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Two Ways That Long Toss Reduces Mound Pitching Velocity

Long Toss Teaches Different Mechanics Than Mound Pitching

The above photos show the differences in mechanics between long toss and mound pitching. This difference, when practicing long toss, can have a negative transfer to mound pitching.

The pitcher in the top row is Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard who pitches from 96-100 mph. Notice his body position at landing compared to the long tosser below. The long tosser has too much upward tilt of his trunk while his landing leg has too much bend or forward flexion, unlike Bard who exhibits proper bracing action with the knee less bent.

In the bottom row of photos, which displays a long tosser at ball release, note that his head, shoulders and trunk are still positioned behind his landing knee. This would indicate that the arm will get less energy from trunk flexion thus the arm would have to do more work. I believe this is one of the reasons why there are so many arm injuries today.

But Daniel Bard at ball release displays proper mechanics where the trunk is flexed forward so that his head and shoulders are positioned out over his landing knee and notice that his landing leg has straightened. This is a position that is displayed by most high velocity pitchers.

One of the important points to consider about this study is that if you practice another activity that is not almost exactly like the movement you will use in competition, then there is little positive transfer and a possible negative transfer. This is all based on the Principle of Specificity that says, basically, that you must practice exactly how you will perform in a game. Long toss, although it uses a baseball, has little other resemblance to mound pitching.

In an ASMI study (Jan. 2011) comparing long toss to mound pitching, there were two factors shown why long toss would reduce amateur pitcher’s velocity. And besides reducing pitching velocity the study finally proves why long toss is more stressful on both the elbow and shoulder.

There are two important factors are highlighted that allow pitchers to maximize their velocity, proving why long toss would actually reduce pitching velocity for all amateur and probably many professional pitches as well.

When my son Ryan and I do video analysis or one-on-one lessons, we observe closely those actions that reduce the ability of the pitcher to produce force (momentum or kinetic energy). We also analyze his ability to transfer those forces from the lower body to the trunk so that they get to the throwing arm as late as possible.

If a pitcher is not able to produce force, then his velocity will suffer. This can happen because he collapses his back leg, or has poor weight shift, or can’t maximize leg drive, all of which prevents him from developing momentum.

If he gets his arm involved too early his overall timing will be upset. If he is able to maximize his momentum, but at landing his back leg and hip has collapsed, then he will not be able to transfer those forces to the arm.

Prior studies on biomechanics, many which we have posted on this website, have proven how pitchers are able to maximize their pitching velocity. One of those studies showed that the trunk had much more to do with maximizing velocity than previously known. Specifically, how the trunk was used, and its angle (forward flexion position) at ball release was a major factor in velocity. In other words, the farther the trunk was flexed forward the more velocity.

Giants Tim Lincecum, at 5’10″ 170 lbs. is a good example of a pitcher who has shown in the past the ability to throw 100 mph. How he uses his trunk is a big factor.

Factor #1 Why Long Toss Can Reduce Pitching Mound Velocity And Mechanics

The latest study by ASMI revealed that long toss reduced trunk flexion angle, which means the trunk is not providing maximum force production to propel arm speed.

This was not true during mound pitching. During mound pitching the pitcher is able to get his head and shoulder out over his landing knee, which is a good indication he is using his trunk correctly.

Conversely, if the trunk is not being used properly to assist the arm during long toss, then the arm must do more work. This could be a contributing factor to the total arm stress from elbow to shoulder that  long toss has now been proven to increase,

The implication for this is that if pitchers are practicing long toss then they are practicing how “not” to use the body to maximize velocity and reduce stress to the arm. When they get on the mound, there could be a negative transfer from long toss which would effectively interfere with mechanics and not allow them to use their trunk properly.

Essentially long toss is teaching them poor pitching mechanics from the mound, which they will use during games.

Factor #2 Why Long Toss Can Reduce Pitching Mound Velocity

The second factor about long toss that will have negative transfer to mound pitching is the inability to brace the front leg, knee and hip upon landing. During long toss the pitcher’s knee will continue to drift forward, which my son Ryan and I see regularly.

