Question/Answer 2003

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001.   I coach college baseball.   I found your flyer when I returned to my office this summer.   I have been reading everything on your web site since then.   I also attend many college baseball coaches conferences.   Last January, I was in Orlando, FL.   A long-time pitching expert stood at the podium and said that he had taught pitching wrong for the past twenty-two years.   Then, he told us how to correctly teach pitching.   Without ever mentioning your name, he told us basically everything that you have written in your book and question and answer files.   Don't you get tired of these wannabees stealing your hard work?

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     My purpose is to eliminate pitching arm injuries.   I cannot get to every pitcher in the world.   I need these guys to steal my stuff.   I have known about this guy's plagiarism for years.   He convinced a former great major league pitcher to quote me almost verbatim.   Another wannabe even emailed me that when I put my book on the web site that he can use whatever he wants and that is not plagiarism.   They have no ethics.   They steal for profit.   It is up to the consumer to investigate.

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002.   Thank you so much for replying I know you are busy.   My daughter had thermal capsular shift surgery.   Her surgeon said she had a frayed labrum, but no tears.   He thought he would have to tack it, but, after the scope, he felt it was not necessary.   It has been since August 15.   What would be the average time to start back?

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     She had pain in the front of her shoulder.   This means that she permitted her pitching arm to go behind her acromial line.   She needs to correct her pitching technique and start a training program.   To start, I recommend the first 60 Days of my Adult Pitchers Training Program.   I know that it is for overhand baseball pitching, but it will still give her the skeleton, ligament and tendon strength that she needs.   Coach Beach will have to help with the proper pitching mechanics.

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003.   I recently went to the doctor for a checkup on my throwing elbow.   I had been having problems for a long time (3-4 years) with the elbow and wanted a specialist to check it out.   I underwent an anthrogram MRI and it revealed I had a severe tear in my UCL.   Surgery was necessary to repair the tear.

     I originally tore this ligament 3-4 years ago and it was misdiagnosed as a sprain.   I went on playing baseball and throwing with the pain for 4 years.   I am now a Sophomore in college and have hit 90 mph.

     My question is, if I undergo this surgery and performed the 10-12 months of rehab, what are my chances of throwing harder?   Is the tear in my ligament preventing me from throwing harder?   If I hit 90 mph with the tear, should I gain velocity with a new elbow?   Is this reasonable thinking or just wishful thinking?   My doctor said my situation is unique in that I tore the ligament 3-4 years ago in my prime developing time and have waited till now to have surgery.

     Any insight would be appreciated.   I'm trying to decide if the surgery is worth it.   By the time I'm fully recovered, I'll be 21 years old and way behind many players my age.


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     Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement is a simple, very effective surgery.   Surgeons drill holes in the humerus and ulna bones where the original UCL attached.   Then, they thread a portion of the tendon from the Palmaris Longus muscle through those holes and secure the ends.   Nine weeks later, osteoblastic activity closes those holes around the new ligament and everything is as good as before you stretched the UCL during adolescent pitching, which eventually tore it as an adult.   Some UCL replacement pitchers do throw harder after surgery.   However, I believe that whether they throw harder after surgery and whether they reinjure other medial epicondyle tissues depends on whether they learn how to correctly apply force.   Obviously, the former way they applied force injured the pitching arm.   They have to change and they have to undergo the proper rehabilitation program to recover the lost bone density and strength.

     My 280 Day Adult Pitchers Program accomplishes both goals within one year of the surgery.

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004.   My son, who was eleven years old at the time, on numerous occasions threw in excess of 100 pitches during one game.   I believe at one time he exceeded 120.   I've read and watched many experts say that for this age children should be limited to less then 60-70 pitches per game.   My question to you is: How many pitches is to many?   If his coaches continue to abuse his pitching arm will he indeed do irreversible harm to his shoulder and/or elbow?

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     Research evidence irrefutably demonstrates that adolescent pitching interferes with the normal growth and development of the growth plates of the pitching elbow to varying degrees.   At the very least, youth pitchers suffer from premature growth plate closure.   At the most, they pull the ossification center for their medial epicondyle off the shaft of the humerus or require that surgeons remove the head of their radius.   Without doubt, youth pitching at any level causes some limitation to their adult abilities.

     Empirical evidence indicates that youth pitching permanently stretches the shoulder and elbow ligaments.   After shoulder surgery to tighten the permanently stretched gleno-humeral ligaments, Jim Morris increased his release velocity from eighty-eight to ninety-eight miles per hour.   After elbow surgery to tighten the permanently stretched ulnar collateral ligament, several professional pitchers have increased their release velocity.

     I recommend that youth pitchers practice their pitching skills for no more than two months per year.   I recommend that youth pitchers under thirteen years old complete my sixty day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program and my Sixty Day Adolescent Pitchers Training Program before they competitively pitch.   I recommend that youth pitchers do not competitively pitch until they are thirteen years old.   I recommend that youth pitchers do not pitch more than one inning per game.

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005.   I am writing to ask you about Eccentric Contraction and its role in the pitching motion, and more specifically around the glenohumeral joint.   I have tried out your technique to the best of my ability in practices this winter and I am finding it very difficult to "lock" my upper arm to my torso, or eliminate all external rotation of the GHJ while at the same time preventing becoming too stiff to the point of being unable to throw.   However, when I relaxed a bit, my arm seemed to be able to externally rotate but then rotate more powerfully forward than I was able to before.

     I was then reading up on eccentric muscle loading and what was happening seemed to make some more sense.   It seemed to me that the initial tension in the internal rotators, namely pec major allowed the stretch shortening cycle to kick in.   The force from my legs seemed to be "transferred" into elastic energy stored in my right Pec, and then released into the pitch and my upper arm began to slow and forearm acceleration began.

     Was that your rationale for telling people to maintain GHJ angle, to ensure proper energy transfer from the lower to upper body, as opposed to allowing the forearm to "fall back" and create forearm bounce?   Or am I totally wrong.   If I am, where in the pitching motion should you take advantage on the stretch-shortening cycle or should you at all?


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     Muscles apply force only when they decrease their length.   When muscles stay at the same contracted length or they increase their length, they can only resist force.   Therefore, there is not such thing as an eccentric muscle contraction.

     Sarcomeres either contract or they don't.   When one sarcomere in the sarcomere chain that makes up myofibrils contracts, that myofibril either applies or resists force at that length.   When more sarcomeres in the sarcomere chain contract, that myofibril either applies or resists force at that different length.   Whether the contraction is concentric or eccentric has nothing to do with sarcomere activity, it has to do with how the contracting sarcomeres influence the movements of the bones to which they attach.   Therefore, I propose different nomenclature.

     Rather than concentric muscle action, I prefer mioanglos joint action.   Mio is Greek for shortens.   Anglos is Greek for angle.   This means that the contracting musculature moves the bones to which they attach closer together.   Rather than isometric muscle action, I prefer isoanglos joint action.   Iso is Greek for same.   Rather than eccentric muscle action, I prefer plioanglos joint action.   Plio is Greek for lengthens.   This means that the contracting musculature resists forces that moves the bones to which they attach farther apart.

     Mioanglos joint action drives the baseball toward home plate.   Plioanglos joint action decelerates the pitching arm.   The ability of the plioanglos muscles to safely decelerate the pitching arm to a stop determines how powerfully the mioanglos muscle operate.

     I do not recommend that pitchers externally (outwardly) rotate their humerus to the point where the forearm lays back horizontally.   While a horizontal forearm would appear to maximize the length of the driveline posteriorly, it stresses the external (outward) rotators, i.e., the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles, beyond safe limits and contributes to an upward movement of the baseball during the forearm acceleration phase.

     I have a technique that I have never and probably never will discuss to safely maximally lengthen the elbow extension and forearm pronation ranges of motion.   I reserve this technique for those who have completed my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   Without my personal guidance, I worry that pitchers will injure themselves.

     With regard to you 'locking' your humerus with your thorax, you must make certain that your forearm does not move backward or downward from your ready position.   I recommend that you not relax, but strongly maintain the relative positions of your humerus and thorax during the forward movement of your body.   Only when your elbow approaches the point at which it can no longer move forward do you start your forearm pronation snap action.

     If you permit the inertial weight of your forearm to move your humerus behind your acromial line, then you will unnecessarily stress the humeral attachment of your subscapularis muscle.   You should only use your pectoralis major muscle isoanglosly.

     The 'locked' humeral-thorax angle completely transfers the one hundred and eighty degree forward rotational force of the shoulders to the humerus.   When the elbow of the pitching arm points toward home plate, pitchers should also simultaneously maximally extend their elbow and pronate their forearm toward home plate.   It is the combination of lengthening the elbow extension and forearm pronation ranges of motion that maximizes the force application of the pitching arm.

     I analogize ski jumpers with baseball pitchers.   At the top of the slide, ski jumpers coil their body for a maximal vertical jump action.   At leverage, pitchers coil their pitching arm for a maximal elbow extension, forearm pronation action.   When ski jumpers precisely time their uncoiling vertical jump, they maximize their potential jump distance.   When pitchers precisely uncoil their pitching arm, they maximize their potential release velocity.

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006.   Please explain the difference between No Stride and Wrong Foot.   I watched the video I shot during my visit and you had a young man demonstrate both and I discern no difference.   What am I missing?

     We will begin with the Pickoff Position Leverage Throws.   Once my son gets the arm motion down, we will add Pickoff Position Transition Throws.   Once he gets that motion down, do we add No Strides or Wrong Foot?

     I have decided to teach him the screwball before the curve because it is the easiest to learn, the easiest to throw and the least taxing on the arm.   And, 12 year old hitters won’t know the difference between a 12 year old’s screwball and his curve.   If he can locate his fastball inside and outside, up and down and mix in a screwball, he will be successful.   When he gets the arm action down pat for the screwball, the curve should come easier.   I will honestly apprise you on the results.


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     As soon as I can find time, I am going to update the exercises in the training program to include my new No-Stride throws.   With my Wrong Foot throws, pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height without raising their front foot off the ground and then step forward with their rear foot.   Then, when the rear foot contacts the ground, they forearm accelerate through release.   With my No-Stride throws, pitchers also pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height without raising their front foot off the ground.   But then, instead of stepping forward with their rear foot, they powerfully drive their entire rear side forward.   However, before their rear foot contacts the ground, they forearm accelerate the baseball through release.

   My most recent baseball throwing sequence is:

1.   Pickoff Position Leverage throws.
2.   Wrong Foot Leverage throws.
3.   No-Stride Leverage throws.
4.   No-Stride Transition throws.
5.   Set Position Transition throws.

     The curve is easier to learn than the screwball.   But, I would simultaneously teach both.   The key is to learn how to drive the forearm inside of vertical with pronation rather than outside of vertical with supination.

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007.   I've been reading your on-line book and a lot of the Q and A's.   I'm having trouble visualizing the forearm extension exercise that I copied from one of your Q and A's and pasted below.

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

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

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

     OK, I'm good with everything except the part about the laying of the forearm back to horizontal, while keeping the angle not less, nor much greater, than 90 degrees.   Does this mean, if looked at from above, the upper arm and forearm would look like an "L", with the forearm pointing somewhere between 1st and 2nd base(for a right handed pitcher).   If that's it, I can see where some stretching exercises are in order!

     I injured my elbow a few years after college pitching too much batting practice to my old high school team, and didn't pick up a ball for several years because of the pain.   I never had it examined, because my playing days were over I thought.   I eventually started playing a little, doing conditioning exercises to strengthen my elbow and shoulder.   I never regained my old velocity (I don't mean to brag, but I had a gun as a catcher), but I could still throw harder than most guys who had started playing in these amateur leagues.   I was catching and playing the infield a lot, but then the value of a guy who could throw strikes with a little heat became apparent.   The problem was, I got hooked on the position and have been trying to teach myself to be a pitcher ever since.   The old catcher's "snap throw" by the ear doesn't translate well to any pitching mechanics I have ever seen, but I'm always willing to learn.

     I've had a lot of success with the way I do things, but I know I could be better.   Baseball and golf are my hobbies, and I spend money on pros to teach me golf, so why not baseball?   Trouble is, there are a lot of different theories on pitching.   And I'm not really worried about myself, but because of my past and present, I'm asked by a lot of friends to work with their sons as pitchers and catchers.   I know what tell the catchers, but I really worry about telling the pitchers something that not only won't help them, but could even hurt them.   That's why I'll be sending you an order for your video, and hopefully some of these questions I have will be answered.


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     You must have gotten that quote from a very early question and answer file.   I stopped using that exercise a long time ago.   I prefer not to correct my question and answer files.   I want readers to understand that my pitching motion and program is a work in progress.   However, you should read my book and the latest question and answer files for my most recent ideas.

     I recommend that pitchers keep their shoulders level and their upper arm at shoulder height.   When they start driving the baseball toward home plate, I want pitchers to point the front shoulder of their acromial line toward the glove-side batter.   When they start their forearm acceleration phase through release, I want pitchers to point the elbow of their pitching arm at home plate.   This means that I want a full one hundred and eighty degrees of shoulder rotation.

     Before they accelerate their forearm through release, I want pitchers to wait until the elbow of their pitching shoulder points toward home plate.   Now, we get to the heart of your question.   What should the pitching forearm do and when?   Until pitchers complete my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, I recommend that they pendulum swing their pitching arm parallel with their acromial line toward second base up to the driveline height just about the ear.   From the side view, I want the forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical.   From the rear view, I want the forearm inside of vertical.   I want pitchers to 'lock' their forearm with this angle to their upper arm and 'lock' their upper arm with their body as it rotates one hundred and eighty degrees forward.   When the pitching elbow reaches as far forward as possible, I want pitchers to straight-line drive their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers toward home plate.

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008.   I still can't put 12-6 spin on the curve.   I put more like 2-8 or 3-9.   The ball comes off of my index finger properly, but by ulnar flexing and pronating, I am spinning the ball more on a vertical axis than a horizontal.   I have no difficulty spinning the screwball properly.   What am I doing wrong?

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     You can get a 12-6 horizonatal spin axis with the screwball?   I have never had a pitcher learn the correct screwball spin axis before he learned the correct curve spin axix.

     Instead of pronating your forearm, you are supinating your forearm.   Supination causes your forearm to move outside of vertical.   You are probably also pulling your elbow downward.   You have to keep your elbow up and pronate your forearm horizontally.   You cannot permit the hand to move downward.

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009.   I am not supinating my forearm.   I ulnar flex my hand so that the ball comes off of my hand when my index and middle finger are pointed at home plate, which means that the ball is spinning with a horizontal axis, but the axis runs from home to the pitcher's mound and not from 1st to third base.   Suggestions?

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     Curves have the horizontal spin axis when the stripe that we draw across the four seams spins vertically.   Some say that the spin axis is twelve o'clock to six o'clock.   You are describing a spiral.   The spiral spin axis occurs when pitchers place spin along the side of the baseball rather than across the top of the baseball.   This means that you are pulling down the side of the baseball rather than driving your fingers horizontally through the top of the baseball.   This means that your forearm is outside of vertical and not horizontal.   This means that you start with your forearm circling outward, which is the description for supination.   Supination happens in the forearm, ulnar flexion happens in the wrist.   They are unrelated.   You can do both without interfering with the other.

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010.   My son has analyzed your video, the video I shot down there, watched me throw the curve and solved my problem.   I was too vertical with my hand; my forearm was not inside of vertical enough.   He is demonstrating what appears to me to be the correct arm action.   Not bad for 12!

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     I agree with your son.   You have to keep your forearm horizontal to throw my pronation curve.   Tell him to keep up the good work.

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011.   In your video, the screwball delivery his quite similar to all other pitches up to the ear level.   You want the elbow at 90 degree or so and propel the ball with a straight trajectory; no forearm fly out, no drop of the elbow under the shoulder.

     You were the only RHP that I knew in Major Leagues that threw an effective screwball.   But, Juan Marichal, my idol, also threw a screwball.   He extended his elbow past his head well above the shoulder.   Doesn't this maneuver dampen acceleration stresses on the elbow?


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     I have recently decided that, like my pronation curve, I now recommend that pitchers have their forearm inside of vertical at leverage.   I now define leverage as the position of the pitching arm when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.   I also now define the moment when pitchers start moving the baseball toward home plate as the 'Ready' position.

     Without high speed film, we cannot know what the relationship was between Mr.   Marichal's elbow and shoulder.   I do recall that he dramatically leaned toward his glove side, which gave the mistaken impression that he elevated his upper arm above his head when all he really did was lower his head and lay sideways.   Mike Cuellar did the same thing and neither of them achieved the horizontal spin axis of my true screwball.

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012.   Is the ACROMIAL LINE the alignment of the shoulder before forearm acceleration?

     Concerning Marichal, the information I gave you about shoulder/elbow relationship was from Larry Jansen, his pitching coach in the 60's.   I have a photo of Marichal throwing his screwball.   When the ball passes his head, it is straight, although he leans toward his glove side, but not dramatically.   His elbow is way up, at 1 o'clock.   Don't you think he would have been tipping if he really leaned that much?

     Do you think that opening the landing leg about 6 inches to the left on the screwballit helps the follow-through?      Everything equal, what would be the difference in break and speed between a 4-seam screwball and a 2-seam with the same arm speeds and release?   You say 10 mph, but is there something else than the grip for that speed gap between these pitches?      Marichal had only one speed on his screwball.   He said he wouldn't not changeup on his screwball, unlike Cuellar who had at least three, clipping the inside/outside corner.   I know your approach on changing speed which is a grip change (4-seam/2-seam), but how finger-pressure acts on the screwball.   With the typical curveball, the more pressure from the middle finger and the thumb, bigger break and slower is the curve.


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     The acromial process is the lateral-most aspect of the scapula bone.   Therefore, the acromial line is the line that passes through the two acromial processes on outward to both sides of the body.   The acromial line describes the position of the shoulders throughout the pitching motion.

     It is anatomically impossible to raise the elbow higher than the shoulder.   Therefore, the only way that anybody can get his elbow higher than his head is to dramatically lean his entire body to his glove-side.   That lean significantly decreases the length of the driveline.   Juan raised his front and rear legs high off the ground.   It was like he was doing a cartwheel.   He lost a great deal of rotational force with his leg actions and body lean.

     The reason pitchers must step to the glove-side of the line from their rear foot towards home plate is to make room fot the rear leg to step straight forward.   It has nothing to do with the type of pitch.

     With four seams contacting the air molecules, the baseball decelerates twice as much as with two seams.   Therefore, if pitchers convert sufficient horizontal speed to rotational speed to decrease the two seam screwball to ten miles per hour less than their fastballs, then the increased surface friction of the four seam screwball will decelerate twice as much to twenty miles per hour less than their fastballs.

     What these great pitchers say and believe that they did does not usually match scientific evidence.

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013.   I was trying to make it far more complicated than it is.   I don’t yet have perfect 12-6 spin axis, but I am throwing what I think is your curve, pronating my forearm and ulnar flexing my hand.   I can’t tell you how excited I am about it.   It has been bugging the hell out of me.

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     Congratulations.   With me watching every throw, demonstrating and making continuous suggestions, it still takes my kids several days to learn to pronate rather than supinate their curves.   I recently designed a teaching tool that appears to help.   I have a wheel from a small children's wagon on a one-half by five-inch bolt through it and one end of a twelve inch two by four.   I attached the other end of the two by four to the edge of the picnic table at my pitching research & training center with the wheel vertical.   I have my guys sit on the bench with their pitching elbow on the table and their index and middle pitching fingers horizontal behind the wheel.   Then, I have them pronate their forearm and ulnar flex their wrist to drive the lateral side of the middle finger through the top of the wheel.   I tell them to get the wheel spinning as fast as they can with their middle fingers brushing the top of the wheel.

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014.   My sixteen year old son has spent hours reading your book and watching your videotape.   Now, he wants to attend your eight-week summer training program.   He is finishing his Sophomore year of high schoold.   What is the possibility of his enrollment?

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     Your son sounds like just the type of kid with whom I like to work.   I plan to take the first eight high school juniors and seniors who send in their two hundred dollar ($200.00) deposit and sign my lifetime partnership agreement.   In this agreement I agree to work with him throughout his high school, college and professional careers to make him the best pitcher he can become.   I do not yet have eight young men who have sent in their deposits and signed the agreement.   For further details, please click on my Pitching Instruction icon.   The first step is for you to provide an address to which I can send my materials to you.

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015.   I work as an education specialist at the Imaginarium in Anchorage Alaska.   I am developing a lesson on the physics of flight and how Bernoulli's principle and Newton's third law work to create lift in birds, planes and helicopters.   I want to use the example of a curveball and knuckleball to demonstrate the principle, but I am having a hard time finding good diagrams of the airflow.   Could you help me or suggest any sources for this information?

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     How coincidental that I should receive an email from Anchorage, Alaska when a young man from there recently joined my forty-week training program.   In my Instructional Videotape, I draw diagrams that explain the Magnus and Marshall Effects of Bernoulli's Fluid Flow Principle on why various spin axes cause baseballs to move differently.

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016.   I am a 5'11" 170 lb., 33 year-old former division I right-handed pitcher who still plays in two local amateur leagues.   I used to throw in the low to mid-80's.   I used to do a lot of long tossing back then, which seemed to help my velocity.   But, in my second year out of school, I injured the front of my pitching shoulder in a game where I threw 165 pitches.

     Since this injury, I have never stopped pitching.   After a couple of years, if I warmed up sufficiently, I could usually throw without any pain.   However, I generally have not thrown with as much velocity, and I am usually quite sore the next few days on the front of my shoulder, near the area of the biceps tendon.   This soreness or inflammation does not dissipate with exercise, but would generally be gone with rest by about the fourth or fifth day, so I was always able to take my next start.   But, it got to the point that I could not throw much between starts and still feel pain-free on the day I was to pitch.   I felt pretty sure that my inconsistent and sometimes reduced arm strength was the result of not throwing often enough, but when I would try to throw more, my shoulder would rebel.

     I saw a couple of orthopedists, both of whom said my X-rays were normal.   Neither doctor did an MRI, but one thought it might be tendonitis, while the other thought it might just be general muscle weakness along with some scar tissue from my previously-described injury.   They recommended conservative treatment, including the "throwers ten" light dumbbell and tubing exercises and doing two or three long toss sessions per week.   I also tried some heavier weight training on my own.   But, using these conventional methods, I obtained only mixed results.

     So this past fall, I decided to revisit the materials on your website.   I had read some of it about a year-and-a-half ago, I guess, and I honestly was not sure what to think about it.   I thought that you made some very good and logical points, but the information was so academic and unorthodox in both doctrine and presentation.   You were still teaching the 'head pat' forearm position, etc., and you did not have any illustrations or photos, so I found it difficult to visualize and understand fully.   But, upon revisiting your site, I printed out and read a number of sections, including the revised sections on your pitching motion and pitcher's training program.

     I also read the entire 2002 Q & A section.   It convinced me that I had to buy your videotape, which I did.   With the tape to go along with your free book, I now have a much better understanding of your principles and how I am supposed to apply them.   The only significant suggestion I have to improve the tape, which you have doubtlessly heard by this point, is that you need to emphasize the kids who are the very BEST at doing the drills, the ones who do them as closely as perfect as possible.   Perhaps you could use even slower motion than 1/2 speed at times and include VERY SPECIFIC video analysis about what they are doing right and wrong, even if pertains to only a particular segment of your pitching motion.

     In fact, I have embarked upon your 280-day adult pitchers program.   I am currently on day 36 (although I have missed two days, so I should be on 38).   Some guys I play ball with think I'm crazy when I tell them I am throwing a six-pound shot put around every morning.   But, whatever anyone else thinks, I know that your program has been quite successful for me thus far.   I would have never thought that I could throw with full intensity on so many consecutive days without having significant shoulder problems.   Especially after the first week or so, any discomfort from the day before almost always dissipated completely after I got going, although there have been maybe 2 or 3 days where I felt some weakness after completing the day's program that lingered somewhat into the next day.   But overall, things have been going very well.

     Of course, much of the soreness problems I experienced previously had to do with too much reverse rotation and bringing my arm laterally behind my body.   But the pickoff leverage and transition throws have really helped with these flaws, although I always have to keep reminding my self to keep my driveline as straight as possible and snap my forearm with pronation, hard and straight.   It took a little while to get comfortable holding the ball in my glove and breaking my hands with the ball on top and the hand underneath.   Your pronation curve technique has also helped tighten the spin and break on my curveball, which was sometimes too soft.   I am having more of a problem getting as tight a spin and as horizontal a spin axis on the screwball.   But your Q & A answers suggest that this is a relatively common problem early on, so I'm not discouraged.

     But even those troubles have been somewhat of a blessing in disguise.   I always threw with a kind of high-three-quarters arm slot and, while I could get a two-seam fastball to move okay laterally in on right-handed hitters, I have always had trouble throwing a fastball that really had sink to it.   But in working on your screwball, I recognized that, when I did not have the thumb side of my hand facing enough towards home plate, I sometimes unintentionally imparted more of a spiral spin axis, as you describe for the true sinker in your videotape.   Thus, I have started to be able to be able to throw the sinker on purpose, with the visualization that its sort of like a two-seam fastball that you "lock" in your hand and throw with kind of a "one-half" screwball hand and wrist position.   Does that sound like an accurate description?   I think the pitch really has some promise.   So I just wanted to drop you a line, mostly just to say thanks.

     I do have a couple of questions at this time, though, relating to the iron ball exercises.   I am obviously still on the six-pound iron ball, but will soon be moving up to eight pounds.   I believe that you said somewhere in your 2002 Q & A that when a pitcher graduates to the eight pound ball and beyond, that iron shot puts have too large a circumference to do the exercises properly, so you have to use lead balls.   I am not sure where to get lead balls, and, I know you have answered this before, but what is the name of a supplier, and where and how can I contact them.   But I also have another concern.   You cautioned that because lead is poisonous, a pitcher should put tape on the outside of the ball and be careful not to put your fingers in your mouth while or after doing the exercises.   But, is it really even safe to handle lead balls every day?   I'm just thinking about the problems that people have reported just from having lead-based paint on their houses.   Couldn't physically handling lead on a daily basis create at least a long-term risk to one's health?


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     I produced this videotape under the duress of readers demanding a videotape.   I only had digital videotape of my 2002 forty-week clients at the end of their second training cycle.   Therefore, your criticism of their lack of perfect technique is valid.   However, I had no choice except to wait until June to make the videotape.   Readers convinced me that seeing anything was better than waiting.   This is the reason why I will redo this videotape this coming June and I will sell it to those who bought my first attempt at twenty-five percent of its cost.

     I have already taken six hundred feet of high speed film at five hundred frames of sixteen millimeter film.   I plan on taking at least fourteen hundred more feet of highly-skilled pitchers.   That will be super-slow motion.   You will not believe what you can see at five hundred frames per second.   I intend to do extremely detailed and specific analysis of how I recommend pitchers apply force and perform my training exercises.

     I am pleased to read that you can train every day without undue discomfort.   The key is to drive your forearm inside of vertical.   I tell pitchers to forwardly rotate their shoulders until their acromial line points toward home plate and then, extend your elbow and pronate your forearm.   I have some significant new stuff on this that I will show and explain in my next videotape.

     I am still learning the best way to teach my kids my new pronation curve technique.   Most of my kids would first permit their forearm to move outside of vertical and pull their elbow downward.   Then, after they gained some strength, they learned how to keep that elbow up and drive their forearm horizontally.   I have a couple of mid-year students.   With one, I started him with only my pronation curves.   With the other, I started him with only my true screwballs.   I am keeping both using my pickoff position leverage throws for fifty-four days.   I am trying to determine whether learning my pronation curve or true screwball forearm technique shows them how to properly drive all pitches with the forearm inside vertical.

     My eight, ten and twelve pound lead ball supplier asked me to deal with requests.   Therefore, if your want these lead balls, you need to purchase them through me.   I have sent a couple of sets, but I do not recall the costs.   If you are interested, I will check into it again.   It seems like it was something like one hundred dollars total.

     We use athletic tape on our lead balls, but I also tell pitchers not to lick their fingers.   I also tell them to wash their hands after they train.   Nevertheless, I have concern and I make sure that they have concern and know the hazard.

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017.   I live in Canada and cannot get a job in the United States while I train with you for forty weeks.   Could I train with you for the eight-week summer session/

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     I do not offer my eight-week summer program to high school graduates, only high school juniors and seniors.   However, because Canadian kids cannot work in Florida, unless they have some way of working without a work permit, the only way I can help them is through the summer program.   Nevertheless, the eight-week program only scratches the surface.   It teaches only the minimum skill and does not include any training cycles.   You will not become the best pitcher you can be in eight weeks.

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018.   When doing your 280 day program, at what distance and at what level of intensity do the pitchers throw?   How does this change as the weeks go on?

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     During every day of my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, I have my pitchers throw from the pitching mound to nets that are sixty feet six inches away.   We start with my pickoff position leverage throws at whatever maximum intensity pitchers can correctly perform the proper forearm pronation action for the four basic pitches.   The baseballs do not have to reach the net.

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019.   In the summer of 2001, I came back from not paying baseball for a whole year.   I played Legion ball that summer and experienced the worst pain I've have ever felt in my arm.   I was able to play at my first practice and that was it for the summer the pain was unbearable.   It was a pain in my brachialis and lower portion of my bicep near my elbow.   After I would throw the ball, I was hardly able to lift my arm.   It would be shaking and very weak.   I sat that summer out and came back in the fall to tryout for my college team.

     Once again, I experienced this pain in my bicep.   I threw trough it and eventually it went away but would come back every once in a while.   Since I was having these arm problems, my coach wanted to red shirt me.   I did not want to red-shirt, so I did not play.   Then, I came back that summer to play summer ball.   I experienced this pain all over again until about 3 weeks later and it went away and I was then throwing 85-90 mph.   The coaches were very impressed and asked me to come back out for the team this year and I did.   There was about a month break between summer and fall ball.

     When I came back in the fall so did this excruciating pain.   It lasted again for about three weeks and then went away.   It came back from time to time and I just thought my arm was over worked.   This was not just arm soreness, but pain, so it was always on my mind.   When this Christmas was nearing the pain was almost completely gone.   I went home for Christmas and continued to throw and long toss and my arm was fine the whole break.   I just got back this past Monday and threw my first bullpen of the spring on Tuesday after experiencing this pain on Monday.   Although on Tuesday the pain was not bad at all and I was able to throw at 100%, afterwards I thought my arm would fall off.   Yesterday, I came out and threw and couldn't, it hurt so bad I had to stop.   Today, I threw at practice all the way back to about 200 ft and it was fine but as soon as I brought it in and tried to throw hard form 60 ft, it was extreme bicep pain.

     In the fall, I had a MRI and arthogram done and they found that I had bursitis, supraspinatus tendonipathoy, as well as a slight avulsion tear in the anterior portion of my corocoid process.   They said these things could be causing the pain, but were not definite causes.   I've been to quite a few doctors and even seen the trainer at my school and they have no idea what is wrong.   I'm tired of having this nagging pain that comes and goes as it pleases.   I finally told my coach I have to find out what is wrong before I play I m seeing a different doctor tommorow and hopefully he will be helpful but who really knows.   If you would please let me know what could be the cause of the extreme bicep pain I m having.   I'm also very tender in my brachialis and forearm muscle.


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     Your problem is how you throw.   The pain tells you that you are throwing wrong.   Unless you like pain, you must change how you apply force to your pitches.   The 'traditional' pitching motion causes your pitching arm to have to try to catch up with the body as it circles outward.   This places tremendous unnecessary stress on the brachialis.   The brachialis muscle attaches to the coronoid process, so that is the cause of the coronoid process problem.   The supraspinatus problem results from the 'high guard' position that causes you to reverse forearm bounce your pitching arm.   If by the forearm muscle, you mean the bundle of muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle on the elbow of your elbow, that results from the forearm flyout that the 'traditional' pitching motion promotes.

     The answer lies in not taking your pitching arm laterally behind your body, in not starting your body forward and starting your pitching arm backward at the same time, in pointing your forearm upward just before you start accelerating your upper arm forward and more.   You must stop using the 'traditional' pitching motion.

     You should read Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book for the pitching motion that I recommend that does not place unnecessary stress on your pitching arm.   My program has fixed numerous pitchers with worse problems than yours and improved their abilities as well.

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020.   I did not mean to sound overly critical about your students who acted as models for your pitching exercises in your video.   I would wholly agree that it was better for you to produce some sort of video sooner rather than later, even if it was not entirely what you may have wanted in every respect.   It was enough to get me going and understand the direction I should be headed, although I will be ordering the updated version when it becomes available.

     Also, I am inclined to order the lead balls from you sometime in the near future, although I still have some concerns about handling lead every day.   Even if I put athletic tape on, there are going to be days where it is wet outside and the tape may not stay on very well.   Furthermore, I have not constructed a rebound wall, so the ball gets dirty from landing in the area of my yard where I do my daily throwing.   Given my circumstances, do you think that it would be unduly detrimental to wear batting gloves while doing the lead ball throws?


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     Wearing batting gloves is a good idea.

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021.   I've been a big fan of your work for quite some time and thank you for all your insights.   We had a great response to your interview on our site and we'd like to approach you about two further projects.   We recently ran another expert interview and compared him as the hitting version of you.   We're pursuing a follow-up where he and hopefully you will give your insight about the specifics of what current players are doing the right things and the wrong things.   We're also starting a national radio show and would love to have you on as a guest if you're interested.

     I'm also interested, on a personal note, if anyone from your West Texas A&M teams went on to a pro career.   I was a student just after you left there and regret not getting the chance to meet you at that stage.   Perhaps you could have saved me two rotator cuff surgeries!


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     I do not recall the gentleman, but then, I am old and forgetful.   I am always ready to help people understand baseball pitching.   As you may know, I started professional baseball as a shortstop and my original high-speed film work was of me batting.   Therefore, I have some definite ideas about the Physics of hitting.   I would be happy to contribute to your national radio show.

     I know of two West Texas A&M pitcher with whom I worked who professionally.   We would have had more had it not been for spending the fall practice season building the baseball facility rather than coaching and if I had had the three years to which they agreed before I went there.   But, I outed a pedophile athletic director and I had to go.   They caught him a year later and fired him.   He now works for the former president at West Texas who became the Chancellor of the entire A&M system.

     I would definitely have saved you from two rotator cuff surgeries.   Nobody that I have trained and continued to use my program has ever injured themselves.

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022.   All training is highly specific.   I totally believe that.   But, I also believe that weight training (lifting, squatting, ect) makes you more powerful and can only help your playing in every aspect.   A former pitching great even says in his book that genetics, training and mechanics determine velocity, but weight training helps you retain it.   When I workout, I get the same feeling and more endurance when throwing a baseball as I do with your wrist exercises.   So, therefore, I feel weight training can help pitching though there is more to it of course.

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     I am glad to read that you totally believe that all training is highly specific.   Unfortunately, you make several comments that indicate that you do not believe that all training is not specific.   Lifting, squatting and so on have nothing to do with pitching.   You will not become a better pitcher because you can lift or squat more weight.   I submit that these activities may well harm your ability to pitch.   Mr.   former pitching great has no scientific basis for saying anything.   Nevertheless, while I agree with him that genetics, mechanics and training are critical, for pitchers to become the best pitchers that they can be, you need much more.

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023.   I would you compare screwball spin velocity (rpm) versus a typical curve ball with same arm speed?   I think that the screwball speed is a bit slower than the standard curveball.   Should we settle for one release point with a pitch (ex.   screwball) or vary it for different result?

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     I know of no way to precisely determine the spin velocity of pitches.   The only way to estimate whether one spin velocity is faster than another is the suddenness of the movement.   Both my Pronation Curve and True Screwball move dramatically.   Therefore, I believe that they both have very high spin velocities.   My Pronation Curve has significantly greater dramatic movement than the 'traditional' curve.   Since there is no such thing as a 'traditional' screwball, I can only compare my True Screwball with the 'traditional' curve.   My True Screwball moves significantly more dramatically.

     With regard to four and two-seam curves and screwballs:   I wrote my pitch sequences for major league pitchers throwing to major league hitters.   For college pitchers, if they can throw my four seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs, my four seam pronation curve and true screwball and my two seam Maxline Fastball Sinker and Torque Fastball Slider, they will be very successful.   For high school pitchers, if they can throw my four seam Maxline and Torque Fastballs and my four seam pronation curve and true screwball, they will be very successful.

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024.   In terms of building arm strength are your wrong foot and pick off throws as good as throwing the traditional way?   What is the scientific basis for this?

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     Until pitchers learn how to properly apply force to achieve the proper spin axis and horizontal velocity with the forearm pronation releases, everything else is a waste of time.   The key is proper pitching arm drive and release technique.   Pitcher can do bicep curls all day long with hundreds of pounds and they will not be better or stronger pitchers.   All training is highly, highly, highly, highly and so on specific.   Pitchers must get strong in the perfect technique with their pitching arm first.

     My pickoff position leverage throws teaches pitchers how to properly drive and release my Maxline Fastball, Pronation Curve, True Screwball and Torque Fastball.   Only after they can do these skills perfectly should pitchers move on to my wrong foot position leverage throw.   Then, only after they can do these skills perfectly should pitchers move on to my no-stride leverage throws.   Then, only after they can do these skills perfectly should pitchers move on to my no-stride transition throws.   Then, only after they can do these skills perfectly should pitchers move on to my set position throws.   Then, only after they can do these skills perfectly should pitchers move on to my wind-up throws.

     To start with the entire throwing motion so completely complicates the learning process that pitchers have no idea what they are doing with their pitching arms.   We need to isolate the critical elements and perfect them before we add confounding variables.   This may not meet the needs of teams, but it meets the needs of the pitchers.   While, as they learn how to properly drive and release my pitches, I simultaneously strengthen the pitching arms of my kids, the emphasis is always on motor skill acquisition.

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025.   I'm not surprise to learn that spin velocity is related with the suddenness of the movement.   Just a thought though, three former great major league pitchers had as good as possible sharp, late breaking traditional curves as you can find.   I think they accomplished it with great spin velocity.   Maybe they were exceptions, but still.

     Now I'm working on your pronation curve.   Can you throw it as hard as your screwball?   I'm having problems with the grip, but even more with the ulnar flex and pronation movement.   Because I start with by hand inward (forearm bent inside, like you teach in the video) and I have to get it the other way (outward), I feel like I'm squirting the ball instead of throwing it.   Could it be my release point which by the way I'm not sure?

     Finally, what makes you call your pronation curve a curve?   It sure breaks with his horizontal spin axis like a 12-6 screwball, but not like a curve.   Your True screwball and Pronation curve looks to me as the same pitch rotation wise.   The way you talk about your pronation curve is like a totally different pitch than the true screwball.

     By the way, every time we talk about the sinker in ML we refer to the sinking fastball.   Is there such a pitch admitted as a reverse breaking ball in ML?   Your true sinker, which on your video you qualify as your most effective pitch, is surely not a fastball following the major league standard.


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     I agree that those gentlemen threw nice curves.   However, I have guys that throw better.   Because we pronate rather than supinate the forearm, we can achieve much higher spin velocities.

     To throw my pronation curve, you must keep your forearm in.   To learn the release, you should stand within thirty feet of your net, you should bend your elbow as tightly as possible, you should stand use my pickoff position leverage throw technique, you should reach your pitching hand backward as far as possible with the elbow pointing toward home plate and you should simultaneously extend your elbow and pronate your forearm.   Take care not to 'slam' your olecranon process into its fossa, but rather, make sure that you keep your elbow high and slightly bent.   You must finish your abbreviated throw with your pitching arm horizontal, your palm facing away from your body and the whole arm moving laterally.

     The idea is to horizontally 'brush' across the top of the baseball as your fingers move from inside to outside over the baseball.   When you learn the proper forearm drive and wrist, hand and finger release action, you will throw my pronation curve as hard as your strength permits without any unnecessary stress or stain.

     My pronation curve and true screwball have nearly identical horizontal spin axes.   However, while they break dramatically downward, they have entirely different release appearances and deceptions.   If I had known about my pronation curve when I pitched, I would have been unhitable.

     I presently teach my true sinker as a two-seam maxline fastball with a sinker circle-of-friction on the top, forward aspect of the baseball.   I also presently teach my pronation slider as a two-seam torque fastball with a slider circle-of-friction on the top, forward aspect of the baseball.   I determined that teaching these pitches as part of the screwball and curve releases caused more confusion than benefit.   Nevertheless, my guys appear to have adapted well and throw high quality maxline fastball sinkers and torque fastball sliders.

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026.   I read through your free online book, but there are a few things I don't understand.   For example, in your maxline pronation curveball grip explanation, you say to tuck the thumb under.   Doesn't this reduce control of the ball?   I feel really awkward when I hold it like you say to grip it.   The way I grip my curveball is I take the same grip as yours, but I line the thumb along the inside of the lower horseshoe.   Will your grip with the thumb tucked in have better results than mine with the thumb kept straight?   Also, in the curveball release, I want to clarify what "powerfully ulnar flex and pronate my wrist" means.

     I'm also confused as to why you say to not learn the changeup.   I've read a lot of articles on pitching and many say that a fastball is only good with an equally good changeup.   Can you explain why a changeup isn't necessary?


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     I teach pitchers to 'tuck' their thumb with my pronation curve because I do not want the thumb to impede the spin velocity.   At release the thumb has to move away from the baseball and permit the lateral side of the middle finger apply force to the baseball.   If the thumb remains in contact, it will decrease the spin velocity.   When we throw our iron balls and we practice the new release action for the pronation curve, we remove the thumb from the ball entirely.   We rest our thumb on the first phalange of the second digit (index finger).   The key to my curve is the horizontal action of the middle finger from inside to outside.   Ulnar flexion moves the little finger closer to the side of the forearm.   Pronate the wrist is an extension of forearm pronation when the radius bone crosses over the ulna bone in a reverse or outward rotation of the forearm.

     Changeups are not related to fastballs.   Changeups are related to the velocity of the pitching arm.   Fastballs are almost as fast as the velocity of the pitching arm.   Because when we apply spin to baseballs, we convert some of the horizontal velocity of the baseball to spin velocity.   Therefore, all non-fastballs with high spin velocities are much slower than the velocity of the pitching arm.   Therefore, all non-fastballs are changeups.   It makes no sense to me to throw a changeup with no spin velocity, hence no movement.   That is a slow fastball easy to hit.   Most changeups are only five to ten miles per hour slower than fastballs.   I prefer to throw changeups that dramatically move, preferably downward.

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027.   In response to a question about Juan Marichal (number 012 in your 2003 Q&A) you wrote, "It is anatomically impossible to raise the elbow higher than the shoulder."   Is this correct?   I am sitting at my computer with my shoulders level and I am able to raise my hand above my head, with my elbow next to my head above my ear and thus well above my shoulder.   It is my understanding that this arm/shoulder position in the overhand throwing motion is not good for the shoulder.   Yet you wrote that this position is anatomically impossible.   Can you please clarify the issue for me?

     I recently had a debate with a colleague about the tennis serving motion.   As a teaching step, he was inducing this position (serving elbow and upper arm near the head) in his students as they learned the serve.   I said that this was harmful to the serving shoulder.   Am I on solid ground here?


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     The lateral-most aspect of the scapula is the acromial process.   The head of the humerus articulates with the glenoid fossa of the scapula.   The glenoid fossa lies immediately below the acromial process.   When we abduct (laterally raise) the humerus without upward rotating the scapula.   The head of the humerus butts up against the underside of the acromial process.   The only way that you can raise the elbow higher is to upwardly rotate the scapula.   Since the acromial process defines the shoulder, that does not qualify as raising the elbow above the shoulder.   All you are doing is upwardly rotating the scapula after you have maximally abducted your humerus.   When we pitch, the pectoralis major muscle is a primary fixator muscle.   Since antagonistic muscles cannot simultaneously contract, the muscles that upwardly rotate the humerus cannot contract.   Hence, pitchers cannot raise their elbow higher than their shoulders.   And, neither can tennis servers.

     The injury potential for those who try to raise their elbow above their shoulder is that they will rub the attachment of the supraspinatus muscle against the acromial process.   In 1978, I gave a lecture that named this phenomenon, 'supraspinatus impingement syndrome.'   Nobody is ever on solid ground when they make statements and do not understand the scientific reason for what they are saying.   But, that makes you no different than 99.99999% of the coaches out there.

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028.   I read over parts of your book again, and I think I was not understanding your instructions.   Since I'm not aware of the meaning of pronation (I probably should have looked it up), I thought you meant with the curveball to follow through, with the ball rolling over the top of the pointer finger, and with the knuckle curve roll over the middle finger.   From what I read again in the book and in the FAQs you're saying, by pronation, to throw the maxline curveball the opposite way like a screwball?   You mention how this is much safer, but I can't illustrate in my mind what you are saying to do grip-wise.   The picture I have in my mind now is of the ball rolling over the top of the middle finger.   The spin of the ball is now going counter clockwise?

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     The first thing that you have to get out of your mind is that you release curves over top of your middle finger.   The middle finger must always remain above the baseball.   Pitchers place the lateral side of their middle finger horizontally against the horizontal top seam of the four seam orientation of the baseball.   The middle finger points toward your glove-side.   During release, pitchers drive their middle finger through the baseball and end with their fingers pointing to your pitching arm side.   Pronation is when the radius bone on the thumb side of the forearm rotates inwardly toward and crosses the ulna bone on the little finger side of the forearm.   I want pitchers to keep the pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical throughout the pitch when the forearm ends horizontally outside of vertical.   I recommend that pitchers master this release with my pickoff position leverage throws before they try any other body action.

     The spin axis of my pronation curve is horizontal.   The top of the baseball is moving forward.   Lay people refer to this spin axis as '12 to 6.'

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029.   I am writing you in regards to my son.   He turned 13 years old in October 2002.   This year, in little league baseball, he threw on the average 73 miles per hour, as clocked by one of our town policeman.   His grandfather seems to think that you might have a chance to look at him.   A pitching instructor, visiting for a tournament commented on how much potential he had and that he could add another 8 miles per hour if he used his legs and hips.   As his mother, I would feel bad, if I never gave Nick the opportunity to see how far he could possibly go.

     His grandparents live in Zephyrhills for the winter.   They said he would try to speak to you, personally, within the next couple of days.   I have a ticket on hold for my son to go to see you.   This would be the only reason for this trip.   Would it be possible to let me know if there's a chance you could look at him?   He would be missing a week of school and he's traveling a long way.   His grandfather also told me that I would need about 1 month to warm up his arm, as he has not thrown a ball since September.   There is a lot to take into consideration to get my son there, which we're willing to do, if you could see him.


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     I recommend that thirteen year old pitchers not practice pitching for more than two months per year and that they do not pitch more than one inning per game.   He could practice my 60 Day Adolescent Pitcher Training Program.   It is free to download on my web site.

     I do not work with any pitcher until their growth plates have completely matured, usually by the time that they are high school juniors.   Please contact me at that time and please do not let overly zealous pitching coaches ruin his pitching arm before it matures.

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030.   My son is a sophomore in college and he just called to say that he is experiencing bicep pain.   I do not know if it is sharp or a dull pain.   I do know they have changed his mechanics and I caught him over X-mas break.   The change in mechanics was minor.   They had him break of the hands quicker at the top of the vertical part of the windup to allow him to let his arm catch up with his body.   He displayed a remarkable increase in velocity and pinpoint location with all pitches.   I was going to suggest he long toss, but I don't want to risk injury.   I did tell him to get to the trainer and not mask the injury.

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     Biceps brachii pain results from forearm flyout.   The biceps brachii is trying to prevent his olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.   He is also trying to powerfully extend his elbow.   With his biceps brachii contracting to prevent injury and the triceps brachii contracting to powerfully extend the elbow, something has to give.   Antagonistic muscles cannot contract at the same time.   The biceps brachii loses and tears.   This is not unusual for the 'traditional' pitching technique.   If they want to truly permit the pitching arm to catch up with the body, they should advise him to get his pitching arm up to driveline height before he starts his body forward.   However, I am sure that they are teaching him the 'balance position' which necessitates that pitchers start their body forward even before they start their pitching arm backward.   Forgive them, they do not know any better.   Nevertheless, they will destroy his pitching arm.

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031.   A few days ago you replied to my email about the excruciating pain I was having in my bicep.   I got the results to the 3 phase bone scan I had done back today and I was told I have a stress reaction in the distal part of my humerous.   Is there anything I can do to speed up the process of recovery?   How long do you think it will take for something like this to heal?

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     You had 'a stress reaction in the distal part of your humerus?'   What does that mean?   The distal part of your humerus is your medial epicondyle.   Stress reaction?   Does that mean that the bone density in your medial epicondyle has decreased?   Does it mean that you have injured some muscle or connective tissue associated with the medial epicondyle?

     Recovery will never occur as long as you keep throwing the baseball the 'traditional' way.   It is how you throw the baseball that causes your pain.   You cannot wait that away.   It will be there when you start to throw again.   You cannot rehabilitate that away.   The only true rehabilitation is throwing and how you throw injured the tissue.   You have to change how you apply force to the baseball.   If you do not change how you throw, it will never recover, it will never heal.

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032.   My son just called and said that he worked on getting the arm at driveline height and he found he was going forward to soon.   He said working on that allowed him to do "what he calls burying the thumb" at release and had no pain.

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     'Burying his thumb' at release is a nice layman way of saying that he pronated his forearm.   However, I worry about him pulling his elbow down and/or across his body.   These are also serious pitching flaws that can injure his pitching arm.   Nevertheless, I am glad to hear that he has no pain.   Pronation is a good thing.

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033.   I think I understand what you mean with the curveball, but am I right that it sounds more like the traditional screwball delivery?   Also, isn't 12-6 rotation spinning forward?   What I thought you meant by horizontal rotation is the ball is rotating either left to right or right to left, but 12-6 rotation is north to south.   Is north to south ball rotation what you consider horizontal rotation?

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     When pitchers throw my pronation curves, the palm of their pitching hand face inward at the start of the release and face outward at the finish of the release.   When pitchers throw screwballs, the palm of their pitching hand typically face outward at the start of the release and face outward at the finish of the release.   Therefore, I do not believe that my pronation curve release sounds like the traditional screwball release.   I am not aware that the coaches of the 'traditional' pitching motion teach screwballs.   With the extreme forearm flyout that the 'traditional' pitching motion teaches, they cannot teach screwballs.

     When the baseball has a horizontal spin axis, it spins vertically.   When a baseball has a vertical spin axis, it spin horizontally.   The key is understanding the word 'axis'.   The earth spins on a nearly vertical spin axis, so it spins horizontally.   Please don't talk about left to right, clock-wise or counter clock-wise and north to south.

     For my pronation curve and true screwball, the top of the baseball moves forward toward home plate and the bottom of the baseball moves toward second base.   For my Maxline Fastball and Torque Fastball, the top of the baseball moves forward toward second base and the bottom of the baseball moves toward home plate.   This definition does not change depending on whether the pitcher is right or left-handed or whether you stand on the first or third base side.

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034.   The result of my son's X-Ray of his right arm this January is that his right olecranon looks just like the left one.   The doctor gave him his okay to return to a throwing program that stretches across 10 days and is very specific.   As far as other exercise goes, stay away from push ups, etc., and stay away from pitching this year.   My son is a fine hitter and base runner and will enjoy being a position player this season.

     The doctor says that my son can go back to working on his strength more next summer, but that, as an athlete, he has to be the one that pays attention to what all the adults are doing to help him in his different activities and keep track of how much total work he is getting.   The doctor played college baseball, coached a Little League World Series team, has served as an Olympic doctor, has helped many athletes and gives pretty good advice.   But, it certainly helped to have the additional information you provided, it provided a valuable additional perspective on what was going on.


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     I have never heard of the ossification center for the olecranon process pulling away from the shaft of the ulna, so I was not seriously concerned for its safety.   However, your son could still have damaged the attachment of the triceps brachii to the olecranon process.   I agree that it is best to wait until the growth plates have fully matured.   However, I do not agree with your son returning to a throwing program that stretches across ten days that does not change how he applies to his pitches.   I do not believe that your doctors credentials enable him to design a specific training program/   When we communicated earlier, I recommended that he changes how he applies force to the baseball.   The 'traditional' pitching motion exacerbated this situation and will continue to place unnecessary stress on his pitching arm that will either diminish his performance or injure his pitching arm again.   I again recommend that you wait until his growth plates have matured and then, he should start my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.

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035.   A stress reaction is an early stress fracture.   I had a bone scan and it shows inflammation in the bone (distal humerus).   The bone is not cracked, but it is inflamed and weak and gets sore easily.   Is there anything I can take or do to recover faster?

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     By distal humerus, do you mean the medial epicondlye?   So, a stress reaction means that the bone has not broken, only inflamed?   Does weak mean that you have decreased your bone density?   The only way for bone to lay down new bone is to appropriately apply stress to it.   Therefore, I recommend that you forget about the 'traditional' pitching motion that is destroying your pitching arm and start my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   However, I prefer that you stay at the first six day training level for thirty days.   Then, if you have no discomfort, you can continue my program.

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036.   I don't mean to sound like an idiot or take up your time with trivial questions, but I tried using your pronation technique, and I don't think I did it right.   Maybe if I tell you how I throw the curveball now you could possibly tell me what is wrong with it.   During the delivery, I like an inverted T, but instead of both arms pointing down, the pitching forearm is pointing up.   I know you said to keep arms horizontal, so I'll start doing that now.   As I follow through with the pitching arm, it stays at 90 degrees, then widens in angle and comes down across my body.   The wrist snaps downward, and the ball comes out rolling over my index finger.   As for your way of throwing, I can't figure how to have my palm facing second base, then how to get the middle finger to go through the ball and make the palm face home plate.   Should the arm stay at 90 degrees or decrease/increase in angle?

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     I advise that pitchers keep the forearm of their pitching arm horizontal from leverage through release and deceleration.   I do not want the elbow bent at ninety degrees.   At leverage, I want the forearm tightly against the upper arm.   I never want the pitching arm to come across the front of your body.   The upper arm must always remain at shoulder height and never move inward.   The side of the middle finger drives through the baseball, the baseball does not roll over any finger.   At leverage, the palm of the pitching hand should face your head.   During release, the palm rotates outwardly until, after release, it faces away from your head.   Throughout the forearm acceleration phase, you should always try to keep your forearm horizontal.   The elbow angle moves from tightly bent to almost fully extended.   You must take care not to 'slam' your olecranon process into its fossa.

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037.   The bone is not broken, only inflamed.   They tell me it could crack, if I keep throwing.   Should I take some time off or just try you motion ASAP?

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     The physiological stress of a break in a bone stimulates osteoblasts to lay down new bone tissue to heal the break.   However, without a break, only physical stress stimulates osteoblasts to lay down new bone.   Therefore, if you want this bone to get stronger and increase its bone density, you have to judiciously apply stress to it on a daily basis.   However, you cannot apply this stress in the same way that caused the problem.   I recommend that you do the first week of my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training Program for a month.   You must apply force precisely as I describe my exercises.   You can never go back to the 'traditional' pitching motion.

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038.   I'm 16 years old.   My question is I don't know which position I should throw from because I'm really good at both 3/4 and sidearm angles.   But, I need to know if you could tell me how to throw a slider, screwball, knuckle, or like a combo pitch like curve-fastball sliding-fastball.

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     I answer some of these questions and many, many others in my Coaching Pitchers book, my Instructional Videotape and my Question/Answer files.   However, I do not teach knuckleballs or curve-fastballs.   But, I do teach my Torque Fastball Slider that sounds similar to your sliding-fastball.

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039.   I just got back from pitching tryouts in which I topped out around 83.   I have never thrown past 70 in my life.   Besides a hard training workout, your free book, especially Section IX, was a huge boost.   Literally overnight I went from 70 to 83 using some of your simple adjustments.   Now, I have an on beat delivery that is ripping out fastballs with ever increasing accuracy.   Your stuff worked and others didn't.

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     Thanks for the update.   After I finish with my present forty week group and take more five hundred frames per second high-speed film, I will have much more new stuff that will help even more.

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040.   Thanks again for the advice.   My son had video taken of his delivery and he did find he was dropping down and coming across his body when not pronating.   Now, he says he is back on track with his 2 seam having the tail and sink it always had and feeling effortless.   He also said that he has a better change and feels more extended in his delivery.   Thanks for your wisdom.   You do a great service.

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     You are welcome.   Let me know when he wants to learn my pronation curve and true screwball and lose that changeup.

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041.   Good crop of letters for the new year.   I see I am not the only one who struggled with the curve.   I think it is MUCH easier to learn the screwball.   Yesterday, when Josh and I threw together for the first time, he had power and a nice spin axis on the screwball from pickoff position, but struggled with the curve.   He will get it, but the screwball just feels more natural and comes out of the hand more easily.

     He has talked about visiting you.   What stage are you and your students in now?   What would you recommend that he, as a 12 year old, see your guys doing?   I know you won’t coach him, but would you or one of your students watch him do the exercises to make sure he is doing them correctly?   I’ll sign a release of liability if that is your fear.


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     The reason why pitchers learn the proper driveline for the screwball more easily is because they do not try to supinate their forearm.   The reason why pitchers do not learn the proper driveline for my pronation curves is because they try to supinate their forearm.   I believe that it is more difficult for pitchers to correct an erroneous technique than to learn a technique that they have performed incorrectly for years.   Therefore, I prefer to start with my pronation curve.   However, I can understand the logic of learning the screwball first, especially with young pitchers.

     I had two pitchers join this forty week group after New Year.   I started one with my pronation curve and the other with my true screwball.   They both have some college experience and appear to be closely matched as motor skill learners.   We will see who learns better.

     I have no problem with youngsters watching my guys throws their baseballs with my pickoff position leverage, no-stride position leverage, set position leverage, set position and windup throws.   I have concern that over-zealous fathers might believe that their adolescent son should try to use wrist weights and/or weighted balls of any kind.

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042.   I am glad that my 10 year old son is able to possibly have a future in pitching because his father was lucky enough to stumble across your site a year ago.

     It's nice to see some rationality in regards to your expertise.   I've enjoyed your site and am glad that people are beginning to understand your motives.   You probably know about this blurb at www.acmebaseball.blogspot.com/ but I thought I would send it to you anyway.

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Monday, January 06, 2003

Red Sox, freethinkers?

     Boston is going against the grain again, somewhat.   I came across this snippet about them on The Sporting News' site:

     "The Red Sox are reshaping their minor league pitching policies and will sound out Mike Marshall, a pitching consultant and an original thinker who was one of baseball's most durable relievers.   In 1974, Iron Mike appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers; five years later, he worked 90 games for the Twins."

     If they are able to get Mike Marshall aboard, then Boston is truly paving a new path for a Major League franchise.   For those of you who don't remember Mike Marshall, the relief pitcher, check out his career numbers.   Now that you've refreshed your memory, do you know what he's done since?   Probably not.   Most don't because his philosophies and teachings have largely gone against baseball's training methods and beliefs.   I won't profess to having read everything he's written, but I've read enough to know that the man understands the mechanics of pitching.   If baseball as a whole would start adopting his philosophies and methods concerning pitching, then we probably wouldn't see the amount of injuries that occur now.

     Wouldn't it be something if the four man rotation made a comeback?!   Utilizing his training methodology from adolescence to pro ball, the four man rotation is more than a possibility.   Suggested reading on this subject can be found at Mike's site, www.drmikemarshall.com.   Should Boston be able to convince Dr.   Mike Marshall to help them out, then talk about progressive!   In one off-season they will have hired the youngest GM in the game (Epstein), a sabermetrics guru as special consultant (Bill James) and a renegade pitching consultant (Dr.   Mike Marshall).

     Yes, you are reading correctly, the title is doctor.   If you take the time to look at his site and peruse his credentials you'll start to understand the magnitude of his help for the Red Sox organization.   They are starting to look like a team with a vision and a plan to make that vision a reality.   Boston could really, really be an interesting club over the next few years with the addition of Dr.   Marshall.   Mike has been a pitching consultant since 1975, which by the way, was in the middle of his pitching career.   He has been a consultant to several players over the years, but to my knowledge he's never been hired by a Major League team.

     Hats off to Boston!


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     Thank you for taking the time to email me and for taking the time to send me this article.   However, since I have never, to my knowledge, talked with anybody associated with the Boston Red Sox with regard to training their pitchers, I do not know what to make of this.   In any case, it does make for interesting reading.

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043.   Thanks, but you did not answer my question.   Will you watch him to make certain he is doing them correctly?

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     Until he is a junior in high school, that is your job.   However, that you do not feel qualified is my job.   I am taking high-speed film that should help you to feel more qualified.   I plan to have my second version Instructional Videotape ready in June.   I had my video guy set up a studio in my office, so I can work on it any time.   However, I do have to wait for this forty week group to become more skilled and I want to film my professional players just before they leave for spring training.   Nevertheless, I assure you that you are more qualified that just about every pitching coach at any level.

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044.   Should I have my son perform the same exercises with the Torque driveline as he did with the Maxline, except that for Torque, he should use the third base pickoff position rather than the 2nd base pick off position?

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     At twelve years old, the only torque driveline pitch that your son should practice is my torque fastball.   Because pitchers should throw this pitch in front of the shoulders while they are rotating, they need to stand with their shoulders and feet at forty-five degrees to the driveline.   I call this pickoff position, the first or third base pickoff position, or more simply, the Torque pickoff position.   Why are you worrying about this in January?   I would think that you would want the two months that your son practices pitching to coincide with the baseball season.   Please do not destroy his pitching arm before it has a chance to mature.

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045.   That's all he'll practice from the Torque delivery.

     Now, I see the advantage to using the Maxline delivery as his primary pitching method.   I think your greatest discovery is the no-stride position.   He hasn't done it yet, (we've only worked a couple of days using pickoff position leverage throws), but I had to make sure I understood it, and it almost forces you to throw strikes!

     Most hitters he will face are pitching arm side pull hitters, meaning most of his pitches will be directed to the first base corner or side of home plate.   Should he use the Maxline delivery from the pitching arm side of the rubber (as you suggest when directing pitches to the third base side of home plate) or from the glove side of the rubber and direct the pitches straight ahead?


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     Pitchers should throw their maxline pitches to the pitching arm side of home plate.   At twelve years old, if he can throw these pitches anywhere in the strike zone, he will be unhitable.   I still wonder why you are practicing in January, does not his season occur during the summer?

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046.   Be careful.   You almost complemented me.

     Seriously, I wondered yesterday, not to be morbid, but what happens to parents and to kids when you are no longer around.   I hope you are around another 50 years, but you need to train coaches as well as players so that your wonderful teaching can continue.   And not just as you are doing, but really training coaches in clinics, etc.

     To be sure that he is doing the exercises correctly, to be sure that I am training him correctly, I have questioned you for about two years now, I got the first video tape you sent out, and I came to your facility, watched, questioned and learned.   I feel more qualified than probably anyone in the US other than you to train kids how to pitch.   I still would like you to watch my son throw if he and I can swing a trip over there to make certain that he is doing everything correctly because I have taught him correctly.


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     I did not mean to almost compliment you.   I meant to say that you do know more than any pitching coach anywhere.   You are performing your parental duties well.   I do not worry about how much longer I will be able to help parents, I worry that parents do not understand that it is up to them to make certain that youth coaches do not destroy their sons' pitching arms.

     I plan to make an Instructional Videotape that will make me and the wannabe pitching coaches obsolete.   I again ask why your son is practicing pitching in January and February.   Wait until a couple of weeks before his season begins and do not go past two months of throwing.   I am sure that whatever you have him doing is fine.

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047.   If we wait until a couple of weeks before his season, he will still only be doing pickoff leverage throws.   You had OK'd his practicing in October, November, December, IF he occasionally only did the pickoff leverage throws.   We chose instead to put the balls and gloves on the shelf.   We have started now, with pickoff leverage throws.   I hope to have worked up to set position by the time his season begins in March, so that, when he does pitch, it will be with the Mike Marshall method.

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     The two month limit prevents youngsters from putting too much stress on their growth plates.   I have no problem with practicing only the pickoff position leverage throws to learn the proper release actions occasionally throughout the year.   I want him to only learn the 'feel' of the pitches.   However, if he moves on to the other practice positions and/or tries to throw them as hard as he can, then he is placing too much stress on the growth plates.   Please do not practice the no-stride position leverage throws, the set position leverage or the set position throws until two weeks before the season.

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048.   A player on my 12 year old team just broke the ulna on his throwing arm near the wrist (where the muscle attaches to the bone?) in a non-baseball related activity.   The doctor said he could resume playing in April after the cast comes off.   However, my recommendation to the parents is that he sit out the entire Spring season and follow an appropriate rehabilitation program.   What is your recommendation?

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     The pronator quadratus muscle is probably the muscle to which you refer.   While pronation is critical to the throwing motion, the growth plate at the distal ulna is not a major contributor to the pitching motion.   However, the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle attaches to a nearby carpal bone.   Still, except for bone density loss and atrophy of the ulnar cortex, I would not expect any residual effect from this injury.

     You called this young man, player, rather than pitcher.   Therefore, I assume that he is a position player.   Nevertheless, I recommend that all twelve year old baseball players and pitchers do not practice throwing for more than two months per year.   If he plays in the spring and during the summer, that would exceed my recommendation without regard for this injury.   I have a 60 Day Adolescent Pitcher Training program on my web site that he could follow.   He would have to adjust the number of fastball repetitions to include the number of non-fastball repetitions that I recommend.

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049.   Like many parents out there, I have a son who plays youth baseball and likes to pitch.   What is the best way to condition and strengthen his arm? I have heard many ways.   What is your thought on this?

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     I recommend that, until the growth plates in the pitching arms of youth pitchers have completely matured, 1.   they do not throw baseballs for more than two months per year, 2.   they do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and 3.   they do not pitch more than one inning per game.

     I have written a 60 Day Pubescent Pitcher Training Program for youth pitchers up to thirteen years old.   I have written a 60 Day Adolescent Pitcher Training Program for youth pitchers up to thirteen years old.   Parents can find these training programs and my free Coaching Pitchers book on my web site at drmikemarshall.com.

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050.   Have you discontinued your pickoff position transition throws?

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     As you know, I am constantly revising the exercises that I use to train my pitchers.   When I find, after several weeks of experimentation, that an exercise does not achieve its designed purpose, I make an adjustment.   For now, I have eliminated the pickoff position transition throw exercise.   For now, as my baseball throwing exercises, I use my pickoff position leverage throws, my no-stride leverage throws, my set position leverage throws, my set position throws and my windup throws.   As my wrist weight and iron ball exercises, I drop the windup throws.

     After I put together the second version of my Instructional Videotape, I will make the changes to my Coaching Pitchers book.   Every day, I feel closer to finding the best way to teach pitchers how to perform the pitching motion that I recommend.   The last two months have been very productive.

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051.   We are working pickoff positions until a few weeks before the season when he will need to be able to pitch from set and/or wind up.   Then, I'll have a whole new series of questions.   We are following your pubescent program and, as I saw you doing, I am asking and noting any arm discomfort.   He has had none.   I won't destroy his arm.

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     I have no problem with occasional, moderate-intensity pickoff position leverage throws to learn or maintain the proper forearm release action for my four basic pitches.   However, I want minimal stress.   Also, he will need to master my no-stride leverage throws and set position throws.   You know that I do not recommend that twelve year old pitch competitively.   You know that I do not recommend that any adolescent pitches more than one inning per game.   While the ligaments in his elbow and shoulder gradually stretch and while the growth plates in his pitching arm prematurely close, your son will not complain of discomfort.   Unless you take bi-lateral X-rays with which we can compare the closure rates of the pitching arm against the non-pitching arm, unless you periodically take bone density measurements of the medial epicondyles of both arms and unless an expert takes quantifiable measurements of the laxity in the ligament of the elbow and shoulder, we will not know what if any damage youth pitching has done to your son.

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052.   How do you put such nice, perfect stripes on the baseballs?

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     I hold the baseball between my thumb and middle fingers in the middle of the two short seams.   I take a wide, black marking implement and I carefully draw the lines.   Actually, I require each pitcher to own their own baseballs and make their own markings, including their initials.   However, I do provide the four gallon bucket.

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053.   I don't know what you call the flaw, but my son has a tendency to begin a pendulum swing, but quickly raise his forearm up to leverage before his upper arm was in the proper position.   I found yesterday that the transition throws helped me help him to correct the problem.   Any reason not to keep doing transition throws as a means of teaching the proper pendulum swing?

     Have you also eliminated your wrong foot throws completely?   I love your new no-stride throws.


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     To raise the forearm to leverage before the entire pitching arm has pendulum swung up to driveline height is a serious flaw.   That is the reason why I eliminated the pickoff position transition throw exercise and the no-stride transition throw exercise.   Your son must learn to fully and freely pendulum swing his pitching arm up to driveline height.   My three movement deltoid wrist weight warm-up exercise teaches this very well.   However, he is not ready for the wrist weights.   Nevertheless, he could do this exercise without the wrist weights.

     Presently, I do not introduce the transition into the throwing motion until the start of my fourth training cycle or one hundred and fifty-six days into the forty-week training program.   Until then, we only throw from my leverage position.   I want pitchers to 'feel' where they need to get their pitching arm before they start their body forward.

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054.   As we are soon to enter our season, what changes should we make with the wrist weights?

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     Six weeks prior to competition, I reduce the number of wrist weight and iron ball exercises to totals of twenty-four repetitions, which is one-half of the base number of repetitions and increase the number of baseball throws to seventy-two.   Three weeks prior to competition, I combine my Maxline and Torque workouts into one workout, but I keep the total repetitions at twenty-four and practice forty-eight baseball throws and twenty-four baseball pitch sequences.   Throughout the competitive schedule, I recommend that pitchers continue the combined workout on a daily basis.

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055.   I am a 57 year old with a 14 and 11 year old.   I played ball into college.   I had limited ability, but enjoyed the game.   I was lucky in that my dad did not coach or give a hoot whether I played or not.   He worked 12 hours 6 days a week.   I did most of my playing in vacant lots.   If genetics have any say, my kids will be no better than I was.

     I am President of our local Little League and feel like I am surrounded by alligators.   The dad's are nuts.   We are turning kids away from a great game.   I have been coaching and a board member for 5 years.   It has been a war, but we have reduced team rosters to 10 or 11 and bat the bench.   I have finally gotten us to use a pitching machine for the 9 and 10 year olds once a week.   The damn fools want to develop pitchers and none of us are smart enough to do it.   I have tried to get a limit of 2 innings per game for pitchers.   It passed the board.   The coaches are in rebellion and I am fixing to go to war in 2 hours at our board meeting.   It will be ignorance on my part arguing against ignorance on their part.

     I am thinking of starting my own kids league.   I would like to get back as close to sandlot ball as possible.   When I was 10, the pitcher's job was to get it over where I could hit it.   If he couldn't, we got someone else.   Last year, I spent Saturday afternoons at the Little League park.   I set up a pitching machine.   Kids showed up and chose teams and captains.   All I did was run the machine.   They umpired.   They made out the line-up.   The captains settled problems.

     How would you set up a kids league?   Little League age.   Heck what would you do with Babe Ruth age kids?   Baseball is the most fun to play if you give kids the chance to PLAY it.

     I played ball.   I know hitting.   I can still hit.   Never could run or throw.   I hated pitchers.   Didn't want to pitch.   Just wanted to make their lives miserable.   However, I have tried my best to learn as much as I can about pitching mechanics.   The info is confusing.   Who is right?   I haven't read any of your stuff.   I plan on it.   I am of the opinion that throwing a lot at 80 % on flat ground is ok for kids.   Pitching any off the mound is probably not good.   Most kids have bad mechanics.   Fixing it is hard.   Hard on my knees.   Most coaches are ignorant and most won't or can't do anything about it.   Therefore, we don't need to be letting kids pitch unless it is to just get it over where someone can hit it.

     Please give me advice on setting up a local kids league that stresses sandlot type ball.   Do you know of anyone who has done this?   I feel my job on the Little League Board is to make sure that the kid who is below average gets his parents money's worth.   They sure are not, but I am trying.

     My last opinion is that organized sports of all kinds for kids are awful.   Soccer is the one exception around here.   The dad's don't have a clue about it.   It won't last.   When the kids who play soccer have their kids, it will be the same as the rest.

     After saying this, my kids want to play.   I know that they will likely be in organized ball.   What reading would you recommend concerning pitching.   I will do my best to learn and pass it on the other coaches.

     If you would like to attend our Little League Board Meeting, I could work you in.   However, half of them would wind up telling you how to pitch, a third would dose off and the other third would listen.   Guess what percentage of the vote we get on matters that matter.


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     You have the right idea.   Youth sports are for the kids, not just to play the games, but to interact as kids.   They should make up line-ups, umpire and settle disputes.   Pitchers should throw pitches that batters can hit and so on.   That day that you simply operated the pitching machine was wonderful.   You have my admiration and, I suspect, the admiration of those kids as well.

     On my web site, I provide my Coaching Pitchers book for free.   You can read it, copy it, send it to others and so on.   In Chapter 12, I write what I believe youth baseball should be.   I also have an Instructional Videotape in which I show why youngsters should not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and should not pitch more than one inning per game.   Chapters 04 through 11 also provide this information.

     If, after these parents learn the facts of how much they are hurting their children, they still do not want to change, then you should provide an alternative league as I recommend.

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056.   In chapter 25, from your research findings, you knew that you did not have a "straight driveline through release" with your screwball.   Please explain how you improved the straightening of your driveline through release on your screwball if that is what you did to get the increased strike percentage out of it.   Also, if you can direct me to where I can find the explanation of how the driveline stays straight from leverage to release in your book.

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     In 1971, I took high-speed film of my pitching motion.   What I saw shocked me.   I never realized that I had late forearm turnover and considerable forearm flyout.   I decided that I needed to have my hand facing outward at what I now call my 'ready' position, which is the when the pitching hand first reaches driveline height.   That resolved my late forearm turnover problem.   Then, to resolve my considerable forearm flyout problem, I decided that I had to drive my pitching hand as far inside of vertical as possible.   Without these two flaws, I found that I could drive my screwballs straight toward home plate.   Without the wasted force that I used to correct for those flaws, I also improved the quality of my screwballs.

     In Section IX, I discuss my pitching technique.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that shows my pitching technique.

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057.   A couple of questions from an adult position player who has studied your book, tape and question forums and is three weeks into your 280-day pitcher's training program:

1.   When the training program specifies screwball or curveball repetitions, should a position player eliminate those parts or perform them maxline or torque?

2.   Just to be clear: do you want to eliminate that position we see in famous pitchers where the elbow fires forward and the hand drops below the elbow?   I get the impression you want a "locked and blocked elbow and shoulder joint" as the torso rotates around, with the power supplied by rotation and a straight forearm snap with pronation?   No elbow firing forward and the hand blowing back?

3.   I am not dragging the arm across the chest or "blowing the elbow forward" in the training program because it is my impression that is what you advise.   I am getting just a little light biceps tendon soreness.   Is this normal as develop strength and adapt to the motion or perhaps a signal I am performing something incorrectly?

4.   For a catcher or an infielder, why not just catch it, swing to driveline height and then step with the wrong foot and fire away?   Why bother with the correct-foot step?

     My arm already feels better with just the rudimentary ability I have developed to create a straighter line with my arm.


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1.   Position players need only my maxline and torque fastball techniques.

2.   When pitchers have their pitching forearm vertical just before they accelerate their upper arm forward, their forearm bounces downward.   This reverse forearm bounce places extra and unnecessary stress on the inside of the elbow.   I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height to where their forearm is at a forty-five degree angle behind vertical as seen from the side view.   Then, when they start their upper arm acceleration phase, I recommend that they roll their forearm inwardly to a maximal elbow flexion position at 'leverage', which is when the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

3.   Biceps brachii muscle soreness indicates that you have forearm flyout.   This means that rather than driving your pitching hand as far inside of vertical as possible, you are circling your forearm outside of vertical.

4.   I recently discontinued using my wrong foot transition exercises.   I found that pitchers did not take the time to use a full pendulum swing, rather they lifted their forearm almost straight upward to driveline height.   Now, I do not introduce the transition until my fourth training cycle after pitchers demonstrate that they can use the proper pitching arm action from the leverage position.

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058.   After looking at my pitchers when throwing traditional curves or sliders using freeze frame of a digital camera( still not as good as your high speed camera), I'm seeing no supination until after pronation has completed.   It appears that pronation is occurring from release to " follow through".   If this is true, what is the difference between this and your pronation curve?

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     I suspect that you are misinterpreting supination and pronation.   Supination occurs when the radius bone moves away from the ulna bone.   This happens when pitchers release curve over top of their index finger.   That is supination.   Pronation occurs when the radius bone moves toward the ulna bone.   This happens when pitchers rotate their thumb to point downward.

     Immediately after pitchers start their upper arm acceleration and their forearm circles outward, pitchers supinate their forearm.   Immediately after pitchers release their pitchers, pitchers pronate their forearm.   If their curves move toward the glove side of home plate, then their forearms were outside of vertical, which means that they supinated their forearm.

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059.   I am currently a pitching coach at the high school level and have been for three years.   This year, I have encountered the problem of my top 3 pitchers also being position players.   What do you suggest for these players the day after they pitch?   Should they take infield?   Play normal position?   This would be in terms of say, a 75 pitch count.   My concern is their play in the field the day after, as far as how many throws are made pregame/game time.

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     Until these pitchers tell you that they are experiencing stiffness and/or soreness that is interfering with their ability to take infield or outfield practice or make the throws that games require, I would let them participate at usual.   However, if they do complain, please let me know where they have stiffness and/or soreness and I will advise.   Rather than a pitch count, I recommend that young pitchers only pitch twice through the lineup.

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060.   I have been a silent lurker on your site for the past four years, and am currently a top-rated pitching prospect with a major league organization.

     I have had success at every level, but it seems that every two-bit rookie league coach tries to "change my mechanics".   This usually results in me being "labeled", and you know how that goes.   My beef is that I want to have a long career in the major leagues, which usually equates to being injury free.   I do not worry about the techniques that I have emphasized from the pages on your site.   I worry that I will be labeled as uncoachable, and the host of other b.s.   that goes along with being involved in pro ball.

     I receive constant backlash from my peers and coaches due to my social habits (which include not drinking and reading books without pictures), but basically motivates me to put up increasingly better numbers against better competition.   One of the worst stigmas I have received the past few years has been that I am lazy because I do not believe in long distance running as a training tool.   (Especially after serious back injury as a college freshman)   Is this something that I should continue to expect from people along the way?   How did you cope with being a successful "renegade"?

     I hold your teachings in the highest regard (I cringe every time I see a kid with forearm flyout/elbow bounce back), and would like some feedback as to what to do.   It is rather discouraging to be 22 and have studied throwing and pitching more than "pitching coaches" twice my age.   Not that I am an expert, but I do read a ton, and experiment extensively.   Guys look at me like I am from Pluto when I bring up words like olecranon and acromial line.   I have to go home to work out sometimes, I got lectured in spring training last year regarding the "specificity of my training".   They think I am going to blow my shoulder out with wrist weights and similar exercises.

     Oh, we had mandatory change-up percentages last year!   Less than 20% led to demotions from the rotation to the bullpen.


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     Welcome to my world.   If you have read 'Ball Four', then you know that pitching coaches treated me the same way.   I was 'moon-man', 'egg-head", 'college boy' and other similar attempted insults.   However, I just ignored them and kept getting batters out with intensity and joy.

