurs when they try to supinate their breaking pitches in contradiction of the natural pronation action.   Therefore, I teach my pitchers how to pronate their curve release.

     If pitchers do not drive through the center of the baseball when they throw fastballs, then they will not achieve their maximum release velocity.   We powerfully pronate my Maxline fastball when we forward rotate our shoulders at the same time that we Triceps drive and pronate our forearm.   This gives us our maximum driveline length.

     To apply force through the middle of the baseball toward home plate, pitchers need to have the palm of their pitching hand directly behind the baseball.

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419.   I love your last email because you listed your breakdown of the pitching motion into six phases.   1.   Transition. 2.   Upper arm acceleration. 3.   Forearm acceleration.   4.   Pitch release. 5.   Deceleration. 6.   Recovery.

     Here is the problem.   When I get a kid who was indoctrinated with the crane position as his 1st phase and then swinging his arm to the high guard as the 2nd phase, and, worse of all, starting his 3rd phase by accelerating from the high guard position to release and then start the 4th phase to decelerate with a follow through across his body.   He was shown illustrations to brainwash him of these phases.   It is like pulling teeth with my bare hands to change them.

     I need illustrations to show them the difference.   I have actually come up with some illustrations of my own to show the difference, especially the transition stage and the upper arm acceleration.   However, they would be better served if you could show the start and ending of these two phases with your very own illustrations to correct these gigantic misconceptions.


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     When I have beginning and ending digital videotape of my students, I will be able to show these phases and the flaws of the 'traditional' technique.   However, when I made my Instructional Videotape, I only had digital videotape of my pitchers at the end of their second training cycle.   It seems that readers were clamoring for anything and I gave them the best that I could.   I will be able to correct these deficiencies next summer and I will do so.

     That is why I promised to sell my second version for about what it will cost me in materials and shipping to those who purchase my first version.   I hope that even this lesser product is helping readers to better understand how to prevent pitching arm injuries.

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420.   I am a father and former coach of a little league team.   I coached these little guys from 6-7 yr olds through competitive 9-10 yr old league.   I most likely will not coach from this point going forward.   The problem that I have now is with my son.   Last year, at age 9, our league started competitive kid pitching.   My son wanted to pitch.   So I thought I would take him to a guy that pitched in the majors for instruction.   I didn't want any arm troubles.

     For the most part he (my son) was successful and we all looked forward to this past season.   Early this season in April my son (10 ys old) complained of arm pain in the triceps area.   We had not even started to throw our pitchers yet.   So we rested him and limited his throwing.   All seemed well and we began to lightly throw off the mound when he was good & warm.   I'm not sure when things went bad, but after a practice he attended his mothers softball practice and was throwing balls from the outfield to infield during batting practice.   Later, he complained of arm pain and we discovered a good sized knot in the triceps area.

     The doctor we went to said no pitching, but could play at other positions.   In short, we have rested, had 2 months of physical therapy, and just resumed playing catch again.   I thought fall ball would be good for him this year.   Combined with daily light stretching program from his physical therapist.

     Last week at practice, he "tweaked" the muscle again at was not able to throw without pain.   We now are headed back to the doctor and will have X-rays tomorrow to look at the muscle group.   The doctor said we probably won't see anything, but will look for bone problems.   The original diagnosis indicated he probably tore a muscle.   I have a lot of questions now of how bad was the tear, what muscles were involved, and how do we prevent this from occurring again

     He will not pitch again, but I think he should be able to throw without pain.   Nobody can answer our questions.   The doctor is hesitant to send us to a sports doctor, but wanted to try more rehab.   Your web site and forum is informative and I noticed you mentioned that you were not concerned with muscle complaints in the Brachia area.   Would you have a recommendation of rehab for this area?

     We can quit fall ball, and limit the activity, but we cant keep him from being a kid and throwing.   He loves the game and sports.   I do too.   But, I don't know how to fix this one and its killing me to see him rehab with no success and not get stronger.   Any advice would be most welcomed.


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     You did not say where in his Triceps Brachii muscle your son complained of discomfort and where the knot developed.   If it is close to where the muscle attaches to the olecranon process of the Ulna bone, then I would be very concerned.   The tiny ossification center for the olecranon process does not even appear until twelve years old.   This means that the Triceps Brachii attaches totally to growth cartilage.   The growth plate for the olecranon process does not mature until fifteen years old.   The growth cartilage of the medial epicondyle does not mature until sixteen years old.   Both growth plates are critical to adult pitching.

     I recommend that adolescent pitchers do not throw for more than two months per year.   I am more conservative with pubescent pitchers.   I would not permit them to pitch competitively.   I would not permit them to pitch at all.   I would limit their infield and outfield throwing to one month.   Their pitching arms are almost entirely growth cartilage.   No throwing, no rehabilitation, no more.   Stop.

     Go camping.   Go swimming.   Go fishing.   Except for one month per year, put baseball aside for several years.   Get rid of fall ball.   Play soccer.   Play golf.   Give your son's pitching arm time to grow and develop without chronic stress interfering.

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421.   I am waiting for next year for you to show these differences will seem like a eternity.   In previous emails, I covered ground reaction force and the percent of time that each phase takes in a pitching motion.   Another point I want your opinion on is the anatomic joint linkage system.   Does or how much force or torque comes from the ground back up through the joint linkage system starting with the ankle up through the torso to the middle finger.

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     The ankle bone's connected to the knee bone.   The knee bone's connected to the hip bone.   I do not believe that we need spend our time determining the anatomic joint linkage system for baseball pitching.   Nobody has the instrumentation required to determine the force that each segment generates to contribute to the release velocity and I doubt that it would help us if they did.

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422.   After looking at your high speed tape of the various pitches and other tapes, it appears that the baseball has left the hand prior to the beginning of pronation.   If this is true why talk about intentionally powerfully pronating a fastball when the ball has already left the hand and the eventual pronation will happen normally?

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     The baseball has not left the hand before the pronation begins.   When the resistance no longer exists, the action that has provided the force becomes apparent.   It was pronation.   The more powerful the pronation action, the more powerful the force that we apply to the baseball.   It may be 'natural', but we can accentuate it and gain more.   Pitchers must use their Pronator Teres muscle as powerfully as they can for all pitches.

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423.   I have been looking for a training program for a while now and I just stumbled upon yours.   I am going to be turning 18 soon and my arm is getting stronger.   I have never used a real training program for pitchers so I will give this one a shot.   I remember reading about a coaches book.   If possible I would like to purchase a copy.

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     I assume that you have been to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   If so, on my home page, you will see FREE BOOK!!!   If you click on that icon, you will go to my FREE BOOK!!! file, where I have listed every chapter and section of my Coaching Pitchers book.   You can download them for free.   I recently also made my Instructional Videotape to accompany my book.   If you click on the Instructional Videotape icon, you can learn how to secure your copy.   If you click on Pitcher Training Programs, you will go to my Pitcher Training Programs file, where I have provided my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.

     My 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Programs combines the proper force application techniques for my Maxline fastball, Pronation Curves, True Screwballs and Torque fastball with the appropriate training program to injury-proof your pitching arm.   If you have any questions, please contact me.

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424.   I'm 19 right now but I got hurt (inside part of the elbow) 2 years ago.   I had at that time a promising future because I threw very very hard, I was a pitcher.   Two years have pass and I believe God really healed my elbow because it doesn't hurt anymore and because he wants the best for us.   I am starting to throw again at a slow rhythm with my Dad and I feel really really good, I am running a lot in the beach, lifting weights and eating healthy because my desires and dreams are bigger that any problem or circumstance.   I would like your expert opinion on what can I do to accelerate my full recovery.

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     I am sorry to hear of your injury.   However, pitching arm injuries occur when pitchers unnecessarily stress their pitching arms or have not appropriately trained their pitching arms.   The fact that you injured the inside of your pitching elbow indicates that you reverse rotate your shoulders too far, which causes forearm flyout and you drop your elbow under through release.   I address these problems in Sections IX and XI in my Coaching Pitcher book.   You can read it and copy it for free off my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   You injured your pitching arm for a reason that relates to your pitching motion and your training regimen.   You have to correct whatever you did incorrectly.

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425.   A former pitcher of mine had a detached biceps tendon in his shoulder.   What are the possible causes and what rehab program would you put him on?   Assuming you put him on your program how long after surgery would you wait before beginning your rehab?

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     Which head of his Biceps Brachii did he detach?   If he detached his long head, which attaches to the corocoid process, then he pulls his pitching arm across his body.   He needs to correct his pitching motion and strengthen the attachments of all tendons and ligaments.   I would definitely put him on my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   He should start his rehabilitation about nine weeks after surgery, but his surgeon will advise him.

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426.   The reason I didn't get specific on the where and what is because we really don't know.   That is part of the frustration we have.   We know its not right, but do not have specifics.   Regular X-rays were taken today and if the results show normal I think we will push for a MRI.   I think we have a right to know what exactly is wrong.   Your input will be part of our decision making process.   I think the doctor is being conservative on the evaluation.   Or, perhaps he doesn't know to what extent the injury could be.