We have coined the phrase “pitching on the beach” to describe this motion, Try pitching on the beach, and you’ll notice the immediate lack of velocity since the front leg and hip cannot provide bracing This bracing helps speed up trunk rotation and flexion forward, and drives arm speed.

The Main Reason For Practice Pitching From The Mound

Unfortunately, you can have negative transfer to your mound pitching,  such as happens with the trunk position during long toss and not bracing up. Basically, you’re practicing mound pitching wrong. You end up with poor mechanics and possible injury.

When I presented my findings in Jan. 2009 at ASMI’s 27th annual Baseball Injuries Course, I was met mostly with blank stares from the other presenters Rick Peterson, Ron Wolforth, and Bill Thurston – all long toss advocates. Only when Dr. James Andrews, the head of ASM, came into the room and said a study would have to be done, did people pay attention to what I had said.

In that talk, using PowerPoint slides I pointed out that during long toss, the pitcher’s trunk was too far back behind the front knee at ball release, and upon landing, the front knee continues to drift forward. That 30 slide presentation is all shown in the back of my book, How To Build And Develop The Natural Explosive Pitcher.

Be Careful Because Old Baseball Beliefs Die Hard

Old baseball beliefs die hard. The belief that long toss will increase speed and avoid prevent injury have been advocated since about the mid-80′s.

We could say that those who have advocated long toss have actually taught pitchers to throw with less velocity, while contributing to the high incidence of arm injuries today at all levels of baseball.

We know they meant well, but that is no excuse when they all had the same opportunity to investigate and read what the latest research has found. I started doing that back in 2004, and have not listened, since, to what the “gurus” are teaching. That’s because most of it is based on outdated beliefs.

If you want to maximize pitching velocity and overall performance, don’t waste time on techniques that don’t work. Long toss has not proven to have any major benefits for improved pitching performance. If fact, now we can say long toss has mostly been negative, and performance reducer.

Since 2004, when I elected to stop recommending long toss, most high school and college pitchers were required to use long toss by their coaches. And yet, most of these same high school and college pitchers still lacked velocity. And injuries continued to skyrocket.

If you waste time practicing what does not work, then you lose the opportunity to maximize your God-given talent as a pitcher.

When will baseball turn to sports science research for answers to improved pitching performance and reduced risk of injuries? And how long will amateur pitchers search for the secret to more velocity – when there are no secrets?

The “secret” is to find mechanical faults, refine pitching mechanics with the aid of video analysis, and spend more time pitching FROM the mound than OFF the mound.

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33 Responses to “Two Ways That Long Toss Reduces Mound Pitching Velocity”

  1. Randall Benson Reply

    I definitely appreciate the lack of transfer the you raise, Dick. But the point behind long toss is to strengthen and lengthen muscles not to be a perfect simulation of the pitching motion. I don’t think long toss in and of itself is bad but many people probably aren’t aware of the risks of injury with LT. I appreciate your commitment to challenging the status quo, based on science and data rather than assumption.

    • Randall,

      I am curious and have been on this subject you raise for quite some time. Which muscles get strengthened and lengthened in long toss which would not by making a full effort pitch from the mound.

      If appears from the study that there could very well be a negative transfer from long toss to the mound based on the lack of trunk flexion and the excessive knee bend in the landing leg. If long toss does not provide a perfect simulation of the pitching delivery then motor learning scientists would say it has limited to little value…unless it is being used as part of an off-season full body conditioning program.

      The large majority of high school and college pitchers we see cannot brace at landing and thus cannot use their trunk to their full capability. The negative transfer from long toss could be a good reason for this.