     My kids have the same problem.   We will not overcome this problem until more pitching coaches steal more of my pitching technique.   Until then, I tell my kids to tell pitching coaches that want to change something in their motion to say, that you I tried that with another pitching coach and your injured your elbow, shoulder, back or whatever seems appropriate.   Since these guys have no idea what they are doing, they cannot determine whether what you say is true.   But, don't try that with me.   I know what technique causes what type of injury.

     Incidentally, I was involved in a serious car accident when I was eleven that left me with chronic back pain.   Therefore, I too had to take care with my running.   I found that I could jog long distances with little bouncing and not lifting my knees too high.   However, I could not sprint without jeopardizing my lower back.

     I would be remiss if I did not extend you and invitation to my pitching research/training center in Zephyrhills, FL near Tampa.   If your organization spring trains in Florida, why don't you plan on stopping in on your way.

     Lastly, only you are responsible for your athletic success.   Do not permit anybody, including me, to force you to change what you believe works best for you.

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061.   My son plays ball for a college team.   As a catcher, he throws everyday.   After a weightlifting injury (to his forearm), he was asked to continue throwing (by his coaches) even though the forearm was in pain.   His forearm is now swollen, there is much pain in his arm, his index finger and middle finger is numb, his wrist hurts when throwing and his elbow is now hurting.   Can you tell me what kind of injury is causing all this?   How should he handle this?   What kind of anti-imflammatory meds should he take?

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     Numbness in his index and middle finger indicates irritation to the median nerve.   If he hooks his wrist, then he probably irritated it in the wrist area.   He could also irritate it in the elbow area.   Unfortunately, you did not tell me where in the elbow he is experiencing discomfort.   If it in the inside of the elbow, then he probably has reverse forearm bounce, most catchers do.   He should stop bringing his throwing arm up to his ear with the baseball pointing forward.   He needs to pendulum swing his throwing arm up to ear height with his forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical from the side view.   Then, when he starts his elbow forward, he needs to drive the baseball inside of vertical straight toward his target.

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062.   I would like to take advantage of your medical knowledge concerning movement of the arm.   If I refer to my medical dictionary, supination occurs when pitchers end up with the palm facing up.   Throwing a slider and getting the hand under the ball cause supination.   All other pitches i.e., palm down, inward or outward on release are pronation with the late one (outward) being a full pronation.

     It make sense too me that when a pitcher twist his arm (doorknob slider), supination occurs which could be devastating on the arm.   Also, even with a correct delivery (elbow even with shoulder, no lock), if the pitcher cocks his wrist (like a curveball) while throwing a slider, injuries could (will) happen although pronation is involved (inward)?

     Bottom line, when you refer to the basic curveball and slider as involving supination, I do not understand.   Maybe you could clarify this for me once for all?


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     With due respect for the authors of your medical dictionary, supination is when the radius bone rotates away from the ulna bone and pronation is when the radius bone rotates toward the ulna bone.   The palm faces upward during supination when pitchers stand in the anatomical position, not when pitching.   Pitchers should pronate their forearm when they throw torque fastball sliders.   Pitcher should never, never supinate their forearm.   While throwing a football is similar to throwing sliders, I would never recommend that baseball pitchers throw footballs as a general means of training to throw baseballs.   However, throwing a football with a downward spiral angle might help pitchers to learn how to pronate their torque fastball slider releases.

     Pitcher should throw my torque fastball sliders with the same pitching arm action as when they throw my torque fastballs.   To permit pitchers to achieve the circle-of-friction on the top, forward aspect of the baseball, pitchers offset the index and middle fingers of their pitching hand to the pitching arm side of the baseball such that they impart the spiral spin axis to the baseball.   Pitchers must never, never supinate their forearm or 'bang' their olecranon process into it fossa.

     I do not teach my torque fastball slider until my kids show me that they have mastered the proper releases for my torque fastball and maxline pronation curve.   I also do not teach my maxline fastball sinker until my kids show me that they have mastered the proper releases for my maxline fastball and maxline true screwball.

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063.   The throwing arm path you describe seems to be the least restrictive of any path one could take on an overhand throw.   Does this come from your understanding of the physiological make-up of the body and how it safely operates the arm through an overhand throw?

     My current understanding of the arm path you have described is as follows:   you pendulum swing arm with palm facing body then the palm turns facing out not back.   What follows next is the forearm driving inside of the elbow with pronation taking place after release?   If you can address whether this path is based on the physiological findings on how joints safely work through the transitions up to and through an overhand throw?

     It seems to me you have found a way to make an overhand throw with the same characteristics of an underhand throw.   The underhand throw is the safest way to hurl objects with the least amount of injury due to the joints staying intact.   One thing comes to mind, you say to brush the little finger and the ring finger on your thigh as you come out of the glove.   Which is precisely what fast pitch softball pitchers do after release.   Most fast pitch softball pitchers can pitch doubleheaders as well as split doubleheaders and even tripleheaders without injuring the arm.


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     My recommendations come from my interpretation of Newton's three laws of motion and my knowledge of applied anatomy.   Physiology refers to how the various systems of the body operate to maintain homeostasis.   I use my knowledge of physiology to develop my interval training programs.

     At the start of my pendulum swing, I prefer that pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing forward.   At forty-five degrees behind vertical downward, I recommend that pitchers gently supinate their forearm such that at my 'ready' position, the palm of their pitching hand faces away from their body.

     I believe that my baseball pitching motion is the safest, most powerful way to throw baseballs.   Any similarity between any aspect of my pitching motion and how softball pitchers pitch softballs is purely coincidental.

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064.   I am fascinated with the impact a great pitching coach can have on a baseball team.   All baseball publications focus on the players.   It would be nice to read about the leadership and coaching as well.   The impact of general managers, heads of Scouting and Development, Managers, Hitting, Fielding, Base running and Pitching coaches.   There should be an owner in baseball willing to pay you quite a bit of money to be a pitching coach in Major League Baseball given the impact you could have.

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     I would accept an opportunity to teach the pitchers in an affiliated professional organization only if I could effect the technique and fitness adjustments that I believe would maximize the possibility of their success and to show that no pitcher should ever suffer a pitching arm injury.   I have no doubt that these pitchers would achieve their potential.

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065.   I play high school baseball and I am 15 years old.   to get ready for the season I threw and hit over the winter.   Just last week or so of practice, I have been experiencing I cant be sure if it is pain or soreness in my triceps muscle or the back of my arm.   I pitched in a scrimmage last week when it was about 35 degrees outside and I am wondering if I did something then.   Do you have any guess as to what might have caused this sudden pain?

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     'Pain or soreness in my triceps muscle or the back of my arm' is not a very definitive description.   Is it high behind your shoulder?   Is it low near your elbow?   If it is high and up inside of your arm pit, then it is probably your teres minor muscle.   Discomfort in the teres minor muscle means that you pull your pitching arm across the front of your body such that you have only the teres minor muscle with which to decelerate your arm.

     Practice intensity never equates with scrimmage intensity.   That is, scrimmage intensity is much greater and you should expect discomfort.   However, if the discomfort results from improper technique, then you will never get rid of it.   If you were one of my kids and I knew that your technique was good, I would tell you to do a blood flow intensity workout the next day.   In your case, I would tell you to do the same, but take it very easy and you have to stop pulling your pitching arm across the front of your body.

     The ambient temperature was irrelevant.

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066.   Please elaborate on the rolling forearm inward thing.   I think that is what I am missing.   Sounds like a cool move.

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     At present, I do not permit my kids to throw with a transition until the start of my fourth training cycle or one hundred and fifty-seven days into my two hundred and eighty day adult pitchers training program.   I want them to master the proper pitching arm action for my four basic pitches; maxline fastball, maxline pronation curve, maxline true screwball and torque fastball.   All through these one hundred and fifty-seven days, they have practiced my three movement deltoid wrist weight warm-up exercise, the first phase of which replicates my double pendulum swing start to my pitching motion.   Adolescents can perform this exercise without wrist weights.   Consequently, my kids reflexively pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height with their palm facing outward and their forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical as viewed from the side.   This leaves it to them to only learn how I recommend that pitchers move their pitching arm from the 'ready' position at the end of the pendulum swing to my 'leverage' position when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

     It is critical that pitchers do not start to rotate their forearm prior to the start of their upper arm acceleration phase.   This causes 'looping' followed by circle out followed by forearm flyout.   Instead, pitchers must wait until they start their upper arm forward.   At this point, what they do varies with the type of pitch.

     When throwing my maxline true screwball, pitchers rotate their forearm outwardly (pronate) such that their palm faces upward and maximally bend their elbow.   The inertial force of the baseball and their forearm will hyper-supinate their forearm.   This should be a good thing.   Unfortunately, if pitchers permit the hyper-supination of their forearm to take the forearm beyond the elbow, it will lead to circle out and so on.   Conversely, if pitchers limit this hyper-supination to no farther than their elbow, then, after they have moved their body ahead of their stride foot and have rotated their acromial line to point toward home plate, they have properly positioned their pitching arm to simultaneously maximally extend their elbow and pronate their forearm through release.   It is critically important that pitchers drive their hand and baseball in a straight-line toward home plate such that their forearm moves horizontally throughout the forearm acceleration phase and through the deceleration phase.

     For awhile, I had my kids use the same forearm and hand position to throw my maxline fastball.   However, I found that they can use my forearm and hand position for my maxline pronation curve and torque fastball just as well and it permits for greater visual deception to the hitter.

     When throwing my maxline fastball and maxline pronation curve, pitchers rotate their forearm inwardly (supinate) such that their palm faces downward while they maximally bend their elbow.   The inertial force of the baseball and their forearm will again hyper-supinate the forearm.   Again, if pitchers limit this hyper-supination to no farther than their elbow, then, after they have moved their body ahead of their stride foot and have rotated their acromial line to point toward home plate, they have properly positioned their pitching arm to simultaneously maximally extend their elbow and pronate their forearm through release.   It is again critically important that pitchers drive their hand and baseball in a straight-line toward home plate such that their forearm moves horizontally throughout the forearm acceleration phase and through the deceleration phase.

     When throwing my torque fastball, pitchers also rotate their forearm inwardly (supinate) such that their palm faces downward while they maximally bend their elbow.   The inertial weight of the baseball will again hyper-supinate the forearm.   However, in this case, pitchers should permit the inertial force to circle their forearm to slightly outside of their elbow.   During this movement, pitchers should rotate their palm to a palm-up position.   Then, after they have moved their body ahead of their stride foot and have rotated their acromial line to point toward home plate, they have properly positioned their pitching arm to arm-wrestle the baseball toward their glove side.   The circle of the elbow extension, forearm pronation action of the pitching arm during my torque fastball is much larger than with my maxline true screwball, maxline fastball and maxline pronation curve, but it still is forearm pronation.

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067.   I recently purchased materials from another pitching coach.   Would you please discuss the rights and wrongs of some of the things that he says.

1.   He says that throwing starts with the feet.   He says that pitchers should take one step back and balance on the ball of their right foot, with their weight on the ball of their right foot.

2.   He says that pitchers should not raise their left leg higher than horizontal, but toward their center of gravity (stomach).

3.   He says that, then, pitchers should land on the ball of their left foot.

4.   At this point, he says that pitchers should have both arms are in a flex-t-shoulders in front of elbows in a slight flex position.

5.   From this point, he says that when the landing leg hits the ground, pitchers should delay their upper body rotation until they move their body ahead of their landing leg.

6.   He says that this is very similar to his hidden velocity technique.


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     This pitching coach wannabe is simply trying to reword my pitching motion and claim it as his.   He is a plagiarist.

1.   I recommend that pitchers shift their body weight from their front foot to the rear foot while their pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height.   He is trying to eliminate the 'balance position' that he recommended for the past twenty-two years.

2.   I recommend that pitchers do not raise their front leg.   When pitchers raise their front leg, they alter their center of mass.   The center of mass of pitchers is at their umbilicus, which is the technical term for belly button.   The stomach is several inches higher than the umbilicus, but this guy does not know that.

3.   I recommend that pitchers land with their front foot in the same manner that they would when they take a step forward while walking.   If pitchers land on the metatarsal/proximal phalange articulations (ball of the foot), then they will unnecessarily stress the plantar fascia of the foot, cause their center of mass to move upward and teach pitchers to pivot like ballerinas.   Pitchers should keep their center of mass level and moving smoothly forward, just like when they walk.

4.   I recommend that when the pitching arm reaches driveline height, pitchers should have their forearm at forty-five degrees behind vertical as viewed from the side positions.   I cannot and do not want to make heads of tales of, "At this point, your arms are in a flex-t-shoulders in front of elbows in a slight flex."

5.   I recommend that, to move their entire body ahead of their front foot, pitchers step forward with their rear leg off the pitching rubber along a straight line toward home plate.   Several years ago, as a way to increase the length of the driveline, I invented my 'stride leg drive' concept.   He has simply and unashamedly stolen this concept.

6.   As a result of my 'stride leg drive' concept, I simultaneously invented my 'hidden velocity' concept.   Again, he has simply stolen another of the many concepts that I created.

     From a research integrity point of view, this person is despicable and beneath contempt.   He is the worse kind of thief, one who steals ideas and claims credit.   He should have absolutely no credibility.   If he simply acknowledges from whom he received these ideas, then he could use them with honor.

     Nevertheless, I am glad that he and the others steal my ideas.   They will force the bone-heads pitching coaches with the affiliated teams to stop harassing my pitchers and maybe we can begin to eliminate pitching arm injuries.

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068.   Why do you teach the four seam pitches before the 2 seam?   Is there any difference in arm action between the 2 and four seam pitches?

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     At present, I not only teach my four seam maxline and torque fastballs before I each the two seam fastballs, I no longer teach two seam fastballs.   Because they have the Magnus Effect of Bernoulli's fluid flow principle to help the fastballs maintain their release height, I prefer four seam fastballs.   Remember, I recommend that pitchers release all pitches at the same driveline height.   Further, I have stopped teaching my four seam torque fastball during the first and second training cycles.   Before I teach my torque fastball, I want to make certain that pitchers no longer pull their pitching elbow across the front of their body.

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069.   What does, “This means that rather than driving your pitching hand as far inside of vertical as possible, you are circling your forearm outside of vertical” mean?

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     I recommend that pitchers drive the baseball in a straight line toward home plate.   To accomplish this, pitchers must not take the baseball laterally behind their body.   Unfortunately, the 'traditional' pitching motion teaches pitchers to take the baseball laterally behind their body.   Consequently, before they can straight line drive the baseball toward home plate, pitchers have to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body.   The lateral movement of the baseball generates centrifugal force that results the forearm circling outward toward forearm flyout, which means that the forearm is outside of vertical.

     Until pitchers stop taking the baseball laterally behind their body, they are doomed to suffer forearm flyout.   To prevent forearm flyout, I recommend that pitchers do not take the baseball laterally behind their body and that they drive their forearm as far inside of vertical as possible, even to the point that they feel as though they are driving their forearm horizontally inside of vertical.   Proprioceptively, they may feel as though their forearm is horizontally inside of vertical when they are actually near vertical.   However, if they feel as though their forearm is vertical, they will actually be outside of vertical.

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070.   I have more questions about what this other pitching coach says.

1.   He says the reason there is so many pitching arm injuries is because there is too much throwing off the mound and not enough on flat ground.

2.   He says that any kid any age can throw because all pitches use the same muscles but differ in angle.

3.   He says that Asian pitchers can throw more pitches then American pitches because they don't throw off the mound as much as American pitchers.

4.   If he now uses your pitching motion, how did he 'sustain' the career of a hall of fame pitcher? 5.   How has he helped some present day major league pitchers?


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1.   When pitchers throw for distance off flat ground, they have to elevate the angle at which they release their pitches above the angle at which they release their pitches off the pitching mound.   That does nothing to help them pitch.   And, unless they throw with entirely different mechanics, it does nothing to prevent injuries.

2.   Adult pitchers injure their pitching arms because they place more stress on the pitching arm than it can withstand.   Either they are not properly training to withstand appropriate stress or they inappropriately apply force.   Adolescent pitchers injure themselves for these reasons and also because the growth plates cannot withstand even appropriate stresses for very long.   Therefore, whether adolescent pitchers release all pitches the same is irrelevant.   The only relevant fact is that they are stressing open growth plates.   They should never throw weighted baseballs.   Such ignorance should be legally actionable.

3.   I do not know whether the statement that Asian pitchers can throw more often than American pitchers is verifiable.   But, if it is, I am sure that it has nothing to do with throwing off flat ground.

4.   Over the one hundred and thirty years of professional baseball, some pitchers have succeeded with improper pitching motions.   These men are considerably stronger than the average man with specific gifts.   When adolescences and normal men try to use the same pitching motion, they suffer irreversible injuries.   The hall of fame pitchers seriously injured his pitching arm in the last major league game he pitched.

5.   The fact that he now uses my pitching motion could explain why one of the present day major league pitchers that you mentioned has lengthen and straightened his driveline.   He gets to work with these pitchers because he duped the public with his books and videotape for many years and is well-known.   In our free enterprise system, we let the buyer beware.      I understand that he made almost three-quarters of a million dollars of his material before he stole me pitching motion.   I think that he should return that money to the people that he defrauded and pay for all the surgeries that he caused.

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071.   What is vertical that you want pitchers to stay inside of?   Do you mean that the pitcher's hand is closer to the pitcher's head with the forearm angled toward the head?   Is the pitch is then released by accelerating and pronating the forearm from close to the head to full pronation at shoulder height without locking the elbow?   Is outside of vertical most easily seen when pitchers bend and lean toward the glove side and have their hand well away from their head and their elbow almost fully extended as they throw the ball down and across their body?

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     Vertical is straight up and down.   I want the forearm inside of straight up and down as far as possible.   The pitcher's hand would indeed be closer to his head with the forearm horizontally angled inward.   Horizontal is when one end of the forearm is at the same height as the other end of the forearm.   I also want the shoulders level, which is also horizontal.   Pitchers should not lean to their glove-side or toward their pitching arm-side.   Pitchers must never, never pull the elbow of their pitching arm across their body or downward.   Pitchers must keep the elbow of their pitching arm at shoulder height and slightly ahead of their acromial line throughout the upper arm and forearm acceleration phases.   Pitchers forearm accelerate their pitching arm through release with a simultaneous elbow extension, forearm pronation action with the inward rotation of the shoulder insuring that they do not 'lock' their olecranon process into its fossa.

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072.   I recently read an article that stated a present day star major league pitcher is throwing harder then before because this other pitching coach told him that he is bending at the waist and not using his tall frame to his maximum.   I know that, on your videotape, you said one of your pitchers was throwing like was a 5 feet pitcher and not his 6 feet height.

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     I am glad to hear that this pitching coach wannabe stole my 'stand tall and rotate' concept to help this outstanding present day major league star pitcher.   I did notice the change in his motion.   It will not be much longer when these plagiarists will steal everything they can and my pitching motion will take over and we will eliminate pitching arm injuries.

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073.   I read this article and thought that I would like to read how your would answer the same questions.   The doctor is a member of the Association of Professional Team Physicians.

1.   What causes Little League elbow?

Dr.: The problem with young pitchers is that in many cases they're either throwing too hard too often or trying to build up their endurance too quickly.   In my practice, I see many adolescent players with arm problems, and 90 percent of the time it can be linked to some sort of a sudden change in the intensity or duration of activity.   For instance, a player will suddenly make his mind up that baseball is going to be his preferred sport.   So he goes from playing with a high school team to playing on two summer teams plus his high school team.   And now he's playing twice as often and throwing twice as much.   I've also seen this affliction in cases where a player changes leagues where the pitcher's mound is farther from home plate or the mound is elevated.   Sometimes it's a change of coaches that's the cause.   And the pitcher ends up with a sore arm.   The way baseball has taken over as a year-long sports focus has resulted in an accompanying increase in arm complaints.

Marshall: Little League elbow results from the traction stress of the critical pitching muscles that attach to the ossification center of the medial epicondyle of youth pitchers with open growth plates.

2.   What age group is most affected, and how?

Dr.: Generally it's pre-high school players, anywhere from ages 10 to 15, with the peak incidence in the 12- to 14-year-old age group.   Little League elbow is a process of damage to the joint surfaces.   Pitchers' elbows at that age, as are most of their joints, are immature, so they have open growth plates and something of a tenuous blood supply to those growth plates.   Little League elbow involves an overload on the medial side of the elbow, so that the ligament attached to the growth plate starts to pull away.   And on the other side of the elbow there can be a compressive phenomenon that can cause a condition called osteochondritis dissecans, in which damage is followed by poor blood flow and small areas of bone death.   When you see those components together -- some elongation of the ligament structures and perhaps some changes in the growth plate on the medial side along with some bony debris and damage to the outer half of the elbow -- now you're looking at the true definition of Little League elbow.   In some circumstances we'll see a significant avulsion of the medial elbow with a several-millimeter separation.   It's typically an acute injury when the ligament gets pulled off like that.   More often, the affected elbow will become sore and maybe show just a little extra widening of the growth plate as compared with the unaffected, nondominant arm.   Comparison X-rays may be necessary.

Marshall: Little League elbow occurs only in youth pitchers with open growth plates.   Because adolescents biologically mature at different rates, bi-lateral, mid-ulna to mid-humerus X-rays are the best way to determine when their growth plate mature.   In general, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures around sixteen years old.

3.   What are the symptoms?

Dr.: Typically it's a gradual onset.   Generally the elbow is sore to the touch and may have some swelling.   It especially hurts when the player throws the ball.   The growth plate can traumatically separate when someone falls on the arm awkwardly, but that separation can also occur as a result of just one hard throw.   In that case, there's a sudden onset of pain and the player feels something give way in the elbow.   Pain may be associated with catching or locking.   The elbow will obviously feel better after being rested.   In cases of osteochondritis dissecans and associated loose bodies in the elbow, the player may have some locking, catching, persistent swelling and/or loss of movement in the elbow.

Marshall: With regard to Little League elbow, youth pitchers complain of an aching in their medial epicondlye area.   When physicians apply inward pressure to the medial epicondyle, youngsters experience greater discomfort.   However, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle is not the only location of discomfort from youth pitching.   Youngsters experience discomfort from the head of their radius bone colliding with the end of the humerus bone, from stretching and/or tearing in their ulnar collateral ligament, from irritations to the fascia covering the ulnar nerve groove, from the end of their olecranon process colliding with its fossa and more.

4.   How is Little League elbow diagnosed?

Dr.: A clinical exam will often provide as much information as an X-ray will, but more often than not, we combine our clinical exam with an X-ray.   The X-rays often show some of the bony changes that take place and help us to make a more complex diagnosis.

Marshall: Physicians should apply inward pressure to the ossification center for the medial epicondyle and they should take bi-lateral, mid-ulna to mid-humerus X-rays.   Youngsters complain of discomfort with the pressure and the growth plate for the medial epicondyle on the pitching arm appears wider than for the non-pitching arm.   However, the beginnings of pre-mature closure of the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of the pitching arm can confuse the diagnosis.

5.   How is it treated?

Dr.: We ask the patient to ice the elbow.   Rest is obviously a big part of the treatment, and on rare occasions we may splint the elbow to assure rest.   But we don't like immobilizing elbows too long because they often will get permanently stiff.   The most important parts of treating Little League elbow are 1) helping the player understand why the problem exists and explaining in detail what's happening and 2) allowing him to continue range-of-motion in the elbow but avoid throwing.   Anti-inflammatory medication will make the elbow feel better but doesn't speed up the healing process.   The injuries with the growth plate are treated similar to fractures.   Typically the recovery time is going to be six weeks or so for minor problems to as much as three months for the more significant problems.   Some players have the luxury of being able to be designated hitters, and typically I'll let them do that once they can show me they have full range of motion in the elbow and I'm convinced that if they landed on their elbow they're not going to re-aggravate it.   They can shag flies and take grounders, but throwing is the main limitation.

Marshall: We should treat Little League elbow in the same way that we treat Osgood Schlatter's disease.   That is, youngsters should stop throwing until the growth plate for the medial epicondyle of their pitching arm completely matures.   They will have plenty of time after that growth plate matures to learn how to properly apply force to their pitches and properly train to become the best pitcher that can be.

6.   How long is it before the player can start pitching again?

Dr.: It depends.   If he has a growth plate separation or it looks like there's some damage, we'll rely on the normal healing process, which is going to be a minimum on four to six weeks, and we base this on clinical findings such as tenderness, the integrity of the ligaments, and muscular strength.   We then try him on a return-to-throwing program.   We usually put him on a short-toss, long-toss program to allow him to gradually build back his arm strength.   He progresses to an on-the-mound throwing situation.   It's not until he's gone through all those steps that he's allowed to go back to pitching.

Marshall: When the bi-lateral, mid-ulna to mid-humerus X-rays show that the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of their pitching arm has completely matured.

7.   Is surgery ever necessary?

Dr.: On the medial side, if the growth plate gets separated by more than about four millimeters, reattaching it surgically is sometimes advocated.   If the patient has loose bodies, that becomes a surgical situation for sure.   The majority of these injuries are treated conservatively, without surgery.

Marshall: Unfortunately.   When the ossification center of the medial epicondyle shifts from its proper position, even when physicians reattach it, the chances are that the ulnar groove in its posterior aspect will not develop as it should.   Consequently, the movement of the ulnar nerve during the pitching motion results in irritation and numbness in the little finger and the lateral one-half of the ring finger.

8.   How is the injury rehabilitated?

Dr.: We generally start the patient on a strengthening program as soon as two weeks after the injury has been diagnosed, not only to benefit the elbow but also the shoulder, forearm and hand.   Many times the exercises can be done at home after a couple of explanations, but most of the time the patient will benefit from going to a physical therapist a few times, maybe more if he has complicated problems such as loss of movement or ligament stiffness.

Marshall: Nobody can rehabilitate the pre-mature closure of the growth plate of the medial epicondyle, the stretching of the ulnar collateral ligament and/or the malformation of the radial head.   Youth pitching permanently deforms the pitching arm.

9.   How can Little League elbow be prevented?

Dr.: For a pitcher, prevention is two-fold.   No.   1 is to not overload the arm by having him throw too much.   In Little League, there's always one pitcher who's best on the team, and the tendency is for the coach to put him out there every chance he can.   So we try to limit young pitchers to no more than seven innings of competitive pitching in a week.   We also give them pitch counts: Adolescent pitchers shouldn't throw more than 80 to 100 pitches per week.   But if a kid starts a game and has a couple of rough innings and gets up to 80 or 100 pitches in five innings, well, now the seven-inning stipulation is obsolete.   And we ask pitchers not to throw competitively between games they pitch.   They can play at another position.   They should also have an exercise routine to keep their arm strength up and build endurance.

No.   2, throwing curve balls and sliders puts a tremendous load on the elbow, so we try to keep youngsters throwing just fastballs and change-ups before they get into high school.   We also emphasize good form.   Obviously the worse your mechanics are, the more likely you are to have an injury.   When your starting a sport, you're not efficient with your movements, and there's a big learning curve involved in throwing efficiently.   Until you learn the mechanics and build up your arm strength and endurance, there's a higher incidence of injury.

If this condition is caught at the early stages, it's invariably a self-limited problem.   Some kids and coaches drive harder than others, however.   If the coach is telling the kid, "You're supposed to have elbow pain; it's normal," that kid is liable to get himself hurt before he realizes he's in trouble.

Marshall: I recommend that youth pitchers do not throw baseballs 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.   Whether they throw fastballs, curves or whatever else, they will stress the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.   Therefore, it does not matter what pitch they throw, it only matters that they throw.   Nevertheless, when youngsters throw curve with the 'traditional' pitching motion, they do place considerable unnecessary stress on the inside of their elbow.

After their growth plates mature, they can still permanently deform their pitching arms, but it will not be as a result of interfering with the proper growth and development.   Pitchers with completely ossified bones deform their pitching arm as a result of using the 'traditional' pitching motion.

11.   What are the long-term implications if this condition isn't allowed to heal?

Dr.: On the inside of the elbow where the ligament attaches, even if that pulls away from the growth plate and then is allowed to heal by itself, there may be a knob there and a tendency to develop tendinitis down the road.   The really worrisome problem, though, is if the player develops damage to the growth plate on the outside of the elbow.   Those problems sometimes don't get better with time or will lead to an arthritic process in the joint.   Loose bodies are the long-term result of chronically damaging that growth plate on the outer part of the elbow.   If a kid really has an interest in trying for a college scholarship and a major league career, he has to keep in mind that he can't go from playing weekend baseball to practicing every day with two teams without risking injury.   Parents definitely have a major role in prevention.   Some parents push too hard; if they see some talent in their kid, sometimes the dad will have him throwing more at home than he's supposed to and trying to teach him a curve ball.   Parents have to be careful not to have their own aspirations delivered through their child.

Marshall: One hundred percent of Little League pitchers deform their pitching arm to some degree.   Whether the deformation is a couple of months of pre-mature closure, which decreases the length of the humerus or removal of the hugely deformed radial head depends on the amount of proper and improper stress that they place on the growth plates of their pitching arm.


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     Thank you for sending me this article.   I enjoyed giving my answers.

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074.   Let’s talk Torque Fastball.   When I pronate my forearm, my hand goes with it, just as when I supinate my forearm, my hand goes along for the ride.   You explain that the hand supinates for the Torque fastball while the forearm pronates.   I don’t understand how that is possible.   Does the hand supinate milliseconds before the arm pronates?   I just want to be clear on how to teach this because this will be my son’s primary pitch.

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     I have decided to stop teaching the torque fastball to my kids during the first two training cycles.   Off the top of my head, I think that I will stop recommending my torque fastball to youth pitchers of any age.   You will have to make my maxline fastball your son's primary pitch.   We have to eliminate elbow pull.   I just finally got tired of watching pitchers pull their elbow across the front of the body.   They must learn to keep their elbow securely 'locked' slightly ahead of their acromial line.   They must also learn to keep their elbow at shoulder height throughout the pitching motion.   I also got tired of watching pitchers pull their entire pitching arm down to their waist.

     Now, with my pickoff position leverage throws, to show pitchers how to drive absolutely straight forward from leverage through deceleration, I teach my true screwball first.   After they master that motion, I teach my maxline fastball.   After they master that motion, I teach my pronation curve.   On all these pitches, pronation is the key.   Pitchers cannot pull their elbow across the front of the body when they focus only on pronation.   Try it.   When you pronate the forearm throw its full range of motion, you cannot pull your elbow across the front of your body.

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075.   Please direct me to the part of your book that discusses Motor development, Learning and Skill Acquisition.   In particular, anywhere in your book where you discuss motor unit firing pattern and how to teach it in order to keep people operating through the right sequencing of their pitching movements.   Next time you update your book, is it possible to set up a table of contents on your web page for easy reference.   For example: Chapter 22 - pages 1 - 15 "Acromial line"

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     According to the Table of Contents I have in my Coaching Pitchers book file, Chapter 34 discusses Motor Learning, Development and Skill Acquisition.   I am sorry, but I do not have time to provide either a glossary or a topic index.

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076.   Last night, my son and I practiced pitching a bit.   I asked him what he felt good about and what he was struggling with.   He felt good about the screwball, but was still unsure about the proper arm action for the fastballs.   We then studied your video and the video that I shot while visiting.   From your video, we slow-mo'd the left handed young man who really pronated his forearm with his shoulder driving behind it.   You commented to copy this fellow's technique.   The light bulb went off in my son's head.

     We then watched the iron ball, wrist weight exercises and throws of the Torque Fastball.   Because I have been advising my son not to pull his arm across his body, he noted that on every throw, your guys pulled their arms across their body.   We watched one of your guys from the video I shot, while visiting, fly his forearm out while throwing the curve.

     I guess the point is that even guys training with the Master have flaws.   I think you are dead on emphasizing the screwball and Maxline fastball.


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     You are right that the kids on my Instructional Videotape did not perform my pitching motion precisely as I recommend.   That is why I criticized much of what they did.   However, the videotape did show how we train and I discussed what I recommend that they do.   That videotape was the best that I could provide at that time.   This June, I will make a better videotape.   However, even though I will more carefully screen how they perform my wrist weight, iron ball and baseball throws, I have no illusions that my kids will perfectly perform what I recommend.   This is why, for many years, I refused to put out an Instructional Videotape.   I know precisely what I want my pitching motion to look like, but without having a virtual pitcher to demonstrate it, I did not and do not have anybody to demonstrate every pitch absolutely perfectly.

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077.   I have some questions.

1.   What angle do you want the shoulders at during the release of the ball, or thereabouts?   My right shoulder seems to be higher than the left.

2.   How much time do you want between one exercise and the next in the training program?

3.   How fast does the arm swing backwards happen?

4.   I am having biceps tendon pain at the point of insertion.   I have confirmed that forearm flyout isn't happening through use of videotape.

5.   Who was the best catcher you ever threw to, on balance, considering his ability to work with you on game calling, receiving skills and throwing ability?   What are the qualities of a good catcher in terms of working with the pitcher?   Do you want a cheerleader, a confidant, a co-strategist or just a person to make sure the ball doesn't go to the backstop?


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1.   I recommend that pitchers keep their shoulders level.   If pitchers lean to their glove-side, they decrease the length of their driveline and lose their balance to that side such that they pull the baseball to their glove-side.

2.   When the athletes feels recovered and ready to proceed.

3.   Pitchers should permit the pendulum swing to occur with a minimal of muscle involvement.

4.   During the forearm acceleration phase, the triceps brachii muscle powerfully contracts.   If pitchers have tension in their biceps brachii muscle either residual from lack of fitness or to prevent forearm flyout, then they will injure their biceps brachii muscle.

5.   I want catchers to sit in one location, where the center of their body is on the first base side one-third of home plate.   I want catchers to smother, rather than block pitches in the dirt.   I want catchers to give one sign for all fastballs, one sign for all breaking pitches and one sign for all reverse breaking pitches.   Without regard for base runners, I want them to always give four signs with a variety of ways to determine which is the 'live' sign.   To get to the pitch that they are going throw, I want pitchers to wipe above the waist to add one to the 'live' sign or wipe below the waist to subtract one from the 'live' sign.   In general, catchers sit still, catch or smother the baseball and smile.

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078.   I've recently been rereading your instructions on throwing the pronation curve, but I seem to feel more stress on my arm from the pronation than from the supination.   I'm probably doing it wrong, so I'll explain what I derived from your instructions.   I'm right handed.

     First, when I windup, I have my glove arm bent 90 degrees with my arm horizontal and my elbow aiming towards where I want to throw.   My throwing forearm is at 90 degrees with my upper arm and vertical to the ground with the palm side of my hand facing my head.   As I follow through I move inside of vertical (move hand closer to head than away from body), and lower the forearm so it is at a 3/4 slot.   Then, with the "C" my hand makes with the ball almost vertical, I pull my pinky finger side of the hand away from my body so the "C" is pointing away from my head.   Am I doing it correctly?   I don't think I am because I'm sure my grip is correct, yet the ball seems to come over my middle finger rather than my index finger.


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     To learn how to properly release your pitches, you should use my pickoff position leverage throws.   My starting instruction is to have your elbow maximally bent with your forearm horizontally inside of vertical.   From this position, you horizontally drive the baseball straight forward through release and deceleration.   You must not 'lock' your olecranon process into its fossa.   You should keep your elbow and forearm above shoulder height throughout the motion.   Only after you master the release with this exercise, should you add any body movement.

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079.   I believe I understand the pickoff leverage technique.   I have one question about the forearm, however.   The forearm starts how bent against the upper arm, but when I throw do I straighten out the arm and throw horizontal to the ground?

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     To maximize the force that pitchers apply to their pitches, they must maximize the distance over which they apply that force.   The critical aspect of the pitching motion is the forearm acceleration through release.   My pickoff position leverage throws isolate the forearm acceleration through release.   Pitchers must perfect the forearm acceleration for each of my pitches before they add any more variables.   I recommend that pitchers start with the forearm acceleration through release technique for my true maxline screwball.

     When pitchers are in my pickoff position, they should have their rear foot ahead of their front foot with both on the glove-side driveline for the feet.   They should stand tall with their shoulders level.   Pitchers should stand with their pitching arm pointing at home plate with their elbow slightly bent and above their forearm.

     Whether they have their palm facing upward or downward depends on which pitch they are practicing.   For my true maxline screwball, they should have the palm of their pitching hand facing upward.   For my maxline fastball, they should also have the palm of their pitching hand facing upward.   For my maxline pronation curve, they should have the palm of their pitching hand facing downward.   For my torque fastball, they should have the palm of their pitching hand facing forward.

     To prepare for my new pickoff position leverage throws, pitchers should draw the baseball straight backward without moving their elbow while they shift their body weight to their glove-side leg and raise their pitching arm-side leg slightly off the ground.   Throughout this exercise, pitchers should keep their elbow pointing toward home plate.   At the moment when the baseball passes closest to their head, pitchers should have their forearm as close to their upper arm as possible.   To maximize the elbow extension range of motion, my new leverage position requires pitchers to bend their elbow joint as tightly as possible.

     While pitchers draw their pitching arm backward, they should also raise their front arm to shoulder height out front and point it at home plate.

     The backward path of the baseball must be precisely horizontal.   After the baseball passes the head, the additional distance backward that the forearm achieves increases the pronation range of motion for my forearm acceleration through release technique.   However, pitchers should keep their elbow pointed at home plate to insure that they do not take the baseball outside of their elbow.

     To start the throw, pitchers should shift their body weight from their glove-side leg to their pitching arm-side leg as they step straight forward toward home plate.   The forward movement of the body and the inertial weight of the wrist weight, iron ball and/or baseball and the pitching forearm should cause a slight recoil.   I call this, the 'supination recoil'.   This 'supination recoil' maximizes the pronation range of motion for my forearm acceleration through release technique.

     After the foot of their pitching arm-side leg contacts the ground and my 'supination recoil' maximizes the pronation range of motion, pitchers should simultaneously pull the forearm of their front arm straight backward and forearm accelerate their baseball through release straight forward.   Pitchers must make certain to keep their elbow slightly bent and above the horizontal driveline of the baseball.   The elbow must never, never move below the driveline height of the baseball and never, never move across the driveline.   The forearm must remain at driveline height throughout.   After the throw, the forearm should remain at driveline height with the palm facing outward.

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080.   My 13 yr old has soreness in his (right) pitching arm just above the elbow.   In layman's terms if you bent your arm and placed the base of your thumb on what I call the funny bone the end of the thumb would be about 2 inches up the arm from the funny bone.   When I press down, there seems like there is bone from the inside part of the arm.   So the sore area is right above the elbow.   It only hurts when he pitches and throws a baseball.   It does not hurt shooting baskets or hitting, etc.   He said it did not hurt when I pressed down on it but it hurt when I let go.

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     The funny bone is the Ulnar Nerve that passes in a groove on the posterior surface of the medial epicondyle.   To permit his humerus bone to continue to grow longer and wider, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of your son's pitching elbow is wide open.   We do not want to do anything that interferes with the appropriate growth and development of his pitching elbow.   This discomfort might be an indication that you are.   When you press on the medial epicondyle, you compress this growth plate.   When you release the pressure, the growth plate returns to its normal position.   The reason that your son experiences discomfort only when you release is because when it returns to its normal position, the irritated growth tissues stimulate their free nerve endings, much like when a doctor presses on inflammed appendix.

     This discomfort is the same as the discomfort on the front of the bone of the lower leg just below the knee, the growth plate for the tibial tuberosity to which the quadriceps tendon attaches, also called 'Osgood Schlatter's Disease'.   The remedy for Osgood Schlatter's Disease is to minimize stress to that area until the growth plate matures.   The same remedy goes for your case of 'Little League Elbow'.

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081.   About a year ago I started to warm up and I noticed a pain on the inner part of my elbow.   I have gone to doctors and they have said that I have a rather odd x-ray.   They notice an unusual form on my elbow They still don't know what it is.   I have now had this problem for about a year and 2 months.   I have problems straightening my elbow.   The pain only comes when I try to straighten my elbow.   After I pitch my elbow can not be straighten at all.   Only to about a 120 degree angle.   With my elbow straightens out again but not as much as my left elbow.   I have rested my arm for about 3 months and the pain has decreased and my elbow becomes more straighter.   But, the doctors have not yet told me what is wrong with my elbow.   I am 16 years old, and started pitching about 6 years ago.   I do throw hard almost in the 90's.   Do you think that might be related with my injury?   Do you think you might know what is wrong with my arm.

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     At sixteen years old, the growth plates in your elbow should be completely closed.   Therefore, I do not suspect growth plate difficulties.   Discomfort on the inside of the elbow indicates the medial epicondyle.   However, the inability to fully straighten the elbow indicates the olecranon process and its fossa.   That you cannot straighten your elbow the day after you pitch, but it gradually goes away indicates that you irritate the hyaline cartilage in the olecranon fossa and it swells.   Therefore, you must immediately stop slamming the olecranon process of your pitching forearm (ulna bone) into the olecranon fossa of your pitching upper arm (humerus).

     To learn how to stop slamming your olecranon process into it fossa, I recommend that you practice my pickoff position leverage throws.   You must never, ever fully extend your elbow and you must pronate your forearm.

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082.   I was trying some wrong foot leverage throws with my son.   Since you emphasize pronation, I emphasized it to him.   It seemed like he may have been pronating before he released the ball.   Is this a problem?   Would I be better off just having him get used to throwing with your style in the beginning as I believe you say that the arm pronates naturally anyway.   This was the first time we did this so he is very new to it.   I had him throw the ball at half speed.

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     I recently discontinued using my wrong foot leverage throws.   I recommend my pickoff position leverage throws.   Pitchers should strongly pronate their forearm before, during and after they release their pitches.   He must learn how to drive the baseball straight forward without any upper arm circle out/forearm flyout.   He should never supinate his forearm.   You must take great care to not permit him to 'lock' his elbow.   He has to learn how to inwardly rotate his shoulders, keep his elbow slightly bent and pronate his forearm.

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083.   Have you ever commented on what you think happened to those major league pitchers and players who could no longer control their throws and would wildly release balls in many different directions?   If so, direct me to the place to read it.   If not what do you think?   Were they taught motor skill learning wrong at some time in their career and it eventually, slowly mixed up their motor unit firing pattern causing the release to lose direction?

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     The gentlemen you mention and others displayed late forearm turnover.   Consequently, when under pressure, they lost the ability to control the reverse forearm bounce and their throws got away from them.   Then, with the additional stress of where they were going to throw, they became more and more confused.   When they understand why this is happening and what they need to do to correct it, this is not a difficult problem to fix.   Unfortunately, their pitching coaches have no clue.   I recall a young man asking me about this problem.   I answered that he needed to straight line drive his throws from my 'ready' position through his deceleration toward home plate.

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084.   I note that in the wake of the (possibly) ephedrine-related death, a former major league pitcher weighed in with an op-ed in today's New York Times about how players will do anything to gain a competitive advantage.   I'd guess that most of the major media outlets would be interested in your views.

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     I guess that those major media outlets were not interested in my views, nobody called me.   Nevertheless...

     When baseball players do not understand how they should perform their skills to become the best that they can be and do not understand how to train to become the best that they can be, they will resort to all kinds of nonsense to try to keep up with those more talented.   I believe that the problem lies with the non-existent research and development departments in professional baseball.   Without thoroughly understanding Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology and Motor Skill Acquisition, their coaches cannot provide the players with the information that they need to become all they can be and accept whatever that is.   I strongly oppose the use of any ergogenic aids.   But then, I also do not believe that acupuncture, transidental meditation, plyometrics and so on offer any help.

     When my kids arrive for my forty-week program, I lay out precisely what they have to do to become the best pitcher that they can be.   I tell them that food supplements, mega doses of vitamins, creatine and so on only make for expensive defecate.   To become pitchers, they need to learn skills and train chronically and intensely.

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085.   My son and I will start the 60 day pubescent training program as he turns 10 in May.   Do you suggest video taping the training periods so we can go back and look at the technique later especially with my untrained eye (all I know is the traditional throwing motion), and see if we are following your recommendations?

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     I am about to update my 60 Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program.   As before, I will emphasize motor skill acquisition with a minimum of stress.   However, I will recommend that youngsters spend their first sixty days using my pickoff position leverage throws to learn the proper grips and releases of my maxline true screwball, maxline fastball and maxline pronation curve. I understand that this does not prepare them to pitch competitively, but I am training pitchers and if they master their grips and releases before they add total body action to their techniques, then they will perform better in the long run.   I am going to have first and second year pubescent pitcher training programs for ten and eleven year olds and first and second year adolescent pitcher training programs for twelve and thirteen year olds.

     I do recommend that you videotape your son pitching on the first and last days of his annual sixty day pitcher training programs.   I also recommend that, on or near his birthday, you have mid-ulna to mid-humerus X-rays taken of his pitching and non-pitching arms.   I want you to know precisely when the ossification centers for his olecranon process and lateral epicondyle appear and when they and the ossification center for his medial epicondyle completely matures.   When you have these X-rays, ask me to explain how you can also use them to determine your son's biological age.   We will conduct our own individual growth and development study.   I would be very interested in these findings.

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086.   I read your book last year, and I have been poking around the 2003 Q&A today.   I never pitched, and I wasn't good enough to make my high school's baseball team, so I read your site more out of interest than necessity.   I am 24, married, and for the time being have no kids, but eventually that will change.   I would love for them to be able to enjoy baseball without worrying about injury, and hopefully they will be better that I was so they can get to play more (assuming they want to).

     Anyway, on to a few questions:

1.   You recommend severely limiting the amount of pitches young children throw.   How does playing catch factor into this equation, especially when they are very young, in the 3-9 age range?   Is this the same as throwing, or because it is done with such low effort is it ok?   I look forward to being able to mess around with my kids, but I don't want to screw them up.

2.   Are there any non-baseball activities that mimic pitching and would be of concern to monitor (like throwing a football, or serving in tennis, etc...)?   I know your views on specific training (I don't know if I used the correct term, but the idea that squats don't help pitching, pitching helps pitching).   But, aside from limiting throwing, are there any regular children's activities that I should keep an eye out for (to a reasonable degree obviously, kids will do what kids will do)?

3.   Someone once told me that a former major league pitching star pitched so long without injury because he had the perfect mechanics "for his body".   I would think that since everyone is different in regards to their physical makeup that such a concept would make sense, but I am not sure that I buy it.   Are there one or two types of motion that all pitchers should use, or will they vary from person to person (and if so, how much)?


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1.   Until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that youngsters do not throw baseballs for more than two months per year.

     a.   I have no problem with ten year olds throwing a total of forty-eight pickoff position leverage maxline true screwballs, maxline fastballs and maxline pronation curves every day for sixty consecutive days  . However, I would not permit them to competitively pitch.

     b.   I have no problem with eleven year olds throwing a total of forty-eight pickoff position and no-stride leverage maxline true screwballs, maxline fastballs and maxline pronation curves every day for sixty consecutive days.   However, I would not permit them to competitively pitch.

     c.   I have no problem with twelve year olds throwing a total of forty-eight pickoff position, no-stride and set position leverage maxline true screwballs, maxline fastballs and maxline pronation curves every day for sixty consecutive days.   However, I would not permit them to competitively pitch.

     d.   I have no problem with thirteen, fourteen and fifteen year olds throwing a total of forty-eight pickoff position, no-stride and set position leverage and set position maxline true screwballs, maxline fastballs and maxline pronation curves every day for sixty consecutive days.   I would permit them to competitively pitch.   However, I would limit them to one inning per game.

2.   I have no problem with youngsters throwing footballs during the two months that they learn the skills of football.   have no problem with youngsters serving tennis balls during the two months that they learn the skills of tennis.

3.   There is only one pitching motion that insures that pitchers of all ages and strengths can learn and train to pitch without the possibility of pitching arm injuries.   You can find it in my Coaching Pitchers book, Section IX.

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087.   One of my pitchers has soreness in the triceps near the elbow, could you tell me what is causing this?

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     When pitchers complain of discomfort in the back of the elbow above the olecranon process, it means that they are banging their olecranon process into its fossa and irritating the hyaline cartilage of the fossa.   If this is correct, when he gently straightens his pitching elbow all the way out and, then tries to hyperextend his elbow, he should complain of discomfort.   He also may not be able to fully extend his elbow.

     Pitchers must never, never band their olecranon process into its fossa.   This means that they are dropping their elbow under their torque fastballs, curves and/or sliders and pulling their elbow downward and across the front of their body.   They have to keep their elbow at shoulder height and slightly ahead of their acromial line throughout the forearm acceleration and deceleration phases.   They must not pull the pitching arm across the front of their body.   They must always keep their elbow slightly bent.   When they pronate their forearm, the entire pitching arm should similarly rotate such that the forearm remains at shoulder height and the elbow is above shoulder height.

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088.   I was given your name five minutes ago and I am looking up your website now (how did we do it before computers?).   Do Major League teams allow you to work with there players on an individual basis?   My son is one and I am asking for "me".   There is no use going into it if you answered No to the question.

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     Major League teams hire players to perform their professional services.   While they have 'coaches' to help improve these services, individual players can seek help elsewhere.   I never received any advice from any professional coach at any level that helped me become a better pitcher.   Unfortunately, I could not find anybody anywhere else that I felt could help me either.   Therefore, I used my bachelor, master and doctoral degrees to learn how to help me become the best pitcher I could be.   Luckily for your son, he can go to someone who knows how to teach him what he needs to do to become the best pitcher he can be.   Me.

     I work with anybody who wants to become the best pitcher that they can be.   However, it requires several years of hard work.   There are no shortcuts.

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089.   I have some topics that I would like to clarify with you:

     Four seams fastball are considered by most pretty much straight pitches.   I know I can get by pronating and holding the ball slightly off center to the left good tailing movement in RH hitter.   By doing the opposite, wrist supination and off center to the right, I can get the ball to sail away from RH hitter.

1.   My question: since 4-S FB are effective high, could they be used low also.   I've got much better control with my 4-S than the 2-S.   I've been told that fastballs are effective at all for quadrants.

2.   Down and in is the most dangerous spot to throw especially against LH batters who pull the ball.   You can't stay away all the time when it's low.   I remember seeing RHP throwing at RH batter curves and sliders low and in, in most case for strike called.   They we're throwing at the hitter but the ball came back to catch the inside corner.   What do you think of coming low inside to hitters?

3.   I'm trying to solve a mystery:   the backup slider.   From a pitcher perspective, it's a mistake although some pitchers have thrown that pitch intentionally.   The hand slide under the ball because of a low elbow or to much wrist angle.   Bottom line, how can that pitch go the other way when the wrist and the elbow is supinated.   There's physics that I don't understand.   A former major league catcher said that the backup slider was his most difficult pitch to hit.   He thought the ball was going both way after leaving the pitcher hand.   He was popping it or hitting shallow fly ball to LF.   Nobody so far was able to explain me that weird rotation, perhaps you have some idea.


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1.   The key to deceiving batters is to have all pitches leave the pitchers hand at the same take-off angle.   I recommend that pitchers drive all pitches straight forward to the top of the strike zone.   That way, my four seam maxline and torque fastballs cross home plate at the top of the strike zone, my minus ten mph maxline fastball sinker and torque fastball slider cross home plate in the middle of the strike zone and my minus twenty mph maxline pronation curve and maxline true screwball cross home plate at the bottom of the strike zone.

2.   Because the baseball moves into their bailout, glove-side pull hitters like minus ten mph pitches that move downward and inward to them.   Unless you mix it in after the proper minus ten mph maxline fastball sinker and the proper four seam maxline fastball, don't throw it.   My pitch sequences recommend that pitchers throw minus ten mph pitches down and in to glove-side and pitching arm-side spray hitters.   You can find this discussion in Chapters 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 of my Coaching Pitchers book.   I will update my recommendations this summer, but the present recommendations contain this basic strategy.

3.   Never, ever permit your pitching hand to slide under and your pitching elbow to drop under any pitch.   You will slam your olecranon process into it fossa.   In time, that will not only ruin your pitching, it will also deform your pitching elbow.   To throw my torque fastball slider, pitchers stand on the pitching arm side of home plate and spiral the baseball toward the pitching arm side of home plate.   This permits my torque fastball slider to 'slide' as much as seventeen inches toward the glove-side of home plate and still be a strike.   If, instead of driving my torque fastball slider toward the pitching arm-side of home plate, pitchers mistakenly drive it toward pitching arm-side batters, then the pitch could possible move back over the pitching arm-side of home plate.   However, because they introduced a pitching arm-side lateral drive component to the baseball, the spiral spin has to overcome that lateral force before it can move toward the glove-side of home plate.   Usually, it does not and the baseball hits the pitching arm-side batter.   It is possible for pitchers to redirect the driveline for the rear leg toward the pitching arm-side batter such that they do not introduce a lateral force to the pitch.   In this case, the baseball could move toward the glove-side of home plate as much as seventeen inches.

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090.   As I was looking through the programs you offer, I didn't see where you would have the major league pitcher fit into the program.   Should they work from your video?   The team's orthopedic surgeon just cleaned up my son's labrum and reattached it in three places.   His rotator cuff is strong.   My son has worked hard to get that strong since his surgery eighteen months ago on the rotator cuff.

     I am going to present all the information I have to my son today.   I am often laughed at because I do think all the time about how he can get the most out of this precious gift and priceless chance to be a Major League ballplayer.   The team orthopedic surgeon told me that my son must find out why, if it is mechanics or whatever, he has needed surgery twice.

     Does your program work with mechanics or strengthen the whole package?   Please, I really am serious and not a wacko mom.   A writer on a baseball web site gave me your name.   He knows my son and he thinks you could be of great service to him and his career.   What do you think?   I'm not trying to be really secretive of my son's name because with very little checking you would find out.   I am being protective and looking for him and I don't want to cause him any repercussions from his team.

     I just know that another major league pitcher is now out of pitching with two surgeries, another pitcher has had 3 surgeries and he was a first rounder the club let go and another pitcher has had three surgeries and it is looking very bleak for him and he was a first rounder who has thrown very few minor league innings in the 6 seasons he has had.   WHY?


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     To injury-proof pitchers and retrain their force application techniques requires forty weeks.   For active professional pitchers, that requires two off-seasons.   This means that they will pitch one year with half of the training program and before they have fully incorporated the force application techniques into their motion.   That is very difficult.   Therefore, I do not work with professional pitchers.   However, your son is different.   Before he returns to professional baseball, he needs to complete the entire forty-weeks.   He could try to do this on his own, but it would not work nearly as well as when I work with him every day.

     I have absolutely no doubt as to why these young men have injured their pitching arms.   Their coaches require them to use the 'traditional' pitching motion.   I also have absolutely no doubt that if these young men complete my forty-week training program and master the force application techniques that I teach them, then they will become the best pitchers that they can be.

     It is very telling to me to have the team orthopedic surgeon say that your son has to find out why he has required two surgeries.   Clearly, he knows nothing about force application.   Clearly, the team's pitching coaches know nothing about force application.   Clearly, your son has to take control of his pitching career.   If he follows the team's instructions, then he can kiss his pitching career goodbye.

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091.   If you are changing the 60 day pubescent training program, will you place an update on your site?   In the current program, you have them make their throws from the pickoff position using the maxline fastball, maxline curve, torque fastball and screwball.   Then, on day 31, you introduce the wrong foot throws.   In reading the 2003 Q&A, in answer #82, you mention that you are discontinuing the wrong foot throws.

     In your response to me earlier, you list only three pitches to be used in the new training program the maxline true screwball, maxline fastball and maxline pronation curve.   The only change I notice is not learning the torque fastball.   Will you eliminating the wrong foot throws and the torque fastball from the 60 day pubescent program, are these going to be the only changes?


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     When I have finished with the Exercise Physiology course that I am teaching at Saint Leo University, I will update the training programs on my web site.   I plan to have the changes completed before the start of the June/July sixty days during which I recommend that youngsters complete my 60 Day Pubescent/Adolescent Pitchers Training program.

     I am eliminating my torque fastball from my Pubescent/Adolescent training programs. After pitchers complete the first two training cycles of my 280 Day Adult Pitchers training program, I will reintroduce it and torque fastball sliders and maxline fastball sinkers.

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092.   Our 15 year old noticed pain in his right elbow last year during football season when he played a baseball tournament on the weekend.   No specific throw or event caused the pain.   Since he was currently playing the quarterback position, we stopped him from pitching at all, thinking that the change from throwing a football and pitching was too much.   The pain ceased and we thought everything was okay.

     Later on in basketball season he started to notice incomplete extension in his elbow, and we went to the doctor.   Doctor did an MRI and reports that my son has joint effusion, no loose body, osteochondral defect, lateral condyle, no fluid under the chondral flap.   It does show most of the capitulum with avascular changes.   On examination, the elbow has incomplete extension, lacking about 10 degrees of full extension while the opposite elbow hyperextends about 5 degrees.   There is full flexion, supination and pronation, no crepitus, no clicking, locking or catching, no real warmth, not tender to palpation.   No ulnar nerve symptons.   Normal skin color and turgor.   Radial pulse intact.

     As a note, his dad never let him throw curve balls until he was 14, and then only limited them.   Always very careful about incorrect motion, and duration of pitching.   We are heartbroken because we tried to be so careful, and this still happened.   We have stopped all sports requiring throwing, and are allowing him to be dh on his high school baseball team only because he bats left.   The doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and rest, he is to avoid heavy loads, and any repetitive motion with his elbow.

     We understand that my son may never be able to pitch again, and will possibly always have pain.   Yet, we have also been told that there is a possibility that this lesion can completely heal, allowing him to go back to playing shortstop.   We would like to know your opinion, and mainly like to know if you have seen this kind of injury before, and the results that were experienced and seen.   We are basically searching for encouragement for him.   He is not a quitter, and has expressed to us that he would begin training with his left arm if he has too.   He just loves the game that much.


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     When the depth of their olecranon fossa decreases, pitchers lose their extension range of motion.   When pitchers 'slam' their olecranon process into its fossa, the hyaline cartilage becomes irritated, swells and thickens.   The 'traditional' pitching motion teaches pitchers to 'slam' their olecranon process into their fossa.

     Unless your son is delayed in his rate of skeletal maturation, the growth plate for the olecranon process closed at or near his fifteenth birthday.   Therefore, he should not be damaging the proper growth and development of his olecranon process.   However, unless your son is accelerated in his rate of skeletal maturation, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle is still open as are the growth plates for his humeral head.   Therefore, I have no problem with him not throwing until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle closes.

     For him to return to pitching, he has to stop using the 'traditional' pitching technique.   Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book explains how he should apply force to his pitches.

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093.   My son has been playing baseball for 11 straight years.   We sometimes play 2 or 3 leagues a season.   He's been pitching for in school for 2 seasons & now in his 3rd.   He is almost 15 years old & always has been the best pitcher, & the best batting stats on all his teams.   He's going pro, I'm sure of it!   Since he & I just moved to this town, we saw your place on the road in Zephyrhills.   I'm interested in improving his pitching.   Would like to further discuss this with you in person.

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     I disagree with a fifteen year old pitching as much as you indicate that he is.   I have an eight-week high school Junior and Senior pitcher training program that starts the first Saturday in June.   We train every day for fifty-six days.   He and I become lifetime partners in our pursuit to make him the best pitcher that he can be through college and, hopefully professional baseball.   We train every day from 10:00AM until 11:30AM.   We welcome visitors.

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094.   On behalf of our baseball team, thank you for your valuable time and your consideration in instructing our visiting group of young men.   Regardless of who may or may not recognize your methods, I know that your system is clearly and completely superior to conventional approaches.

     Your work is absolutely revolutionary, and your record of performance as a player, a student, a teacher, a coach, and especially as a thinker, is unique and impeccable.   You are not only the father of your children, you are also the father of modern pitching and modern throwing mechanics.   Time will make believers out of your doubters, and time will bear me out on this issue.   Pitching texts other than yours can be thrown away, with no regrets or second thoughts.

     I was honored that you personally demonstrated your techniques for us, much to the amazement of some of your resident pitching trainees!   Our thanks to those young men as well, for their tolerance and their astounding demonstrations of Marshall pitching and the related training exercises.

     It was my most significant day of learning in my 37 years of involvement in baseball, which began, interestingly, in 1967, when I was a guest of the Briggs family, sitting in their field box as you pitched for the Tigers.

     I thoroughly enjoy your approach to teaching.   You are a delightfully frank, entertaining, and caring man.   Keep planting the seeds.   I look forward to seeing you and learning more from you very soon.


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     It was my pleasure to give boys something to think about.

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095.   I've figured out the pronation curve as well as the screwball.   Could you tell me what part of the pronation curve your trainees struggle with?   I understand its delivery, but I don't think I comprehend the fastball delivery.   When you explained the leverage throws you said to keep your elbow in front.   You also said to keep it and the forearm above your shoulder.   I can't see how anyone could get speed and power out of their arms with such a small area to move your arm if you can't lower your elbow below your shoulder.   The only way I see it is if you lower the shoulder as you follow through.

     I guess my issue is I can't really picture how you want pitchers to deliver the baseball.   If I'm starting from the "stretch" position (no windup), and the plate is towards the south end of the park, then I have my body facing west.   With my elbow bent, is my horizontal forearm parallel with the front of my body?   If this is so, how do I deliver the pitch so the elbow leads the pitching arm?   Or, do you want the horizontal forearm pointing towards your head with the below pointing away?   I guess if you could explain this I would have a better idea.


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     Everybody with whom I have worked has difficulty with the idea of driving their forearm horizontally inside of vertical.   They all want to circle outward.   I have to place their body in a position that will not permit them to circle outward, my pickoff position leverage throws.   But even then, they will try to cheat with their feet.   They want to face the target and drive the baseball in front of them.   I have to continually adjust their feet back onto my maxline driveline for their feet.   They also want to reverse rotate their torso and point their elbow behind them.   I have to continually remind them to keep their elbow forward and only move the baseball behind them.   I also have to continually remind them to keep their forearm horizontal.   I also have to continually remind them to drive the side of their middle finger through the top of the baseball.   If I do not watch them carefully, they will flip the baseball over the top of their index finger.   Lastly, I have to continually tell them to focus on pronation.   I want their forearm to powerfully pronate before, during and after release.   After release and deceleration, I want their forearm at shoulder height with the palm facing away from their body.

     It seems as though my pronation curve technique goes against all instincts.   It certainly goes against all common sense logic.   I have no doubt that if I had not followed Newton's three laws and the reality of applied anatomy, namely how critical the pronator teres muscle is to pitching, I never would have discovered this pitch.   One hundred and thirty years of baseball pitching did not discover it.   While it is frustrating to get the 'feel' of my maxline pronation curve, after pitchers do, they have the best curve that they could ever throw and without jeopardizing their pitching arm.>br>
     The problem that you are having with my maxline fastball is the same problem that pitchers have with learning my maxline pronation curve. It defies your common sense logic.   Cast your doubts aside.   Follow Isaac Newton.   Straight-line force application is the answer.   Pronation is the answer.   If you have truly mastered my maxline pronation curve and maxline true screwball, then you are driving your horizontal forearm inside of vertical.   You must do the same with my maxline fastball.   Keep your shoulders level.   In my new leverage position, keep your elbow maximally bent.   Start with your palm facing upward and move the baseball straight backward.   When you release my maxline fastball, make certain that the spin axis is horizontal turned slightly forward on the glove-side of the baseball.

     When pitchers pull their forearm downward or across their body, they do not add more force to their pitchers, they add more unnecessary stress to their arm and decrease the consistency of their releases.   Straight-line line force application is the answer.

     To achieve the maximum distance over which to apply force, pitchers should forwardly rotate their shoulders until their acromial line points toward home plate.   To achieve the maximum force that they can apply to the baseball, pitchers should delay their forearm acceleration phase until their elbow points toward home plate.   Pitchers should remain at my new, maximally supinated forearm, maximally flexed elbow joint leverage position until their elbow points toward home plate.   Then, just before their rear foot contacts the ground as far ahead of their front foot as possible while keeping their body under control and their center of mass in a straight-line toward home plate, pitchers should maximally extend their elbow and maximally pronate their forearm.   If they have mastered how to impart the precise spin axis that each of my pitches require, have completed my injury-proofing forty-week training program and have followed my pitch sequences in highly-competitively games for a couple of years, then they will be the best pitcher that they can be.   May they all have the surprise that I had to find themselves at the top of the baseball world.   If not, they will have had one hell of a journey.

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096.   I am interested in your video and I have read much of your free book.   Thank you for that service.   Does your video demonstrate the actual full-body pitching motion from start to finish?   I assume it does, but before I buy I want to make sure.   Thank you for being so passionate about protecting young arms.

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     Version one of my Instructional Videotape precisely follows my Coaching Pitchers book.   It shows everything that I discuss in my book.   I prefer to break the pitching motion down into its critical elements, but it does show the full-body pitching motion.   However, I recommend that you teach or learn my pitching motion through my pickoff position leverage throws and so on.   All who purchase this video will be able to purchase my second version at twenty-five percent of its cost.   I will have my second version out this summer.

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097.   How often should my fifteen year old son be pitching a week?   I only want what's best for him in his pitching career.

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     Until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle has completely matured (in equated maturers, this happens at sixteen years old), I recommend that they do not train for pitching with set and windup positions 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 twice per week.

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098.   What side of the rubber should right-handed and left-handed pitchers stand on the rubber?

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     To take advantage of the pitching angles, all pitchers should stand on both sides of the pitching rubber.   I call the side of the pitching rubber that is on the pitching arm-side of the pitcher, the 'maxline side.'   I call the side of the pitching rubber that is on the glove-side of the pitcher, the 'torque side.'   In my pitch sequences, pitchers throw my maxline fastball, my maxline torque fastball, maxline fastball sinker, maxline pronation curve and my maxline true screwball from the maxline side of the pitching rubber and my torque fastball, torque maxline fastball and torque fastball slider from the torque side of the pitching rubber.

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099.   My boys have been pitching since early ages.   What should we do now?   Should I have them examined by an orthopedist?   Is it too late to use your program (has too much damage been done)?   If it's not too late, would you suggest any modifications to your training plan that might best help for such cases?

     Some potentially useful background information:   My oldest will turn 12 this month.   He is maturing early and currently is about 5'8" and 140 pounds.   He has never complained of any arm/shoulder pain or admitted any pain or soreness when asked (before, during, immediately after, or a day or so after pitching in a game or practice session).   He started pitching at 6 (8U league, 42' pitching distance).   They had a 3 inning limit in the 8U league.   At 8 he pitched in LL, usually about 3 innings or less, once or twice a week.   I started keeping detailed pitching stats (innings, #balls, #strikes, #batters, etc.) when my oldest son was 9 (11U league, 48' pitching distance).   He pitched to 80 batters (15.3 innings) that year, never more than 3 innings in a single outing.   He pitched 32.7 innings as a 10 year old (11U league again).   There was one complete 6 inning game at the end of that season, but he usually went 3 innings or less per outing.   Last year at 11 (13U league, 54' pitching distance) he pitched 80.67 innings over a 4 month period (34 innings in the last month alone - I know, I'm cringing too).

     My middle son is 9 (10 in June) and has pitched the last two seasons.   He had a 3 inning limit in his first season.   Last year he did not have a 3 inning limit, but surpassed 3 innings 2 times at the end, or near the end, of the season.

     Both boys play other sports in the fall, winter, and early spring (either football and basketball or soccer and basketball depending on the son and the particular year) and usually get a complete break from pitching for about 5 months.

     Okay, that's the background.   I don't have all my data with me at the moment but was able to pull the info from websites/emails that I did have handy.   I'm looking for advice on where to go from here.   Should I go to an orthopedist to determine the extent of the damage, whether or not its reversible, and suggestions on what to do in the future?   If so, do you have recommendations/advice on how to present my request to the orthopedist?   What should I ask/mention ahead of time to make sure the orthopedist can accurately detect/measure the damage?   I expect that their patients usually come to them due to pain/injury, not prevention or detailed diagnosis of their bones and connective tissue in their joints.


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     When I release the second edition of my Instructional Videotape, I am going to ask the parents of youth pitchers to join me in a nation-wide research study.   I will ask that parents have both of their son's arms X-rayed from the middle of their forearm to the middle of their upper arm from the anterior/posterior view with the elbow extended and the lateral view with the elbows flexed within one week of their son's birthday every year from ten years old until sixteen years old and send me copies.

     I will assess these X-rays and tell the parents the biological age of their son and whether I can verify any changes in one arm versus the other.   I do not need to know with which arm their son's pitch.

     You may be the first parent to join this study.

     We cannot undo the past.   However, we must not compound the potential problem.   Therefore, I recommend that, until the growth plate of your sons' medial epicondyle completely matures (in equated maturers, this happens at sixteen years old), they do not train for pitching with the set and windup positions 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 twice a week.

     I believe that the pubescent/adolescent years offer a great opportunity to expose youngsters to the vast range of sport and recreational activities that we have in this country.   After their growth plates mature, they can choose in which sport activities they want to specialize and, after they are done competing, they can choose in which recreational activities they want to specialize.   A lifetime of healthy, injury-free activity is the measure of success, not how many games they won.

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100.   I think I have your instruction on the delivery of the baseball correct.   What I'm deriving from your explanation about the pitching arm is the elbow is maximally bent with the forearm on top of the upper arm.   Then, the elbow leads the arm forward, and when the elbow begins moving straight towards home plate, the forearm comes up so the arm angle is 90 degrees.   Then, the forearm pronates, or rotates horizontally to the left.

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     At no time did I ever say, 'the forearm comes up so the arm angle is ninety degrees.'   That is common sense logic.   It is wrong and you have to get that idea out of your head.   I said that pitchers must keep their forearm horizontal from leverage through release and through the deceleration phase.   They must keep their shoulders level and keep their forearm horizontal.   Pitchers have to learn how to maximize the elbow extension and forearm pronation ranges of motion.

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101.   Pursuant to our discussions and your recommendations, we abandoned the curve and the torque pitches for now.   My son has been throwing a two seam screwball/sinker and the pitch is wicked.   I had him go to two seams because 12 year old fingers get a better grip on the two seams across the top v the four seams and the grip is not as awkward.   As he gets confidence with this pitch, we’ll return to the 4 seam True Screwball.   I probably won’t reintroduce the curve to him until next year unless he asks about it again.

     His 4 seam maxline fastball is excellent.   He is now winding up and working from set position and he is not reverse rotating AT ALL.   I am very proud of him.   I have not videoed him yet, but I will to check the arm action.   To my naked eye, he looks good.   I’m sure I’ll find some flaws when I slow it down.   He is bringing the right side of his body around nicely.

     We have not abandoned the knuckleball. He has fun throwing it and I am thinking that we will use the sinker/screwball as his “change up” and the knuckler as his strikeout pitch.   He throws it very well, with good control and movement thanks to his rotation of his right side.

     It’s all about making pitching fun and safe and thanks to you I think we are doing both.

One question:   We are using the maxline motion for all pitches.   Should he stand on the pitching arm or glove side of the rubber?   He will target the glove side corner of the plate most often.


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     It all sounds good.   It is just as I envisioned father and son pitching relationships.   This is what we need across the country.

     At his age, he should throw all maxline pitches from the maxline or glove-side of the pitching rubber.

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102.   A pitching coach wannabe says pitchers cannot push off the pitching rubber because they can't do that going down a hill (pitching mound)?   Also, when I asked him about your pitching ideas, he said that you had very good ideas, but no one has the perfect mechanics or the "answer".

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     The idea that pitchers cannot push off the pitching rubber because they will be stepping down a one inch per foot downward slope is silly.   You can push off downward with much greater slopes without difficulty.   However, I recommend that pitchers walk off the pitching rubber.   They should step forward with their front leg and, when it contacts the ground, they should step forward with their rear foot.   I believe that it is okay to walk down a one inch per foot downward slope.

     I do not know which is more disturbing, his admission that he does not know the perfect pitching mechanics or that the does not believe that there is such a thing as perfect pitching mechanics.   If he disagrees that I know the perfect way for pitchers to apply force to their pitches, that is one thing.   But, to say that there is no perfect way for pitchers to apply force is another thing.   That is like saying that there is no perfect way to lift a heavy box off the floor.   There is a mechanically and anatomically perfect way to perform every human movement.   I believe that I know the perfect force application technique is for pitching.   Otherwise, to advise pitchers on how to pitch would be fraudulent.

     I would think that he believes that I have good ideas.   He steals my concepts.   Even if it is intellectually deplorable, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.   It is not a bad thing to give credit where credit is due.   In fact, it makes one look honorable and magnanimous.   He needs to learn to say, 'Dr. Marshall says, ....'

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103.   Over the last two years, I have communicated to you re my now 13 year old son.   He first experienced an elbow growth plate separation and then, when starting back after 6 month rest, had a shoulder growth plate separation during long toss (did not pitch at that point).   The conclusion was that he likely had injured his shoulder earlier too.   We then sat him out for a year, likely causing some atrophy, but had him swim some for his school team.   During the time off he had substantial growth of long bones (charts show him at 6'7" - 6'8" at maturity) and significant muscle imbalances occurred.

     His right shoulder seemed lower, etc.; had a leg length discrepancy, etc.   When he came back his throw looked funny.   He kind of pushed the ball and would not release the ball extending his throwing arm forward.   I think the shoulder injury was significantly more painful then the elbow and the push was out of fear of that pain he experienced.   He has gotten better and better with training and also significant stretching through Pilates, which corrected a lot of the muscle imbalances, corrected the leg length issue, etc. 12-14 year olds are tough to deal with during these growth spurts.   Mechanically he is looking better and better but sometimes cuts off (does not extend on the delivery), not extending his throwing arm to the catcher.   His velocity is significantly below where it was as an 11 year old-- at 11, 67 miles per hour; now, two years later, 61.

     I am curious of your observations.   The doctor that has handled him has significant experience with kids and professional pitchers and says his growth plates are back where they belong.   The significant difference between how he threw when came back and started throwing again and how he use to look made me think there may have been some muscle injury at the rotator cuff or something.   Your comments would be appreciated, and if he had a rotator tear and no longer has any pain is he capable of becoming a dominating pitcher again.   He is throwing with a professional rehab pitcher who says that sometimes the injury makes them go further then they would because they are more serious and focus more on mechanics, proper warm-up, and work ethic.


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     Without knowing his skeletal age, I would not put much credibility in those future height predictions.   Does your or his mother's family have people of that height?

     The growth plates in the elbow mature earlier than the growth plates in the shoulder.   The growth plate of the lateral epicondyle of equated maturers matures at fourteen years old, the olecranon process at fifteen years old and the medial epicondyle at sixteen years old.   The growth plates in the shoulder do not mature until nineteen years old.   These are the reasons why until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that youth pitchers do not pitch 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 twice a week.   However, even after the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures, it will be three more years until the growth plates of the shoulder completely mature.   That is why I do not permit sixteen to nineteen year olds to complete more than the very beginning level of my forty-week adult pitchers training program.

     That stretching program is the latest of a never-ending series of fitness scams.   Do it if you want, it will not make any difference except to your pocketbook.

     He is only thirteen years old and he has already suffered two serious growth plate injuries and you are still training him to pitch?   Enough.   Leave the kid alone.   Within a week of his birthday, get bi-lateral elbow X-rays from mid-ulna to mid-humerus A/P view extended and lateral view flexed.   Send me copies and I will tell you when he can start throwing again.   Otherwise, swimming is great.

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104.   Two questions:

1.   How would like to know why lateral forces work against a slider on the pitching arm side of home plate when the RHP stands on the right end of the rubber.   There's not much lateral force that would negate the slider side movement.   If the pitcher would have been throwing on the left edge of the rubber, it would have make sense to me but not from that position.

2.   Since on your video and your books there's no reference to the torque fastball-slider (I imagine it's a new approach from you), and that it breaks as much as 17 inches away from RH batters, could you provide me more detail on the mechanic, grip, and release?


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1.   Pitchers should stand on the pitching arm-side of the pitching rubber and throw my torque fastball slider toward the pitching arm-side of home plate.   The spiral spin axis of the pitch places the circle-of-friction on the top, front surface of the baseball as it moves toward home plate.   The force generated by the air molecules colliding with the spiraling seam of the baseball will push the baseball downward and the seams on the pitching arm-side of the baseball rotating downwardly generates greater pressure on the pitching arm-side of the baseball to move it toward the glove-side of home plate.

2.   On my Instructional Videotape, I included my pronation slider as a type of breaking pitch.   I now consider the pitch to be a type of two seam torque fastball.   Pitchers should throw a torque fastball with their fingers along the loop near the two narrow seams and release the baseball such that the circle-of-friction continuously spins on the top, front surface of the baseball on its way toward home plate.

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105.   On your next videotape will you be doing allot of examples and exercises?   Also will there be a section showing the correct mechanics throwing off a mound?

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     The major improvement between my first and second Instructional Videotapes will be the quality of the demonstrations.   For my first video, I had to use subjects who had only recently finished my second training cycle.   This time, I have plenty of digital videotape of subjects who have completely my full forty-week program.   Additionally, I am taking five hundred frames per second film.   This means that, during the maximum velocity phase of forearm acceleration through release and deceleration, the pitcher's hand will move only slightly more than three inches between frames.   You will see what happens during that over four feet of movement during this phase that you have never seen with videotape.   Lastly, I designed my first video to parallel my Coaching Pitchers book.   This time, I will design my video to teach parents how to teach their youngsters and interested pitchers how to perform these skills.   Consequently, those with the first video will have considerable information and video that I will not include on my second video.   All interested parties should want to own both.

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106.   I am currently playing in an under 16's baseball team in Australia.   I've been playing for 2 years and have recently taken a liking to pitching.   My coach has me on third base and the 3rd relief pitcher.   I can throw a pretty good fastball 2 out of 3 times, and I can throw very wired curvy underarm and side arm curve balls and screw balls.   Though my throwing is unpredictable and I have a slow windup.   I was wondering if you could tell me how to throw a nice (non weird) curveball and a slider.   And is there anything I can do about my accuracy?   Don't get me wrong on that.   I practice everyday at school and at least an hour a night when I'm at home.

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     Section IX of my Coaching Pitchers book describes how I recommend that pitchers apply force to their pitches.   If you continue to throw underarm and side arm, you will never become the best pitcher that you can be.

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107.   I read in the 2003 question and answer that you no longer use the wrong foot exercises anymore.   Why is that?   Also, is there any other changes you have made that you discussed in your videotape and book?   Also, I am preparing for spring training using your wrist weights and iron balls exercises, but my question is can I also lift weight (for general fitness and strength) and do your exercises?   And my last question is; in your videotape you said the torque slider should be thrown with a supinated wrist action (like the four seam curve wrist down sharply angled and fingers pronated on release).   But, how is this possible when you have to supinate the wrist?   I thank you sir for your answers and I was wondering can I pick your brain and have a phone discussion with you sometime if you are available sometime?

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     While my wrong foot throws do lengthen the driveline, they have a different pitching rhythm than I want for my set and windup position throws.   Instead, I am now using no-stride leverage throws.   I will include them in my next Instructional Videotape and my June update of my Coaching Pitcher book.   If I felt that other weight lifting would help pitchers, then I would have recommended them.   I now say that my torque fastball slider is a torque fastball that pitchers throw with the circle-of-friction on the top, front surface of the baseball.   I do not have time to talk with readers on the telephone, please email me with your questions.

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108.   I have read through your Ebook and love it.   I have two serious pitchers in the family.   My youngest is a high school junior right-hander and is throwing in the low eighties.   My oldest just finished four years of college baseball as a left handed pitcher with great success.   He knows how to win games, but is only 5' 8" and throws in the low eighties.  .   His younger brother is 6' 1".   Life is tough.