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     It is very difficult to find problems in pubescent pitching skeletons.   The growth plates make it look like everything is broken.   An MRI will not show anything more.   Make certain that you get both arms, then compare the growth plates.

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427.   The latest information I was asking about this past week were from four reports done by the biomechanics association of America that my daughter found them for me a couple of years back.   I decided to read over them again and ask for your opinion on their material.   Your answers were no surprise, but were informative in that I have another point of view to consider.

     However, I would like to go to an area covered by all four reports.   They all concluded that the pitching motion was divided into six stages.   They broke the cocking stage into two parts, early and late cocking and the follow throughy into 2 parts, early and late deceleration.   Their explanations are not as good as yours, but the mere fact that four separate individual reports dated from 1980 thru 1988 came to a similar conclusions as your is awesome.

     One explanation says it all "early cocking ends when the stride foot hit the ground and the throwing hand and elbow is below shoulder level.   To me, this is the perfect balance position to start the pitching motion similar to your transition phase.   I taped a lot of major league pitcher off TV and the ones that are successful and have fewer injuries, do exactly as described in the early cocking phase.   One report was based on using eight amateurs pitchers and eight professional pitchers.   Another was based on sixteen pitchers of both groups.   The other two were based on pitching books and video that were published by the gurus of pitching instructional fame.

     I can now explain to my troops, how bad the high guard is and show them how off balanced their delivery is by using the high guard compared to the early cocking clips of these major leaguers.   I know that you don't want to hear about anything else but your own material, but other coaches, like myself, have to prove to our critics that your research is the best and have to show these jocks that they can be beaten by using their own material.

     I can now prove that hall of famers used the six step approach.   The amazing part is this, back in those days there were no pitching coaches, video tapes, or pitching guru's on web sites to screw up a pitchers motion.   It was pure natural talent.

     So, until next year when you publish your illustrations, I'll have to make due with the next best thing.   My experiments so far have been fantastic, in that I can now eliminate the high guard immediately after one or two sessions.


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     Biomechanists are researchers, not reporters.   It sounds as though these papers merely reported what they found when they analyzed what pitchers did.   It is okay to do this, but only when they use the information to develop a scientific basis for what pitchers should do.   You have to stop being interested in what pitchers did.   You must understand what pitchers should do and why they should do it.   If you read my Section IX, I tell you what pitchers should do and the scientific reasons why they should do it.   That is research, not reporting.

     I have no idea why old-time pitchers threw as they did and neither do they.   I would not say that 'natural talent' was the answer for their success.   If I did not strongly believe that research would tell us the proper way to apply force to baseball pitches and pitchers could learn how to do it this way, I would never have taken my first high speed film.   I would tell all pitching coaches to leave pitchers alone and let them throw however felt natural.   However, 'natural' is not the answer.

     I am glad that you have gotten rid of the 'high cock' nonsense.   But, I do not agree with your explanation.   The reason why pitchers should not use the 'high cock' position has to do with late forearm turnover and forearm reverse bounce, not because other pitchers did not do it.

     When I assign my Transition, Upper Arm Acceleration, Forearm Acceleration, Deceleration and Recovery to my pitching motion, I did so because the end of one aspect of the motion clearly ends and another clearly begins.   The first phase ends when pitchers place their pitching arm into the position from which they will drive the baseball towards home plate.   I do not care what we call it as long as we understand its purpose.   The second phase ends when the upper arm has stopped accelerating the baseball.   I divided the second phase into two segments because pitchers need to understand that the upper arm stops accelerating the baseball well before they release the baseball.   The third phase ends when pitchers release the baseball.   The fourth phase ends when the pitching arm reaches as far forward as it can.   The fifth phase is probably irrelevant, but it ends when the pitching arm has returned to the body.   I do not see that the reports have specific purposes for their divisions of the pitching motion.

     Please stop looking at videotape and using what you think you see to teach the proper pitching motion.   It makes you look as silly as all the other reporters.   Become a researcher.

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428.   Which is the proper two seam fastball grip?   Do you use both?   Does the ball react differently depending on which grip is used?

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     I recommend that pitchers grip my two seam Maxline fastballs across the two narrow seams with the circle of friction slightly turned forward on the inside of the baseball.   I recommend that pitchers grip my two seam Torque fastballs across the two narrow seams with the circle of friction slightly turned forward on the outside of the baseball.   How the circle of friction collides with the air molecules on their way toward home plate and the lateral driveline that pitchers apply to the pitches determine how these pitches move.

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429.   How does my son's videotape look?   I have attached it to this email.

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     Sorry, I do not do videotape analysis.

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430.   I am seriously considering a visit this fall.   When do your guys NOT work out in October and November?

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     Starting the third Saturday in August until the fourth Saturday in May, we train from 9:30AM until 11:30AM every day.

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431.   I always appreciate you words, positive or not.   I would rather look silly by trying to do a experiment than to look silly not trying it.   The other thing you may or may not be aware of is this, most jock instructors compare one method of teaching against the others.   That what I did for years before I started doing the scientific approach.   So, there no danger of me losing anything I learn so far from your book, video, or emails.   I'm comparing film clips to beat my critics at their own game.   Since you don't play that game, you can only assume what I'm up to.

     I can assure you I know what I doing.   You are in control of your clinic down there in Zephyrhills.   You are are a one man show and that's fine with me.   I don't think opening up Dr. Mike Marshall pitching franchises will work.   Your genius is your research.   I am not a genius, but I know how to handle the jock mentality.   They live and die by illustrations.   Now, I will bury them.   If I had your illustrations, it would be much easier.   But, I can't wait another year.


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     The only way that you can beat those who believe that analyzing videotape of pitchers is by not analyzing videotape of pitchers.   They ignorantly believe that because some professional pitchers win games, they must be using the proper force application techniques.   That is wrong and you are only feeding into the stupidity.   Even when I have pitchers that can demonstrate my force application perfectly, they will not believe it.   They only accept pitchers who win major league games as their examples.

     You must stop analyzing major league pitchers.   You must start talking scientific basis such as straight-line force application, driveline length and more force toward second base.   Teach from Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book.   I don't play that game because it is a fool's game.   The underlying criteria for excellence is wrong.   Even no pitching arm injuries is the wrong criteria for the proper force application technique.

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432.   Thank you again for allowing me to spend some time at your training center last week.   It was my second visit to your facility and very interesting.   I have a couple of questions.

     When one of your young men was showing me how to throw the curve ball it seemed as though he turned his middle finger at an angle to grip the seam.   So, it was the side of his middle finger that gripped the seam.   Was I correct in this observation?   It seamed to make the pitch a little easier to throw.

     In the part of your book I copied below I am wondering if you have a misprint.   The sentence:   "The narrow two seams on the glove side of the baseball make a small circle of friction that causes my four seam Torque fastball to move toward the glove side of home plate."   I thought the narrow seams were on the pitching arm side.   I figured it is the opposite of your maxline fastball.

     Four Seam Torque Fastball Release: "For my four seam Torque fastball forearm action, I turn the anterior surface of my wrist slightly inward.   When I forearm accelerate through release, I supinate my wrist and hand.   To get a horizontal spin axis, the baseball leaves my hand off the tips of my index and middle fingers.   The narrow two seams on the glove side of the baseball make a small circle of friction that causes my four seam Torque fastball to move toward the glove side of home plate."

     Do any of your readers have any success stories working with thirteen years old.   My son is going on thirteen, so I'd be interested in things to avoid doing or things that worked, and so on.   I will tell your readers out there that it is unbelievable how the ball moves when watching your pitchers in action.   The trip to your facility is well worth it.   If my son mastered your fastballs and only your curveball, I am quite confident that he would be extremely difficult to score on.


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     It is always a pleasure to have visitors.   You are welcome at any time.

     We do grip the curve with the ring finger side of our middle finger pressing against the one horizontal seam that is at the top of the baseball.   During release, we laterally drive the side of our middle finger through the baseball with a powerful forearm, wrist, hand and fingers pronation action.

     Nice catch.   You are correct about the Four Seam Torque Fastball release.   I have made the correction.   Thank you.

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433.   I have been talking about the scientific approach for the last year and one-half.   But, they want more than talk, they want to be shown.   I had all my pitchers go straight back to 2nd base and eliminated the pitching arm form going behind their back.   However, they still pendulum swing their arm straight up to the high guard before they start their rotation and before their front foot hits the ground.   All I was looking for was a simple illustration or training system to stop them from swinging immediately to the high guard.   I found both and they no longer do it.

     So now when I show them their freeze frames they now understand the straight line force, they see the increase in their drive line length and see the added force toward second.   However, I just wanted your comments.   Even getting an artist to draw your illustrations would be of great benefit to changing the system faster and for the good of young players.   I start my fall season next week and I wanted to get to the next step which was eliminating the high guard, and I did that.   It may not be as perfect as you would like, but nobody can do as good as you anyway>   Until I get your illustration of the beginning and ending of each of your stages, I'm happy where I am right now.   NO MORE HIGH GUARD.   I can wait till next year for your illustrations, if that's what you choose to do.