    • Don Ervin Reply

      Randell.
      Lengthening/stretching the arm muscles etc during long toss seems to be a fair summation of the possible positive results of long toss,pitchers should throw no farther than 120 feet as Dick suggests so as to stay in reasonable correlation to one’s 60 ft. 6inch distance and ones necessary body movements executed within that distance, 90 ft. would more suitable.
      One’s practice sessions should be in correlation to one’s game.
      {Timing}of the body’s series of sequenced chained reactive movements is of the essence during one’s body movement, just like hitting a baseball, No Timing No barrel to ball Contact
      Strengthening the muscles during long toss, I think not, due to the fact that to actually strengthen muscles one must execute some sort of weight work whether it be just using one’s body only or actual weights.
      Also for those who spend useless time on drills, the brain does not recognize breaking things down into partial segments and then putting them together as a whole unit, the brain only recognizes whole movements.
      Dick,
      keep your good info. coming.
      Great baseball-N to all
      Don Ervin
      dfervin32@yahoo.com

  2. Michael hueber DO Reply

    I am waiting patiently for the ASMI article. I ama sports medicine physician and one of the team doctors for Liberty University. My son is a 15 year old pitcher in high school and we have been using your books and videos for the last 4 years. I agree 100% with your analysis on long toss and have run into the same mindset roadblocks with coaches about it. By the way none of these coaches use video analysis either. But I don’t think that is a coincidence.

  3. Peter Poulin Reply

    My son is a 14yr old freshman, so what is the optimal distance for long toss?

    • Peter,

      It is not about the distance but about not changing his trunk and arm position at ball release from what it would be pitching from a mound.

      He should only throw the ball on a line and not throw it in a upward trajectory…which would change both the trunk and arm positions at ball release.

      That seems to be what the study is saying. Once it is published I will be posting it here.

  4. Paul Cerejo Reply

    In your blog you mention Tim Lincecum. I believe that he is an advacote of long toss and even when he was struggling early last year, his father suggested that he go back long toss.
    Is it that long toss is good if you use the proper mechanics while doing it?

  5. Dan Gazaway Reply

    What kills me is that many little league and high school coaches allow their pitchers to throw long toss the day after they pitch a long game. They play long toss with the team and throw like the rest of the team the day after. I always inform coaches not to do that. It’s a good time for more core exercises and band work to rebuild what is torn down during pitching on the mound.
    Thank you for all you do for the pitching community Dick.

  6. Albert Rubio Reply

    Long toss it meant for long thowers not for MLB pitchers that pitch from a distance of 60.5′. Keep up the good work Dick.
    I have a question regarding external rotation of the pitching arm. What causes the throwing arm to lay back is it due to a very quick turnk flexion or something else.

    • Albert, The amount of external shoulder rotation is related to two things. The natural flexibility of the pitcher, how long he has been pitching and his ability to use good mechanics to quickly transfer forces from the lower body to the trunk and then to rotate the trunk fast which lays the arm back.

  7. Jake Steve Reply

    Dick,
    I am interested in the types of exercises a pitcher can due to increase their flexibilty and external shoulder rotation. I am a hitting coach at a high school so my job is primarily different, but I am still interested it the mechanical aspects of energy transfer in regards to pitching. Also, what is your position on more mechanically based long toss programs, such as the Jaeger long toss program, that forces the thrower to maintain the power stance for a majority of the program? Thanks for all your research.

  8. Ray Bressler Reply

    Have followed your pitching for a few years
    and agree totally with all your lessons, especially long toss and about NOT getting your elbow above your shoulder. I took my son out of baseball because his coach in
    Little League (former college head coach) wanted him to pitch quite similar to Tommy Hansen in style (actually used Daniel Bard as model when I practiced with son). Two years ago I told him Hansen would have arm problems and he laughed at me ! Guess he never watched Keri Wood pitch , either?

  9. Graham Johnson Reply

    Will any of you give me any proof of what you are saying is true? I’m not saying anything I do is correct or incorrect, but it is what I believe in and have seen guys make gains while doing it (velo & location). Maybe they would have made gains doing any type of arm care or physical conditioning, I don’t know. Just so it’s clear, I strongly believe in long toss, I believe it has a positive effect on range of motion in the throwing shoulder and also allows the pitcher to develop a heightened sense of feel, both, for velocity and more importantly location. I see my guys hit their partner in the chest repeatedly from 240+ feet away on a daily basis and a lot of times the day after throwing live. If someone can prove to me how thats bad, does not transfer to the mound and does not give them confidence to move into 60’6″ and hit locations, I’m all ears. I don’t want to be set in my ways. I want to adapt like the rest of the baseball world. Somebody give me some scientific data that I’m wrong.

