Training for Pitching or Throwing? What You Need to Know

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Wes McGuire is the leader of our Healthy Heat program which is designed to drastically increase player's velocity no matter their position (which it has!). In our newest blog post, Wes explains training for pitching vs. training for throwing. You may be surprised by his answers....

t’s the start that stops most people. It is hard for people to commit particularly when you have to tell them that it may not happen overnight. There are no quick fixes or gimmicks that will suddenly send you on a path to the big leagues. There are guys who can just go to games, practice when the team gets together, and be the best player; however, they are the exceptions, not the rule. 

At Bardo’s we are adamantly against the freak theory. You hear guys talk about it all the time, “That guy just has cannon, I can never throw as hard as he does.” Lies. “He’s just so much better than me, I can never be the player he is”. Who says? If you aren’t lucky enough to be born with supreme athletic ability, a lightning quick arm, and the ability to hit baseballs out of big league stadiums at the age of 12, who cares. That doesn’t mean you have to let that stop you. 

For years coaches and evaluators played into this theme which made it much worse.  “He’ll grow into it” or “maybe he just doesn’t have it”. I’m not sitting here saying a 12 year old can work hard enough to throw 90 mph by the end of the summer. That’s unrealistic, but sitting around doing the minimum and waiting for him to be 6’4” 225lbs and throwing gas is equally as unrealistic. It takes work and doing it the way it’s always been done isn’t going to get it done. 

The way baseball trains throwing has not changed much throughout its history. Kids play catch, making sure to only throw it hard enough that their catch partner can catch it. They back up until they feel loose and shut it down or their coach rushes them to finish so they can start practice. There is not a single play in baseball that doesn’t involve at least one throw yet we treat it like the least important part of the game.   
Pitchers have it even worse because we want to teach them how to pitch before they are even good at throwing. How many kids pitch at the youth level truly command the ball on a regular basis? How many catchers in youth baseball even adjust their target from pitch to pitch? Not many. The ones that dominate are the ones that throw hard and throw it in the strike zone. Yet your average pitching lesson spends about four minutes throwing to get loose and then work on pitching.

Kids are told what to do, try to do it and then are told how to correct it. They think, but they don’t feel.  They repeat, they don’t compete. They go to practice, they don’t train. Baseball has put the cart before the horse. We want to teach a kid who can barely get the ball to home plate how to command a change up. Commanding the ball matters eventually, mixing speeds matter eventually, but it is crazy to spend a majority of our time focusing them.  

Our mission at Bardo’s is to commit to training. We want kids to come in and work hard.  We are trying to build athletes and constantly challenge them. We don’t just want kids to come in and try to throw strikes at eighty percent with no pressure. We want kids to push themselves, throw it harder than they did last week. Just flat out work harder than last time. We get loose to throw, not throw to get loose. We provide individualized drills for the athlete to learn new movement patterns focusing on feel not cues. We want to lead the athlete through guided discovery not just spew words at them until something sticks.    

We don’t have all the answers yet and anyone that says they do is lying to themselves. We ask the same of ourselves that we do our athletes, keep working and learning. Get better everyday. The problem is it’s hard. You don’t win or get a medal at the end of every day. You are going to have terrible days this summer on the diamond and you are going to be in plenty of slumps. But if it were easy everyone would do it.

Book a pitching lesson with Wes.