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     As long as you explain the scientific why, I have no problem with showing pitchers the correct way to apply force to their pitches.   However, I have great problems when you introduce videotapes of other pitchers.   The measure of proper force application is not major league pitching success!   The measure of proper force application is the scientific evidence on which we base every aspect.

     I will provide what my players do when I complete work with my new forty week group.   However, that does not mean that they will perform my force application technique perfectly.   Although we may never be perfect, we still have to teach the idealized perfect.

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434.   Since I'm not that gifted with great writing skills and do not like to write long emails, I tend to leave out allot of material that pertains to the subject I'm talking about, with those thoughts in mind.   I feel I have given you the impression that I use film of major league pitchers to prove a specific scientific point, that is not the case.   I use some pro clips to compare how bad my troops are compared to how good the major league pitcher is using the traditional approach.   For example, when my troops are in the high guard and their stride foot is one foot off the ground, I then show them a pro that has their stride foot on the ground and their throwing arm is below shoulder level.

     This convinces the troops to try my newly develop pitching system that eliminates the high guard which is scientific oriented.   I will proceed to do like wise every time I get the nutty professor look, because these troops are all being taught pitching instructions by the wrong illustrations of pro pitchers out of the current books video and websites.   So, rest assure that that your research is being implemented here slowly but surely.   As you know I get the kids about 2 hrs a day for about 20 weeks a year so I have to do the best I can.   After 1 years and 8 months I finally eliminated the high guard after using various approaches.


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     I have no doubt about your good intentions.   However, I will never support the use of major league pitchers as examples of what to do based only on the fact that they pitch in the major leagues.   That is not the measure of proper force application.   I understand the need for demonstration.   Nevertheless, I recommend that we explain the appropriate scientific basis for the proper force application first and always.   Then, it is nice to demonstrate.   However, the problem with demonstration is that I have never seen one example of perfection of all aspects. Consequently, we teach to a theoretical perfection. I tell each pitcher to find their own perfection.

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435.   You said Randy Johnson in a earlier question and answer session had the worst forearm flyout you have seen and should have hurt his arm years ago!   Well, he hasn't.   He is only getting stronger and has never been on the DL.   Do some people just get lucky?

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     While I have never seen high speed film of the force application technique that Randy Johnson uses, he appears to me to have extreme forearm flyout and he tries to supinate his slider against the natural pronation action.    These actions typically injure pitching arms.   However, the human body is amazing in what it can withstand after years of repetitive activity.   I would never teach what I see him doing.   I have seen far less forearm flyout and supination action have debilitated young adult pitchers.

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436.   I have been observing your throwing program for the past two years.   I wanted to learn as much about it as possible before integrating it into my pitcher regimen.   The problem I am having is trying to fit this program with all the other aspects of the game.   This program is an everyday ordeal.   How does this program fit in with bull pen work and long toss?   Wouldn't this be too much strain on the arm?   How can this program be incorporated when your team has starters, middle relief, and closing pitchers?   Because each pitcher must train for their specific workload.   Last, does your program train the pitchers to be more consistent with strike-to-ball ratio and a higher percentage of hitting their spots?   If not, how can you increase these percentages while still using your program?

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     The reason why I no longer want to coach college baseball is the constraint the NCAA places on when I can work with my pitchers.   Pitching requires daily practice over many years for to become the best pitcher they can be.

     I designed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program to gain the skeletal and muscle fitness that permits pitchers to apply their maximum force without exceeding their physiological limits.   During that process, my program teaches the proper way for pitchers to apply force without unnecessarily stressing their pitching arm and achieving the highest quality and variety of pitches.   To do this program, they must remove themselves from any other throwing requirements.   They do not do long toss.   They do not throw bull pens.   They do not pitch competitively.

     To use this program with an ongoing college baseball program, you will have to make some adjustments.   You will not be able to do any training cycles.   However, you will be able to develop a base level of strength with ten pound wrist weights and a six pound iron ball and you will be able to teach the proper force application techniques for the variety of pitch that I recommend.   Nevertheless, the program does work best when the pitchers have completed my forty week program with me before they start college.

     You will have to set aside eight weeks during which you introduce my program to your pitchers.   You will alternate teaching my Maxline fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve on one day and my Torque fastball and Maxline True Screwball the following day.   You will use my wrist weights and iron balls to teach my pickoff position leverage and transition throws for two weeks, add my wrong foot leverage and transition throws for two weeks and add my no-stride and set position throws for two weeks.   After six weeks, pitchers will perform these six exercises with their wrist weights and iron balls every day for as long as they want to pitch.   With the baseball throws, they will drop the wrong foot leverage throws and add the windup throws.

   You will never exceed a total of forty-eight repetitions.   During the first two weeks, pitchers practice twelve each of my pickoff position leverage and transition exercises.   During the second two weeks, pitchers practice six each of my pickoff position leverage and transition and my wrong foot position leverage and transition exercises.   During the third two weeks, pitchers practice four each of my pickoff position leverage and transition, wrong foot position leverage and transition, no-stride and set position exercises.   Except for dropping the wrong foot position leverage exercise and adding the windup for their baseball throws, pitchers follow this program every day throughout their college playing days.

     On days that they have to pitch, they should reduce these exercises by one-half.   This will leave them with sufficient energy to pitch competitively.   If I have not explained this clearly or fully, please continue to ask me to clarify.

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437.   I have trained several pitchers that have been successful at the high school level to where they were scouted by colleges and pros.   I was signed by a professional team at 18, a pitcher, but underwent several surgeries because of medial/epicondyle pain.   Training that my high school coach didn't pay attention to.   What he wanted was wins.

     When you mentioned growth plates, regardless of size of the pitcher, I was very impressed.   The young pitcher I want to work with "LOOKS" like a pitcher, big boy but it doesn't matter, not much is developed yet.

     For the first time in training kids, I want to be careful with this boy because he's big.   I, with his parents would be interested in your off season training before try-outs in high school training, polymetrics, etc.

     I've seen other web site products, but I want to keep this simple at first and careful with our cold climate weather.


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     On my web site, I have provided my 60 Day Pubescent Pitcher Training Program for youngsters eleven years old and younger.   However, this is the only throwing that they should do during the year, not an off-season program.   I have also provided my 60 Day Adolescent Pitcher Training Program for youngsters twelve to sixteen years old.   Again, they should do this program simultaneously with their competitive summer season and not as an off-season program.   I have also provided my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program for sixteen and older pitchers.   With their completed skeletal maturation, they are ready to train during their off-seasons.

     Next summer, I am offering eight week summer programs for high school Juniors and Seniors.   You can read about it in my Pitching Instruction file.

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438.   I've read the first chapter of your online book and with interest noted that your father played fastpitch softball.   My question is how much of what you talk about in overhand pitching could relate to pitching fastpitch.   I am a self taught fastpitch pitcher and am always looking for way to increase speed and movement and control.   There are obvious fundamental differences but could I modify some of what you teach and apply it to my own pitching given what you may no about underhand pitching.

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     Without high speed film and considerable research on the subject, I could not offer any advice.   My father played first base.

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439.   You are right about perfection.   We have two extremes here, you to the extreme right (correct mechanics) and the rest to the extreme left (incorrect mechanics).   To find middle ground is tough, but since all other instructions other than yours were formed by illustrations of pro pitchers and the majority of the amateur coaches are sheep and follow the these illustrations, I have to lower myself to their level.   To turn on the light bulb, remember I was there a few years ago and know how the system works.   You just have to trust my judgment here, sort of you want to catch a thief, you use a thief theory.   But, I understand your approach right from the breaking of the hands to the recovery.   It was making the first important move and that was to get rid of the high guard now.   The rest will come with time.

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     I can find no middle ground between the proper, injury-free way to apply force and anything short of that.   Those who use illustrations of major league pitchers perpetuate the pitching flaws inherent in the 'traditional' pitching motion that has destroyed hundred of thousands of pitching arms.   Until everybody casts aside them and their broken technique, we will continue to destroy the best pitching arms that this country has to offer.

     I am not convinced that you understand my pitching motion.   Pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward until it reaches driveline height or above their ear.   They have their palm facing outward and their forearm is forty-five degrees behind vertical.   From this position, they start their body forward.   Between this position and when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, pitchers position their forearm for the type of pitch that they want to throw and they achieve leverage.   From this leverage position forward, pitchers maximally accelerate their forearm straight forward through release and deceleration.

     Never once did I have to mention 'high guard' or anything else.   I can perform this movement without pictures.   I can explain the scientific reasons for doing this.   Everything else clouds a clear picture.

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440.   I just wanted to say, you are my FAVORITE pitcher.   Ha Ha.   I mean, you don't see many guys throwing like 106 games any more.   Of course, I never watched u pitch, but I have just read this book called 'True Blue' and after reading it, I really see how good you were.   But, back to the question.   I heard you were a guy big on medical stuff, but I think your teammate Bill Buckner thought otherwise.   What do you have to say about his comments, "Mike was very, very opinionated.   And I think he really tried to BS some people.   He talked about that health stuff all the time.   Then I'd see him go up to his room at two in the morning with his six bags of McDonald's, hee hee, I know this isn't true.

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     Bill Buckner was the best left-handed contact hitter of his day.   I wish him well.