  10. Dick Mills Reply

    Graham,

    Did you read the study or the abstract of the study completed by ASMI.org on Long Toss in January 2011.

    The year long study basically proves that long toss has little value for improving pitching performance and does increase stress to the elbow in throw of 180 ft plus. It also interferes with creating real pitching mechanics from the mound.

    We see this with many pitchers who release the ball behind their front knee.

    How could long toss increase range of motion when the distance which the arm and the body goes through is less than in a full effort throw from the mound since with long toss the ball is released when the head and shoulder and ball are behind the landing knee. This means less range of motion…not more.

    Do target shooters improve their specific distance whether it’s 50 meters, 75, 100 or 1000 by practicing from various distances? Does that make sense to you?

    Sports science has proven long toss wrong for decades using the Principle Of Specificity which means you only get good at what you specifically practice. So with long toss you may become a better long tosser with better 240 ft accuracy but that will have zero transfer to actual pitching from the mound which is where pitchers are trained to get hitter out.

    Hitting a partner at 240 ft. will have no benefit for hitting a catcher’s glove at 60’6″. That is what science has proven over and over and over and yet baseball continues to believe what it believes.

  11. Graham Johnson Reply

    Dick,

    I just read the abstract and it points out some interesting issues that I will definitely try to investigate further, but I’m not going to change my philosophy and thoughts about long toss because of study performed on 17 kids for 1 year. The abstract gives very little detail on really anything that went on during the study. They were healthy when they started and that’s all I know about the individuals in the study. Thank you for giving me some scientific data but for all I know, this study could have major flaws or biases from the very beginning of the study. It may not have them, but it’s just as likely that it does, that it doesn’t.

    The study showed added stress to elbow throwing beyond 180 ft. I could not determine the amount of added stress from the abstract. I could use some explanation or help on that. I do, however, view that as a positive because that tells me his/her elbow should be able to handle the workload stress when he/she gets on the mound to pitch. Maybe, I’m dead wrong, but I have a hard time believing it’s a significantly higher amount of stress on the elbow. I’ve seen more torn UCL’s occur while throwing off a mound than while throwing during long toss. That I know for sure.
    It could negatively affect mechanics, but in my humble opinion, I feel our pitchers have sound mechanics. I have no way to prove or disprove it either way.

    Maybe, increasing range of motion a bad way of putting it, but when I have pitchers long toss I want focus on arm extension. You are referring to trunk extension, unless I’m mistaken. I see a huge advantage in a pitcher being at full extension with his arm but releasing from a different point in the arm circle. That’s what he is going to have to do when he tries to get hitters out. Is he just going to hop on the mound and try to throw the ball in one spot over and over?

    Your reference to target shooters, I see your point but let me ask you this. Do 100m sprinters only run 100m sprints to improve their performance. I’m guessing Usain Bolt runs other distances than what he’s required to when he races. So, according to the principle of specificity he is training incorrectly, and we should call and let him know.

    Two final thoughts, if science has been proving long toss is ineffective and dangerous for years, please refer me to these studies that prove it. One abstract describing a year long study on 17 healthy athletes isn’t going to get it done for me. The other thought is, in pitching confidence is almost everything. I firmly believe that being able to hit a target from 240+ ft is, 9 times out of 10, going to help a young man believe in himself that he is going to be able to do the same thing from 60’6″. That alone makes long tossing worth it, in my opinion.

    I believe what I believe because I see it work and no one has given me overwhelming evidence to believe otherwise.

  12. Dick Mills Reply

    Graham,

    Comparing target shooting, which is what pitching is a form of, to sprinting simply diverts the discussion.

    But are you suggesting that running other distances, which must be run at a slower pace, would help a sprinter maintain or improve his sprinting speed? So if you want to run faster also work at running slower…just as you believe throwing at longer distances of 240 ft. will aid in hitting a target at 60’6″ throwing downhill. Do you think you could find one target shooter to believe that theory?
    ____________________________________

    The following comes from my co-author Dr. Brent Rushall, (of our book The Science And Art Of Baseball Pitching)who is one of the more distinguished sports scientists in the world…having authored 49 books.