     Anyway, I want to buy your video, and will gladly send in a check or MO.   But I wanted you to know about an online credit card system that is very easy to sign up with, and only charges about 2.5% on all transactions.   From experience, I can tell you your video sales will double or triple giving people the credit card option.   It takes minutes to sign up, and a short while to get verified.   I cannot remember how long.   It is really worth it.


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     Thank you for the information.   However, my position is that I do not want anybody to buy my Instructional Videotape on impulse.   I want them to have to go to their bank and get a cashier's check.   I want them to make a serious commitment to learn the material.

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109.   I am sending you an article that I found on the Internet.   It describes how a well-known pitching coach wannabe told a present-day major league pitching star how to release his pitches closer to home plate.   I wonder where he got that idea?   I hope that the leeches learn how to give credit where credit is due with your work when they take it and attempt to use it as their own.

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     Unfortunately, if I include the article here, everybody could figure out about whom the writer is talking.   I prefer not to name names.   I am not at odds with anybody.   I assume that their motives are honorable and greed does not drive them.

     I want to eliminate pitching arm injuries.   I don't even mind that he has stolen my mantra.   I want to believe that it is true.   Until we eliminate all pitching arm injuries at all ages, I will keep on.   To accomplish this, I need pitching coach wannabes to steal my stuff.   If they get it right, I don't mind. Unfortunately, they do not understand what I recommend.   They look at my stuff like a menu at a Chinese Restaurant, they take something from column A, something from column B and so on.   Consequently, they end up with a mess.   My program is fully integrated.   That is, you cannot take my 'stand tall and rotate' concept and still permit forearm flyout.   Pitchers will continue to injure their pitching arms.

     This well-known pitching coach wannabe recently told a major league pitching star that if he 'stood tall and rotated', then he would release his pitches closer to home plate.   That is wrong.   My 'stride leg drive' concept enables pitchers to release their pitches closer to home plate, not my 'stand tall and rotate' concept.   If you are going to steal my stuff, you should make certain that you understand it.   Now, this major league pitching star is announcing that he is releasing his pitches five to seven inches closer to home plate.   He is not.   He is releasing his pitches higher, but not farther forward.   And, he still has extreme forearm flyout.

     This well-know pitching coach wannabe also told the sports writer that a six foot tall major league pitching star releases his pitches as though he were six foot four inches tall.   That is just silly.   Unless this major league pitching star has four inch lifts in this spikes, he can only release the baseball as though he is six feet tall.   The pitching coach wannabe tried to discuss my 'stand tall and rotate' concept, where I say that six foot four inch pitchers who bend forward when they pitch, throw as though they were five feet four inches tall.   However, this technique cannot make anybody taller than they are.

     This well-know pitching coach wannabe also said that two other major league pitching stars released their pitches closer to home plate than yet another major league pitching star even though they were shorter.   The only way that anybody can determine how far in front of the pitching rubber pitchers release their pitches is to use a five hundred frame per second high speed camera from the side view with a known measure in the frame.   He does not have any scientific basis for this claim.   He made this up.

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110.   Thank you for the hospitality and patience today.   It was very insightful to see what you are talking about.

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     As is anybody who wants to visit, you are always welcome.   Come again and as often as you want.   As is always the case, we did not have enough time to cover all your questions.   However, if you keep Newton's three laws of motion as your guide, you will never go wrong.

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     I include this thank you note to show that anybody is welcome at any time to visit my pitcher research/training center.   On this day, I welcomed gentlemen who work with the well-known pitching coach wannabe whose comments I discussed in the preceding questions and answers.   They came loaded down with video cameras and questions.   I permitted them full access to my research/training center and my kids.   I answered their questions for two and one-half hours.   I showed them high-speed film that I had recently taken to show the proper releases of my pitches.   After I left, they kept my kids demonstrating for their cameras and answering more questions for two additional hours.   I just hope that the next time this guy steals my stuff, he gets it right.

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111.   I recently emailed the well-known pitching coach wannabe and asked him to comment on what you teach.   Here is his response.

     "Thank you for your email.   Mike has some good stuff.   He doesn’t, however, have all the answers he says he does.   None of us do!   Be careful with anyone who tells you everyone else is wrong."


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     First and foremost, I do not say that 'everyone else is wrong.'   I never mention names.   I only discuss concepts.   Concepts are either right or they are not.

     I am surprised to read that he admits that he does not know what he is doing.   At least, I assume that is what he means when he says, 'none of us do.'   I would appreciate it if he would state in what way what I recommend pitchers to do is wrong.   Apparently, he agrees with my 'stand tall and rotate' recommendation.   He takes credit for it.   Apparently, he agrees with my 'hidden velocity' concept.   He takes credit for it.

     I know what I know and I know what I don't know.   I continue as I always have to research what I don't know.   For example, while I know what I want, I am still bothered with how I teach my torque fastball and torque fastball slider.   But, I am working on it.   I guess his latest mantra is;   'he may not know what he is doing, but then, nobody else does either.'   If I were a parent of an adolescent pitcher, I would not be comfortable with this attitude.

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112.   I have been reading your website material and although I don't visualize all of it, I have seen enough to believe that you are absolutely correct.   Many years ago I experienced most of the errors first hand.

     In 1968, I was a second round draft pick while at a major baseball university.   I had a very live fastball in the 90's.   Instead of signing, I went to a well-known college summer league and I hurt my elbow.   I say "hurt my elbow" because that was all anyone understood even though you could hear it rattle from twenty feet away.   Despite that, no one thought to even send me to a doctor.   I pitched with it the following season and compensated for the irritation in the elbow.   I had an average college pitcher season.   Nothing like what I had my previous year.

     By chance, I was in in the training room one day soaking a sore ankle and was watching the team orthopedist injecting the knees of the football players.   I rattled my elbow and asked if there was anything he could do.   He set an appointment and scheduled me for surgery during the summer session.   I had broken off a very small piece of cartilage but it had been ground up into many small pieces and spread throughout the joint.   The operation (which today would have been a very routine arthroscopy procedure) left a five inch scar, but corrected the physical problem.

     In my senior year, I had a good college year with several shutouts, and was drafted, but in the lower rounds.   I was not interested in signing because I did not feel that I had major league stuff anymore.

     It is only in recent years that I discovered that the change in my pitches was a result of my changed delivery as I favored my elbow.   It seems obvious now, but I didn't notice it then, nor did anyone else ever mention it.

     For the last couple years, I began to study the part of the pitchers throwing action that I believe you would refer to as the "drive line" and have observed that the same errors appear at all levels from youth leagues to major leagues.   There are many strong kids who muscle the ball up to the plate with very poor mechanics resulting in limited ball movement, poor control and I suspect considerable strain on the arm.   It appears that few coaches are paying any attention to the last 2 hundredths of a second where all of the meaningful work is done.   That is why I am intrigued by your work.

     I had first read it at my home out-of-state, but now I am staying in nearby you helping my parents for a while.   I would very much like to visit you and see what you are doing.


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     My pitcher research/training center reside on the corner of Hwy 301 and Vinson Avenue on the south side of Zephyrhills.   From where you are, you take 275 north to I-4 east. You exit on Hwy 301 north.   After twenty miles, you pass under a light on Chancey Road.   Remaining on Hwy 301 north, you go about one-half mile to Vinson Avenue, which is only on your left or the west side of the road.   Until June, we train from 10:00 to 11:30AM every day.   Starting the first Sunday after the first Saturday in June, we will start training at 9:00AM.

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113.   I would like some clarification on the maximally bent elbow.   Lets assume we are throwing a maxline fastball.   When the hand is in the leverage position, I picture the ball to be within an inch of the throwing side ear.   When you say that the forearm has to be horizontal, I assume you mean horizontal to the ground and not the upper arm.   I am interested in the position of the hand at the leverage position.   Is the hand at almost a 90 degree angle to the wrist, which would have the palm facing toward home plate and the ulna side of the wrist perpendicular to the ground?   Or is the Ulna side of the wrist parallel to the ground at the leverage position.

     It seems when I try to do it as you describe there is a danger of throwing a reverse side arm pitch because I do not see how you can throw the maxline fastball with the forearm horizontal to the ground and release the ball with a horizontal spin axis and the middle digit behind the baseball.   If you could clarify I would appreciate it.


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     'Reverse side-arm pitch.'   What a great description.   That is exactly what I want you to try to do.   What you don't know is that you can't do it.   But, it is what you want to try to do.   As a result, you will drive the baseball, your hand, your forearm and your upper arm in a straight-line from leverage through release and through the deceleration phase.   Make certain that you do not 'lock' your elbow.   You must keep your elbow slightly bent and pointing upward with your forearm pronating and your upper arm inwardly rotating such that your acromial line points toward home plate.

     The hand position at leverage for my maxline fastball resembles the hand position at leverage for my maxline true screwball.   The difference is that, whereas with my maxline true screwball, pitchers drive the top seam forward to achieve a horizontal spin axis, with my maxline fastball, pitchers drive their middle finger vertically through the center of the baseball to achieve a horizontal spin axis with the glove-side of the baseball slightly forward.

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114.   We are discussing my younger son going to Florida this summer for the eight week camp.   Is there any way to get a 22 year old into the 40 week program?   He has completed his four years of college eligibility, but does not want to stop pitching.

     Now, I do not want to sound like a groupie or go overboard, but I have completely gone thru your old book, and about halfway thru the new one.   Also, I have read about a third of the letters up into 2001.   Both of my boys have completed a couple days of exercises, and one throwing sessions so far.   Also, we have had a whole lot of discussion.

     I have never seen them so excited about pitching, other than talking about a game.   In just a couple of days, they have totally bought into your system.   They find some of the mechanics to feel somewhat strange, just as you say.   But, they also find it to feel wonderful.   My older son is just blown away.   He has been pitching for fourteen years.   My younger has just started his varsity season, one start, one win, so he is not able to incorporate everything at this time.   But he is overwhelmed with the leverage position, and keeping the elbow in front of the acromial line.   Today, he threw one pitch from the old position, and he said he hated it.   It felt awful.   Of course, he cannot get totally horizontal with the forearm yet, but fairly close.

     The 22 year old, just going slow and trying to get the feel of the mechanics, threw 67 mph with no effort whatsoever.   First day.   His top speed with the old mechanics was 79.   Unbelievable.   Of course, he has not learned to accurately couple the front foot drive with forearm acceleration.   No rhythm yet.


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     I have two openings remaining for my eight-week summer training program for high school juniors and seniors.   The first two to get their two hundred dollar deposit in, get the spots.   If you are truly interested, I need to mail you my materials.   I need your address.

     I have worked with college graduates, but the problem lies with their opportunity to master their pitches in competition before they pitch professionally.   I will not use one of my twelve housing spaces for a college graduate, but he could get his own housing and I will train him.

     I prefer not to refer to my book as the old book and the new book.   Rather, it is all one book that is evolving.   The 'old' book is obsolete.   Read the new book.   This June, I plan to make the new book obsolete.   Each forty-week group teaches me how to teach the next group better.   Then, I see how the new group responds to my new teachings and if they work, I update my book.   Consequently, my book is one forty-week group behind what I am presently doing.   My latest question/answer file provides the very latest of what I am doing that I feel I have sufficiently research to pass along to my readers.

     If your twenty-two year old has pitched with a different force application technique for fourteen years, then he will take awhile before the motor units that he uses to pitch with my force application technique similarly mature.   At this stage, radar guns only hampers learning.   He should wait until after he has completed my forty-week program and pitches in high-quality competition for a few months.   Even then, he will still add to his release velocity with ongoing competitive pitching.

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115.   My son who currently is a senior at a division 1 school had shoulder surgery last June.   They repaired a torn labrum which had I believe to be a type 2 SLAP tear.   He has done his rehab that has been given him by his doctor and also trainer at the University and has followed it religiously.   He started throwing in December as per their instructions and has tried, but still cannot throw without pain in his shoulder or his bicep.   In order to try to get him to keep pitching, they have changed his delivery to one of side-arm which seems to alleviate the pain somewhat, but it is not working as he is still hurting and has no velocity on the ball.

     Before surgery he was throwing regularly 87-89mph occasionally topping out over 90mph.   He really wants to pursue an opportunity in baseball but is very discouraged by his lack of healing after all these months.   I have 3 questions that I hope you could answer for me.

1.   After this type of surgery, is it too soon for him to be put in the pitching rotation yet?

2.   While I know that I haven't given you a lot of information about the surgery, do you think that maybe he should consider having someone else look at his shoulder as the team doctor has pronounced him fit to pitch even though it seems to me that if he's hurting as much as he says, there may be still something not right in there?

3.   Would you consider working with someone such as my son who has no college eligibility left, but still wants to play pro ball.   If you are receptive to that, then I would like to come to see you with my son and discuss it more after his school is over this year.


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     I recently learned that twenty-three of twenty-four pitchers at a premier Division I Baseball School had had at least one surgery on their pitching arms.   Also, a mother of a major league pitcher recently told me that a well-known orthopedic surgeon told her son after his second surgery that the son that he had to find out why he needed surgeries.   The problem is much worse than I thought and I thought that it was terrible.   It appears that almost every pitcher that goes to a Division I major baseball program or signs professional eventually requires surgery.   This is ridiculous.   No pitcher should ever require surgery.

     For the coaches to tell your son to throw side-arm shows that they have no clue.   He will never be the pitcher he should be with the side-arm pitching motion.   Until he learns how to correctly apply force to his pitches and properly trained his pitching arm to withstand the normal, appropriate stress of pitching, he should not pitch.   He definitely should not start.

     Pain in his biceps brachii indicates that he circles his upper arm outward and permits his forearm to flyout.   He inappropriately uses his biceps brachii to prevent his olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.   Concurrently, he tries to drive the baseball toward home plate with his triceps brachii.   The triceps brachii contraction tears the contracted biceps brachii.   Antagonistic muscles should relax while the agonistic muscles contract.

     If the shoulder discomfort is in the back, then he pulls his elbow across the front of his body.   Pitchers must learn to drive their pitches in a straight-line toward home plate, this includes their upper arm and forearm.   They must not pull or drop their elbow.

     I will not use one of my apartments to house your son, but if he wants to find his own housing, I would agree to work with him every day for two hundred and eighty days starting the third Saturday in August.

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116.   I have enjoyed your book and hope to observe your training sessions someday.   My son seems to have been born with baseball in his veins.   I am concerned about the programs offered to him.   His love for baseball diminished last year in a kidsports environment with a poor coach.   This year, he is enrolled for the first time in Little League and several local men who have seen him play have suggested the Babe Ruth baseball program.   I would like him to enjoy baseball to its fullest and progress as a player without injury.   Do you have a suggestion for which programs to allow the children to participate in?   Most programs seem so irresponsibly uneducated.   Sort of the bicameral "beef up" mentality.

     At what age do you begin accepting children into your 60 day program?   Even if my son were never to become "a pitcher", the knowledge and discipline in biomechanics could only help, I think.   He seems to be a quick little shortstop right now, but loves to play everywhere.

     I have a background in physiology, nutrition, chiropractic and sports medicine and have worked one season with a minor league pitching coach with injury prevention and re-hab.   Interestingly, I was asked to treat the low backs and ended up with all the pitchers' shoulder issues.   I share many of the concerns you outline in your book.   The prevention of athletic injuries in youth is paramount.   For this reason, I will be giving a lecture tomorrow to our local Little League coaches.   I would like your permission to quote your book.   I will suggest that all these coaches read the free book you have online.

     If you have any suggestions for me, either as the mom of a little baseball enthusiast, a sports physician wanting to specialize in baseball, or general guidance, I'd be appreciative.   Again, your book is great, can't wait to see the video.


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     You may quote my book.   You may show my Instructional Videotape.   You may do whatever it takes to stop parents from permitting uninformed youth coaches from destroying the pitching arms of youth pitchers.   If you have read my materials, then you know that I recommend that, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, youth pitchers should not train for pitching for more than two months per year, do not pitch to batters in game conditions until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.

     My recommendation to the parents of all youth pitchers is that they become the pitching coach of their sons.   I am working hard to give them the tools that they need.   My Coaching Pitchers books is a start.   My first Instructional Videotape provides more information.   My second Instructional Videotape will provide more precise information.   I will not stop until all parents feel competent to coach their youth pitchers.

     This summer, I will rewrite my 60 day pubescent and adolescent pitcher training programs.   I will start with a ten year old pubescent pitcher training program, then an eleven year old pubescent pitcher training program, then a twelve year old adolescent pitchers training program and then a thirteen year old adolescent pitchers training program.   The fourteen and fifteen year olds should continue with the thirteen year old program.

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117.   How tightly should pitchers grip their pitches?

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     To achieve maximal movement, pitchers should spin all pitches as fast as they can.   This requires very tight grips and powerful finger action through release.

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118.   I am still reading letters.   I finished 2000, 2003, and am working on 2002 now.   My head spins, but I take frequent breaks.   In the interest of debate, I have some questions.   Going in, I realize in a battle of wits with you, I am unarmed.

     Within the 2002 letters, you said in a couple different places, the following: "The body does not add to velocity, but it can take velocity and consistency away" and ".... I want a powerful forward rotation out front where the trunk rotation adds power to the pitch."   On the surface, these look to be a little contradictory.

     You do seem to be consistent in not wanting any forward bending or 'crunching' of the trunk.   It would seem that due to rotational inertia, either rotating vertically as you teach, or horizontally, as you dismiss, could add velocity to a pitch.   I do understand that by crunching with horizontal rotation, the driveline would be negatively impacted.   But, would there not be a gain in velocity by combining the horizontal and vertical rotation of the body?

     On a semi-related topic, you teach that pitchers should remain tall throughout the delivery, with as little rear leg drop as possible, but still with a strong rear leg drive.   You further have written that this gives a straighter drive line to the plate.   Also, if I understand correctly, you seem to say that the driveline of the 'tall' pitch is harder to hit, all other things being equal.

     It would seem to me that a lower release point would be more beneficial than a high release point for one reason:   The slightly above horizontal angle of a batter's power swing.   Just look at the hypothetical extremes:   If baseballs are released from a height of eight feet above plate level, and pass through a thirty inch strike zone at various height points, it would seem that the average batter, with an average, slightly above horizontal power swing, would be able to connect with a large percentage of these pitches "on the screws".   The downward path of the baseball would approach the upward path of the bat.   If baseballs are released from ground height, and pass through the same thirty inch strike zone as above at various height points, the ball path would, in this hypothetical of course, have to have an upward path.   Unless, of course, the ball was thrown so slow as to start the downward path of the parabola.   This would put the path of the ball at cross planes to the path of the power swing.   If the batter desired to swing his bat on the same plane with the ball, in order to apply the greatest force, he would have to swing downward, hitting the ball on the ground.   Is this reasoning off base?

     After the many hours spent reading your material, these are about the only things that I cannot 'get around'.   Well, also the screwball, but that is probably because of gross ignorance.   I simply do not understand yet.

     Once again, many thanks.   Even if I did not have two boys, I would find your information fascinating.


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     Because some later answers disagree with some earlier answers to the same questions, readers have asked me to edit my early Question/Answer files.   I prefer to leave all questions and answers as I gave them.   My point is; when I learn a better way to recommend that pitchers apply force to their pitches, I will change my recommendation.   Every year that I teach a forty-week group how to pitch, they teach me better ways to teach the next group.   That is why I update my Coaching Pitchers group and my pitcher training programs after the last group leaves.   Therefore, I recommend that readers start with my most recent Question/Answer file and work backward.   Hopefully, the more recent answers clarify my pitching motion better than earlier questions.

     When I say that the body does not add to release velocity, but it can take away from release velocity, I am saying that the center of mass of the body has to remain at the same height relative to the ground and move straight forward.   Pitchers should not lift their front legs, they should not bend their rear legs, they should not reverse rotate their hips and shoulders beyond the acromial line pointing toward home plate, the shoulder should not lean to the glove or pitching arm sides.   I want the body to simply, smoothly walk forward off the pitching rubber with the rear foot moving close to the ground in a straight line.   I want the front foot to step straight forward to the glove-side of the straight line that the rear foot will follow, land just as it would during a walking step and push back toward second base when the rear leg moves ahead of it just as it would during a walking step.

     To maximize the driveline length and the power of shoulder rotation, I want the acromial line on the front side to point toward the glove-side batter when the pitching arm achieves driveline height and I want the acromial line on the rear side to point toward home plate when pitchers initiate the forearm acceleration phase.   Because I consider the shoulders part of the pitching arm, not the body, I do not consider these concepts as contradictory.

     I tell pitchers to imagine that they have a steel rod running through the top of their head vertically downward.   Like an ice skater, they can spin faster when they keep their body vertical.   If they bend at their waist, they cannot spin or if they do, they will spin with a wobble.   I tell pitchers that their spin axis should be perpendicular to the vertical rod, but that they should tilt that axis of rotation forward relative to their height.   I recommend that pitchers drive all pitches straight forward relative to their spin axis straight toward the top of the strike zone.   However, five foot eight and one-half inch tall pitchers, like me, cannot tilt my spin axis as far forward as six foot eight and one-half inch tall pitchers.   Without consistency in their driveline angle, pitchers will never have consistent command of the strike zone.

     I agree that, when they stand tall and rotate, six foot eight and one-half inch tall pitchers release their pitches at a greater down angle than five foot eight and one-half inch tall pitchers.   However, when considered over fifty-four to fifty-two feet, the advantage is minimal.   To equate the competition, they should adjust the height of mounds to permit us short guys to have the same downward driveline angles.   In 1968, they lowered the height of pitching mounds relative to the height of home plate from fifteen to ten inches, but they keep the slope the same.   That was supposed to give hitters a better chance.   I was already lowered five inches.   I think that they should have outlawed tall pitchers.   They would have achieve the same result.

     I recommend that pitchers release all pitches at the same downward angle.   However, in reality, gravity strongly influences the path that baseballs follow.   When pitchers throw pitches at reduced velocities with spin axis that drive baseballs downward, the key to success is that baseballs leave pitchers hands no higher than horizontal to the ground.   You suggest that hitters with upward arcs in their swings will have an advantage with pitches that have greater downward release angles.   I suggest that hitters with upward arcs in their swings have a 'loop' in the movement of the center of mass of their bats that makes them susceptible to my four seam maxline and torque fastballs and they have to time their loop just right to have any chance with my four seam pronation curves and four seam true screwballs.   I loved to pitch to batters who try to lift the baseball.

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119.   I coach a 10 year old coast little league team.   I have a player on my team who is a very gifted athlete and a natural pitcher.   The kid would like to pitch as I would like to have him out on the mound for at least a couple of times a week.   I keep my pitchers to a maximum of 50 to 55 pitches per game to prevent injuries to their arms.   The parents of this child have informed me that they do not want their son to pitch because they are saving his arm.   I have never had to deal with something like this in the 8 years I have coached little league or Babe Ruth.

     Will it help a child not to pitch at all and save there arms till they get older?   I have talk to many pitching coaches in the area and have received the same answer from all so far which is to get better and gain the correct mechanics you have to pitch.   Of course, you do not want to over do it but you do need to throw to gain confidence and muscle memory.   If you have a different view on this please let me know as I am not sure of how to deal with this.


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     Until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of his pitching arm completely matures, I recommend that he not practice pitching or throw for more than two months per year, I recommend that he not pitch against batters in games until he is thirteen years old and I recommend that he not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   If he is not a delayed maturer, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle should mature when he is sixteen years old.   At that time, he can start my adult pitchers training program. However, he cannot go beyond the introductory phase until he is nineteen years old when the growth plates in his shoulder completely mature.

     The 'traditional' pitching motion destroys powerful major league pitchers arms, what do you think that it does to tender, growing pubescent and adolescent arms?   Even if the youth pitchers used my pitching motion, the stress on their growing bones could not tolerate the normal, appropriate stress of pitching for more than two months per year.

     I agree with the parents.   Even more, I would teach my youth pitcher at home with my sixty day pubescent pitcher training program and not permit them to pitch at all until he is biologically thirteen years old.   I will have the new version out in June.

     If you want to know what you are doing to the pitching arms of the pitchers on your team, please read Chapter 9 of my Coaching Pitchers book and/or order my Instructional Videotape.

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120.   You now say you want pitchers to simply walk off the mound with their lead leg.   Does this mean that you no longer teach pushing with the rear leg as you start the pitching motion?   Also, with this new technique of walking off the mound, does this cause problems with the ball getting to the ready position too early?

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     When you walk, you push off your rear foot.   I do not want pitchers jumping forward, I want a smooth, controlled stepping action.   It is critically important for pitchers to get their acromial line pointing toward home plate with the pitching arm in front before they forearm pronation snap their pitching arm through release.   Therefore, I want the rear hip facing forward almost immediately after pitchers step forward off the pitching rubber.   Walking off the pitching rubber makes it allot easier for pitchers to maintain their forearm in leverage position and delay their forearm pronation snap action until the acromial line of their shoulders points toward home plate.

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121.   I guess what I don't understand about your teachings.   If you don't think a pitcher should pitch against batters until they are thirteen, what should I do about pitchers for my team which are 10 & 11?   What is the difference of facing batters or just throwing to a catcher?   What do I do about fielding a team if they can't throw for more then 2 months a year when the season is 3 months long?

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     Ten and eleven year olds should not pitch competitively.   They will permanently deform and limit the skeletal structure of their pitching arms.   For them to throw to batters with the purpose of getting them out greatly increases the stress that they apply to their immature skeletons.   Obviously, I disagree with the organizers of your youth baseball program about what is best for the participants.   I would have youngsters throw 'cookie' fastballs to their own team members and I would limit the season to two months.   See Chapter 12 of my Coaching Pitchers book.

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122.   My son, a 6'5" 220 lb HS senior pitcher who signed with a college in November.   He has always had a great workout regiment in the off season.   With running, plyos, weights, and resistive band work with the Frappier Acceleration strength program he has seen a nice growth curve in the last 3 years.   With age comes wisdom.   He has noticed in his notes and charting that there is drop off in most strength areas that occurs during the season, and that he has to back up to get back to speed on max's and reps.   I'm sure this is regular, but he is having a hard time finding an in-season weight program that will help maintain his overall strength for the season.   What do you think?

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     I would credit the normal growth and development from late adolescence into adulthood for his strength improvements.   The training procedures that you mentioned have little, if anything, to do with pitching.   To improve his ability to pitch, he must train specific to the skills of pitching.   I know of only one such program.   You will find it in Section XI of my Coaching Pitchers book.   With my 280 Day Adult Pitchers Training program, he will increase the strength and size of the bones, ligaments and tendons directly related to pitching specific to the baseball pitches that he must master to injury-proof himself and become the best pitcher that he can be.   After he does that, my in-season maintenance program is easy to follow.

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123.   My son is 14 1/2 and broke just above the wrist (apx 2") while snow boarding.   He was just released to go back to baseball today but found his arm (wrist area) hurt when swinging the bat.   What types of exercises can he do to strengthen this area?   He wants to get into weight training also he is 6' tall and 135 pounds.

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     That snow boarding is dangerous.   What bone did he break and where?   How long has it been since he broke this wrist?   In equated fourteen and one-half year old adolescents, the growth plates of the distal radius and ulna are wide open.   His height and weight indicate that he might be a delayed maturer.   During his convalescence, the bones and muscles have atrophied (gotten weaker).   He needs to start easy and gradually stimulate the osteoblast cells in his bones to lay down new bone and the myofibrils in his muscles to build new myosin and actin protein filaments (hypertrophy).   I would have him start by swinging a broom handle and gradually build up to a baseball bat.

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124.   My son is a 14 yr old and pitches for my AAU Team.   He is having a difficult time throwing a curve ball correctly.   I have showed him many times and he has trouble with the concept.   We do the "curve ball drill" were he turns sideways and tries to feel the ball as it comes-off his fingers.   Do you have any suggestions?   Also, what is a acceptable pitch count for his age group and days of rest needed?   Lastly, who should give signals to the pitchers at this age, coach or catcher?   What is a simple signal system that has worked for you?   Other coaches are stealing my signs.   Don't want to make it too complicated for the kids.

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     I have described how pitchers should learn my new pronation curve release technique several times in my 2002 and 2003 Question/Answer files.   I will include a thorough explanation and demonstration in my next Instructional Videotape.   Until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that fourteen year old pitchers pitch no more than one inning per game twice a week for no more than two months per year.

     Pitchers should decide what pitches they want to throw.   Catchers give a 'live' sign, that is, the first, second or third sign in a series of three.   If the 'live' sign is one, but pitchers want to throw the two sign, then they add one by wiping their glove across their chest.   If the 'live' sign is one, but pitchers want to throw the three sign, then they subtract one by wiping their glove down their leg.   Obviously, catchers have to vary their 'live' signs.

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125.   In your book, you mention the first step is a trigger motion and both front leg and hands go up from keeping the arm going laterally.   But, isn't the front foot taking a step back the trigger mechanism?   Also I think I have a way to teach the slider and torque fastball.   The way I throw it is to pre-set the pitch and when you do the pendulum swing instead of a vertical swing it should be slightly 90 degrees and the same position should be during transition and upper arm lock?   What do you think?

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     Trigger actions initiate movements.   The trigger action that I chose to initiate my set position motion is slightly raising both hands.   I did not do this to keep the pitching arm from going laterally behind the body, I did it to initiate the set position pitching motion.   Anything after the trigger action is part of the movement.

     I am working on a new way for pitchers to properly learn the torque fastball arm action.   Thus far, it seems to be working.   When I am confident that it works and their are no negative side effects, I will discuss it.   With apologies, but your suggestion does not address the issue.

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126.   You say that all training is specific.   But, it is proven weight training (squatting-rowing-bench press) can help your speed and coordination in sports.   Weight training has nothing to do with throwing a baseball, but it can help the muscles you use to throw a baseball.   Of course, bad pitching motion creates greater stress then good pitching motion, but you will be that much more stronger and so will your muscles if you weight train.   My point is, I don't see how weight lifting can hurt you!   In a former major league pitching star's book, he says that weight lifting doesn't help velocity (he says it genetics), but it helps sustain velocity and energy.   I believe through his 30 some odd years he proved it!   What do you think?

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     It is not proven that weight training that is not specific to a sport skill can help speed and coordination in sports.   Weight training will only help your ability to do that specific weight training, nothing else.   It will not help the muscles you use to throw a baseball.   The former major league pitching star has no scientific basis for what he says.   It is all anecdotal nonsense.   His thirty years of pitching does not prove that weight training helps velocity.   Please stop using anecdotal information to verify scientific principles.   They are irrelevant.   The rooster always crowing before the Sun rises does not prove causation.

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127.   I'm an Anatomy & Physiology teacher at the high school level and also happen to be one of the girls fast pitch softball coaches.   After reading about the Medial epicondyle with regards to how it is injured throwing a baseball on your Q& A page, I am interested in finding out how it is injured when pitching in fast-pitch softball.   Is there a distinct difference in the manner in which it is injured?

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     I have not researched precisely how athletes pitch fastpitch softballs.   Off the top of my head, I suspect that the pitching arm involves the Biceps Brachii rather than the Triceps Brachii.   I am sure that they use the Pronator Teres for some pitches.   But, I do not see the forearm flyout problem that unnecessarily stresses the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in baseball pitchers.   However, to increase their forearm acceleration, I do understand that softball pitchers slap the elbow of their pitching arm against their hip.   This action could apply considerable stress to the medial epicondyle area.

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128.   You missed my point.   Weight training doesn't help you to throw a baseball, but it strengthens the muscles you use to throw a baseball.   How could it not?   Now, if you use poor mechanics, of course, it will harm you, then proper mechanics will.   What scientific theory do you have to say the former major league pitching star success is?

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     I did not miss your point.   The only way that pitchers strengthen the muscles that they use to throw baseballs is to throw baseball.   No other training strengthens the muscles to throw baseball or helps in any way.   I am not in the business of trying to figure out why major league pitchers have or do not have success.   I research the proper way for pitchers to apply force to pitches and the proper way to strengthen the bones, ligaments and tendons to withstand the stress that pitchers apply to them.

     Please stop looking at what major league pitchers did or do.   No researcher could ever quantify all of the variables that contribute to success or even qualtify whether they had success.   I suppose, by definition, if a pitcher is a major league pitcher, that means success.   However, that would not be my definition.   I would measure success in terms of what percent of the best pitcher they could be that each pitcher became as the measure of success.   I have no idea how to quantify that.

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129.   If you want your pitchers to forearm snap their pitches and you want your pitchers to throw their pitches as hard as possible, how do you teach your pitchers not to fully extend their elbows?

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     Forearm pronation and upper arm inward rotation enables pitchers to outwardly and upwardly point their elbow out of harm's way.   For pitchers to master this action takes proper lower intensity practice and strength development.   If you watch my guys in my Instructional Videotape, you will see that they all readily master this skill.

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130.   You have your pitchers point their acromial line at the glove side batters box while in the set position.   For a right handed pitcher, has there been any problems with umpires calling balks because of this position.   I'm not an expert on balks but it is my understanding that you cannot turn the left shoulder toward first base.   Pointing the acromial line toward the glove side batters box could be construed as a balk under this scenario.

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     In my set position, pitchers stand with their rear foot angled toward home plate on either of my drivelines for the rear foot that are perpendicular to the pitching rubber on the three and one-half inches on both sides and with their front foot angles toward home plate to the glove-side of the driveline for the rear foot.   If we draw a line from the tip of the rear foot through the tip of the front foot, I am certain that this line would pass behind the glove-side batter.   Fortunately, how pitchers stand in their set position has nothing to do with balks.

     Umpires call balks when, at the beginning movement of their pitching motion, right-handed pitchers forwardly rotate their acromial line toward first before they reverse rotate their acromial line and throw to home plate.   They consider this action as pitchers attempting to deceive the base runner into thinking that they are going to throw to first base.

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131.   I have a very athletic 13 yr old boy involved in all kinds of sports.   Baseball is his favorite.   He plays shortstop and used to pitch allot (I curtailed that drastically last year after reading your info).   My son wants to participate on the school track team as a shot putter.   This would take place while baseball is also going on.   Would this create too much stress on the right (throwing) shoulder to shot put and throw a baseball in the same season?   He did injure his right acromioclavicular ligament in a wrestling match last year and missed part of baseball.

     What would you advise, go ahead, shot putting would not put undue strain on the shoulder as far as baseball goes, or no, too much stress on a 13 yr old rapidly growing shoulder?


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     During the open growth plate years, youngsters should learn the skills of as many activities as possible.   However, they should not stress these growth plates with either too much stress or prolonged stress.   I recommend that youngsters not perform high-intensity activities, such as pitching for more than two months per year.   I think that wrestling is an excellent sport with marvelous skills.   However, it is possible for youngsters to receive too much stress.   Youth wrestling should reward skill, not strength.   Even when all youngsters are chronologically thirteen years old, they can be biologically fifteen year olds. Biological fifteen year olds are too strong for biological eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen year olds.

     Shot-putting is another fine activity.   I believe that the junior high shot weighs six pounds.   While I would never permit an open-growth-plate youngsters to throw a six pound shot with the baseball pitching motion, the correctly-taught shot put motion should be fine for two months per year.   However, I would carefully monitor the youngsters for medial epicondyle and humeral head discomfort.   Simply place your thumb on the bone on the inside of the elbow and the top front of the shoulder and press firmly.   If, when you let up, the youngster winces with pain, then he has inflamed his growth plates.

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132.   I have recommended your web-site to a number of youth coaches and parents of pitchers.   Most recognize your name as a player and are interested in what you have to say.   At least one parent of a very talented youth pitcher also decided to considerably limit his son's pitching.   At a minimum I believe your perspective is starting to generate some discussion among those involved in youth sports.

     I would love to see your research and opinions start to be discussed at the national level of Little League and other youth baseball organizations.   Many youth coaches are unwilling to change their practices, unless of course the rules regarding innings pitched and pitch counts are changed.   At a minimum, if the Little League organization would acknowledge that there is scientific evidence that young elbows and shoulders can be injured easily, and rules are instituted requiring that the parents of pitchers be informed of these risks, that would get parents involved and I think reduce the incidence of serious, permanent injury to young players.


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     I only care about the youngsters and giving parents the information with which they can decide what is best for their children.   Youth sports organizations have had my information for years.   I first brought it to Dr. Creighton Hale's attention in 1967.   While still a professor, he demonstrated that, to get to the Little League World Series, teams had to have almost thirteen year old youngsters with fifteen year old biological maturities.   He later became the Director of Little League Baseball.   Do not expect change from the top.

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133.   After throwing for about 15 to 20 minutes, I feel like I want to eat candy or something that has sugar.   The thing is I eat food with sugar a lot, so I don't see why I would have this craving for sugar after throwing.   I run for my school's track and cross country teams, and I only get this craving for sugar after pitching.   Do you know why I would feel this way?   Also, sometimes when I throw hard my forearm has a tingling sensation.   What would be causing this?

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     To resynthesize the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) required for the myosin cross-bridges to attach to the actin binding sites and initiate muscle contraction, muscle fibers have to metabolize muscle glycogen and/or muscle triglycerides.   When they have insufficient levels of muscle glycogen, they put out a call for their master to consume large quantities of glucose.   Since candy is a monosaccaride, it provides glucose.   I recommend that you find other sources of glucose that do not destroy your teeth.   Read the nutritional information on the back of food packages.   Start with packages of rice.

     With regard to tingling of the pitching arm: Tingling typically indicates that you are irritating a nerve.   If the tingling is in your little finger and lateral one-half of your ring finger, then you are irritating your Ulnar Nerve.   This means that you have severe forearm 'flyout' that causes you to 'slam' your olecranon process into its fossa.   You have to stop reverse rotating your acromial line past home plate, stop taking the baseball laterally behind your body and start driving your forearm as far horizontally inside of vertical as possible with a powerful forearm pronation action.

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134.   Thank you for my visit to your training facility.   I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with you and your players.   It is one thing to "talk" on the telephone.   Or exchange emails or posts. Something else again to actually be there and see what you do in person.

     I'm still not convinced that the mechanics you teach are the mechanics that will give the player the best chance to make it to the highest levels of baseball.   10 years from now, who knows?   But I am convinced that your training methods show that what most baseball people do for training a pitcher is woefully inadequate.   I am also in total agreement with your instructional methods (especially your backwards chaining approach to teaching that you use).

     As an aside, I was talking with Collegiate Baseball News and he told me that you, I and four others are doing articles for an upcoming series.   That should be "interesting" to say the least.

     Also I saw a post/email on you web site that I believed referred to my visit that said that I work with a well-known pitching coach wannabe.   I do not have any affiliation/connection with that person.   More so if anything, the opposite is true.


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     My apologies for including you as a member of the group with which you came.   I have no idea or care with whom you affiliate.   I drew my mistaken conclusion because you arrived with someone that I knew was from his group and you had not independently contacted me about visiting.   I did not know that I had two different pitching coach wannabe groups visiting on the same day.   The Collegiate Baseball articles should be interesting.   I want to make it very clear, I have never read your stuff and will not and I have never read his stuff and will not.   Under no circumstances would I want anybody think that what I have read has in any way tainted my research or what I recommend.

     You are always welcome.   I greatly enjoyed our discussions.   I am not in the market for disciples, I prefer collegial debates.   Once we can agree on the scientific principles that guide our search for the proper way for pitchers to apply force to their pitches, we can discuss how we should satisfy those principles.   There is only one mechanically and anatomically perfect way for humans to lift heavy boxes off the floor.

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135.   I have developed a baseball training aid for pitchers or anyone wanting to throw faster or farther.   I have read lots of your pitching mechanics and learned a lot.   Thanks.   But anyway, I have something that can develop speed/strength for anyone regardless of age.   And it'll do it rather quickly and safely.   Would you be interested in seeing one of my prototypes?   I promise, it isn't rubber bands or anything lame like that.   This is real, variable speed, movement specific exercise that could help you teach pitching even better.   And help the students learn faster while getting stronger.

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     I do not use facilitators.   The only way to learn how to pitch is to pitch.

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136.   After purchasing your video and reading your free book, I have started your 280 day adult program.   So far, I feel that everything has been going very well.   However, I have a question.   It was my understanding that you formerly taught that the position of the forearm on the maxline fastball at release was at 90 degrees vertical or slightly inside of vertical, emphasizing that it should never be outside of vertical.   With that, I could easily see that when a pitcher releases a maxline fastball with an essentially vertical forearm and his wrist turned slightly outward, the pitch would have a horizontal spin axis, angled slightly toward the plate on the glove arm side, creating a small circle of friction on the glove arm side that moves the ball toward the pitching arm side.

     Now, however, you seem to be emphasizing that from leverage through release on a maxline fastball (and other pitches --but I'll stick with the ML fastball here) the pitcher's forearm must be horizontal in toward the head, inside of vertical.   And yet you still say, I think, that the maxline fastball should still have the same angle horizontal spin axis and circle of friction location.   I guess what I don't understand is how a pitcher can have a truly horizontal and inside of vertical forearm release position and still create a truly horizontal spin axis upon release.   Won't the horizontal/vertical orientation of the spin axis essentially correspond to the position of the forearm upon release, assuming an essentially straight wrist?   That is, when a pitcher's forearm is vertical, it seems that the ball will be released off the tip of middle finger with a completely horizontal spin axis, with the spin axis angle "tilting" towards vertical as the forearm angle at release moves towards horizontal.   Thus, throwing a four-seam fastball using a "traditional" sidearm motion, with the forearm angle at release being essentially horizontal and outside of vertical, you get, on a right-handed pitcher, a vertical spin axis that turns in a clockwise direction when viewed from above.

     Under Bernoulli's law, this spin causes the air pressure on the glove arm side of the ball to be greater than on the pitching arm side, thus causing the ball to move in towards the pitching arm side.   I would think that, a right-hander, using a forearm angle at release that is truly horizontal and inside of vertical would result in what is essentially a vertical spin axis going the other direction, i.e., going counterclockwise when viewed from above.   This would tend to make the ball go towards the glove-arm side, making it a torque pitch.   I would acknowledge that with a horizontal forearm inside of vertical at release, some amount of tilt towards a horizontal spin axis could be achieved by flexing the wrist toward vertical (ulnar flexing, I think) at release, but I can't seem to get my wrist to ulnar flex more than about 45 degrees from straight.   What am I missing?


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     I do want the maxline fastball to have a horizontal spin axis slightly turned inwardly.   Please try to throw my maxline fastball with a vertical spin axis.   You cannot do it.   Nevertheless, on all pitches, I recommend that pitchers forearm accelerate their pitches with their forearms horizontal and powerfully pronate (turn their thumbs downward) through release.   You have to suspend 'common sense' logic and try it.   Forget about having your forearm vertical.   Try to keep your forearm horizontal and powerfully pronate your forearm through release.   Before you make any adjustments, wait until after you see how the baseball spins.

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137.   Thank you for creating an update page it helped tremendously.   I've also listed a segment from an article at ESPN.com by Tim Kurkjian on a promising young pitcher.

     "What's not to like?   He is big and strong: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, with legs that resemble the great Tom Seaver's and with height that gives him leverage.   At 22, he is refined.   He pitched at a big-time program at a major university.   He worked independently with a well-known pitching coach wannabe, a former pitcher and pitching coach.   Two major league pitching stars swear by his teachings, which stress, among other philosophies, letting the ball go closer to home plate."

     Reading things like this gives me more confidence in the inventor of such pitching philosophies, or should I say proven and quantative research.   I'm more and more thankful that my son and I have chosen to invest in your video and training program.   My son may never be another promising young pitcher, but with your program he will become the best his ability allows.


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     They have no shame.   I continue to learn and I will include the new stuff in my Coaching Pitchers book as I find time.   I am glad that the Recent Updates file helps.

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138.   My eight year old son played in a baseball tournament ten days ago.   It was a two day tournament and he pitched eleven innings.   He had not previously practiced other than throwing the ball around the yard.   He has had some soreness in his upper arm and elbow since then.   I am concerned that he is not improving although his dad thinks he is fine.   What should I do?

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     I cannot imagine an eight year old pitching eleven innings in two days.   What the hell is the matter with the tournament organizers and you and his father?   I would not permit an eighteen year old with completely mature growth plates to pitch eleven innings in two days.   Eight year old boys have very, very immature skeletons with growth cartilage throughout.   The stress of pitching can pull ossification centers away from the bone completely.   I have no doubt that he has seriously irritated growth plates in his shoulder and his elbow.   I have no way of predicting long-term growth and development damage, but he will have some.   At the very least, these growth plate will prematurely close and stunt their growth.

     He is not fine.   He must stop this stupidity at once.   I recommend that, until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle completely matures, he not even train for pitching for more than two months per year, that he not pitch in games against opposing team batters until he is thirteen years old and that he does not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week thereafter.

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139.   What do you think of Jeter's slide the other night?   Don't you think he should have slid feet first?   If he's out, take it in!

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     With the single exception of stealing home, base runners should always slide feet first.   It is not only safer, but it is also faster.   At home, base runners do not need to stay on the base, they can touch the base as they slide by and roll out of harm's way.

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140.   My son and I discussed your program as an option for him next year and he was very interested.   But we did have some additional questions.   What is a typical workout schedule during the week (hours per day).   What are the facilities like?   Do you have any pictures?   What is the average cost of utilities?   How many students are in your forty-week programs? My sons problem has always been control, plenty of arm and ball movement but lack of control, can you make changes that last?

     My wife was not real happy that our son would consider walking away from a scholarship in order to take more lessons.   She thinks he has reached his peak and having half your college paid for is great.   David and I think he can go to the next level but he just missing something, so far he has really pitched competively very little.   High school record of 2-1 and so far in college only 3 innings.   This will be a real tuff decision for him to make and I'm just collecting as much information as possible to help him.


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     I have two duplexes on site at my Pitcher Research/Training Center.   I place three young men in each apartment.   We train from 9:00AM until 11:00AM every day.   For the remainder of the day, the young men work and/or attend local community colleges.   I charge ten dollars per day for coaching and ten dollars per day for a furnished apartment with free cable and unlimited long distance.   However, they have to pay their share of the electric bill, which amounts to about a dollar a day.

     My 280-Day Adult Pitcher Training Program injury-proofs pitchers and shows them how to develop the skills that they will need to pitch at their highest levels.   However, it is up to him to learn those skills.   No college or professional program will do either for him.   In fact, college and professional programs destroy pitching arms.   When he finishes my program, he will know what he has to do to become the best pitcher he can be and he will know at what level of baseball he will be able to have success.

     No pitcher who has turned down a scholarship to attend my program has ever not received that same scholarship or better after he completed the program.   College coaches prefer more mature players and, certainly, prefer pitchers who have improved their skills since they last offered them a scholarship.

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141.   YOU SELF RIGHTEOUS SON OF A GUN.   How dare you talk to me like I am an idiot.   I asked you a question, I did not asked to be lectured.   My son actually pitched nine innings, not eleven.   The tournament allowed pitchers to pitch five innings per two games.   Since we have never had a child that could pitch we assumed that that was fine.   Not everyone is aware that pitching can cause serious problems.   He is a child that constantly has a ball in his hand so it was natural for him to throw the ball.   We are not allowing him to pitch the ball until the pain subsides.   I just wanted to know if I need to seek medical advice but I see your medical advice is to sit behind the computer and judge before you know all of the facts.   I sure hope your bed side manner is better with your patients.

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     I am sorry that you took my information as a lecture.   I intended only to inform you of the great danger in which that the tournament organizers had placed your son.   However, it is the responsibility of parents to protect their children.   You do share the blame.   Nine innings instead of eleven innings does not lessen the offense.   Your indignation does not bother me.   However, I prefer that you turn it to never permitting your son to do this ever again.   You see, ignorance is not an excuse.   Use your anger to go after the tournament organizers.

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142.   Thank you very much for taking the time to answer so many questions from so many people.   I know this takes a lot of your time, and I am grateful.   People like me have no other source for advice.

     My son is 5' 11" and 13 years old.   He has the bones the size of a 15 year old with the muscles of a 13 year old.   He has not over-pitched, and has not pitched at all since last spring.   Until this year, he has only thrown straight fastballs.   This year, I've been trying to teach him your maxline fastball, since this seemed to me to be easier to master.   He has begun to experience pain for the first time.   The pain is on the outside of the elbow and slightly to the rear of the elbow.   He also has pain in the outside of his upper arm, about 3 inches or so above the elbow, in the middle, maybe slightly to the rear toward the triceps.   It's approximately in the location of the muscle that tightens when someone makes an extremely tight fist.   He says the pain goes away after he stops throwing.   He will bring his hand slightly behind his acromial line, but not severely, and pulls his elbow across his body.   Obviously, I need to continue to work on him throwing in a straight line.   Any other suggestions?


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     Biological thirteen year old boys have the ossification centers for their olecranon process and lateral epicondyle, but all growth plates are wide open.   If you want, you could take X-rays of both his arms from the middle of his forearm to the middle of his upper arm from both the anterior/posterior and lateral view within a week of his next birthdate, then I will examine them and tell you whether your son is a delayed, equated or accelerated maturer.   The size of the bones do not indicate biological age.

     The discomfort that your son is experiencing on the outside, slightly to the rear of his elbow indicates that he is 'banging' his olecranon process into its fossa.   He needs to strongly pronate his forearm and continue to forwardly rotate his shoulders.   These two actions move the elbow to point outward and upward and prevents this injury.   The discomfort on the outside, three inches above his elbow indicates the attachment of the Brachioradialis muscle.   The Brachioradialis muscle decelerates the forearm pronation action.   While we do not want this discomfort to become unbearable, this is a good thing.   Basically, I am only concerned that he might be 'locking' his elbow out straight.

     With my maxline fastball, pitchers should focus only on the forearm pronation action.   Forearm pronation should stop him from pulling his elbow across the front of his body.   He has to stop that.   After they release the pitch, I also tell pitchers to put their pitching hand in his rear pocket.   To teach the proper pitching arm action for my maxline fastball, I assume that you are using my Pickoff Position Leverage Throws.   Until he perfects the pitching arm action with my Pickoff Position Leverage Throws, he should not practice any pitch with any other of my exercises.

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143.   I had my son checked out and he is fine.   Yes, I will monitor his pitching from now on.   He is a very talented little boy and I do want his arm to last until he is older.   It is difficult when your kid is the one the team depends on but I now know of the dangers.   Angry, upset and in a panic was how I felt yesterday.   I in no way intended to put my child in danger, sports are not that important.

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     I am on your side in this matter and I do not want to unnecessarily alarm you.   However, during late childhood, pubescence and adolescence, excessive physical stress can permanently alter the normal growth and development pattern of the skeletal system.   A single episode may not cause a significant difference, but the effect will not appear until much later in the form of premature closure of an growth plate.

     I am trying to start a nationwide research project of the pitching arm skeletal development of youth pitchers.   To participate, parents of youth pitchers need to have X-rays taken of both arms within a week of their birthdays.   We need the X-rays from the middle of the forearm to the middle of the upper arm from the anterior/posterior view and the lateral view both maximally flexed and extended.   If parents send me copies with their email address, I will read the X-rays to determine whether the youth pitcher is a delayed, equated or accelerated maturer and whether youth pitching has negatively influenced the growth and development of their pitching arm.   I would very much like your family to participate.   Together, we can keep his pitching arm safe.

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144.   I'm very excited to finally find your web site and look forward to talking to you about your 280 day training program.   I've heard allot about the program and I know where contact you for personal training, but I do have question.   Where do you stand on steroids do they help in any way?

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     Anabolic steroids are very dangerous.   They will alter your normal growth and development pattern.   But, more importantly, you do not need them. You can get the results that you want with commitment and properly-directed effort.

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145.   I sent you my article about a major league pitching coach wannabe because it was a more accurate account of his views than I could recite during our interview, and for your opinions on what he had to say.   I watch pitchers more closely than ever and see a lot more present major league pitching star-type throwing than Marshall Plan.

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     I hope that my discussions of the few biomechanical statements that you attributed to this gentleman satisfied your needs.   The fact that you see more present major league pitching star-type throwing than what I recommend explains why so many require surgery and/or spend time on the disabled list.   No pitcher that I have fully trained has ever suffered a pitching arm injury, much less required surgery.

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146.   I'm 13 years old.   My dad has told me tons about you about when you were a pitcher.   Then, he told me you had become a doctor which impressed my even more.   My question to you is do you keep in touch with your teammates over the years?

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     My parents did not have the money to help me attend college.   Therefore, I designed my own version of a work/study program.   I worked as a professional athlete during the spring and summer quarters and attended college during the fall and winter quarters.   Of course, I needed a school that used the quarter system rather than the semester system.   From the fall quarter of 1960 through the spring quarter of 1978 with one year off to play winter baseball, I earned my doctoral degree while I played professional baseball.   Due to a requirement that, to earn a doctoral degree, students have to enroll in three successive quarters, I had to skip spring training and the first two months of the 1978 season.

     From time to time, I hear from a few teammates, but very few.   We all have families and lives after baseball.

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147.   I recently had Tommy John surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews (Feb 4) and am recovering from it.   I'm following the rehab protocol, but it was brought to my attention that you had a person who works out with you that you brought back in eight months following a different rehab program.   Before surgery I topped out at 92 MPH (6'3 210 lb Lefty) and am looking for the best way to rehab so I don't have the same injury again as well as I throw harder.

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     My 280-Day Adult Pitcher Interval-Training Program does rehabilitate pitchers from Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery much faster than Dr. Andrews' protocol.   In addition, my program corrects the flaw that caused the injury in the first place.   If you are interested in training with me, please send me your telephone number and a good time to call you.

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148.   I am a longtime fan of yours since I was a child as you were one of the first true relief pitchers to which I became acquainted.   I am now a 39 year old attorney as I write this letter.   I want you to know, I purchased an autograph of yours from a private signing so my motivation here is not to secure a free autograph.

     I have heard much in the autograph world about how you would not sign your name.   Some say it is you are against hero worship, some say it has to do with a dislike for collectors, others say you feel that there are much more important people in this world than baseball players.   (I would tend to agree if that is your view, as the surgeon who just performed a subacromial decompression on my right shoulder is my hero right now.)   I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to set the record straight.


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     I gave photograph post cards to the kids.   I told them that their parents, grandparents, teachers, police, firemen among others are far more important in their lives than I.   I never give autographs to collectors.   However, at one hundred dollars per autograph, I signed five hundred items last year for a sports memorabilia guy.   Now, if they want my autograph, collectors can buy it.   If the sports memorabilia guy wants me to do it again, then that means that more collectors want my autograph.   If he does not want me to do it again, then I am through with it.   Autograph collectors can fax the sports memorabilia guy at (941)697-1855.

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149.   On your website, when people click on your links, it would be helpful if each link opened in a new browser window.   It will keep people at your site longer to evaluate your services.   My boys are only 3 and 1 1/2 so, it may be awhile before I email you.

     To open the page in a new window, your HTML code the address should read: target="new">.   This will cause a new window to pop open so that people can read you Q &A and credentials in that new window.   When they close the window, you main page will still be there.   You need to add the target="new" for each link you want a new window to open.


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     With little effort, you have severely exceeded my website knowledge.   I have no idea what a 'new browser window' means.   To permit readers to move anywhere on my website, I am attempting to put links at the end of every file.   I have no idea if that line is on my website.   I know that I never wrote it.   This is a one man, as cheap as is possible, website.

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150.   I agree with you that other people are much more important than baseball players, or any athletes in general.   I knew you did the private signing for someone.   The only thing I would offer, is perhaps if you did one in the future, you could charge more and see that a good portion of the proceeds go to a local charity.

     Before I attended law school, I worked for This Week in Baseball.   It was interesting, but the pay was poor and it was not very intellectually challenging.   My girlfriend at the time encouraged me to follow my dreams and shoot for law school.   Growing up the some of blue collar parents, it seemed unattainable, but I persevered and did well.   Today I am heavily involved with Pro Bono work, the Bar Association, the Ethics Committee and many other legal related committees.   When I have the chance to speak to youngsters whose dream of getting out of a life of poverty is to play ball, I try to help them see that athletics can also be a means to get an education.   Then they always have a Plan "B".


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     Unfortunately for me, I was not a part of the million dollars per year baseball player generation.   I did the work to make my autograph worth something, I need the benefit of it to give my Coaching Pitchers book away.   My website is my pro bono work.

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151.   I am currently a freshman in college and a member of the baseball team.   I have been looking for information regarding pitching on the internet, basically because I have a thirst for knowledge when it comes to the game of baseball.   I am writing to tell you that your website, including your book, is the most comprehensive and informative website I have ever seen on the topic of pitching.   Kudos on a job well done, and thank you for the undoubtedly countless hours you spent gathering, organizing and writing this information; it will give me months of reading and learning enjoyment.

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     And, it only took me forty years to learn this material.   Thank you for your kind words.   Since, after my 1967 season with the Detroit Tigers, I took my first high-speed film of myself pitching, I have devoted my academic life to the elimination of pitching arm injuries.   I am in the process of my annual upgrade of my Coaching Pitchers book.   When I finish that, I will start work on my second Instructional Videotape.   I have taken much more high-speed film that will make what I am talking about much easier to understand.   I know what causes pitching arm injuries.   Now, I have to get the baseball world to listen.

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152.   I had just finished a project and was doing a little surfing on the web before I turned in and I came across your site.   I read through your site with great interest.   However, I probably am not the typical visitor that your website gets.   I have no interest in pursuing a career in pitching, and while I have a son (4 yrs), I will be quite content to be able to play catch in the driveway w/o putting out the neighbor's window.   I was blown away with the wealth of information that you offered.

     I am a huge fan of the game though, as I get older, I appreciate the baseball of the 70s which I grew up with more and more every year.   I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and, of course, followed the Brewers religiously.   I remember the following:

1.   You were one of the best RPs in the game, yet I could never get a current (late 70s) card of you.   I seem to recall that one year you lead the league in saves.   However, Topps did not issue its standard "Fireman League Leader" card.   I always found that odd.

2.   Reading about you in "Ball Four", it struck me odd at the time, that someone would try to apply any sort of college training to the game of baseball.

3.   I think that you were close to signing with the Brewers around 1983 or so.   I could be mistaken about this.

     So why do I write to you?   I studied Electrical Engineering in college, and took a ton of math courses (Even Tensor Calculus!).   I loved Science and the absoluteness of mathematics.   When I finished college, I ended up working for a publisher of religious material, which had absolutely nothing to do with my field of study, or so I thought.   In my industry, science is often treated like voodoo, or some sort of parallel dimension that does not have any effect on the world we exist in.   Hand-Waving takes precedence over Scientific processes, and people would rather flock to charismatic posturing than scientifically postulating the what and why of spiritual issues.

     It also baffles me how people can somehow think that they can comprehend entirely what they describe as an infinite Being.   I found your "work in progress" approach very refreshing.   Many of the writers in my field, have written themselves in a corner, by "having" all the answers at 40 years of age.   I know that they will want to write more material, but,if you have already answered everything, what is the point.   They are so afraid to contradict or re-evaluate positions that they took early in their career.   It would be so easy for them to say, "Look, I was off base, I didn't understand my data at that time" or "I have done further study, and refined my conclusions", but they do not.

     I hope that this email does not seem inappropriate.   I apologize if it does.   I felt compelled to tell you that your approach to pitching was something that I could relate to, and actually has helped me immensely to stick to my guns, and back what I find to be right by scientific thought, even though I have no intention of pitching.   Your information and approach has more value than throwing an effective screwball.

     I get the impression that you are honestly more interested in helping people than in making a few bucks, and for that I commend you.   I can relate to a person having nuggets of valuable information, only to be scoffed and questioned, because it might go against arbitrary traditions.   I also get the impression that your feedback seems to be more positive than negative, I hope that it is.


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     Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me and your kind words.

     I disagreed with Cy Burger, president of Topps, about how he treated baseball players.   As an eighteen year old, I signed with Topps for twenty-five dollars.   For that, he felt that he could print my picture on his cards for as long as he wanted.   I challenged him and stopped him from printing my picture after the 1977 season.   That is why Topps does not have a picture of me for the 1978, 1979, 1980 or 1981 seasons.   He could no longer boast that he had a complete set of cards for those years.

     In order to roll back free agency, the owners threw me out of professional baseball in June of 1980.   After I helped settle the 1981 strike, Joe Torre let me pitch for him.   When the Mets fired him, they released me.   They said that my 2.60 earned run average showed that I could no longer pitch major league quality baseball.   The Milwaukee Brewers never contacted me about working for them.

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153.   I was advised take a look at your website by a local sports physiotherapist.   I was blown away by it!   I began reading some of your material and wondered how I could apply some of this information to my players that I coach.

     I'm a 3rd year Human Kinetics student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada.   I have a passion for motor development and growth and found your information quite fascinating.   As I mentioned, I am currently coaching U-18 Premier boys division up here in BC.   I focus mostly on our pitchers and was overwhelmed by the amount of throwing injuries that they have.   I've taken it upon myself to do some research in this area at my university, but have had trouble coming up with a good source.   I just wanted to let you know that your work is truly amazing and I plan to read your book to its entirety.   One more thing. Is your video worth purchasing?   Does it summarize your book or is there any 'different stuff' in there that would be of use to me?


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     I am in the process of my annual rewrite of my Coaching Pitchers book.   Give me a few weeks.   My Instructional Videotapes provides moving pictures of what I write.   It is very much worth your time and money.   And, when I finish my second version, you will be able to add it to your collection for only twenty-five percent of its purchase price.

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154.   My 13-year old son had a follow-up visit with his doctor. He reviewed the X-rays and MRIs of his elbow, which my son injured two years ago.   There are some small "loose bodies" and a deformity of his radial head.   The doctor recommended that my son consult pediatric orthopaedic surgeons to discuss arthroscopic surgery to remove the loose bodies.   He didn't think anything could be done for the radial head and said my son should consider giving up baseball.   Although he said a pediatric specialist may offer a different course of action that may be able to help repair the radial head.

     I know you address this issue in Chapter 10 of your book.   Do you have any recommendations on rest, therapy, strength training, surgery, etc. that may allow a thirteen year old to continue playing baseball?


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     These injuries and deformities are permanent and ongoing until the growth plates completely mature.   All that he can do now is to do nothing to make the situation worse. He has to stop pitching and throwing.   After the growth plate of the radial head completely closes, he might find someone willing to surgically remove the deformed growth.   However, I have no knowledge of anybody having done this surgery.

     You and he have my condolences.   This is why I am so adamant about no more than two months per year, no pitching in competitive games against opponents until thirteen and no more than one inning per game twice a week.   Prevention is the only answer.

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155.   My 12 year old son started to complain of elbow pain. He was diagnosed by an Orthopedic Doctor to have an inflamed growth plate.   The Doctor only had x-rays taken of his throwing arm.   He was told to ice it twice a day and is taking anti-inflammatory medication.   When he complained of the pain, I had him stop throwing and has not thrown since (about 1 1/2 weeks).   He experienced pain only when he threw the ball and not when he swung a bat.   I want to get another opinion about the injury.   Do you recommend seeing a Sports Medicine Doctor?   What is your advice for the rest of this season?   The season is just starting.   What can he do to help his recovery?

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     I assume that his pain is on the inside of his elbow.   This would indicate the growth plate of his medial epicondyle.   The medial epicondyle is a very critical baseball pitching structure.   When it becomes sore, it means that it cannot withstand the stress that your son places on it.   Even this seemingly minor injury will permanently alter its growth and development.   It will close before the same growth plate in his non-pitching arm.   This is called 'premature closure.'   That means that his pitching arm will be shorter than his non-pitching arm.   The only remedy is to permit the growth plates to completely mature without any further stress that could alter its remaining growth and development.

     I have no idea whether your son is an accelerated, equated or delayed skeletal maturer.   At twelve years old, if he is an equated maturer, the ossification center for his olecranon process should have recently appeared.   If it has not, then he is a delayed maturer.   If the ossification center for his lateral epicondyle has also already appeared, then he would have the maturation pattern of a thirteen year old.   I recommend that he does not throw until next year and not competitively pitch until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.   Please read my new Research Study file and join me.   Together, maybe we can find a way for your son to pitch again, but without injury.

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156.   MY DAUGHTER IS 12 1/2 YEARS OLD & HAS BEEN WINDMILL PITCHING NOW FOR ALMOST 3 YEARS.   SHE HAS NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS UNTIL WE CHANGED HER PRE-MOTION THIS YEAR.   SHE WAS COMING STRAIGHT FROM HER HIP STRAIGHT UP INTO HER WINDMILL AND HAD NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER.   NOW SHE IS BENDING DOWN AT THE WAIST ALMOST TOUCHING HER ANKLES THEN EXPLODING UP INTO HER WINDMILL.   SINCE SHE HAS STARTED THIS SHE HAS PULLED THOSE MUSCLES IN HER SHOULDER BLADE AREA 2 OR 3 TIMES.   SHE PULLED THEM AGAIN LAST WEEK.

     CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME THE NAME OF THOSE MUSCLES?   THE AREA THAT IS CAUSING HER PAIN IS BESIDE HER RIGHT SHOULDER BLADE (THE LOWER PART OF HER SHOULDER BLADE) & ALSO BELOW HER SHOULDER BLADE?   DO YOU THINK IT COULD BE CAUSED FROM HER NEW WINDUP OR FROM THROWING A CURVEBALL?   WHAT CAN I DO TO GET HER HEALED UP PROPERLY & QUICKLY AND TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?   ALSO, THE ORTHOPEDIC DOCTOR SAID SHE HAS MILD SCOLIOSIS AND SCHEURMAN'S DISEASE.   BUT I READ THAT WINDMILL PITCHERS ARE OFTEN MISDIAGNOSED BECAUSE OF THE OVERDEVELOPMENT OF THEIR RIGHT SIDE FROM PITCHING OVER & OVER AND THEY NEED TO DO MUSCLE STABILIZATION EXERCISES TO BALANCE THOSE MUSCLES OUT.

     I NEED TO KNOW WHO YOU THINK IS RIGHT AND IF YOU KNOW AN EXPERT I CAN TALK TO ABOUT THIS.   I KNOW YOUR EXPERTISE IS IN BASEBALL.   CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?


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     You are correct, I have studied baseball pitching as it effects only adolescent males.   That does not mean that I cannot diagnose what muscle your daughter has injured.   However, I do not know the skeletal growth and development pattern for adolescent females.   Nevertheless, I have to assume that while adolescent females skeletally mature earlier than adolescent males, they still have open growth plates at twelve and one-half years old.   That is always my first concern.   You must make certain that she does not apply greater stress than those growth plates can withstand without prematurely closing and permanently deforming her arm.

     I believe that she has irritated the attachment of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the inferior angle of her scapula.   I do not know the normal skeletal growth and development pattern for the scapula.   I would expect that, as a broad flat area of bone, this portion would ossify early.   I would expect that the coracoid process, acromial process and scapular spine would have growth plates.   But, I do not know.   In any case, she is applying greater stress to this attachment than either the bone and/or the attachment can withstand.   Because this portion of the Latissimus Dorsi depresses (pulls down) the scapula, the new bending forward technique that is recently started would increase the distance over which this muscle has to apply force.   Therefore, I would attribute this pain to this new motion.   However, I think that the new motion is good.   The problem lies in the skeletal maturity of the inferior angle of her scapula.

     I recommend that she greatly reduce the intensity with which she pitches with this new motion until the discomfort goes away.   I have no scientific research on which to rely to talk with you about a growth plate in that region.   And, while I do not see this as analogous to medial epicondyle injuries in adolescent males with baseball pitching, I would err on the side of caution.

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157.   My son is the victim of playing year-round baseball since he was eight years old.   I thought I was being very cautious in monitoring pitch counts, days of rest, etc.   But obviously, that is not nearly enough precaution with a youngster.   I did a lot of reading and study, but didn't come upon your work until about a year ago when it was already too late.

     Can I ask you one hypothetical question?   My son will (and already has) stop throwing.   I assume he can continue to hit as a DH.   He doesn't have pain when he throws now.   My question is, do you think it is possible that he can resume throwing in a couple of years in order to play a position like first base?


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     If your son has not and does not have discomfort from pitching, then you could work with his pitch releases using my 60-Day Pubescent and Adolescent Pitchers Interval-Training Programs.   However, I would carefully follow my other guidelines about not pitching competitively until he is thirteen years old and only one inning per game twice a week.

     At sixteen biological years old, the growth plates in the elbow mature.   At nineteen biological years old, the growth plates in the shoulder mature.   When his growth plates mature, we no longer have to worry about injuring his growth plates.   Then, all we need to worry about is how he applies force to his pitches and whether he has sufficiently trained his pitching arm to withstand the stress of pitching with the proper technique.

     I recommend that, within one week of his next birthday, you have X-rays taken of both of his arms from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm from the anterior/posterior view and lateral view.   Then, you can determine his biological age and whether the growth plates in his pitching elbow are closing earlier than the growth plates in his non-pitching arm.   If you send copies to me, I will gladly examine you and give you my evaluation.   With that information, we can better decide what is best.

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158.   I stumbled onto your site through research concerning the pronation of the pitching motion after release.   My son who is a lefty and 12 years old had some digital pictures taken of him while practicing pitching.   Anyway, the thought that he was naturally throwing a screwball and possibly injuring his arm motivated me to do the research.

     I will tell you that he has worked very hard mastering the mechanics in the instructional videos I purchased from a pitching coach wannabe.   Working hard on 2x4 drills on balance in the mirror, etc.   Also, working on the hand break that will bring the ball out of the glove with the fingers on top of the baseball, then downward and back toward second base and up to the "high cock" position (elbow at shoulder height and arm forming an "L" position with the palm of his throwing hand facing toward the second base position) at landing (of the front foot).

     I do not know what his control would have been like or his pitching mechanics since this is all he has known from the beginning, but I will say that he has had very good control and he plays AAU baseball and does very well.   I have been involved with all the teams that he has played on and will say that he has never been abused (to my knowledge) by throwing too many pitches (30 pitches/two innings a game).   Also, although several pitchers at his age and level of competition are throwing curves, he has never experimented with the pitch and will not but does throw a circle change, two seam, four seam and split finger fastball.

     After reading and trying to understand as much as I can I will say that I am very concerned about him pitching now and the possible damage he may have done to his arm.   His health and well being do come first with me and knowing what I just read has me feeling ill.   I'm visiting your area April 13-16 and I'm hoping I can pick up your training video at the same time.


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     I hope that you learned that the 'forearm pronation' that the videotape happened to capture your son performing is normal.   It is not only normal, it is mandatory, even to be promoted.   When pitching coach wannabes teach youngsters to 'supinate' the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers to throw their curves, they are subjecting the youngsters to olecranon process and fossa injury and Ulnar Collateral Ligament rupture.   My 'pronation curve' protects these structures and provides for a much higher quality pitch.

     I am not certain what you want me to do with these pitching instructions, but I will take them one by one and give you my evaluation.

1.   2x4 drills on balance in the mirror:   A major cause of injury to the Subscapularis muscle attachment on the inside, front of the shoulder is the 'balance position.'   I recommend that pitchers move their pitching arm to driveline height BEFORE they start their body forward.   In this position, the pitching arm does not have to try to catch up with the body.

2.   Hand break that will bring the ball out of the glove with the fingers on top of the baseball:   A major cause of late forearm turnover that leads to pitchers making a 'looping' motion behind their head that leads to forearm flyout is starting the baseball out of the glove with the fingers on top of the baseball.   I recommend that pitchers start the pendulum swing of their entire pitching arm with their forearm 'supinated.'   This means that their thumb points away from their body.

3.   Then downward and back toward second base: I recommend that pitchers 'pendulum swing' their entire pitching arm with their forearm pointing downward and backward toward second base.   I designed this action to prevent pitchers from taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body.

4.   Up to the "high cock" position (elbow at shoulder height and arm forming an "L" position):   A major cause of injury to the Supraspinatus muscle on the top of the shoulder is 'reverse forearm bounce' that the 'high cock' position creates.   I recommend that pitchers 'pendulum swing' their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height such that, from the side view, their forearm is forty-five degrees behind vertical.   I call this, the 'ready' position.   Immediately after pitchers reach the 'ready' position, they start the olecranon process on the tip of their pitching upper arm forward.   Therefore, to prevent 'reverse forearm bounce', I recommend that pitchers 'lock' their forearm with their upper arm and I recommend that pitchers 'roll their forearm inward.'   This action maximizes the length of their pronation range of motion and minimizes the shoulder joint inward rotation action.

5.   With the palm of his throwing hand facing toward the second base position) at landing (of the front foot):   Another major cause of late forearm turnover that leads to pitchers making a 'looping' motion behind their head that leads to forearm flyout is having the palm of the pitching hand face second base immediately before the upper arm starts forward.   I recommend that pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand face away from their body.

     Until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle fully matures, I recommend that youth pitchers do not pitch or train to pitch for more than two months per year, do not pitch against opposing batters in game situations until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   However, in those two months, they can practice learning my Maxline Pronation Curve, Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball and Torque Fastball releases with my Pickoff Position Leverage throws.   I have some concern about the split finger fastball placing too much and unnecessary stress on the muscles of the index finger and inside of his elbow.

     You and everybody else is welcome to visit my Pitcher Research/Training Center at any time and I can arrange to have my Instructional Videotape available.   I have to go get them from my video guy.   He is in charge of mailing them.

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159.   My daughter has played softball since she was seven years old.   Three yrs ago, she was throwing sidearm (a no-no) and heard a pop.   Her elbow has caused her pain ever since.   The doctor says Ulna collateral ligament strain and wants to perform Tommy John surgery.   Yet, it appears that Tommy John is performed for medial collateral ligament strains.   Can it be done for either injury?   And is it just as successful for either one?

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     The Medial Collateral Ligament of the elbow and Ulnar Collateral Ligament of the elbow are the same ligament.   Because the knee also has a Medial Collateral Ligament, to avoid confusion, doctors now call the Medial Collateral Ligament of the elbow, the 'Ulnar Collateral Ligament'. However, 'Tommy John' surgery typically replaces a ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament, not just a strained UCL.

     You did not tell me your daughter's present age.   Also, if she suffered this injury three years ago and she has continued to throw softballs, even with pain, that does not indicate a rupture to me, maybe an incomplete tear, but not a rupture.   If she is looking to seriously play softball for years to come and her growth plates have completely matured, then she should have the surgery.   It is a good surgery that is usually very successful.   However, after she heals, she needs a quality rehabilitation program that strengthens her throwing arm and teaches her how to correctly apply force.   Contact me when she is ready.

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160.   My daughter just turned seventeen.   The injury occurred when she was fourteen years old, but it is not ruptured.   I believe it is a torn ligament.   Does that type of injury, which does not seem to want to heal completely, constitute this type of surgery rather than a rupture?

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     At biological sixteen years old, the growth plate for the medial epicondyle completely matures in males.   At biological nineteen years old, the growth plates for the shoulder completely mature in males.   On average, females mature two years earlier than males.   Therefore, unless your daughter is a delayed maturer, I expect all growth plate to have completely matured.   Therefore, I can set that concern aside.

     When athletes tear their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, it may heal, but is will always be stretched.   Stretched UCLs do not provide a solid foundation from which to throw.   Therefore, when the growth plates of youngsters have matured and they have UCLs that do not heal or are even severely stretched, I recommend the UCL replacement surgery, commonly known as 'Tommy John' surgery.   However, I remind you that she will need a quality rehabilitation program that not only strengthens the throwing arm, but also teaches her how to correctly apply force.

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161.   Last year, at the age nine, my son played his very first year of baseball.   He pitched the regular season and pitched for two different All-Star teams becoming the most feared pitcher in our area.   He has an incredibly strong arm, but toward the end of the second All-star tournament I could definitely see a decline in his speed and he complained of minor pain.   I have since learned of the harmful effects of Little League pitching and have decided not to pitch (or catch) him at all this year.   The Little League coach has decided to abide by our wishes but feels we are over-reacting.

     The fact that he is not pitching has spread through our community like wildfire and everyone is wondering why I won’t let him pitch mildly, even just 1 inning a week as the coach suggested.   I really don’t want him to pitch until he’s 16, maybe “mildly” at 14.   My questions are:   1)   Do you thinks I am over-reacting?   2)   Could the reason he was so strong his first year pitching be due to the fact that he had never pitched before then?   And 3)   Have there been many cases of Little League injury with pitcher’s throwing under 40 pitches a week?


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     If you have had time to read my responses to similar questions or watched my Instructional Videotape, then you would know that I do not think that you are over-reacting.   I think that you are acting as a responsible parent in the best interest of your son.   You are doing the right thing.

     At nine years old, the growth plates in your son's pitching arm are wide open.   Two critical ossification centers, the olecranon process and lateral epicondyle, have not even appeared yet.   He threw hard until the started to irritate these cartilaginous growth plates.   If he continues to pitch, he will cause these growth plates to prematurely close, thus permanently shortening their length, or worse.

     The number of pitches per week is not the way to determine how much stress immature growth plates can withstand before they suffer irreparable, permanent damage.   There is simply no way of knowing.   I recommend that, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, youngster do not train or pitch for more than two months per year, that they do not pitch in games against opposing batters from the windup or set position until they are biologically thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   When they are biologically sixteen years old, the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures.

     I am trying to conduce a national study.   I invite parents of youth pitchers to get X-rays of both arms from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm from the anterior/posterior and lateral views within one week of their birthdays and send copies to me.   I will read them and tell you your son's biological age and whether the growth plates in his pitching elbow differ from the growth plates in his non-pitching arm.   Together, we can keep his pitching arm safe and make certain that he has a chance to become the best adult pitcher that he can be.

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162.   You have said the prior to the growth plates maturing, kids should not perform the "wrist weight" exercises.   Could you explain what those are?   Therapists have said my son should use a 3-lb weight, hold his forearm flat to a table and raise his wrist and curl his wrist for several reps.   Another exercise is the wrist roll contraption that has a weight attached to a strap that you roll up and roll down.   Are these "bad" exercises?   Are there any exercises he should be doing in the next year or so while he is not throwing?

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     My Wrist Weight exercises are very intense and apply considerable stress to the pitching arm.   For adults with mature growth plates, they are perfect for strengthening the pitching arm to perform repetitive, powerful pitching motions.   However, for youngsters with immature growth plates, they will over-stress and prematurely close those growth plates.

     The wrist curl exercise that you describe trains the muscles the flex the wrist.   These are the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.   This exercise will stress the growth plate of the medial epicondyle.   However, with only three pounds and no high-speed movement, such as with pitching, I doubt that it will cause any harm and may strengthen those muscles somewhat.   Nevertheless, I do not believe that it is worth the risk.   And, it certainly has nothing to do with his injury to the head of his radius.

     The wrist roller exercise is similar in that it trains the muscles the flex the wrist and fingers, the muscles the extend the wrist and fingers, but, more than either of them, it trains the muscles that abduct the humerus bone to horizontal.   Again, without any high-speed movement, I doubt that will cause any harm and may strengthen these muscles somewhat.   Nevertheless, I do not believe that it is worth the risk.   And, it certainly has nothing to do with his injury to the head of his radius.

     I would not spend any of my money on this rehabilitation program.   Have your son rake the yard, dig a hole, sweep the floors and so on.   He will get as much, if not more, out of it and it won't cost you money.

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163.   There's a good story in USA Today "Sports Weekly", in the issue on the newsstands this week (dated April 9-15).   In the story titled "SPECIAL REPORT: Are youth leagues hurting pitchers' arms?" the reporter presents ASMI's information on pitch counts, curveballs, growth plates, and other factors.   I thought you might be interested in finding this article.