     When I teach my Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Tests and Measurement, Motor Development, Learning and Skill Acquisition and so on classes, I state the research applicable to each.   A person's opinion is only as valuable as the facts on which they base them.   During my playing days, I preferred to eat my pregame meal at cafeterias where I could select from a wide variety of vegetables.   I am sure that I have eaten hamburgers, but I cannot recall the last time that I drove into a fast food restaurant.

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441.   I would like to start by sending 100.00 for your Instructional videotape.   Close to me is a double-A minor league team.   I do visit their surgeon, make fun of him and talk pitching.   He spoke mostly of medial epicondylitis that can be caused by fatigue.   It is what happened to me.

     Prior to my first surgery, however, I use to talk to my pitching coach in spring training.   He said that my mechanics were okay.   But, I'm caught between paying too much attention to pitch counts and how much actual throwing one can go through before fatigue.   Pitch counts were that popular back in the 70's, you know that.   Now, it's all you hear, yet, there are still a lot of pitchers in the operating room.

     In other words, when should you pay attention to pitch counts and when do you let him pitch more?   Is it the individual?   The size of the kid?   Their age?   Anyhow, I'll find out through your program.   But, what I was really interested in was reading about your testing with Andy Messersmith.   That was interesting to me.


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     Please correct me if I am wrong, but don't you coach college pitchers?   If so, you do not have to concern yourself with growth plates, they have mature skeletons.   Therefore, any discomfort that they experience is a result of either inadequate training or improper force application technique.   If they master my force application technique and complete my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, then their only limit relates to how much energy source they have to resynthesize Adenosine-Triphosphate.

     I do not worry about pitch counts.   I evaluate the quality and variety of their pitches.   If they have my fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls and they can throw them all for strikes in the pitch sequences that I recommend, then they get to pitch three times through the lineups.   I remove them, not for their protection, but because the hitters have seen them three times and that is enough for one game.

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442.   I am writing to update you on my sons injury that I wrote to you about in the summer.   His growth plate has healed completely without any surgery and he took the summer off from baseball to be sure that it did not happen again too soon.   I am enrolling him in a strength and conditioning gym that works one on one with him.   Hopefully, that will help him out before the start of his junior year playing again this year.

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     I am pleased to hear the your son's shoulder problem has healed and his bones have matured.   In Section XI, I explain the training methods that I use to prepare pitchers.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that shows how I train my students.   In addition, I offer an eight week summer training program to high school Juniors and Senior for the highly motivated.   Check my Pitching Instruction file.

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443.   I don't think I was being very clear so I just shut up and do the best I can with you research.   I never ever said that you mentioned the high guard in your research project however in your e mails you did say the high guard was a major cause of injuries and I agree 100%.   I personally feel that the high has to be eliminated 1st and foremost and once that's accomplished then the rest of your research material can be taught by word of mouth.

     I use 60 frames per second software and it's the only way I can show my troops that their stride foot is off the ground and that their throwing arm is in the high guard position at the same time.   Over a 16 month period, I filmed 24 pitchers and all 24 had the same problem as I just described.   Now I can move onto the next phase.

     I can't put up a brick wall and throw iron balls, so I have to turn to other means and I definitely found a drill that works so far.   So, until I see your next video I will continue to use your scientific approach as best as I can.   It is virtually impossible for any follower to totally copy exactly his teacher's perfect research, but as long as I see improvement in my troops thru his research, I feel I being of SOME help.


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     I wish you every success.

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444.   I HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO READ SOME OF YOUR BOOK AND I HAVE HEARD YOU ON SEVERAL RADIO SHOWS.   IT IS A SHAME THAT THE KIDS PLAYING BASEBALL IN THE LATE 60's AND 70's WHEN I DID, DID NOT HAVE THE INSTRUCTION THAT IS OUT THERE TODAY.   MY COACH ONLY WANTED ME TO PITCH AS MANY INNINGS AS POSSIBLE.   I HAD TO THROW A LOT OF CURVE BALLS AND SLIDERS BECAUSE IT SEAMED THAT EVERYONE COULD HIT MY FASTBALL.   NO ONE EVER SHOWED ME HOW TO THROW OFF SPEED UNTIL MUCH LATER IN MY PLAYING DAYS.   NOW AT 40, I HAVE ELBOW AND SHOULDER PROBLEMS.

     I COACH TWO LITTLE LEAGUE TEAMS AND REFUSE TO LET MY KIDS THROW ANY BREAKING BALLS.   SOME PARENTS GET MAD BECAUSE THEY THINK IT IS COOL THAT THEIR 10 YEAR OLD KID CAN THROW A CURVE BALL.   MY SON IS A CATCHER AND DOES NOT EVEN KNOW HOW TO HOLD A CURVEBALL.   HE HAS ASKED SEVERAL TIMES FOR ME TO TEACH HIM BUT I REFUSE.   I HAVE CAUGHT HIM GOING TO OTHER KIDS TRYING TO GET THEM TO TEACH HIM, AND I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO STOP IT.

     HE IS ONLY ELEVEN AND MY SURGEON ADVISED ME NOT TO TEACH HIM UNTIL HE IS 14 OR 15 YEARS OLD.   HE IS 6' 2" TALL AND 105 POUNDS.   IS THERE A WAY TO TELL WHAT IS THE RIGHT TIME BY THEIR BODY SIZE AND NOT WORRY ABOUT THERE AGE?   ALSO I HAVE A 10 YEAR OLD ON MY TEAM WHO CAN ONLY THROW SIDE ARM.   I HAVE TRIED TO TEACH HIM TO THROW OVERHAND BUT HIS FATHER SAYS IT'S OK TO THROW SIDE ARM.   HIS DAD LIKES THE AMOUNT OF MOVEMENT HE CAN GET ON HIS FASTBALL.   HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH THE PARENTS?


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     As you read more of my Coaching Pitchers book, watch my Instructional Videotape and read my Question/Answer files, you will learn that I have no problem with youngsters of any age learning to throw my Pronation Curve technique with my 60 Day Pubescent and Adolescent Pitchers Training Programs.   However, I do not agree with youngsters practicing or pitching for more than sixty days per year, pitching in games until they are thirteen years old and pitching more than one inning per game.   When you get my videotape, let the parents watch it.   You will not have to say anything to them.

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445.   I value your expertise on pitching. You are my main reference when comes the time to get to the specifics.   No gray zones.   So, here's some few questions that I need to clarify.

1.   I've always thought that application force didn't make the ball break horizontally.   You're telling me that it add/subtract horizontal movement.   But, does it create horizontal movement?   Ex: Torque horizontal spin axis (12-6) screwball.

2.   I've been watching all 17 pitches that you throw on your video.   Maybe you don't have the time for it but I would appreciate to know each type of pitches that you threw.   At least the second to last, just before LH Cecil Cooper, it looks to me like a standard curveball away from RH.   There's some pitches I'm not sure.

3.     Another web site guy just wrote an article on the screwball.   He talks about you as the best screwball pitcher ever.   Since I am pretty familiar with your technique, I was wondering if you had a rotation on your screwball the other way, passed 12-6, close to 1-7.   To me it doesn't make sense, ok with (9-3, 10-4, 11-5, 12-6 and different application forces.   He says that your screwball was acting like a curve.   Could he had mistaken that pitch for your torque 12-6 screwball?

4.   I've heard you say many times that if you had the Maxline pronation curve you would have be great.   This pitch is so close to your Maxline screwball (downward spin + horizontal movement).   What make you say that?


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1.   When pitchers apply force to the perimeter of baseballs, such as when they throw curves and screwballs, they generate spin velocity and decrease horizontal velocity.   To maximize horizontal velocity, pitcher must apply force to the center of the baseballs.

2.   I struck Robin Yount out on a Torque True Screwball.   Since I only threw two seam Maxline fastballs, sliders and screwballs, I cannot understand why you would hve difficulty recognizing the pitches I threw.   If they were not fastballs or sliders, they were some variety of my screwball?   I prefer that you watch what I wish I could have thrown.

3.   I do not know the gentleman, but care little about what he says. Who knows what he thinks he saw?

4.   The Maxline Pronation Curve stands up the right-handed spray hitters and I had difficulty with that type of hitter.   When I did not know when right-handed spray hitters planned to go to the opposite field or pull, I could throw my Maxline Pronation Curve without concern.

     I have never gone to anybody's web site to read anything and, absent knowledge that they have academic and research credentials that give them any facts on which to state their opinion, I have no intentions of starting now.

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446.   A player of mine had surgery to reattach the biceps tendon to his shoulder.   That was 11 weeks ago and in that time he has done the prescribed rehab which did not include throwing.   He is now to begin a throwing program that has him throwing once every three days in conjunction with rehab during the next month.   Is this enough throwing in your opinion?

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     I would have put him on my 280 Day Pitchers Training Program at nine weeks.   He should be doing my leverage throws from my pickoff position every day.   This is precisely what I do.   If he seriously wants to rehabilitate and improve his skills, he should have signed up for my forty week program.