    ________________________________________

    “What are the skill elements in long-toss that match those of pitching? If there are similar elements how does the body learn to transfer those elements between the two activities? What is the mechanism that provokes the body to make such a transfer? Of course, the answer is that there is no transfer. The body is equipped to tell the difference between activities and is not equipped to realize similarities. Because of this, similar activities lead to performance confusion/degradation rather than performance refinement. When activities are similar, such as with different pitches, many specific trials with discriminatory feedback are required to teach the pitcher the subtle differences between the activities so that the individual pitches can be thrown with admirable levels of control and not display irrelevant elements of the others.”
    Dr. Brent Rushall, Ph.D

    1. The long toss release angle is upward at anywhere from 20-40 degrees (not 45 degrees as is theoretically the best) while a pitcher throws flat or down mostly and has to organize all the segments to finish to project the ball almost flat or down. Thus, each demands a different trunk angle and support-leg position to achieve the required release angle.

    2. With a long toss, you are not restricted as to what can occur at the start or finish of the throw and so actual forward momentum from a few lead up steps and follow through steps compensates for the single-leg and big trunk momentum of pitching (which is a substitute for the linear velocity developed from long-toss “running”).

    3. Often with long toss, the aim is to get rid of the ball as soon as possible and that abbreviates some movements as long as the ball gets to its target with as little elapsed time as possible. Long tossers do not take the seconds that are usually consumed in the wind-up actions of many modern pitchers. While a pitcher wants substantial ball velocity, that can take as long as one likes but that is not what long toss or outfield throwing is about.

    You just have to say “no matter what is hoped from long toss, or believed occurs in long toss, the brain does not record anything of value that is transferred into the movement patterns that are required for pitching”. That is the reality of it. That is the science of it. This fact has been known for well over a half a century. We included in our book on page 8.2:

    Some historical elements in the development of the specificity of neuromuscular patterning. The most impressive early discussions (~90 years ago) mostly involved Frank Gilbreth’s recount of Sperry’s work, which disputed Poppelreuter’s Law. That work showed when an arm was extended vertically downward and the index finger slowly traced a 12-inch circle, a pattern of sequential firing of the shoulder muscles was displayed with most muscles assuming a propulsive (agonistic) function at one time and a control (antagonistic) function at another. However, when the same circle-tracing was sped-up, the sequence and functions of all the muscles were totally changed despite an observer seeing the “same action” done at a faster velocity (Arthur Slater-Hammel, personal communication, October, 1967).

    Frances Hellebrandt (1958, 1972) summarized much of the main implications of the research on motor learning specificity that existed before the late 1950s. There has been little new information on this topic since then. Some of her conclusions and their implications are listed below.

    “If muscles participate in more than one movement, as most do, they must be represented diffusely in the cortex. Presumably different centers connect via internuncial neurons with groups of peripherally disposed motor units. . . . motor units are activated in a definite sequence which varies with the movement elicited. As the severity of effort increases, those involved primarily in one movement may be recruited to assist in the performance of others” (Hellebrandt, 1972, p. 398).
    Dr. Brent Rushall, Ph.D

  13. James Dey Reply

    Dick,
    I believe that if I was to try hard enough that I would be able to find more than an adaquate number of shooters that believe in shooting longer range than their discipline. This being because if they are confident in hitting targets up to say 1000 meters then when they get back to what they normally shoot they will feel very confident in their shooting abilities.
    However, I also believe that you are also diverting the conversation by moving from long toss to shooting a gun. There are major differences between shooting a gun and throwing a baseball. In fact, alsmost nothing is the same. A gun has a bullet with a predetermined amount of ammunition inside and these bullets rarely change from bullet to bullet. When a baseball player is long tossing the amount of power that they put into their arm will change, no matter how hard they try to keep it the same. The brain does so many calculaitons without the body actually knowing that shooting a gun and throwing a baseball have nothing in common.
    If you were to put any animal is a cage that limited its grown would the animal grow larger than the cage allowed it to? No, it wouldn’t. This is what not long tossing is doing to the body, and the arm. By allowing the arm to stretch its muscles by throwing at long distances the muscles are allowed to strengthen themselves and become longer, which helps a player throw harder and for a longer period of time. And while mechanics are nothing, or very slightly similar, between long toss and throwing off the mound, the thought process is different too. When I take the mound I am not telling myself that I should be throwing the ball high into the hair to hit my target becuase the target is 60’6″ away and I can hit that target while keeping a downhill plane.
    I also think that your point of saying that running for a longer period of time is done at a slower pace is irrelevant. If someone runs the 100m, should they not run longer than that so when they have to push themselves to gain endurance and speed? Or are you saying that if I know that my coach would never leave me out on the mound past say 100 pitches that I should condition my arm to only throw 100 pitches? A person should condition their body to go above and beyond what they are required to do so that when they have the stress of the situation put on them, their body is more than capable of doing what they task desires. I would seriously doubt that any long distnace runner than runs marathons only runs the 26.2 miles required. If they are serious about trying to win the race then they will run longer than that right before their race because there is more stress when running a race than when you go out and run to get in shape.