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     Thanks for the heads up.   If I may, I would like to take a moment to give you my thoughts on youth pitching.

     In Chapter Seven of my Coaching Pitchers book, I discuss the biological appearance and closure ages for all the ossification centers and their growth plates in the pitching arm.

1.   The ossification center for the olecranon process does not appear until pubescent males are biologically eleven years old.
2.   The ossification center for the lateral epicondyle does not appear until pubescent males are biologically twelve years old.
3.   At thirteen biological years old, the growth plates for the trochlear and capitular ossification centers at the distal end of the humerus mature.
4. At fourteen biological years old, the growth plate for the lateral epicondyle matures.
5. At fifteen biological years old, the growth plate for the olecranon process appears.
6. At sixteen biological years old, the growth plates for the medial epicondyle and radial head matures.
7. The growth plates for the distal radius, distal ulna, greater tuberosity and humeral head do not mature until nineteen biological years old.

     During the deceleration phase of the pitching motion, the radius bone moves away from the capitular end of the humerus.   At the end of the deceleration phase of the pitching motion, the radius bone rebounds back and collides with the capitular end of the humerus.   I have no idea how many times this has to happen before the radial head starts to inappropriately enlarge.

     During the acceleration phase of the pitching motion, the pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnaris and a portion of the flexor digitorum superficialis severely pull on the ossification center of the medial epicondyle, which attaches to the shaft of the humerus via a growth plate.   I have no idea how many times this has to happen before the ossification center of the medial epicondyle begins to prematurely close or pulls away from the humerus or fractures or whatever, but it happens thousands of times every youth baseball season.

     To throw a curve, the 'traditional' pitching motion teaches pitchers to 'supinate' the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   I know that when pitchers of any age 'supinate' their wrist to release any pitch, during the deceleration phase, their olecranon process will collide with its olecranon fossa.   I have no idea how many times this has to happen before the olecranon process starts to inappropriately enlarge, prematurely close, fracture or whatever and/or before the hyaline cartilage of the olecranon fossa calcifies or whatever.

     In my doctoral dissertation, I found that 6.5% of chronological fourteen year old males were biologically twelve years old and 22.9% were biologically thirteen years old.   Adolescent males mature at different rates.   One rule does not fit all.

     The worse part of this entire discussion is that everybody, including myselfe is guessing.   I have not done a research study of this problem.   You have not done a research study of this problem.   Neither of us can say with any scientific certainty, how many pitches it takes to permanently alter the pitching arm of youth pitchers.   In Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book, I provide the research of Dr. Joel Adams, who conducted the only study that approaches scientific certainty and he found that 95% of the youth pitchers in his study permanently deformed their pitching arm.

     Until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures, I recommend that youth pitchers do not throw from the set position or windup for more than two months per year, do not pitch against opposing batters in competitive games until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   Yet, I do not know that this might still permanently deform their pitching arms.   Because I know that you have no idea what will happen to the youth pitchers who do what you say, I have not and will not read what you recommend.

     I am trying to initiate a study of the growth and development of the pitching arms of youth pitchers.   I am asking parents of pubescent and adolecent pitchers to take X-rays of both of their son's arms within one week of their birthdays from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm for the anterior/posterior and lateral views.   I will examine these X-rays and tell them their son's biological age and whether I can see any evidence of the growth plates in their pitching arms maturing any differently than the growth plates in their non-pitching arm.   Together, maybe we can eliminate growth plate injuries and help their son's reach adulthood with non-deformed pitching arms.

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164.   I have read your information, many articles and you may have just saved my son's arm for the majors.   You see he is a ten year old lefty with a great fastball and good location.   We had a pitching instructor help him and he really emphasized arm health, then he discovered your web site and told me about it.   We want my son to continue baseball until old enough to come to your school.   You have a REAL pitching college.   I know with your help, he will become a Cy winner.

     We are not quite sure how to tell his AAU and PONY coaches or him that there will be no more pitching.   My son LOVES to pitch more than anything on earth.   Do you have any suggestions that will help us explain this in a way he will comprehend?


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     You are his parents.   You decide what is best for him.   You do not have to explain yourself to anybody, but your son.   I have all the arguments in my Coaching Pitchers book and in my Instructional Videotape.   My Instructional Videotape provides pictures.   I have repeatedly argued this matter in my Question/Answer sections, including just today.   Please read my update next Monday.   I am but an email away.   Together, we will make certain that your son has a non-deformed adult pitching arm with which he can find out whether he can pitch at the highest level.   I invite you to join my research study.

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165.   I saw in the Q&A 2003 your reply to an anxious father whose young boy developed a sore shoulder after pitching in a tournament, entries 138, 141 and 143.   My son, a Little League pitcher, has developed shoulder pain that was diagnosed by the family doctor as a possible rotator cuff strain.   He has recommended physical therapy no overhand throwing for two weeks, continued ice and anti-inflammatory medication and referred us to physical therapy three times a week for two weeks, and then he'll be re-evaluated.   To me, that seems very minimal.   I intend to keep my son from pitching for the rest of the season.

     Like the other father, I have some guilt about my son's injury.   If I can get the doctor to agree to have the X-rays developed, I'd like to participate in the new analysis you are beginning on youth pitching arms.   I will admit I am reluctant to adopt some of your suggestions, but it is difficult to argue with science.   So while I cannot yet consider myself a disciple of your work, you definitely have my interest.

     Also, like you I have issues with the Little League organization.   If Little League abides by the mantra that it's "for the kids," perhaps they will help your research by listing a link to your Web site on their home page.   Then again, knowing the Little League mentality, I doubt they would ever agree to anything that would threaten their control of the sport.


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     Thank you for wanting to participate in my research study of the effects of pitching on the adolescent pitching arm.   We will also learn allot about maturation rates and parents will sleep better knowing the annual status of their son's growth plates.   In and of itself, this study should save many pitching arms.

     However, I am not including the shoulder growth plates in this study.   The growth plates for the greater tuberosity and humeral head do not mature until youth pitchers are biologically nineteen years old.   And, if you read Dr. Adams' article on the shoulder (Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book), you will learn that he did not find that injuries to the shoulder growth plates had the same long term effects as injuries to the growth plates in the elbow.

     If the discomfort that your son experienced is in the front portion of the shoulder, then he has irritated the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle to the lesser tuberosity.   This means that he is taking the baseball way too far laterally behind his body.   He needs to learn to take the baseball only back toward second base.   If the discomfort that your son experiences is on the top portion of the shoulder, then he has irritated the attachment of the Supraspinatus muscle to the humeral head.   This means that he points his elbow vertically upward just before he starts his elbow forward.   He needs to learn to have his forearm at forty-five degrees behind vertical as seen for the side view and 'lock' his forearm with his upper arm when he starts his forearm forward.   I call this, 'reverse forearm bounce.'   It comes from the 'high guard position' technique.

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166.   You are correct, according to her doctors, her growth plates have matured.   I looked again and they have diagnosed her injury as a UCL strain and the doctor seems sure that this is the proper treatment for her injury.   He also emphasized the rehab program post-op.   My daughter is a little reluctant, claiming that she is not a pitcher, but a catcher, shortstop and third-baseman.   I have assured her that she does not have to be a pitcher to have gained this type of injury, that it's just it's more common in pitchers.   However, she is anxious to be pain free, so she is slowly warming up to the idea.

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     It is common for baseball pitchers.   It occurs because they 'supinate' their release, that is, they turn their thumb to point upward and permit their forearm to flyout away from their body.   To prevent this injury, all players have to do is 'pronate' their release, that is, turn their thumb to point downward after release.

     The surgeon drills holes in the medial epicondyle and the proximal end of the Ulna bone.   He takes the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle from the non-throwing arm and threads it through these holes and secures the ends.   After the holes in the bones grow closed around the new tissue, she will have a brand new UCL, better than the original.

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167.   Where will your writing on the new torque be found, in the emails or in a chapter of the book?

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     I have not had time to edit my book yet.   So, here goes in an email.   As usual, the answer was right under my nose.   I simply had to keep listening to Sir Isaac Newton and my research finding of the importance of forearm pronation.

     With two adjustments, the torque fastball release is the same as the maxline fastball release.   First, the torque pickoff position differs from the maxline pickoff position.   And second, whereas, for the maxline fastball, pitchers start with their index and middle fingers at forty-five degrees from vertical and powerfully pronate their forearm to get these fingers to vertical at release, for the torque fastball, pitchers start with their index and middle fingers horizontal and powerfully pronate their forearm, but with no concern for getting these fingers vertical.   Actually, they should try to keep them horizontal throughout the driveline and release.

     My new torque pickoff position has pitchers standing with both feet on the pitching rubber facing home plate.   Then, I want them to take their glove-side foot and place it the length of their foot ahead of the pitching rubber.   Now, pitchers assume the 'leverage' position with the elbow maximally flexed and the baseball near their ear.   Next, I want the pitchers to point the baseball at home plate.   To start the exercise, pitchers bring the baseball back near their ear and on straight back toward second base until they have to lift their pitching arm-side foot off the ground.   From this preparation position, I want pitchers to step straight forward with the pitching arm-side foot and drive the baseball straight forward with their index and middle fingers remaining horizontally pointing toward their head past their ear toward home plate with a powerful forearm pronation finish that leaves their elbow and forearm at shoulder height with minimal forward rotation of their shoulders.

     I know that this defies 'common sense logic', but give it a try and see what happens.   Pitchers should start easy and increase their intensity when they realize that when they powerfully pronate their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release, they will not slam their olecranon process into its fossa.   Needless to say, they need to stand tall and keep their shoulders level.   However, I do not want them to forwardly rotate their shoulders until after they release the pitch.

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168.   I'm going to need some time with your explanation of how to throw your torque fastball.   After two read throughs, I remain confused.   Count me in with X-rays of my son's arms within one week of his birthday.

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     The difficulty that you are having with the torque fastball technique is 'common sense logic.'   I have explained the when the upper arm circles outward, it generates a centripetal force that causes the forearm to flyout.   I have also explained that, to counter this centripetal force, I want pitchers to drive the baseball straight toward home plate with a powerful pronation action.   I have recommended that pitchers keep the longitudinal axis of the upper arm (humerus bone) ahead of their acromial line.   I have recommended that pitchers reverse rotate their acromial line only to where it points toward the glove-side hitter or home plate.   I have done all this to minimize the force of the upper arm circle out that generates centripetal force that leads to forearm flyout.

     To maximize the elbow extension range of motion, I want pitchers to bend their elbow to place their forearm tightly against their upper arm.   To maximize the forearm pronation range of motion, between my 'ready' position and my 'leverage position,' I want pitchers to 'roll their forearm inwardly,' which is a 'supination' action.   Theoretically, this should be a maximal supination.   However, while it would help them learn my maxline pronation curve, it would interfere with youngsters learning the proper releases for my maxline fastball, maxline true screwball and torque fastball.   So, I only say, 'roll their forearm inwardly.'

     All of the preceding is precisely what I want pitchers to try to do with every bit of strength that they can muster.   I want them to feel as though they are driving their forearm straight toward home plate with their forearm horizontal and the baseball brushing close to their ear.   My guys will swear to you that they do just that.   They are positive that their forearm is horizontally inside of vertical.   They would say that, relative to the longitudinal axis of their upper arm (humerus bone), they have their elbow bent at one hundred and thirty-five degrees with their forearm laying right on top of their upper arm.   As you have seen, these a powerful, well-trained young men.   They throw twenty-five pound wrist weights.   They throw twelve pound iron balls.   Without any difficulty, they forearm pronation snap eight pound iron balls in my pickoff position leverage throws ninety-six times every day.   Surely, they can drive their forearm straight toward home plate horizontally inside of vertical.

     They cannot.   The centripetal force remains much stronger than they can completely overcome.   The very best that I have on five hundred frames per second film is forty degrees above the longitudinal axis of the upper arm.   I have thought of everything that I can to minimize the effect of the centripetal force that forward shoulder rotation generates.   At this point in my research, the best I can get from my strongest guys is forty degrees.   That means that, to get their forearm vertical at release, they have to lean fifty degrees to their glove side.   I know, I tell them to keep their shoulders level and rotate.   They try, but to get their forearm vertical to impart horizontal spin axes to my maxline pronation curve and maxline true screwball, they still have to lean to their glove-side at least fifty degrees.

     On the plus side, imagine what the 'traditional' pitchers do.   They are much, much worse.   In fact, most 'traditional' pitchers cannot get the longitudinal axis of their forearm above the longitudinal axis of their upper arm at all.   Pronation is the key.   Even with only ten degrees, my pitchers avoid the injuries that the 'traditional' pitching motion causes.   The point is, humans see at only thirty frames per second.   When I see at five hundred frames per second high-speed film, then I understand what is really going on.

     In conclusion, please have your son try to do what I recommend that he does.   It does not make 'common sense' because you have not seen the pitching arm action at five hundred frames per second.   I have.

     I am very pleased that you are joining my Research Study Club.   By carefully monitoring the growth and development of your son's pitching arm, you will make certain that he has a non-deformed pitching arm as a high school junior when it counts.

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169.   Do you recommend not "stretching" muscles at all because they increase myofibrils!

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     Myofibrils are the contractile organelles within muscle fibers.   They are finite length tissue.   Their sarcoplasmic reticulum attach to the endomysium connective tissue that surrounds every muscle fiber.   Myofibrils do not stretch.   However, they will tear.   Therefore, I do not recommend stretching. To prepare the pitching muscles for my pitch-specific wrist weight exercises, I recommend my pronated swings and three-movement deltoid exercises.   To prepare the pitching muscles for my pitch-specific iron ball exercises, I recommend my bucket twirls and middle fingertip spins.

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170.   First, you have made me feel a lot better about my son's progress in learning your motion.   I see the circle out that you talk about and I get nervous that he is doing something wrong.   Now I know that he is probably not.

     Next, my problem with your explanation is much more basic.   You gripped the baseball the same way in the video I shot of you throwing the two fastballs in November.   In your new Torque explanation, you have maxline fingers 45 degrees from vertical and torque fingers horizontal.   I do not understand.   The fingers are vertical or horizontal in relation to what?   If my fingers are horizontal on the ball, isn't that the curve ball grip?

     "Next, I want the pitchers to point the baseball at home plate."   They do this with the ball still near their ear, correct?   They are simply pronating the wrist a few degrees, correct?

     "To start the exercise, pitchers bring the baseball back near their ear and on straight back toward second base until they have to lift their pitching arm-side foot off the ground."   From the "pointed at home plate, leverage position, the baseball is moved straight back, i.e. the forearm is straightened?   Or does the forearm stay locked in the leverage position?


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     If your son is trying to keep his forearm horizontally inside of vertical, then he is doing the best that he can.   If he is pronating as powerfully as he can through release, then he will not slam his olecranon process into its fossa.

     For their maxline and torque fastballs, pitchers grip the baseball across one of the four seams.   I ask them to turn the open end of the horseshoe to point toward the side of home plate toward which they want the baseball to move.   With my maxline fastball, pitchers place the tip of the middle finger directly on the stripe and release the pitch off the tip of only their middle finger.   With my torque fastball, pitchers place the tips of their index and middle fingers on either side of the stripe and release the pitch of the tips of both fingers equally.   I do recommend that, with my maxline fastball, pitchers ulnar flex their wrist forty-five degrees such that their fingers are forty-five degrees above horizontal beside their ear.   With my torque fastball, pitchers should leave their wrist straight such that their fingers are horizontal beside their ear.

     For my pickoff position leverage throws, I want pitchers to point the baseball toward home plate, then bring their pitching arm straight back to their ear where their tightly bent elbow has the baseball almost touch their ear, then continue the baseball straight back as far as they can while they raise their front foot off the ground and raise their front arm to point at home plate.   When they have moved the baseball straight back as far as they can, then I want them to drive the baseball straight forward along the same path.   During the early weeks of this training, I do not want pitchers to reverse rotate their acromial line at all.   After pitchers learn how to keep their elbow and forearm at shoulder height throughout the forearm acceleration phase, the release and the deceleration phase, then I want them to reverse rotate their shoulders until the longitudinal axis of their upper arm (humerus bone) is parallel to the driveline toward home plate.   Then, from this new starting position, I want pitchers to again drive the baseball straight forward along the same path.

     The forearm should remain horizontal throughout the drawback phase of both of these techniques.   Eventually, pitchers will be able to have their forearm pointing toward second base.   However, this does not mean that pitchers have outwardly rotated their upper arm to achieve this position.   Instead, pitchers have extended their pronation range of motion to achieve this position.   In this way, pitchers do not inappropriately stress the attachments of the muscles that outwardly and inwardly rotate the head of the humerus, the so-called rotator cuff muscles.   Therefore, with my new horizontal forearm technique, pitchers increase the distance over which they can apply force to their pitches without stressing the 'rotator cuff' muscles at all.   This is the major finding that I have made over the past year.

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171.   Thank you much for allowing my wife, son and me to spend some time at your pitching complex last week.   There's nothing like seeing your pitchers in action to convince a boy that your way works.   My wife and son were quite impressed.   We look forward to your new video and also plan on joining your X-ray study.

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     We enjoy showing off.   Thanks for joining my Research Study Club.

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172.   I have a 13 year-old son who is pitching on the Freshman High School level.   It is early in the season and he started complaining about soreness in his bicep area.   I have asked him if he was sure where the soreness was and he said yes and pointed to the bicep area.   He recently started a light lifting program and I was wondering if this combined with the throwing could be the cause of muscle pain.   Since the soreness is not in the shoulder or elbow area, should we be concerned at this point?

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     This means that he has severe forearm flyout.   He is trying to prevent his olecranon process from colliding with its fossa.   The weight lifting program could be making the problem worse.   Because we cannot get a non-obstructed X-ray of the coronoid process of the Ulna bone, I do not know the appearance date of the ossification center for the coronoid process of the ulna bone.   But, he could also be having growth plate discomfort.   At thirteen years old, every growth plate in his pitching elbow is wide open, he is susceptible to numerous growth plate injuries.   If he started Kindergarten at five years old, shouldn't he be fifteen years old in the ninth grade?   He is too young to start this level of baseball pitching competition.

     You might want to join my Research Study Club.   For details, please click on the Research Study icon on my Home Page.

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173.   My son recently expressed a real interest in pitching and I want to start him out correctly.   He has pitched a little for every team he has played for since the age of 8 (except for high school), but mainly he has been at SS and 3B.   He is now a high school junior, 6' 2'' 155 lbs. (string bean) player, who has put on 8 " and 50 lbs. in the past two years.   He has struggled with retaining his coordination throughout this transition, mainly with his size 13 feet.   Still, he was coordinated enough to rank as one of the top ten infielders in our area.

     He is late maturing and I still worry because he has very little hair under his arms or on the rest of his body for that matter.   An endocrinologist we took him to see several years ago said he was 2 years late in development based on x-rays they did of his hands and wrists.   We were assured on a recent revisit that all was ok.   Anyway, at the showcase I mentioned, Brad decided to also participate as a pitcher.   He did rather well based on the comments he received from the scouts and coaches.

     He has three pitches that he throws: Fast Ball, Circle Change and 2-8 Curve Ball.   This is stuff he has just picked up, no formal training from anyone including his team coaches.   He throws 82 avg. for his fast ball from the mound but he also throws 82 avg. across the infield, so I know he is not getting it all off the mound.   I feel that if he used the proper pitching mechanics he should be able to get much more velocity off the mound than off of flat ground.   Do you agree? How would you suggest we proceed with getting the right start on developing his pitching skills?


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     He does sound like a diamond in the rough.   I offer an eight-week summer session for high school juniors and seniors.   Otherwise, he and you can read and copy my Coaching Pitchers book for free off my web site and learn how he should properly apply force to and release his pitches from my book.

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174.   My son (just turning 14) is nearly ambidextrous.   He probably favors his left somewhat in most activities.   That said, he plays SS, 3B and catcher all right-handed and his throwing speed is well above average.   Because he likes the infield, he has not thrown very much left-handed, so that particular arm is nearly "virgin" territory.   His motion does seem a bit more "natural" on that side.   (With a football, he can throw a nice spiral with either arm.)

     I have tried to keep him out of pitching since reading your materials, but according to the orthopedic, he pulled the growth plate off the inside of his right elbow at some point, which has re-attached.   The orthopedic has since OK'd him pitching, which I am still trying to discourage.

     He matured rather early (dark black hair all the way up his stomach and starting in the center of his chest), is about 5'8" 155lbs.   The doctors project 6'2".   (His hands and size 12 feet are bigger than mine and I'm 6'2".)   It would seem he is not done growing.

   He and I are interested in developing his left arm for pitching (and potential injury back-up).   What, if anything, at this present age, would you recommend he do to train the "virgin" left arm?   Should we begin now with your 60 day adolescent schedule?   Or is this even the proper time to begin any training?   At what point would you recommend moving to higher stress training?


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     The first skill that youth pitchers must learn is how to use their pitching arm to properly apply force to and release the basic pitches; my maxline fastball, maxline true screwball, maxline pronation curve and torque fastball.   To accomplish this, I recommend that youth pitchers at whatever age practice my pickoff position leverage throws.   I am in the process of updating my Coaching Pitchers book to reflect what I have learned and am currently doing with my research/training kids.   Please give me a couple of weeks to edit my new Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven.   Keep in touch.

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175.   I have a son pitching in the minor leagues and since he began pitching back in high school, he always put ice on his elbow and shoulder.   The organization he is with does not do this.   I'm not sure what their method is for them to do after they pitch, but I'm interested to know in your opinion what is the proper thing to do.

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     When pitchers put ice on the elbow and shoulder after they pitch, they increase the blood flow to those areas.   This helps resupply nutrients and remove waste products.   These are good things and I have absolutely nothing against it.   Nevertheless, I never put ice on my pitching arm after I pitched.   I trained to increase the vascularization to my pitching muscles such that I resupplied the nutrients and removed waste products without an artificial aid.   However, if you son puts ice on his pitching arm because he is experiencing discomfort, then he needs to evaluate how he applies force to his pitches and how he trains.   Properly trained pitchers with proper force application techniques do not need ice and they can pitch every day without fatigue or discomfort.

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176.   I am 19 year old and I am in my freshman year of college.   I was born without one of the ligaments in my shoulder and was having problems with pain in my shoulder my junior year of high school.   I was a pitcher and I messed up my mechanics to find a comfortable arm slot for my shoulder.   In doing this I ended up hurting my elbow.   I will try to be as specific as I can in describing it.

     The pain is on the inside of my forearm, right around my elbow joint.   It does not hurt me at all when bringing my arm back just when from where it gets parallel with my body on through.   Basically, when I snap my wrist down to put pop on my fast ball.   I can squeeze what feels like where the ligament meets the elbow and just about put myself to my knees.   When I am throwing there is a real sharp pain and that runs from my elbow to my fingers and then its over no lingering pain.   It also does this when I am swinging.   When I turn on an inside pitch and roll my wrist over.   Hitting opposite field does not bother it but when I roll my wrist over that's when the pain occurs.

     I had X-rays on my elbow and MRIs done when my elbow first started bothering my junior year in high school.   The results were the ligament was inflamed and I also had a piece of cartilage floating around in my elbow.   Nothing was torn and the X-rays showed no sign of growth plate separation.   Since I had the rotator cuff surgery my shoulder is fine and everything was off to a good start but recently my elbow has started to bother me again with the same pain as before.   I also believe that if the elbow was just inflamed or it was the growth plate the time off I had during surgery should have healed it.

     I am wondering if that cartilage could have hardened to the point where it is rubbing the ligament?   Possible a bone chip?   It is not a everyday pain some days I can throw fine and throw 89-91 mph and other days I can barley throw the ball at all it hurts so bad.   Any Ideas?


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     Pain on the inside of the elbow indicates the medial epicondyle area.   Pain when you make a strong fist indicates the medial epicondyle area.   Did you have that piece of floating cartilage removed?   If it lodges between the ulna and humerus bones in the elbow joint, then you could irritate the hyaline cartilage and create intermittent pain.   Otherwise, if you have strained the Ulnar Collateral Ligament or the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, then you would experience continuous pain.

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177.   We have been through your tape about a million times.   I learn something new every time I see it.   Looking forward to the new version.   My older son has been working hard incorporating the techniques.   He is a fairly well developed kid, has worked out for a long time, but he cannot get through an entire workout yet.

     I still have thoughts about the leg drive and height of the pitcher at release.   It still seems to me that, all other things being equal, a lower release point, through dropping and driving, would give a more advantageous ball travel angle, making any pitch harder to hit.

     Thinking about force application, whereby for whatever force you want to go the plate, an equal force must go to second base.   I thought maybe a 'sprinters start' type of drive might be best.   My eldest son has been dropping and driving for a long time, and was having trouble with the straight up delivery.   So I suggested he try to drop a little and sprint off the mound, back foot then front foot and sync the forearm snap with the front foot drive, as you say.   Well, he threw the hell out of the ball, with great control and movement.   We did not have the radar gun, as you suggested, but he surely had more pop on his pitches than he ever has.

     The sprinters start is not a true drop and drive delivery, but it is not straight up either.   Maybe it is simply the description that got it across to my son.   What do you think of this description as far as what you are looking for?   Too low?

     He has really gotten the arm pronation down, and has more movement on his fast balls and sinker than he ever has.   It seems impossible, but some of his sinkers seem to break two feet in with a great sharp drop, fastballs a foot in.   He is a left hander, and has always had trouble pitching to left handers.   Never a problem against right handers.   I think his improved fastball and sinker will really help him out against the left handers.

     His top pitch has always been his slider.   Well now, after getting pretty good with pronating when throwing a slider, it makes his old slider look flat.   He has always been able to throw a good slider on 3-1.   Now he can still throw a slider on 3-1, but it has a much more wicked break.   It also does not bother his elbow AT ALL!   In fact, since starting the exercises and changing mechanics, he has had no arm trouble whatsoever.   His curve has always been really good, but now it is better.   He is also working on the screwball.   Thanks for all you do.


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     It is fun to talk with people who are thinking and incorporating my ideas.   I agree with much that you say. However, lowering the release point is not one of them.   How much pitchers should lower their center of mass to drive off the pitching rubber is the question.   In their first step forward, I do not believe that pitchers require a great deal of force.   Therefore, I recommend that pitchers simple walk off the pitching rubber.   That does not require a drop and drive rear leg action that significantly lowers the center of mass and, as a result, the height that pitchers release their pitches.

     I also believe that pitchers drive their pitches straightforward on a line that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of their body.   The only thing that separates five foot eight inch tall pitchers like me from six foot eight inch tall pitchers is the degree of forward lean in the rotational axis of their body, not how much they lowered their center of mass with the drop and drive rear leg action.   I want all pitchers to release their pitchers as high as they can without leaning to their glove-side at a downward angle toward the top of the strike zone.

     In this way, my four seam maxline and torque fastballs cross home plate at the top height of the strike zone, my two seam maxline fastball sinkers and torque fastball sliders cross home plate in the middle height of the strike zone and my maxline pronation curves and maxline true screwballs cross home plate in the bottom height of the strike zone.   Consequently, hitters cannot discern what pitch pitchers have thrown until they recognize the spin on the baseball.   Typically, pitchers release their fastballs at lower drivelines than their non-fastballs and they are easy to recognize and time.

     I agree with the 'sprint start' idea.   That is one of the reasons why I have pitchers turn their rear foot to point somewhat toward home plate.   However, the concept for ballistic actions such as pitching is uniform acceleration.   That means that the velocity linearly increases throughout the force application to reach its maximum at release. Therefore, we cannot have pitchers exploding off the pitching rubber.   By contrast, running a marathon is an uniform velocity activity, where after they reach the proper velocity, they have no change in velocity, which means no acceleration.   We do not want to spin our wheels at the starting gate.   I recommend that we walk forward off the pitching rubber, push and pull our body ahead of our front foot and strongly push back toward second base simultaneous with our forearm acceleration through release.

     The sinker sounds right.   You can correct the flat slider with a slight slice tennis serve lean to the glove-side during the forearm acceleration phase.   Remember, pronate, pronate and pronate.

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178.   My husband is using your specifications to build my fourteen year old a mound.   Is there a picture of your mound?   I'm not sure that he is building it correctly.   This mound should be fine and doesn't need to be taller does it?

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     Pitching mounds are ten inches higher than home plates.   I build a rectangular box, fill it with dirt and cover it with astroturf.   This way, I have no maintenance and pitchers can throw shortly after it rains.   I have not taken or drawn pictures of my mound, except maybe it shows on my Instructional Videotape.   However, it is a good idea and I will include a picture in my next video.

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179.   What thoughts or concerns do you have regarding overloading/underloading and the use of weighted baseballs?   I would appreciate your comments regarding the advantages/disadvantages of it.

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     You do not tell me that ages of the pitchers.   If they have open growth plates, I do not recommend that they throw anything other than baseballs.

     For adults, I do not see how they can meaningfully underload a five and one-quarter ounce baseball.   When I teach hitting, I use underloading with thirty-four ounce baseball bats.   But, with baseball pitching, I use six, eight, ten and twelve pound iron balls.   The purpose of overloading is to stimulate an osteoblastic response that will strengthen the cortex of the bones as well as the attachments of the tendons and ligaments to the bones.   Anything less is a waste of time and probably injurious.   The heavier balls force pitchers to use the proper force application techniques.   The lighter balls only exacerbate the pitching flaws that they already have.

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180.   I'm 17 years old and I don't understand this.   I've been keeping my throwing arm elbow as high as I can for as long as I can through my delivery, yet after my best pitches my elbow hurts a little bit.   I have pitched excessively lately, about 200 pitches over the last few day.   Also, afterwards my fingers feel tingly, but my elbow no longer stings when I put stress on it like it did last year.   Wat's wrong?
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     I assume that when you say 'my elbow hurts a little bit,' you are referring to the inside of your elbow, the medial epicondyle area.   If so, your problem relates to 'forearm flyout,' not whether you keep your elbow high.   I assume that when you say, 'afterwards, my fingers feel tingly,' you are referring to your little finger and the lateral one-half of your ring finger.   This is your Ulnar Nerve that runs in the groove behind your medial epicondyle.   If so, your problem relates to 'supinating' your forearm, rather than 'pronating' your forearm.

     The first thing that you have to do it stop taking the 'longitudinal axis' of the upper arm (humerus bone) of your pitching arm behind your body.   You should keep this 'longitudinal axis' parallel with your driveline toward home plate.   While this correction will not eliminate your 'forearm flyout' entirely, it will give you a fighting chance.   To overcome the centripetal force that you generate when you forwardly rotate the 'longitudinal axis' of the upper arm, you must learn to powerfully 'pronate' your pitching arm.   I recommend that pitchers try to drive their forearm straight toward home plate with their forearm pointing horizontally inside of vertical.

     I am in the process of updating my Coaching Pitchers book.   Give me a few days to rewrite my new Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven.   Then, when you see in my Recent Updates file that I have rewritten them, read them carefully and get back with me on what you do not understand.

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181.   Thank you very much for letting me come and see your camp.   I had a great time and learned something also. I am glad I finally got to see the camp my dad talks about it a lot.   Hopefully someday I may attend the camp myself.

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     It is always nice to have a youth pitcher visit.   I hope that you gained a perspective of what it takes to become the best pitcher that you can be.   But, more importantly, I hope that you understand that excessive youth pitching can destroy your pitching arm before you get a chance to see how good you can be.

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182.   As part of my Discussion Group.   I've been to your camp, I have your video and I think the more people hear about, read about and have access to the information you provide, the better able we will all be as coaches, parents and trainers to protect our children from injuries from overuse in pitching.   I understand if you individually do not want to join the discussion(s), but I definitely want your information out there.

     Our goal is to teach athletes how to maximize athletic performance, avoid injury and reach or surpass their goals in sports through the use of effective strength and conditioning programs tailored to the individual athlete.   Hopefully we can promote some constructive dialogue among players and coaches interested in baseball and strength and conditioning.   I look forward to discussing and disseminating what will be information useful to anyone interested in improving performance on the baseball and softball field through intelligent training.


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     My goal is to eliminate pitching arm injuries at all ages.   I appreciate any help anybody gives me in my pursuit of this goal.   I am always ready to give my advice on what parents, coaches and pitchers can do to prevent pitching arm injuries.   You and anybody else in your group are welcome to visit my Pitcher Research/Training Center at any time.

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183.   I RUPTURED MY UCL ON SAT 4/5/03.   I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I AM A PTA FOR AN ORTHO GROUP.   I GOT THE OPINION OF TWO DRS. AND BOTH SAID THAT THEY FELT THAT I COULD FUNCTION JUST FINE WITHOUT SURGERY.   THIS OBVIOUSLY MEANT NOT PARTICIPATING IN THROWING SPORTS.   MY CONCERN IS THAT I AM EXTREMELY ACTIVE.   I DO A GREAT DEAL OF HOME REMODELLING, HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTING, SWIMMING, BIKING, ETC AND I'M NOT SURE WHETHER THIS WILL CAUSE LIMITATIONS THAT I CANNOT DEAL WITH.   PLEASE GIVE ME YOU OPINION ON THIS MATTER.   I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SPOT MY CLIENTS IN ADDITION I PERFORM A GREAT DEAL OF MANUAL TECHNIQUES.

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     If you ruptured your Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then you do not have a ligament between your Ulna bone and Humerus bone that holds the two bones together.   Without muscle action from the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, these bones will move apart when you try to apply downward pressure with your hand with your elbow bent.   You must have this repaired.   It is a simple, effective surgery.   I cannot imagine why any orthopedic surgeon would say that you do not need to fix it.   I do not know your age or how you injured your UCL, but I would find an orthopedic surgeon to fix it.

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184.   I have just found your web page and it puts some fear in my heart.   I know some of your advice without asking but will give you some back ground and then get to the advice that I cannot find on your web site.

     My son has been pitching little league since he was 10, and has had a very strong arm, has not thrown curves (did not even try) until this year, he is now 13.   He does not appear as mature as most of the other athletes.   He throws a 2 seam, 4 seam, change up, and knuckle.   He wins most of his battles with control.

     When 11 he injured his epicondyle in his elbow.   He did not pitch again for about a year.   Pitched until this year without any pain in his elbow, in fact even now he has no pain in his elbow.   His problem this year began as pain high in the biceps area not on top of the shoulder or in the joint.   Of course the coach says pitch through this it is just muscle soreness but it seemed worse.   My son LOVES to pitch and I know he would not “wimp” out so we went to the orthopedic surgeon that treated his epicondylitis.

     Following X-rays and MRI his physician diagnosed stress fracture of the growth plate in the upper arm.   Is this injury likely to be from pitching?   He also played football and felt pain during bench press.   The physician recommended another week of no throwing (for a total of 4 weeks) and begin to throw but to stop with ANY pain.   We began throwing last week and today he was long tossing at about 100% with no pain.   A very happy boy ready to get back to pitching a week from now.   What recovery would you recommend?   What kind of long term problems should we expect from this recent injury?   From the elbow injury earlier?   Any advice?   Is it too late?


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     It is not easy to determine his present age, but I guess it is either twelve or thirteen.   For biological twelve year old males, the ossification center for the lateral epicondyle appears.   At thirteen biological years old, all growth plates are wide open.   At this point, he has irreversibly altered the growth pattern for the growth plate for his medial epicondyle and growth plate for his humeral head.   He does not appear that he has yet damages the growth plates for his olecranon process and lateral epicondyle.   He could try for all four.

     I recommend that he stop pitching until all the growth plates in his pitching elbow have matured.

     To monitor this situation, I invite you and your son to join my Research Study Club.   Please click on the Research Study icon on my home page.

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185.   In regard to your new torque fastball: In your video you say to turn your wrist slightly at release so that the ulna side of the wrist is slightly closer to home plate than the thumb side ( basically the opposite of your maxline release).   Are you still teaching this for the torque release?   If so, can you describe how the fingers go from horizontal going by the ear to your original torque fastball release?   Finally, does the torque fastball still break toward the glove side of home plate?

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     I was wrong on my Instructional Videotape.   I am sorry.   However, I always say that my Coaching Pitchers book is a work in progress and so is my Instructional Videotape.   I put my latest ideas in my Question/Answer file.   It appears that you conscientiously read my comments.   So, you are doing your job. I will continue to update everything as soon as I can.

     I recommend that pitchers never 'supinate' their forearm through release.   My former torque fastball release includes some supination action.   I was wrong.   Now, I want pronation with my torque fastball release.   I want pronation with the release of all pitches.

     To teach the proper releases for all my pitches, I use my pickoff position leverage throws where the acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline.   For the torque fastball, my pickoff position starts with both feet on the pitching rubber.   Then, pitchers move their glove-side foot one foot length ahead of the pitching rubber.   Pitchers bent their pitching elbow tightly against their upper arm and raise their upper arm until their forearm is horizontal and the baseball is near their ear.   I use the same grip and release as I show on my Instructional Videotape.   I want the fingers horizontally pointing toward the head.

     To start the throw, I want pitchers to shift their body weight backward to their pitching arm-side leg and reach straight backward with their pitching hand without reverse rotating their shoulders.   Then, I want them to step straightforward with their pitching arm-side leg, forwardly rotate their shoulders and drive the baseball straightforward in the same line past their ear.   Because the torque fastball is supposed to leave the tips of the index and middle fingers equally, pitchers should attempt to get the baseball to spin with a vertical spin axis such that the stripe is horizontal.

     As you see, I do not want the fingers to go to what I taught on my Instructional Videotape.   As soon as I find time to update my Coaching Pitchers book and take some more high-speed film of my best guys throwing my pitches as close as they can to what I recommend that they do, I will update my Instructional Videotape.   The last video took me three hundred hours and six weeks.   So, I will need some time.   But, I will get it done and, together, we will get you or your son throwing a great torque fastball.

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186.   My son is 13 years old.   He has been pitching since he was 9.   He would be considered one of the better pitchers at his level in this area in Little League.   Although his interest is certainly an outgrowth of my passion for the game, he is his own person.   I do not have to push him and take great pains not to.   He works on his own, and works a great deal on his pitching.   He truly loves the game and drives himself to be successful.   This year, he has moved up to the real field, at 60’ 6”.

     I have held off on any formalized instruction because he is not old enough, he has been playing Little League, etc.   There is a local instructor.   However, it is becoming obvious he has talent at this level as well, and I am rethinking formal instruction.   One thing most people say about him is he has good “mechanics”, whatever that means, and who in the hell around here knows what good mechanics is.   I do know that he looks like he is not throwing the ball hard in an effortless manner, but umpires and other players say he throws harder than anyone around at his age.

     He agrees not to throw any breaking stuff involving any elbow movement.   He did pick up a pretty good cutter from reading a former major league pitching star's book on his own which involves only a differential in pressure from the middle finger/index finger.

     Anyway, from reading your materials, I get the impression you do not put much stock in kids who have thrown from such an early age.   I have not had his growth plates checked and maybe I should.   (He has a pediatrician who has an older son who is a good pitcher at the high school level, so he follows my son’s progress.   He would not think I was crazy to check on that issue.)

     From your study and work, is there much hope for a kid like this moving on to a good high school career, and maybe even a college career?   He has pitched since he was 9.   What should he be doing now for some longevity?   Have you come across any case histories of pitchers who started at this age and went on?


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     It is my belief that youth baseball programs select the best young pitching arms in the country and ruin them.   I do not believe that the growth plates in the adolescent pitching arm can withstand long term stress.   However, except for a study conducted by Dr. Joel Adams of San Bernadino, CA in the middle 1960's, nobody has conducted any meaningful research.   With the cooperation of the parents of youth pitchers, I am trying to get a research study started.   I invite you and your son to join.

     I know that at thirteen biological years old, the growth plates for the medial epicondyle, lateral epicondyle, olecranon process and radial head in the pitching elbow are wide open.   I know that too much stress will cause these growth plates to prematurely close or much, much worse.   I know that ninety-five percent of the youth pitchers in Dr. Adams' study showed premature close or worse.   I know that while winning a youth league program is important to adults, participation and skill development is important to the kids.   I know that adolescent males mature at different rates.   I know that for a youth team to get to the final eight teams that play in the Little League World series, the majority of their players have to be biologically nearly fifteen years old when they are chronologically nearly thirteen years old.

     I want the best young pitching arms to reach their junior year in high school without a pitching arm deformed from youth pitching, but with the skills to correctly apply force and impart the proper spin axes to throw the pitches that they will need to become the best that they can be.   I place the responsibility on the parents.

     The problem with throwing curves is the way that 'traditional' pitching coaches teach it.   They tell youngsters to 'supinate' their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   That causes pitchers to 'slam' their olecranon process into its fossa.   I teach a 'pronation curve.'   It is safe to practice and learn.   I also teach a 'true screwball' that requires 'pronation.'   I reach two fastball releases, both of which require 'pronation' releases.   These are all safe to practice and learn.

     I recommend that, until the growth plate for their medial epicondyle completely matures, parents do not permit their youth pitchers to pitch 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 twice a week.   The growth plate of the medial epicondyle matures when adolescent males are biologically sixteen years old.

     I do not know the gentlemen you mentioned as pitching experts.   Nevertheless, I do know that they are not.   They teach what major league pitching stars do.   They have no scientific basis for anything that they teach.   They are like those who thought the earth is flat, they pass down myth after myth without looking through a surveyor's transit.   If they had, they would have seen the top of the ship's mast as the ship approached shore and realized that the earth is round.   My surveyor's transit for baseball pitching is high-speed film, Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and applied anatomy.   I know the science.   Read my book.   You should be your son's pitching coach.   If not, you will be respondible for destroying his pitching arm.   Please join my Research Study Club and, together, we will make your son the best high school junior pitcher that he can be.

P.S.   I strongly advise against the 'cut fastball.'   To throw that pitch, pitchers have to 'supinate' their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   As a result, when tired, they are likely to 'slam' their olecranon process into its fossa.   They will complain of discomfort above the tip of their elbow (olecranon process).

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187.   I have determined that I have practically destroyed my right elbow (throwing elbow).   I think I can even think back to the day I did it in little league.   Ever since, I have played with a injured elbow.   I throw very very hard, but after a little while, my elbow cramps up with pain, especially the inside part of my elbow and decreasing my ability to throw tremendously.   I was a catcher/pitcher/outfielder.   I used to throw hard a allot as well, which caused the problem.

     I just have a couple questions.   Generally, how much does Tommy John surgery cost, and as a catcher still, how long is a good recovery time.   Also, if properly rehabbed, and proper throwing techniques are enforced, will the same injury occur over time or not? One more question, can you refer any surgeons in my area?


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     I have no idea what Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery costs.   From what you have said, 'my elbow cramps up with pain,' does not convince me that you have ruptured your UCL.   My 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Program greatly reduces the rehabilitation time and, more importantly, teaches pitchers how to properly apply force to their pitches.   This surgery is well-known and relatively simple.   I am sure that your area has several qualified surgeons.   Call them and ask them how many they have done.

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188.   You were kind enough to do an interview with for a website recently.   We'd really like to have you on our new radio show to discuss both your career and your ideas on pitching.

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     To eliminate pitching arm injuries, I will talk with anybody at any time.   However, I am only minimally interested in discussing my career.   I know that my career helps give me a forum and credibility, but I prefer to discuss the end of pitching arm injuries.   Unfortunately, major league pitching success also gives others credibility that does not tranfer to the elimination of pitching arm injuries.   Therefore, for my credibility, I minimize my reliance on my career.

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189.   I saw your video today and I have to say I am very impressed AND I understand much better now.   I know you are a very busy man and do not have a lot of time for questions.   I really appreciate your help.   I sure would like to drop by some time and meet you.

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     I always take time for email questions.   Ask away.   Everybody is welcome to visit my Pitcher Research/Training Center on the south side of Zephyrhills, FL at 4352 Gall Blvd on Hwy 301.   Presently, we will train from 10:00AM to 11:30AM.

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190.   I received your order for my Instructional Videotape.   I sent an email to my video guy to mail it to you.   You can read and copy my Coaching Pitchers book on my web site for free at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I am currently doing my annual update, so give me a couple of weeks.

     Seven year olds should not be pitching competitively at all.   I recommend that he waits until he is thirteen years old biologically before he pitches competitively.   He should not even practice pitching for more than two months per year until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle completely matures.   From thirteen to sixteen biological years old, he should not pitch more than one inning twice a week.

     I invite you and your son to join my Research Study Club, where we will follow the progress of his growth plate maturation in his pitching elbow.   For more information, click on my Research Study icon.   Together, we can make certain that your son does not destroy his pitching arm before he has a chance to become the best pitcher he can be.

     I have a 60-Day Pubescent Pitchers Training Program that youngsters can start at ten biological years old.   Until then, there are allot of other activities that he can do.


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191.   My son is a 16-year old RHP.   He is a junior in high school and is 6'3", 187 lb.   He has been pitching since he was 8 years old, but missed the majority of his freshman season with elbow tendonitis.   He throws low to mid 80's with his fast ball and has hit 88.   This past Saturday, after warming up in the bullpen and feeling great he went to the mound and his first warm-up pitch nearly sailed over the backstop as a loud crack was heard and he crumpled to the ground.

     X-rays at the ER showed a spiral fracture of the right humerus.   The doctor chose the non-surgical route because there is no muscle or soft tissue damage and because his growth plates are still open feels the bone will heal and be stronger than before.   He anticipates recovery will be complete and he should be able to return to the mound for his senior season in 2004.

     Have you had experience with this and if so is this a good timetable estimate?   I know this injury ended the career of 4 major leaguers, but I have found two younger pitchers that recovered completely and are pitching again, one in rookie ball and the other for Cincinnati.


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     Your son broke his forearm because the has late 'forearm turnover' and 'reverse forearm bounce.'   This means that he takes the baseball out of his glove with his fingers on top of the baseball, that he turns the palm of his pitching hand to face second base and that he points his pitching forearm upward immediately before he starts his pitching elbow toward home plate.   The rotational force exceeded what the mid-humerus bone of his pitching upper arm could withstand.

     All pitching arm injuries result from either improper force application or insufficient training.   In his case, because the doctor found open growth plates, his injury resulted from improper force application.   I say that because youth pitchers with open growth plates in their elbow should not use overload training methods to strengthen their skeletal structure.   Did the doctor tell you which growth plates were still open?

     At fourteen biological years old, the growth plate for the lateral epicondyle of the elbow completely matures.   At fifteen biological years old, the growth plate for the olecranon process of the elbow completely matures.   At sixteen biological years old, the growth plate for the medial epicondyle completely matures.   If he is an equated or accelerated maturer, at sixteen chronological years old, these growth plates should already be completely matured.   At sixteen biological years old, only the growth plates in the head of the humerus bone in his pitching upper arm should be open.   They do not completely matures until nineteen biological years old.

     The doctor is correct.   After broken bones correctly heal, they are stronger that before they broke.   However, that is true for only precisely where the bone healed.   One-quarter of an inch on either side of the heal, the bone is weaker than before it broke.   The danger in returning to pitch is that it will break again near the previous break.   The time that broken bone patients spend in their casts caused the bones to loss bone density and atrophy (become smaller).   As a result, doctors look at the X-rays of the break and pronounce that the bone has healed and it is stronger and the pitcher can resume pitching.   Not true.

     Before the pitcher resumes pitching, he must first learn how not to have 'late forearm turnover' and 'reverse forearm bounce.'   And, I recommend that before the pitcher resumes pitching, he waits until all growth plates his entire pitching arm have closed and then, I recommend that, to regain the bone density and hypertrophy the bone to far stronger than it was before the time he spent in a cast, he complete my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   I designed this program to maximally strengthen the bones of the pitching arm, the attachments of the ligaments in the pitching arm and the attachments of the tendons in the pitching arm.   At the same time, I teach pitchers how to properly apply force to their pitches.   I 'injury-proof' pitchers.

     The only reason why all those major league pitchers did not return to pitching is because they did not complete my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training Program.   After your son completes it, then he can pitch without further injury concern and find out how good he can be.

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192.   I RUPTURED MY ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT THROWING DURING A SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT.   I FELT AND HEARD A POP AND IMMEDIATELY HAD PAIN.   I AM 42 YEARS OLD MALE, BUT NOT ORDINARY.   I AM NOT A WEEKEND WARRIOR, AS I AM CONSTANTLY PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS, TRAINING AND OTHER ACTIVITIES AT A HIGH LEVEL.   10 MONTHS AGO, I TORE 15% OF MY WRIST FLEXOR TENDON ALONG WITH AVULSING PART OF MY MEDIAL EPICONDYLE.

     I WAS DILIGENT WITH MY REHAB BUT I COULD FEEL THAT MY LIGAMENT WAS STRETCHED BY THE STRESS I FELT WITH ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSED A VALGUS STRESS ON THE ELBOW.   I EXPRESSED THIS TO THE SURGEON WHO PERFORMED THE SURGERY AND HE TOLD ME THAT THE LIGAMENT WAS LAX BUT HE DID NOT FEEL AT THAT TIME IT REQUIRED A SURGICAL REPAIR.   I GAVE HIM PERMISSION PRIOR TO THE SURGERY TO REPAIR THIS AND EXPRESSED MY LEVEL OF ACTIVITY.   AFTER THE RUPTURE I EXPRESSED MY DISAPPOINTMENT.   HE SAID THAT THE LIGAMENT WAS INTACT WHEN HE DID THE ORIGINAL SURGERY SO HE DID NOT REPAIR IT.   HE ALSO STATED THAT I WOULD HAVE BEEN HARD PRESSED TO FIND A SURGEON THAT WOULD TAKE AN INTACT LIGAMENT WITH NO DAMAGE OTHER BEING STRETCHED AND DO A SURGICAL PROCEDURE ON IT.

     OH WELL, THIS IS WHERE I STAND.   I AM GOING TO HAVE THIS REPAIRED.   WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE FOR THIS REPAIR AND CAN I EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO RETURN TO SOFTBALL AND ANY OTHER THROWING SPORTS?


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     The Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery is a simple, very effective surgery.   However, after it heals, you have to learn to not permit your forearm to 'flyout' and you have to regain the bone density that you lost during the convalescence.   I recommend my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training program.

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193.   Great article in Collegiate Baseball!   I was really happy to see that they got it in there.   When we spoke on the phone you mentioned that the arm never fully extends when it is pronated (screwball), did I understand this correctly?   Could you explain it again?   I want to start trying it with my kids and I want to make sure I understand.

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     Pitchers should never fully extend their elbow on any pitch.   To prevent this, all they have to do is to minimize the horizontal centripetal force that they generate when they forwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and pronate their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release and the deceleration phase.   I am working hard on my new Chapter Thirty-Six.   Give me a few more days and I will explain my entire pitching motion in much greater detail.   My next Instructional Videotape will blow your socks off.   I plan to start working on it in June.

     Thanks for the kind words on my piece in Collegiate Baseball.   For years, I have refused to read what anybody else wrote about the pitching motion.   I did this for two reasons.   First, I knew that they were only expressing their opinions, that they did not do any research.   Second, I did not want anything that they wrote to influence my research.   However, I am down to very few questions that I have remaining about the baseball pitching motion and how best to teach and train youngsters to do it.   As a result, I read the other articles.   I was amazed.   These guys know less than nothing.   They even contradict themselves.

     I will continue to not mention names.   But otherwise, the kid gloves are off.   These guys tell the public that they are experts.   The say that they know how to teach children how to pitch.   I think that they should be held to the same standard as any trained professional, such as a medical doctor.   I think that they are legally liable for the thousands of irreparable pitching arm injuries that they caused.   Parents should sue.   They are frauds.   Worse, they knew that what they taught destroyed youth pitching arms, did not tell anybody and continued.

     I have taught college pitchers for eight years.   I taught pitchers before, during and after those college years.   I have a former assistant baseball coach who has taught college pitchers for eleven years.   No pitcher that I or he has taught has ever had a pitching arm injury, much less required surgery.   If a single pitcher that these pitching coach wannabes have taught has required surgery and they did not know why and how to prevent it, they should stop working with pitchers.

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194.   WHAT IS YOUR 280 DAY PITCHERS PROGRAM?   I AM A THERAPIST SO I HAVE ACCESS TO REHAB PROGRAMS BUT I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS PARTICULAR ONE.   ALSO THE DONOR TENDON IS GOING TO BE THE PLANTARIS DUE TO THE FACT THAT I DO NOT HAVE A PALMARIS LONGUS TENDON.

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     To find my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training Program, click on the Training Programs icon on my home page.   When Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement patients do not have the tendon for the Palmaris Longus muscle, Dr. James Andrews uses a portion of the tendon of the Gracilis muscle.

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195.   I was a 4 year starting college pitcher. Since my graduation in almost twenty years ago, I have had the privilege of coaching high school baseball, but have stopped for some years now.

     My son is playing competitive 7 & 8 year old baseball and I have been asked to coach.   Although I think it too competitive, that is out of my control.   My question is how to best instruct such a young player on the fundamental of pitching.   We do practice the three movement deltoid exercise that I have been using since a former player of yours taught me in 1985, but how best should I approach teaching such young children the craft of pitching.


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     You should not weight train youngsters with open growth plates.   I recommend that, until the growth plate for the medial epicondyle completely matures, no youngster should practice pitching for more than two months per year, should pitch from the set or windup positions against batters in competitive games until they are thirteen years old and should not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   To learn how to save your son's pitching arm, please click on the Research Study icon on my home page.

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196.   I want to bring my son to see you, but I would like to have someone watch him throw to make sure he is doing things correctly.   I am eager for your new tape.   When are you planning to release it?

     My son has made progress, but his velocity varies from 42 to 48 mph and I’d like him to be more consistent at 46 to 48.   The other kids on his team, with one exception, throw 50-54.   I mention speed only because he is inconsistent and this comes with execution of the fundamentals of your technique, which brings me back to the first point, his mechanics.

     I know you are busy, I know how you feel about youth pitching, but I also know your desire to protect youth pitchers so I ask again:   Can you watch him pitch, either in person at your place or video?   I ask this so that I can learn his flaws and correct them.   If you will not, would you allow your now advanced students to watch him if we came?


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     I have worked for over a month on updating my Coaching Pitchers book.   I am a couple of weeks from finishing that project.   Other than writing the outline and dialogue, I cannot start on my Instructional Videotape until the first of June.   I will be amazed if I finish it by the end of July.   I put over three hundred hours just on the video studio equipment last time and I plan to be even more through this time.

     I am sorry, but I cannot open myself to watching youngsters.   I will also not permit someone far less trained than I to advise you on your son's pitching motion.   I am pleased that you want to make certain that your son is doing everything right, but I do not have the time for all, so I will not do any.

     I understand the concern about fluctuating velocities.   However, if he stays with my pickoff position leverage throws until he perfects them and then, stays with my no-stride leverage throws until he perfects them and so on.   He is having control and velocity fluctuations because he has not perfected these and my set position leverage throws before he started the set and windup position throws.   Everybody is in such a rush to pitch competitively.   He cannot do calculus until he masters the multiplication tables.

     In the perfect world, I would have ten year olds practice only my pickoff position leverage and slingshot throws for sixty days, I would have eleven year olds add only my no-stride leverage and ready throws for sixty days, I would have twelve years olds add only my set position leverage and ready throws for sixty days and I would have thirteen years olds add only my set position throws for their sixty days of one inning per game twice a week.   When they rush into competition, nobody masters motor skills. Competition stops motor skill learning.

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197.   Do you guys work on Saturday and Sunday?

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     My 280-Day kids and I train every day for two hundred and eighty days.   My 8-Week summer kids and I train every day for eight weeks.   Every day includes Saturdays and Sundays.

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198.   If my son and I came on Friday, May 30 through Sunday June 2, would you come to a Devil Rays game with us?   Would we be able to visit and learn some of your techniques and thoughts on hitting?   Would we be able to hang out with some of the other guys one day?   I don’t want to come for a weekend and only see you or your guys for 2 hours one day.   There ain’t a lot to do in Zephyrhills although my son and I play golf.   Do you?   We could catch 9 or 18 with you.

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     If you mean May 30 through June 02 of this year, 2003, no to all questions.   I am far too busy.   In another email, you asked when I will have my second Instructional Videotape completed.   Now, you ask me to go see a baseball game, put together a Coaching Hitters book and play golf.   As I enter the final years of my life, I find that I have no interest in taking time for anything except my lady, my daughters and grandchildren, my parents and my work.   Also, between May 30 through June 02 is after the present group of 280-Day kids leave and before my 8-Week summer kids arrive and I will be cleaning and rehabilitating apartments.   One kid started in January, so he will be training.   The local junior college kids with whom I work may also train here during that time, but I do not know for sure.   Nevertheless, it is not the best time to visit my facilities.

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199.   My teenage daughter had another MRI today of the elbow.   According to the doctor, her ligament is stretched (nothing significant showed up on the MRI).   I have two questions for you.   First, can a stretched ligament heal on it's own with no use over a certain period of time (I'm wondering if surgery is the only option?) and second, her doctor says he will take the tendon from the throwing arm, not the non throwing arm.   Does that make sense to you?

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     Stretched ligaments remain stretched ligaments.   I have trained baseball pitchers with stretched ligaments and they have performed fine.   However, they will never perform at the level as they would have had they not stretched their UCL.   Your daughter has to decide how important this is.

     To replace the ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament, those doctors that I personally know, use the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle of the glove arm or the tendon of the Gracilis muscle of the glove leg.   While the Palmaris Longus muscle only operates a connective tissue sheathing in the palm of the hand and may not significantly contribute to the throwing motion, I would think that surgeons would want any limitation that it's removal causes to be in the non-dominant forearm.   Consult with another orthopedic surgeon.

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200.   Perusing your pitch sequences, it appears as though they have changed.   I have a few questions.   What is a Torque Maxline Fastball? What is a Maxline Torque Fastball?   Sometimes you have the TF going inside and sometimes you have the MF going outside.   I refer to pitch sequences for pitching arm side pull hitters.   I thought the TF went outside and the MF went inside?

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     When my pitchers learn how to throw my pitches, I have them throw my maxline pitches to the pitching arm-side of home plate and our torque pitches to the glove-side of home plate.   However, when, after they have completed my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Program and pitch in games, we reserve the right to throw them to the other side of home plate and from both sides of the pitching rubber.   A maxline torque fastball is a torque fastball that we throw from the maxline side of the pitching rubber.   A torque maxline fastball is a maxline fastball that we throw from the torque side of the pitching rubber.   Of course, pitchers need to be highly-skilled and change in which direction they draw the maxline and torque drivelines for the rear feet.   Very highly-skilled pitchers can do the same with all types of pitches.   But, I prefer that we start simple, which explains why I rewrote these pitch sequences.

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201.   ARE THERE ANY DOCTORS IN MY AREA THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND FOR THIS SURGERY?   OBVIOUSLY, I AM LOOKING FOR SOMEONE THAT PERFORMS THIS SURGERY FREQUENTLY AND IS AWARE OF THE NEEDS OF A THROWING ATHLETE.

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     I recommend Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL.   You can call his office at (205)939-3000.

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202.   I am a RHP at a major baseball university.   I had Arthroscopic shoulder surgery back in late July to repair a torn labrum.   There was no rotator cuff damage.   I began my throwing program in early February which consisted of 2 sets of 25 throws at 45, 60, 90 and 120 feet, progression between distances varied anywhere between 2-3 weeks.   My arm feels strong and I have been extremely conscious of any wasted, incorrect or improper mechanics, arm action etc.   In addition, I have had two bullpen sessions.

     The first one went well in which I threw 25 pitches with no pain or discomfort.   However, the second session was different. I experienced some slight sharp pain in the back of the shoulder in my last two pitches.   Our pitching coach told me that he sees no flaws in my delivery.   Can this pain be explained by just the long rehab process of surgery?   Or could it be the labrum detaching off the bone or rotator cuff soreness.   Also, does this sort of procedure in general allow pitchers to return to the same velocity as before?   I respect your opinion greatly, and would certainly appreciate any advice or suggestions on what I could do rehab-wise to prevent any future shoulder problems.


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     Discomfort in the back of the shoulder indicates the Teres Minor muscle, which means that you are pulling your pitching arm down and across the front of your body.   This is a pitching flaw.   It also indicates that, at release, the longitudinal axis of your pitching forearm lines up with the longitudinal axis of your pitching upper arm and both line up with the glove-side lean of your shoulders.   This is a pitching flaw.

     The reason why your pitching coach cannot see any flaws is because he teaches the 'traditional' pitching motion, which is full of pitching flaws.   To learn more, either read the April 18, 2003 issue of Collegiate Baseball or Chapter Twenty-Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book, which is free for you to read and copy.   To learn a pitching motion without flaws that unnecessarily stress and injure your pitching arm, read Chapter Thirty-Six of my Coaching Pitchers book.   To learn the proper adult pitcher training program, read Chapter Thirty-Seven of my Coaching Pitchers book.   Because I am in my annual update of my Coaching Pitchers book, please allow me some time to finish Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven.

     If you do not stop your present flaws, you will never achieve becoming the best that you can be.   You have also wasted valuable rehabilitation time on a program that does not stimulate osteoblastic activity.

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203.   I LOOKED UP YOUR 280 DAY PITCHERS PROGRAM, BUT THERE ARE NO PICTURES OR DESCRIPTIONS OF THESE EXERCISES.   HOW DO I ACQUIRE THESE?

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     Pictures on web sites take considerable computer bytes.   I describe the exercises in my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training Program in Chapter Thirty-Seven of my Coaching Pitchers book.   It is free for you to read and copy.   However, I am in my annual update of my book.   Therefore, please give me some time to finish.   My Recent Update file tells when I update my Coaching Pitchers book and other files.

     At the insistence of my readers, a year ago last January, I spent three hundred hours putting together my Instructional Videotape.   Since use a video studios is not free, I have to charge for my Instructional Videotape.   My video contains the pictures that you seek.   However, it does seem to me that you have something else to get done before you are ready for my program.   After I complete my edit of my book, I will take another look at my training programs.

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204.   I am helping coach a high school baseball team and have run into a little predicament.   Two of my pitchers are complaining of pain on the posterior side of the elbow.   I am confused by this; I have heard of trouble with the ulnar collateral ligament on the inside of the elbow but am unfamiliar with posterior elbow injuries.   Could you perhaps give me the proper course of action with these players.   Thus far, the only action I have taken has been the suspension of their pitching duties.   They are 16 and 17 years old respectively.

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     You are correct in stopping their pitching.   The first commandment of coaching is do not harm.   When you don't know what you are doing, stop doing it.   I wish all pitching coaches would have the same integrity.

     Pain in the back of the elbow above the olecranon process indicates that they are 'slamming' their olecranon process into its fossa, probably when they 'supinate' the release of their curves or sliders.   You must teach them to 'pronate' the release of all pitches.   This means that they have to point their thumbs downward immediately after they release their pitches.   Have them start easily with my Pickoff Position Leverage throws where they eliminate all reverse shoulder rotation movements.   After they perfect their arm actions, they can proceed.

     Unfortunately, I am in the process of updating Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven of my Coaching pitchers book and I have not written my descriptions of my motor skill acquisition/training exercises.   Please give me a few days.   I will have rough drafts of both on my web site soon.   It will take me awhile after that to finalize those chapters.

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205.   I was searching for the formula for drag and I found your web site.   As I was reviewing what you have for drag, I noticed that as you calculate the cross-ectional area of the baseball you use the formula for the area of a sphere and divide this in half.   However, I believe that instead, you should multiply the radius squared by Pi to find the cross-ectional area (formula for circle).

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     I considered your point.   The two-dimensional surface of baseballs appears as a circle.   However, baseball are spheres.   Air molecules contact the foremost aspect of the baseball first.   The air molecules deflect off at angles.   Footballs also have two-dimensional surfaces that two-dimensionally appear as circles.   But, the oblong point of thrown footballs spiral through the air molecules.   This reduces the drag.   If both surfaces were squared off circles, they would present more drag.   The fact that they are round and oblong, respectively, indicates a lower drag coefficient.   I know that the circle formula provides a smaller surface area than the sphere formula and may better indicate the reduced drag due to air molecule deflection, but the baseball is a sphere.   Despite their last effort, NASA probably understands this better than I.

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206.   In the new Torque technique you say:   “I want pitchers to point the baseball toward home plate, then bring their pitching arm straight back to their ear where their tightly bent elbow has the baseball almost touch their ear, then continue the baseball straight back as far as they can”.   Do we keep the tightly bent elbow similar to an archer pulling an arrow in a bow, or do we extended straight back as far as it can go?.

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     I thought about the archer analogy.   However, I discarded it because I want pitchers to continue the baseball behind their head.   I want pitchers to keep a horizontal forearm and a tightly bent elbow.   In my Pickoff Position Leverage Throws, I also want pitchers to keep their acromial line perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   Pitchers use this drill to learn how to properly drive and release their pitches.   Until they can achieve the proper spin axes on their pitches, I do not want them to advance to my Pickoff Position Slingshot Throws.

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207.   I heard through a co-worker about your program.   My question is:   I your program appropriate for a 17 year old in the later stages of rehabilitation from shoulder surgery (8/03).   He pitched varsity in his freshman year, but half way through his sophomore year, he had a great deal of pain.   He was stretched out and could rotate back 150 degrees and lost any velocity.   The orthoscopic surgery tightened up the scapula (among other 'housekeeping" duties, the surgeon said).

     We are looking for a process that is safe and effective to bring him back to par.   We consider it an investment in his future.   Baseball is all he's ever wanted to do.


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     I do not know what 'tightened up the scapula' means.   Did the surgeon tighten the gleno-humeral ligaments?   If you could get a copy of the surgical report, it would help me understand what they did.   I am always interested in helping young pitchers.

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208.   I coach baseball at the high school level.   I love working with young pitchers and see them progress.   I was reading Collegiate Baseball magazine and read your article and then pulled up your website.   I find your research interesting and I would like to know more but cant get the info off of the site.   It is very technical and it times difficult to follow.

     I would love to visit with you online, is that possible?   I would love to have some pitching videos from you so that I could see your techniques.   I would like to see what you teach.   I am a visual learner.   I would also like to see some pitching drills that works on your technique.

     I also have a son who is 17 and a pitcher.   He throws in the low 90's but is having a difficult time with his control.   If what I am teaching is not correct I want to know it.   Everything I teach is correct from what I have read and seen except by you.   I do understand the principles of Sir Newton and I am open to change if it will help my students and me as a teacher.


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     We are visiting online right now.   You are also welcome to come to Zephyrhills, FL and see what we do.   I have an Instructional Videotape.   I offer pitching instruction.    I think that you will find that my updated stuff is more simple, logical and easier to follow.   The complicated stuff is the pitching arm injuries, surgeries and lack of success from the other the-world-is-flat-can't-you-see-that pitching coach wannabes who would not be caught dead learning the implications of Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion on the pitching motion.

     I am in a battle for the pitching arms of our youngsters.   I need all the help that I can get.   We have to get rid of the stupidity that others teach that destroys their pitching arms and we have to get parents and coaches to not only teach the proper way to apply force, but recognize that immature pitching arms cannot withstand too much stress from even my perfect force application techniques.

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209.   I read this quote from Darek Braunecker, A.J. Burnett's (Marlin pitcher) agent, on ESPN today:   "Braunecker said Burnett doesn't fault the Marlins for the way they handled him.   He pitched 204 innings last season, when he went 12-9 with a 3.30 ERA, and threw 111 pitches in his final start Friday.   "By no means are we laying blame on anybody," Braunecker said.   "It's just an unfortunate occurrence.   It happened.   I know the Marlins have had nothing but his best interests in mind."   He also said Burnett had his head held high because he understands "this (injury) is just part of the profession."

     I just have one word: Unbelievable!


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     He should be suing the Marlin's organization for teaching him to throw his pitches with a technique that unnecessarily stressed the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   He should be suing the Marlin's organization for not training him to withstand the necessary and appropriate physical stresses of baseball pitching.   In fact, the Major League Baseball Players Association should start a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball.   They should call in OASHA.   The idea that an industry places their employees at such risk of career-ending injuries and has done absolutely nothing to prevent it should make them legally liable.

     I have already stated that the parents of the youth pitchers with pitching arm injuries that require surgical corrections or clear deformities as a result of the ridiculous pitching motions that these 'expert' pitching coach wannabes propose should sue them.   When pitchers pitch for a living, their employers have safe work condition obligations.

     To hear someone say, 'the injury is not 'just part of the profession' only shows the cover-your-ass attitude of the industry.   They use the paycheck of the pitchers as leverage to force them to throw their way and, then, when pitchers injure themselves, they blame the pitcher.   When you don't know what you are doing, you blame everybody and everything else.   I am so tired of listening to their stupidity.

     I am also tired of listening to the pitching coach wannabes criticising my stuff as too complicated.   I don't know about you, but I like my experts to understand the relevant science of their area of alleged expertise.   I am usually relieved when my doctor explains my illness with scientific terms.   I would much prefer to ask him to simplify, than worry that he does not know big words.

     In medicine, when one researcher develops a procedure that increases a cure rate for something and publishes it, the doctors can no longer use other procedures with lower cure rates.   The old procedure is no longer 'accepted practice.'   Well, I have published.   The old pitching procedure is no longer 'accepted practice.'   That is why the pitching coach wannabes are stealing my stuff.   That is good.   I commend them.   However, they have to get it right.   The professional guys remain too arrogant.   They do not have to listen.   They control the money, the futures.   They want to ride young pitchers to the major leagues.

     Young Burnett needs to light a fire under his agent.   Marlin coaches ruined his pitching arm.   He had a great future with considerable earnings.   They took that from him.   While he could recoup some of his future, he won't.   He will never forget this injury.   They will never teach him the proper way to apply force to his pitches.   They will never properly train him.   He will become only a shadow of what he could have been and they will dismiss him and move on to the next.

     If Michigan State University had provided me with a high-speed film research laboratory as Professor Vern Seefeldt told me that they planned to do, we would have resolved this matter back in the 1970's or 1980's.   I have worked without financial or academic support for the intervening numerous years.   Any time Major League Baseball is ready to solve this problem, I am ready to show them how.

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210.   I saw your video recently and was impressed to stop my son from damaging his arm.   We just hope it's not too late.   At least, we had the good sense to not allow curve balls or breaking pitches.   I saw the x-rays of the elbow and shoulder on the tape.   I was wondering if you have them on the web somewhere so that I could print them out and properly explain to our coaches and some parents why the elbow and shoulders are not mature at 11 years old (I know it seems obvious, but parents sometimes are blind about theses things until you slap them in the face with it.   Your book is very explanatory, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

     My goal is to change the philosophy of the coach and parents and reduce pitching to one inning per child.   At least, in that way the damage will be limited for the other kids.   They can not help the fact that they are not educated.   I think that they want to see their kids succeed and all believe there is not harm if there is no pain.   After all, as you say and have proven, these kids are not ready for 100 pitch games.   I wish I had been educated sooner.   The best I can hope to do is educate a few more and pass the word along.

     Question:   Do the wrist weights cause any tendonitis problems?


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     The only pictures of the X-rays that I have are in my Instructional Videotape.   I agree that most parents have no idea what they are doing to their youngsters.   I am one guy in Florida giving the information away without any monetary backing or get-rich profit motive.   The kids need the help of responsible parents and community leaders.   One inning per game after they are biologically thirteen years old is a great goal.   Maybe we will return the game to the kids for skill and strategy development, fun and maximal participation.

     When athletes start at resistances and intensities beyond their physiological limits, any training that anybody does can cause tendonitis.   Nobody with an open medial epicondyle growth plate should do my wrist weight exercises.

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211.   I know a 16 year old who used a radar ball to clock his pitches.   He reached 65 MPH at a 60' 6" distance in September 2002, but he has not had the chance to pitch with that radar ball since then.   Is that velocity normal for a then-15 year-old who is looking to go all the way (i.e. college, minor league, and major league level)?   Please note that this was NOT thrown at the Little League distance of 46' feet, but at the major league distance.   Is pitching with a tennis ball a bad practice for youth pitchers?

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     I have no knowledge of the reliability of the accuracy of a radar ball device.   I also have no knowledge of the fastball velocities that biological fifteen and sixteen year olds need to achieve to pitch college and professional baseball.   Nineteen year olds need to throw from eighty-five to ninety miles per hour with the appropriate non-fastball pitches to succeed in college baseball and twenty-two year olds need to throw from ninety to ninety-five miles per hour with the appropriate non-fastball pitches to succeed in professional baseball.

     The distance over which this young man threw is irrelevant to the velocity at which he released the baseball.   I do not believe that pitching with tennis balls adds anything.   Underloading for a five and one-quarter ounce baseball will not improve their force application technique.   Only when the object exceeds the physiological ability of the youngster to appropriately apply force to the object does underloading make any sense.

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212.   I was recently told that a person has 10% more power when exhaling.   Is this true?   Do you recommend pitchers do anything special (inhale, exhale, hold their breath, grunt) when delivering a pitch?   Do you think it's important for pitchers to relax their facial muscles when pitching?

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     No, athletes are not more powerful when exhaling.   When pitchers maximally accelerate their pitches through release, they require a solid thoracic cavity.   To have a large thoracic cavity against which to apply force, during the transition phase, pitchers should take in a deep breath.   Therefore, during the acceleration phase, pitchers should hold their breath.   However, I do not recommend that we get pitchers thinking about breathing.   It happens naturally.   As a natural result of holding a deep breath, when athletes release the air, they grunt.   No big deal.

     All athletes should only use the muscles necessary for an activity only as much as is necessary.   To pitch baseball, facial muscle tensions are not necessary.

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213.   I read 80% of your book online the first night.   I will finish it this weekend.   I want to know more.   I do not want to be a "the world is flat coach" and I want my son's arm to remain in tact and I believe you are right in what you are teaching and I have been wrong.

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     I want to eliminate pitching arm injuries and I need all the help I can get.   Welcome.

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214.   In a tape, a hitting coach wannabe uses computer animation superimposed on past hitters and shows that approximately one foot prior to ball contact and one foot after contact all the body positions and extremity positions were similar.   The rest of the swing can vary and is style.   I think that he is ahead of the curve on hitting form.   As to strengthening and preparation, I cannot comment yet.   However, he is challenging establishment as you on the correct applied physiology.   That is analyzing applied human anatomy in a comparative manner.   Just like you state the pitching motion is flawed in the way we teach it, he states a lot of coaches teach something different than what is what they did or great hitters are doing.   I value your opinions and wanted to ask about hitting.

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     I designed my pitching motion from the laws of Physics and applied human anatomy.   I did not use what great pitchers do.   The fact that I now tell you what the 'traditional' pitching motion does that is wrong has nothing to do with how to determine the proper way to apply force.   I do not know the curve of which you think he is ahead, but he has no idea what he is doing.   What are his academic credentials?   Does he understand Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Applied Anatomy and so on?   Do you take medical advice from people without medical degrees?

     I don't have the time to get into this discussion, but until he accounts for Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and precisely states what muscles perform what actions during his batting mechanics and why, I know that I will not be interested in his comments.   Without solid scientific facts, opinions are without merit.

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215.   I am starting my son on your 60 day program.   Are there any caveats to the program if he is playing on a team at the same time.   For example, if he has a game, should he skip your program for that day?

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     I am in the process of redoing my 60-Day Interval-Training Programs.   I will have different programs for eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen through fifteen biologically year old pitchers.   If youngster are biologically older than the beginning programs, before they start their program, they need to master the skill in the earlier programs.   For example, when ten year old youngsters start my 60-Day programs, for their first 60-Day program, they should shorten my 60-Day Eight and Nine Year Old program to thirty days each.   Then, the next year, for their 60-Day program, they should shorten my 60-Day Ten and Eleven Year old programs to thirty days each.   This means that, instead of staying at each level for twelve days, they should stay at each level for six days.

     You should know that I recommend that youngsters do not train for pitching for more than sixty days each year, until they are biologically thirteen years old, do not pitch competitively against opposing teams and, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, they do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.

     If your son is thirteen years old and has mastered the pitching skills that I include in my eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen through fifteen biological year old programs, then he can pitch one inning twice a week.   On game days, he should complete only one-half of the program and use the other half during the game.   To insure that he is prepared to pitch, he should moderate the intensity of his workout on other days.

     Please join my Research Study Club and, together, we will monitor the growth and development of your son's pitching arm and make certain that he has a non-deformed adult pitching arm.

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216.   As we are approaching June, do you have any plans to give advance notice on the ship date for your next video.   I'd like to send the check to you a week early so there are no delays with getting the video right away.

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     Thank you for your interest.   As soon as I have my second Instructional Videotape ready to ship, I will contact all with my first Instructional Videotape.   However, I cannot start work on my second Instructional Videotape until after my present forty-week class graduate and I prepare my facilities for my summer group.   That means that I will not start until June.

     To make my first Instructional Videotape, I spent over three hundred hours in the video studio.   I plan to work even harder on this one.   I doubt that I will have anything ready before the middle of July.   I plan to use much, much more five hundred frames per second high-speed film.   I am learning about new types of outdoor color film and where to process it.   I already spent several thousands of dollars improving the clarity of my high-speed camera.   I promise that I will do everything that I can to fully and precisely explain how youth pitchers should throw all my pitches and how adult pitchers should 'injury proof' their pitching arms.

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217.   Have the diameters of the baseballs used in the American and National Leagues ever differed from each other?

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     No.

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218.   From the emails you are getting, it appears that the Collegiate Baseball article caused people to take notice.   Why haven’t you been interviewed on ESPN?

     I am experiencing first hand what you preach.   Competition stifles skill development.   My son’s team is underachieving this year as they did last year and the major problem is that the coach knows less than nothing.   I sent him a few pointed emails at one point and was confronted with an angry, “my way or the highway” tirade.   But for my son’s desire to play and love of his teammates, I would have told the coach where to stick it.   My favorite part of the tirade was, “I know baseball.”   Yeah, right.   And I know nuclear physics.   If he wasn’t playing competitively, I’d have more time to work with him on your pitching method and on his hitting.   As it is, he is using your method well.   He even read Chapter 36 the other day and understood it quite well for a 12 year old.
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     Since the Collegiate Baseball article, I am averaging over one hundred more hits per day.   However, I have had only a few emails that mention the article.   ESPN knows who I am and where I am, but, to this point, it appears that they do not consider me a resource.   I have received several emails about ridiculous comments that they make.

     Welcome to the reality of youth baseball.   I agree that all parents would better serve their even thirteen year old sons if they did not permit them to play on any teams until they master the pitching skills.   I will be interested in seeing the response to my new approach to helping parents teach their sons how to pitch with my new pitchers interval-training programs.

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219.   You recommend that youth pitchers do not throw from the set position or windup for more than two months per year, do not pitch against opposing batters in competitive games until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   Following your advice a pitcher would throw the ball less than an infielder would in the course of practice and games.   Would you therefore advise that any pubescent player, pitcher or otherwise, follow similar guide lines in their number of throws.

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     I will soon provide my new age-appropriate pitcher interval-training programs with all of my recommendations.   With regard to training non-pitchers, I recommend that they do my new age-appropriate pitcher interval-training programs, but only do my maxline and torque fastball drills at double the number of repetitions.

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220.   This hitting instructor does not have the credentials, but I do.   I am an orthopaedic surgeon and as we have talked numerous times in the past, I agree with your goals and methods.   However, I am a little surprised sometimes about your negative reaction about someone who has studied hitting the best they know how and trying to help others.