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447.   "Nolan knows he has perfect mechanics.   It makes no difference that he doesn't understand the mechanics.   He lucked into throwing the ball right.   It came naturally to him.   If he had been taught, he probably wouldn't do it right."   Dr. Mike Marshall, former Major League pitcher.

     Ryan was primary a fastballs pitcher.   Everything he threw was hard.   Even his curveball was clocked at 88-90 mph.   Even with great mechanics, curveballs are hard on the pitching arm.   Supination you know?   But, I was surprised to found out that Nolan threw his curveball with a STRAIGHT wrist and that helped him.   Did you ever heard about that straight wrist curveball and how it was thrown?


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     Today, I would not agree with me that Mr. Ryan had perfect mechanics.   However, he remains the greatest pitching talent that I ever saw.   With regard to straight wrist, the only way pitchers can ulnar flex their wrist is when it is straight.   The question is whether pitchers supinate or pronate the wrist.   Without high speed film, we will never know what Nolan Ryan did.   However, we do know what I teach and that is what I recommend.

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448.   I have been an interested fan of yours when you pitched for the Dodgers.   And more recently when you were on an ESPN interview following this year's All Star game.   Your views on young kids pitching and the related long term negative effects are too say the least sobering.   I'm sixty-eight years old and have much of the lingering damage of too much too soon when I was a kid.

     I, believe it or not, have a son who just turned nine and has played Tee ball and two years of Caps Little League.   I just knew on some level that young arms have to mature before you can load them up.   I have been a constant pain in the ass because of these views.   For instance, the vast majority of both League Board members and parents don't realize that CAP is an abbreviation of coach assisted pitching.

     I'm on the board of a local Little League.   I have decided to stay on the board despite of the flack I receive from the other board members and many of the parents who want their kids to be another Nolan Ryan or such.   If I left, there would not be any support for any of the changes that I think are necessary to make the game better for the kids.

     The Little league World series was a good example of what I mean.   The Louisville coach was an amped out example of a type A personality if I ever saw one.   No wonder Aaron Alvey had a sore shoulder pitching the way he did the last week.   By the way, he apparently tied a record set by Sean Burroughs a few years ago for no hit innings.   As you know Sean Burroughs is in minor league ball as a property of the San Diego Padres.   One of his flaws is he can't make a very good throw to first base from third.

     The commentators for the World Series never really mentioned the danger that kids that age could suffer.   It was just one big bullshit love fest with Little League.   The scenes from the stands of parents saying prayers and carrying on just brought it home that we got a lot of Achievement By Proxy Distortion going on here.


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     Stay the course.   I agree with your analysis of the Little League World Series.   Have you ever seen so many six foot tall twelve years olds?   How can we support a competition that rewards the 6.8% of twelve years old who are biologically fourteen years old?   It gives these kids a false self-image and discards the rest as insufficient.

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449.   What do you find inadequate about the "standard" rehab programs for post operative arm injuries?   Certainly there are pitchers who recovered from surgery to become successful again, Tommy John for one.   Are doctors and therapists conservative in order to cover their rear ends just in case?   I'm guessing that the establishment considers your program too aggressive too soon.   Can you give me some of the medical basis for which you've established the time table for your program for a rehab pitcher?   The professional people here in my opinion are much more conservative than you are and if I could give answers to their questions it would help me.

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     Standard rehabilitation programs operate from an anatomical point of view.   That is, they fail to consider how athletes use the injured area.   Pitchers injure their pitching arms because they have improper force application techniques and/or inadequate training to properly prepare their pitching arm.   Your pitcher has to learn how not to repeat the unnecessary stress.   He must train as he needs to learn how to change how he applies force.   Doctors and therapists do not have a clue.   I do.   And, I do not have a university-authorized trainer to slow me down.

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450.   In one of your posts I believe you said that if someone did bench presses you would not recommend taking the weight below the acromial line.   What happens when the weight goes below the acromial line?

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     First, I need to say that I do not recommend that pitchers do any heavy weight lifting, including bench presses.   They have more than they need with my wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   For those who use bench presses, I strongly recommend that they do not permit their olecranon processes (tip of their elbows) to go behind their acromial line.   That position puts the muscles that horizontally flex and stabilize the shoulder joint at stretch with poor leverage to apply force.   The Pectoralis Major muscle will probably be fine, but the Subscapularis and posterior glenoid fossa attachment of the Triceps Brachii are at risk.

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451.   My son is a 16 year old junior with a high level of potential.   He is 6'4", 200 lb. and is very fast for his size, 4.1 home to first.   While he is a strong position player we have been told his future potential lies in pitching.   He consistently throws 84 to 87 mph now with a top of 90.   He has a sharp 12 to 6 curve and a good circle change.   We have worked on mechanics this summer to develop the consistency that he has lacked.   I am hoping your instruction will be a big plus.

     He and his team will be attending the a championship in Florida this fall.   I understand that it is supposedly one of the top fall showcases.   Do you attend these events as a means of marketing your services?   If so, let me know, it would be great to meet you.


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     It sounds like a very exciting time for you and your son.   I hope things go well for him.   I live in Zephyrhills, FL near Tampa.   I train young men every day from the third Saturday in August through the fourth Saturday in May.   I only attend my Pitcher Research Center.   I am going to offer an eight week training program to high school Juniors and Seniors this coming summer.   We welcome visitors.

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452.   Thanks for taking time out to chat this morning on my twelve and one-half year-ld daughter's throwing program.   When is the best time (least inconvenient) to call you? Our cell phone program offers 4,000 minutes at month after 9 p.m. and on weekends/holidays so I try to peg the calls in that zone.   I don't want to be a pest, but I do want to work toward achieving the best technique for the best results for the kids/young people.

     The two older girls both are at college and have their apparati on hand and have two weeks of training in hand.   I was pleased to offer another girl the option of a extra workout day in my garage before she left Saturday morning at 7 a.m..   I told her if she showed the dedication to come over at 6 a.m., I'd haul my ass out of bed at 5:45 a.m. and have everything ready.   She arrived at 6:07, did the workout, went home and showered and headed off to college.   Those are the kind of kids I'll work with.

     My daughter in college has had to cut her reps to 12 (she should be at 21) because they have started fall ball practice and she said she her arm is too tired with the workout and throwing in practice.   She never complains, so I've got to believe her.   The two boys who are playing high school football are ready to move their program up to 24 reps.   The other outfielder stopped the program for a few days to rest for a college showcase, and he's back on now.

     Again, thank you for all of your time and guidance.   All the kids report greater range of motion, greater overall flexibility and improved strength.


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     I am as interested in your project as you are.   Consequently, I need to know how the kids are responding.   I will always be available.   The best way to communicate with me is via emails.   I set time aside just about every morning to answer my emails.   I can never predict what I will be doing remainder of the day.

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453.   I have a 18 year old pitcher coming into our program having had Tommy John surgery in June.   Our trainer believes that doing your program too soon can cause damage to his arm.   My question is once the operation takes place what healing or activity takes place in the repaired area and how long before it is able to withstand the stress.   You have determined that after surgery a pitcher should wait a certain amount of time before beginning your program.   On what basis did you determine the amount of time between surgery and initiating your program?

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     For pitchers to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they have to apply considerable unnecessary stress to the inside of their elbow.   The most important aspect of their rehabilitation is to teach them the correct force application technique.   Then, to receive maximal benefits in the shortest time, the program needs to stimulate skeletal development precisely how pitchers apply force to their pitches.

     To understand the rehabilitation process, we have to understand the injury from which we are rehabilitating.   When surgeons replace the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they take the tendon from the Palmaris Longus muscle, or if pitchers do not have a Palmaris Longus muscle, they take a portion of the Gracilis muscle from the Pes Anserinus common attachment in the medial aspect of the proximal end of the Tibia bone.   Next, they drill holes in the Ulna and Humerus bones on their medial aspects at the elbow.   Now, they thread the tendon through the holes and secure them together.

     The osteoblasts cells that surround the holes start to work to fill the holes, much like they do when we break our bones.   Broken bones typically heal in about six weeks.   The holes fill in about the same time.   When the holes fill, they cement the new Ulnar Collateral Ligament into place.   X-rays will show the completion of this osteoblastic operation.   After the osteoblasts complete their hole-repair job, they stop laying down new bone matrix.   This is where rehabilitation begins.

     When I am directing their rehabilitation, I start them with gentle swimming at six weeks.   They should use the crawl stroke and a modified breast stroke that I teach them.   They can also use five pound wrist weights to gently swing their pitching arm in front of them.   At nine weeks, I start them on my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   I watch them every day for precise technique and intensity.   I monitor any discomfort.   At the end of the program, they are stronger than they have ever been and they correctly apply force to minimize unnecessary stress.   My experience is that they want to go harder than I permit them.

     I have seen the rehabilitation program that the Physical Therapists associated with the surgeons use.   It has four major flaws.

     First, they send the pitchers back to the pitching coaches who taught them the technique that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the first place.   Those coaches do not understand why the ligament ruptured and cannot teach them how to correctly adjust their pitching motion to remove the unnecessary stress.

     Second, the training exercises have nothing to do with pitching.   The most important rule of training is Specificity.   If the training does not precisely mimic the proper force application technique, it is of little or no value.   Physical Therapists train muscle from the anatomical position rather than in the proper pitching force application positions.