    • James,

      Pitching to control the ball is similar to target shooting. Both require specific target practice for the brain to learn to hit a specific target. Each distance or target requires a different pattern for the brain to learn. Working on one does not transfer to the other. That is the science behind it.

      I do not think you would find one world class shooter who would practice at different distances to improve his specific distance. Makes absolutely no sense based on the Principle Of Specificity which says you will become better only doing what you practice. Another big reason that long toss or flat ground pitching do not help pitchers improve to get more hitters out.

      How does long toss produce something more (more range of motion) than full effort pitching since full effort pitching actually takes the body through a longer range of motion than long toss since in long toss your release point is shorter and full effort pitching positions the ball closer to the target?

      You have spent too much time listening to the postulations from Jaeger’s website. Total nonsense which he cannot back up with any evidence.

  14. Frustrated pitcher Reply

    So Dick, I guess if Trevor Bauer didn’t do long toss nearly every single day he would be throwing 103mph instead of 98mph, despite being about 6’1 175lbs? It’s just an accident that Bauer has never had an injury, can throw in the high 90′s despite his small stature, and is one of the best pitching prospects while citing long toss as the key to his success and preparation? While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it pains me to see young pitchers come to websites such as these just because this guy pitched in the minors. It’s wrong to say whatever you want with zero evidence just because you’re playing the professional card. There are scores of people who disagree with you because you’re wrong. From my personal individual experience, and also seeing the development of my teammates and after reading the testaments of many professionals, long toss is essential to building arm strength and velocity. Are all these testimonials wrong? http://www.jaegersports.com/Player-Testimonials/ Why is it that most major league clubs encourage pitchers to take part in long toss? It’s wrong to discourage kids from doing something that elevates their game when you have no proof that long toss does anything other than help increase arm strength and durability. And rather than deleting the critical comments trying to show how wrong your philosophy really is, if your philosophy is right like you say it is, publish the comment, and write a response to prove me wrong.

    • There continues to be zero evidence that long toss contains any value for improving arm strength or velocity based on the current research that was released Jan. 2011 by the American Sports Medicine Institute.

      The question remains for all those who advocate or use long toss. What is the mechanism that long toss provides that full effort pitching from the mound does not. I have addressed that question to all the long toss experts and advocates since 20d04 and not one is able to provide a sensible answer.

      Can you?

      Because professional pitchers use long toss (or weight training or flexible tubing or weighted balls) does not provide evidence that it works. Many pitchers who do long toss remain 85 mph pitchers such as Barry Zito or Jamie Moyer or a long list of pitchers at the MLB level who do not throw 90 mph plus.

      If something works it should work for everyone. It does not appear to be working well for all the high school and college pitchers whose velocity remains mediocre or below average.

      Also, long toss has not proven to help increase the release velocity of “weak armed” outfielders whose arms are not as “strong” as right-fielders. If long toss worked to improve release velocity why does it not work for all outfielders?

      Sports science studies have proven that the non-throwing arm is just about as strong as the throwing arm. Of course this proves that throwing does not build arm strength as most believe.

      Pitching mechanics and throwing from the mound is the key to velocity.