     There are two ways to the scientific method, trial and error and reasoning and Deduction.   I agree that the second is better, however, many things in life are truths and are found from the first method.   I have evaluated his program.   I am an expert in kinesiology, applied human anatomy, and especially biomechanics.   I also am a clinical expert in biology of muscle, tendon, ligaments, and bone.   I apologize if you take offense that I am comparing his achievements to yours.   You are light-years ahead of him in understanding the processes from a fundamental approach.

     I know this, the bat swings in a circle.   Torque forces are generated by the body and transmitted to the bat.   A technique that emphasizes this is better than the established method of "swinging level" and "stride forward".   I am looking to more than what he teaches in his tape about hitting, that's why I asked you!

     Sorry if I offended you or took too much of your time.   I am looking for someone with the credentials to take batting advice from.   Do you know someone?


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     You have not offended me.   You have not taken too much of my time.   I would love to be able to discuss hitting with you.   I appreciate that you are looking for someone to help you with hitting.   I wish I had the time to help.   However, at this time of rewriting my Coaching Pitchers book and working on my new Instructional Videotape, I don't have the time.   I will take time to discuss hitting one principle at a time.   For example, hitters should not swing the center of mass of their baseball bat in a circle.   That is what people thought of that pitchers should do with their baseball.   Newton's law of inertia applies to everything.

     I can only say that I want to write a Coaching Hitters book.   I do have a program that I used in college that worked well.   However, until I can work with hitters in much the same way that I work with hitters, I will not write.   I do not know anybody from whom you could take batting advice.   You are probably as good as any of them right now.

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221.   My son wants to pitch this year at nine years old.   He has a good arm and a good motion as far as I can discern as not to put too much undue stress on his arm.   I was not prepared for him to really pitch this year, I thought the older kids on the team would be better and it would spare me holding him back myself.   This is not the case.

     I have been asked to teach the other kids how to throw properly based on the fact that I am the only one around with any experience and my son throws well.   My problem is I don't believe any of them should be throwing at this age.   That is how I came to you.   I went to the site to find out if I was being over protective for these kids.   I find from most of what I read that I am not.   I am trying to have all of the kids pitch from the stretch and just the four seam straight over the shoulder in one fluid motion.   That is the best way I can describe what I am doing without writing a book.

     My question is, what type of pitch count should they be on at nine and ten?   Also, how much do I have to worry about their safety if they are not throwing breaking balls only really throwing fastballs?   Is throwing wiffleballs hurting them?   Is throwing against the house all of the time hurting my son?   I would really appreciate your thoughts on this and anything else you can recommend.   I can only make decisions concerning my own child.   I want to care for and protect them all as best I can if the others are going to throw anyway.   I'm not getting to good of a response to change the league.


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     I just placed my Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen Through Fifteen Year Old Pitchers Interval-Training Program on my web site.   I have tried to carefully describe precisely what I recommend for youth pitchers of these ages.   Under no circumstances would I ever recommend that biological eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve year olds pitch against opposing batters in competitive games.   I do not want biological eight, nine, ten or eleven year old pitchers even practicing the set position pitching motion.

     At biological eight years old, youngsters need to use my Maxline and Torque Pickoff Position Leverage throws to learn how to properly release my Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Torque Fastball.   At biological nine years old, youngsters need to use my Maxline and Torque Pickoff Position Slingshot throws to learn how to properly extend their pitching elbow and pronated their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers for my pitches.   Since your son is already nine years old, he can shorten my 60-Day Eight and Nine Year Old programs to thirty days each.

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222.   I recently read your passionate lament for the talented and now injured Marlin's pitcher A. J. Burnett.   Would you consider contacting him, and explaining what you could do for him?   I know that those in the industry either reject you or steal from you, and that must be quite frustrating, but maybe this young man will be the one who listens.   After all, at this point, he has a whole career and millions of dollars riding on returning from this injury.   Can you imagine the impact he could have if he came back in two years using your methods and won 20 games?   I don't mean to push you in a direction you do not wish to go, but maybe this is not a tragedy, but an opportunity.

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     I want the pitching coaches for the professional teams to steal my stuff.   I am not certain that I would want to work for a professional team.   However, I would like to work with them.   My point is, Major League Baseball has to properly research how to stop these pitching arm injuries.   I would be happy to talk with anybody about how to rehabilitate from Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.   A major part of the rehabilitation is to change how they applied force that caused the injury.

     I prefer my impact be with the parents of youth pitchers.   Whether someone I train wins twenty games will not change my obituary.   Unlike others, I am not trying to rip-off parents of youth pitchers with books and videotapes that destroy thousands of pitching arms every year.

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223.   My son is an 11 year old catcher.   Should I have any concern about his "throw count" given he throws as much as the pitcher and normally catches a 6 inning game?   Or is his arm somewhat "protected" given his return throws to the pitcher are not hard and delivered in a relaxed state.   Also I have read a large portion of your book and the Q&A, but still need a simple clarification.   Prior to the upper arm acceleration phase can I properly interpret a few of the points of your writings in the following manner.

1)   Elbow is shoulder high.

2)   The forearm is lying on top of the upper arm, biceps contracted.   I recognize this as counter to the traditional approach which has the forearm perpendicular to the upper arm.   I switched my son from what I was taught as a catcher, ball behind the ear.   If I interpret you correctly, I need to take him back toward the way I was taught, perhaps modifying the approach to the ball being alongside or in front of the ear in the "cocked" position.

3)   Forearm extends when throwing elbow and acromial line are pointing to the target.   Can I assume this forearm extension begins just before reaching the target pointing position.

     A very interesting read but still a bit confusing given the absence of diagrams, although I understand your limitations on that topic.   Anything else you can think of that applies to catchers would be appreciated.


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     I do not have the same concern for position players because they do not throw as hard as they can from the wind-up and set positions.

     In my description of my set position in the rough draft of my Chapter Thirty-Six, I do say that I want pitchers to have their pitching elbow at shoulder height, to maximally bend their pitching elbow and to delay their forearm acceleration phase until they point their acromial line toward home plate.   However, this is a rough draft. Please give me some time for finalize it.

     When they competitively pitch, pitchers cannot raise their pitching elbow above parallel to shoulder height.

     At leverage, I want pitchers to have their pitching elbow maximally flexed.   This enables pitchers to extend their pitching elbow through the greatest possible elbow extension range of motion.   From this position, pitchers need to powerfully pronate his forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   Pronation prevents forearm flyout.   Pronation prevents the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.   However, at my 'ready' position, I want pitchers to have their forearm vertical from the front/rear view and forty-five degrees behind vertical from the side view.   From my 'ready' position to my 'leverage' position, I want my pitchers to drive their forearm horizontally inside of vertical.   I do not want a 'cocked' position.

     The longer pitchers can delay my forearm acceleration phase, the farther in front of the pitching rubber they can release their pitches.   I want my pitchers to try to point their acromial line toward home plate before they extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release.   All position players can use the same techniques.   All they have to do is practice my Maxline and Torque Fastballs.

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224.   I would like to know if you tell a couple of things.

1.   Your book showed us that we can throw the screwball and the pronation curve at two different speeds by changing the grip.   I understand that the number of seams catching the air is what it's all about.   The four seam is being more decelerated than the two seam, so it is slower, but with a bigger break.   The two seam has a smaller break, but is faster.   The two seam has a tighter spin, so does it break later than the four seam?   How can you get as much as 10 mph between the two different grips.

2.   I am getting into physics now.   Could you explain me how a backup slider goes the other way.   To me it does not make sense even if the hand gets under the ball.   Nobody has been able to explain me that on a scientific basis.


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     When pitchers convert twenty miles per hour of the horizontal velocity of their pitching arm to screwball spin velocity, the horizontal velocity of the screwball is twenty miles per hour slower.   The spin velocities are identical.   However, four seams are twice as many as two seams.   Therefore, the four-seam screwball decelerates twice as much as the two-seam screwballs.

     The undercut 'backup' slider spin axis creates a vortex much like a whirlpool eddy in water.   This creates a suction action that pulls the baseball downward and to the pitching arm-side.

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225.   Does your Maxline Pickoff Position Leverage Throws position differ from what I saw your guys doing in November?   How is the bending of the elbow and horizontal drawback of the forearm of the pitching arm not the same (or nearly the same) motion as an archer drawing back an arrow?   To accelerate the baseball through release, pitchers should step straight forward with their pitching foot and, after their pitching foot contacts the ground, they should forwardly rotate the acromial line and the longitudinal axis of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm until it both point at home plate.   Is that revision accurate?   Do you need to also describe the humerus bone action?   Would not the rotation of the acromial line take care of the humerus?

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     What we are doing today differs from what we did last week.   We are continually experimenting with aspects of my pitching motion about which I have questions.   I am comfortable with my Pickoff Position Leverage and Slingshot Throws, my No-Stride Slingshot Throws and my Set Position Slingshot Throws.   However, what instruction I give to get from my 'Ready' position to my 'Leverage' position in my Set Position Transition Throws remains experimental.   We tried inwardly rolling the forearm to the extent that the forearm position for each of my six pitches permitted, but it caused inconsistency with the elbow flexion.   We tried supinating the forearm, but it caused difficulties with the proper forearm position for each of my six pitches.   Now, we are trying to go from 'Ready' to driving our forearm as horizontally inside of vertical as possible.

     To see how we did, I took eight hundred feet of five hundred frames per second film yesterday.   However, I will not get the film back for two to three weeks. I want to see how many degrees my pitchers are able to raise the longitudinal axis of their forearm above the longitudinal axis of their upper arm.   Theoretically, I want ninety degrees.   At this point, the best I have seen is forty degrees.

     The analogy of an archer pulling back his bowstring straight backward to his cheek is good.   With my Slingshot Throws, the reason I want pitchers to point their glove and pitching arms at home plate and, then, bring the baseball straight backward past their pitching ear as far as possible is to rehearse the driveline I want them to follow when they drive their pitches toward home plate.   When they have their pitching hand extended forward, I want them to have their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers in the proper position to release the pitch and achieve the proper spin axes.   That differs from shooting an arrow.   When they have their pitching hand extended backward, I want them to similarly have their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers and I want the baseball well behind their pitching ear.   That differs from shooting an arrow.   After they step forward and forwardly rotate their shoulders, I want the inertial weight of the baseball and their forearm to force their forearm to point toward second base.   That differs from shooting an arrow.

     I want their acromial line and the longitudinal axis of the Humerus bone to align at release.   I know that I tell pitchers to keep their elbow ahead of their acromial line.   But, I also know that they cannot.   However, rather than tell them that, I tell them to do it.   Therefore, I decided that it is important to discuss the two separately.   In reality, the position of the longitudinal axis of the Humerus bone is what is important.   Even when pitchers diligently attempt to keep their pitching elbow ahead of their acromial line, inertia will take it behind.   I want the longitudinal axis of the Humerus bone to reverse no farther than second base.   It is another thing that I know that they cannot do what I want them to do, but I want them to try.

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226.   Thanks so much for spending the time with my son and I at your facility a couple weeks ago.   You had mentioned that if I send you an X-ray within a week of his birthday you would let me know his biological age.   Would you also be able to compare throwing to non-throwing x-ray to see if his throwing arm is healthy?   Other than pitching, my son has been a fixture at first base due to his size and being a lefty.   Also, as I mentioned to you when we visited, James has never been shown the traditional method to throw a curve since I knew better from my experience as a youth pitcher.   Anyway, my son turns 13 this fall so in less than three and one-half years he'll be 16 and ready to train at your facility.

     Thank you so much for doing what your doing; I pray you will be around for many many years teaching your technique so this will one day be the golden rule to youth baseball.   The video tape is very good and I have viewed it several times already slowing the VCR down and trying my best to study and learn.   You may have another tape in the works that shows in more detail each step from different angles with you pointing out the areas of importance for coaches to learn; I don't know but this would be a suggestion of mine.


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     With these X-rays, I plan to determine their biological age and closely compare the growth plates of the pitching elbow with their glove elbow.   I will also look at the density of the bone that the X-rays show.   Basically, I will scrutinize the X-rays for any differences in how his pitching elbow is developing.

     I plan to use much more high speed film to show parents how their sons should apply force to their pitches.   We have come a long way in the last year and one-half and I believe that we can show allot more than before.

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227.   1.   Thank you for your explication on the backup slider.   Since you used the word undercut distinction with the pitch that goes the other way and the one that break on the inside corner against a pitching hand hitter?

2.   Since your two seam and four seam screwball have the same spin velocity, should they have both the same late break even if the four seam has slower horizontal velocity?

3.   What would be responsible for getting a looser spin and is this something desirable sometime.   I'm referring more to the traditional slow curve that pitchers were using in the 60's and early 70's.


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     The 'backup' slider moves to the pitching arm-side of home plate.   With greater surface friction, the four-seam screwball moves more dramatically than the two-seam.   No, pitchers should always go for their maximum spin velocity.   If you want slow spin velocity, use the 'traditional' curve technique.   You will get slow spin velocity and Ulnar Collateral Replacement surgery on the same pitch.

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228.   I ran across your website looking for a pitching school for my son.   Very quickly, here is what we are looking for.   My son received a full scholarship to a division I school.   He was an Honorable Mention Freshman All-American, but not without a pretty sore arm.   In August of last year, he had his ulnar nerve moved.   He started the 2003 season with high hopes and now finds himself with no wins and 10 losses.   His pitching and confidence are in big trouble.

     We would like to use this summer to get him back to his capabilities.   He’s a very good student with a great attitude.   We think some improved mechanics and strengthening work would help immensely, but we also realize as parents and a 20 year old kid, we don’t really know much about how to build a pitcher who can consistently pitch well in Division I baseball.   I wasn’t sure where, if it all my son would fit in your program.   Can you offer any guidance?


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     Were it only possible to 'use this summer to get him back to his capabilities.'   Put this line with 'the check is in the mail' and other such follies.   I did not design my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Program because I did not have anything to do for 280 days.   I did it because that is the length of time that the human body needs to make the physiological changes necessary to injury-proof pitchers and get them started on the proper force application techniques for the pitches they need to find out how good they can be.   On the third Saturday in August, he needs to start my 280 day program.

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229.   I have a few questions that I would appreciate having your answer to.   By the way, I'm assuming that this e-mail communication is of a private nature and won't show up on the website.   Am I correct?

     By way of brief background, my son is 20 years old, 6-4, 210 lbs, sophomore right-handed pitcher for a nationally ranked Division 1 Team.   He injured himself in Fall Ball of his Freshman year and had Tommy John Surgery in January, 2002.   He's been rehabbing, but has only pitched very limited innings in intrasquad games.   Before his injury, his cruising speed in late innings was 89 mph, and has topped out at 94 mph.   Okay, to the questions.

1.   We want to come and visit your facility. My understanding is that your current training class will be ending toward the end of May.   We would be traveling a greatr distance, so if we came to visit, we'd want to watch two sessions.   Our general plan would be to be to travel to Florida from May 22-24th, although we would adjust this to match your training schedule, if necessary.   Can you tell me the last day of sessions in May?

2.   I understand that we are welcome to come and observe at anytime.   Could we also expect to be able to talk with you personally at some time later in the day after the morning session is over for perhaps 10-15 minutes?

3.   Are there any local motel/hotel accommodations in Zephyrhills or close by that you might point me to?

4.   During the 9 months of training, are there any opportunities for pitchers to throw against live batters, or in simulated games, either at your training facility or on the outside?

5.   Could you please confirm the exact start date in August for the next training session?


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     I include email on my web site only when I feel that the information is important to all and I never identify from whom I received the email.   I see nothing new in this email that warrants exclusion.   I am sorry, but not surprised to read of the troubles that your son has had.   The 'traditional' pitching motion destroys pitching arms.   We welcome visitors at any time.   My current forty-week kids leave on Saturday, May 24th.   I have one fellow who arrived in January who will be here until August.   I have a few local junior college kids who will train here everyday throughout the summer.   On June 07 and 14, I will start with eight new high school kids on my eight-week summer session.   I don't see any time when I cannot show you what we do.

     The response for forty-week training has been surprising this year.   I am trying to find a way to house more kids.   I already have eleven with six sets of material out there from whom I could receive deposits at any time and it is still May.   I usually only take twelve, but I could crowd sixteen into the duplexes, if only temporarily.   In past years, most of the kids contacted me during the summer.

     We will have plenty of time during the one and one-half hours that we watch my kids train to discuss whatever you need, but, depending on the date and other commitments, I could stay awhile.

     We have a Best Western in town and several local ownership motels.   They are building another chain motel, but I do not know whether it will be ready by your visit.

     No, during their forty weeks of training, I do not have my kids throw to batters or even catchers.   They are training.   My program requires considerable physiological adjustments to withstand the gradually increasing stress that we place on their pitching arm and they redesign how they apply force to their pitches.   When they finish the forty weeks, they will be ready to throw to catchers every day and pitch in summer baseball games.

     By my calendar, the third Saturday in August this year is August 16th.

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230.   I am completely wowed by your advice.   I have a son who is 12 and a pitcher in little league.   He has recently experienced pain in his elbow.   When he is not pitching he plays stickball and wiffle ball with his friends.   I have recently been told that is one of the worst things he could do.   He is resting his elbow, not pitching competitively and certainly not playing stickball.   Also, the coaches say that they think he is pitching a curveball although my son has never been taught to throw one and has no idea how to throw one.   They say his natural pitch is similar to a curveball and it moves at the plate.   What do you think of this?

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     Pain in the pitching elbow of a twelve year old could mean growth plate trouble.   Therefore, before he pitches competitively again, he needs to wait until the growth plates mature.   I do not believe that throwing a wiffle ball will cause any problems.   I do not recommend throwing a wiffle ball to train the pitching arm, but, unless he complains of discomfort, I doubt that it will harm him.

     'His natural pitch is similar to a curveball and it moves at the plate' makes no sense.   Curves spin horizontally, no pitcher would mistake that pitch for a fastball.   He could be letting his fingers come around the outside of the baseball so that it spirals to some extent.   That would make it move toward his glove side.   If this is true, he must stop.   Pitchers have to learn to 'pronate' their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release of all pitches.   This means that immediately after they release their pitches, they must turn their thumb to point downward.   If they turn their thumb to point upward, they will injure their elbow.

     I have nothing against youth baseball programs except for what they think is right for pitchers.   They are destroying the best youth pitching arms before they have a chance to see how good they can be.   Parents have to put a stop to it.

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231.   Here's some notes on spots the rough draft of 'Coaching Pitchers' that left me scratching my head.   I think you assume a base level of understanding that I lack so these suggestions are intended to help the bottom 10% of the class like me.   Hopefully all of my questions will be answered by the videotape when it arrives.

     I'd like to thank you for putting all of this information online.   I've held the suspicion that the accepted dogma of Little League Baseball Inc. has been doing more harm than good to the development of pitchers in this country and your collated research bears this out.   Unfortunately, carrying your banner appears to be an uphill battle in this town.   I mentioned Joel E. Adams study to my son's little league coach as well as the opposing coach (who is the leader of the little league Minors organization here) and they just blew it off as "just another guy with an opinion".   Meanwhile my son's coach continues to destroy the arm of his best pitcher (an 11 year old who pitches 6 innings a week, who's already complaining about a sore arm).   At least I can save my son's arm.

1)   In the "Transition Phase" section 4a you talk about stepping the glove foot open and wide so as to keep it out of the way of the pitching foot.   What does this have to do with Transition Phase?   That really threw me.   The same goes for 4b "The pitching leg"

2)   In section 4D, I have no idea what an Egyptian Football Field Goal looks like.

3)   In section 4E you speak of taking the ball from the glove on 'top' of the baseball, and 'outside' of the baseball.   Those descriptions really throw me.   I'm still not clear on what you're saying.

4)   In section 4E you say "I want my pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height (slightly above their ear) with their forearm at forty-five degrees behind vertical, as seen from the pitching arm-side view.   I call this position, my 'Ready' position.   Therefore:   To prevent 'reverse forearm bounce,' I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height with their forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical."

   Believe it or not, I wasn't sure whether the arm should look like this _/ or like this _\.   After some head-scratching I decided that it was the latter (I hope I'm right!!).   Given the number of questions regarding this point in your FAQ I think I'm not alone.   A little more clarity there would probably help.

5)   In section 5E you state "I want my pitchers to apply the minimal amount of horizontal centripetal force.   Therefore:   To minimize horizontal centripetal force, I recommend that pitchers forwardly move their upper arm from pointing toward second base."   I'm not getting your point here.   I'm guessing you're saying we're simply rotating the acromial line 180 degrees to bring the arm forward, but I'm not sure.

6)   Right after that you state "I want my pitchers to separate their forearm acceleration phase from their upper arm acceleration phase.   Therefore:   To prevent 'forearm flyout', I recommend that pitchers minimally generate centripetal force and maximally pronate their pitching forearm."   When does this pronation occur?   During Phase 1 acceleration?   Between Transition and Phase 1 acceleration?

7)   Right after that you state: "I want my pitchers apply force to separate their forearm acceleration phase from their upper arm acceleration phase.   To accomplish this, my pitchers have to maximally lengthen their elbow extension range of motion and their forearm pronation range of motion.   I call this position, my 'leverage' position.   Therefore:   From my 'ready' position to when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline to home plate, I recommend that pitchers flex their elbow and supinate their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers maximally ."   I'm unfamiliar with the concept of "flexing an elbow".   I'm assuming that from 'Ready position" to "perpendicular to driveline" (which, by definition, is Phase 1 acceleration) that the arm is still holding the 45 degree bend established during Ready position.   In the prior paragraph you advocate pronation to minimize flyout while here you advocate supination.   I can only surmise that you're really talking about the Forearm acceleration phase here.

8)   In section 7A, The Glove Leg you state:   "To force-couple the forearm acceleration force, I recommend that pitchers simultaneously powerfully push back toward second base with their front foot."   I presume the 'front foot' is the 'glove foot'?

9)   In section 7D, The Glove Arm you state:   " To forwardly rotate their acromial line to point toward home plate, I recommend that pitchers continue to pull their glove arm straight backward toward home plate."   I you meant 'second base' rather than 'home plate'

10)   In 8B you say "b.   The Pitching Leg   At release, the pitching leg of my pitchers is above the driveline for the rear foot ahead of the front foot and close to contacting the ground."   I presume you mean "ahead" rather than "above"?


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     Sorry to hear about your youth baseball coach.   But, you are right. Because the parents are not doing their job, he will destroy the best pitcher.   You are doing your job.

Together, we can eliminate pitching arm injuries.   I need this in-depth editing and cross-checking.   If I write something that you do not understand, call me on it.   Without your understanding what I write, I am wasting your and my time.   Thank you very much for taking the time to ask me to clarify.   I appreciate it.

01.   One of the difficulties of writing the description of my pitching motion is that the various extremities operate in overlapping sequences.   It is nearly impossible to categorize their activities.   I chose to divide my pitching motion into phases;   stance, trigger, transition, upper arm acceleration I, upper arm acceleration II, forearm acceleration, deceleration, recovery, fielding position.

     The upper arm acceleration I phase starts when pitchers start their pitching elbow forward.   However, this happens after the glove foot contacts the ground.   Therefore, I had to describe how far I want pitchers to move their glove foot forward and where I want pitchers to land with their glove foot.   However, you are right about the pitching foot.   It leaves the pitching rubber well after the upper arm acceleration phase I begins.   I am in the process of my next editing of my rough draft of this chapter and I will take a close look at this.

02.   I will rewrite my Egyptian field goal description.   I thought that it was clever.   Sorry.   If you imagine a referee signaling a successful field goal.   Now imagine that the referee is from Egypt with the palms of both hands turned outward, like the Egyptian dancers with their wrists flexed and palms turning in all directions.   That is what I meant.

03.   'Traditional' pitching coaches tell their pitchers to take the baseball out of the glove with their pitching fingers on 'top' of the baseball.   They want pitchers to keep their pitching fingers on 'top' of the baseball throughout the transition phase.   To do this forces pitchers to bend their pitching elbow and take it horizontally backward.   Then, they tell their pitchers to have the palm of their pitching hand face second base.   To do this forces pitchers to excessively rotate their pitching forearm into proper acceleration position after they start their pitching elbow forward.

     I want my pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with their fingers on the 'outside' of the baseball, i. e., I want the pitching palm to face inward.   Then, throughout the transition phase, I want pitchers to gradually 'supinate' their pitching arm such that when the baseball reaches driveline height, they have turned their palm to face away from their body on my Maxline True Screwball and turned their palm to face toward home plate on my Maxline and Torque Fastballs and my Maxline Pronation Curve.   My technique permits pitchers to keep their pitching forearm vertical throughout the transition and places their pitching forearm in the proper position immediately before they start their pitching elbow forward to smoothly adjust the position of their pitching forearm for whichever pitch they wish to throw.

04.   At my 'ready' position, from the side view, pitchers should have their forty-five degrees behind vertical.   How about forty-five degrees toward second base?   To me, _/ is behind vertical and _\ is ahead of vertical.   I suppose I could use these hieroglyphics.

05.   When we horizontally forward rotate the pitching upper arm, we generate centripetal force.   The proper amount of centripetal force can be good, but too much can be harmful.   I believe that the centripetal force that pitchers generate when they start from the position where they point their pitching upper arm at second base is good and when they start from the position where they point their pitching upper arm at the glove-side mid-infielder is bad.   I want my pitchers to use this centripetal force to 'slingshot' their pitching forearm forward through release.   To do this, they have to powerfully try to horizontally 'pronate' their forearm, wrist, hand and fingers from ready through release and to the end of the deceleration phase.

06.   As my last sentence above says, I want my pitchers to powerfully try to horizontally 'pronate' from my 'ready' position through release and to the end of the deceleration phase.   While they pronate, they will also powerfully extend their pitching elbow.

07.   Between 'ready' and 'leverage, I want my pitchers to try to drive their pitching forearm horizontally forward.   Therefore, they have to change the position of their pitching forearm from forty-five degrees behind vertical from the side view and vertical from the front/rear view to horizontal from the front/rear view at 'leverage.'   And, they have to position their pitching wrist, hand and fingers for whichever pitch they want to throw.   Nevertheless, I want the acceleration phase to start from 'ready.'   I have divided the forward movement of the pitching arm into four phases, upper arm acceleration I, upper arm acceleration II, forearm acceleration and deceleration.

     Upper arm acceleration I describes what the pitching arm does between 'ready' and 'leverage.'   You correctly described 'leverage' as that movement when pitchers have their acromial line perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   Upper arm acceleration II starts after pitchers forwardly rotate their acromial line beyond perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   'Traditional' pitchers release their pitches when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   Therefore, they do not have upper arm acceleration II and forearm acceleration phases.   My 'forearm acceleration' starts when pitchers decelerate their pitching elbow to a stop.   This occurs well before they release their pitches.

     To return to your question about flexing the pitching elbow.   I prefer to tell my pitchers to drive their pitching forearm horizontally forward.   To get their pitching forearm horizontal, they have to tightly bend their pitching elbow.   From that tightly bent pitching elbow, pitchers can extend their pitching elbow through its fullest range of motion.   That maximizes the pitching elbow extension range of motion.

08.   The front foot is the glove foot.   I first wrote front foot and, apparently, I missed the correction.   Glove foot and pitching foot is a better generic description.

09.   I did mean second base.   Thank you.

10.   No, I meant above.   Maybe follows would have been a better choice of words.   I want the pitching foot to move straight forward following the driveline for the rear foot.   This will keep their center of mass moving straight forward.

     I will keep this email for reference when I finalize Chapter Thirty-Six.   If I mess up, please correct me.

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232.   With regard to the thumb as it presses against the ball.   Traditional pitching coaches tell pitchers that their "thumb print" should not be on the ball.   In other words, they should grip the ball with the lateral side of the thumb.   Does it matter to you how pitchers grip the ball with their thumbs?   Lateral side?   Thumb Print?   Does not matter?

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     How pitchers should have their thumb contact the baseball depends on which pitch they are throwing.   With my Maxline and Torque Fastballs, I have my pitchers tuck their thumbs under the baseball.   Therefore, the side of their thumb contacts the baseball.   However, with my Maxline True Screwball, I have my pitchers push the baseball with their thumb between their middle and ring fingers.   Therefore, the anterior aspect of the thumb contacts the baseball.   With my Maxline Pronation Curve, some of my pitchers do not place their thumb on the baseball at all.   I prefer that they also tuck their thumb, but they feel that they get a freer wrist, hand and finger action without the thumb.

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233.   I am pleased to see that you're doing a long overdue research study on pre-adolescent arms.   I'm a family doc and have been involved as a volunteer parent coach in baseball and girl's softball for twenty years.   Longevity does not necessarily equate with expertise, but I've worked hard to become a respectable coach.

     I came to your web site last year when my son was a 12 years old.   I concede that I did not follow your strong recommendation that kids under 13 should not pitch competitively.   This is my fourth year as head all star coach.   When the boys were 10, I received considerable criticism for pitching all 11 boys in games.   Several times, I have stuck with my game plan and brought in a new pitcher after three inning even though they had not given up any hits.   With our regular season just underway and moving from 46 feet to 60 feet, we have used 6 pitchers and kept pitch counts consistently under 60.

     The only sore arm is in my best overall player who just returned from a national wrestling tournament and who apparently does 500 push ups a day.   I pitched him two times, both under thirty pitches with subsequent migratory pain initially scapular, the second time tricep, posterior elbow.   I've shut him down pitching and talked to one of our orthopedists about him, but continue to let him play short and centerfield. any way enough rambling.

     If you would be interested, I would like to help accumulate data for your study.   We have an X-ray machine in our office.   I have talked with my partners who think it to be a good idea to help with the research by getting annual x-rays for what I assume to be 5 years on a series of boys from age 10-15.   If this would be helpful, please let me know what I will need to do.


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     It would be very helpful.   I welcome any help with any aspect of eliminating youth pitching arm injuries.   Annual bi-lateral X-rays within one week of their birthdays will monitor their elbow growth plate development and keep everybody aware of the danger.   To make the study more relevant, we also need to know for how long and how much each pitcher practiced and competitively pitched each year.   I planned to make up a questionnaire after I received my first set of X-rays.

     I appreciate the fact that you pitch all pitchers and that you minimize the amount that they pitch.   To minimize the amount of stress that the place on their pitching arm, they should also learn my way of applying force.   The fact that you have not had any serious growth plate related pitching arm injuries is good.   However, youngsters can stretch their elbow and shoulder ligaments and cause their growth plates to prematurely close without symptoms.   I do not know whether my recommendations will prevent these deformations either, but I know that my recommendations minimize stress while they teach the skills.   I don't believe that the National Institute of Health would approve of a research study where we want to see how much damage we do to youngsters with the ever-increasing degrees of stress that we apply.

     While I agree with shutting him down, I do not worry about scapular discomfort, whether from the inferior angle or the vertebral border, they are all brake muscles.   I would have some concern if the pain were from the high in the back of the shoulder, the Teres Minor muscle area.   However, the posterior elbow is different.   That usually means that he is slamming his olecranon process into its fossa and will permanently alter his elbow extension range of motion.   The problem is his technique.   He needs to powerfully pronate through the release of all his pitches such that he turns his thumb downward immediately after he release his pitches.   In most cases, this means that he is throwing the 'traditional' pull-the-window-shade-down type of curve.   He needs to learn my Maxline Pronation Curve technique.

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234.   I cannot get into your files.   Every time that I try, I get a message that the file is not available.

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     As a result of your email, I contacted the host of my web site and found out that I had screwed up.   Apparently, some browsers do not recognize file names that have spaces in them.   I have spaces in most of my file names.   Therefore, I spent several hours renaming my files and changing my links to match their new file names.   I hope that I have fixed the problem.   If I have screwed up again, please email me.

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235.   I was watching a major league baseball game today.   There was a pitcher who has worked quite a bit already this season.   I think 21 appearances.   Anyway, your name came up, about your record 106 appearances.   One announcer started talking about your career, working out and your pitching school.   He talked about you for almost that entire inning, then started up with more the next inning.   It was pretty neat.

     Most of the conversation was very positive about you.   Working out, helping out teammates, mechanics, your records, etc.   The only thing I did not like was when he compared you to a pitching coach wannabe.   Well, really it was more like he was defending this other guy.   Methinks he doth protest too much.   He has a soft spot for the pitching coach wannabe and it was like he had to defend his buddy about pitching.   As you probably know, the pitching coach wannabe was the pitching coach when the announcer worked for the team.   To be kind, the pitching coach wannabe sucked, and to my knowledge has never had another major league pitching coach job.   I guess he is a really nice guy, but just cannot SEE the elements of pitching.   Kind of sad really.

     At about the same time, they were talking about pitching arm injuries, and about how pitching is such an unnatural movement.   They did not couple your teachings with this topic, and that disappointed me.


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     That anyone associated with major league baseball would mention my name, much less my pitching school, is amazing.   I think that are starting to pay attention.   With the epidemic of pitching arm injuries in the affiliated organizations, they have to do something.   I think that they know where they are going to have to go.   I will be ready.

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236.   I want to give you an update on my oldest son.   He is still doing your workouts every day.   He has moved up to 15 lbs wrist weights and has been getting through the entire workout for a while now.

     I know you do not like this, but he began pitching in a senior league a few weeks ago, before he had the mechanics down.   But so far, it has not affected his progress.   He is now throwing linking the front foot drive with the forearm, pronating really well, great movement and velocity.   He has learned to really pronate well on the slider and curve, and has been throwing the screwball in pens for a bit.   He is not comfortable enough with it in a game yet.   I am amazed at how quickly he has picked this up.

     The really good news, not a bit of pain anywhere.   No forearm pain, elbow, shoulder, groin, nothing.   That is throwing 120-140 pitches on Sundays and at least one pen during the week.   Also, your workout every day.   Really amazing.   He is having a little trouble with the sinker grip, and getting the good downward movement, but he makes up for it in maxline fastball movement.   He is now getting the torque fastball down fairly well.   The two fastballs really mess up batters.

     I have said it before, but I want to say again, you are a genius.   You have given new hope to a kid that has talent, but has been passed over.   His day may come yet.


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     When it comes to young men doing my training programs, I am such a mother hen.   I know that it works, but I am always worried that they will add something of their own that does not work.   However, from what you write, all sounds fine.   If he experiences any discomfort, please let me know.

     You are correct, I do not like young men putting the considerable stress of competitive pitching on top of my adult interval-training program.   That is allot of stress.   If his muscles start to tighten, he needs to stop pitching.   The fifteen pound wrist weight training cycle probably is not much stress.   But, when he does the twenty pound wrist weight training cycle and the ten pound iron ball training cycle, he will place his pitching arm under great stress.   At that time, for him to continue pitching jeopardizes his pitching arm.

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237.   I sprained my ankle two months ago running.   I am a long-distance runner, logging 40-50 miles a week.   I visited the doctor, had X-rays and followed the prescribed treatment.   But, I have found no relief.   Actually, the ankle and, now my foot, feels worse.   I am able to run only 1 mile on the track and walking is painful at times.   I have an appointment with the doctor in 5 days.   What should I be asking or doing different as this program is not working?

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     Ligaments hold the bones of the ankle together.   You have torn one or more of them.   They do not have the blood supply that muscles have.   Therefore, they take longer to recover.   To passively increase blood flow to help the healing process, you should place ice on the injury.   To actively increase blood flow, you should walk normally at an intensity at a low level of discomfort.   You do not want to fatigue the healing structures.   Ice.   Walk.   Ice.   Walk.   Do this twice a day until the discomfort reduces and then, you can start with easy jogging and so on.   It sounds to me as though you are pushing too hard.   Patience.   While it is possible that you have a stress fracture or something else, your body can only heal so fast.

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238.   I am looking for guidance.   I have a son who just turned 15.   He pitched on his high school JV team this year as a freshman.   I have always know he could throw hard, but we never had an opportunity to actually clock him until this past weekend.   A man had a "speed competition" set up at a local baseball tournament.   My son wanted to try it.   Three balls for $5.   With a cold arm and off of flat ground, he threw 83, 85 and 87 mph.   He has pitched several "no-hitters" and a couple of perfect games in his career.   There has also been several times he did not make it out of the first inning, due to walks.   I believe he has the potential to do something with his pitching, but I don't know where to go from here.

     I would like to get him some one on one professional instruction, but don't have a clue where to start.   Can you suggest a starting point?   I would not mind traveling some on weekends so long as we can get there and back the same day.   Anyway, any help would be appreciated.


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     I do not know anybody in your area to recommend.   But more than that, weekend instruction at his age is not sufficient.   That is why I offer an eight-week summer program for high school juniors and seniors.   If he cannot do that, I offer my Coaching Pitchers book for free on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and I will shortly start work on my second Instructional Videotape that will demonstrate how you and he can follow my 120-Day High School Pitchers Interval-Training Program.   He does sound like a diamond in the rough.

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239.   My father heard you talk on the radio about your expertise with coaching and developing pitchers.   I am a P/1B at a nearby university.   As a freshman, I had good success as a pitcher.   I was the winning pitcher of the Conference Tournament Championship.   I consistently threw mid-upper 80's.   During off-season training this past fall, I tore my labrum while throwing a bullpen.   I just completed my second year of college and had to red-shirt this past year due to shoulder problems.   I am going to undergo surgery in about a month on a torn labrum.   My doctor told me I should expect a full recovery within six months.

     What should I expect during the rehab time and what exercises should I specifically focus on?   I would also like to know what type of off season throwing and training programs you would recommend?   The reason I am asking this is because my school has experienced numerous arm injuries (3+ each year) among our pitching staff during the off-season.   I am beginning to lack confidence in my pitching coaches throwing program and am looking for insight from you.   I am currently reading your book and hopefully will find some answers in there.


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     You have a right to have concern.   The 'traditional' pitching motion destroys pitching arms.   The doctor may be right in that you will recover from the surgical repair of your injury in six months, but without learning how to correctly apply force, you are doomed to further injuries.   I recommend that you do my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Program.   My Coaching Pitchers book is free on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and I will shortly begin my second Instructional Videotape that will show you precisely how to do my program.   And, you can email me with questions and I will gladly help.

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240.   What should my 12 year old eat before a game?   Let’s say he plays at 9 a.m..   What should he have for breakfast to help him perform well and not have stomach or energy problems?   After a morning game, let’s say he finishes at 10:30 and has to play again at noon.   What should he eat?

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     In general, you should make sure that he is well hydrated and that he has a large store of muscle glycogen to metabolize for Adenosine-Tri-Phosphate resynthesis.   This means that he has to drink fluids and eat appropriate glucose-rich foods in the eight hours prior to playing.   With the need to eliminate fluid and solid wastes within a couple of hours after consumption, I would not want him to miss game time with trips to the park facilities.   With short turnaround times between games, about all you can do is rehydrate.   Rather than to digest food, I would prefer to use the blood to supply oxygen to and remove carbon dioxide from contracting muscles.

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241.   I've read your revised chapter 37.   In this chapter you refer to the torque exercises as being the same as the maxline ones except for the driveline the where the pitcher is positioned.   You've also mentioned in some emails that you have modified the arm action for the torque motion.   Do you still require that the glove leg step to the pitching side of the driveline and the pitcher only rotate 100 degrees as opposed to 180 degrees for the maxline motion?

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     The starting positions for my Maxline and Torque Pickoff Position Leverage and Slingshot Throws differ.   However, the starting positions for my No-Stride Slingshot, Set Position Slingshot, Set Position Transition and Wind-up Throws do not differ.

     You have noticed a major difference in how I now teach my Torque Fastball.   I no longer require pitchers to place their glove foot on or to the pitching arm-side of my Torque driveline for the rear foot.   I was wrong.   I am sorry.   Bygones.   Now, let's learn the new way and why.

     I am embarassed to tell you the reason why pitchers must place their glove foot to the glove side of my Torque driveline for the rear foot.   Pitchers must be able to continuously move their center of mass straight forward throughout the pitching motion.   Therefore, they cannot place their glove foot on or to the pitching arm-side of my Torque driveline for the rear foot.   If they did, then they would move their center of mass laterally and, probably not ahead of their glove foot.   I was so obvious.   I am an idiot.   On the good side, we do get the full one hundred and eighty degrees of forward acromial line rotation with the Torque pitches that we get with the Maxline pitches.

   At this time, my Chapter Thirty-Seven is still a rough draft.   I am working on my final edit of Chapter Thirty-Six.   I post my rough drafts to permit my readers to help me with editing.   That is, if something is not clear, I want them to call me on it.   You did and I thank you.

     I am a few days away from my final edit of Thirty-Six.   Please give me some time to finish my final edit of Thirty-Seven.   However, when I do finish, please immediately let me know when something that I write is not clear.   Only by working together, will we eliminate pitching arm injuries and help all pitchers become the best that they can be.

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242.   Our Little League season ends in 3 weeks.   After we received your video in the middle of April, my nine year old son, (10 at the end of May) began your 60 day pubescent program.   We were going to do the program up to the time his season ends.   But, after reading the updates and changes and new material for the different age related programs, we have stopped.

     So that I can understand you new slingslot technique, I want to start new next year with the release of your updated video.   I believe we understand the pick off position technique.   Maybe on the new video you can explain these pitching position techniques in greater detail.   I fear that as we begin my son's motor skill relearning that we are practicing the motor skills incorrectly.   We understand the grips and releases, but our difficulty is more in the body positioning and arm movement through release for the training program.

     After a year and a half of reading your material, buying the video, corresponding with you through email and even telephone, I am slowly gaining some understanding of what you desire.   My son has what I call, the fear of Dr. Marshall (not wanting to injure his youth arm), and has taken great measure to pronate on all his throws.   He has complained every once in awhile about his elbow being tender on the outside.   Could this be muscle tenderness due to the pronation or is something else happening?   He also seems to not throw the baseball as hard as he has previously, when he is behind the plate and in warm ups, out of fear of hurting his elbow.   In the next week or so we will be talking to his pediatrician about getting x-rays taken to send to you.   It will be nice to know where he is at biologically and the condition of his growth plates.

     When your new video is released, we plan on purchasing it and then I will have a few months to view it and begin to understand more of what you want as we begin a new program for him next year.


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     What I enjoy most about you email is how you and your son are working together to help him learn the pitching skills and not interfere with the proper growth and development of the growth plates in his pitching arm.   With only one exception, you and he will become the best pitching coaches that he could ever have.

     I apologize for not understanding earlier that eight year old pitchers have pitching needs that differ from the needs of nine, ten, eleven and twelve year olds.   I lumped those ages into one interval-training program.   That was stupid.   I am sorry.   It was only after reading emails and listening to readers that it became obvious to me that I had to separate each age and help parents teach their sons and daughters precisely what they need at each age.   But, after I have insights, I apologize.   Throughout the past twenty years, I have been apologizing to pitchers for what I did not know before.   I am used to it.   I appreciate your understanding.   I am still learning.

     I agree that it is wise to start fresh next season.   At ten years old, if he has mastered the grips and release, then he should shorten my nine and ten year old programs to thirty days each and complete both.   Thereafter, he can complete the appropriate age program.

     I am very excited about making my next Instructional Videotape.   I have taken considerable high-speed film, which when I combine it with the much larger amount of digital videotape that I have of more highly skilled pitchers will make my explanations of how to teach your pitcher much clearer and easier for you.   I will not stop until every parent can teach their pitchers the proper way to apply force to all pitches and, when their skeletal system is mature, can properly train their pitchers.

     Tenderness on the lateral epicondyle aspect of the elbow can indicate a growth plate problem with the head of the radius bone.   However, it could also indicate the attachment of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus and Brevis muscles.   It is always best to err on the side of caution.   However, I am very glad to hear that your son actively pronates through his releases of all throws.

     I look forward to receiving and reviewing your son's X-rays and I will immediately communicate my findings to you.

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243.   What do you think about the Florida Marlins firing their manager, Jeff Torborg, because he used A. J. Burnett too much?

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     They fired the wrong person.   I understand that they also fired their major league pitching coach.   While I agree that he and all other major league pitching coaches are incompetent, he is also the wrong person.   They need to fire the person who hired the person who is responsible for how they teach and train all the pitchers in their organization.   I recently had an experience with their director of minor league operations messing with one of my kids.   While I agree that my kid does not perform my pitching motion as expertly as I want, what they were forcing him to do would insure injury.   Ironically, one statement that this guy said to my kid was, we want you to pitch like we taught A. J. Burnett.   Less than one week later,...

     We only hear of the injuries to major league pitchers.   But, for every major league pitcher, many more minor league pitchers injure themselve.   One day, the owners are going to wake up.   I recently recommended that these injured pitchers contact OSHA and charge these teams with unsafe work environments.   Maybe when some injured pitcher does this, major league baseball will hire a competent expert researcher to investigate why these pitching arm injuries occur and what teams have to do to prevent them.   Just like Bill Gates went to someone to get the basis for his disk operating system, I am ready to show them how to properly teach and train their pitchers.

     While I am wishing on a star, I could tell them that the current rehabilitation program that they use for the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery requires that these pitchers rehabilitate for twelve to eighteen months before they can pitch competitively.   My 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Programs will have them ready in less than ten months.   A. J. would pitch next season.   And, he would never injure himself again.

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244.   I was listening to a self-proclaimed expert on sports’ radio show as he was interviewing a young major league pitcher.   They talked about his 'nearly flawless' mechanics and what a great instructor a well-known pitching coach wannabe is.   I almost puked.

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     Join the club.   Listening to that nonsense for the last thirty plus years has made me nauseous many times.   I cannot wait to finish my next Instructional Videotape to show these idiots what the 'traditional' pitching motion actually does and why my pitching motion maximizes force application without unnecessarily stressing the pitching arm.   If I could take high-speed film of this young man's pitching motion, he would be surprized to learn how many flaws he has and the extent to which he unnecessarily stresses his pitching arm.

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245.   Your practice pitchers mound is a great idea.   Why is it only 6" high?   Also, why is the mound only 8' long?   High School/Babe Ruth mound is 10" high I think.   Also, I am very mechanically inclined.   Based on your directions I got the gist of it, but could not for the life of me understand where the 3' long 1X2 and especially the 1X4's were attached to the frame.   A picture or two would be worth a thousand words.

     The design for an indoor pitcher's would be a great addition to your book.   A very useable one can be made with two sheets of 3/4" plywood, with or without any astro turf.   But I have never seen a design anywhere on the internet.   I could mail you a simple drawing but I don't have it in machine readable form.


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     For the side boards of my practice pitchers mound, I now use a two inch by ten inch by twelve foot board.   You are correct, the pitchers mound is ten inches higher than home plate, first base, second base and third base.   The slope is one inch per foot for six feet.   That leaves four inches for water runoff.   I believe that the regulations call for a nine foot radius mound centered three feet ahead of the center of the front edge of the pitching rubber.   If true, that would make from the pitching rubber to the edge of the grass twelve feet.

     I use 1"x2" inch boards to attach the astroturf to the frame of the pitching mound.   I use the 1"x4" board for the pitching rubber, except that I paint the middle twenty-four inches white.   With sufficient support, plywood would work for an indoor pitching mound.   I have thought about showing how to build my pitching mound in my next Instructional Videotape, but I decided that most people could probably build a better one without me.

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246.   I was surfing the web looking for information on the physics of the curveball for my 17 year old son who pitches for his high school.   In the process I ran across one of your websites.

     I was a student in the graduate level biomechanics class that you taught.   You had a strong effect on my career path.   After earning a masters in exercise physiology, I worked 3 years in a highly-respected Sports Medicine Department.   I then went on to complete a Ph.D. in biomechanics at a weel-respected university.   After I completed the degree, my former school recruited me to come back and I have been my home ever since.   I teach the undergraduate and graduate courses in anatomy and biomechanics.

     A few graduate students and I have been having fun graphing the flights of baseballs, accounting for gravity, air drag and the Magnus effect.   It has been instructive and interesting.   I'm sure you don't remember me but I did want to say thanks and good luck.


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     Nice to hear from you.   It is always good to hear that my teachings has not messed my students up too much.   You mentor in graduate school and I earned our advanced degrees at Michigan State with Bill Heusner and Wayne Van Huss.   After I took my high-speed films in 1965, 1967, 1969 and, especially my triangulated effort in 1971, your professor recognized the value of what he came to call, biomechanics.   I continue to high-speed film my pitchers, but, with only one camera at my disposal, I no longer digitize for displacement with which to calculate velocity, acceleration and force.

     How many miles per hour do your calculations for drag show that baseball decelerate from release to crossing home plate?   By measuring release velocity for the first two feet from the side view and total velocity from the rear view of my high-speed film, I calculated twelve miles per hour on a ninety mile per hours at release.

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247.   Small world.   I really enjoyed my training there and his mentorship.   He was a creative and positive influence, as well as having a great sense of humor.   He is still living near there and doing consulting work in "criminal biomechanics".

     We must be underestimating the coefficient of drag because the 90 mph pitch only lost 8 mph on its trip to the plate.


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     At least you guys understand that air molecules decelerate baseballs.   There are baseball people who actually think that baseballs pick up speed and 'hop' when they get close to home plate.   Because initial velocity plus final velocity divided by two equals average velocity, we can precisely measure how much air molecules decelerate baseballs.   We simply need precise displacement and time measurements.

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248.   What stretches do you recommend for a pitcher?   You said in your book that stretching isn't really stretching?   Can you explain this!

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     Muscles do not stretch.   When people pull, push, tug and so on, their muscles, they take a chance on tearing connective and muscle tissue.   I do not recommend stretching for anything other than a yawn.   To prepare muscles for exercise, people simply need to move those muscles in the manner for the exercise at reduced intensity and rate.   The working muscles will give off information that monitors will pick up that they are working and the body will redistribute more blood to them.   This is what warm-up is.

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249.   I am trying to help my son with a scavenger hunt.   He needs to know 4 types of baseball fastballs.   I have found so many different names and am not sure.

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     Pitchers release fastballs off the tips of their index and middle fingers.   If the baseballs backwardly rotate with four seams, we call them four seam fastballs.   If the baseballs backwardly rotate with two seams, we call them two seam fastballs.   When pitchers release fastballs off the ring finger side of the tip of their middle finger, they turn the spin axis to slightly horizontal to the outside and we call them tailing fastballs.   When pitchers release fastballs off the index finger side of the tip of their middle finger, they turn the spin axis to slightly horizontal to the inside and we call them sailing or cut fastballs.   I suppose pitchers could throw tailing and sailing or cut fastballs with either four or two seams.   When pitchers release two seam fastballs off the ring finger side of their middle finger, they turn the spin axis to almost horizontal and we call them sinkers.

     I teach my pitchers Maxline and Torque fastballs, which designates toward which side of home plate my fastballs move.   But, these names are indigenous only to my Pitchers Research/Training Center.

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250.   I love it.   I have been working with my son on the Maxline Fastball and your old 2 seam sinker.   In fact, I have taught several of the kids on his team the sinker.   Some of them throw it well.   My son is starting to throw if VERY well.   We revisited the screwball today and he threw it quite well.   I think the Sinker practice helped him with the screwball.

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     The problem that I have had with teaching my Maxline Fastball Sinker before my Maxline True Screwball is that pitchers think that my Maxline Fastball Sinker is a breaking pitch and lose their off the tip of their middle finger release.   Therefore, I teach my 280-Day kids my Maxline True Screwball first.   However, I understand.   When I had little time to prepare my pitchers for competition, I would short-cut the process and give them a form of my sinker and did well.   However, in the long run, it interfered with them learning my Maxline True Screwball.   Maybe your son can learn both.   However, my Maxline Fastball Sinker is not supposed to be a reverse breaking pitch.

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251.   My 13-year old son is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery this summer after school is out to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.   He is a left-handed hitter.   After reviewing his MRI about a month ago, his doctor said it was OK for him to continue to hit.   His surgeon now says it is probably OK for him to hit, but he would prefer that he not hit from now until the surgery.   Do you have an opinion on whether hitting could do further damage?

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     Too much lateral horizontal centripetal force slammed his olecranon process into its fossa and broke cartilage loose from either or both surfaces.   Baseball batting does not similarly generate lateral horizontal centripetal force.   Therefore, he should be able to bat without causing any more problems.   However, he has to stop pitching too much and using the 'traditional' pitching motion.   He has already permanently altered the normal growth and development pattern of their pitching elbow.   This would be a good time to stop the abuse.

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252.   How do you teach pitchers to cover first base?   Say a ground ball is hit to the first baseman and the pitcher has to take the throw at first.   I have seen coaches tell pitchers to run at an angle that will take them about 10 feet to the home plate side of first base.   Then the pitcher basically turns up the baseline to first base.   This is done to prevent the pitcher from crossing into the runner if he takes a direct path to first base.   I was wondering how you did it.

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     Any time batters hit a baseball to the second baseman side of the infield and any time pitchers have a base runner on second base and the batter hits the baseball any where on the ground, I teach my pitchers to run head down in a straight line to a point ten feet short of first base.   If the baseball is on the second baseman side of the infield, when they reach that point, I want them to stop, turn toward the infielder with the baseball and move under control to first base.   If the infielder has not yet released his throw, pitchers should stop and straddle first base and catch the throw as any first baseman would.   If the baseball is on the shortstop baseman side of the infield, to retrieve any errant throw, I want them to run across the baseline into foul territory between first base and the dugout.

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253.   Do you have a way you teach runners to run from home to second base on a double situation?   I am particularly interested in how you taught your players to round first base.   Did you have them hit first base with the right foot or did it matter?   Did you have them take a wide turn before they reached first base or have them run straight to first and arc toward second?

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     I am not sure why I am getting non-pitching questions.   I suppose that it is a compliment that readers want me to extend the principles that guide me in designing a Pitchers Interval-Training Program to other areas.   As a collegiate head baseball coach, I had the responsibility to design interval-training programs for all skills basic to playing baseball.   Base running is a skill basic to baseball.

     Like with baseball pitching, coaches have to account for Newton's law of inertia first.   With base running, this means that base runners must run in straight lines for as much of the distance as possible.   In running from home plate to second base, base runners must run in a straight line between first and second bases.   Therefore, between home plate and first base, they must move to a line fifteen feet outside of the base line as quickly as possible, run in a straight line to a point fifteen feet short of first base, plant their outside foot hard and turn toward second base, powerfully push off the inside of first base with their outside foot and run in a straight line to second base.

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254.   My son has been working on your Maxline Fastball leverage throws.   We marked-up a ball showing the circle of friction and the vertical center-line.   He appears to be getting a very good horizontal spin axis, but the ball is comes into the plate (looking from above) spun slightly counter-clockwise.   Therefore, as I am catching for him I can see the circle of friction angled slightly towards me.   He seems to pronate very well through release.   What type of correction does he need to make in order to get the circle of friction at a 90 degree angle from home plate.

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     Not to be picky, but I call the throwing drill, my Maxline Pickoff Position Leverage Throws.   This is where pitchers stand with their pitching foot in line ahead of their glove foot.   For a complete description, please read my new Chapter Thirty-Seven.   I intend this drill to teach youngsters how to properly release their pitches to achieve the appropriate spin axes.

     To learn my Maxline Fastball spin axis, pitchers need baseballs with stripes drawn through the middle of the four seams.   Maxline Fastballs have a horizontal spin axis that makes this stripe spin vertically with the inside of the baseball turned slightly forward.   Pitchers have to release Maxline Fastballs off the end of the tip of their middle finger.   Baseballs should not have both the stripe and my circle of friction drawn on them.   You should have a separate baseball for four seam pitches, i. e., striped, and for two seam pitches, i. e., circled.

     It sounds as though your son is pronating well.   That is great.   Now, he has to learn how to powerfully pronate his releases and achieve a wide variety of different spin axes.   With my Maxline Fastball, he needs to release the baseball off the tip of his middle finger and get a vertical stripe.   With my Maxline Fastball Sinker, he needs to release the baseball off the outside of tip of his middle finger and get the circle of friction on the top, front surface of the baseball.   From your description, he is almost throwing my Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     The more that he releases the baseball around the outside of the tip of his middle finger, the more he will turn the circle of friction forward.   He needs to experiment and have you explain precisely where you see the circle.

     Sounds like fun.   How about my Maxline Pronation Curve?

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255.   My 14 year-old grandson started pitching when he was 6.   He is a left-handed pitcher and was quite talented.   He pitched for about six years.   Between ages 12 and 13,he grew 7 inches in 9 months.   (He is now six feet tall and weighs about 175 lbs.)   He began to have back pain and could no longer pitch.   He has for the last year not pitched and has worn a back brace for six months to heal the hairline fracture to his lower back.   His father is a doctor and catscans were done to determine the damage to his back.   Do not know if the problem was genetic or if his growth pattern was the cause.   He now is ready to begin pitching again, has no pain and has been lifting weights and building his body.

     The question I have for you is:   Do you know a pitching coach that is familiar with physical therapy that could help him in beginning to pitch correctly to not place stress on his back?   Preferably, one that is near where we live.


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     At fourteen biological years old, your grandson has open growth plates throughout his pitching arm.   Too much stress from pitching can cause discomfort and interfere with the growth and development of these growth plates.   He also has growth plates in the vertebrae of his spinal column.   It sounds to me as though he went through a rapid growth phase where these growth plates expanded dramatically.   During this time, stress from pitching, weight lifting or almost anything would apply more stress than the growth plates of his lumbar vertebrae could withstand.   He is still in a growth phase.

     I strongly recommend that he stop all weight lifting until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.   This occurs in biological sixteen year olds.   If his father is a doctor, then he can take X-rays of both arms from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm from the lateral and anterior/posterior view within one week of his birthday.   Then, to determine whether pitching stress has altered the growth and development rate of his pitching arm, he should compare the growth plate of his medial epicondyle of his pitching arm with his glove arm.   He can also determine whether the growth plates in his pitching arm have completely matured.   If they have, then he can start some weight training for pitching.

     I have interval-training programs for pitchers.   They start with eight year olds.   He would need to start at the beginning and train for only sixty days per year.   He can shorten the sixty day programs for eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen through fifteen year olds to thirty days each until he catches up to his age.   At that time, he will be seventeen years old and ready for my 120-Day High School Pitchers Interval-Training Program that uses weights appropriately.

     The best that I can recommend for your son to learn how to pitch and train to pitch is my Coaching Pitchers book and Instructional Videotape.   I do not know of anybody in your area that I would trust working with him.   As a doctor, his father will understand my book.   That will make him the best pitching coach that your grandson could have.   The pitching flaw that places unnecessary stress on your grandson's back is bending at the waist.   He needs to learn how to stand tall with level shoulders and rotate.

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256.   I just returned from a business trip to find that my son's mother had not executed your forty-week training program documents and forwarded the deposit to you.   Is it too late to do this?   I also talked to the young man who bad-mouthed your program and he was very apologetic.   He he did not understand why this junior college pitching coach asked him to call my son.   I gave him your website and he is very impressed, more especially since he is in rehabilitation for his second Tommy John surgery.

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     If you have asked me this question before yesterday, I would have had to say that it was too late, I am full.   However, due to the overwhelming interest this year, I started looking for additional housing accommodations.   Yesterday, the owner of four nearby duplexes agreed to sell to me.   He overpriced them, but it means that I can help more young men.   Therefore, I do now have openings.

     It sounds as though this other young man needs to contact me.   You would think that his first Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery would have alerted him to the fact that he is using bad pitching mechanics and needed to change.   With my program, he would be fully recovered and stronger than he has ever been in less than ten months.   And, he will never reinjure his pitching arm.

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257.   I was wondering if the supraspinatus and or the infraspinatus of a position players arm could be damaged due to the fact that while performing the bench press he proceeds past parallel of his clavicle.   And, if so could the pain the athlete is feeling actually be due to the strain of his subscapularis.   This athlete is a friend of mine that I am currently playing with here in for an independent team.

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     Depending on whether athletes have their upper arm abducted or by their side, the primary action of the bench press is either shoulder joint horizontal flexion or flexion.   The Pectoralis Major is the major muscle of shoulder joint horizontal flexion.   The Subscapularis muscle could assist, but it is more concerned with inward rotation of the shoulder joint.   While I do not like pitchers to ever, ever take their pitching elbow behind their acromial line, for the bench press action to injure the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle to the lesser tuberosity of the Humerus bone would surprise me.   If athletes do not abduct their upper arm, then the possibility of injuring their Subscapularis muscle decreases even more.   However, the possibility of injuring the two-joint Triceps Brachii muscle increases.   Because the Triceps Brachii muscle contributes to shoulder joint horizontal flexion and flexion actions as well as elbow joint extension, the attachment of its long head to the infraglenoid tuberosity of the scapula is the pressure point most likely to give way.

     In any case, I do not believe that bench presses would stress his Supraspinatus attachment to the superior facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus bone or his Infraspinatus attachment to the middle facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus bone.   More likely, he injured these attachments with a 'reverse forearm bounce' in his improper pitching mechanics.

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258.   My son is eight and enjoys the game of baseball. I was fortunate to find your website at the beginning of this baseball season, and did not "push" pitching as I was prepared to do.   I have spent our time the last half of the season trying to correct the traditional methods that we had practiced.

     I do not plan to do the training program until next spring, since he has been playing for eight weeks.   When we do throw this summer, or he is playing with friends, he can be learning and using your throwing technique.   I believe you recommended the Maxline fastball technique to parents of outfielders and catchers.   I want him to be learning and practicing this technique whenever he does throw.

     I have a question on the pitching motion from chapter 36 (7.e.). At release, the forearm should be maximally pronated and pointing toward home plate, while before forearm acceleration, the elbow should be pointed at home plate.   During forearm acceleration, should the elbow be allowed to move toward the third base side (as it "pops up") for a right-handed pitcher so that the elbow never fully extends?


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     Together, we will show your youth pitchers how to properly apply force to his throws or pitches without unnecessarily stressing his arm.   Then, at sixteen years old, with a non-deformed, highly-skilled throwing arm, he will have the chance to find out how good he can be.

     I recommend that pitchers forwardly rotate their pitching acromial line to point at home plate before they accelerate their forearm through release.   This means that I want pitchers extend their driveline as far forwardly as possible and separate the acceleration of their pitching upper arm and the acceleration of their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.

     The 'pop-up' action of the pitching elbow occurs during the deceleration phase after release.   It is a product of a powerful pitching forearm pronation and of the forward rotation of their pitching acromial line, which includes inward rotation of the pitching upper arm.   The pronation action of the pitching forearm initiates a circular movement of the pitching arm that the inward rotation action of the pitching upper arm continues.   As a result, the pitching elbow joint moves to the outside, thus protecting the olecranon process and fossa from collision injury, and resulting in the pitching elbow moving above the pitching forearm, i. e., popping-up.   This is a critical pitching arm action.   Within the first two weeks of my wrist weight training, I make sure that all my kids learn this skill.

     You are correct, sir.   I recommend that all position players learn my Maxline Fastball technique, except that they do not turn the inside of the baseball forward to enhance lateral movement.

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259.   I just came across your site in my quest to gain some info regarding my quest to become a better pitching coach.   I have been a high school pitching coach for the past 4 years and coached 16-17 year olds during the summer on a very competitive level.

     I'm trying to take a more academic, scientific approach to preparation as I would like to some day pursue a coaching career at the college level.   If you could take some time to answer a couple of questions for me I surely would appreciate it.

1.   What is your opinion on a pitcher's pregame routine as a starter?   I have attempted to tailor my pitchers' pregame routines based on their strengths, weaknesses, but I sometimes feel that my pitchers are not always as ready as they could be.   If you could help me with that aspect of preparation, I certainly would appreciate it.

2.   Do you allow amateur coaches, such as myself to come to your facility to observe your teaching programs with the HS juniors and seniors or the graduates?


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     I could not possibly you a pregame routine for any pitchers who have not followed my training programs.   I would have no way of knowing how fit they are or how they apply force to their pitches.   Under those circumstances, anything can go wrong at any time.

     I welcome everybody to my Pitcher Research/Training Center at any time for as many days as they want to visit.   I only require that, before they come, they read my Coaching Pitchers book and, if they do not understand something, they email me with their questions.

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260.   I was informed you your web-site last week and I have been reading the book since.   I help a local high school and have a son in college, as a pitcher.   I have several little league teams that have me come in and instruct pitching.   I have worked with a professional baseball pitching coordinator for the past couple of years in camps and clinics.   You have me intrigued with your book.   However, I am having a hard time visualizing your instructions.

     My question is, do you allow people to come and watch you teach?   I would love to watch and listen to what you are doing.   My main concern is that the kids are in the proper throwing position and not damaging their arms.   I see that you have players starting June 14th.   I would be interested in attending and possibly bring my son to watch for a day or so.


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     Everybody is welcome to visit my Pitchers Research/Training Center at any time for as many days as they want.   I only request is that you read my Coaching Pitchers book and come prepared to only ask clarifying questions.

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261.   Do you have any open spots left in your camp?   I was also wondering if I could pay in Canadian funds and if you could be my agent.

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     I am in the process of purchasing additional housing.   Therefore, I do have room for more forty-week kids.   I do not get into monetary exchange rates. Just like everybody else, for my lifetime of coaching, you would have to pay ten United States dollars ($10.00) per day on arrival and, for your housing, you will pay ten United States dollars ($10.00) per day plus your share of the electric on the first of each month.   To reserve your space, you need to send in six hundred United States dollars ($600.00) and a notarized copy of my partnership agreement.

     As for acting as your agent, if you have the opportunity to pitch professionally, I will be happy to advise you for free.   However, I must warn you.   Unlike most agents, I do not lie about the abilities of my pitchers.   Therefore, you would have to show me that you can pitch at major league quality before I would recommend you for a professional baseball career.

     Only one Canadian has trained with me. The problem that you have is a job.   Without a permit, you cannot work in the United States.   I will not have students laying around their apartment all day, every day.   You could attend school.   You could volunteer at the local hospital.   You could do whatever you want, except lay on your couch all day.   If you chose to lay around the apartment, then I WILL ask you to leave.   This is not a vacation or a fantasy camp.

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262.   My son is almost 14.   His arm had been bothering him for about 6 months.   He pitched and caught up until about a year ago and then pitched and played other positions.   He plays on a traveling team that plays all year long.   At first, the thought that the muscle in the back was weaker than in the front area and did therapy.   It still bothered him and after a MRI and x-rays of the left and right shoulder showed a separation in the growth plate.

     He has not played for about a month now and they said they did not want him doing any throwing for 2 months and they would x ray again.   Five doctors looked at the X-rays and determined it just needed rest and the term they used was "Little Leaguers Arm.'   As you can imagine it is very frustrating but he is going into high school next year and understands about resting his arm.   How long to you think this will take and when he goes back how much should he pitch?


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     Too much stress interferes with the normal growth and development of growth plates.   Your son has applied far too much stress to his throwing/pitching arm.   A biological fourteen year old has open growth plates for his olecranon process and medial epicondyle in his elbow and the head of his humerus in his shoulder.   The growth plate in his shoulder is not completely mature until he is biologically nineteen years old.

     I recommend that, until the growth plate for the medial epicondyle completely matures, youngsters should not train, throw or pitch for more than sixty days per year, should not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   You can see how much more he has stressed his throwing/pitching arm than I recommend.   My recommendation to you is:   He should not train, throw or pitch until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle completely matures.

     You could join my Research Study Club.   Within one week of his birthday, get X-rays taken of his pitching and glove arms from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm with a bent-elbow lateral view and straight-elbow anterior view.   Send copies to me and I will estimate his biological age and compare the growth and development pattern for all growth plates in his pitching and globe elbows.

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263.   I just got through reviewing your video for pitching technique and I'll have to confess that I'm pretty disappointed.   But, rather than just writing off the exercise to experience, I'm going to take you at your word that you're genuinely interested in a process of continual improvement and I'm going to dedicate the couple of hours to giving you some constructive criticism.   I hope this will open a dialogue on the subject that will improve not only your video, but also your web presence and your entire marketing approach as well.   I feel like you have an important message that needs to get out but you're not going about it in the best way possible.

     If your goal is, as you state, to eliminate pitching arm injuries in the future baseball players of America, then your target demographic here is the parents of small boys.   Those people are interested in only a few key points.

1.   How can I give my son a rocket throwing arm that'll earn him the respect of his peers?
2.   Why is conventional coaching destroying all of young pitchers?
3.   What coaching techniques will protect my son from lifelong injury?

     This demographic lives in the PTA meetings, cub scout dens, and Little League snack shacks of America.   These are the people who are willing to cough up $100 for a videotaped teaching tool, not some high school punk who's only interest is chasing pussy or some college pitcher who's already got a highly respected coach telling him what to do 5 days a week.

     Most fathers like me, do not give a rats ass about how to throw a screwball or what kind of opening pitch combinations will put me ahead in the count on a spray hitter.   We want to hear about growth plate closures that stunt arm growth or tear off nascent elbow processes.   We want to hear about the statistics of permanent arm damage among Little Leaguer pitchers.   But most importantly, we want to know how your technique is going to prevent these problems.

     We want to understand these issues deeply, we want to see animations of bones incorrectly colliding and why, in animation, a change of the throwing technique solves these problems.   I know you've said that animation is expensive, but it doesn't need to be.   Ken Burns did the entire award-winning PBS series on the Civil War no video footage and no one even realized it.   You can do an amazing animation with just 4 PowerPoint slides and slow transitions.

     I bought your videotape in order to see skeletal biomechanics of improper technique contrasted with proper technique.   I expected chapter 9 to fill up 75% of the video length but instead it came in around 5%.   If you blinked, the entire message was lost.   In that chapter, you gave a lot of steps but almost no rationale as to what problem each was intended to address nor how it addressed it.

     Secondarily, I bought your videotape to see animation of the growth process and how improper technique subverts it.   You sort-of addressed this in the beginning with the still photos of X-rays of various-aged kids but the transitions were not fluid nor did it tie into how the specific injuries you showed resulted from bad biomechanics.

     You need to reduce the opening historic video footage.   It comes off as self-aggrandizing.   If you want to see that kind of thing done well, look at Pete Maravich's Homework Basketball video series.   Pistol Pete works his own basketball prowess into the transitions between chapters and doesn't club the viewer over the head with them.   You won the Cy Young award and you have a PhD in biomechanics.   You don't have to prove anything more.

     You should drop the live models.   Watching a bunch of high school and college kids throwing a ball at a net while you run commentary is not particularly constructive or educational.   It appeared to me, that several times those kids we stepping completely wrong and each was doing something completely different from the other.   I got hopelessly confused trying to sort out the good techniques from the bad.

     There are several good PC-based software packages for choreographers out there, which require neither a PhD nor a trust fund to acquire, like Life Forms 3.0 for example.   Those tools will let you model precisely what the human body should be doing and don't require any expensive video or animation.   If you don't wish to master those tools I'm sure the software vendor can direct you to a consultant who can do the work for you at reasonable cost.

     More about the advanced techniques that you include.

1.1.1.   Move them to an advanced videotape While I'm sure there are people who care about screwballs or curve balls, I just don't happen to be one of them ? and I am your target demographic.   When I am interested, in moving to that next level, I'll buy the advanced tape, replete with the lectures from Newton and Bernoulli.

1.1.2.   If you're going to do a physics lecture, buy a physicist.   While I'm interested in the physics of a baseball in flight, that's a topic for another video.   There are probably no fewer that 20 animations, created by Jr. College physics professors scattered about the web, which describe how the Bernoulli effect curves a baseball's flight path.   Licensing any of those would've been far more instructional than your flip chart drawings so I would encourage you to find one you like and ask the author how much it'd cost to include it in your video.

     You need to hit the lecture circuit.   Baseball Weekly is not a journal I read religiously.   To reach your target demographic you need to hit the parenting circuit. I'm quite certain that if you told local children's organizations you'd be in town and wanted to talk about how the Little League Corporation is conspiring to destroy the young arms of America they'd eat it up.   The biotech and computer dads in Silicon Valley all want to know if damage is being done to their kids.   Believe me, most young fathers would much rather go hear Mike Marshall talk about pitching than another nut case ranting about how to cure attention deficit disorder with Ritalin.   I'm also sure that every major metropolitan center in the country has an equivalent organization.

     You need to pare down your web site and stay on the message.   Your message should be all about protecting the young arms of America. Anything else should be removed.

     Your 'Frequently Asked Questions' section is anything but.   In fact it's a running dialog between you and everyone who has ever written to you in the past 3 years.   I completely gave up trying to slog through that web log.   You should go through all of those letters and create a proper FAQ.

     You need to get yourself another video production house.   If you did all of the video production yourself then you have a fool for a client.   If you hired that job out then it's time you took your business elsewhere.   That really looked like an amateurish production.   Again, I would refer you to Pete Maravich's video to see what's possible.


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     Thank you for taking the time to give me your insights.   I would not have cared if it had been destructive criticism.   I ask everybody to tell me what I can do better to help them accomplish their goals.

     First things first, I do have a fool for a client.   I am not heavily financed.   I am one guy in a small town in Florida.   I cannot spend thousands of dollars on software and qualified videographers.   To get this videotape made, I had to go into partnership with the guy that owned the video studio, had to work after his normal business hours and do most of the work myself.   Even so, I will not recover my costs with the sale of this videotape.

     I had no intentions of doing a videotape.   I could not get my Coaching Pitchers book published.   However, I had to do something to stop the destruction of the pitching arms of all youth and adult pitchers.   So, I took a web site design class and on my own dime, I placed my book on the Internet for free.   Within a short time, my readers demanded a videotape.   I understood, but I played before the million dollar contracts and with three daughters to put through college, I came to Florida broke.   Nevertheless, I purchased a videotape quality digital camcorder, used the students that I had available at the time and I put out a videotape that followed the book with pictures.

     I know that it is a long way from perfect.   That is why I am doing another.   I have digital videotape of better quality performers.   I have taken thousands of feet of high-speed film at one dollar per foot.   I will put together the best academic discussion and pictorial display I possibly can.   I know fathers of youth pitchers want a step-by-step description of what they should teach their sons.   I want that as well.

     I understand the lucrative youth baseball market.   I understand that parents of youth pitchers are willing to throw away hundreds of dollars on unsubstantiated garbage with which numerous unqualified persons have flooded the market.   But, I will not go for the dollar.   I ask parents to join me.   That means that they have to read, question, get involved.   However, I do not view my market at narrowly as you make it.   I do want to 'eliminate pitching arm injuries in the future baseball players of America,' but I also want to help the pitching coaches in high school, college and professional baseball.   I do want all pitchers to learn how to throw baseballs as fast as the genetics that their parents gave them allows, but I also want them to learn the other pitches necessary for success.

     When I wrote my Coaching Pitcher book, I never read anything that others wrote about how to pitch.   As a researcher, I wanted to follow only the scientific evidence.   Therefore, I only discussed what I recommended.   Now that I am satisfied that I have answered almost all questions that I have about how pitchers should apply force to their pitches, I have examined what other say and I am pointing out their flaws.   My new Chapter Twenty-Nine does this.   I have taken great care to explain what parents must do to protect their sons.   My new Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven do this.   I can never put everything in a videotape, but I will give parents the tools that they need and I will never stop helping them.

     I am gratified that parents are interested in 'growth plate closures that stunt arm growth or tear off elbow processes,' and 'the statistics of permanent arm damage among Little League pitchers.'   However, I know of only one research study that addressed these questions.   Dr. Joel Adams did this work.   I included his X-rays in the videotape and I devoted most of Chapter Nine to him.   To get parents personal information about their son, I am starting a Research Study Club where parents and I will follow the growth and development of the growth plates in the pitching and non-pitching elbows.   I will also assess their biological age and rate of skeletal development.

     I am also gratified that parents 'want to know how your technique is going to prevent these problems.'   I have worked for thirty-eight years to determine the one best way to apply force to baseballs that maximizes release velocity and minimizes unnecessary stress.   Just like there is only one biomechanically perfect way to pick up a heavy box or perform any other activity, there is only one biomechanically perfect way to apply force to baseballs.   I believe that my force application technique is that or very close to that.   I will not stop analyzing.   I will not stop learning.   However, I cannot provide 'animations of bones incorrectly colliding,' or 'in animation, a change of the throwing technique solves these problems.'   I will use as much high-speed film as I need to show at five hundred frames per second what pitchers do.   And, where they do not do precisely what I think they should do, I will point out the discrepancies.   I love the work that Ken Burns does, but I am no Ken Burns.

     I chose not to discuss improper techniques in my first videotape, except for the comedic performance I personally made where I demonstrated too much reverse rotation, reverse forearm bounce, forearm flyout, elbow pull and so on.   I will do a thorough rip job of the 'traditional' pitching motion in my next videotape.   Your next comment will be 'enough already.'

     I have a problem with showing you perfection of my pitching motion.   I do not have anybody yet who does it perfectly.   I start with damaged 'traditional' pitchers and am in the process of deprogramming them.   They are getting better, some almost good on some pitches.   However, I cannot promise perfection.   Nevertheless, you will see precisely how parents should teach their youth pitchers.

     Your comment that I should connect the X-rays of youth pitching arm injuries with what caused those injuries is on the mark.   I could not come up with a way to do that before, but I will find a way this time.   Parents have to understand how to prevent the ossification center for the medial epicondyle in their youth pitcher's pitching elbow from pulling away, fracturing and/or dislocating.   Parent have to understand how to prevent the head of radius bone in their youth pitcher's pitching elbow from enlarging beyond usefulness.   Parents also have to understand how to prevent growth plates from closing before they should, prevent elbow and shoulder ligament stretching, elbow flexion and extension ranges of motion decreasing and more.

     I agree with you about the 'opening historic video footage.'   But, when you take a partner, you compromise.   My video guy makes commercials for a living.   He thought that I was selling me.   He wanted much more of me.   I cut it down considerably.   My mother liked the videotape of me in Junior High School.   I did not like showing me pitching because I wish that I had known what I know now and cannot stand to watch how I used to do it.   You will see a lot less of that.   I met Pete when I moved to Florida and played with him in an charity game.   Great guy.

     I have already apologized for less-than-perfect examples of my training program.   They were only in their fourth month of my program.   I would have had to wait another six months for better demonstrations.   Nevertheless, your criticism is correct.   I too frequently had to ask viewers to overlook their flaws and see the one aspect of what they did that I intended them to notice.   However, to show how my pitches move on their way to home plate, I will still have to show them pitching into a net.   Maybe, during those segments, I could speed up the video.

     It is not a matter of not wishing to master 'several good PC-based software packages for choreographers,' I wish for allot of things that I will never have the time or money to do.   I agree with you totally.    Someone could do an outstanding job of showing 'precisely what the human body should be doing,' and when someone volunteers or someone else has the money, I will be all for it.   For my last videotape, I spent three hundred hours in the video studio using his expensive equipment that would have cost me one hundred and fifty dollars per hour for him to do.   What you are suggesting is ten times more expensive.   Let me repeat, I came to Florida after my major league career broke, I do not charge for my web site, my Coaching Pitchers book or my advice.   I cannot afford what the major networks turn out on a daily basis.   I am sorry, but I just cannot.

     I thought about separate Instructional Videotapes for youth pitchers and adult pitchers.   But then, someone told me that youth pitchers become adult pitchers.   I decided that I wanted to show pitchers from eight years old on, what they have to do to become the best adult pitcher that they can be.   I understand your advice, but, even with the extremely lucrative youth market, I cannot do this one.   Fast forward past Newton, Bernoulli, wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and so on.   They will still be there when your youth pitchers becomes a high school pitchers.

     I am completely unaware of 'no fewer that 20 animations, created by Jr. College physics professors scattered about the web, which describe how the Bernoulli effect curves a baseball's flight path.'   Please send me information on where they are and I will pass them on.   I do not see me licensing anything other than my car.   However, I doubt that they explained the 'Marshall Effect' of the circle of friction pitches.