     Third, the Physical Therapists use a three pound medicine ball and a pitch-back net to train Plyometricly.   Plyo means 'longer'.   Metric means 'length'.   Therefore, Plyometric means increasing the length.   Physical Therapists fail to understand that muscles do not lengthen when they contract.   However, the angles across the joints where the contracting muscles are operating do increase.   I call this, Plyoanglos.   This means that the joint angles increase.   This happens every time you put your glass back down on the table after you take a drink.   I explain this material in greater detail in Chapter 31 of my Coaching Pitchers book in the section I title, Three Kinesiological Joint Actions.

     Plyoanglos is nothing new, but it is critical to any ballistic sport action, such as pitching.   I have training Plyoanglosly for over thirty years with the program appropriate for pitchers.   They are my wrist weight exercises.   Catching a three pound medicine ball has nothing to do with throwing a five and one-quarter ounce baseball.

     Fourth, the Interval Training Program that they recommend has not control over the resistance that the pitchers work against and does not quantifiably stimulate osteoblastic activity.   Their program simply tells pitchers to throw baseballs at fifty percent of their maximal intensity and recommend that they use a radar gun to determine that intensity.   No researcher would ever accept this as a quantifiable instruction.   Also, I do not believe that five and one-quarter ounces at fifty percent appropriately stimulates osteoblastic activity.

     It is no wonder that they say that it takes from twelve to eighteen months to rehabilitate from this surgery.   At six months, my pitchers throw with greater force application without discomfort.

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454.   I've been reading your Q&A as well as your online book.   I am very impressed by your work.   My question is do you know of anyone who is doing this sort of thorough, scientific work involving tennis instruction, or more specifically with the tennis serve?

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     During my studies at Michigan State, we took high speed film of tennis players serving.   We found that tennis serving utilized most of the same principles as baseball pitching.   However, we did not go further.   I do not know of any other efforts with high speed film analysis and recommendations.   Nevertheless, you could do worse than take my pitching principles and apply them to tennis serving.

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455.   How important is it when using the wrist weights to finish the action with your arm pointing toward home plate as compared to the traditional method of following through?

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     Once again, another technique of the 'traditional' method destroys pitching arms.   Following through is the continuation of a curved path of force application and contributes to pitching arm injury.   Pitchers should not pull their pitching arm across their chest or drive their pitching arm downward.   Pitchers should drive the wrist weights in straight lines from the moment that the start their upper arm acceleration phase through the forearm acceleration phase and through the deceleration phase.   After their pitching arm stops moving forward towards home plate at the end of the deceleration phase, they should continue the pronation action and place the wrist weights behind their back or as we say, 'put your hand in your back pocket.'

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456.   I've begun watching your video and all I can say is, AWESOME!   I've read much of your online book, and with a Bachelors in Physical Education, I have a good understanding of the concepts you present.   But, the video takes things to a new level of meaning and clarity.   It's a service to those of us who are trying to instruct and coach with a rational, research-based approach and not just the old traditions of the game.

     So far, I especially enjoyed your explanation of how you throw your sinker.   As a former 90+ mph Div-1 pitcher, it was not a pitch I ever learned, and I've been looking over the years for a better explanation of how that pitch works.   Some years ago I attended a clinic put on by the head coach at a major university.   I did not find his treatise of how to throw this pitch and why it moves as it does very helpful.   I look forward to future editions/updates of your work.


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     Thank you for the comments.   I will be back in the computer studio next June to upgrade the videotape.   I will have better examples of my exercises with the young men having completed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   I plan to take more high speed film of how we release my pitches.   I also plan a new section where I show and explain the flaws that the traditional approach teaches.   Lastly, I plan a much greater detailed discussion of the force application technique that I recommend as well as precisely how to perform each of my exercises and why.

     As I have already stated, every person who purchased my first edition will receive my second edition at twenty-five percent of its sale price.   I expect the second edition to be about twice as long.

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457.   On all levels we hear about pitchers getting tendonitis or various muscle strains all of which can be painful.   How would you recommend dealing with this?   I'm asking about what kind of throwing and at what intensity, what about with the wrist weights and iron ball?   Is there any specific rehab that you recommend?

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     Discomfort that pitchers experience during or after pitching results from either improper force application technique or inadequate fitness.   The kids that I train very seldom report any discomfort while they work their way through my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   When someone does report discomfort, I explain the name of the muscle, how it operates in the pitching motion and what it means that it is signaling discomfort.   When the muscles are the Trapezius, Levator Scapulae or Rhomboids, I tell them to continue unconcerned.   When the muscles are the Subscapularis or Anterior Deltoid, I tell them to make certain to keep their olecranon process ahead of their acromial line and do not bend their elbow to ninety degrees until they reach my new leverage position.   When the muscles are the Pronator Teres or Flexor Carpi Ulnaris, I tell them to make certain that they are not pulling their arm either across their body or downward.

     I watch them closely every day to make certain that they are performing my wrist weight and iron ball exercises correctly.   We seldom have any discomfort during the four wrist weight and iron ball training stages.   However, when we have completed the four training stages and start the two months of pitch sequencing stage and when they complete my program and go out to pitch competitively, some of the pitchers will complain of significant discomfort.

     In these cases, the pitchers have permitted some flaw from their former 'traditional' technique to creep back into their motion, typically the circle out supination start to their curves or dropping their elbow under on their Torque fastballs.   When they repeat these flaws, they can experience considerable discomfort.   To treat them, I have them continue to complete their wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   Usually, they will report that these exercises do not bother them, that the discomfort returns only during the baseball throws.   Therefore, we identify the flaw, return to using only my pickoff position leverage and transition throws and show them how to correct their pitching motion.

     It is critical to continue to train on a daily basis.   They can reduce the intensity to tolerable levels, but they must continue correct the flaw.   If they stop training, they will only add muscle, bone and ligament atrophy to the problem.   Usually, the problem involves tearing of fascial tissue, that is, non-contractile tissue that surrounds bone and layers of muscle.   While these tears emit considerable discomfort, they do not prevent them from performing powerful wrist weight and iron ball exercises.   Clearly, they have not damaged any structural tissue.   The daily leverage and transition baseball throws from my pickoff position teaches the proper force application technique and stimulates healing.   The challenge occurs when we add the set position to the throwing.   Fortunately, we recently developed my 'no-stride' throws that appears successful in teaching pitchers how to get their rear leg through faster to help them forward rotate and get farther ahead of their front foot before they forearm accelerate their pitches through releases.

     Because the set position requires that pitchers turn their body sideways to home plate, it encourages too much reverse rotation that causes circle out, forearm flyout and elbow drop under.   I spend more time correcting this horrible flaw of the 'traditional' technique than anything else that I do.   It causes more injuries than any other flaw.   Unfortunately, the traditionalists cling to this flaw the strongest.   They mistakenly believe that pitchers must reverse rotate as much as possible to throw their hardest when, in actuality, the extreme rotation forces pitchers to have to compensate for unnecessary stresses more than any other flaw.   We would go a long way to eliminating pitching arm injuries if we could get rid of reverse rotation.

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458.   Being someone who pitched in the 60's and also at the cutting edge of today's pitching techniques, perhaps you could answer a question on my behalf.   Recently, I played the 1960's tape from the Ken Burns Baseball series which originally aired on public television.   I was reminded of how different the windup of pitchers such as Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, and especially Juan Marichal differed from today's hurlers.

     Correct me if I am mistaken, but it seems that the pitchers of yesterday leaned backwards (toward second base) much farther in their wind-up and extended (straightened) their lead leg much earlier as they began to move toward the plate.   It appears as if the strategy was to use the front leg as a lever to help transfer force to the arm.   Today, it seems pitchers stand more erect during the windup and keep their lead leg closer to the body to be uncoiled like a spring as late as possible in the move toward the plate.   I remember first noticing this change in mechanics among New York Mets pitches (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman) in the late 1960's.

     What is the reasoning behind the alteration of the windup?   The newer method is so pervasive that the last pitcher I can remember using the older style was Rich Goosage.   If the newer style makes one a better pitcher, do we go so far as to speculate that Spahn or Koufax would have been even more effective with modern mechanics?


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     The great pitchers that you mentioned did drop their rear shoulder while they raised their front leg high into the air to varying degrees.   They worked in the vertical rotational plane, much like trying to do a cartwheel.   Their front leg went up high at the start and their rear leg went up high at the finish.   With this technique they kept the baseball between the first and third base sides of home plate and only had to concentrate on the height of their release to be within the strike zone.   However, this technique severely limits the rotational forces that pitchers can generate.

     To demonstrate my point, let me compare gymnasts performing cartwheels with ice skaters spinning.   Clearly, the ice skaters spin much faster than the gymnasts cartwheel.

     Pitchers cannot rotate when their rear shoulders point downward and their front leg is high off the ground.   Therefore, I recommend that pitcher keep their shoulders level and do not move their center of mass upward or downward by raising their front leg or bending their rear leg.   The challenge to this powerful rotation technique lies in the force application pathway of the pitching arm.   It must be in straight lines toward home plate from the moment the pitching arm reaches driveline height through the end of the deceleration phase where the pitching arm has reached it maximal length forward.