     You are not the first to tell me to 'hit the lecture circuit.'   However, I flew for fourteen major league seasons.   I am done traveling.   I am not interested in getting rich, only not spending all my retirement money before I die.   I will do everything I can to eliminate pitching arm injuries, but I will do it only from Zephyrhills, FL.   Everybody is welcome to come to see me any day they want for as long as they want.   I will be here for a few more years, I hope.

     My message is more than protecting pitching arms.   As a Pitcher Research/Training Center, I need committed young men to train.   Some call them, my guinea pigs.   I do not disagree. They and I work together to find the best way to teach and train them to throw the best baseball pitches that they can without unnecessarily stressing their pitching arms.   I would hope that we share these goals with every pitching coach.   Therefore, I need my Pitching Instruction information.   I also need my Instructional Videotape information.   Parents, coaches and pitchers requested my Pitcher Training Programs information.   I think everybody wants the information in my FREE BOOK!!!

     I do not disagree with your description of my Question/Answer files, 'It's a running dialog between you and everyone who has ever written to you in the past 3 years.'   And, I agree that it is not a proper FAQ.   While I do not include every email I receive, I feel it would be dishonest of me to not include the questions and concerns of other readers.   So, I post most of them. Sometimes, I also find them redundant, but I would rather err on including something unnecessary than not.   Sorry.

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264.   My son's birthday is approaching and I plan on getting his elbows X-rayed.   I talked to a doctor I know about the process and he thinks if I (and presumably others) go about it the traditional way it will be very expensive.   He says we will have to see a doctor, get an ok for the X-ray them have the X-ray evaluated.   He says that the X-ray itself is not expensive at all.

     I am wondering how you would feel about posting a list of places that would simply X-ray the elbows and give us the film to send to you.   I am thinking that perhaps we could get at least one place for every state.   Perhaps you could have a folder on your web site with the names of the places that would agree to do these X-rays inexpensively.   I am also curious if the doctor you recommend for Tommy John surgery would lend his support to your project by X-raying the kids inexpensively?   I am not saying these folks should not make a profit but I can't see paying for an evaluation, etc. if we simply want to send the X-rays to you.


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     I agree that parents should be able to get only the X-rays that they need for this purpose.   But, I don't know how to fight the HMOs that require that they also pay for an evaluation.   I would be glad to post locations where parents can get only the X-rays.   The doctor funds his own research center and pays his own research director, I doubt that he would want to send X-rays to me.

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265.   Do you instruct your pitchers to adjust their pitchers based on where the batters stand in the batters box?   As I watch games at all levels I see some hitters right on top of the plate and others who seem to stand too far from the plate.   It seems like standing too close to the plate would make a hitter vulnerable to an inside pitch and standing too far from the plate would make a hitter vulnerable to a low outside pitch.   On the flip side, when you coached did you instruct your players on where they should stand in relation to home plate?

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     Hitters stand close to the plate because they cannot hit the outside pitch to the opposite field.   Therefore, to pitch inside to hitters who stand close to the plate is precisely what they want you to do.   Hitters stand away from the plate because they cannot hit the inside pitch to the pull field.   Therefore, to pitch outside to hitters who stand away from the plate is precisely what they want you to do.

     I want my hitters to first learn how to hit all pitches with one hop on the ground to the opposite side of the field.   Therefore, I prefer that they stand away from home plate.

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266.   I kind of noticed that the way you teach to throw is a lot like throwing a football, especially with the way you move your thumb under after each throw.   Do you recommend throwing the football to build arm strength?

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     Absolutely not!   The only way to improve the ability to pitch baseballs is to pitch baseballs.   The thumb of the pitching hand rotates downward as a result of forearm pronation.   The fact that other activities also incorporate forearm pronation does not make them good training for baseball pitching.   For example, tennis serving requires forearm pronation, but I do not want pitchers using the tennis serve as a training activity.

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267.   My 11 year old son has been pitching for about two years.   He has potential and I would like a program to know what would be a good program for him to follow to increase his velocity and growth development.

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     That sounds like one of the reasons why I wrote my Coaching Pitchers book and designed my Pitchers Interval-Training Programs.   I want all youth pitchers to achieve their potential without interfering with the normal growth and development of the growth plate of their pitching arm.   If you and he follow my recommendations and complete my 60-Day Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen Through Fifteen, 120-Day High School and 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Programs, he will become all the pitcher that he can be.   To catch up with his age group, simply reduce the 60-Day Interval-Training Programs to thirty days.

     You can find all your answers in my book.   Happy reading.

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268.   I have a 12 1/2 year old son who recently complained of pain in his elbow while pitching.   I am not a coach, but a very concerned parent.   Once my son told me of his discomfort, I had him stop pitching immediately.   He pitched 54 pitches in his first game this year without any pain.   In his second outing a week later, after approximately 25-30 pitches he complained of elbow pain.   I had his mgr. pull him right away.   I tried to get an ortho appt., but as I'm sure you are aware, HMO insurance is the pits.

     After a 6 week wait, we just saw an Ortho Dr. yesterday.   Since the injury, my son has not pitched and only played 1st base and a few innings at second.   Prior to the complaint of pain, he threw only a fastball.   He was able to change speeds.   He throws no other pitches.   I was told by his manager that he was clocked at 73 mph in an early season practice.   Last year he threw a total of 7 innings over a 14 game season.   I have really tried to limit his use as a pitcher.

     The Ortho Dr. had x-rays taken and saw no traumatic type injuries.   He said his arm/elbow did not have any laxity.   One thing he did mention was that his elbow growth plates appear to be almost closed.   He said my son may have matured early.   He did not mention this as a product over excessive or improper throwing.   After trying to do some research, it seems that early growth plate closure can be a by-product of arm overuse.   What if anything can you tell me about this and what should I do for my son?

     Is it at all possible that this premature growth plate closure at his young age is not related to baseball?


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     At twelve years old, the ossification center for the olecranon process of the Ulna bone appears.   At thirteen years old, the ossification center for the lateral epicondyle of the Humerus bone appears.   At fourteen years old, the growth plate for the lateral epicondyle of the Humerus bone matures.   At fifteen years old, the growth plate for the olecranon process of the Ulna bone matures.   At sixteen years old, the growth plate for the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone matures.

     If the growth plate for your son's lateral epicondyle has matured, then he is fourteen biological years old.   If the growth plate for your son's olecranon process has matured, then he is fifteen biological years old.   If the growth plate for your son's medial epicondyle has matured, then he is sixteen biological years old.

     The only way to know whether baseball pitching has caused premature closure of these growth plate or whether your son is an accelerated maturer is to also X-ray the non-pitching elbow and compare.   If they are both similarly mature, then he is an accelerated maturer.   If the growth plates in his non-pitching elbow are not similarly closed, then baseball pitching prematurely closed them.

     Elbow pain in youth pitchers certainly can indicate an irritation of a growth plate.   The best thing to do is what you did, stop pitching.   However, it could be a also result of improper force application technique.   More than pitching in games, he needs to learn the skills of pitching.   He needs to start with my 60-Day Eight Year Old Pitchers Interval-Training Program learning the skills of each level before moving to the next level.   To expedite his program, he can shorten the 60-Day programs to thirty days.   But, he should not train for more than sixty days per year.

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269.   If a pitcher threw his fastball at 82 mph and wanted to throw a 90 mph fastball, what are his options?   Does it help to get stronger?   To get more flexible, would a change in technique be the right way?

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     For baseball pitchers to achieve their maximum adult fastball release velocity, they have to:
1.   Not destroy their pitching arm as a youth pitcher,
2.   Learn how to maximize the effectiveness of the force that they apply to their pitches while they minimize the unnecessary stress on their pitching arm and
3.   Maximize the strength of their skeletal system, including ligament and tendon attachments.   I explain how to do all this is in my Coaching Pitchers book and related materials.

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270.   I began following your site over two years ago.   Unfortunately, I became aware of your work after my son injured his medial epicondyle while pitching as a 13 year old.

     I was guilty of being ignorant of the dangers of youth pitching.   We followed traditional pitching techniques and way overdid the competitive side of youth baseball.   After reading your work I have attempted to alert everyone with younger pitchers of the dangers involved and have referred many to your site.

     We went through rehabilitation and didn't pitch competitively for a year and have experienced no recurrence of elbow pain of any type over the last two seasons.   While I understand that the injury did likely affect the skeletal development of his arm I remain hopeful that he can continue to develop as a pitcher.   He appears to have a full range of motion and experiences no pain.

     He is now approaching 16 years of age and has shows real promise as a left hander provided he can continue to gain skill, build strength and remain injury free.   I completely accept the scientific principles embodied in your work and have attempted to include much of it in the work that we have done on the mound since his injury.   We did receive your videotape last year and have spent quite a bit of time with it.   I must confess however that I have difficulty mastering the pitches and in determining how to proceed in incorporating the principles into his training.

     I have followed your Question/Answer section and downloaded your rewritten chapters. I am gaining knowledge but develop new questions daily.   With that in mind we would appreciate an opportunity to visit your training facility this summer in order to view the drills that you have added or revised.   This would allow us to proceed more confidently with the training programs without waiting for your next tape to be released.   If you could provide us the most appropriate timeframes for a brief visit in July/August, we will begin to make our travel plans.


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     I will always have somebody training every day.   However, I have high school juniors and seniors coming in on Saturday June 07 and 14 and leaving on August 02 and 09, respectively.   Any time in July would be best.

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271.   Since my son and I visited your facility and purchased your instructional video tape last month, I have viewed it several times becoming more familiar with the force application you teach.   I viewed your students on a 4-head VCR in slow frame by frame motion and was wondering if the forearm flyout is happening with the first student (with his hat turned backwards) pitching immediately after your grip instruction of the baseball.   Also, regarding the same student, it appears that he is close to perpendicular to home plate when his upper arm stops moving forward (Maxline Fastball).   Should his elbow be pointing more towards home plate when his upper arm stops and then have his forearm move forward with pronation to extension?   Of the students on the video, which student would you say is a good example to study in slow motion, frame by frame?

     I read in your Q&A's that Roger Clemens has some similar mechanics and I'm wondering are there any others in MLB that have some similarities?


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     Due to the insistence of my readers for an immediate videotape, I had to use students who had completed only sixteen weeks of my forty week program.   Therefore, it is best to do as I say they should do than what they did.   I will have more skilled performers in my next video.   Sorry.   I have not looked at that videotape since a year ago last January.   Therefore, I could not tell you whom is who.

     I would never say that any major league pitcher uses the force application techniques that I would recommend.   I cannot recall saying that Mr. Clemens used my mechanics.

     I guarantee that my next videotape will not have any ambiguities.   I will be very clear about what to do first and how, what to do second and how and so on with considerable high-speed very, very slow motion film.

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272.   I was watching a replay of the 1974 All Star Game today.   One thing led to another and I eventually found your web site.   With the obvious engineering analysis that can be seen throughout your work, I was surprised to read that you were a phys-ed major in your college days, and hadn't been drawn into something like mechanical engineering.   I assume "exercise physiology", "bio-engineering" and the like did not exist in the early 1960's.

     Your site does not "name-drop" any of your students who have gone on to a professional career.   Are there any that you could name?   If not, how might I identify them based on throwing mechanics?


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     I went to college to learn how to better teach baseball pitchers and position players to throw, pitch, bat, field and run bases.   Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Motor Skill Acquisition are some of the courses that helped me.   However, most of my learning came from high-speed film analysis several years before another graduate of Michigan State University's Physical Education masters and doctoral program invented the word, biomechanics, to describe what I was doing.

     When I find the time to complete my second Instructional Videotape, it will provide the best examples for how I recommend that pitchers apply force to their pitches.   Please stay tuned.

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273.   In your 2000 Q&A's, you wrote: 'Between the last year that Roger Clemens pitched for Boston and the first year that he pitched for Toronto, he changed his force application technique to very close to my maxline force application technique.   I even telephoned a colleague of mine in San Antonio, TX and accused him of working with him.   Except for a little hooking of his wrist at the downward forearm head pat position that causes a slightly too long delay at that moment in his transition, he does an acceptable job.   Someone did contact me about Clemens during his final year at Boston, but nothing came of my response that I would be glad to help.   Now, if he also learns my torque force application technique, he could get the fastball inside to left-handed batters so they do not homer off him.

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     I have to remember to restate my qualifier more frequently.   'Anything that I write is what I think on that day and that day only.'   You certainly cannot hold me accountable for something I said as long ago as the year 2000.   I say this only half in jest.   The truth is I frequently have to disavow what I thought was absolutely correct a short time ago.   I do recall the answer I gave to the Pedro/Roger question and I did exactly what I said.   However, I now disagree with the 'head pat' part of the question.   I also strongly disagree with the 'balance' position in favor of my 'crow hop' pitching rhythm.

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274.   Although you're working on a new video and I'm very anxious to purchase it, your current video is very good if people truly take the time to read and study your book as well.   The message that includes X-rays and the teaching you do is the best thing I've ever seen for the game of baseball.   I believe there is not one true baseball coach that has never seen a youth pitcher fade in high school due to the abuse his arm suffered as a youth.   I refer coaches and parents to your site on the Internet and have shared the video with them at my home and office as much as I can and will continue to do so.   I applaud your efforts in making a difference to me and my son and the hundreds that take the time to read and understand your book.   The word is spreading and I'm very grateful to you.

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     Thank you for the kind words about my present Instructional Videotape and spreading the word.   I need everybody's help in eliminating pitching arm injuries.   I am extremely busy right now and while I do not have the time to sit down and work on my next Instructional Videotape, I am going over it in my mind.   It will answer all the questions about the flaws of the 'traditional' pitching motion and how to properly teach all my pitches.

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275.   Did not I read somewhere in your materials that former major league pitchers have more hip replacement surgeries percentage-wise than other people.   I thought of your comments when I read about the relief pitcher who recently injured his hip.

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     Yes.   It is in my new Chapter Thirty-Six.   The 'balance position' and the excessive reverse rotation unnecessarily stresses the hip joint of the pitching leg.   If they turned the foot of their pitching foot toward home plate and walked forward off the pitching rubber, they would not only spare the hip of their pitching leg, but they would also extend their driveline and achieve higher release velocities.

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276.   When my boy decided he wanted to pitch at 9, the 1st requirement I put on him was that he NEVER tried to throw as hard as he could on the mound.   The next requirement was that he be able to get the ball “around” the plate at least 90% of the time before he’d be allowed to throw in a game.   Another one was, he wasn’t allowed to wind up.

   The result was, he learned to throw in a controlled manner.   Being a golfer, I understood that trying to perform motor skills at max capacity was a sure route to disaster.   So, everything was done at what I called a “normal” pace”.   I have no idea if this actually made any difference, but when he threw, we did it on our driveway which happens to have a little steeper slope than 1” per foot.

     The reason I didn’t want him throwing from the windup may have been wrong, but it was another one of those, “Keep unnecessary moves to a minimum” things from golf.   After about a year of practicing, he finally got his chance to throw, and has been doing so ever since.

     Just to be sure you understand some of what follows, he has a slight scoliosis.   One thing I saw very soon that I thought was wrong, was he had what looked to be a very low arm angle.   So, like any other ignorant parent, one thing I first tried to do was to get him to throw “over the top”.   Very quickly he started experiencing pain, and of course I got worried real quick.   In trying to figure out what was happening, I thought back to when he was younger, and even as he was currently playing, and something dawned on me.   Being a 3rd baseman, when he practiced a lot at 3rd, he’d experience the same kind of pain, but in games, he never had a problem.   He was one of those kids the coaches were always screaming at to throw the ball straight “overhand”, so he’d do it in practices, but never in games.

     So, I put one and one together and told him to just throw however he was comfortable.   Since then, the only times he’s experienced any “joint” pain has been when some coach he’s never seen before tries to make him “better” by having him throw over the top, or when he thrown on a mound with an exceptionally high degree of slope.   For a year or so he did experience a “knot” in his bicep area on occasion, but it turned out he was holding the ball too tight, and when he stopped that, the knot went away.

     I guess my question is more in the form of, how bad did I do?   I don’t know if stats mean too much, but he has had what most people call great success.   At almost 17, he throws a 2 and 4 seam FB, normally 80-83, but occasionally humps it up to 86.   A 10/4 hook normally at 69-72, a 72-75 slider that breaks late, and a 70-74 CU that goes in and down, or down depending on how well he “gets it.   He’s always thrown 67-70% strikes, about the same 1st pitch strikes, walks very few batters, and as you probably have guessed, is not a strike out pitcher, but only averages 3.4 pitches per batter.

     Here’s the next question.   The kid seems to have a rubber arm!   I suspect that comes from very seldom going full tilt, but he just seems to go on forever.   This HS season he threw 80 innings, and 1,190 pitches to 354 batters with an ERA of 2.2.   His arm does get stiff for a day after a game, but unless its extremely cold, he’s ready to start tossing again after one day of nothing.   These idiot scouts with their radar guns have convinced HS coaches and lots of parents and peers that unless you can heave the ball up there at 90+, there’s absolutely no hope for getting drafted, or getting a scholarship to a good college program.   Now he’s starting to do things to throw harder to impress these people, and I’m scared.


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     I think that your advice was fine.   If it hurts, don't do that.   I don't think that the 'knot' in his Biceps Brachii area resulted from tight grip.   Rather, I think that it indicated that he had forearm flyout from too much horizontal centripetal force.   His 10/4 curve ball spin axis also indicates too much horizontal centripetal force.   Basically, he is reverse rotating his acromial line and pitching upper arm beyond second base.

     Five foot nine inches tall and one hundred and thirty pounds will never get him to college or professional baseball.   However, with an eighty-five mph fastballs and a wide variety of high-quality pitches, he can pitch college baseball.   To pitch professionally, he will have to throw ninety.

     If he is a typical almost seventeen year old, then the growth plates in his pitching elbow have completely matured.   His height and weight could indicate that he is a delayed maturer and might still have open growth plates, but he would have to be two years delayed.   The growth plates in his shoulder will not completely mature until he is nineteen.   Therefore, I do recommend caution.   However, when these growth plates mature, he is going to have to throw absolutely as hard as he can.   With his forearm flyout, I have some concerns for his pitching elbow.

     I recommend that he read my book and learn how to apply force properly, start my 120-Day High School Pitchers Interval-Training Program.   He needs to get allot bigger and stronger.

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277.   My son is 13, but I have had him doing the Pubescent drills.   I noticed that when I tell him to maximally bend his elbow for the pick-off position throws he lowers his elbow to below shoulder height.   I am under the understanding that you want the elbow to be at shoulder height throughout the pitching motion?   Do you see this happen with your pitchers?   Any advice on how to correct it beyond simply reminding him to keep the elbow up?

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     I recently re-organized my Pitcher Interval-Training Programs.   I now want youth pitchers to start with my Eight Year Old program and master those skills before they start my Nine Year Old program and so on.   To shorten the sixty day programs to thirty day programs, pitchers can use only six days between repetition increases rather than twelve days.

     My Pickoff Position Throws do require pitchers to keep their elbow up.   However, I tell my pitchers to focus on keeping their pitching forearm horizontal inside of vertical, such that they keep their pitching forearm at shoulder height throughout the force application phases and deceleration phase.   Common sense is often the problem.   Pitchers do not realize that the horizontal centripetal force of the pitching upper arm swinging outwardly takes their pitching forearm outside of vertical.   Therefore, to truly keep their pitching forearm inside of vertical, they have to try to keep their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical.   To prove this to my kids, I take high-speed film.   Once they see what they actually do with their pitching forearm, I have no further trouble with their 'common sense'.

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278.   A coach in our league teaches his pitchers how to throw a knuckle curve.   At what age should you bring a curve ball to a player?

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     They may have to hold the baseball with all four fingers, but if it is my Maxline Pronation Curve, pitchers should start learning it at eight years old.   However, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that no youth pitcher train to pitch for more than sixty days per years, pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning twice a week.

     The knuckle curve is an interesting, but silly pitch.   It is difficult to learn with sufficient quality to use at higher levels and does not protect youth pitchers from the same pitching arm deformities as the 'traditional' curve.

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279.   I have a 12 yr old son who pitches on a successful travel ball team.   I try to control his pitching as best as possible.   He has a strong arm and has been clocked at 68 mph on his fastball.   Although his fastballs are probably consistently 58 to 65 mph.   He only throws fastballs, change-ups and some sliders at times, but very rarely.   His speed and placement of his pitches get by for him.

     He also plays shortstop and 3rd base and rarely sits during tournaments.   He has a very strong arm, however, recently he told me that his arm know feels like a rubber band when he extends his arm back just before the release of the ball.   He does not feel pain, but we have noticed that his arm strength has recently diminished.   I am hoping that his arm is just tired from continuous play.   However, I am concerned for the health of his arm.   Does the sensation of the lack of elasticity in his shoulder tell you anything?


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     I strongly recommend that he immediately stop throwing sliders.   They require forearm supination which leads to forearm flyout and endangers the elbow.   I also believe that he is pitching way too much and too young.   Until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that he train to pitch for only sixty days per year, that he does not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old and that he pitch only one inning per game twice a week.

     I relate the sensation that he describes as stretching the gleno-humeral ligaments.   During the rapid growth years of adolescence, the stress of pitching can stretch the ligaments that hold the bones of the elbow and shoulder.   This results in 'loose' joints.   Because youngsters do not experience pain, the problem goes unnoticed.   However, it greatly limits their future abilities.

     In the movie, 'The Rookie', the star threw allot as an adolescent, such that when he signed to pitch professionally, he threw 86 to 88 mph.   Then, he tore the ligaments in his shoulder.   After reconstructive surgery, he gave up professional baseball.   Then, at thirty-six years old, after years of training on his own, he threw 98 mph.   This story demonstrates how adolescent pitching stretches and limits the pitching shoulder.

     Unfortunately, I do not know of any quantifiable diagnostic tool to determine the extend of the stretching.   That I one reason why I recommend that parents and youngsters err on the side of caution and focus on skill development rather than competition.

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280.   Are you saying if kids are 13 under shouldn't be pitching more then one inning twice a week?   And, what do you mean by a young pitcher shouldn't train more then sixty days per years?

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     I recommend that until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, youngsters should not train for pitching for more than sixty days per years, should not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and should not pitch more than one inning twice a week.

     When I say youngsters should not train for pitching for more than sixty days per year, I mean from date of the first day to the last day that they throw from the set or windup positions whether in practice or whatever should not exceed sixty days.

     I did not say, 'if kids are under thirteen, they should not be pitching more than one inning twice a week.'   I am saying that they should not pitch against opposing batters in a competitive game situation.

     The pitching arm that you permanently deform may be your son's.

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281.   I wrote to you several weeks ago about an ankle injury.   I am a 52 year-old long distance runner who has had moderate pain for the past two months.   An MRI revealed "Tenosynovitis involving the peroneus brevis and longus tendons with otherwise unremarkable findings.   Fat suppressed T2 axial sequence shows fluid surrounding tendon sheaths of the aforementioned tendons.   I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday.

     Can you suggest any questions that I can ask and what type of rehabilitation I should expect?   I'm confused about the myriad of treatments that I have heard and read about from research that I have done on the web and my running magazines and books.   Can I expect to maintain an active (30-40 miles a week) running program in several months?


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     You could spend thousands of dollars on ultrasound, massage and other expensive treatments.   Or, you could exit the door to your living quarters and start walking normally at a comfortable pace that gently stresses the injury without exacerbating it.   As the injured area strengthens, you could gently increase the walking stress until you can move to gentle jogging and so on until you can resume normal activity.   The key is chronic training (daily) at intensities less than reinjury.

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282.   Thanks for the very quick answer!   I was shocked to see someone who has to be as busy as you are respond so quickly!

     I only recently looked at your site and am still going through the Q&A's.   I' m totally dismayed to see how many kids are getting hurt pitching!   It wouldn't be so bad if they were in their late teens or full adults, because at least then they would have a lot more to say bout what's happening.   But to read so many tragic tales just astounds me.   What it seems is, the parents just don't have the wherewithal to protect their children.

     I just came across you site, so many of the things you talk about aren't familiar to me.   I already have a pretty fair comprehension of the "driveline" and how important it is to have the forces going with it, but I must admit, I'm still real fuzzy about all the discourse about the forearm.   Once I've finished skimming the Q&A's, I will definitely look at that in much greater detail so at least I can ask an intelligent question.

     I notice not too many people ask questions about what's between a pitcher's ears.   I never pitched, but I believe there's a heck of a lot more to pitching than being able to just execute the physical skills.   It seems like the to get to that final pinnacle, the biggest obstacle to overcome is trying to keep everyone from "helping"! I see so many pitchers especially who are progressing nicely, but all of a sudden a new coach decides he can make thing much better!

     I can't resist asking this one, so please bear with me. I'm dead set against coaches calling pitches from the dugout.   My reasons have changed some, but the main one has always been that anything done to take the pitcher out of his natural rhythm is not good.   What seems to be extremely important is, how much it can affect a pitcher's confidence, so that in the long run it puts him in a situation of conflict.   I notice that something as simple as lust being allowed to shake off a pitch for some reason greatly affects the outcome.   Do you have any thoughts or have you done any studies along those lines?


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     I believe that pitchers have to have a pitch sequence plan for every type of hitter, or, in my major league experience, for every hitter.   I discuss this in Chapters Twenty-Three through Twenty-Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book.   Under no circumstances would I put my pitching career in the hands of catchers and I told several managers that if they did not like the results of my innings, then I will go elsewhere.   I found that when I got batters out, they stop telling me what pitches I should throw.

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283.   My son pitched Saturday night.   After an inning, the umpire asked him why he didn't turn his foot parallel to the rubber.   Of course, my son didn't know why, so he just told the ump:   "No sir, I was taught not to do that." The ump said:   "Weird."   I thought you'd get a kick out of that.   The same ump also commented favorably about the "junk" he throws.

     He is having great success with the sinker, even when he doesn't have his best stuff.   When he doesn't have it, he is bouncing it six feet in front of home plate by aiming it.   I wish I could describe what he is doing, but he does something peculiar with his arm.   He has asked about visiting you this summer.   I'm not sure when we could make it, but I think we will come.


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     Please tell him that he turns his pitching foot in order to walk forward off the pitching rubber, to not reverse rotate his hips and shoulders beyond second base and to prevent hip surgery when he is forty years old.

     I never like it when I hear someone say that their son 'does something peculiar with his arm.'   The sinker is a Maxline Fastball that pitchers throw with two seams off the lateral aspect of the tip of their middle finger, such that it spirals with the circle of friction on the top, front of the baseball.

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284.   My son is a 12 years old who has been pitching for four years and has been taking lessons from a local instructor.   Recently, he began having shoulder pain which started 2 days after throwing 3 innings.   He has never had such pain before.   We have been to an orthopedic surgeon who felt he had biceps tendonitis and recommended rest, ice and non-steroidals along with stretching and exercising.   The pain is slightly better than at the time of first onset.   It has been about one month now and he still cannot pitch like his usual self due to persistent discomfort when throwing.

     Do you have any suggestions?   Any helpful exercises?   Should we continue with the meds and the ice.   He is not bothered by the pain during normal daily activities, only when he goes into the "cocked" position to throw.


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     You have a combination of open growth plates that cannot withstand the excessive stress and very bad pitching mechanics.   The 'cocked' technique places unnecessary stress on the growth plate of the head of the Humerus bone.   It also unnecessarily stresses the muscles that inwardly and outwardly rotate the head of the Humerus bone and the tendon of the Biceps Brachii muscle that travels in the bicipital groove on the way to the coracoid process of the Scapula bone.

     I recommend, as I recommend to all youth pitchers, that until the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of his Humerus bone completely matures, he does not train to pitch for more than two months per year, does not pitch in games against opposing batters until he is thirteen years old and does not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   Also, he needs to stop the using the 'cocked' position.   Therefore, I recommend that he completes my interval-training programs in the age order that I wrote them.   To catch up with his age group, he can shorten each to thirty days.

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285.   Should coaches force pitchers to 'ice' their pitching arm after they are done pitching? If so, for how long should they 'ice' their pitching arm?

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     When pitchers wrap bags of ice around their pitching arm, they hope to induce an ischemic hyperemic reaction that increases blood flow to bring nutrients and remove waste products.   This means that the initial cold constricts the blood vessels, such that the tissues they supply become starved for oxygen and begin painfully screaming for the blood flow to return.   As a result, the blood vessels dilate and increase the blood flow to these tissues.   You will notice the bright red color of the pitching arm after you remove the ice packs.

     I have nothing against icing pitching arms.   Nevertheless, I never iced my pitching arm.   Rather, I followed my training program and trained every day.   As a result, I increased the capilarization to my pitching muscles and, with my maintenance program, I redistributed blood to my pitching muscles every day.

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286.   I figured out the problem with the sinker.   He was exaggerating the pronation and "short arming."   I don't know how to describe it, but we figured it out and I had him start throwing the screwball again.   He threw it very well in a game Sunday and had the hitters very off balance.

     When will your summer guys start and when do they leave?   My son really wants to visit and I will try to bring him in mid to late July, but I want to come when you have some guys there.


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     My high school eight-week pitchers begin on Saturday, June 07 and leave on Saturday, August 02, 2003.   However, I have an equal number of college pitchers returning to do their 'Recoil' training program.   We will always have more than enough pitchers to observe.

     A week ago last Sunday, I agreed to purchase more duplexes on my block.   I had more kids wanting to train here than I could house.   Unfortunately, these apartments require considerable renovation.   Which means that I have put my second Instructional Videotape aside for awhile.   I figure that I could not have it done until nearly August anyway.   What's a couple of month more?   Also, I want to high-speed film these returning summer kids.   Some are getting very close to how I want them to apply force.   I recently instituted a one thousand dollar reward for the first pitcher who 'fights the forearm flyout' to raise his pitching forearm to sixty degrees above the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm.   As a result, in combination with my new 'crow-hop double pendulum arm swing' start to my set position, I am seeing some of the best pitching motions ever.   Very exciting stuff.

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287.   I noticed an answer you gave when asked how a coach would send in certain pitches.   The answer was very blunt and to the point, but how does one combat coaches who insist on calling pitches with no ability for the pitcher to change it?   I'm not at all arguing with what you say, but the reality is, most coaches in HS and college seem to be taking this authoritarian position more and more.   So, if a pitcher does everything he can to follow your advice but is stopped from executing it in games, what's the use?

     It is impossible to go hopping around all over the place looking for coaches who will at least be flexible, so often you're stuck with the hand you draw.   How in the world can a parent or player deal with that?


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     Parents and pitchers should not stand for coaches who will not let the players play the game.   Coaches cannot coach without athletes.   When I coach, I turn the game completely over to the kids.   I want them to feel that they are part of the game, not a pawn.   If pitchers want to call their own game, do it.   If the coach does not like it, go elsewhere.   It is unfortunate that some people will treat you with respect only when you demand it.

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288.   I am confused about what the glove arm does after you pull it back to the body and begin rotation.   Please clarify.

     When moving from "Ready" to "Leverage" and then to forearm acceleration, the pitching elbow necessarily moves laterally as you rotate the acromial line.   I cannot see how you can move the elbow from this position forward without a circular motion.   The key, I assume, is to keep the forearm inside of vertical.   Am I correct?


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     The glove are provides oppositely directed force to the pitching motion.   Therefore, when it starts moving backward toward second base, it continues to do so until after the deceleration phase ends.

     The forward movement of the pitching upper arm from pointing toward second base to perpendicular to the driveline to home plate is where the dreaded centripetal force occurs that swings the pitching forearm outward.   I tell my pitchers to 'fight the flyout' by driving the baseball straight forward by their pitching ear with the pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical.

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289.   My son is a 13 1/2 year old pitcher/first baseman.   Recently, his arm has been hurting and feeling weak approximately 2 inches above and below the elbow on the back side, also on the outside above the elbow.   This has been getting worse over the last week.   The last time he pitched was about 10 days ago and he only throws 3-4 times a week in games and practice (he doesn't pitch in practice.)   Any suggestions on what might be causing this or treatment suggestions?

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     Discomfort on the back of the elbow indicates that he is slamming his olecranon process into its olecranon fossa.   This occurs because, as part of the 'traditional' pitching motion, he reverse rotates his shoulders too far.   He should not point his pitching upper arm beyond second base.   Then, when he forwardly rotates his shoulders and pitching upper arm, he has too powerfully fight forearm flyout by keeping his forearm horizontally inside of vertical and, lastly, he must powerfully pronate his forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.   It is very important that he stops supinating his forearm on all pitches, especially curves.

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290.   There was a story that you spoke with the Sox over the winter.   I never read if you were officially hired as a consultant or not.   I can't find any mention of a professional tie on your website.   Are you currently a consultant with the Red Sox or any other team for that matter?

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     A reader told me of the story wherein the Red Sox were going to consult with me.   However, I never heard from anybody with the Red Sox.   I do hear my ideas everywhere.   Apparently, they want ideas, but they do not want me.   Could it be the dreaded 'Peter Principle' in action?

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291.   I am writing about my son who just completed his first year of college ball.   He had a good season, injury free.   However, he is now home and in his second appearance with his summer team he threw 115 pitches (about 35 more than his college starts).   His arm felt fine the next day, but when doing some long toss the second day after he had some bicep pain.

     He had trouble during the game with his mechanics early on, but seemed to get them straightened out in the 4th inning and was fine after that.   He has thrown a couple of times since then, long toss and short and the bicep pain returns each time.   I felt that he was short arming the ball a bit, his arm didn't seem to extend and strangely it looked like he was moving forward early in his motion, trying to get out front.   Would this cause the bicep pain?   He has always had trouble with getting out early, has trouble staying back and driving forward once his arm is up.


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     When pitchers experience discomfort on the anterior surface of their pitching upper arm, it means that they are unsuccessfully fighting extreme forearm flyout.   I doubt that the problem is with the Biceps Brachii muscle.   More likely, it is the Brachialis muscle that lies under the Biceps Brachii muscle.   If it is the Biceps Brachii muscle, then he could have co-contracted his Biceps Brachii muscle and his Triceps Brachii muscle.   However, since he probably uses the 'traditional' pitching motion, he reverse rotates too far, which causes forearm flyout, which requires that he contract his Brachialis muscle to prevent the olecranon process from colliding with its fossa.

     He needs to stop using the 'balance position' pitching rhythm.   He should start using my 'crow-hop' pitching rhythm.   He also must learn how to move his pitching leg straight forward ahead of his glove foot.   For more details, he should read Chapter Thirty-Six of my Coaching Pitchers book.

     One other thing.   Throwing more pitches does not cause injuries to adult pitching arms.   Using the 'traditional' pitching motion causes the injuries.   Pitchers can only fight the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' pitching motion for so long.   With my pitching motion, pitchers do not have to fight flaws.   Therefore, they can throw and throw and throw without any injuries.

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292.   My son scored in the 99th percentile in every phase of mathematics on his SAT.   His overall was 91st percentile.   Rather than RBIs and ERAs, these are the important numbers.   Today, he threw two consecutive pitches 52 mph.   His previous top pitch was 48.   He threw most fastballs 44-46.   What made the difference today?   A better execution of the Marshall motion thanks to your revised Chapter 36, my understanding and his listening and execution.   You are the best.   Hell, you are the only.

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     You are very fortunate to have him in your life.

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293.   We have a 6 foot tall 12 year old on the team who throws in the mid 60’s.   I was showing him the sinker one day and he picked it up pretty well.   The next day his dad said he did not want me to teach his son to twist his forearm.   I agreed not to practice the sinker with the boy.   He told me it was OK to work on the split finger and the cut fastball, however.

     Yesterday, I was able to talk to the dad about you and me and our relationship and my education about pitching.   Dad was interested and sort of understood, but needed to see.   When I videotaped his son throwing and showed him the natural pronation of his pitching arm, dad became a believer.   He asked for your web address.   I will teach his son the sinker.


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     The misconceptions that people have about pitching amaze me.   Cut fastballs will destroy the pitching elbow.   Split finger fastballs will destroy the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle's attachment to the distal phalange of the index finger.   Yet, the safest, purest pitch of all, my Maxline Fastball Sinker, is too dangerous to learn.   I am glad that you educated him.   Nice going coach.

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294.   Last year, when I threw my 2 seam fastball, I would get hard calluses on my middle and index finger.   However, this year my fastball has been slower and has no movement.   It was yesterday that I realized after two months my fingers had yet to get any calluses.   Do you have any idea what I could have changed in my mechanics or grip that would have caused my fingers to not create calluses?   I can't think of anything, and from what I can tell my grip seems to be the same.   Do you know what I can do to fix this?   Should I press down harder on the ball with my middle and index fingers?   Should only my finger tips be putting pressure on the ball, or can I lay the fingers on the seams?

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     Pitchers develop calluses as a result of friction between their fingers and the baseball at release.   I am not certain that pitchers need to develop calluses, but they certainly need to have high spin velocities.   To get high spin velocities, you have to increase the pressure of your fingertips on the baseball through release.

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295.   Since receiving the information you sent I have scheduled a follow up appointment with another Orthopedist who specializes in youth sports injuries.   Hopefully, armed with your information, I can be more prepared to ask the important and relevant questions on my son's behalf.   I am very interested in your 60 day 8 yr old pitcher interval training program.   However, at the time of your e-mail, there was no information as to cost and how to purchase the program.   Would you kindly forward me the information.   We are eager to gat started.

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     All my interval-training programs are on my web site, free for anybody to copy.   However, remember that I recommend that youngsters do not train for more than sixty days in one year.   Therefore, if he has already practiced pitching this year, then he should not start on my 60-Day Eight Year Old Pitchers Interval-Training Program.   I have designed these programs such that older pitchers can complete them in thirty days.   In that way, they can do two programs each years until they catch up with their age group.

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296.   Yesterday on ESPN radio, there was a discussion about the whole corked bat controversy.   One person in the conversation mentioned the book "The Physics of Baseball", which I have read and commented that scientific evidence proves that corking a bat does nothing to help the hitter.   An announcer questioned the finding and said he would wait to hear from the science guy (TV show host).   The other person said that the studies were done the head of the Physics Dept at Yale.   "I don't care," the announcer said.   Another intelligent response!   Amazing!

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     Corking baseball bats does nothing to alter their coefficient of restitution, i.e., how baseballs rebound off baseball bats.   However, drilling a hole in the end of the bat does do two things that help batters.   One, it makes the baseball bat lighter, hence easier to swing while having the same circumferences in the contact area.   Two, it moves the center of the mass of the baseball bats closer to the fulcrum between the hands, which makes it easier to swing faster.

     Hitters can get the same effect of moving the center of mass of the baseball bat closer to the fulcrum if they add weight to the knob and handle of the bat.   I demonstrated this during the 1960's by drilling a hole in the handle of the bat and filling it with lead. However, it does help when coaches know how to teach their hitters the effectiveness of the 'force coupling' principle.

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297.   Do you feel you can take a kid who doesn't "throw hard" like his peers and get him to throw harder through technique and proper strength training/throwing program?   Are you sold on size will make you better, or throw harder?

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     Proper force application technique not only maximizes the release velocity effect of the force that pitchers apply, but it also minimizes the unnecessary stress that it places on the musculo-skeletal system.   That means that pitchers can continue to perform this technique over and over, more and more powerfully and continue to increase the force that they apply.   It takes years of daily, dedicated hard work, but I believe that, as pitchers get stronger and stronger, they can continue to apply greater and greater force.   After all, what is the upper limit to the amount of weight that champion athletes can bench press?

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298.   A friend of mine, who is a descended relative of the great Walter Johnson, wrote to me in an email the following:   "Walter also commented that (Smokey Joe) Wood would wear his arm out, throwing so hard with an overhand motion.   Wood did, although slipping on wet grass in spring training may have contributed to his miseries.   Johnson threw with an underhand to sidearm motion, which he claimed was a lot easier on the arm."   Was Walter Johnson correct?   Was his pitching motion easier on the arm then the overhand motion (which has hurt so many pitchers)?

     I remember when I pitched a little in high school, that I used more of a side-armed motion.   My fastball was slower than Randy Jones, but I don't remember my arm hurting until I started trying to throw overhand!   I could pretty much pitch all day throwing side-armed.   Now, my right shoulder hurts if I try to throw too hard.   Anyway, since my friend knows the direct family of Walter Johnson, it would be an honor to let him know what you thought of Walter Johnson's delivery and opinion.


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     When we consider the position of the pitching upper arm relative to the shoulder, all pitchers have the same position.   That is, pitchers can raise their pitching upper arm only to a height that is parallel to the line across their shoulders.   Now, it is possible for pitchers to have their pitching upper arm lower than parallel to the shoulder line, but never any higher.

     This anatomical fact demonstrates that overhand, three-quarters and side-arm are all the same.   The only difference is the amount of lean toward their glove side.   That is, where side-arm pitchers do not lean at all, overhand pitchers lean almost ninety degrees.

     Because I want my Maxline Pronation Curves to have horizontal spin axes, I want the pitching forearm to point vertically upward at release.   This requires my pitchers to lean to their glove side.   However, I tell them to keep their shoulders level throughout my pitching motion.   I know that they cannot do this, but I want them to 'fight the flyout and pronate.'   This means that I want them to try to separate the angle of their pitching forearm from the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm.   At this point in my research, I have pitches capable of raising their pitching forearm forty degrees above their pitching upper arm.   That means that they only have to lean their shoulder line fifty degrees to their glove side to have their pitching forearm vertical.   I am hoping that with further training, my pitchers will approach the theoretical perfection of ninety degrees above their pitching upper arm.

     In other words, I disagree with Mr. Johnson.   With the great amount of forearm flyout in the side-arm motion, I believe that it is more stressful on the pitching arm.   In addition, side-arm pitchers cannot achieve my horizontal spin axis Maxline Pronation Curve.

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299.   I was just reading Chapters 13 and 14 of your online book, Coaching Pitchers.   I think I've told you before how helpful your site is, but I can't resist saying again what a great resource your online book is.   Regarding those two chapters, I have a few questions.

1.   In Chapter 13, Section e., Subsection 1, you wrote:   "Adductions and backward tilts stretch upper arm acceleration muscles."   In the next sentence you refer to muscles being "lengthened."   I think I have seen you write in your Q&A that muscles do not stretch.   Could you clarify what you mean by stretch and lengthen in the above quote, or what you mean in your Q&A (unless I recall that incorrectly) that muscles don't stretch?

2.   In Chapter 14, Section d., Subsection 2 and elsewhere in that section, you wrote:   "When humeruses abduct overhead beyond vertical posteriorly, ..."   Does this mean that the arm is essentially up in the air as if I'm raising my hand to ask a question in class, only instead of being straight up in the air my arm and hand are slightly behind the plane of my body?

3.   In Chapter 14., Section d., Subsection 10, in this section on the supraspinatus you refer to shoulder bounce.   Could you explain what that is?

4.   In Chapter 14., Section e., Subsection 2, in this section on upper arm acceleration you wrote:   "Pitchers reduce pitching arm centrifugal stress with near vertical upper arm accelerations."   Does this mean that as the upper arm accelerates toward home plate that the humerus should be near vertical?


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     Boy, I have not looked at those chapters for over ten years.   In light of the recent adjustments that I have made to my pitching motion, I need to reread them and do some editing.

1.   Stretch was a bad choice of words.   Muscles do not stretch.   However, they are at their longest when they have no tension in them.   A better word would be lengthens.   The point is, to apply force over as great a distance as possible for any range of motion, we have to maximize the length of the muscles.   For example, to maximize the elbow extension range of motion, we need to flex the elbow as tightly as possible.   Remember, reciprocal inhibition prevents muscle tension in antagonistic muscles.   Therefore, when we contract the muscles that flex the elbow, the muscles that extend the elbow relax, which maximally lengthens them.

2.   "When humeruses abduct overhead beyond vertical posteriorly, ..."   I refer you to my new Chapter Thirty-Six to understand how I want pitchers to get their pitching arm to driveline height.   I need to do some work on this material.

3.   The 'reverse shoulder bounce' occurs immediately after pitchers assume the 'high guard' position with their pitching forearm.   When they start their pitching elbow forward, the inertial weight of their pitching forearm and baseball causes them to move downward, such that when they hit bottom, they bounce back upward and unnecessarily stress their Supraspinatus muscle.

4.   Wow.   I really need to revisit this material.   While what I said is true, I no longer recommend a vertical pitching upper arm.   Rather, I tell my pitchers to have their shoulders level and their pitching upper arm forwardly rotates horizontally forward.   Again, I refer you to my new Chapter Thirty-Six.   Sorry.

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300.   A follow-up or two if you don't mind regarding shoulder bounce.   Am I correct that in your more recent writings you refer to this same thing as forearm bounce?   Would it be accurate to describe this bounce as following maximum external rotation of the upper arm?   And could you explain in a little more detail how the bouncing back up strains the Supraspinatus muscle?   I have a new student who had a 90% tear in the Supraspinatus tendon repaired (including the fixing of a hooked acromion) so I am interested in anything that might affect that muscle or tendon.

     I am also concerned about impingement if the humerus is adbucted maximally (that's why the questions about the upper arm being vertical), but the orthopedic surgeon said that since the scapula rotates upward as the humerus abducts above about 90 degrees, impingement should not be an issue with the humerus in the maximally abducted position.

     I do not teach pitching, but I use your website and your book as a reference.   I have also recommended your site to some parents of Little Leaguers, one of whom (the kid that is) has a sore elbow from pitching.   Hopefully the parents will take your advice and will also get involved with your research study.


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     What I used to refer to as, 'reverse shoulder bounce', I now call, 'reverse forearm bounce'.   Sorry.   The Supraspinatus muscle attaches to the top of the head of the Humerus bone.   When pitchers abduct their Humerus bone and outwardly rotate it as a result of 'reverse forearm bounce,' the tendon of the Supraspinatus muscle wraps backwardly around the head of the Humerus bone.   As a result of the sudden downward bounce action with the tendon in a mechanically vulnerable position, pitchers unnecessarily stress it.   Excessive outward or inward rotation of the head of the Humerus bone is not good.

     Your surgeon is correct.   It is not possible for the abducted Humerus bone to impinge with the underside of the Acromial Process of the Scapula bone.   The Supraspinatus and Deltoid muscles cannot abduct the Humerus bone to any higher than parallel with the shoulder line.   However, during the pitching motion, it is also not possible for pitchers to upwardly rotate the Scapula bone.   The powerful contraction of the Pectoralis Major muscle shuts down its antagonistic muscles, including the Trapezius I muscle that upwardly rotates the Scapula.

     The sore elbow is a result of forearm flyout, which is a result of too much reverse shoulder rotation, which is a result of the balance position and turning the pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.   He also needs to learn how to more powerfully pronate his releases.

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301.   I have an eight year old boy who has been playing baseball since he is 4 years old.   He has been pitching since he was 7 years old.   Unfortunately, I did not listen to his father's advise (he played in the big league many years) that he should not be pitching.   On Thursday, he went to throw and his arm did not work and he was in pain (above the elbow and the tricep muscle hurts).   I understand I made a big mistake listening to my son and allowing his coach's to use him as a pitcher, (everyone loved his curve ball).

     My son is very athletic and driven so I caved in to his pleading to play and help his team win.   Where do I go from here?   I did not let my son participate in his Saturday game.   But, he wants to play so now he is telling me is elbow is fine.   I read some of your web site.   I would love to participate in your study of his arm.   I am looking for advice.


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     He should not be pitching.   Until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle fully matures, he should not practice the pitching skills for more than two months per year, he should not pitch against opposing batters in competitive games until he is thirteen years old and he should not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   I have two month interval-training programs that start at eight years old.   This is what I recommend that he does.   He should not pitch from the set or windup positions in games against opposing batters until he is thirteen years old.   He will have to get his pitching glory from mastering the skills of pitching without overly stressing the growth plates of his pitching arm.

     While we will not know to what extent, but that great curve has permanently deformed his olecranon process and fossa to some degree.   The pain he has resulted from him slamming his olecranon process of his pitching elbow into its fossa.   The stress of those collisions will cause the growth plate of the olecranon process to prematurely close.   However, the ossification center for the olecranon process does not even appear until he is eleven biological years old.   Therefore, I do not know how the olecranon process will respond to this insult.   But, the olecranon fossa has hyaline cartilage that will ossify in an attempt to withstand this unnecessary stress.

     I welcome you and him to my Research Study Club.   Together, we will keep his pitching arm safe.

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302.   I am currently coaching American Legion baseball and would like to know your recommendations regarding proper warm up prior to taking the mound either in a starting or relief appearance.   I have heard many recommendations over the years from 25 to 75 pitches.   I have been using 25 to 40 pitches.   I realize that it would not be the same for each pitcher as we are all different in physical makeup.   Also, what are your warm-up recommendations prior to throwing warm-up pitches (i.e. running, stretching, long or short toss, etc.).

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     The difficulty in recommending how many pitches pitchers require to properly prepare to pitch relates to whether they use the 'traditional' pitching motion or mine and whether they have completed my interval-training programs or not.   After my guys complete their maintenance level of wrist weight and iron ball exercises, they only need a few rehearsals of their six basic pitches to be ready to pitch.   I frequently used only the eight warm-up pitches that the umpires permitted.

     In your case, I would have to leave it to the pitchers. Nevertheless, I would have them use my 'crow-hop' start to their pitching motion and work hard on fighting the forearm flyout and pronating their releases.   These activities will shorten the number of pitches that they need to get the blood flow into their pitching muscles and rehearse their proper motor unit contraction and relaxations sequences.

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303.   I have a son 13 years old who is also interested in playing high school football in a couple of months.   What type of weight training should he do and what type should he avoid.

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     Biological thirteen year old youngsters have wide open growth plates everywhere.   I would not weight train them at all.   I would focus on skill development and endurance training without unnecessarily stressing the growth plates.   You do not want to prematurely close these growth plates.

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304.   I also heard the radio interview where the major league pitchers credited a pitching guru with his success.   I read your answer.   It stinks.   I am tired of you treating this guy with kid gloves.   He is stealing your stuff and getting national credit.   He is an idiot.   What he teaches injures pitchers and you are the only person who understands why.   It is not mud-slinging, if it is the truth.   You are losing my respect.

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     You are not the only reader to say this to me and not only recently.   As a researcher, I was taught to stick to the research and leave everything else out of the discussion.   But, I see your point.   Therefore, I have decided to use names.   However, I will not attach these guys personally, only on the basis of what they say and do.   I will assume that their purposes are honorable, not greed.

     With regard to the interview with Mark Pryor, he and the host gave Tom House credit for teaching him how to release his pitches closer to home plate.   Somehow, this differs from my teaching my pitchers how to release their pitches farther forward.   Unfortunately for Mr. Pryor, what Tom House taught him and Randy Johnson has nothing to do with releasing pitches closer to home plate.   When pitchers stand tall and rotate, they release their pitches higher, not closer to home plate.   However, to stand tall and rotate without moving their center of mass ahead of their glove foot places additional stress on their glove knee.   I suspect this as the cause of Mr. Johnson's early season knee problem.   The point is, my pitching motion is not a menu from a Chinese restaurant where you can pick and choose what you want.   My pitching motion is a carefully integrated system of actions for the body, glove leg, pitching leg, glove arm and pitching arm.   To alter one aspect, alters all others.   As I have said, the only way that we can eliminate pitching arm injuries is for all pitching coaches to 'steal' my stuff.   However, they have to get it right.

     While on the topic of Mark Pryor, another reader said that he watched another interview with ESPN where Mr. Pryor talked about what he thought he did in his pitching motion.   The reader disagreed with Mr. Pryor's assessment.   While I did not see that interview, I have had a couple of occasions to see Mr. Pryor throw a pitch or two.   Mr. Pryor has excessive acromial line and pitching upper arm reverse rotation, late forearm turnover, a loop and extreme forearm flyout.   I do not believe that his pitching arm will tolerate this unnecessary stress for too long.   But then, several years ago, I said the same thing about Randy Johnson's pitching motion.

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305.   I know that his has nothing to do with pitching, but I need advice and I trust yours.   My son was injured yesterday playing basketball.   He collided with an opposing player and was impacted really hard on the outside of his left knee, and was hurting significantly enough that he could not get up on his own.   I took him to the emergency clinic and the doctors X-rayed it and said that there were not broken bones.   Today his family doctor scheduled an MRI for Friday.

     He says that most his pain is on the outside of the knee where he was hit, but has some pain on the inner side of his knee.   He does not have any bruising or swelling, but is in enough pain that they have him on pain medication.   He is scheduled to see an orthopedic doctor after results of the MRI are available.   We were told to keep it elevated and iced in the meantime.   I wanted to see what recommendations you might have for taking care of him, things I should look for or what I should be asking of the doctors when the time comes.


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     The serious injuries to the knee involve the Medial Collateral Ligament and the Anterior Cruciate Ligament.   If someone hits the outside of his knee from the side, he could have injured his Medial Collateral Ligament.   That would explain the pain on the outside and inside of his knee.   When players rupture their MCL, the inside of the knee opens wide.   Therefore, I doubt that he ruptured his MCL.   My best guess is a bruise.   I doubt any involvement of the ACL.

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306.   My son is 13 and a pitcher.   He has had a shoulder injury to the Growth Plate.   A highly regarded Orthopedic Surgeon who works with one of the Pro Baseball teams on the West Coast, has found his Growth Plate has a separation from the shoulder.   It seems to run the length of the plate and is easily visible on the X-Ray.   He does not think it is a serious long term injury if allowed time to recover, and undergo proper rehab.   There does not seem to be any other damage other then some inflammation in the Bursa.   This seems to contradict what you have written regarding this type of condition, in that your description is that of a permanent disability.

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     Every insult that growth plates suffer irreversibly alters their normal growth and development patterns.   It could be as simple as prematurely closing a few days to months early to pulling the ossification center away from the bone.   From a medical standpoint, 'not a serious long term injury' means that the growth plate will eventually grow closed and closed is good.   To me, any disruption of the normal growth and development pattern is not good.

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307.   I am 24 yrs old, 6'3" and 270 lbs.   I'm a left-handed pitcher.   The summer after my first year of college I tore my knee (acl & cartilage).   And I re-injured my knee three years in a row.   That kept me out for three years from playing, so I moved home.   But, I always kept my arm in shape.   When my legs were back, I got back to throwing in a regular workout and had actually improved greatly.   I kept that for 7 and a half months so I could have my arm and body ready when I went to play.   I was throwing 90 mph 2 seam fastballs I also throw a curve, slider, change, and splitter.

     I pitched in a summer game to see how I would do and I tore my elbow (mcl).   My doctor told me my surgery was optional because I could never throw again.   So, I did not have the surgery.   I still throw regular and I throw about 82 without pain, but if I torque my arm it still hurts.   My question is, if I have surgery now and do all the rehab is it possible I could still pitch.   And if it is possible do you honestly think it is worth it at my age.   I wasn't a bad pitcher.   I was 2-time all state in high school, but I didn't get to even finish a season in college.   I don't care if I play summer league, college or what as long as I get to play, but I want to be at least as good as I was if not better.


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     Your doctor told you that Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery was optional because you would never throw again because you could never throw again?   That is ridiculous.   'Tommy John' surgery is a well-known, highly-successful surgery.   You need to get is done.

     Tearing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in your glove knee indicates that you placed too much stress on that knee.   You need to change how you use your legs.   I recommend that you learn my pitching motion.

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308.   I was a student of yours at Michigan State University back in 1971.   You did a progressive relaxation class for four or five of us graduate students over in the Psychology Department Perceptual lab.   My wife was pregnant at the time and did the classes for use during childbirth.

     I have taught Psychology at in college for the past twenty five years or so and I mention you every time I teach progressive relaxation.   I teach it every quarter in abnormal psychology and just finished doing a section on it in my sports psychology class last week.   I took the class out to do a "ropes course" thirty feet off the ground and they found they could apply the progressive relaxation to the anxiety they felt.   I was remembering the classes you taught and how many times I have used the technique over the years.

     Well, I'm sorry to take up your time but I was thinking of the lessons and how much they have meant over the years and though I'd send you a note about it.


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     One of the many things that I regret is that I was never able to pursue Dr. Jacobson's work with Neuromuscular Tension Control.   My plan was to make it part of the Physical Education requirement for Elementary School children, just like learning the correct way to run, jump, throw, catch, kick and strike.   I even had a manual printed that I called 'Tension Control for the Elementary School' or something like that.   However, my life went in another direction and I never had a chance to follow-up.

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309.   My son just turned 16 years old.   He is a left-handed pitcher that has been clocked at 85 mph.   He went to an open try out for one of the major league teams and they told him that they would follow his development over the next year.   They also suggested that he should concentrate on baseball in the fall.   My son plays high school football and now wants to quit so he can develop velocity with the baseball.   I think quitting football is a mistake.   Do you have any opinions on this subject?   If he played football and started baseball conditioning in October, would those 2 months he missed hold him back?

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     My first opinion is:   do not give any credibility to what these professional scouts say.   Just because they represent big money does not give them any knowledge.   They should not have any influence on whether your son plays football or not.

     At sixteen biological years old, the growth plate of his medial epicondyle has recently matured.   However, the growth plate of the head of his Humerus bone remains open and susceptible to injury.   Therefore, for him to train beyond my minimal 120-Day High School Pitchers Interval-Training Program would do more harm than good.   Also, for him to become of sufficient quality to pitch major league baseball requires several years of daily hard work.   I know that the lure of easy money makes kids and some parents do crazy things, but if he is not ready before he signs professional, they will destroy his pitching arm.

     I recommend that he enjoy high school and if he wants to play football, he should.   Also, to gain more insight into the pitching motion and training, I recommend that he and you read my Coaching Pitchers book.

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310.   I recently received an invitation to a baseball clinic where Tom House is going to talk about pitch sequences and how to recognize different types of hitters.   This sounds to me like he is ripping off your work again.

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     It appears that you have read my research on pitch sequences that I completed after my 1974 baseball season.   I carefully recorded every pitch that I threw during the 1973 and 1974 seasons and cross-tabulated them with respect to At Bat Result and Type of Hitter.   In Chapters Twenty-Three through Twenty-Eight, I carefully chronicle how I collected the data, what the data showed and how I recommend that pitchers use the information.   Mr. House is perfectly free to present how he collected his data, what his data shows and how he interprets the data.   At that time, those who attend this clinic should make their decision as to his credibility versus mine.

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311.   Here is an email that I sent to someone who sponsors baseball clinics.

     I recently viewed your next clinic program.   I noticed that Mr. Tom House is one of your speakers. I am familiar with Mr. House's material and I've noticed a drastic difference in the last couple of years.   As a matter of fact, his current methods seem to mirror those of Dr. Mike Marshall in Florida.   Surely he would not be stealing Dr. Marshall's material and calling it his own.

     Here is the response that I received.

     Tom House has been speaking at my clinics since 1987 and for the most part, he has said the same thing.   In 1987, his topics were "The Mechanics of Pitching" and "Conditioning of Pitchers".   In 1991, his topics were: "Pitching Mechanics: Computerized Motion Analysis" and "Conditioning a Pitcher Throwing Workloads = Weight Training Workouts."   By 1991, he had authored 5 books.   In 1996, his topics were "Updated Throwing and Pitching Mechanics", "Integrated flexibility Training" and "New Protocol of Resistance for Throwers and Hitters".   I could go on, but all it means is that he has been on topic for a long time.   Since the 1980's, he has also been speaking on Motion Analysis, injury prevention etc.

     I checked Dr. Marshall's materials and found them to be superb.   I will make an attempt to have him speak to our coaches.


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     I am not sure what you want me to discuss.   I appreciate that you question what Mr. House says.   But, I also appreciate when someone questions what I say.   We have no other oversight.   It is up to each of us to critically analyze the information that we receive.   I have no knowledge of the material cited in your email, but, based on the Collegiate Baseball article that I recently read, I doubt that Mr. House presented any serious, credible research.   Computer analysis sound scientific, but people program computers, such that what computers indicate pitchers should do is only as good as the knowledge of the programmers.   In other words, when programmers do not understand Newton's three laws and applied anatomy, what their computers spit out is without meaning or credibility.

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312.   I am a 26 year old female playing in a mixed orthodox softball league.   I am a good player I think, except for one thing: my batting.   I have been playing softball since I was in grade 2, and I always had trouble keeping my elbow up when I was batting.   24 years later I still drop my elbow, and I always pop them up.   Do you have any advice on how to bat properly?

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     The angle of the bat at contact is critical, both for how the ball comes off the bat and for how much bat head velocity batters achieve.

     The first cause of a downward bat angle at contact is where batters have the center of mass when they start the acceleration phase to contact.   That is, when batters hold their bats vertically, then as they start their bat forward, the center of mass of the bat has to move considerably downward to make contact.   I recommend that batters hold their bats horizontally.

     The second cause of a downward bat angle at contact is which hand batters use as their dominant hand.   When batters start the acceleration phase with their front arm, they have to 'pull' the bat forward.   This raises the front elbow and leaves the bat in a downward angle.   However, when batters start the acceleration phase with the rear arm, they can 'drive' the bat forward with their rear shoulder behind the bat.   This keeps the center of mass of the bat higher and the bat angle at contact more horizontal.   Batters should powerfully 'pronate' the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers of their rear arm through release.   As a result, centripetal imperative with take the bat horizontally through the contact zone and end in the middle of the back.

     The third cause of downward bat angle at contact is the lack of 'force coupling' between the front and rear arms.   I already recommended that batters start their bat forward with their rear arm.   Therefore, we need to know how the front arm contributes to bat head velocity.   It does so with 'force coupling.'   Force coupling means that parallel and oppositely-directed forces operate on either side of a fulcrum to accelerate the lever arm.   In batting, this means that immediately before the center of mass of the bat enters the contact zone, batters stop the forward movement of the bat with their front arm while they continue to powerfully drive the bat forward with their rear arm.   The resulting parallel and oppositely-directed forces accelerated the bat head through the contact zone.

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313.   I heard that a baseball magazine held a contest to find the best pitching coach and you won.   Why do I have to hear about this from someone else?

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     I would not describe it as a contest.   Collegiate Baseball asked several people to write articles in which they describe the how and why of their pitching motion.   I participated.   I know that Tom House and Vern Ruhle also participated.   I have copies of their articles.   I also heard that Paul Nyman, Dick Mills and Rick Peterson were also going to write articles.   However, I have not seen their articles.

     I incorporated my article into my new Chapter Twenty-Nine:   Sir Isaac Newton, of my Coaching Pitchers book.   Nevertheless, I can include my original version here for you to read.

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Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
cbn@baseballnews.com
PO Box 50566, Tucson, Arizona 85703
Voice:   (520) 623-4530   FAX:   (520) 624-5501
Subject: Articles From Pitching Series in Collegiate Baseball
Published:   Friday, April 18, 2003

The 'Traditional' Pitching Motion Destroys Pitching Arms

By DR. MIKE MARSHALL
© 2003/Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services
ZEPHYRHILLS, FL

     Youth pitchers destroy their pitching arms before their growth plates mature.   High school kids have “Tommy John” surgery.   At one major university, 23 of the 24 pitchers have had at least one surgery.   The careers of once promising professional pitchers are over before they get started.   Baseball pitching is broken.   We have to fix it.

     The earliest pitching coaches copied the successful pitchers of their day and handed the “traditional” pitching motion down over the 130 years of baseball to succeeding generations of pitching coach wannabes.   If medical doctors similarly handed down their theories, then they would still bleed out their patients.

     I know the applicable science and research methodology.   Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion explain how pitchers should apply force.   Applied anatomy teaches what muscles are available. Physiology of Exercise designs interval-training programs.   High-speed film slows down 90 mile per hour pitch releases.   Before Professor Nelson invented the word biomechanics, I had analyzed high-speed film of baseball pitching.

     A.   Uniformly Apply Straight-Line Force Towards Home Plate

     The first law requires pitchers to uniformly apply straight-line force towards home plate.   When pitchers apply force in an arc, at every moment tangent to that arc, the baseball’s inertia wants to fly off in a straight line.

         1.   The 'Marshall' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'Marshall' pitching motion satisfies Sir Isaac Newton’s law of Inertia.

             a.   Drive The Baseball Straight Toward Home Plate

     From the moment that their elbow starts forward until the tip of their middle finger stops, pitchers apply straight-line force.   This action maximizes force effect, minimizes stress and maximizes consistency.

             b.   Stand Tall, Keep The Shoulders Level and Rotate

     Pitchers stand tall, keep their shoulders level and rotate.   This action maximizes rotational force, maximizes force application distance and maximizes drive-line consistency.

             c.   Keep the Pitching Elbow Ahead of the Acromial Line

     Throughout the pitching motion, pitchers keep their olecranon process (elbow) ahead of their acrominal line (the line through the tips of both shoulders).   This action enables pitchers to powerfully ‘lock’ their upper arm with its shoulder.

             d.   Powerfully Pronate The Forearm

     Pitchers powerfully pronate their forearm.   In layman’s language, forearm pronation means that pitchers downwardly rotate the thumb through release.   High-speed film showed that pitchers pronate their forearm with every type of pitch.   Therefore, the Pronateor Teres muscle is the most-important muscle in baseball pitching.

             e.   The 'Marshall' Driveline

     The 'Marshall' driveline begins behind the pitching rubber, passes slightly above the ear and close to the head and extends straight towards home plate.

         2.   The 'Traditional' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'traditional' pitching motion violates Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Inertia.

             a.   Flaw:   Pull the Pitching Arm Across the Front of the Body

     When pitchers pull their pitching arm across their body, they apply force in an arc.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Teres Minor muscle and the posterior capsule.

             b.   Flaw:   Inwardly Rotate the Upper Arm

     When pitchers inwardly rotate their upper arm, they pull their pitching arm downward in an arc.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Supraspinatus muscle.

             c.   Flaw:   Reverse Rotate the Acromial Line Beyond Home Plate

     When pitchers reverse rotate their acromial line beyond home plate, they take the baseball laterally behind their body.   Then, they have to return the baseball to their pitching arm side before they can throw it toward home plate.   This action not only creates a centripetal force that swings their forearm horizontally outside of vertical in an arc, but it also unnecessarily stresses the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and the medial epicondyle muscles of the elbow.   I call this action, 'forearm flyout.'   Forearm flyout also causes pitchers to 'slam' their olecranon process into its fossa.   Repeated collisions decrease their elbow extension range of motion.   The Brachialis muscle attaches to the coronoid process of the ulna bone.   During forearm flyout, the Brachialis muscle tries to prevent the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.   Over time, the coronoid process enlarges, which decreases the elbow flexion range of motion.

             d.   Flaw:   The 'Balance' Position

     When pitchers stand on their rear leg with their front leg raised, they simultaneously move their body forward and move their pitching arm backwards.   As a result, pitchers pull their pitching arm forward in an arc.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Subscapularis muscle and the anterior capsule.

             e.   Flaw:   Turn the Rear Foot to Parallel to the Pitching Rubber

     When pitchers turn their rear foot to parallel to the pitching rubber, they reverse rotate their acromial line beyond home plate, which takes the baseball laterally behind their body.   As a result, their forearm circles outwardly and they apply force in an arc.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and the muscles of the medial epicondyle.   In addition, former pitchers have disproportionately more hip replacement surgeries than the general population.

             f.   Flaw:   The 'High Guard Position'

     If pitchers have their forearm vertical when they start their upper arm forward, the inertial mass of the baseball moves their forearm downward.   I call this, 'reverse forearm bounce.'   This action unnecessarily stresses the Subscapularis and Supraspinatus muscle of the elbow.

             g.   Flaw:   Turn the Palm Toward Second Base

     If pitchers have their palm toward second base when they start their upper arm forward, they have to turn their palm toward home plate.   I call this, 'late forearm turnover.'   This action not only creates a looping action behind their head that leads to forearm flyout, but it also unnecessarily stresses the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and the medial epicondyle muscles of the elbow.

             h.   Flaw:   Land With the Front Foot Closed

     When pitchers land with their front foot closed, they move their center of mass sideways.   To compensate, pitchers pull their pitching arm across the front of their body.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Teres Minor muscle and the posterior capsule.

             i.   Flaw:   Bend Forward At the Waist

     When pitchers bend forward at their waist, they apply force in an arc.   This action unnecessarily stresses the Pectoralis Minor muscle.

     B.   Apply Force Over A Greater Distance

     The second law requires pitchers to uniformly apply greater force over greater distances.   In formula form, this law states that release velocity equals force times time and divided by mass.   Therefore, the only immediate variable that influences release velocity is the time over which pitchers have to increase the distance over which they apply force.

         1.   The 'Marshall' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'Marshall' pitching motion satisfies Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Acceleration.

             a.   Lengthen the Start of the Driveline

     While they reverse rotate their acromial line to point toward home plate, pitchers reach backward and upward to driveline height.   This action places the baseball on the driveline as close to second base as possible.

             b.   Lengthen the End of the Driveline

     Pitchers land with their front foot open and move their rear hip, leg and shoulder ahead of their front foot.   After they forwardly rotate their acromial line to again point toward home plate, pitchers place their elbow as close to home plate as possible.

             c.   Delay the start of the Forearm Acceleration Phase

     Like ski jumpers wait until they reach the end of the ramp, pitchers have to wait until their acromial line again points toward home plate to forearm accelerate their pitches through release.   This action extends the tip of the middle finger as close to home plate as possible.

             d.   Release the Baseball Closer to Home Plate

     With the 'Marshall' pitching motion, pitchers forwardly rotate their shoulders one hundred and eighty degrees from driveline, release their pitches 12 to 18 inches in front of their head and release the baseball seven to seven and one-half feet in front of the pitching rubber.   With the 'traditional' pitching motion, pitchers forwardly rotate their shoulders only ninety degrees from driveline, release their pitches beside their head and release the baseball only five and one-half to six feet in front of the pitching rubber.   Therefore, when 'Marshall' pitchers release their fastballs with the same velocity as 'traditional' pitchers, their fastballs arrive at the hitting zone one to two feet earlier.   I call this, “hidden” velocity.

         2.   The 'Traditional' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'traditional' pitching motion violates Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Acceleration.

             a.   Flaw:   Square the Shoulders to Home Plate

     When pitchers only forwardly rotate their acromial line to perpendicular to the driveline, they stop their pitching shoulder.   This action decreases the distance over which they apply force.

             b.   Flaw:   Land With the Front Foot Closed

     When pitchers land with their front foot closed, they cannot move their rear hip, leg and shoulders ahead of their front foot.   This action decreases the distance over which they apply force.

             c.   Flaw:   Stride Forward As Far As Possible

     When pitchers stride forward as far as possible, they cannot move their rear hip, leg and shoulder ahead of their front foot.   This action decreases the distance over which they apply force.   To achieve the same release velocities as 'Marshall' pitchers, 'traditional' pitchers have to apply greater force over shorter distances.

     C.   Uniformly Move the Center of Mass Through the End of the Deceleration Phase

     The third law requires pitchers to apply greater force toward second base.   If pitchers move their center of mass straightforward until the tip of their middle finger stops, then they have applied greater force toward second base.

         1.   The 'Marshall' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'Marshall' pitching motion satisfies Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Reaction.

             a.   Rear Foot Drive

     Pitchers walk straightforward off the pitching rubber.   Therefore, they apply force toward second base with their rear foot.   This action uniformly moves their center of mass straightforward.

             b.   Front Foot Drive

     After their front foot contacts the ground, pitchers move their center of mass ahead of their front foot from where they apply force toward second base with their front foot.   This action uniformly moves their center of mass straightforward.

             c.   Front Arm Pull-Back

     During the front foot drive, pitchers move their front arm toward second base.   This action uniformly moves their center of mass straightforward.

             d.   Force Coupling the Front Foot and Arm With the Pitching Arm Forearm

     Pitchers simultaneously strongly push back their front foot and forearm accelerate the baseball through release.   These parallel and oppositely directed forces significantly increase release velocity.

         2.   The 'Traditional' Pitching Motion

     The following are ways in which the 'traditional' pitching motion violates Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Reaction.

             a.   Flaw:   Powerfully Push Off the Pitching Rubber

     When pitchers powerfully push or jump off the pitching rubber, they accelerate their center of mass too fast.   This action does not uniformly move their center of mass forward.

             b.   Flaw:   Land With the Front Foot Closed

     When Pitchers land with their front foot closed, they move their center of mass sideways.   This action does not move their center of mass straightforward.

             c.   Flaw:   Stride As Far Forward As Possible

     When pitchers stride forward as far as possible, they stop their center of mass.   This action not only does not move their center of mass to the end of the deceleration phase, but it also unnecessarily stresses the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the front knee.

     D.   The 'Marshall' Set Position

     In my Coaching Pitchers book, I teach pitchers to throw maxline and torque pitches.   Maxline means that pitchers stand to the glove-side of the pitching rubber and throw the baseball toward the pitching arm-side of the plate.   Torque means that pitchers stand to the pitching arm-side of the pitching rubber and throw the baseball move toward the glove-side of home plate.   The pitching rubber is 24 inches wide.   Home plate is 17 inches wide.   Therefore, three and one-half inches on both sides of the pitching rubber are outside of home plate.   I spray paint three and one-half inch wide lines from both sides of the pitching rubber perpendicularly forward.   I call the glove-side line, the 'Maxline' driveline for the rear foot and the pitching arm-side, the 'Torque" driveline for the rear foot, respectively.

     For this discussion, I will describe the pitching arm action for my maxline fastball.   To grip my maxline fastball, pitchers place the tip of their middle finger in the center of the baseball perpendicular to the four seams.   They release the baseball off the tip of their middle finger such that it spins vertically backward.

         1.   Start Position

     In my set position, pitchers place their rear foot on glove-side of the pitching rubber turned at least thirty degrees toward home plate and place their front foot a few inches to the glove-side of the 'Maxline' driveline for the rear foot (open).   This rear foot position not only helps pitchers to not reverse rotate their acromial line beyond home plate, but it also enables pitchers to use powerful hip flexor muscles to move their rear hip, leg and shoulder straightforward.

     Pitchers stand tall with both arms comfortably hanging downward and their hands together at their waist.

         2.   Trigger Action

     To 'trigger' their pitching motion, pitchers simultaneously gently shift their body weight to their front foot and slightly raise both hands.

         3.   Transition Phase

     Pitchers sequentially shift their body weight to their rear leg, reverse rotate their acromial line to point toward home plate, pendulum swing their pitching arm toward second base and up to driveline height with their palm facing outward, pendulum swing their glove arm toward home plate and up to shoulder height with their palm facing downward and slightly lift their front foot.   I call this position, my 'Ready' position.

         4.   Upper Arm Acceleration Phase I

     Pitchers sequentially walk forward with a comfortably long step to have their front heel land open and smoothly guide their forearm onto their driveline.   The inertial weight of the baseball and forearm will horizontally extend the forearm pronation range of motion.

         5.   Upper Arm Acceleration Phase II

     Pitchers sequentially pull their front arm straight backward, walk forward off the pitching rubber, “lock” their upper arm with its shoulder, forwardly rotate their acromial line to perpendicular to the driveline, subtly and gently bend the elbow tightly against the upper arm with the palm facing forward and the index and middle fingers forty-five degrees above horizontal, forwardly rotate their rear hip, inwardly rotate their rear thigh, slightly bend their rear knee and move their rear foreleg vertically straightforward.

         6.   Forearm Acceleration Phase

     Pitchers continue the actions that move them off the pitching rubber toward home plate.   When their acromial line again points toward home plate, pitchers powerfully pronate their forearm horizontally inside of vertical and extend their elbow.   While pitchers cannot do this, they must try.

         7.   Deceleration Phase

     Pitchers can only achieve release velocities from which they can safely stop their pitching arm.   Therefore, to increase their release velocity, they must strengthen their decelerator muscles.

     In my Coaching Pitchers book, I describe how pitchers should strengthen their decelerator muscles.   My book is free on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   I also discuss my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Training Program that injury-proofs pitchers, how pitchers throw my maxline pronation curve, my maxline true screwball, my maxline fastball sinker, my torque fastball and my torque fastball slider and the circumstances under which I will personally train high school, college and professional pitchers.   In addition, readers can email me for free advice.   Together, we can eliminate pitching arm injuries.   Happy pitching!

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314.   I am the Safety Officer for our Little League program.   I am a physician and I am in the process of putting together an instruction video tape about baseball injuries in general and in Little League specifically.   I am also putting together a cd with multiple articles on various injuries and sport concerns.

     I found your book terrific, and your concepts about safe pitching very important.   I would like to incorporate some of what you wrote into the two projects (video-cd).   I would like to know what if anything you would be comfortable having distributed.   You would, of course, get full credit.


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     For someone to give credit to someone else rather than just taking the idea as their own, what a novel idea.

     Dr. Joel Adams did the only research article that I have found on what youth pitching does to the growth plates of the pitching arm.   You can find my discussion of his work and the reference in Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book.   I believe that I have the only normative data on the growth and development of the ossification centers and growth plates of the elbow.   I discuss this information in Chapter Eight and show the slides of the X-rays in my Instructional Videotape.   With these slides, we can assess the biological ages of youth pitchers and compare the growth and development of the pitching arm compared with the non-pitching arm.

     I have invited my readers to get annual X-rays from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm from A/P and lateral views of both arms within one week of their son's birthdays and send me copies.   I offered to determine their son's biological age and compare the growth plates for premature closure and so on.   Perhaps you can join my Research Club.

     You may feel free to include whatever information that I have.   We have to eliminate pitching arm injuries and the unknown deformation, not only of the growth plates, but also of the Ulnar Collateral and Gleno-Humeral Ligaments in our youth pitchers.

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315.   I know that no major league pitcher uses your mechanics completely, but have you noticed if any do not have reverse rotation and who might they be?   Being that all pitchers pronate on all pitches, what is the difference between the way a random major league pitcher would pronate his curve compared to how you would want him to?

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     If pitchers lift their glove foot off the ground before they start their pitching arm backward, then it does not make any difference whether they aim their pitching upper arm short of second base, they will still never properly finish their pitches.

     While all pitchers pronate the release of their curves, it is important how early and how powerfully they pronate the release their pitches.   It is also extremely important that pitchers raise the longitudinal axis of their pitching forearm above the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm.   The greater the angular difference, the more powerful the pitching elbow extension force and the pitching forearm pronation force.   Most 'traditional' pitchers pronate their curves after they supinate the release of their curves over top of their index finger.   My pitchers pronate well before their release their curves and their middle and index fingers are always above the baseball.

     I understand your need to see someone perform my pitching motion.   Some of my returning summer guys are getting very close.   I will take high-speed film of them at the end of the summer and include it in my next Instructional Videotape.   I appreciate your patience.

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316.   I cannot compare your pitching motion with Tom House's pitching motion without reading what he wrote.   You said that you have his.

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Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
cbn@baseballnews.com
PO Box 50566, Tucson, Arizona 85703
Voice:   (520) 623-4530   FAX:   (520) 624-5501
Subject: Articles From Pitching Series in Collegiate Baseball
Published:   Friday, April 04, 2003

SAN DIEGO, Calif.

     Many baseball people are beginning to realize that our knowledge base is always evolving, and a lot of these individuals are requesting updates from our 3-dimensional motion analysis company, BioKinetics, on any new pitching information or instruction.