     On a related matter, dropping the rear shoulder is the reason why I do not recommend that pitchers participate in long tossing.

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459.   I wanted to ask you about this new rub-on stuff on the market.   Does it work?   Should I use it?   I am in my middle 30's and I have pitched about 120 innings so far this year.   Sometimes it takes me a long time to get loose in the bullpen.   The shoulder feels weak at the beginning, but after throwing for about 20 minutes it loosens up.   Will applying this ointment get blood flowing more quickly to my shoulder?   Also, my season will be ending soon, could you recommend an off-season workout program for me?

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     The most effective way to get increased blood flow to pitching muscles is by contracting the pitching muscles.   The circulatory system monitors the waste products of muscle contraction and dilates the blood vessels that serve those muscles.   In this way, the muscles that need the nutrients that blood supplies receives them.

     When pitchers require a long time to 'get loose', it means that they have difficulty repeating their motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences.   I recommend my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program as your off-season program.   However, you should only complete through the first training cycle during your first off-season.

     Unless your substance contains some drug that penetrates the skin, I doubt that it has any influence on blood flow except to the surface of the skin that it irritates.   To increase blood flow to the muscles, you best exercise the muscles as you use them.

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460.   What are the basics of your "Sir Isaac Newton" curveball?   I thought it would be really fun if I could trip up my friends with it.

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     I greatly enjoy answering questions from my readers when I have not already answered them in my Coaching Pitchers book or Instructional Videotape.   That seems redundant.   In Chapter 20, I discuss Daniel Bernoulli's Fluid Flow Equation and explain how it influences spinning baseballs.   I also demonstrate it on my Instructional Videotape.

     The answer has to do with how rotating seams on the baseball collide with air molecules on their way toward home plate to create forces that move pitches in a variety of sideway and downward directions.

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461.   I have a question about the arm path from transition to when the elbow is at driveline height.   How does the distance the hand travels from transition to driveline height affect the quality and velocity of the pitch?   Some pitchers have a big arm "circle" and others are more like an infielder.   Which would you prefer and why?

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     The purpose of the transition is to position the pitching arm on the straight driveline toward home plate with the muscles that apply the force for the upper arm acceleration capable of generating their maximum force without unnecessary stress.   I prefer a slightly bent-elbow, smooth, unrushed pendulum swing that moves with the rhythm of the shift of the body weight from the front foot to the back foot.   I do not want any exaggeration either to enlarge it or to shortcut it.

     The uniformity, strength, length and direction of the force that pitchers apply from this position at the start of their driveline determines their release velocity.   If pitchers do not have any reverse forearm bounce, then they can start their upper arm acceleration phase with positive velocity.   The quality of the pitches depends on the rotational position of their body when they start their forearm acceleration phase and the action of their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers as they drive through release.

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462.   When some of my pitchers work screwballs with the wrist weights they feel tension or pain on the tendon or ligament, I'm not sure which.   They don't have this feeling on the other pitches.   Any suggestions?

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     You did not say precisely where these pitchers experience their discomfort.   If it is the inside of the elbow, then they are pulling the wrist weight across their body or downward.   If it is the inside of the shoulder, then they are leaving their elbow behind their acromial line.   The key to all exercises with the wrist weights, iron balls or baseballs is to drive in straight lines from the moment their pitching hand reaches driveline height until it stops moving toward home plate.   In any case, whatever discomfort they feel is due to incorrect force application and not serious.   It will disappear when they become more precise with their movements.   Perhaps they need to watch the pitching arm action for the screwball as my pitchers demonstrate on my Instructional Videotape.

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463.   A pitcher of mine who is coming off of surgery for a detached biceps tendon has been doing the 10 lb. wrist weight exercises and light throwing.   The first week went well, but now its much more sore especially in the rear shoulder area.   Can you give some suggestions or causes.   Is this to be expected and he just needs to work through it?

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     My wrist weight exercises train Plyoanglosly.   That means the they train the muscles that decelerate the pitching arm.   Those are the muscles on the extension side of the wrist, forearm, shoulder joint and shoulder girdle.    When you say the rear shoulders area, I would prefer more precise information, such as the name of the muscles.   Nevertheless, the rear shoulder area muscles are muscles that decelerate the pitching arm and they are the muscles receiving the stress.   It is appropriate and beneficial that they are sore.

     I do question the light throwing.   Baseball throwing is also a deceleration activity.   Therefore, he is doubling up on the deceleration stress.   I would feel better if he were doing my leverage throws from my pickoff position.   More importantly, he detached one of his Biceps Brachii tendons.   He has a terrible flaw in his throwing motion.   He needs to learn how to throw correctly.   He needs to do my baseball throwing exercises to learn how to throw correctly.

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464.   My son is a pitcher, my father lives in Zephyrhills and came to a camp you were having this spring.   We were wondering if you offer a pitching camp at Christmas time?

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     When I opened my Pitcher Research Center, I had a decision to make.   I could offer numerous training sessions for short time periods and make a lot of money or I could offer training sessions that would actually enable students to learn how to pitch and not make as much money.   I chose the latter.

     I offer eight week summer training programs for high school Juniors and Seniors that start the first Saturday in June.   I offer forty week training programs for high school graduates with two years of college eligibility remaining that start the third Saturday in August.   If you go to my web site and click on Pitching Instruction, you can learn more about my training sessions.

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465.   Right now with the start of fall practice, I have my pitchers doing the wrist weights and their normal throwing during practice.   There are no injuries to report, but I'm wondering if I have them doing too much.   Soon they'll throw in gamelike conditions but a max of 3 innings.   What are your thoughts?

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     Training programs are for the off-seasons.   Maintenance programs are for competitive seasons.   The Fall season is neither.   However, since pitchers are pitching in simulated or practice game situation, you have to consider it a competitive season and only use my maintenance program.

     Maintenance programs are to maintain the fitness gained through earlier off-season training programs.   If pitchers have not trained with my wrist weight and iron ball exercises, then they should not start now.   They should start immediately after the competitive season.   You cannot have pitchers competing with muscles and bones that are trying to hypertrophy.

     These pitchers can practice my baseball throwing exercises to learn how to properly apply force, but I would not introduce my wrist weight or iron ball exercises when you are requiring them to compete.   When I coached college baseball, I did not use the Fall practice for any type of competition.   I used it to train my pitchers.   I introduced my wrist weight exercises and my iron ball exercises.   They had the entire fall to hypertrophy and recover.   I did not take them through any training cycles, I left them at the beginning levels.   We do training cycles after the competitive season in the spring.

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466.   In my previous letter, you responded by saying that throwing after wrist weights was too much deceleration for this man who was coming off of biceps tendon surgery.   You suggest leverage throws from pickoff position.   My questions are why is this easier on the arm than regular throwing and am I right in thinking that all the pickoff throws are done by stepping with the wrong leg?

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     My Pickoff position has pitchers standing as though they are on the pitching mound and throwing toward second base without moving their feet.   My Wrong Foot position has pitchers standing as though they are on the pitching mound and throwing toward home plate without moving their front foot and permitting their rear foot to contact the ground in front of the front foot before they release their throws.   I suggested that your pitcher use my Pickoff position and use my Leverage throws.

     My Pickoff position Leverage throws isolate the forearm action through release.   He should learn how to drive the baseball straight toward home plate without dropping or pulling his elbow.   He should learn how to pronate his forearm such that he finishes by putting his hand in the rear pocket of the throwing side of his hip.   He should learn how to rotate his body to have his pitching arm pointing toward home plate before he forearm accelerates the baseball through release.   Until he learns these skills, he should not throw the baseball with any other technique.

     I have to ask why this young man would attempt to rehabilitate at your school when he knows where he could not only successfully rehabilitate his pitching arm, but also learn how to correctly apply force without further injury and increase the variety and quality of his pitches?   Does he not care enough about pitching to make the extra effort?

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467.   I am in the process of answering a question from a letter writer and would like to ask your assistance.   Here is the letter:

     In Steve Delsohn's True Blue, there is a small debate over Mike Marshall's record setting 1974 season.   Al Downing points out that Marshall pitched in 106 games, but only earned 21 saves.   Marshall states that of those 106 games, he finished 83 of them and should have been credited with more saves.   Marshall states that in 1974 baseball had a "ridiculous save rule," and if it weren't for that he would have set several relief pitching records.   My questions are, how was the save rule different in 1974 than it is today?   And, how many saves would Mike Marshall have earned if today's save rule was in effect in 1974?

     Here is the start of the answer:   In 1974, Marshall appeared in a record-setting 106 games in relief and finished 83 of those 106 contests, recording 21 saves, 15 wins and 12 losses in 208 innings of work.

     In 1974, the definition of a save was: "A pitcher shall be credited with a save when, in entering the game as a relief pitcher, he finds the potential tying or winning run either on base or at the plate or he pitches at least three or more effective innings and, in either case, preserves the lead."

     The current definition reads: "Credit the pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following:
(1)   He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club;
(2)   He is not the winning pitcher;
(3)   He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
     (a)   He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
     (b)   He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first to batsmen he faces); or
     (c)   He pitches effectively for at least three innings.

     The big differences in the rule from the way it was in 1974 to its current definition is that a reliever can receive credit for a save when his team is as much as three runs ahead in the score when he enters the game at the start of an inning.   In 1974, that was not the case.

     Dr. Marshall, Can you provide more insight into the differences in the save rule from 1974 as compared to today's definition and do you have any information as to how many more saves you would have had in 1974 if you pitched under today's guidelines for relief pitchers?


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     In 1974, Walter Alston put me in games typically no later than the eighth inning when we had a chance to win.   He did not check the rule book as to whether it met any rule requirement.   If I entered at the start of the eighth inning with a two run lead, I did not receive a save.   That is the big difference between the old rule and todays.   For him to wait until I would qualify for a save is bad managing.   He discussed it with me and I told him that the instant that he felt that I could do a better job than the pitcher that he had on the mound, then he should put me in the game without concern for the save rule.

     I believe that I finished sixty-three games that we won.   Since I had fifteen wins, the remaining should have been saves.   I believe that when pitchers finish games, they deserve saves.   If pitchers can get a save with no baserunners, two outs in the ninth with a one run lead, then they should get saves every time they finish games.   By the way, how many closers win double digit games for their team?

     More important to me than the wins or saves because I share the credit for them with my teammates is the fact that I contributed two hundred and eight (208) closing innings to my team's effort.   I answered the call every day, even thirteen consecutive games.   Walter Alston and I may have been able to orchestrate me earning at least sixty-three saves that year, but I wanted to do everything that I could for my team and I did.

     I want to make certain that you or anybody else does not misunderstand what I am saying.   In no way am I criticizing either the save rule of that day, the other managers or pitchers of that day or any day.   I am speaking only about Walter Alston and myself.   Nevertheless, I am the only closer to qualify for the earned run average title and I did it twice.   Those closers who do not qualify should not receive consideration for the Cy Young Award.   Closers should have their own classification and respect.   To compare them with what I did in my career is unfair to them and me.   Nobody has or will ever do what I did.   My accomplishments are more that three standard deviations above the mean.   You simply cannot compare what closers do in less than one hundred innings with what I did in over two hundred innings.

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468.   In response to your last answer, I wish he would rehab with you.   But, he's in pro ball there's a certain mentality there as far as trying something different.   I guess like when Dr. Jobe saw you using the wrist weights and thought you were crazy.   They're not quick to believe.   At least he's doing the exercises.   He's been slow to believe he needs to change his mechanics.   When his front foot lands, his arm is well behind his acromial line.

     I don't know if you realize it, but you are unfortunately ahead of your time, like Galileo and Columbus.   People scoffed at them too.   I just hope your research will help many people while you're able to see the results.   The best I can do is use you as a resource and learn.   Hopefully I can change his mindset.


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     I have always questioned the evaluation, 'ahead of your time.'   I am not criticizing, but I feel that I learn new things too slowly.   It seems to take me months to recognize adjustments that we need to make.   After thirty-seven years of researching, I feel like I should have figured all of this out in the first few years.   Sometimes, things become so obvious that I feel stupid.   I spend considerable time apologizing to kids I worked with a couple of years ago that I did not know what I know now that could have helped them.

   This guy just sounds lazy.   He does not want to leave his comfort zone where he gets everything free and feels special.   He ruptured his biceps brachii tendon and still wants to throw that same way.   Well, maybe he is stupid as well.   I appreciate your comments and efforts.

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469.   I am an adolescent pitcher and am worried about one pitch that I am throwing.   I like to think of it as a mach-curveball.   I hold it just like a curve, but I throw it simply by coming from a 3/4 arm angle and flicking my wrist.   I don't turn my wrist in towards my body when I throw it, or snap the ball violently, but I am very worried that I am putting too much strain on my arm.   I would consider it a great relief if you could answer two questions for me in laymen's terms. Is the pitch I am throwing really a curveball? What is the difference in the amount of stress on my arm between what I am throwing and a curveball?

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     Mach-curveball.   Marvelous name.   I assume that this means that you can throw it at the speed of sound.   It used to be that we defined a curve by how it rotated.   Baseballs that rotate forward with a horizontal spin axis were curves.   However, I teach screwballs that also rotate forward with a horizontal spin axis.   Now, we have to consider whether the palm of your pitching hand faces toward or away from your head.   When your palm faces your head, you are throwing curves.   When your palm faces away from your head, you are throwing screwballs.

     I don't like hearing that your forearm is outside of your elbow, three-quarters.   The three-quarter forearm position places unnecessary stress on the inside of your shoulder and elbow.   But, I do like that you flick your wrist.   I hope that you do not drop your elbow or pull your elbow across your body.

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470.   Have you seen the Sportscentury edition about your former coach Gene Mauch?   It was very interesting.   The only problem is they viewed him as a failure because of some of his decisions he made on the field!   I just thought it was interesting because you hold him in very high regard.   What do you think of this documentary?

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     I have not seen the program.   Without Gene Mauch, I would not have had the chance to show what I could do.   It does not surprise me that the writers did not evaluate him correctly, they do not understand the meaning of greatness, only numbers.

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471.   I have received your video and watched it a few times.   I will continue to watch it to make sure I'm picking up everything.   You asked for comments and suggestions, so I'm including mine below.

1.   I found several very good things, but I especially liked the time you spent showing how to hold the ball and release the ball for all the pitches.   I know of no other source for such careful explanation of how to hold and release the ball, especially for the variety of pitches.

2.   I also especially like the overall emphasis on preventing injuries.   You can't emphasize that too much.   If anything, many people will have a tendency to merely watch the tape and not read the book, so anything you can do to beef up the injury prevention in the tape, the better.

3.   Keep in mind that what you are trying to do is more than documentation, and more than publishing your findings.   You are also trying to teach, and trying to communicate.   Therefore I would suggest a few things that would help your audience understand more easily.   One suggestion would be to have some testimonials in the tape; interview a few youths, parents, and pitchers.   Your audience will be more receptive to your findings if they heard a few people like themselves say, I was really messing up my arm, but now by using these techniques.

4.   Maybe have a question and answer session, with an interviewer asking you some of the common questions that you have gotten.   This will help reduce your time answering the same questions on email, help communicate to more people, and with an interviewer, the tape will come across more smoothly and naturally.

5.   If possible, Id like to see more angled shots of the correct movements.   Maybe from top, as well as back and front. Slowing the motion might help, Im not sure.   You might also consider grouping the shots by pitch, in a group with the grip, the release, and then heres a shot of how it looks from the mound.

6.   It seems to me comparison shots would help teach correct technique.   Maybe have a right/left split screen, with a poor example on the left, and the correct one on the right.   This helps people see what theyre doing wrong, and how to correct it.

7.   In the book, Id suggest dating the files, so well know when theyve been updated.   It makes it easier.   In the tape, Id suggest removing references to dates, since that will not be changed nearly as often and simply dates the tape.

8.   The content of the tape is good, but you should insist on better production quality.   For example, some scenes have what appear to be que cards sneaking into the frames.   This makes it look unprofessional and amateurish. Regardless of the accuracy of the content, the fact is that the degree of seriousness people give to your message is directly proportional to the quality of the video production.   I apologize for being blunt, but its sort of like if someone wrote a technical journal article with a crayon.   The content might be great, but many people will take one look and not consider the ideas.   Consider shooting some of it on a nice looking field.   I realize you were trying to show the practice facility, but the clutter of lawnmowers and gas cans detracts from the message.

9.   You are doing more than documenting, but also teaching. Sometimes teaching means repetition, so consider repeating things, especially the most important concepts.

10.   On your website, Id suggest removing old Q&A that is inaccurate.   You have answers that you gave two years ago that contradict what you are now teaching.   This is confusing.

11.   I very much like what you are doing, thank you very much.   I like the idea of the video following the book.


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     Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.   I will pay very close attention to them.   I plan to upgrade my videotape next June.   I will have videotape of young men after they completed my program.   This will provide better quality performances.   I also plan to take more high speed film to show releases at much slower speed.   I have considered removing old Question/Answer files.   However, I felt that it was better to admit my previous misinterpretations than deceive.   You are also right about having somewhere to communicate that I have upgraded parts of my book.   I think that I need a Recent Upgrade file.   I will work on that.

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472.   I'm sure you still follow the Dodgers and what are your opinions on Dodger setup man Paul Quantrill, who leads the league with 83 games?   Now, that is nowhere near your record set in the 70s, but how do you think a person with such a tenuous position is able to last so long?   And also Eric Gagne, who throws 97 mph near 75 games this year?   Is this all a result of hard work/working out/ mentality or is there some X factor?

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     I am sorry to disappoint, but I rarely watch any major league baseball games and I have no special affinity to the Dodgers.   I pitched where they sent me and the Expos traded me to the Dodgers.   I had nothing to do with it.

     I was able to pitch in 106 games, 208 innings of closing relief, 13 consecutive games and finish 83 games in 1974 and four other top ten Cy Young Award seasons because I learned how to properly apply force without unn