     Here is our latest information on five biomechanical pitching imperatives.
1.   Dynamic Balance (the alignment of head, center of gravity and belly button)
2.   Postural Stability (the linear movement of head to target)
3.   Opposite and Equal (the linear/angular equality of each arm position at foot strike)
4.   Late Torso Rotation with Hip & Shoulder Separation (the tracking and timing of torso torque during weight and energy transfer)
5.   Glove Blocking or Point & Swivel (glove position and stability at release point)

#1   Dynamic Balance

     Balance is a word all coaches talk about but usually fail to help pitchers achieve.   It is not uncommon for coaches to say, “stay balanced,” “get to your balance point,” “be balanced after you pitch so you can field your position”.   These are all good statements, but little has been done to explain just how this can be accomplished.   As a pitcher moves from the start to the finish of his delivery a few points need to be made as to how balance is established.   Balance is the first of our imperatives because it sets the foundation every pitcher’s body wants and/or needs to be in and stay in.

     Dynamic balance is knowing and controlling the center of gravity from start to finish.   Controlling center of gravity means aligning head, center of gravity (CG), and belly button between ball of posting foot and ball of landing foot, from leg lift into weight transfer and foot strike.

     Here is a new piece to the puzzle.   In an unbalanced delivery caused by misdirected or violent head movement, misdirected and/or violent leg/arm movement, and/or misdirected violent torso twisting, CG can actually be outside a pitcher’s body at foot strike.   No pitcher can effectively deliver the ball until CG gets back to belly button.   This misdirected energy separating CG and belly button increases the stresses on shoulder and elbow into release point.   This excess stress results in inconsistent performance and/or increased chance of injury.

     By starting and staying is what is commonly known as an athletic position (in both wind-up and stretch,) (a) with upper body similar to a hitting stance, (b) with feet armpit width, and big toe of back foot in line with the arch of front foot, then (c) distributing weight slightly forward to the ball of the front, not the back foot, (yes, this is also new) it forces head, CG, and belly button to align as the body moves down hill toward the plate.   This will set up…

#2   Posture Stabilization

     Whatever posture a pitcher starts with, he must keep from leg lift into launch.   If a pitcher’s posture changes, he bends the axis of rotation created by head, spine, and hips and his entire torso rotation, hip/shoulder separation, and torque are compromised.   This results in excess arm stress, inconsistent arm speed, and different release points with every pitch.   A one inch change in head position up, down, away from home plate, toward first or third base, can affect release point as much as two inches.   The importance of a stable posture cannot be over-emphasized.   Simply stated, where a pitcher’s head starts in his delivery, where a pitcher’s head finishes in his delivery, should line up directly with home plate.

     A major problem with young pitchers is lack of core body strength.   Essentially, a pitcher will stride toward foot strike, but at foot strike, straighten up, bow his back, or lean or pull out of posture trying to recruit power.   This will move the body off-line and the head will come off-line at release.   Realizing that the head of an adult weighs between 17-22 pounds, the often-stated phrase “the body goes where the head takes it,” becomes very true.   To stabilize posture (until strength and maturity match up) tighten quads, flex abdominals, and keep eyes level from leg lift into launch.

     More new information…

     If a pitcher has dynamic balance and postural stabilization, legs are fixed.    Length of stride, direction of stride and angle of foot at landing are all inevitable…, a non-teach.   The rest of the delivery is about timing the energy from front foot contact through the body into release point.   This now sets up…

#3   Opposite And Equal

     Simply stated, opposite and equal means that wherever the throwing arm is at foot strike, your glove side becomes a mirror image of it.   It means that both arms and elbows resemble each other throughout the delivery as legs deliver torso, torso delivers arms, and arms deliver baseball.

     Try these visuals.   If a right-handed pitcher twists his torso as he turns back, then at foot strike his glove arm will probably be facing the on-deck circle to the third base side.   In this case, the throwing arm should be in a direct line probably pointed somewhere at where a normal second baseman would be positioned.   If a pitcher rocks his torso, then at foot strike his throwing arm will be lower than shoulders pointed at second base and his glove arm will be higher than shoulders pointed at home plate.   Also, at foot strike the angle of forearm to elbow will be equal in both arms.

     All good pitchers line up their shoulders and elbows and mirror forearm angles at foot strike.   Some will twist their torso (i.e., Kevin Brown), others may rock their torso (i.e., Andy Pettit), but all good pitchers could draw a straight line from elbow to elbow through shoulders and use a protractor to show equal elbow joint angles at foot strike.

     This position should be maintained until energy from weight transfer sequences up from legs, through torso and into shoulders.   Shoulders move the arms. Arm movement before shoulder movement results in premature rotation or in traditional terms, rushing.   In other words, premature rotation and/or rushing is a timing problem where arms move before energy gets to the shoulders.   Movement out of sequence, strength out of sequence, equals poor performance, and/or increased risk of injury.   This is new.   We used to think rushing was a balance problem…it is not.   It is a timing problem.   Proper timing leads us to…

#4   Late Torso Rotation with Hip and Shoulder Separation

     Late torso rotation simply means that when the stride foot hits the ground the pitcher will continue to glide forward with his hips as far as his strength and flexibility will allow.   This will force front shoulder not to open up too early or clear until the pitcher has taken his body center of gravity (belly button) to at least 75 percent of his stride length.   Think of it this way.   Instead of stride, plant (foot strike) and rotate, think stride, plant, glide, and rotate.

     From a purely mechanical standpoint, early rotation places pressure on the shoulder or elbow with most of the stress falling on the weakest joint.   Perceptually, if early torso rotation takes place, the head will also turn, and total body is now, quite frankly, out of balance.

     Once legs have delivered torso as far forward as possible with arms opposite and equal, torque, or hip and shoulder separation, are set up to sequence where the hips open first, and the shoulders rotate second squaring up, and blocking is easier to achieve.   Simply stated, torque is created when hips rotate as far as possible before shoulders kick in.   The greater the differential between hips and shoulders, the greater the torque.

     To achieve hip/shoulder separation and gain maximum torque power, the pitcher should try keeping hands together for just an instant after the pitcher’s stride leg starts toward home plate.   The delay in breaking the hands will automatically set up glide into separation.   As previously stated the hips will open first, the pitcher’s belly button will be trying to face home plate while shoulders are still parallel and in line with second base and home plate, shoulders then rotate with the glove blocking, or stopping its rotation inside the width of the body.

     Try thinking of a large rubber band held and stretched between your two index fingers.   Hold the bottom of the rubber band still as you twist the upper part.   The degree of separation between upper and lower will depend on how many turns are made.   When the upper part of the rubber band is released, it will unwind providing a vivid picture of rotational power.   For pitchers, this separation will create power.   As the upper torso unwinds, it will deliver arm and finish over the landing leg with six times body weight going forward.   This quantification is new.

     If shoulders square up just short of the ball of the landing leg foot and arms have mirrored each other while shoulders complete their rotation, throwing forearm will be 90 degrees to the elbow in external rotation, glove forearm 90 degrees to elbow with glove 11”-16” in front of torso and stable over landing foot.   This leads us to…

#5   Glove Blocking or “Point and Swivel”

     To finish energy translation into release of baseball and to protect from a line drive injury, glove block (point and swivel) is a must.   One of the premier absolutes of human movement states that one muscle group must stop to accelerate another.   With the pitcher’s body moving forward and the throwing arm getting closer to home plate, the glove hand should stay firm out over the landing foot, rotating to get the forearm and elbow inside the width of shoulders.   This goes against what many current pitching coaches teach, which is to pull the glove down to the hip area in an effort to help generate arm speed.

     The problem with this teach is that not only does an aggressive pulling back action of the glove divide energy to the throwing arm, but it takes the glove a farther distance from the front of the pitcher’s body and face.   This is very important for young pitchers’ who have posture and strength issues.   Here is another new thought.   At release, it is not practical or safe for the pitcher’s glove to pull his non-throwing side laterally, (back and away from the intended target), further limiting the ability of the head and eyes to stay horizontal to watch the flight of the pitch and batted ball that may be hit back at him.

     Think about the mechanics of what the glove should do when the stride foot strikes the ground and the pitcher’s shoulders start rotating to deliver the ball.   By firming up, blocking with the glove, he has literally stopped his entire non-throwing side.   This stopping action with the glove up and out in front within the width of the shoulders will put the torso in a direct line to the intended target.   Teach chest to glove, not glove to chest.   For mechanical efficiency and body protection this move is perfect.

     The pitcher who keeps his glove out in front of him at release, chest going to a fixed blocked glove, releases the ball closer to home plate.   Remember, one foot of distance is 3 mph to the hitter’s eyes, the ball moves later on all pitches, there is less stress on the throwing arm, and it is safer because head and eyes stabilize.   As a result, vision improves and promotes earlier detection of a line drive or batted ball hit back through the box.

     It is important to note that some elite pitchers like Roger Clemens do a great job mechanically of “blocking” with the glove out front at release.   However, his tendency is to allow his glove arm to pull behind his body as the ball approaches home plate.   Greg Maddux on the other hand, also blocks out front at release but maintains his glove in this position where his non-throwing elbow is almost directly under his armpit through contact zone.   Both pitchers’ eyes are level, head still, and body balanced.   However, Maddux’s glove ends up only inches away from his face while Clemens’ glove is a couple feet away.   As stated earlier, both are elite pitchers, but Maddux is also a great fielder.   Whereas Clemens has great technique through release, Maddux has great technique through the contact zone.   He just keeps the glove there longer.   Both still get the maximum stuff their body allows from each pitch, but from studying great fielding pitchers throughout history, all of them maintain glove position.   This is another thing all young pitchers should try incorporate into their pitching mechanics.   In the next issue, we will examine another phase of pitching on preparing to pitch.

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Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
cbn@baseballnews.com
PO Box 50566, Tucson, Arizona 85703
Voice:   (520) 623-4530   FAX:   (520) 624-5501
Subject: Articles From Pitching Series in Collegiate Baseball
Published:   Friday, April 18, 2003

ARTICLE ON VERN RUHLE By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball (Second Of A 4-Part Series) NEW YORK, NY

     Vern Ruhle, pitching coach with the New York Mets, is one of the great teachers of pitching in the game today.   Ruhle uses verbal/visual images to get across his pitching mechanics that are unique in pitching instruction.   “I came up with this system after noticing what lawyers do in jury trials.   Attorneys attempt to present a visual image for jurors as they talk so that during deliberations jurors have it burned in their mind what the lawyer said.   I thought this was a great concept for pitching instruction.   These visual images help pitchers accomplish more.   Most of what you accomplish in baseball is through your eyes, not what you hear.”

     The concepts Ruhle will explain have worked extremely well for pitchers on the Little League level all the way up to high school, college and professional baseball.   “The general principles of where your body should be, energy lines, direction and being able to maintain a freedom to be able to throw the ball and reduce pressure on the arm is important,” said Ruhle.   “I have coached pitchers on all levels.   Each has his own style that needs to be brought out.

     “When you discuss pitching with athletes, you must find out who your audience is.   Should you address this as biomechanics to them?   If you are talking to a guy from Latin America, the term biomechanics doesn’t work.   It is a big word.   I would rather ask pitchers:   How can you throw the ball the easiest and be able to maintain good body position so your arm stays healthy?

     “That is the crux of the problem I have with doctors’ terms and people who make pitching sound so complex.   A better approach is explaining how to pitch in laymen’s terms so that people can understand their goals and above all have fun playing baseball.   “Keeping this in mind, there are basic body positions you want to strive for.   So let’s get started.”

     “Most mechanics start with a good foundation.   When your glove hand foot hits the ground, your throwing elbow must be as high as your shoulder or higher.   It is important that pitches be thrown down hill.   “It’s not like a football quarterback who throws a football upward to hit a receiver.   A few years ago, one pitching coach advocated that pitchers throw footballs to train with.   I never agreed with that.   “When you throw a baseball, your thumb is pointed toward your ear as opposed to away from your ear with a football.

     Visualize this.   Keep your elbow as high as your shoulder when the front foot lands on the ground in the pitching delivery.   Your throwing hand has a baseball.   If you are a righthanded pitcher, turn your throwing hand thumb toward shortstop without any torque so your arm is free.   You will see that your elbow stays as high as your shoulder easier than if you turn your thumb backward which is what it would take to throw a football with a high elbow.”

Keep Throwing Elbow High

     Ruhle said when the pitcher has a high elbow, which is at least the height of the shoulder, the pitcher will be able to have extension and then rotation since you must rotate the body to deliver the ball.   “If this is the position you must obtain, how do you get there?   Let’s go to the point of release and back up.   When I get to the point of releasing the ball, I have made the stride and will now let my hips and body go forward first.   Then I rotate and get out over my front leg.   I have a firm front leg but not a stiff front leg.   You don’t want that front knee to be stiff.   You don’t want to lock it up.   As soon as it becomes locked and stiff, your mind says, ‘Let go of the ball!’   You want extension beyond the front leg.   So it is crucial that the front leg not be stiff or locked.   “Ideally when you stride, you want to get out over your front leg so that you can accelerate to the release point.   You want your fingers imparting spin on the ball for fastballs, curves, changeups and any other pitches as your wrist and forearm are loose so that you can fire through the ball.

“Accelerating hand speed at this moment is crucial.

     Acceleration simply means that you are going faster than the moment before.   It must be understood that you are not coasting.   Any time your elbow is going away from the center of gravity, you will be coasting.   In order to accelerate, your elbow must pull back toward the center of gravity (belly button) to allow your hand to accelerate through.

     “It’s like a tug of war.   If you put the rope by your ankles, what do you have?   You don’t have much balance.   You don’t put the rope over your head either.   In a tug of war, you pull toward your center of gravity, which is toward your belly button.   “So if you are in a position where you are leaning slightly forward against your front leg at a slight angle with a little bit of resistance so that you can throw against it, you will be able to let the torque of your body go forward and then the rotation which allows you to accelerate through the release point bringing your elbow back into your stomach.

     “This allows your wrist and forearm to go through the ball.   If you are using your legs correctly, then you will bend your back on follow through and be able to set a cup of water on your back and not spill a drop.   “If you threw the pitch correctly, you will notice that the elbow bends after throwing the ball.   If you threw a fastball, the hand will finish above the waist with the thumb pointed in toward the body.   If you are throwing a breaking ball, the thumb will be pointing away from the body at the finish of your delivery.”

4-Step Process Of Mechanics

     Ruhle said he has found it to be more successful to teach this phase of throwing first and then teach the other areas of pitching mechanics.   “I utilize a 4-step process.

     a.   Ruhle explained the first step.

     Step one involves the pitcher getting on the rubber.   For young pitchers 8-9 years old, they will usually find it easier to learn from the stretch position first.   “When you are on the rubber, you want to accomplish two things.   You want to make sure you visualize the path of the ball once you know what pitch you will throw.   Now you work on your grip.   You have hidden the ball from the hitter, first base coach and third base coach.   You want your fingers typically pointing toward the sky so that you can hide your hand in the glove and make any grips or movements.”

     b.   Ruhle explained the second step.

     “This is where the pitcher has a step back, pivots and goes to a balance point.   When you step back and pivot, your only goal is to turn your pivot foot so that it is parallel to the rubber.   Some guys will take a bigger step back.   But the number one thing is to maintain body control.   Your ears should be over your belly button, which is over the balls of your feet.   Your sense of balance comes from the inner ear.   What you are controlling is your center of gravity.   That relationship of balance must be maintained as you step back, pivot and come to a balance point with your front knee in the air.   “If you keep your rising knee close to your other knee, it gets more vertical and keeps your body more in control since you are now working against gravity.

     All you are doing is loading at this point.   You aren’t releasing or going toward home plate.   You are simply lifting your front knee as high as you want but at least as high as your hip so that you have some leverage using the bigger muscles of the body.   You want to activate big muscles like the hamstrings, hip flexors and others in your legs.   You want them to be in a position so those big muscles are free and easy.   “As you lift your front knee, it should begin to feel like you are coiling like a spring.   You are gathering all your energy and getting ready to throw a pitch to the plate.   “You haven’t started toward home plate. But the next step is direction.

     What will take you there?   If you make it simple, the eyes should be No. 1 in terms of direction.   “It is crucial that you keep your eyes level.   Level eyes will allow the brain to process information better and make adjustments accordingly.   “With this in mind take your chin to the target fairly early in the process.   As your eyes lock in on the target, what is the first thing that goes toward home plate?   It is your stride foot.

     “If you have your stride foot under your knee, the heel will usually go first.   If you lean back too much, you might see the toe area go first.   Ideally, you want to keep the foot underneath the knee so the heel goes first.   This gives you a better directional line toward home plate.   “When your stride foot makes this initial movement toward home plate, this is the time your hands should break.   This maintains balance as one hand is going forward and the other backward.   This ‘Loading Effect’ is allowing you to keep the weight primarily on the pivot foot since you haven’t made contact with the ground yet with your front foot.

     c. Ruhle explained the third step.

     “As you stride and separate your hands, you are lowering your body a little bit because you are creating flexion in your back leg.   This flexion is not a collapse or a fall.   “It is a flexion of the back leg to load like a basketball player getting ready to dunk a ball through the basket.   There is a downward movement as he flexes specifically so it unleashes the big muscles in the hips and legs.   If you do not flex the knees, you don’t have the use of those big muscles in the legs.   “You also can’t have a stiff front leg or stiff front knee in pitching because you won’t be able to activate those big leg muscles.   You must have flexion to carry your body.”

Soften Front Foot Landing

     Ruhle explained another important teaching point with separation.   “It is very important to soften up the front foot so it lands in a firm, but flex position.   If you are going down the slope of a bank at a river and ice is on the river, you may not be sure if the ice is thick enough to play on.   So you test the ice with your front foot and test it with the inside ball of your foot.   My term for this front foot landing movement is ‘Test The Ice’.   “At the same time, we go thumbs down and elbows up.   That is the verbiage I use.   So you separate your hands in this manner.   Your thumbs basically go in a downward motion and then the elbows come up to shoulder height.   When looking at the glove hand, the little finger must be higher than the other fingers on the hand to keep the elbow up.   On the backside, the throwing hand thumb points toward the shortstop.

     “As you separate with your front foot going toward home plate with thumbs down, elbows up, you create a direction with a flexed front elbow as you look just above the elbow like a sight on a rifle toward the target.   “Then you reach toward the catcher’s mitt with your glove hand, small finger up, so that you can keep your energy line going in that direction.

     “When your front foot hits the ground, you extend and reach with your throwing hand.   The pitcher’s axis rotates against the inside of the ball of his front foot and his belly button, which is the center of gravity.   “The pitcher now takes his chest to the glove and allows the back side to throw the ball.   This whole procedure allows good direction.”

     d. Ruhle explained the fourth step.

     Ruhle explained the fourth and final phase of mechanics.   “The terms I use in step four are Focus, Fire and Finish.   The pitcher visually and mentally focuses on the task at hand and extends toward the target.   “In the fire sequence, the pitcher takes imaginary money out of the catcher’s mitt with his glove hand, small finger up, and then the glove swivels into the chest so you put the money in your shirt pocket as he fires the pitch and his upper body rotates over the front foot.

     “On the finish, you now have brought your throwing arm elbow into your belly button.   Your throwing hand continues on above your waist and finishes near the armpit of your glove arm.   The pitching hand does not finish below your waist.   When you are finished, you should be able to put a cup of water on your back so that it doesn’t spill.   “This movement is a natural deceleration of the arm.   You are now in a position to react to any balls hit back at you as well.”

Reasons Behind Mechanics

     Ruhle would like pitching coaches to ponder one important point.   “If a pitching coach can’t explain why he is teaching certain mechanics if a player asks specific questions, he may want to find out why he is teaching this method.   My goal, as with other coaches, is to see pitchers reach their highest potential.   “The one way to do that is for the pitcher to throw the ball so he can throw it with freedom and accelerate to the release point.   You must impart spin and sell the changeup.   You can tell a pitcher he strides too long or too short.   But what does that amount to?   Will that allow you to accelerate more?

     “Tom Glavine, who I have worked with during spring training, knows how long his stride should be.   It works for him. Nolan Ryan’s stride was much longer.   There is not one way.   Everybody’s style is slightly different, but the goals are the same.   “You want to throw the ball to a certain location with body control.   If you can learn to control your body, then you can locate pitches.   Then if you can change speeds, you should have reasonable success.”

     Ruhle was asked if he has any favorite drill to help pitchers learn muscle memory with his pitching mechanics.   “In order to avoid landing on the front heel which causes early rotation and pressure on the throwing elbow and shoulder, a pitcher might try throwing up hill (back of pitcher’s mound) or put his back foot on a bleacher step so he can have the feeling of bending his back and reaching out so he feels balanced on the front leg.   Then the throwing arm has the freedom to accelerate past the front leg.”

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317.   The rotator cuff muscles hold the head of the long bone of your upper arm tightly in the socket of your shoulder.   Sports that require moving the arm over the head repeatedly can cause tearing and swelling of the tendons of these muscles.   Baseball pitchers, swimmers, weight lifters and tennis players often suffer this injury.   Chronic irritation can cause pain, swelling and tearing of the rotator cuff.   If you continue to exercise in spite of the pain, you will tear the tendons from their attachments.

     Initially, pain occurs only when you hold your arm over your head and bring it down or forward forcibly.   Later, it will hurt when the arm is moved forward for any reason, such as to shake hands.   Usually, it hurts when you push things away and does not hurt when you pull objects toward you.   A torn rotator cuff will cause tenderness over the tendons, especially when the elbow is raised above the shoulder.   It will hurt when you pull your arm across your chest, and you will have difficulty raising your elbow over your shoulder.   An arthrogram is often not sensitive enough to diagnose a partial tear of the rotator cuff, but can show a complete tear.

     The treatment is to avoid any motion that hurts and strengthen the uninjured shoulder muscles.   Do weight-lifting exercises that bring the weights toward the body and do not hurt, such as upright rows and downward "lat pulls".   You may need surgery if the rotator cuff tendons are torn completely, or if the tendons do not heal within one year.

     What do you think of this article?


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     Four muscles attach to the head of the Humerus bone; the Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles.   The Subscapularis muscle originates on the subscapular fossa on the entire under surface of the Scapula bone and attaches to the lesser tuberosity of the Humerus bone.   The Supraspinatus muscle originates on the supraspinatus fossa on the posterior surface of the Scapula bone and attaches to the superior facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus bone.   The Infraspinatus muscle originates on the infraspinatus fossa on the posterior surface of the Scapula bone and attaches to the middle facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus bone.   The Teres Minor muscle originates on the proximal one-half of the posterior surface of the axillary border of the Scapula bone and attaches to the lowest facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus bone.

     Like all muscles, when they contract, they bring their two attachments closer together.   Like all muscles, when athletes place more stress on them than they can withstand, they tear.   Like all muscles, when athletes position the Scapula and Humerus bones in positions where the muscle fibers of these muscles do not have direct line of pull, they cannot maximize their force production.

     When 'traditional' pitchers use the 'balance position', they place the Subscapularis muscle in a disadvantageous position.   As a result, they injure the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle.   When 'traditional' pitchers use the 'high guard' technique, they cause 'reverse forearm bounce', which places the Supraspinatus muscle in a disadvantageous position.   As a result, they injure the attachment of the Supraspinatus muscle.   When 'traditional' pitchers keep their pitching fingers on top of the baseball during the transition phase, they cause 'late forearm turnover' which leads to 'forearm looping' and 'forearm flyout'.   These actions place the Infraspinatus muscle in a disadvantageous position.   As a result, they injure the attachment of the Infraspinatus muscle.   When 'traditional' pitchers pull their pitching elbow and forearm down and across the front of their body, they place the Teres Minor muscle in a disadvantageous position.   As a result, they injure the attachment of the Teres Minor muscle.

     The problem does not lie with baseball pitching, swimming, tennis serving or any other activity, the problem lies with technique.   These muscles, like all muscles, respond positively to appropriate training programs, which place them in the positions of best force application.   The problem lies with the self-appointed experts that do not know what they are doing.   The problem lies with uneducated consumers, who are too lazy or whatever to check the credentials of the people from whom they seek advice.

     I agree with the writer that improper use of these muscles can cause irritation, pain and so on.   But, that is true of all muscles.   When pitchers use my force application techniques in the manner that I prescribe for all ages and complete the interval-training programs that I recommend, they will not suffer from these maladies.   You see, I studied Kinesiology, I studied Anatomy, I researched the pitching motion with high-speed film and I have trained pitchers for over twenty-five years without a single pitching arm injury or surgery.   I have earned the right to advise pitchers.

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318.   Why aren't there any major league pitchers that throw the screwball.   Some throw a change up or circle change, which is basically a screwball, but not really.   Is it because of a lack of instruction in the minor leagues?   You say in your book, when you coming up, teams wanted you to use your fastball and then finish bats with a slider and not throw your screwball.   Or, do teams believe that throwing screwballs deforms the arm.   Didn't your research show its the easiest pitch on the arm because of the pronation!

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     It takes time to strengthen the muscles that throw the screwball and I am the only person who knows how to train pitchers to throw my Maxline True Screwball.   Because pitchers do not have to rotate their pitching forearm from the palm outward position at my 'Ready' position, my Maxline True Screwball never causes a 'loop', 'circle out' or 'forearm flyout.'   Therefore, it is much easier on the pitching arm.

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319.   My son broke his pinky finger when I was out of town earlier this week.   The emergency room doctor said to take him to a specialist so my wife took him to a prominent sports medicine doctor in town.   I thought it would be s good opportunity to see about having my son's elbows x-rayed for your study as his birthday is in early July.   I sent my wife you instructions of what you wanted x-rayed for your study to show the doctor.

     The doctor said the study was a good idea and that he would x-ray my sons arms if I wanted to pay for it, but he strongly advised against it.   He said he would be reluctant to throw that much radiation into a child every year.   Have you had this objection before?   What are your thoughts?


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     Over the last fifty years, researchers have greatly reduced the amount of radiation per X-rays.   While I am not an expert in this field, it is my understanding that X-rays taken once per year is well below dangerous levels.   I know that in every growth and development study conducted at major research institutes, such as Case Western University in Cleveland, they annually X-ray the children in their studies.   Nevertheless, this is another area where parents have to do what they believe is in the best interests of their children.   You might want to discuss this with someone trained specifically in the latest in radiology.

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320.   You have often mentioned premature growth plate closure in your Q&A responses.   Could you briefly explain how this negatively impacts throwing?

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     Growth plates are the area between the shaft of long bones and ossification centers where bones grow longer and wider.   The stress of pitching can alter how growth occurs at these growth plates.   Research shows that the stress of pitching causes the growth plates in youth pitchers to prematurely close and worse.   This means that these bones never achieve the full length and width that they should have.   This means that these youth pitchers will never become the adult pitchers that they could have been.

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321.   My son had his visit to the orthopedic surgeon, and the results of his MRI show that he has completely ruptured his ACL in his left knee.   The doctor said that he has no tearing or damage to the meniscus (spelling?), nor the MCL.   He has surgery scheduled for July 1st.   Can you tell me what we should expect surgery-wise (I was not able to attend the doctors visit), the surgeon explained it briefly on the phone to me.   He said that he will graft a section of his ham string and use it as the new ACL, but I am very interested in knowing more.   He indicated to us that my son should progress fairly quickly, but that he would not fully release him for 6 months.

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     A complete rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament is serious.   It will put him totally out of commission for several months.   When athletes come to sudden stops with all their weight on a bended knee, only the ACL prevents their Femur bone of the upper leg from moving forward over the Tibia bone of the lower leg.   In baseball pitching, those who advocate the 'drop and drive' leg action place the ACL at risk with every pitch.   That is why I recommend that pitchers stand tall, walk forward off the pitching rubber and over the glove leg.

     The rehabilitation from this surgery requires athletes to regain the full knee extension range of motion after the surgeon attaches the 'new' ligament to the Femur and Tibia bones.   Depending on how tightly the surgeon attaches the ligament, this rehabilitation can require considerable work.   The good news is that the surgery is proven and the results are usually good.

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322.   Tom House writes, "No pitcher can effectively deliver the ball until CG gets back to belly button."   Isn't he simply stealing your stand tall and rotate idea?

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     I do not know what Mr. House recommended before his January 2002 renouncement of his previous twenty-two years of theories.   I do not know whether he even thought of the center of mass of his pitchers before I began to talk about it.   I don't know if he knew that the center of mass of the human body is in the middle of the body close to behind the belly button.   Nevertheless, when he says that pitchers need to have their center of mass back to their belly button, he is saying that pitchers need to stand tall.   Also, since they have to keep their center of mass behind their belly button, he is also saying that they need to rotate, rather than bend.   I agree that it is suspicious, but it is the proper recommendation.   Remember, as long as he gets it right, I want him to use my ideas.

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323.   Tom House said, "A one inch change in head position up, down, away from home plate, toward first or third base, can affect release point as much as two inches."   Is this right>

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     I have no idea where he got this or why he felt a need to make the statement.   The pitching mound slopes one inch per foot for six feet.   Therefore, if what he says is true, the release point of pitchers must drop of one foot.   I know that is wrong.   I suspect that his computer analysis came up with this.   The problem with analyzing motion with computers is that some person puts the formulas into the computer.   While I agree that computers do not make computational mistakes, whoever programs the computers make lots of mistakes.   I challenge Mr. House to disclose how he determined this.

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324.   Tom House wrote, "Simply stated, opposite and equal means that wherever the throwing arm is at foot strike, your glove side becomes a mirror image of it.   It means that both arms and elbows resemble each other throughout the delivery as legs deliver torso, torso delivers arms, and arms deliver baseball."   As I read your description of your pitching motion, you have the glove forearm pointing toward home plate when the pitching forearm is forty-five degrees behind vertical.

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     You are correct.   The glove arm satisfies part of the requirement of Newton's Law of Reaction.   When, after the glove foot contacts the ground, the glove arm initiates the forward rotation of the shoulders with its straight backward movement toward second base.   With the pitching upper arm locked with the pitching shoulder, when, as a result of the opposite action of the glove arm, the pitching shoulder begins rotating toward home plate.   Because the forward rotation of the pitching upper arm creates centripetal force that could cause the pitching forearm to flyout laterally away from the body, I recommend that my pitchers drive the baseball in a straight line forward along a line slightly above and very near their ear to 'fight the flyout.'   I cannot see where other than the glove arm moving backward and the pitching arm moving forward how their actions are similar.   They certainly should not be mirror images.

     Further, the action of the glove arm provides only a part of the opposite force.   It is definitely improper to say, 'opposite and equal.'   The pitching foot and, in my pitching motion, the glove foot also provide opposite force.   Therefore, the sum of these forces equal the force that pitchers apply to their pitches toward home plate, not just the glove arm.

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325.   Tom House writes, "If a right-handed pitcher twists his torso as he turns back, then at foot strike his glove arm will probably be facing the on-deck circle to the third base side.   In this case, the throwing arm should be in a direct line probably pointed somewhere at where a normal second baseman would be positioned."   According to your theory, isn't he telling his pitchers to turn their back to the batter and doesn't that cause flyout?

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     You have read my stuff and you understand.   The excessive shoulder and pitching upper arm reverse rotation that Mr. House recommends adds about forty-five degrees to the forward rotation.   As a result, his pitchers will generate forty-five degrees of additional centripetal force that they will not be able to overcome.   Therefore, his pitchers will suffer forearm flyout.   If he also teaches supination as a part of how he wants pitchers to throw curves, then when they slam their olecranon process into their olecranon fossa, they will decrease their elbow extension range of motion.   Eventually, they will destroy their pitching arm.   Since I have clearly explained the danger of this recommendation, he can no longer say that he did not know of the danger.   Therefore, if he does not stop, then he becomes legally liable for the damage that he does to those who follow his advice.

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326.   Tom House says, "If shoulders square up just short of the ball of the landing leg foot and arms have mirrored each other while shoulders complete their rotation, throwing forearm will be 90 degrees to the elbow in external rotation, glove forearm 90 degrees to elbow with glove 11”-16” in front of torso and stable over landing foot."   What is he talking about?

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     I don't think you should ask me to interpret what Mr. House says.   Nevertheless, I will tell you where I disagree with what he says.

     Mr. House says that pitchers should 'square up' their shoulders.   This means that he advocates that pitchers forwardly rotate their acromial line only to perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.   I disagree.   I want pitchers to try to forwardly rotate their acromial line to point at home plate.   I want one hundred and eighty degrees of forward shoulder rotation.   I know that pitchers cannot achieve this, but I want them to try.

     Mr. House says that he wants pitchers to stop the forward rotation of their shoulder when the shoulders are 'just short of the ball of the landing leg foot.'   This means that he does not want pitchers to move their center of mass ahead of the glove foot.   However, without bending, I do not believe that his pitchers can move their shoulders that far forward.   Therefore, he appears to be contradicting his advice for pitchers to keep their center of mass in the vertical plane of their body.   I recommend that pitchers try to keep their center of mass moving forward throughout the pitching motion.

     Mr. House says that the 'throwing forearm will be ninety degrees to the elbow in external rotation.'   He does not tell us the extent of the external rotation that he wants.   For external rotation, I prefer to say 'outward rotation.'   After the fiasco of his 'high guard' position, he is probably weary of telling pitchers where their pitching forearm should be immediately before their pitching elbow starts moving forward.   I recommend that, immediately before they start their pitching elbow forward, pitchers have their pitching forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical as seen from the side and vertical as seen from the rear/front.

     I am bothered that Mr. House does not understand that outward shoulder rotation is dangerous.   It is the action that destroys the rotator cuff muscle attachments.   It is one reason why his pitching motion continues to destroy pitching arms.   I recommend that pitchers never outwardly rotate their Humerus bone.   Instead, I recommend that pitchers maximize their forearm pronation range of motion.   To achieve the maximum force application of the pitching elbow and forearm, pitchers do not have to outwardly or inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.   This is another reason why my pitching motion does not destroy the pitching arm.

     I am also bothered that Mr. House does not describe how he advises pitchers to move their pitching forearm to move forward after the pitching upper arm starts moving forward.   If he believes that the pitching forearm will maintain the same ninety degrees that he says he wants before the pitching elbow starts moving forward, then he does not understand centripetal force.

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327.   Tom House says, "... the pitcher should try keeping hands together for just an instant after the pitcher’s stride leg starts toward home plate.   The delay in breaking the hands will automatically set up glide into separation."   Doesn't keeping the hands together after the pitcher starts his body toward home plate cause problems?   Don't you want pitchers to get their arm into place before they start their body forward?

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     Yes, Sir.   This is the 'balance position' concept.   This is where the 'traditional' pitching motion sets its numerous flaws in motion that lead to the destruction of the pitching arm.   Until pitchers stop lifting their glove leg as the first movement of their set position pitching motion, they are doomed to injure or, at least, unnecessarily stress their pitching arm.

     Before pitchers raise their glove foot slightly off the ground, I recommend that pitchers get their pitching arm almost up to driveline height.   In this way, rather than pulling their pitching arm forward, they can drive behind their pitching arm.   Now, all they need to do is stop reverse rotating their shoulders, fight forearm flyout and pronate.

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328.   What is Tom House trying to say with the rubber band?   "When the upper part of the rubber band is released, it will unwind providing a vivid picture of rotational power.   For pitchers, this separation will create power."

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     Mr. House is trying to demonstrate centripetal force.   Unfortunately, he appears not to understand that centripetal force is a double-edged sword.   That is, the appropriate amount of centripetal force is good, but too little decreases its value and too much causes problems.   Earlier, he advised pitchers to reverse rotate their shoulders to have their pitching upper arm point at the mid-infielder beyond second base.   This creates too much centripetal force, which destroys the pitching arm.

     I recommend that pitchers do not reverse rotate their shoulders at all.   Rather, I prefer that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm backward short of second base.   In this way, when the pitching arm reaches driveline height, they are pointing their pitching elbow short of second base.   Therefore, when my pitchers forwardly rotate their shoulders one hundred and eighty degrees to point at home plate, they will maximize the positive value of centripetal force with minimal negative 'forearm flyout' effect.

     I prefer ten degrees too short to one degree too far.   When pitchers go even one degree too far, they will have some 'forearm flyout' that they will have to correct with 'forearm pull' through release.   These two wrongs will never lead to maximum release velocity and consistency, but will unnecessarily stress the pitching arm.

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329.   When Tom House says, "At release, it is not practical or safe for the pitcher’s glove to pull his non-throwing side laterally, (back and away from the intended target), further limiting the ability of the head and eyes to stay horizontal to watch the flight of the pitch and batted ball that may be hit back at him.", is he taking a shot at you?   Don't you want pitchers to take their glove arm behind their body and turn their body sideways.

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     I do recommend that pitchers move their pitching leg ahead of their glove leg such that when their pitching leg contacts the ground, pitchers have their body turned sideways.   I want pitchers to continue to move their center of mass forward throughout the pitching motion.   To stop the center of mass before pitchers release their pitches, decreases the opposite force that they must apply to achieve their maximum release velocity and decreases their release consistency.   However, to do this does not sacrifice safety.

     When pitchers turn their body sideways to home plate, it is far easier for pitchers to protect themselves against the very hard hit baseball that comes back at them too fast for them to react with their glove.   When batters hit baseball to the glove side of my pitchers to which they can react, it is also far easier to move their glove into position than if they stood facing home plate.   I will agree that pitchers cannot respond to baseballs hit to their pitching arm side.   But, that is why we locate the pitching arm side mid-infielder closer to second base.

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330.   Tom House says, "The pitcher who keeps his glove out in front of him at release, chest going to a fixed blocked glove, releases the ball closer to home plate."   Is this true?

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     No.   I have five hundred frames per second high-speed film that clearly shows where my pitchers release their pitches relative to the pitching rubber.   I challenge Mr. House to offer concrete proof of this statement.

     The only way that pitchers can release their pitches closer to home plate is to move their center of mass closer to home plate.   While Mr. House is unclear as to where he advises pitchers to place their glove foot and how powerfully he wants his pitchers to move forward of the pitching rubber with their pitching leg, he is clear that he wants pitchers to 'square' their shoulders to home plate.   This means that, before his pitchers release their pitches, he wants them to stop the forward movement of their center of mass.   As a result, they cannot release their pitches closer to home plate.   In fact, when all the centripetal force that he wants them to generate couples with his sudden stop of their center of mass summate, he insures excessive 'forearm flyout' that forces his pitchers to release their pitches beside their head.   I doubt that his pitchers even release their pitches in front of their head, much less closer to home plate.

     To prove whether he is right, I will gladly provide my high-speed camera and services and take biomechanically appropriate five hundred frames per second film from the side view of Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pryor or anybody else whom he claims releases their pitches closer to home plate.   One picture will be worth a thousand words.

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331.   Tom House writes, "Many baseball people are beginning to realize that our knowledge base is always evolving, and a lot of these individuals are requesting updates from our 3-dimensional motion analysis company, BioKinetics, on any new pitching information or instruction."   Do you find it curious that his knowledge base started to evolve at the same time that you put your material on the Internet?

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     A protege of Mr. House, Paul Davis claimed that Mr. House made the same discoveries about which I was writing on his own.   What is suspicious is that Mr. House recanted the pitching motion that he had taught for the previous twenty-two years after Mr. Davis emailed me with numerous questions about my materials.   But, as I have said numerous times before, I want all pitching coaches to steal my stuff.

     That is why, when Mr. Davis asked whether he could visit my Pitcher Research/Training Center here in Zephyrhills, FL, I agreed.   That is why, when he and Paul Nyman asked me questions for over two hours, I answered them completely and truthfully.   That is why I permitted them to take hours of videotape of my pitchers completing my training program.   That is why my pitchers stayed for over two hours after the training period ended for that day and continued to answer their questions and to demonstrate my principles for more videotaping.   I believe that life is a cooperation, not a competition.   To eliminate pitching arm injuries, we must cooperate.

     With regard to three-dimensional motion analysis, the analysis is only as good as the programmer who wrote the program.   That same analysis told Mr. Flesig of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) that the pitching hand of a pitcher who threw a ninety mile per hour fastball accelerated to only fifty miles per hour.   Unless someone attached a forty mile per hour rocket to the baseball, that finding is ridiculous.

     I prefer to do my own analyses by hand.   The formulas are simple.   1.   Velocity equals the change in displacement divided by the time required to make that change.   2.   Acceleration equals the change in velocity divided by the time required to make that change.   It is not hard work and, when I am done, I know that I have properly measured displacement and the time required and properly calculated the velocity changes, the time required and the acceleration curve.

     The flaw in the three-dimensional motion analysis is that their data collection methods are inadequate.   First, they do not use high-speed film, they use videotape.   Second, they videotape at only two hundred and fifty frames per second.   Even at my five hundred frames per second, the baseball moves at least three inches between frames.   Third, videotape does not provide the clarity that pin-registered high-speed film.   As a result, I can determine displacement measures with greater certainty.   In short, garbage in, garbage out.

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332.   I am 18 yrs old.   I haven't been pitching for a long time.   I throw and 86 mph fastball and I have a click in my elbow.   I threw my arm out, so to speak, 2 months ago and didn't throw again for a month.   When I started throwing again, it didn't hurt at all, but the clicking noise was there when I rotate my wrist.   The pain in my elbow is there sometimes and at others its not.   What is it?

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     You say that you threw your arm out two months ago.   What does that mean?   What symptoms did you have?   Since you are now complaining of pain in your pitching elbow, I assume that you mean that you experienced pain in your elbow.   I assume that the pain is in the inside of your elbow near the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Two months without training may have permitted the swelling in the area to decrease, but rest means atrophy.   Atrophy means that your pitching arm is two months weaker than when it was so weak that you injured it.   To recover from this injury, you must begin at lower levels of intensity than when you injured it.   Also, you probably injured it because, as well as not adequately strengthening the pitching muscles to withstand the pitching motion, you use the 'traditional' pitching motion.   The 'traditional' pitching motion destroys pitching arms.

     A 'click in the elbow' can be as simple as swollen hyaline cartilage releasing trapped air.   However, that you occasionally also simultaneously experience pain indicates that you have a loose body that lodges between the bones of the elbow.   Loose bodies result from excessive 'forearm flyout' where your olecranon process slams into it fossa.   You have to learn how to properly fight the flyout and pronate.

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333.   We are going to begin your 13 year old pitcher workout, but I was looking for a couple of things and I either missed them or couldn't find anything on it.   My son pitched this weekend and complained of muscle soreness, not elbow or shoulder soreness, but rather in the bicep and forearm.   When we got home from the game, we iced his arm on the inner part of it for about 2 hours.   We didn't put any on the elbow and just for about 15 minutes on the shoulder and neck.

     What is the proper way to apply ice, and where should it be applied and for how long?   After treating with ice, do you then treat with a pain gel or balm?   I am new to this, as my sport was basketball, but I don't want my child to do anything to hurt himself at the age of 13.


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     Discomfort after pitching in the biceps area indicates that he had more forearm flyout than his Brachialis muscle could withstand.   You would have to be more specific about the location of the forearm discomfort, but he again subjected that muscle to more stress than it could withstand.   Now, during training, it is important to stress muscles.   It is the only way that they will make a physiological adjustment, get stronger.

     Ice increases blood flow to the area.   Unless someone sprains an ankle or in some other way tears muscles, ligaments or tendons, ice should not be necessary.   When using ice, you want to get the affected body part as cold as possible.   Direct application of ice is best, such as placing the elbow in a container of slush ice.   Otherwise, plastic bags are good.   Place the plastic bags directly on the area and wrap it tight.   When he stops complaining that it is uncomfortable, you know when it is working.   At this point, leave the ice on for another twenty minutes.   Afterwards, the skin over the area should be beet red with engorged blood.

     At biological thirteen years old, every growth plate in his pitching elbow is wide open.

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334.   My son loves sports.   Has been playing different sports since he could walk.   In baseball he was "league age 7" the last two seasons, but he just turned seven.   Lately, he wants to learn how to pitch.   He just started throwing long toss (only once a week) and throwing to me (20-30 pitches).   His speed has picked up each week.   He threw 40 mph last week.   I was wondering what was normal out of the more experienced players and when will his arm speed top off as a 7 year old?   BTW, he is just naturally throwing at 40 mph not trying to kill it.

     I friend of mine teaches hitting lessons for a living and taught him to hit (he hit .850 in the fall and .900 in the spring against 8 year olds in 40 mph machine pitch).   Now, he is showing him the proper throwing mechanics.   When I get a little more educated I'll really get a better understanding of what your teaching.


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     I doubt that anybody has studied the release velocities of seven year old pitchers, nor should they.   At seven years old, the bones of his pitching arm are very, very immature.   The stress of pitching or even throwing will alter their normal growth and development.   During the adolescent years, he should learn the skills of numerous activities.   I recommend that he does not pitch or throw baseballs for more than two months per year.

     I have an Eight Year Old Pitchers Interval-Training Program where youngsters learn how to properly release my pitches. I recommend that he does not pitch competitively until he is thirteen years old.   From thirteen through fifteen, I recommend that he pitches only one inning per game twice a week.   At biological sixteen years old, the growth plates in his pitching elbow have matured and he can pitch more.   However, the growth plates in his shoulder do not mature until he is nineteen years old.   If you alter how his pitching arm grows and develops now, he will never become the adult pitcher he could be.   Slow down.   Every two months, you shoule teach him new skills from other sports and lifetime activities.

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335.   I went back and reread the chapters on flawed delivery problems and found the flying out forearm sections to see what you were describing and think I have a good picture of what you are talking about.   I visualize a pitcher, like maybe, Sterling Hitchcock, hiding the ball behind his rear and back before throwing.   In your opinion, is there a pitcher out there who uses the motion to look at and determine what the arm should be doing?   Without pictures it is kind of hard to visualize what you mean.   I am going to get a money order tonight and send to you for a videotape in a couple days, but in all honesty, I had trouble following your book at certain points and was lost, is the videotape easier to follow and understand?

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     When 'traditional' pitchers reverse rotate their shoulders such that they point their pitching upper arm at the mid-infielder beyond second base, they have to return their pitching arm to their pitching side before they can throw the baseball toward home plate.   This excessive forward rotation of the pitching upper arm increases the centripetal force at the elbow that slings the pitching forearm outward.   This is 'forearm flyout.'

     To prevent 'forearm flyout,' pitchers should not reverse rotate their shoulders at all.   I recommend that they pendulum swing their pitching arm backward in a line short of second base.   When pitchers start their pitching arm forward from a position where the pitching upper arm points backwardly short of second base, the forward rotation of the pitching arm minimizes the centripetal force at the elbow and pitchers can add force with a powerful elbow extension and a powerful forearm pronation.   Therefore, straight line drive maximizes force application and prevents the olecranon process from slamming into the olecranon fossa.

     My first Instructional Videotape provides pictures for my book and will make what I wrote much easier to understand.   Later this summer, I will take more high-speed film and put together a second Instructional Videotape.   Those with my first video can purchase my second video for twenty-five percent.

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336.   I have looked over your information and am very impressed with your philosophy.   However, your free book (very much appreciated) is very detailed.   I noticed you mentioned $100 for the video and a 25% discount on upgrades.   Are you planning on a new video soon, and will it cover much of the topics as your first one?   Or, will it take that and expand?   What do you recommend?

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     First, I offer a 75% discount on upgrades, not 25%.

     In my first Instructional Videotape, I followed the outline of my Coaching Pitchers book very closely.   In my second Instructional Videotape, I will expand on what I have learned since the first video with better demonstrators.   Since what I have learned deals primarily with the pitching motion, in my second video, I focus on the pitching motion with detailed discussions and considerable high-speed film.   While I will point out where I now differ from parts of my first Instructional Videotape, I believe that they compliment each other.

     In future Instructional Videotapes, I will upgrade explanations of the pitching motion as my research shows the need.   I apologize that I do not know everything that I will eventually know about the pitching motion and how to train.   But, since I continue to research and learn, my only recourse is to get the new information to you as I learn it with the best demonstrations that my pitchers can provide.   I appreciate your patience.

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337.   I am a high school pitcher and was wondering if you could explain how you train pitchers with the wrist weights.   I could not find an explanation on your web site.   I would appreciate it.

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     In Chapter Thirty-Seven, I provide detailed explanations of how I want pitchers to perform my wrist weight, iron ball and baseball throwing drills.   If you have any questions, please email me.   I also have an Instructional Videotape that closely follows my Coaching Pitchers book and I plan to provide another Instructional Videotape this fall in which I provide my latest information with more high-speed film on my pitching motion.   If you have the first video, then you get the second video at seventy-five percent off.

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338.   My son plays many different sports and I do not teach him anything on throwing, (but was looking for advice).   I was just curious how hard other kids throw.   I have noticed that the trained eye can tell how hard someone throws w/o a radar (not me).   Anyhow, thanks for the reply.   I guess I'll look you up in 9 years.

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     Sorry that I do not have any definitive information on the average throwing velocities of seven, eight, nine and so on year old pitchers.   However, if he does throw as hard as you believe that he does, please protect his pitching arm against overuse that leads to premature growth plate closure and worse.   You will do him a great service and, during these growth years, you can teach him the motor skills that he needs to learn to throw my Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Torque Fastball.   I am also here to help you and your son during the next nine years.

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339.   I appreciate your thorough approach and your 75% discount.   When will your second video be available?

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     Earlier, I had promised that I would start in June.   However, to try to meet the needs of young men wanting to train with me, I purchased four more duplexes that require considerable repair and renovating.   That is what I am doing now. Also, my summer group of returning forty-week pitchers and I have made some interesting adjustments to our pitching motion and training drills that I want to evaluate through the summer.   Therefore, I expect to take more high-speed film in August.   If I am happy that this new film shows more closely how I recommend pitchers to apply force and train, I will start putting the materials together this September.   If things go as before, it will take me a couple of months before the video is ready.   I appreciate your patience.

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340.   I came across your website because I am very interested in being a pitcher.   However, I have not had any practice pitching and I am pretty much starting from scratch.   I never had the benefit of parents who put me actively in sports.   I'm 22 years old.   My major concern is that I'm just too old to be starting at the bottom and try to make something out of this.   Is this true in your opinion?   Also, I have no idea where to start with exercises for injury prevention or even how to throw a 2 seam fastball.   Where should I start?   I am willing to put in the dedication and training.   However I do not have allot of money to pay a pricey baseball camp.

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     With your limited resources, you should read my free Coaching Pitchers book and purchase my Instructional Videotape.   Then, you have to coach yourself. I will be happy to answer any questions that you have.

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341.   I do not want my son pitching more than 2 innings and no way will he throw curves or anything else until puberty has come in.   I used to throw with a lot of speed until I taught myself the split finger.   I had a glory filled season as an 11 or 12 year old but my arm was toast after that.   Another friend of mine had a wicked curve that started for your head and ended up a strike (at ten years old), but he was done be his freshman year.   Baseball is for fun.

     I guess I'll trust the radar guns at the cages to compare speeds.   He is the fastest throwing seven year old by far.   For what it is worth, top 8 YO's throw on avg 43-46.   Few select throw low 50's.   Few 10 yo's, 60 mph and few 12 YO's at 70's.   After that you'd know.

     How are your styles different from Dick Mills?


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     At seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve years old, I do not recommend that he pitches against hitters in competitive situations at all.   The reason for your and your friend's pitching demise was 'forearm flyout.'   'Forearm flyout' destroys pitching arms.   Supination destroys pitching arms.   Mr. Mills teaches 'forearm flyout' and 'supination.'   Dick Mills destroys pitching arms.   Ask his son.   My pitching motion teaches how to properly fight the flyout and pronate.

     If you and your son carefully follow my interval-training programs starting with my Eight Year Old Pitchers Interval-Training Program and my recommendations, then when he is thirteen years old, he can pitch one inning per game twice a week until he is sixteen.   After the growth plates in his pitching elbow mature, he can pitch twice through lineups once a week and one inning a second game in a week.   Then, at nineteen years old, when the growth plates in his pitching shoulder mature, he can train and throw every day for as long as he loves pitching.

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342.   Are there any parts of the first video, pitching motion, how to throw different pitches, etc., that will be invalidated with the second video?   Or, is it more of an issue of better demonstrations?   I am interested in getting the first video, but if anything has changed in your view regarding the pitching motion or anything else, since it was made how will I know?   Perhaps the adjustments you mentioned below for the pitching motion and drills are more fine tuning, rather than fundamental changes?

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     In theory, my second Instructional Videotape should only upgrade my first Instructional Videotape with my latest adjustments to my pitching motion and training program with better performers demonstrating those improvements.   However, I have the nagging notion that I could do the first Instructional Videotape better.   I would like to redo some scenes.   I would like to change some explanations of how to throw different pitches.

     On the other hand, I do not like to hide my mistakes.   And, I believe that it is redundant to repeat most of what I did that was right.   Therefore, while my first Instructional Videotape was not perfect, but it advanced our knowledge of baseball pitching.   Even with its few embarrassing moments, it stands on its own.   Therefore, I will use the second Instructional Videotape as an upgrade.   I will reemphasize and correct parts of the first, but I will not redo them.   And, to make sure that readers have both copies, I will find a way to include the first with the second.

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343.   My daughter is 8 yrs old.   I have been taking her to a coach for about 3 month, but it is very inconsistent.   I would like to take her to a camp.   Do you know of any?

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     While I love the sport and my daughters played it, the only information that I have is Dr. Charles Beach of Keene State College in Keene, NH.   He and I were graduate teaching assistants at Michigan State University together and I know that he knows what he is doing.   He has coached womens' softball for several years and does hold camps.

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344.   Thank you for the free book.   It is fascinating. I have used it to assist my 11 year-old and his control is quite good.

     Alas, the opposing coach at our game tonight was working over the umpires indicating my son was throwing an illegal pitch.   He alleged his foot was off of the rubber before he released the ball.   He maintains that when the ball is released from the hand, the foot must be in contact with the rubber.   My son is right-handed.   He rocks back and steps back with his left foot.   He then steps forward with the left foot and "walks" off of the rubber, pushing off with his right toes (more or less).   A reading of the rule book indicates to me that a pitcher may release the ball after his foot (in the windup) has left the rubber.   It seems like common sense to me, but man it caused quite a stir in the opponents dugout.

     My questions are these:   (1) May a right-hand pitcher legally release the ball after his right foot has left contact with the rubber?   (2) Isn't it quite normal to release the ball after the right foot has left the rubber?


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     The opposing coach is an idiot, not only for making a ridiculous rule interpretation, but for forgetting that he is there to help young men enjoy and learn baseball.

     No pitcher in the history of baseball has ever had his pitching foot on the pitching rubber when he released the baseball.   To do so would prevent any forward rotation of the hips, which would prevent any forward rotation of the shoulders, which would force pitchers to 'pull' their pitching arm even more and cause even more pitching arm injuries.

     Someone needs to tell this moron to become a friend to all players on all teams.   Otherwise, he needs get his jollies from something other than trying to fluster eleven year olds.

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345.   I have reviewed your teachings with my son's doctor and he concurs with your philosophy with one exception: he doesn't believe that pitching causes pre-mature "closing" of growth plates.

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     In Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book, I discuss two articles that Dr. Joel Adams wrote about injuries to the pitching arm, including pre-mature growth plate closure.   The articles that Dr. Adams wrote appear in volumes 102 and 105 of California Medicine in 1965 and 1966.   At the end of Chapter Nine, I list several references that discuss injuries to the pitching arm.

     If this information does not convince your doctor that other doctors and researchers believe that too much physical stress on growth plates alter their growth and development pattern, I refer him to: STRESS AND STRAIN IN BONES by Dr. F. G. Evans.   Dr. Evans reviews several research articles, including one by Dr. Gelbke, where he concluded that when growth plates receive chronic high levels of tension and pressure, the epiphysis will pre-maturely disappear.

     For his own edification, he could volunteer to take annual X-rays of the pitching and non-pitching arms of youth baseball pitchers and compare the rates at which the growth plates in their pitching and non-pitching elbows mature.

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346.   I saw the movie, "The Rookie."   I believe that I might be like him.   I am twenty-five years old and married with two children and I can throw hard.   I want to learn more about pitching.   My wife just paid twelve hundred dollars for me to have a weekend with Tom House and Nolan Ryan.   They promise to work with me in the bullpen.   What do you think?

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     After you kiss your wife for being so wonderful, get your money back.   This is an example of greed.   There is no way, even if they knew what they were talking about, that they can teach you anything in one weekend that will make a difference.   I feel the same about these college ripoffs where kids pay hundreds of dollars to train with coaches for one week.   I feel bad when I can only work with high school kids every day for eight weeks.   Only with my forty-week program do I feel that I have helped pitchers understand what they need to do to become the best pitcher they can be and what quality of pitcher that will be.

     If you cannot find a way to train with me for forty weeks, then read my Coaching Pitchers book and do my interval-training programs.   I am here to answer your questions as you proceed.

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347.   Can you please tell me if the video offered for sale on your site is current (that is, was it made recently).   I have heard that you are coming out with a new one.   If this is correct, I would appreciate hearing when you expect to release it.

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     I plan to start work on the upgrade of my first Instructional Videotape in September.   I hope to have it ready by December.   I know that I have to make certain that everybody has the information that is in my first video.   Although I do not like to hide the mistakes that I made in my first video, the advice I am receiving is to improve the first video and put it at the beginning and put the second video after.   In any case, those who purchase my first video will receive a seventy-five percent discount.

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348.   A couple of weeks ago I sent you an email detailing how a noted local Sports Medicine surgeon suggested caution in getting X rays because of his concern of excess radiation.   I took your advice and got some more advise on this issue.   I consulted a radiologist in Boston, a surgeon in Boston and am emergency room doctor in Georgia.   All said that they saw no problem getting the X-rays.

     I decided to have my sons elbows X-rayed today by the local Sports Medicine surgeon.   He charged me $180 which I thought was very high.   He told me he has never seen growth plates prematurely close.   When I told him about Dr Joel Adams study that you reference about the damage to arms of Little League pitchers he agreed, but went on to say that the prevailing thought is that some pitcher' bones are realigned to adjust to the stress of pitching.   I took him to mean some type of evolution is going on in some pitchers' arms.   I will be sending you the X-rays immediately and look forward to your analysis.

     A couple of thoughts:   If a radiologist is among your readers it would be nice to see an explanation of what's going on with an X-ray.   If people find ways to get X-rays inexpensively, it would be good to have a list of the people on your web site.   I'm sure many parents will balk at paying $180.   One doctor told me the pictures themselves cost a couple of dollars to produce.   Also, I am wondering what your qualifications are to read X-rays.   Do you look at X-rays often?


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     Thank you for confirming that X-rays are no longer the threat to health that they used to be.   That does not mean that we can have X-rays taken every week, but once a year exposes youngsters to minimal radiation.   Without comparing the growth plates of the non-pitching arm to the growth plates of the pitching arm, it is impossible to recognize pre-mature closure.   With regard to bones realigning, the trabeculae of the bones constantly change throughout life as we place different types and amounts of stress to them.

     I suggest that we shop around for the best price for X-rays.   Without the reading, we should receive the lowest price.   You will need to have a copy made of the X-rays to send to me.   Then, you should learn to read the X-rays yourself.   Go to my Instructional Videotape and freeze frame on the X-rays that I provided for the normal growth and development of the growth plates and ossification centers of the elbow.   You will see that reading X-rays for ossification center appearance and growth plate closure is no big deal.

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349.   My son is 15 yrs old.   For the last 2 yrs. he has had significant pain down the right shoulder blade near his spine with pitching.   It has made him unable to pitch.   He has had physical therapy and exercises last year, but it is back again this year.   Can you help us?   He has been a pretty good pitcher for 7 yrs now and he is very worried.

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     Pain between the Scapula bone and the vertebral column indicates that he has stressed either his Levator Scapulae, Rhomboid Major/Minor or Trapezius III or IV muscles.   If the discomfort is near the top of the vertebral border of the Scapula, then it is the Levator Scapulae.   The Levator Scapula lifts the Scapula upward.   If the discomfort is in the middle of the vertebral border of the Scapula, then it is either the Rhomboid Major or Minor muscles.   These muscles move the Scapula toward the vertebral column.   If the discomfort is at the bottom of the vertebral border of the Scapula, then it is either the Trapezius III of IV muscles.

     A portion of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle attaches to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone.   If he crosses his arms behind his back and moves his elbows forward, you should be able to palpate under the inferior angle of the Scapula for discomfort.

     All these muscles are decelerator muscles for the pitching motion.   They are all very strong and well-vascularized muscles.   At fifteen years old, the growth plates of your son's pitching elbow should have nearly matured.   Therefore, I recommend that he purchase ten pound ankle weights, strap them to his wrists and do my wrist weight exercises.   I designed my wrist weight exercises to train the decelerator muscles of the pitching motion.   He might also learn how to 'fight the flyout' and pronate his releases.

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350.   My 13-year old son has a deformed radial head in his right (throwing) elbow and has been told by doctors that he probably cannot pitch again.   He is so determined to pitch again, that he has now started to throw left handed.   Are there any exercises or drills he could do to help develop his strength in his left arm?

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     During the deceleration phase of the pitching motion, the growth plate for the head of the Radius bone rebounds backward and slams against the growth plate for the capitular end of the Humerus bone.   As a result, the head of the Radius bone deforms and enlarges.   At thirteen biological years old, the growth plate for the head of the Radius bone should still be open.   At thirteen biological years old, every growth plates in his pitching elbow should be wide open.

     I have interval-training programs for youngsters from eight years old through adult.   He should start with my eight year old program, reduce the days that the stays in each training cycle by one-half and train no more than sixty days each year.   We do not want to see him destroy his other arm as well.   If he starts now, he can do the eight and nine year old interval-training programs this year, the ten and eleven year old interval-training programs next year, the twelve and thirteen year old interval training programs the year after and catch up with his age group two years from now.

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351.   I am a third year physical therapy student at a northern university.   I am interested in sport specific athletic training and especially would like to learn more about pitching protocols for pitchers.   I have read your informative and generous free book which has provided a great start, but I was wondering if you ever have any type of internship opportunities?

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     I welcome anybody to visit my Pitchers Research/Training Center in Zephyrhills, FL at any time for any learning purpose.   If your academic advisor wanted to set up an internship opportunity, I would agree to monitor and evaluate you.   I always welcome free labor.

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352.   Are there any drills that prevent opening up my shoulder to soon and falling toward first base?

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     I call them my interval-training programs.   You should start with my program for eight year olds, reduce it to one-half the length and proceed for sixty days each year until you reach your age.   As is my complete Coaching Pitchers book, these programs are free on my web site.

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353.   If you look at a baseball when your holding a 4-seam fastball, the seams that you are holding your fingers across could either look like the letter "c", or a backwords "c".   So is it better to have a "c" or a backwords "c"?

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     When they are throwing my Maxline Fastball and Maxline True Screwball, I teach my kids to have the open end of the 'C' pointing toward the pitching arm side of home plate.   When they are throwing my Torque Fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach my kids to have the open end of the 'C' pointing toward the glove side of home plate.

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354.   I would just like to know how many pages is the free book you are offering online?

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     I write until I have explained what I need, then I stop.   I don't count the number of pages.

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355.   I am an orthopaedic surgeon.   I take care of numerous athletes at all ages.   Your work has really inspired me to dig into the literature and orthopaedic world’s experts.   I would like to propose a research study with you.   I live in a town with about 6-8 teams in each age group of male and females.   I have an x-ray machine and MRI in my office.   But first, a quick comment on an answer you gave to a question about an ACL injury.

     The ACL keeps the tibia from translating forward, not the femur during deceleration.   The PCL keeps the femur from translating anterior.   The ACL causes instability when the athlete pivots suddenly and causes a pivot shift-a giving away episode.

     Back to the purpose of this email.   I could start a study and offer free x-rays for all pitchers (male and female) and a control group of other non-pitchers.   We could bone-age the kids and see them for any problems with throwing arms.   I could even get MRI on the ones to evaluate soft tissues and growth plates when there is pain.

     We could analyze the players over a decade.   I have a physical therapist who could document exact range of motions (like loss of hyperextension of elbow) etc.   We could stratify the players into early maturers and late maturers by Tanner Staging and wrist bone age.

     With you, me, and a physical therapist we could finally publish a prospective longitudinal population study and confirm that too much throwing (not to mention wrong form) leads to problems.   We could then try to convince the Little League associations that they are damaging arms with current rules.


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     I greatly appreciate you keeping my facts straight.   I understand the attachment locations of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.   When a collegiate pitcher pushed forward against the ground with his glove foot, he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.   I thought that this action stressed his anterior cruciate ligament to stop the forward movement of his body through his anterior cruciate.   But, am I correct in that you say that he ruptured his ACL because of a pivoting action rather than a deceleration action?   I defer to your explanation.   Thank you.   In any case, I recommend that pitchers move their center of mass ahead of their glove foot.   I believe that, while increasing the length of the driveline, my recommendation minimizes the danger.

     I am all for any research study of youth baseball pitchers.   The difficulty lies in control and experimental groups and quantifying the participation data.   You will need to determine what pitching motion they used and precisely how much they pitched.   It would be nice if one group used the 'traditional' pitching motion and followed typical pitch count recommendations and the other group used my pitching motion and followed my recommendations, then we could clearly compare.   But, that is not going to happen.   That leaves us with a research study that defines what happened over that time period.   While that is valuable information, it does not offer a solution.

     However, you could also create a quantifiable method with which to compare the growth and development rates and patterns of the ossification centers and growth plates of the pitching elbow with the non-pitching elbow.   Then, you can group the pitchers by the amount of pitching stress that they placed on these structures, you should be able to make a statement about how much pitching at what biological ages caused premature closure, radial head deformation, medial epicondyle avulsion and so on.

     When you say that you could bone-age the participants, what do you mean?   Are you planning to use the Greulich-Pyle atlas of hand-wrist X-rays?   We could assess their biological ages with my elbow maturation X-rays that show at what ages the ossification centers for the olecranon process and lateral epicondyle appear and at what ages the growth plates for the lateral epicondyle, olecranon process and medial epicondyle mature.   I like the idea of parents looking at the elbow X-rays of the pitching and non-pitching elbows of their youth pitchers.   I believe that it helps them to understand that they are not 'little adults.'

     To determine whether the ages of my elbow maturation X-rays are correct, we could also use the Tanner material to ascertain the biological ages of the male participants.   I based my checklist for my Sexual Maturation Indicator Value regression equation on Tanner's material.   My SMIV regression equation and my Estimate of Skeletal Age regression equation accounts for eighty-two percent of the biological variability between adolescent males.   If you decide to have this study within the study, I recommend that you use Tanner's pictures for his five stages and my checklist.   You will also have to determine their chronological ages in months, their height in inches and weight in pounds.

     I wish that we could find orthopaedic surgeons across the nation to replicate and improve upon the research that Dr. Joel Adams conducted in the 1960's.   Because we have not, our youth pitchers have suffered forty more years of pain and destruction to their pitching arms.   I applaud you.

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356.   How long should the stride be towards home plate?

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     The forward step of the glove foot should be whatever distance pitchers can step forward and still move their center of mass ahead of their glove foot without lowering their head.

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357.   I have been working with a young lady who is a fast-pitch catcher at a local high school.   She will be a senior next year and shows a good deal of talent as a catcher.   She has in the past complained of some minor pain in her upper top forearm.   She has never complained of any pain or soreness in her elbow.   Sometimes when throwing she tends to push the ball instead of the normal throwing motion.   I have changed her style of throwing from the traditional catcher technique to the forearm back and horizontal, then forward with the arm up at 90 degrees.   It seems to take the throw a little longer to reach her target, but she says it does feel much better.

     We have worked on her hop step and ball transfer to try to quicken her movement to compensate for the lost time in throwing.   Are we correct in trying this new approach or can you offer any good advice?


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     The crow-step start to her throwing motion should permit her to get her throwing arm nearly up to driveline height before she starts bringing her throwing elbow forward.   This will stop allot of problems.   Once she gets her throwing arm up to driveline height, do not permit her to point her throwing upper arm beyond parallel to her driveline to second base.   Too much reverse rotation will create too much horizontal centripetal force in her throwing upper arm and cause her throwing elbow to 'flyout.'   She should have her throwing forearm forty-five degrees behind vertical as seen from the side view and vertical as seen from the front/rear views.

     From this 'ready' position, she can start the acceleration phase of her throwing motion.   First, I want her to powerfully push off her throwing foot and move her center of mass straight toward second base ahead of her glove foot.   Second, I want her to pull the glove forearm that she had pointed at second base horizontally straight backward.   This will help her forwardly rotate her shoulders.   Third, after she has her body moving forward, I want her to try to drive her throwing forearm horizontally inside of vertical with a powerful forearm pronation with her forearm laying on top of her upper arm such that the softball passes very close to her ear.   This will help her fight the 'flyout' that destroys the throwing arm and decreases release consistency.   Again, after she has moved her center of mass ahead of her glove foot, I want her to powerfully pronate her forearm.   This means that she should turn her throwing thumb to point downward immediately after she releases her throw.   This forearm pronation will protect her elbow and generate additional throwing velocity.

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358.   I came across a product that are similar to medicine balls that are the size of softballs and come in weights of 2,3,4,5,6,8,10 and 12#.   These may meet your criteria to use in place of the iron shot.   Thought it was worth mentioning to you.   And yes, I am anxiously awaiting your new video.

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     Thank you.   While I am satisfied with the heavy balls that we use, I would certainly take a look at these.   Can you give me information on where I might find them?   I appreciate your patience on my next Instructional Videotape.   I will make your wait worthwhile.

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359.   First, I would like to hear what you think about this delivery.

1.   Starting from the stretch with the glove at waist level, the pitcher, raises his pitching arm leg parallel to the ground. As the leg rises, so hands raise, still together, raise to the chest.   Note: The palms are pointing downward.

2.   The pitching leg begins to move downward and toward home plate.   The glove hand pushes the throwing hand down and back.   The glove arm then has its elbow move up to level with the shoulder.   When pushed back, the throwing arm elbow swings back as far as possible and the forearm goes vertical to the ground.   The throwing hand points in-between home plate and 3rd base.   During this phase the pitcher is basically driving his glove leg forward and the elbows are spreading apart.   When the pitching hand is pushed down and back, the arm swings back, causing the pitching elbow to swing above the shoulder.   After this, the pitching elbow is not below the shoulder until after release.

3.   The pitching arm then drives forward and the ball is released as soon as the glove leg touched the ground, changing weight from the pitching leg to the glove leg.   The glove arm pulls back toward the body.   This helps the glove shoulder to go towards second base so that the shoulders are now about 180 degrees from their starting point.   That was not easy to explain, so I hope you understand.   The pitching arm is 90 degrees through follow through, and because of the palms facing downward in the beginning, the fingers stay on top of the ball and pronate.

     Do you think this way of pitching is safe?   This is what I've come up with in the past week, and my 2 seam fastball some how sinks about 3 feet going approximately 70 miles an hour.   However, I have felt a little pain in my elbow.   I have a feeling it is from trying to imitate Kevin Brown and throwing about 200 pitches the day before.   I'm going to throw again in a week and see if my new delivery still causes pain.

     My second question is about the elbow pain.   After pitching, my hand will almost feel like it's shaking and I don't have as much control over it.   This lasts for about 20 minutes.

     My third question is about pitching strategy.   I know you don't like the changeup, but on 0-2, why don't pitchers throw a changeup really, really high out of the zone, then throw a fastball really low, then throw a curveball so that its peak is as high as the changeup, but then it breaks back down into the zone?   I would think that batters would see changeups high, then a middle of the plate curve would screw them up. Or what about the other way? Why don't pitchers throw a curve near the zone with its peak really high, then come back with a changeup where the peak of the curveball was?


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     You asked me what I thought about the pitching motion that you described.   My answer, not much.   You make the same first mistake that the 'traditional' pitching motion makes, that is, you lift your glove foot off the ground before you start your pitching arm backward.   This dooms you to place unnecessary stress on your pitching arm when it tries to catch up with your forward moving body.

     I am sorry, but the remainder of your description is incomprehensible.   What does, "The throwing hand points in-between home plate and 3rd base." mean?   What does, "This helps the glove shoulder to go towards second base so that the shoulders are now about 180 degrees from their starting point." mean?   One hundred and eighty degrees from what starting point?   What does, "The pitching arm is 90 degrees through follow through, and because of the palms facing downward in the beginning, the fingers stay on top of the ball and pronate." mean?   Are you saying that pitchers can keep the elbow of their pitching arm bent at ninety degrees throughout the pitching motion?   Well, they cannot.   "Fingers stay on top of the ball" causes pitchers to have late forearm turnover, which results in forearm flyout.   At least you got the forearm pronation right.

     I am not certain why you would ask me to affirm what you think the pitching motion should be.   I have what I think the pitching motion should be written in Chapter Thirty-Six of my Coaching Pitchers book.   I gave you the courtesy and time to read what you wrote, please return the favor.   I also wrote an entire section of my book on pitching sequencing.   Please read Chapters Twenty-Three through Twenty-Eight.

     You throw seventy miles per hour.   How old are you? If you are not biologically sixteen years old, then you have open growth plates in your pitching elbow.   If you have open growth plates, even if you threw with my pitching motion, throwing two hundred pitches in one day would destroy your pitching arm.   If you throw anything like Mr. Brown, even if all your growth plates had matured, you will destroy your pitching arm.   What type of stupid are you trying to be?   I watched a few minutes of Dr. Phil's television program and stole this line.

     The elbow pain you are experiencing tells you that you are destroying your pitching arm.   Stop using the pitching motion that you describe, start learning my pitching motion from the eight year old pitchers program on up and have the patience to permit the growth plates in your pitching arm to develop without unnecessary stress.

     Lastly, I would never advise pitchers to intentionally throw any pitch outside of the strike zone.   A change-up is a ten mile per hour slower fastball.   If hitters correctly anticipate it, they will hit it hard.   I prefer to teach pitches that, even when hitters correctly anticipate them, they have difficulty hitting them.

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360.   I play little league and am a hard throwing pitcher.   But, once I start playing on the " big field" ( regulation size), will my velocity drop a lot?

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     No, your velocity will not drop as a result of moving to the big field.   Your velocity will drop as a result of pitching too much with the 'traditional' pitching motion.   You have open growth plates that pitching from the 'traditional' pitching motion's set and windup positions will destroy.

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361.   I know that the wind-up where you put the hands over the head brings your weight forward and increases arm speed, but I also know that you need to have balance and over the head hinders balance.   Is there any other movement I can do at the beginning of the wind-up that brings my weight forward and increases arm speed while still providing balance?

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     The windup does not add velocity.   However, by pointing your pitching foot toward home plate does limit the reverse rotation of your hips and shoulders and that does add velocity.   You can raise both arms over your head without losing balance.   The key to the wind-up is to hesitate your body when you move your glove foot ahead of the pitching rubber to permit your pitching arm to almost reach driveline height. I request that you read my Coaching Pitchers book, at least Chapter Thirty-Six.

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362.   I am often wild high.   How do I correct this?

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     'Traditional' pitching motion pitchers throw high because they apply force in a combination of horizontal and vertical arcs.   As a result, when they tire, their pitches go high.   In my pitching motion, pitchers apply force in a straight line.   As a result, when they tire, their pitches continue to go in a straight line.   You correct it by learning how to apply force in straight lines.   My Coaching Pitchers book has the details.

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363.   Can I get both your old and new videos?   Have you thought about adding a glossary to your book?   Your stuff is tremendous.   However, it makes us old guys feel somewhat guilty for much of the misinformation we have been dispensing.

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     As long as everybody understands that I will not start on my second videotape until September, I have started taking orders for it.   I agree that my Coaching Pitchers book needs a glossary.   It also needs an editor.   It needs pictures for the applied anatomy section.   I have hopes that someone has come along that will help me with these things.   I look forward to your questions.

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364.   You suggest pitchers use the crow-hop rhythm.   What exactly is the crow-hop rhythm?

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     To get their throwing arm into proper position from which to throw the baseball, when infielders and outfielders catch the baseball, they take a forward hop with their throwing foot.   This throwing leg action delays the forward movement of their body until their throwing arm almost reaches driveline height.   As a result, they do not have to 'rush' their throwing arm to try to catch up with their body.

     For some reason unknown to me, as their first movement, 'traditional' pitching coaches teach pitchers to raise their glove foot.   As a result, their pitchers have to 'rush' their pitching arms to try to catch up with their body.   This action unnecessarily stresses the front of the pitching shoulder and inside of their elbow.   In addition, their pitchers cannot separate the force applications of their pitching upper arm and their pitching forearm, which prevents them from 'finishing' their pitches, achieving their maximum release velocity and remaining inconsistent with their release points.   Lastly, they injure their pitching arm.

     As you know because you are now ready my Coaching Pitchers book, I recommend that pitchers start their pitching motion with a crow-step.   I prefer to keep the movement more gentle and controlled than the crow-hop that position players use.   Nevertheless, the 'crow-step' pitching rhythm permits pitchers to drive behind their pitching arms without injury.

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365.   Why do you say that kids should not pitch competitively or pitch more than one inning until they are thirteen?   I am eleven year old and I and pitch three innings per game.

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     The answer to this question is in Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book.   You have open growth plates that will prematurely close or worse if you continue to apply too much stress from pitching to them for too long a time period each year.   While no one knows precisely how many innings or pitches will destroy the pitching arms of each youth pitchers, we do know that, under the present guidelines, almost all youth pitchers are deforming their pitching arms to some extent.   I prefer that all youth pitchers learn the skills of pitching and arrive at sixteen years old with the proper growth and development of the pitching arm.   When you pitch competitively extensively before your junior year in high school, you have little to gain, but much to lose.

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366.   Kristie Paterson of American Council on Exercise, 1-800-546-7470, kristiep@acefitness.org, http://www.acefitness.org/.   A friend sent me a copy of the following press release.

SAN DIEGO, July 7, 2003

     American Council on Exercise Warns Youth Athletes and Parents of Baseball Related Overuse Injuries

     With the Little League World Series quickly approaching, (August 15-24, Williamsport, Pennsylvania), youth athletes and parents should be aware of the risks involved in repeated overhand throwing, especially pitching.   It has been estimated that as many as 40% of all youth league pitchers may experience some type of arm injury during a typical season.   The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's nonprofit fitness advocate, suggests preventive measures that can be taken to protect the arms of young players.

     Repeated overhand throwing, especially pitching, in athletes with still developing musculoskeletal systems can produce a variety of injuries.   Even when perfect technique is used, the overhand throwing motion places an undue level of stress on the arm.   Most throwing-related injuries in youth baseball involve the shoulder, upper arm, or elbow and typically involve the growth plate cartilage or the connective tissue elements (i.e., the tendons and ligaments).

     "Several factors contribute to the ability of young players to pitch relatively safely," said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for ACE.   "Arguably the most significant factors are proper pitching mechanics, adequate physical conditioning and appropriate progression with regards to the amount of throwing permitted during the season."

     A proper physical conditioning program combined with suitable mechanics generally helps prevent injuries associated with overhand throwing.   All other factors being equal, a conditioning program (both pre-season and during the season) that includes general fitness activities (e.g., running, calisthenics, and stretching) and specific strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff complex, the shoulder-stabilizing muscles, and the muscles of the arm and forearm will help reduce the risk of throwing injuries in young pitchers.

     Above all, safety is the most important aspect for young baseball participants.   Parents must take responsibility for their children's welfare and be informed of possible injuries, warning signs, and preventive measures.


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     Dr. Cedric Bryant says that, with the proper pitching mechanics, adequate physical conditioning and careful monitoring the amount of throwing, youth pitchers can safely competitively pitch.   Unfortunately, he fails to tell anybody where to find the proper pitching mechanics, he fails to describe the adequate physical conditioning and he fails to tell parents precisely how many throws their sons can make before they destroy their pitching arms.

     I trust that Dr. Bryant understands the growth and development of the growth plates in the pitching elbow.   If not, he can read Chapters Four through Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.   What he will learn is that there is no adequate conditioning program for youth pitchers.   Growth plates do not get stronger with conditioning.

     There is also no research study that defines precisely how many times each year every youth pitcher can apply the stress of pitching baseballs to their pitching arms before their growth plates prematurely close or worse.   The work of Dr. Joel Adams in California Medicine 1964-5 shows that ninety-five percent of youth pitchers suffer some pitching arm deformation.

     For myself, until the growth plate for their medial epicondyle completely matures, I recommend that youth pitchers not train to pitch and pitch for more than sixty days per years, do not pitch competitively until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning twice a week.   If we are going to stop destroying the finest pitching arms of each generation, we have to stop making it sound like there are answers to the problem when we do not have them.

     I am solving the problem of the proper pitching motion.   It is not the 'traditional' pitching motion that has destroyed hundreds of thousand of youth and adult pitching arms over the past one hundred and thirty years of baseball.   I have interval-training programs for youth pitchers.   However, rather than physically train the pitching arm, they teach the skills of pitching without unnecessary or lengthened periods of stress.

     I have battled this epidemic for nearly forty years.   If the good doctor wants to learn more, he should read my Coaching Pitchers book that is free on my web site.

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367.   Thanks for writing.   This press release has been released to draw attention to this very important topic.   Obviously, this topic is one that you feel very passionate about.   Dr. Cedric Bryant has written a full article on the topic in our July/August 2003 issue of ACE Fitness Matters.   If you are interested, I would you be happy to fax a copy to you.

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     Thank you for your quick response.   My concern with Dr. Bryant's comments is that they imply solutions that are not available.   Youth pitchers cannot tolerate excessive competitive pitching even with my minimal stress/maximum result pitching motion.   When chronological twelve year olds vary between being biologically ten to fourteen years old, pitch counts become irrelevant.   Dr. Bryant needs to educate himself more thoroughly.

     I will gladly ready his full article and give my opinions.   As fellow warriors against this dreaded attack on the youth pitchers of each generation, I welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter.

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368.   This summer two of our pitchers are recovering from minor shoulder problems.   They have been really helped by getting to your ready position and by getting one hundred and eighty degrees of forward acromial rotation.   They are throwing with a lot less effort and have little or no post exercise soreness.   We are working on achieving a more efficient driveline.

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     The keys to minimizing unnecessary stress to the pitching arm are:

1.   The crow-step pitching rhythm that enables pitchers to get the pitching arm almost to driveline height before they start their body forward.

2.   Vertically downward pendulum swinging the entire pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height such that the longitudinal axis of the pitching upper arm points short of second base while continually supinating the pitching forearm and hand from the moment that it leaves the glove until it arrives at driveline height (slightly above the pitching ear).

3.   Comfortably stepping forward to the glove-side of the driveline for the pitching foot such that pitchers can powerfully push off the pitching rubber and move their center of mass straight forward ahead of the glove foot.
4.   Waiting until the body starts forward to smoothly move the pitching forearm into its maximally flexed elbow and supinated forearm position from where pitchers can successfully fight the 'flyout' that the centripetal force of the forward rotation of the pitching upper arm generates.

5.   Powerful forearm pronation from this 'slingshot' position straight toward home plate.

     I have a one thousand dollar reward for the first pitcher that shows on high-speed film that he can separate the longitudinal axis of the pitching forearm from the longitudinal axis of the pitching upper arm by sixty degrees or more.   The greater the degrees of separation, the greater the force application for higher release velocity and lesser the unnecessary stress that they place on their pitching arm.

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369.   Last season, you sent me an email telling me that, instead of pitch counts, high school pitchers should only go through the lineup twice in a game.   What advice would you have for a parent or coach at the Little League level as far as per pitches in a game or innings pitched?   I've been asked to get involved in our Little League program and I feel that kids pitching at the nine and ten year old level and eleven and twelve year old level need to be addressed.   I've seen too many kids throw too many pitches in an inning, let alone a game.

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     Until the growth plate for the medial epicondyle completely matures, my recommendation is and has been for over thirty years that youth pitchers train to pitch from the set position and wind-up for two months per year and, after they become biologically thirteen years old, pitch one inning per game twice a week.   Therefore, I would not permit biological nine through twelve year old pitchers to pitch in games at all.   They can practice their pitching skills such that when the growth plates of their pitching elbow can safely withstand the stress of competitive intensity, they will be able to do more than simply throw as hard as they can.   You can find my interval-training programs for biological eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen through fifteen, high school and adult pitchers on my web site under Interval-Training Programs.

     All pitchers of whatever age need to start with my eight year old program and advance through the ages.   To catch up with their age, they can shorten my sixty day programs to thirty days and complete two ages in one year.

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370.   I just found and read your info on the net.   Thank you for having the integrity to provide free this great arm saving information.   I'm the father of a 15 yr old pitcher who is 6' tall 200 lbs, so I'm 99 and 9\10 % sure he's at least a 16 biological.   He's had no arm trouble and I want to help him stay healthy.   He is pitching in a summer league now, so a total motion change is not feasible at this time.   What aspect of the traditional pitching motion is MOST harmful and could be tweaked for right now?   During the off season, we will make a total change.   Also, what explains why the pitchers who use the old motion for years remain healthy?   Also, would your wrist weight, iron ball training program protect a traditional motion pitcher?

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     In determining his biological age, more important than his height and weight is when he completed his facial hair and armpit hair development.   If he has needed to shave for the past year or so, he could be an accelerated maturer.   Even if he is not, at fifteen years old, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle in his pitching arm is probably mature and he is biologically ready for my High School Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     However, to learn how to properly release his pitches, he should start with my eight year old pitchers interval-training program, reduce the sixty day program to thirty days and proceed through my nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen through fifteen year old pitchers interval-training programs first.

     It is not possible to pick and choose which flaws in the 'traditional' pitching motion to correct and which flaws to leave.   My pitching motion requires full commitment to correcting all flaws.

     When we consider deformations of the skeletal system, pain that persists after pitching for several days and the inability to apply their maximum force to all pitches, no 'traditional' pitcher remains healthy.   My pitchers pitch every day without any discomfort during when they pitch, immediately after they pitch and the next day.   They remain healthy.

     The 'traditional' pitching motion is so out of sync with the proper flow of inertia that if 'traditional' pitchers tried to use my wrist weights and iron balls with their motion, they would severely unnecessarily stress their pitching arms such that I do not want to think of the consequences.   My pitchers take their twenty-five pound wrist weights and complete my entire set position transition pitching motion with ease.   When they try to do the 'traditional' set position transition pitching motion, they cannot even get their pitching arm up to driveline height without serious discomfort.   The 'traditional' pitching rhythm does not permit the easy flow of the inertial mass.   That demonstration alone should show pitchers that they need to reject the 'traditional' pitching motion.

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371.   My son will be having his 14th birthday next month and I am getting ready to take him in for X-rays as a part of you research study.   Before doing that, I have a couple of logistical questions.

     Do we need to have copies of the X-rays made before we send them to you so you can keep them, or if we enclose a postage paid envelope, are you planning to mail the X-rays back to us?

     Also, I am the one that sent you question #399 in your 2001 Q&A.   The doctor has said my son's elbow is completely healed and he has been throwing pain free for over a year now, but I still have not allowed him to return to pitching.   Would you also be interested in looking at the initial X-rays of his injury from 2 years ago?


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     To conduct a longitudinal research study, I need to keep copies of the X-rays for each year.   I would definitely like to see the X-rays of his injury.   In addition to the X-rays, I need additional information.

1.   Complete name.
2.   Date of birth.
3.   Right or left-handed pitcher.
4.   Amount of pitching in the past year.
5.   Email address

     I hope that the throwing that he is doing is my eight year old pitchers interval-training program.   Before he even thinks about competitive pitching, I want him to learn how to properly use his pitching arm to release my four basic pitches.   Until he catches up with his age group, he should reduce the sixty day programs to thirty days.   Until he starts my set position transition throws, he can train for more than sixty total days in one year.   However, after he starts my set position transition throws, he should not train for more than sixty days each year until the growth plate for the medial epicondyle in his pitching elbow completely matures.

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372.   I really agree with the type of separation that keeps you over the rubber and gets you close to driveline height before the body starts forward.

     Hard for me to visualize a pendulum swing that supinates the pitching forearm and hand and arrives at the ear in a pronated position.   Someone in your Q & A referred to this position as the "head pat" position.   It seems like Roger Clemens gets to that position before he starts his upper body rotation.   What am I missing here?

     I have never really focused on pronation after or before release, except on the change, because I have always viewed it as a natural process of the arm decelerating itself.   However I can see the value of your emphasis in order to stay away from that "lockout" process that will occur with natural pronation if you don't pronate the elbow and shoulder enough to pop the elbow up.

     When you go from rotation to linear there has got to be some centripetal force leading to "forearm flyout".   I know that it needs to be minimized to stay healthy and to more efficiently direct energy to the target.   I think that your money is safe for the time being.   What angle can you live with for the time being?   Is the 60 degree angle between upper arm and forearm anatomically and biomechanically realistic?


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     The 'crow-step' pitching rhythm is essential for pitchers to get their pitching arm nearly to driveline height before they start the pitching elbow forward.

     I wish that I had never used the 'head pat' idea.   I was wrong.   I probably should delete those comments, but I cannot hide my mistakes.   If we do not make mistakes, then we are not trying.   My mistakes teach me.

     We must never compare what I recommend pitchers do with what well-known pitchers do.   The laws of Physics and the realities of human anatomy tell us the best way to apply force for all human movements.   Besides, I would need high-speed film of Mr. Clemens to know what he does in his pitching motion.

     The pendulum swing permits pitchers to move their pitching arm out of their glove to driveline height with the pitching upper arm pointing short of second base without generating any unnecessary reverse centripetal force while permitting the pitching forearm to smoothly move into the maximal forearm supination position from which to powerfully pronate over the greatest distance.

     I recommend that pitchers stand with their feet turned at least thirty degrees toward home plate from the pitching rubber.   I want their hips and shoulders perpendicular to their feet.   This means that their hips and shoulders are turned one hundred and twenty degrees from the pitching rubber.   In layman's language, I want pitchers to stand in their set position with their hips and shoulders 'open.'   Then, without any reverse rotation of their hips or shoulders, I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm parallel with their acromial line downward, backward and upward to driveline height.   If pitchers precisely follow this instruction, then, in theory, they should point the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm thirty degrees short of second base.   However, I am happy when they do not point the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm past second base.

     When pitchers take the baseball out of their glove, I recommend that they have the palm of their pitching hand facing toward their body.   They must never have their fingers on top of the baseball!   Then, while they pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward with their elbow very slightly flexed and pitching forearm pointing downward when it passes beside their body, I recommend that pitchers slowly and continuously supinate their pitching forearm such that the palm of the pitching hand faces outward for my Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Fastball and inward for my Maxline Pronation Curve and Torque Fastball.   Supination means that the Radius bone rotates away from the Ulna bone.

     With regard to the degrees of separation of the longitudinal axis of the pitching upper arm and the pitching forearm, my pitchers show twenty-five to forty-five degrees.   I have yet to see a 'traditional' pitcher capable of any separation.   Theoretically, I would like ninety degrees where pitchers would not have to tilt their shoulders to their glove side at all.   However, at this time, I am challenging my pitchers to achieve sixty degrees of separation, which will require them to tilt their shoulders only thirty degrees to their glove side.   Remember, to throw horizontal spin axes curves and screwballs, the pitching forearm must be vertical at release.

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373.   I've been trying to teach my nine and one-half year old the basics of your pitching motion.   He has been trying to pronate his forearm after release, but he will not stand facing home plate when he pitches because he doesn't want to look different.   Will the pronation help, hurt, or no benefit when using a conventional delivery?

     After release, I'm trying with the pronation to get his elbow to pop up and not to bring his arm across his body during deceleration.   He is RHP and has mostly pitched from the maxline side.   Which side is best for RH batters, LH batters or should one be pitch RH batters from one side of the rubber and LH batters from the other side?   I know the "look different" seems trivial but it is a huge issue with my son.


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     Whether pitchers pronate or not, the 'traditional' pitching motion will destroy their pitching arms.   The 'balance position' and the extreme reverse shoulder rotation makes certain of that.   At nine and one-half years old, to whom does your son not want to look different.   He should not be pitching where anybody else will see him.   He should not pitch in games until he is thirteen years old.   My eight and nine year old pitcher interval-training programs does not have pitchers throwing from either the set or windup positions.

     Chapter Twenty-Eight contains my recommendations of the pitch sequences that I recommend that Youth, High School, College and Professional Pitchers use.   I do not have pitch sequences for nine and one-half year old pitchers.

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374.   You said that kids shouldn't pitch more than one inning in each game and shouldn't pitch competitively until they reach the age of thirteen.   So does that mean I should quit in-town and traveling baseball until I am thirteen?

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     Until they are biologically thirteen years old, I recommend that youth pitchers do not pitch competitively and then, they should not pitch more than one inning twice a week.   Therefore, until you are biologically thirteen years old, it is my recommendation that you do not pitch for either the in-town or traveling baseball teams.   I also recommend that, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures at sixteen biological year old, youth pitchers do not train for pitching and/or pitch for more than sixty days per year.   I would add that I recommend that, before they pitch in games, pitchers successfully complete my eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen through fifteen pitchers interval-training programs.

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375.   Can you direct me to an anatomy book that shows the growth plates and ligaments of the pitching shoulder and elbow?

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     In my Instructional Videotape, I have X-rays of the adolescent elbow that should help.   You are correct in that none of my anatomy textbooks show growth plates.   I have learned what I know about them from reading X-rays.   Greulich and Pyle have published an atlas for the growth and development of the hand and wrist and another for the knee, but my Instructional Videotape is the on place of which I am aware that shows X-rays of the growth and development of the ossification centers and growth plates of the pitching arm.

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376.   I am going to be a junior in high school.   I was wondering if I could have any information on your High School camps, such as price, dates and so on.   I would be interested in coming to your camp next summer.

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     At this time, the best I can tell you is that if I decide to work with high school pitchers again next summer, then I will start my eight-week session on the second Saturday of June and end on the second Saturday of August.   For those fifty-six days, I will charge ten dollars per day for coaching and ten dollars a day for housing.   Included in the housing cost will be unlimited local and long distance calling for the United States and Canada.   To reserve a space, I will accept a two hundred dollar ($200.00) deposit.   Obviously, if I decide not to or am not able to offer this opportunity, I will refund the deposit.   I appreciate your interest.

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377.   Are there any current major league pitchers that use your delivery?   If not, which current pitchers most closely resemble the delivery that you teach.   I know you have written on your web site that your delivery is a complete system and that it's components are not to be taken a la carte' like items on a menu, but I'm curious as to which major league pitchers you consider as having the best deliveries?

     I have just started pitching again in an Over-30 baseball league after a six year lay-off.   I have been studying your delivery for the last several months now and I must say that your methods are the best available for preserving a pitchers arm.   Keep in mind that I have only been reading information off of your web site and have not yet seen your videos (I will be ordering shortly), but so far I have gotten excellent results.   I'm currently on pace to lead the league in innings pitched.   The rest of us old farts in my league can't figure out how I do it.


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     If I could take high-speed film of the pitching arm action of all major league pitchers from when their pitching elbow starts forward through the end of the deceleration phase, I doubt that I would find any with more than ten degrees of separation of the longitudinal axis of their pitching forearm from the longitudinal axis of their pitching upper arm.   My pitchers have considerably greater separation.   I am challenging them to have sixty degrees of separation.   Since this is the critical measure of my pitching motion and no present major league pitchers achieve it, I could not recommend any.

     The key to my pitching motion is the crow-step start.   My pitchers do not lift their glove foot first.   Instead, they make certain to get their pitching arm nearly up to driveline height before they lift their glove foot slightly off the ground.   In this way, they can drive their pitching shoulder behind their pitching arm while they 'fight the flyout and pronate.'

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378.   I enjoyed our brief conversation and your great insights regarding the safety of young pitchers.   The attached the article that I wrote.   I look forward to hearing from and working with you.

                            Keeping Youth Baseball Pitchers Safe

   Baseball is one of the most popular youth sports in the United States, with nearly nine million kids ages six to seventeen participating each year.   Unfortunately, it is not without risk.   Repeated overhand throwing, especially pitching, in athletics with still-developing musculoskeletal systems can produce a variety of injuries.   Most throwing-related injuries in youth baseball involve the shoulder, upper arm or elbow and typically involve the growth plate cartilage or the connective tissue elements (i.e., the tendons and ligaments.)

     Given the risk associated with overhand throwing, it is important that coaches and parents understand the basic anatomy of a youth elbow injury, how much throwing is too much, at what age it is safe to start throwing breaking pitches (e.g., curveballs, sliders, screwballs), and what preventive measures can be taken to protect the arms of young players.

UNDERSTANDING THE ANATOMY OF A YOUTH ARM INJURY

     Even when perfect technique is used, the overhand throwing motion places an undue level of stress on the arm, especially the shoulder and elbow.   Research suggests that pitchers are particularly vulnerable due to the repetitive nature of pitching and the recurring microtrauma that occurs to the tendons, ligaments and bones.

     In young players (with immature musculoskeletal structures), when the demands of pitching exceed the arm’s capability to withstand the stress, the resultant injury can be as severe as a portion of bone becoming dislodged.   Although such damage can be rehabilitated and repaired, the pitching arm will never be quite the same.   Any arm pain in a young athlete, even if it is deemed ‘minor,’ should not be dismissed or minimized because it could be an early warning symptom of cartilage damage.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

     Organized youth baseball leagues have wrestled with the question of what is the safe upper limit for the number of pitches a young player should be allowed to throw.   Consequently, most youth baseball leagues (e.g., Little League, Pony, Dixie Youth) impose restrictions on the number of innings a child is permitted to pitch and require mandatory rest periods between pitching appearances.   Many medical experts believe that pitching restrictions should be based upon the number of pitches thrown per outing rather than the number of innings pitched.   In an attempt to more objectively determine appropriate recommendations regarding pitching limits, the USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee commissioned the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) to study youth arm injuries and the factors that contribute to injury.   The study, conducted under the direction of renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, consisted of a survey of nationally recognized medical and baseball experts and a six-year field study of youth pitchers.   Key findings of ASMI’s research included the following.

1.   Approximately fifty percent of pitchers experienced shoulder or elbow pain at some point during the season.

2.   Improper technique appeared to be a major contributing factor to injury potential.

3.   The number of pitches throw was more important than the number of innings pitched (see Table 1 for recommendations regarding the maximum number of pitches that should be thrown per game.)   An increase in the number of pitches thrown per outing and per season resulted in an increased risk of shoulder and elbow pain.
Table 1: Recommended Maximum Number of Pitches Thrown Per Game ----------------------------------------------------------------------- | Age | Average Maximum Number of Pitches Per Game | ----------------------------------------------------------------------- | 08-10 | 052 | | 11-12 | 068 | | 13-14 | 076 | | 15-16 | 091 | | 17-18 | 106 | -----------------------------------------------------------------------
4.   The risk of injury was higher for pitchers who threw breaking pitches.

WHAT ABOUT CURVEBALLS?

     Does throwing curveballs other types of breaking pitches damage developing arms?   This has been a somewhat controversial issue with some coaches and trainers contending that a properly thrown curveball is no more damaging to young arms than a properly thrown fastball.   While this my be correct in theory, the reality is that most young pitchers radically alter their pitching mechanics when throwing a curveball.   Many drop their arm sideways in an effort to impart spin on the ball so it curves sideways.   This type of action places a tremendous amount of stress on the elbow.   Many experts, from both the medical and baseball communities, believe that, as a rule, the proper mechanics for safely throwing a curveball are relatively difficult to master before the age of fourteen.

     The ASMI found that the curveball was associated with a more that fifty percent increased risk of arm pain.   (note: The slider was associated with a more than eighty-five percent risk of arm pain.)   Consequently, the ASMI recommends that throwing breaking pitches should be avoided until the young athletes reach puberty because this point coincides with the time when their growth plates close.   Most boys reach puberty in their early teen years (thirteen to fifteen).   A simple guideline for coaches and parents to follow is to not allow a young boy to throw a curveball until he is shaving (see Table 2 for recommendations regarding age and pitch type).   Until the onset of puberty, the change-up may be safer and more useful ‘second’ pitch to learn, since it is thrown with essentially the same mechanics as a fastball.

Table 2: The Recommended Age for Learning Various Pitches ----------------------------------------------------------------------- | Age | Type of Pitch | ----------------------------------------------------------------------- | 08 | Fastball | | 10 | Change-Up | | 14 | Curveball | | 15 | Knuckleball | | 16 | Slider, Forkball | | 17 | Screwball | -----------------------------------------------------------------------
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

     Several factors contribute to the ability of young players to pitch relatively safely.   Arguably, the most significant contributors are proper pitching mechanics, adequate conditioning and appropriate progression with regards to the amount of throwing permitted during the season.   Youth baseball coaches should understand (or have access to someone who does) how to (a) teach the proper mechanics of pitching and (b) design sound exercise training programs.

     Learning proper pitching mechanics can help prevent injuries throughout the course of a player’s ‘baseball career.’   Using and adhering to the proper mechanics are extremely important if a young player is to pitch both safely and effectively.   Pitchers must practice diligently to master a smooth, coordinated pitching motion toward home plate.   In a biomechanically sound pitching motion, every portion of the body works in a harmonious fashion.   See ‘Anatomy of a Perfect Pitch.’

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ANATOMY OF A PERFECT PITCH

     (To obtain more detailed information (in book or video format) regarding the fundamentals and techniques of proper pitching, go to www.coacheschoice.com.)

01.   The first half of the motion (i.e., the preparation or wind-up phase) should be slow and controlled and the second half (i.e., the delivery phase) much quicker.

02.   The pivot foot should slide diagonally or parallel to the front edge of the pitching rubber before the front foot comes off the ground.

03.   The glove-side shoulder and hips should rotate to form a straight line with home plate.

04.   As the glove-side knee starts down, the throwing hand should separate from the glove.

05.   Following the break from the glove, the throwing arm should extend completely and quickly and the ‘drive’ leg should collapse slightly in order to generate power in the motion.

06.   The pitcher should get a maximum push off from the rubber and a maximum snap of the hips.

07.   The throwing shoulder shouldn’t drag through the delivery, the pitcher should strive for quickness, getting the upper body ‘over the top’ of the motion by the time the glove-side foot lands.

08.   The pitcher should land on the forefoot of the stride foot, never the heel.

09.   The stride foot should land so that it promotes maximum force from hips and shoulders to create more power and control the delivery.

10.   The throwing arm should be extended as the pitcher releases the ball.

11.   The throwing shoulder should follow through low and hard.

12.   The pitcher should concentrate on the target before initiating the delivery and his eyes should remain focused on the target throughout the delivery.

13.   The majority of the workload of the delivery should be placed on the legs and back, not the arm.

14.   The pitcher’s delivery should be smooth and coordinated, with every movement being virtually the same on each pitch.

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     More than any other player, a pitcher needs to engage in a physical conditioning program.   Each year, young pitchers injure their arms simply because they lack the necessary level of physical conditioning.   As a general rule, pitchers (of any age) will rarely have arm troubles if they condition themselves adequately and use proper mechanics.   All other factors being equal, a conditioning program (both before and during the season) that includes general fitness activities (e.g., running, calisthenics, stretching) and specific strengthening exercises of the rotator cuff comples, the shoulder-stabilizing muscles, and the muscles of the arm and forearm will help reduce the risk of throwing injuries.   A fully illustrated conditioning program designed specifically for pitchers can be found on the American Sports Medicine Institute’s web site at www.asmi.org.

     A final aspect of conditioning involves specifically preparing the arm for the rigors of pitching.   During the early part of the season, players should be encourages to gradually increase the amount and intensity of their pitching practices.   This approach may allow young arms a better opportunity to adapt to the stresses of pitching.

NO ONE CARES MORE THAN MOM OR DAD

     The first and most critical responsibility of any youth baseball volunteer (e.g., manager, coach, umpire) is to help ensure the safety of all participants.   Far too often, however, a lack of knowledge or uncontrolled competitiveness impairs good judgment.   As a consequence, parents must assume more responsibility for the well-being of their own children.   To do so, they must educate themselves regarding the possible mechanisms of injuries, potential warning symptoms and proven preventive measures. Unfortunately, many parents choose to addicate their responsibility and rely on others.   Instead, parents should become more actively involved in helping to keep their children safe and injury-free.   They should count the number of pitches their child throws per game and routinely ask if he is experiencing any arm discomfort.   And always remember that no game is important enough to jeopardize the long-term well-being of a child.

Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM
Chief Exercise Physiologist/VP of Educational Services
American Council on Exercise
4851 Paramount Drive
San Diego, CA 92123
858-279-8227 ext. 753 (San Diego Office)
858-279-8064 (San Diego Fax)
425-869-7897 (Seattle Office)
425-702-8371 (Seattle Fax)
cedricb@acefitness.org (E-mail)


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     I have read the article and written my response in letter form as you requested for publication in your periodical.   Thank you for asking for my input.

     For almost forty years, I have fought to eliminate pitching arm injuries in youth pitchers.   With his article, “Keeping Youth Baseball Pitchers Safe,” Dr. Bryant has joined the battle.   Unfortunately, his message falls short.

     Dr. Bryant states that, with still-developing musculo-skeletal systems, youngsters cannot withstand the stress of repeated overhand throwing.   I agree.   However, with still-developing musculo-skeletal systems, youngsters cannot withstand the stress of repeated running, jumping, kicking, catching and striking either.   Parents should know that youngsters can pull away the ossification center of the tuberosity of their Tibia bone in the same way that they injure the medial epicondyle of their Humerus bone (Osgood Schlatter’s disease).

     The danger to the youth pitching arm is not limited to the medial epicondyle.   Youth pitchers also stress the growth plates of the proximal and distal ends of their Humerus bone and the proximal end of their Radius bone.   Parents need to know that their youth pitchers are growing adolescents and cannot withstand the stress of pitching that even destroys the pitching arms of skeletally mature adults.

     Little League elbow occurs when youth pitchers pull the ossification center of their medial epicondyle away from the shaft of their Humerus bone.   The result of the insult to the normal growth and development of the medial epicondyle permanently alters its development.   It will never grow to what it should have been.   I do not call that ‘rehabilitation and repair.’   However, too much youth pitching for too long also enlarges the head of their Radius bone, which nobody could ever rehabilitate and repair.

     The stress of too much youth pitching for too long causes premature closure of growth plates without discernable discomfort.   The stress of too much youth pitching for too long causes the ligaments of the pitching elbow and shoulder to lengthen, such that neither joint will have the stability that adult pitchers require to achieve their potential without discernable discomfort.   Parents cannot rely on their son’s reporting pain as a guarantee that they have not permanently deformed their pitching arm.

     To demonstrate the need to restrict the number of innings and/or pitches youth pitchers should throw in games, Dr. Bryant relies on an article written by the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI).   Unfortunately, rather than scientifically research the question, ASMI asked ‘alleged’ medical and baseball experts for their opinions and noted injuries over a six-year period.   Because the opinions of ‘experts’ are only as valuable as the scientific facts on which they base them, I want to hear about the research, not their gibberish.   Also, injury surveys without quantifiable data collection, such as biological age, pitching motion description and amount of pitching, are just as worthless.

     ASMI does not account for the variability in biological development between youth pitchers of the same chronological age.   For my doctoral dissertation, I studied one thousand five hundred and seventy-one adolescent males.   I found significant numbers of chronological twelve years old were only biologically ten eleven years old.   I also found that eight point three percent of chronological twelve-year-old youngsters were biologically fourteen and fifteen years old.   These are the stars of youth baseball, not because they are more skilled, but because they have two years of extra biological maturity.   Therefore, even if ASMI properly researched the question, without accounting for the variability in biological ages, parents could not correctly advise their kids.

     I wonder what scientific research went into ASMI telling parents that eight to ten year old youth pitchers can safely throw fifty-two pitches per game.   What happens on that day between ten years old and eleven years old that permits youth pitchers to throw sixteen more pitches without permanently altering the normal growth and development pattern of the growth plates of youth pitching arms?   Whatever it is, it does not happen consistently.   ASMI says that thirteen-year-old youth pitchers only get eight more pitches than twelve year olds, but, fifteen and seventeen year olds get fifteen more pitches than fourteen and sixteen year olds, respectively.

     This is garbage!   They have no such research.   At the cost of the pitching arms of our youth, ASMI’s ‘experts’ are guessing.   Their recommendations are worthless, dangerous and should be criminal abuse.

     The parents of youth baseball pitchers need to see quantifiable ‘real’ research that precisely determines how many pitches the growth plates and ligaments in the elbows and shoulders of biologically eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen year old pitchers can withstand before they permanently alter their normal growth and development patterns.   However, in the United States, we cannot design the proper research study to determine the answer and use our children as subjects.   All we can do is watch the carnage and report on how many destroyed their pitching arms.

     I have initiated such a research study where, in addition to their son’s height, weight and number of innings pitched for each year of competitive pitching, parents provide bi-lateral X-rays of the pitching elbow within one week of his birthday.   From these X-rays, we will determine biological age and the compare the growth and development of the growth plates in the pitching elbow with the glove elbow.   When sufficient numbers of concerned parents participate, we may be able to draw some conclusions about how much is too much.   Unfortunately, we will do so on the destroyed pitching arms of thousands of youth pitchers.

     In the meantime, we do know that the ‘traditional’ pitching motion destroys the pitching arms of adults.   We do know that the present youth baseball rules have not prevented permanent skeletal growth and development deformations in thousands of pitching arms.   With all of this information, youth baseball organizers, like the tobacco companies, continue to deny a causal relationship.   Therefore, parents have to take charge and should err on the side of caution.

     Dr. Bryant credits the publishing company, Coaches Choice, with creating the perfect pitching motion.   Let me take a look at what they say.

01.   The first half of the motion (i.e., the preparation or wind-up phase) should be slow and controlled and the second half (i.e., the delivery phase) much quicker.
,br>      Does this mean that they recommend the ‘balance position’ or ‘crow-step’ pitching rhythm?   I agree that pitchers should move their pitching arm to driveline height in preparation for the acceleration of the baseball toward home plate in a slow and controlled manner.   However, what is the alignment of the pitching elbow with the body?

02.   The pivot foot should slide diagonally or parallel to the front edge of the pitching rubber before the front foot comes off the ground.

     When pitchers turn their pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber, two bad things happen.   One, they reverse rotate their shoulders and pitching upper arm to point at the opposite side mid-infielder.   As a result, the additional centripetal force that they generate when they forwardly rotate their shoulders and pitching upper arm forces their pitching forearm to flyout laterally until they slam the olecranon process of their forearm’s Ulna bone into the olecranon fossa of their upper arm’s Humerus bone.   As a result, pitchers decrease their elbow extension range of motion while they unnecessarily stress their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.   Two, when they move their body forward, they can push off the pitching rubber with only the hip abductor muscles.   As a result, they swing their pitching leg laterally sideways, which causes their center of mass to move sideways and interfere with the consistency with which they release their pitches.

03.   The glove-side shoulder and hips should rotate to form a straight line with home plate.

     This is my idea.   'Traditional' pitching coaches recommend that pitchers reverse rotate their shoulders and pitching upper arm to point at the opposite mid-infielder.   I recommend that pitchers pendulum swing their pitching upper arm to a point short of second base.   This means that the shoulders and glove upper arm should point short of home plate.   Unfortunately, with their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber, their pitchers cannot do what they ask.

04.   As the glove-side knee starts down, the throwing hand should separate from the glove.

     With this advice, they are recommending the pitchers use the ‘balance position’ pitching rhythm.   The ‘balance position’ pitching rhythm starts the body forward before the pitching arm even leaves the glove.   I recommend that pitchers use my ‘crow-step’ pitching rhythm.   The ‘crow-step’ pitching rhythm delays the forward movement of the pitching elbow until the pitching arm reaches driveline height.

05.   Following the break from the glove, the throwing arm should extend completely and quickly and the ‘drive’ leg should collapse slightly in order to generate power in the motion.

     With this advice, they are recommending that pitchers lower their center of mass and powerfully push off the pitching rubber is what some call, ‘drop and drive.’   Not only do these pitchers release their pitches as though they are much shorter than they are, but, with their pitching arm still moving backward when they powerfully push off the pitching rubber, they are unnecessarily stressing the front of their shoulder.

06.   The pitcher should get a maximum push off from the rubber and a maximum snap of the hips.

     Maximum pitching rubber push-off and maximum forward rotation hip snap almost insures front of the shoulder pain.

07.   The throwing shoulder shouldn’t drag through the delivery, the pitcher should strive for quickness, getting the upper body ‘over the top’ of the motion by the time the glove-side foot lands.

     They can say that pitchers should not drag their pitching shoulder through the delivery, but, because they also recommend that pitchers use the ‘balance position’ pitching rhythm, they cannot do otherwise.   Pitchers can strive for quickness, but, when their pitching rhythm places the pitching arm where it has no leverage, they cannot have quickness.   I have no idea what getting the upper body ‘over the top’ of the motion means.   Are they telling pitchers to bend forward?   That would severely decrease their quickness and lower their release points even more.

08.   The pitcher should land on the forefoot of the stride foot, never the heel.

     With this advice, they force pitchers to push against the ground with their glove foot.   As a result, pitchers cannot move their center of mass ahead of their glove foot as I recommend.   Instead, before their pitchers release their pitches, they abruptly stop their center of mass.   This action jars their pitching arm and decreases their release consistency.

09.   The stride foot should land so that it promotes maximum force from hips and shoulders to create more power and control the delivery.

     What does this mean?   Where and how should their glove foot land?   I recommend that the glove foot land to the glove-side of the driveline for the pitching foot, which is straight forward from the pitching rubber toward home plate.   In this way, pitchers can move their center of mass straight forward and release their pitches closer to home plate without unnecessarily stressing their pitching arm.

10.   The throwing arm should be extended as the pitcher releases the ball.

     Does this mean that they want pitchers to ‘lock’ their pitching elbow out straight at release?   If so, they will destroy thousand of pitching elbows.   I recommend that pitcher separate their pitching forearm acceleration from their pitching upper arm acceleration.   I recommend that pitchers powerfully pronate their pitching forearm through the release of all pitches.   As a result, my pitchers achieve several degrees of separation of their pitching forearm from their pitching upper arm, which applies greater force without endangering their pitching elbow.

11.   The throwing shoulder should follow through low and hard.

     After pitchers release their pitches, they have only until their pitching arm reaches the length of their pitching arm forward in which to safely decelerate their pitching arm to a stop.   This amounts to approximately thirty-four thousandths of a second.   Therefore, there is no such thing as follow-through.   That movement is centripetal imperative.   That is, where the pitching arm goes after the forearm flyout.   I recommend that pitchers drive the baseball straight toward home plate.   Therefore, my pitchers drive their pitching arm straight toward home plate.   They do not pull their pitching elbow or forearm downward or across their body.   When ‘traditional’ pitchers pull their pitching elbow and forearm down and across their body low and hard, they injure the back of their shoulder.   The Teres Minor muscle is insufficiently strong to safely decelerate their pitching arm.

12.   The pitcher should concentrate on the target before initiating the delivery and his eyes should remain focused on the target throughout the delivery.

     Wow, this is an important insight.

13.   The majority of the workload of the delivery should be placed on the legs and back, not the arm.

     Pitchers throw with their pitching arm, their legs and back are part of the chorus line.

14.   The pitcher’s delivery should be smooth and coordinated, with every movement being virtually the same on each pitch.

     Wow, another important insight.

     Unfortunately, not only is that pitching motion not perfect, it will permanently destroy the pitching arms of pitchers of all ages and it is indecipherable.   For example, nowhere do they discuss the dangers in the ‘balance position’, ‘late forearm turnover’, excessive reverse hip and shoulder rotation, pitching upper arm centripetal force, ‘looping’, ‘forearm flyout’, forearm supination and more.

     The truth is that, even with the perfect pitching motion that I am designing, when youth pitchers apply too much stress to their pitching arms for too long, they will destroy their pitching arms.   Therefore, the truth is that no pitching motion will guarantee that youth pitchers will not destroy their pitching arms.

     Dr. Bryant credits the American Sports Medicine Institute with designing a fully illustrated conditioning program for youth pitchers.   The truth is that growth plates do not get stronger with conditioning.   Therefore, rather than prepare youth pitchers to pitch competitively, this conditioning program only adds to the stress that their growth plates have to withstand.   Growth plates only get stronger as their biological ages advance.

     Dr. Bryant provides a chart from an article written by J. A. Whiteside, J. R. Andrews and G. S. Fleisig in a 1999 issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine, wherein these gentlemen tell parents at what age their youth pitchers should try to learn how to throw fastballs, change-ups, curveballs, knuckleballs, sliders, forkballs and screwballs.

     This is more ASMI garbage.   They did not explain how pitchers apply force differently with each of these seven pitches that prevents youngsters from learning them at the same time.   The truth is these guys have no idea what they are talking about.   I do.   The danger in throwing curves lies in centripetal force that the pitching upper arm generates and forearm supination.   In my eight year old pitchers interval-training program, I dramatically reduce the centripetal force and eliminate forearm supination.   As a result, when these youngsters carefully follow my instructions and recommendations, at eight year old, they can safely learn how to properly throw two types of fastballs, curves and screwballs.   For my free Coaching Pitchers book and Interval-Training Programs, readers should go to my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com.

     To prevent permanently damaging the growth plates and ligaments in the pitching elbow and shoulder, I recommend that, until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle completely matures, youth pitchers do not pitch or train to pitch with the set or wind-up pitching motions 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 twice a week.   At sixteen biological years old, the growth plate of the medial epicondyle completely matures.

     How much and how well youth pitchers pitch before their junior year in high school does not mean adult success.   Therefore, rather than focusing on game results, youngsters should focus on skill development.   If parents precisely follow my eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen through fifteen, high school and adult interval-training programs and recommendations, then their youth pitcher will reach his junior year in high school with a non-deformed pitching arm and sufficient pitching skills to find out whether he has a future in college and professional baseball.

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379.   I began following your site over two years ago.   Unfortunately, I became aware of your work after my son injured his medial epicondyle while pitching as a 13 year old.
,br>      I was guilty of being ignorant of the dangers of youth pitching.   We followed traditional pitching techniques and way overdid the competitive side of youth baseball.   After reading your work I have attempted to alert everyone with younger pitchers of the dangers involved and have referred many to your site.

     We went through rehabilitation and didn't pitch competitively for a year and have experienced no recurrence of elbow pain of any type over the last two seasons.   While I understand that the injury did likely affect the skeletal development of his arm I remain hopeful that he can continue to develop as a pitcher.   He appears to have a full range of motion and experiences no pain.

     He is now approaching 16 years of age and has shows real promise as a left hander provided he can continue to gain skill, build strength and remain injury free.   I completely accept the scientific principles embodied in your work and have attempted to include much of it in the work that we have done on the mound since his injury.   We did receive your videotape last year and have spent quite a bit of time with it.   I must confess however that I have difficulty mastering the pitches and in determining how to proceed in incorporating the principles into his training.

     This summer we have participated in a speed and agility camp and engaged a personal trainer with a principal aim of improving as a position player.   The focus on overall strength development brought renewed attention to the previous medial epicondyle injury.

   Since the injury we have been vigilant to the range of motion of his elbow and to any pain experienced when throwing.   In the two years since the injury the range of motion has only a slight differentiation to the right elbow and he hasn't reported any elbow pain.

     Over the last few weeks, however, we have noted that the position of the left arm when standing is slightly more bent than the right arm.   Under closer examination we find that the range of motion for extension of the arm over his head shows considerable differences between right and left arm.   Measurement of forearm, hand and humerus revealed that the left humerus is 1" shorter than the right, while all other measurements are practically identical.   This difference in length has apparently developed gradually over the last year.

     After discovering this it appears that a successful high school pitching career or even position play may prove to be an unrealistic goal.   Our greater concern is attempting to provide him as healthy an arm as possible for his life outside of baseball.

     We are confounded by the complete ignorance these type of injuries in baseball and the insensitivity to the long range affects in the medical community including the "so called" Sports Medicine Orthopedic Physicians.

     We are going to proceed through a complete medical evaluation of his shoulder and elbow.   I would however appreciate any thoughts or recommendations you may have as to causal factors and treatment.


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     The distal end of the Humerus bone receives the brunt of the stress of pitching.   The capitular and trochlear distal ends of the Humerus bones determine the long bone growth of the distal end of the Humerus.   It appears that the growth plates in his pitching upper arm have prematurely closed, while the growth plates in his glove upper arm have continued to grow to their appropriate length.

     The olecranon process and fossa of the pitching elbow determine the extension range of motion.   With repeated forearm flyout coupled with the 'traditional' curve technique causes the olecranon process to collide with its fossa.   To prevent further damage to the olecranon fossa, the hyaline cartilage starts to calcify, which decreases the depth of the fossa.   As the depth of the olecranon fossa decreases, the extension range of motion of the pitching elbow decreases.

     If your son is also nearly sixteen years old biologically, then the growth plates in both of his elbows are almost completely mature.   This means that he can no longer interfere with their growth and development.   That is, he has already damages them as much as he can.   However, he still has open growth plates in his shoulder.   They do not completely mature until he is biologically nineteen years old.

     I understand that the knowledge that he has permanently deformed his pitching arm is devastating, but what is done is done.   The lost of extension range of motion does decrease the distance over which he can apply force.   The lost of one inch of Humerus bone length does decrease the leverage that he could apply to his pitches.   While he will never become the best pitcher that he could have become, he can still become the best pitcher he can be now.

     He needs to go to my eight year old pitchers interval-training program, reduce the training periods to six days and perfect his releases for my four basic pitches.   Then, he needs to go to my nine year old pitchers interval-training program and do the same.   And so on until he completes my high school pitchers interval-training program.   When he is nineteen biological years old, he needs to complete my adult pitchers interval-training program.   Then, he will know how good he can become and whether he wants to devote the following four years of his life to that quest.

     As I have said many, many times, nothing pitchers accomplish in youth baseball means anything.   What pitchers can do when they are juniors in high school determines whether they pitch in college and professionally.   Parents must not get caught up in the youth baseball fantasy.

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380.   Our thinking about our sons future in baseball has moderated considerably over the last two years following his injury.   We are indeed fortunate that he has far greater probability of receiving an academic scholarship than an athletic one.   With his math and science scores in the 98th percentile nationally, we must begin giving academic development a much higher priority.

     Of the issues we have in front of us to overcome the biggest is probably that he had a fool for a father.   There is little comfort in the fact that there are millions of others who are at least equally foolish throughout baseball.   Our only choice now is to apply this lesson to life and grow from it.


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     In an episode on the television show, "Practice," last season, the attorney argued that the city was liable because they failed to warn parents of the potential danger of brain damage from 'heading' soccer balls when it sponsored a youth soccer league.   They said that research had been available for several years and they had ignored it.   I immediately thought of youth baseball.   The research has been available for almost forty years.   See Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book.   Then, why are the youth baseball organizers able to ignore the research and destroy pitching arms?   Perhaps the only way we can stop this madness is to sue those who make money off the pitching arm pain of our youngsters.

     As a parent, I understand that we feel that we should know how to protect our children from all dangers in life.   But, people who called themselves 'experts' lied to you.   They were either not experts or they knew the dangers and wanted your money.

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381.   My son (who will be a junior) pitches college baseball.   During the last game of the regional playoffs, he incurred a grade 3 AC separation on his non-throwing arm that occurred because of a stupid dogpile.   I have been visiting your site for the past 2 months and have started him on your program (late June) to accomplish as much as we can and to get results as close as we can get without your intervention, which I wish we had but because of logistics and other factors, we just can't get to your facility.   My questions are:

1.   Will upper body weight training in any way affect his iron ball and wrist weight exercises?   We are at the 4th week and he is up to 8 pound iron ball throws and 10 pound wrist weights.   He has no soreness what so ever and I am emphasizing pronation, pronation, pronation.   He still wants to gain upper body strength especially in his pecs, abdominals and lats.   That is why he is using free weights and butterfly machines when not throwing.   He is 6'3" and weighs 223 and throws left handed.   His right shoulder is about 90%.

2.   He has taken to this program like no other (and I may add there will be no other).   I, of course, have poured through your information like a graduate student.   He will keep doing the program although scaled down somewhat as you describe for fall practice, but I and he knows he will have to do his iron balls and wrist weights on his own as well as throw every day as it is not a part of the program there.   This is a lifestyle change for as long as he is involved in baseball and he understands that.   My other question is, and I know it is hard to answer but I foresee problems with his coach not accepting any of his new habits.   You may say go elsewhere where he can do what he needs to do but with so many coaches teaching the traditional way his options may be limited.   Will it be his fight to fight or do I get involved?

     Incidentally, the pronation curve he is throwing now has really got bite to it, much more than the original.   He is still working to get the 12-6 spin on it as it is about 1-7 consistently.   The screwball is coming along fine, but mimics the circle change somewhat which is what he always threw before.   It was his out pitch.   Working at throwing inside vertical is really a challenge, but he works at it like a mad man.

     Thanks for opening up my eyes as they have apparently been closed for a long time.


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     All weight training is specific to precisely what athletes do.   However, athletes use free weights and butterfly machines is the fitness they will achieve.   Therefore, the only true way to increase pitchers' ability to throw baseballs is to throw baseballs.   Nevertheless, I use wrist weights in the pitching motion that I recommend to strengthen the bones, ligaments and tendons of the pitching muscles that decelerate the pitching motion and I use iron balls in the pitching motion that I recommend to strengthen the bones, ligaments and tendons of the pitching muscles that accelerate the pitching motion.   I do not recommend any other weight training for the upper body.

     At my training center, I have constructed five additional weight training stations.   I have specially constructed training stations for the double arm rowing motion, the bench press and the double arm overhead pull.   We also do double arm wrist rollers.   I have made certain that my pitchers cannot injure themselves.   I have made certain that my pitchers understand the correct way to force bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to physiologically adjust.   I instruct my pitchers to complete only one set of each exercise daily.   They must complete twenty repetitions.   If they cannot, they have to reduce the weight.   They must not be able to do more than forty repetitions.   If they can, they have to increase the weight.   I do not want them to stress these muscles more than once each day.   I also strongly recommend daily mild-intensity swimming of both the crawl and breast strokes.

     I do not understand you statement that he does his weight training on days that he does not train.   My pitchers train every day.   Are you not using my 280-Day Adult Pitchers Interval-Training Program?   Never mind, the next paragraph indicates that he is training daily.

     The problem of coaches of the 'traditional' method is decreasing, but not yet gone.   My advice is to throw high-quality pitches that batters cannot hit.   Also, if the coach asks your son to use the 'balance position', he should say that he used to do that, but the doctor told him that if he continued, he would need hip surgery.   If the coach asks your son to use the 'high guard' forearm position, he should say that he used to do that, but the doctor told him that if he continued, he would need shoulder surgery.   I think that you get the point.   Whatever the coach asks him to do that disagrees with what I teach, he should say that he used to do that, but the doctor told him to stop.   Then, he should show that he can throw high quality pitches every day without any pain.   That is what I did.

     Throw properly, my Maxline Pronation Curve kicks butt.   Pitchers achieve much higher spin velocities and there is no upper limit.   As pitchers get stronger, they can get more spin velocity.   Therefore, this pitch will only continue to improve and without any unnecessary stress on the pitching arm.   However, he needs to get the horizontal spin axis.   It sounds as though he is still using shoulder and pitching upper arm rotation and elbow pull down.   Tell him to 'stand tall and pronate.'   The idea is that he has to remove as much of the horizontal centripetal force as possible.   The same instruction goes for my Maxline True Screwball.

     The only way to fight forearm flyout is with more powerful forearm pronation and less powerful shoulder and pitching arm forward rotation.   Too much centripetal force is the enemy.

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382.   My son is a high school pitcher going into his Sophomore year.   He will turn 16 in January.   Last Sunday, while playing Right Field, my son felt a "pop" in his arm, followed by pain when making a hard throw in from the corner to prevent a man on third from tagging up to score.

     He has been diagnosed with a medial epicondyle fracture of the humerus and a "slight" displacement, defined as 2 to 5 mm displacement.   The orthopedic surgeon performed the rest of the tests as described in Wheeler's Textbook of Orthopaedics.   There are no displaced fragments, there is no evidence of ulnar neuropathy and there is no valgus instability.   In line with the literature, the doctor determined no operation was needed and proscribed splinting with additional monitoring of the injury.

     Given the recovery time, assuming this method works, versus the recovery time for operative treatment and the reported success of this treatment in the literature, this seems like the correct course of action.   My questions to you are, from your knowledge of pitching injuries and recovery from them, is this as wise a course of action for pitchers as it is for the general pubic?   Is this injury likely to prevent him from continuing to pitch or alter the effectiveness of either his ability to pitch or ability to make continued improvement as a pitcher?   Are there any exercises you would suggest, once he is out of the splint, to maintain arm strength, yet not impair recovery, prior to the time when he can begin work on your program.


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     At fifteen biological years old, the growth plate for the medial epicondyle should be nearly closed.   Therefore, for your son to suffer this injury indicates that he is a delayed skeletal maturer.   To confirm this, you would need to have X-rays taken of his non-pitching arm and compare.   The growth plates at the distal end of his Humerus bone should be completely closed.   The growth plate for his lateral epicondyle should be completely closed.   The growth plate for his olecranon process should be completely closed.   If they are not, then he is a delayed skeletal maturer.

     At this time, he should stop all throwing of anything until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.   That could take a couple of years.   I cannot advise you on whether you should simply permit this injury to heal without surgical intervention or not.   I leave that to orthopedic surgeons.   However, I would contact several other orthopedic surgeons to get their opinions.   I do not know of any particular orthopedic surgeon who has treated the most cases of growth plate injuries to the pitching elbow, you will have to search for him.

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383.   My son is a 12 year old lefthander with a decent fastball and a good change up.   His mechanics seem fairly sound and he works hard with form throwing drills, running. etc.   My question is regarding his fastball.   One day he throws really well, the next outing he doesn't seem to have much.   I am careful not to overwork him and wondered if there was a mechanical flaw I should be looking for.

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     Inconsistency with either velocity or control indicates that the stress of pitching is greater than his pitching arm can withstand.   If he uses the 'traditional' pitching motion where he lifts his glove leg first, reverse rotates to point his pitching arm at the opposite side mid-infielder and lands with his glove foot in front of his pitching foot, then his pitching motion is at least partly to blame.   The other cause is that, if is also twelve biological years old, then he has open growth plates in his pitching arm that cannot withstand the stress of pitching for more than sixty days per year, cannot withstand the stress of competitive pitching at all without permanently altering the skeletal growth and development of his pitching arm.

     You say, 'I am careful not to overwork him.'   Nobody knows how much is too much.   Pitch counts are guesses.   Number of innings are guesses.   Dr. Joel Adams found that the fathers and coaches of ninety-five percent of the pitchers in his study overworked their son and permanently altered the skeletal growth and development of their son's pitching arms.

     To correct his situation, you need to teach him my pitching motion, starting with my eight year old pitchers interval-training program and you need to look at success differently.   If he can throw my six basic pitches with high quality as a junior in high school without any loss in the length of the Humerus bone of his pitching arm or any other deformity, then you and he have succeeded.   Winning youth baseball games at the expense of his pitching arm is losing.

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384.   Nothing is more important to me than protecting his arm so he can enjoy a baseball career to the fullest extent of his ability.   What should I do?

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     I want to eliminate all pitching arm injuries.   I believe that my pitching motion maximizes the force that pitchers can safely apply to their pitches while minimizing the unnecessary stress on the pitching arm.   However, youth pitchers have growing bones.   Therefore, even with my pitching motion, if youngsters pitch too much for too long, they will destroy their pitching arms.   Nobody can tell you what too much is for your son. Nobody can tell you what too long is for your son.   It is not possible to research this question.   However, we know that youth pitching can permanently alter the normal growth and development pattern of the bones in their pitching arms.   I prefer to err on the side of caution.   I prefer that youth pitchers learn the skills without the stress.   My Coaching Pitchers book, Instructional Videotapes and Interval-Training Program will teach your son how to properly perform the pitching skills that he needs to succeed at the highest level when he is an adult.   What you have to do is to get him to skeletal maturity without altering the skeletal development in his pitching arm.

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385.   I'd just like to let you know I no longer have the elbow pain I was having for about two months.   Since I've never been taught by a coach how to pitch, I study sites such as yours and others about the do's and don'ts about mechanics.   However, since I can't see what you're saying, I tend to follow the traditional way of throwing, trying different things every week.   Because of this, I ended up trying too hard to throw my sinking fastball.   I just realized today that I was throwing my arm downward with the snap of my wrist which brought immense pain in my elbow.   I tried your mechanics, but I felt even more pain in my shoulder, so I was baffled as to what was causing this pain I never had before.

     Instead of forcing my arm through with my hand, I now let the elbow guide the arm through the delivery. By throwing at a 3/4 arm slot, my arm felt no pain today throwing my fastball and slider.   They also had much more movement thanks to this change in applied force.

     I also realize that you are probably against this idea of letting the elbow guide the arm forward, but I thought it was worth telling that I no longer have any pain.


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     You write, "I was throwing my arm downward with the snap of my wrist which brought immense pain in my elbow."   The immense pain that you felt in your elbow resulted from the centripetal force of your shoulder rotation that caused your pitching forearm to fly outwardly, which caused your pitching elbow to straighten at release.   My pitching motion teaches you how to prevent this.   I doubt that you tried my mechanics.   When you felt pain in your shoulder, it was because you started with the 'balance' position, which caused your pitching arm to try to catch up with your body.   Dragging your pitching arm forward caused the pain, not my pitching motion.

     You write, "I now let the elbow guide the arm through the delivery."   The reality is that the pitching elbow leads the pitching forearm forward with all pitchers.   What you do not understand is forearm flyout and how to fight it.   Also, you do not understand the difference between forearm pronation and supination.   Forearm pronation protects the pitching elbow.   Forearm supination destroys the pitching elbow.

     You write, "By throwing at a 3/4 arm slot..."   To have a horizontal spin axes with your curve and screwball, you must have a vertical forearm at release.   To achieve this you have to separate the force application of the pitching forearm from the pitching upper arm.   I'll bet that, when you release your pitches, you lock your entire pitching arm out straight, such that you have zero degrees of separation.   The reality is that no pitcher can release the baseball any higher than the line across the top of their shoulders.   Therefore, to get to your three-quarters release angle, you have to lean that amount to your glove-side.   If you truly want to pitch without pain in your pitching arm, you will read Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven of my Coaching Pitchers book and learn how to fight the flyout and pronate.

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386.   My 12-year-old son is having a problem I'm hoping you can help us with.   My son has pitched for a couple of years in Little League and on his travel team.   He is a very good pitcher and pitched many games.   Earlier this spring, he began to experience elbow pain.   I took him immediately to a sports orthopedist and he determined that my son has little league elbow.   While there is no extensive damage yet, the doctor suggested my son stop pitching for a couple of years and only play first and second base.   (When my son doesn't pitch he has always played shortstop, but the doctor felt that was too much for his arm).   My son also is getting physical therapy for his elbow.

     I relayed this information to my son's coach.   Last week, the coach put my son in the outfield.   I gently reminded him of the doctor's recommendations.   He begrudgingly put him at second base.   My son did very well.

     Today, I have learned that the coaches have decided not to have my son on the team any more.   Basically, they went from winning a big tournament last year (my son never lost a game as a pitcher) and, this year, they haven't won one game.   It breaks my heart.   I cannot believe they are so mean to a twelve-year-old kid.   I have just called the doctor and spoke to his receptionist and asked if they would please write a letter to the coach explaining that my son can only play those two positions (I feel as if the coaches don't believe me).

     I'd love to know what you feel about this.   I am a single mom and many of the boy's fathers are coaches on the team.   I feel as if my son is being singled out on many levels.   It's not about winning at this level.   It's so sad to think that these men don't get it.   I haven't told my son yet.   I don't have the heart.

     Anyway, I wish I had come across your website years ago.   I am in complete agreement with your philosophies on pitching at a young age.   In fact, last year I asked the coach about pitch counts and they treated me like I was meddling.   They weren't counting pitches and didn't seem to care either way.   There were games my son pitched the whole game.   Earlier this year, because my son can't pitch, they had another pitcher pitch two seven-inning games in a row, back to back.

     I would love to know what you think.   I need support to back me up so my son is not throw off the team.


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     Little League elbow occurs when the stress of competitive pitching too much for too long causes the ossification center of the medial epicondyle of youth pitchers to begin to separate from the shaft of their Humerus bone.   Whether this separation is minor or major, the insult to the growing skeletal tissue will permanently alter the normal growth and development pattern of the pitching elbow.   In other words, these coaches have already permanently deformed your son's pitching arm.   His Humerus bone will never achieve the length that it should have achieved.   The growth plate for his medial epicondyle will prematurely close.   The growth plates for his lateral epicondyle, olecranon process and radial head will also never reach their full growth and development.

     Not only are these men cruel, they are criminal.   The research on too much youth pitching destroying pitching arms has been available for over forty years.   Pitch counts do not prevent the damage.   They either are ignorant, which is no excuse, or they ignored it.   They have abused your son and that other boy.   In a civil law suit, you should would charge them with abuse.   Sue the bastards for damages.   On top of that, they have the arrogance to dismiss a mother's rightful concerns.   However, that they have thrown your son off the team is a good thing.

     To prevent further damage to your son's throwing arm, I recommend that he stop all set position and wind-up pitching and full infield or outfield throwing until the growth plate for his medial epicondyle completely matures.   That means that he should not play baseball until he is biologically sixteen years old.   He should start with my sixty day eight year old pitchers interval-training program and, by compressing the program to thirty days, he can do two programs a year until he works his way up to his biological age.   Next year, he can start practicing the proper releases for my four basic pitches, but only from my Maxline and Torque Pickoff Positions.

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387.   I read that many major league (and otherwise good) pitchers are double jointed.   This interests me because me son is very double jointed in his elbows.   The doctor measured his arm and it measured at 25 percent.   Does any of that make sense to you?

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     When someone maximally extends their forearm, the depth of the olecranon fossa in the back of the Humerus bone and the length of the olecranon process on the proximal end of the Ulna bone determine whether the angle between the longitudinal axis of the Humerus bone and the longitudinal axis of the Ulna bone determines the extension range of motion.   There is no such thing as double-jointed.   When they can move their forearm beyond even with their upper arm, we say that some people are double-jointed.   Because of forearm flyout causing their olecranon process to slam into its fossa, major league pitchers typically lose some of their elbow extension range of motion.   Therefore, they are the opposite of double-jointed.

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388.   Released?   I'm no judge of major league talent, but the tall, sandy-haired guy looked like the best guy you had.

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     You are right.   You are no judge of major league talent.   His self-image came from his size and good looks, not his intelligence or work ethic.   He would train when and if he felt like it.   He expects things to be easy.   He refused to learn the skills that I teach.   He refused to do the drills that I design.   He used what he wanted, changed some drills to something else and invented his own drills.   He knew that the 'balance position' pitching rhythm was better than my 'crow-step' pitching rhythm.   He knew that he did not need to learn my Maxline True Screwball.   Instead of the pitching arm side, he knew that he should throw my Maxline Pronation Curve to the glove-side of home plate.

     He tried to compromise my pitching motion with what his pitching coaches told him do.   After he could not throw strikes with his hybrid, silly pitching motion and his earned run averaged ballooned to twelve run per nine innings, they released him.   During the off-season, he refused to keep a job.   He neglected to pay rent or for the utilities that he used.   He owes me two thousand dollars and still expects me to let him live here and call somebody to get him another professional baseball job.

     It is time for him go grow up.   Therefore, before he can return, he has to pay me what he owes, he has to agree to arrive on time, he has to do the drills as I design them and he has to pay me two months rent in advance. But, I know that he will look for the easy way.

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389.   In between games, can you recommend a proper maintenance amount of total throws/effort level?   As a starting pitcher in the minors, I throw (roughly 90-110 pitches) every five days in a game setting, and then play catch to maintain feel on my pitches on day one, followed by mound work on days two and three.   Day four is similar to day one, I place emphasis on techniques such as proper shoulder rotation, pronating forearm, spin, etc.

     What are some possible causes of my curveball being faster then minus 20 mph?   My velocity is between 88-93 mph and my curveball hovers around 73-78 mph.   Is that a problem?

     I have been formulating my game sequences from those used in the book, with mixed results.   I think that occasionally I over-think the weaknesses of the opposition at the cost of my strength.   For instance, I have a great 2 seam fastball that usually produces ground balls, so should I still throw four seamers to opposite handed hitters with vertical bats?   Also, do you still recommend that we shift from side to side on the rubber depending on which type of hitters we are facing?

     Finally, a story:   Your site has inspired me over the years and, acting as a self coach armed with a video and a VCR, I have combated reverse rotation, olecranon slamming, forearm flyout, and increased my speed, consistency and command over the last 4 years.   So I was very glad to spend $650 of my own money to buy my own camera for personal use when the team's broke.   Our big league team pays millions for superstars, but refused to cough up any more money for the luxury of a new camera.

     Perfect world scenario:   If I win the lottery, buy the team and relocate them, would you be interested in keeping our pitchers unhittable and injury free?   Thanks for giving me a chance to reach my ceiling.


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     The problem that I have advising you about in-season maintenance program is that you have not completed my forty-week adult pitchers interval-training program.   Therefore, I do not know your basic fitness level.   Nevertheless, if what you wrote does not give you any discomfort and the quality of your game efforts remain good and consistent, then stay with it.   However, I strongly recommend that you start my forty-week program just as soon as this season ends.   If you arrive on September 06 and leave on March 06, you will complete three of the four training cycles.

     The problem that I have advising you about the velocity of your curve is that I do not know whether you pronate the release.   If you do, I have an answer.   If you supinate the release, then I advise you to learn how to pronate the release.

     To properly utilize my pitch sequences, you need to throw my Maxline Fastball, Torque Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker, Torque Fastball Slider, Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline True Screwball.   If you have not mastered these pitches, then you will have to show some of your pitches to hitters too frequently.   As a result, they will correctly anticipate some pitches and hit them hard.   Further, it is the variety of movements and velocities that make it difficult for hitters to respond, not the quality.

     Your first responsibility is to show all batters that you do not need to throw fastballs, that you can get ahead in the count with non-fastballs.   Batters with vertical bats prefer low fastballs.   When the situation is right to throw them fastballs, you should throw either my four-seam Maxline or Torque Fastballs through their 'loop.'   For batters with horizontal bats who prefer high fastballs, you can throw two-seam Maxline or Torque Fastballs.

     I believe that pitchers should use the entire twenty-four inches of the pitching rubber to get any advantage that they can.

     It amazes me how affiliated teams with spend millions for some high school kid, but not spend one cent on true research and development.

     If I could train the pitchers at my Pitcher Research/Training Center here in Zephyrhills, FL, then yes I show you and the other pitchers how to be injury-free and unhittable.

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390.   I read this article in the Washington Post.   Would you please review it?

                               Taking Their Future, Throwing It Away:
           Injuries to Youthful Pitchers Are Increasing, Often Simply From Overuse

By Alan Goldenbach

     Shayne O'Dell thought it was impossible to play too much baseball.

     Scouts told him to prepare for a professional career after the 6-foot-2, 230-pound O'Dell used his 87-mph fastball to set school records for victories and ERA as a sophomore at Westlake High School in 2002.   That season flowed seamlessly into the same 60-game schedule he had played each of the previous four summers on American Legion or travel teams.   At the start of fall season, however, O'Dell's prized right shoulder would not let him continue playing.

     Doctors initially prescribed rest, predicting O'Dell would be fine by spring.   He wasn't.   Pain in his arm that, he said, "brought tears to my eyes," limited him to playing designated hitter this past spring.   On May 29, he had surgery to repair instability in his right shoulder.   O'Dell said he was told his chances of returning to the form he had as a 16-year-old sophomore are "about 50-50 at best."

     "If everything goes well, I should be back at 87 [mph], where I was before," O'Dell said.   "If I come out throwing 80, I probably won't have a future in baseball.   I'd do anything to get my arm back."

     O'Dell is among a growing number of teenage pitchers nationwide experiencing arm trouble of varying degrees, doctors and coaches say.   The trend is "a serious problem" according to orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, the medical director for the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, and the top choice of many major league pitchers headed for major surgery.

     Andrews and other specialists blame inadequate supervision, improper mechanics and overuse as key factors in young pitchers' arm troubles.   And the overuse often springs from another trend seen throughout youth sports in recent years, the push to play more and more games in search of a college scholarship or a shot at the professional ranks.

     "When a 16-year-old comes into my office with elbow pain, I have a blackboard where they put down all that they've done, what leagues they've played in, what positions they play, how long they've been throwing a curveball, what kind of success they've had," Andrews said.   "They put this all down and they and their parents think it's impressive, all the accomplishments they've had.   They have no clue that because of all that, that's why they're seeing an orthopedic surgeon."

     Playing year-round baseball dooms pitchers to arm trouble, said Frank Jobe, the doctor who pioneered and subsequently trademarked Tommy John surgery, in which a torn ulnar collateral elbow ligament is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body.   Jobe also discourages players from pitching for more than one team at a time.

     "We see a lot of problems in warmer climates with year-round baseball," Jobe said.   "Kids never get a chance to rest and a time to recover.   The physical limits for a kid between the ages of 12 and 18 are not as high as they are for an adult.   I would recommend that we do away with year-round baseball and educate that there is a physiological limit to what kids can do."

     High school-aged baseball players in the Washington area have plenty of options if they're looking to play on multiple teams from late winter well into the fall.   Besides their high school teams, players can play in Babe Ruth, American Legion and "fall ball" leagues, as well as roving travel and AAU teams.   Some of the top upperclassmen play in college developmental leagues, such as the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League.   In all, some teens could play as many as 100 games in a year.

     Donnie Presley, the top pitcher for Notre Dame Academy of Middleburg in the spring of 2001, got plenty of chances to play that year.   During the summer, the left-hander pitched his Babe Ruth team to the final of the 16-year-old World Series in Gulfport, Miss., where he became the first player to throw a no-hitter in the tournament.

     In the fall, scouts and college coaches visit showcases, where players can flaunt their skills through individual drills.   By then, Presley said, he could not throw another pitch.

     "We played anywhere from 40 to 50 games that summer," Presley said.   "But when we didn't play, we were practicing, so I was throwing every other day.   I was telling myself that I need to keep going.   This was the best I'd ever been throwing.   Coaches were telling me to take it easy, but I told myself that I couldn't because there might be a scout out there that day.

     "I was probably throwing about 115 pitches [off of a mound] every other day. It felt fine [in the summer], but it took its toll in the fall."

     That October, Presley tore a ligament in his right ankle, which forced him to stop pitching.   He called it "the break that I needed."   He regained his arm strength, has not had a subsequent setback, and signed to pitch at Coastal Carolina next season.

     "If you look at the way summer baseball is set up [differently] from high school baseball, there are a lot of pitfalls," said Chris Warren, the coach at W.T. Woodson High and of the Virginia Barnstormers travel team.   "You can't coach in the off-season, so you can't stay as involved as you'd like.   [The responsibility falls] with the kid and the parent, ultimately.   They've got to be smart with how the kids are used."

     Many leagues try to protect pitchers by limiting the amount they can throw in a game or a week.   Still, many leagues set maximum inning counts for pitchers, when many coaches and physicians say it is an inaccurate way to monitor arm use.

     Little League, for instance, allows pitchers to throw six innings per week in the regular season, and nine innings per game in its World Series.   In a round-robin game at the 1998 Little League World Series, 12-year-old Tony Clausen threw 175 pitches in eight innings for Jenison, Mich.

     "You could have a three-pitch inning or a 30-pitch inning," said Bill Thurston, the coach at Amherst College since 1966, who has spent the past 12 years as the pitching consultant for Andrews at ASMI.   "Pitches, not innings, are the proper way to monitor it."

     Lance Van Auken, a member of Little League Baseball's Rules and Charter committees, said such limitations are difficult to oversee.   Little League coaches and umpires are all volunteers, he said.

     "In Little League, you might just have one umpire," Van Auken said.   "You don't have an impartial official scorer who is maintaining pitch counts.   A possible solution is a batters-faced count.   [That] would be easier to track.   There are varying opinions on what should be the pitch count because it's not just innings pitched in Little League, but also in AAU and other teams.   There's no way to monitor all that."

     Said Scott Sisolak, the coach at Westlake High from 1993 to 2002:   "There's no way you can monitor pitch counts league-wide [in high school].   It's too hard.   Kids have to be responsible for themselves, too.   I was always asking kids how they were feeling.   You've got to see if they are reacting differently.   You have to know the kid and the tendency they have to be out there."

     Several physicians and coaches agree that young pitchers are not put on suitable strengthening programs.   Many focus on heavy weightlifting intended to build body mass rather than isolating a body part that bears the majority of the stress for a particular sport or position, the experts say.

     Former major league pitcher and coach Tom House, who co-founded the National Pitching Association in Del Mar, Calif. and is an advisor for ASMI, said part of conditioning is routinely throwing on a flat surface, just playing catch.

     House dismisses the popular notion that pitching overhand is an unnatural body movement, and hence, the root of most arm injuries.   Instead, he blames throwing off a pitcher's mound, which he said creates four to six times the stress on the body compared with throwing from a flat surface.

     "If I were king of the baseball world at the youth level, there would be no mounds," House said.

     Nearly as important as the number of pitches a player makes is the type of pitches he chooses.   According to a 2002 ASMI study on the effect of breaking pitches on shoulder and elbow pain in 476 pitchers ages 9 to 14 over the course of one season, "the curveball was associated with a 52 percent increased risk of shoulder pain and the slider was associated with an 86 percent increased risk of elbow pain.   There was a significant association between the number of pitches thrown in a game and the rate of elbow pain and shoulder pain."

     Nearly every young pitcher wants to throw a curve, "because no one can hit it," Notre Dame Academy Coach Mike Lockhart said.   But, Andrews advises players not to throw breaking pitches "until they shave."   Mitchel Storey, the Seattle Mariners' team physician, said young teenagers are not physically capable of throwing a pitch that requires so much torque on the arm.

     "It's not so much the muscles, but from a skeletal standpoint, boys, especially, don't reach bone maturation until age 15 or 16," Storey said.   "I try to teach kids not to throw anything but two- or four-seam fastballs before the age of 16.   Clearly, there are some major leaguers that are still saying to this day that they are still learning how to throw a curveball."

     O'Dell, meantime, will be glad simply to throw effective fastballs again.   His surgery in May repaired an "internal impingement [of the rotator cuff] related to subtle instability of the shoulder," said Raymond Carroll, who performed the surgery at Georgetown University Hospital.   His rehabilitation is expected to take six to nine months, and it is unclear if his velocity will return.

     "I've pitched games where I've thrown 120, 130 pitches," O'Dell said.   "If every game, I could take back 20 or 30 of those pitches, I'm sure I'd be okay right now."

© 2003 The Washington Post


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     Instability in the pitching shoulder results from too much youth baseball pitching for too long each season lengthening the gleno-humeral ligaments the hold the head of the Humerus bone tightly in the shoulder joint.   Jim Morris of ‘The Rookie’ fame had the same problem.   As a twenty-two year old professional pitcher, he could only throw eighty-eight miles per hour.   Then, after shoulder reconstruction surgery to tighten these ligaments and fourteen years of adjusting his pitching motion, he threw ninety-eight miles per hour.   It would be best if both had not pitched too much for too long too young.

     Jim Andrews and Frank Jobe are right.   The danger of youth pitching lies in too much for too long when too young.   However, while the ‘traditional’ pitching motion does place considerably more unnecessary stress on their pitching arms, even with a perfect pitching motion, too much for too long when too young will still destroy their pitching arms.

     While that ankle injury prevented too much for too long during one year, the amount of pitching that Mr. Presley did during the other skeletal-formative years still altered the normal growth and development patterns for the growth plates, ligaments and tendons of his pitching arm.   Dr. Joel Adams found that ninety-five percent of twelve year old pitchers where he practiced orthopedic surgery had already damaged their pitching arms to some extent.   This means the even without pain symptoms, youth pitching stunts their pitching arms.   Another study found that the length of the Humerus bone in the pitching arm of major league pitchers averages one-half inch shorter than their glove arm.

     Pitch counts are not the answer.   At twelve chronological years old, youth pitchers range from ten to fifteen biological years old.   Ten biological year old pitching arms cannot withstand the pitching stress that fifteen biological year old pitching arms can.   If we do not know the biological ages of the youth pitches, we can count pitches all we want and still destroy their pitching arms.

     Also, in the United States, we cannot directly research this question.   Nobody knows for sure how many pitches per inning per game for how many games per year will alter the normal growth and development of the youth pitching arm.   Therefore, pitch counts are guesses.

     The fact that thousands of youth pitchers pull their medial epicondyle away from the bone, rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments, enlarge the head of their Radius bone and more tells us that what we are doing does not work.   I believe that hundreds of thousands of other youth pitchers do not show any symptoms, but still alter the normal growth and development of their pitching arms.

     Conditioning programs do not strengthen growth plates, they add to the problem.   Conditioning programs for youth pitchers, in and of themselves, can place sufficient unnecessary stress on the pitching arms as to alter the normal growth and development of the bones.   For example, with normal running and jumping, youngsters will develop tenderness in the growth plate on the front of the lower leg where the quadriceps muscles attach.   Orthopedic surgeons call this, ‘Osgood Schlatter’s disease.   The same thing happens with the medial epicondyle to which five major pitching muscles attach in the elbow.   The cure for both is the same.   When too young, youngsters have to stop running, jumping and pitching too much for too long.   Instead, youngsters should learn the skills of as many different sport and recreational activities as possible.   After their growth plates mature, they can specialize.

     Pitching off a mound does not increase the stress to the pitching arm.   Mr. House must be measuring the amount of force that pitchers apply to the ground when they use his ‘traditional’ pitching motion where he advises pitchers to abruptly stop their forward movement before they release their pitches.   This action results in pitchers jerking their pitching shoulders to a stop just when they are trying to drive their pitches forward.   Each year, his ‘traditional’ pitching motion does destroy thousands of youth pitching arms, but it also destroys thousands of adult pitching arms.)

     The problem with youth pitchers throwing curves lies with the supination action that the ‘traditional’ method teaches pitchers to use, not that the baseball spins.   With all pitches, the ‘traditional’ pitching motion generates too much horizontal centripetal force.   This centripetal force causes the pitching forearm to fly outward laterally.   When they add forearm supination to forearm flyout, pitchers of all ages slam the olecranon process of their Ulna bone into the olecranon fossa of their Humerus bone and destroy their pitching elbow.

     With my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach where pitchers to pronate their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers during release.   This prevents the olecranon collision.   If youth pitchers learn my Maxline Pronation Curve with the interval-training programs that I provide free on my web site at www.drmikemarshall.com and follow my recommendations, then they can safely start learning curves and screwballs at eight years old.

     Because I know that any game that youngsters pitch before their junior year in high school has no effect on whether they will earn college scholarships or pitch professionally and because I prefer to err on the side of caution and skill development, I recommend that, until the growth plate for their medial epicondyle completely matures, youth pitchers should not even practice with the set or wind-up pitching positions for more than two months per year, pitch competitively until they are thirteen biological years old, do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.   We have to stop destroying the pitching arms of the best pitchers of each generation.

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391.   My son is 16 years old and will be entering his junior year in high school.   He has been pitching since he was 9 years old and had a good year this past season, making all county and the Babe Ruth western New York all star team.   He is 6'0" and weighs 215 lbs.   He stays in shape thru weight training, plays football, and works for a mason.   I would like to put him on a specific training program to prepare him for the next season after football ends in the end of November.   What do you recommend and how do I obtain the information?

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     On my web site, I have provided interval-training programs for eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen through fifteen, high school and adults for free.   He needs to start with the eight year old program, reduce the sixty-day program to thirty days and proceed through the succeeding interval-training programs until he masters the skills through the high school level.   This would require that he master a new skill every month.   Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven explain how he should perform the drills.

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392.   I guess a cynic would say:   Weren't you the same way?   Didn't you know better than your coaches?

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     At 5' 8 1/2" tall and 145 lbs. when I graduated from high school, I never expected things to go easy for me.   Until I figured out that my coaches had no clue why they were telling me to do things their way, I listened to them and tried to make sense of it.   I also went to college.   I studied anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, exercise physiology, motor skill acquisition and more.   I welcome questions about why I ask my pitchers to do what I recommend.   Unfortunately, he is too stupid to know that he is too stupid.   He will always look for the quick and easy way.   He will never succeed with anything that takes real hard work and dedication.

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393.   How does one “lock” the upper arm with the shoulder immediately before starting the pitching elbow forward?   What do you do?

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     When pitchers use my 'crow-step' pitching rhythm, their pitching arm almost reaches driveline height before they start their pitching upper arm acceleration phase.   Therefore, pitchers have not already started their body forward.   As a result, they can contract the muscles that hold the pitching upper arm in place with the thorax, such that when they start their body forward, their pitching arm goes with it.   The kinesiological definition for this action is shoulder joint horizontal flexion.   You do it when you do an 'elbows at shoulder level' pushup.   By 'lock,' I simply mean that pitchers contract muscles that keep the shoulder joint bone, the Humerus, in the same relationship with the chest.

     When pitchers use the 'balance position' pitching rhythm of the 'traditional' pitching motion, they start their body forward at the same time that the separate their hands.   As a result, their body moves forward and their pitching arm moves backward and the destruction of their pitching arm begins.

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394.   This has been a real learning process!   Thanks again for all of your responses and incredibly rich information.   Your help and insight is greatly appreciated.   I'm going to go back onto your website to gather info about the pitching programs you recommend for him and to get whatever materials (video) he'll need.

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     I am here to answer your questions at any time.   Together, we will keep your son's pitching arm safe and teach him the skills of pitching.

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395.   Today, an orthopedic surgeon X-rayed my son and determined that he fractured his growth plate on his right shoulder.   He was optimistic that he would have a complete recovery and that he should refrain from sports for the next 6 months.   He has not been playing baseball for the past 2 months as a precaution before seeing the surgeon today.   My son is wearing an immobilizer for the next 4 weeks.   I thought that damaging the growth plate could permanently damage a kid's arm.   Is this not true?   Should my son who is highly talented and competitive in the game of baseball stay away from the game for more than a year, so that he can fully recuperate?   When will I know to put him back in the game of baseball?

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     When youngsters damage any growth plate, the result is that that growth plate will never grow and develop as it would have otherwise.   This means that the growth of his pitching arm will not proceed the same as the growth of his non-pitching arm.   However, damage to the growth plate of the head of the Humerus bone in the shoulder is not as serious as damage to the growth plate of the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone in the elbow.   While he will not achieve the full growth and development of the head of his Humerus, it will completely mature and ossify.   Since, under the present rules and regulations, all youth pitchers damage the growth plates to varying degrees, he will not be that much worse off than most everybody else.   Nevertheless, I prefer that youth pitchers do not damage their growth plates and, as adults, they can achieve their full potential with the bones of their pitching arm at their full size and strength.

     The growth plates in the shoulder do not completely mature until young men are biologically nineteen years old.   X-rays of his pitching and non-pitching shoulders will tell you when these growth plates mature.   Until then, I would not per