    • Actually there are thousands who disagree with my views on long toss, weight training, weighted balls, flat ground pitching, how to throw bullpens, pitch counts etc.

      Alan Jaeger, still cannot answer the question – What is the mechanism in long toss that improves velocity that a pitcher cannot get by throwing full effort bullpens from the mound. Can you answer that?

      The ASMI study released in Jan. 2011 concluded that long toss does not improve velocity, reduce the risk of injury (actually proven to increase elbow stress) and does interfere with normal pitching mound mechanics.

      Can you provide any evidence except hearsay that counters that?

      Unfortunately neither MLB pitchers or most coaches read sports science research. Players have been lead to believe that long toss has been proven…when it has not.

      In our book The Science And Art Of Baseball Pitching – 624 pages (now out of print) we provided over 500 scientific studies to counter most of the nonsense about long toss, weight training, drills, flat ground pitching, weighted balls etc that are advocated by most belief based coaches and instructors.

      The large majority of high school and college pitchers, most of whom long toss, are still looking to improve their pitching velocity because long toss has not worked.

      If it worked so well why are so many pitchers looking for more velocity. It also has not helped the long list of MLB pitchers who still throw in the 80′s and would like to throw in the 90′s. Why has it not worked for all those pitchers?

  15. Graham Johnson Reply

    Dick,
    The majority of the the time you keep referring to one study done. 17 pitchers studied for one year. This is the study that is supposed to sway our thinking when it comes to long toss? Also, I think you are going overboard with your Principle of Specificity. I love the fact that you are trying to use science to back your beliefs. We always need more of that, but science is not the be all, end all of pitching. What about the mental aspect of pitching? Can you honestly tell me that if you threw a ball from well beyond 60’6″ and hit your target, that it won’t give you more confidence to be able to do it at 60’6″. You may be right, maybe hitting that target really doesn’t benefit much from a physical standpoint, but from the mental aspect how can it not help you?

    Also, pitchers will always be looking for more velocity. I have worked with very few pitchers who did not want increased velocity, NO MATTER how hard they were throwing at the time.

  16. Dick Mills Reply

    Graham,

    Saying that I am going overboard with the Principle of Specificity is like saying someone is going overboard with the Law of Gravity.

    It is a law in sports science that has been proven over decades…not one year.

    “Can you honestly tell me that if you threw a ball from well beyond 60’6″ and hit your target, that it won’t give you more confidence to be able to do it at 60’6″.

    This is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with your confidence but everything to do what your brain has learned to do It does not learn how to hit 60’6″ if you practice beyond that…no matter how much you would like to believe it.

    Does the Law of Gravity work at only certain heights? I don’t think so. It works whether you believe it or not.

    You are free to believe what you want but if something has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt for several decades…then you are saying that you will follow what has not been proven. Does that make sense to you?

    If the instructors continue to follow their beliefs then we can understand why pitchers are not able to maximize their potential and why so many are getting injured.

  17. Graham Johnson Reply

    Dick,

    The Law of Gravity is always at work, but it’s effect, depending on several factors, can be very different.

    I understand, getting on the mound may be the very best exercise a pitcher can do, but that is not feasible for every program to be able to do, everyday. Especially, to get the desired workload within a certain timeframe.

    I am just having a hard time feeling there is no other way for a pitcher to see improvements by only pitchig/throwing from 60’6″. Especially, when I have seen pitchers gain velocity and , more importantly, stay healthy while using a long toss program and philosophy. I’m young, I get it, but for now I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

  18. John Michaud Reply

    Graham,

    Trevor Bauer throws 98 because his delivery is highly explosive. He exhibits many of the principles Dick uses to help pitchers improve- back leg drive, fast tempo, and hip/knee brace up upon landing.

    • Graham,

      Trevor Bauer was 91-94 mph last night in his home debut and not very impressive at all. He looked like a thrower…not a pitcher.

      • Graham Johnson

        Dick,

        Didn’t know 91-94 was terrible velocity and that young pitchers never have bad starts or seasons.

    • Graham Johnson Reply

      John,

      Never cited Trevor Bauer as my guy to mold yourself after, as a pitcher. Couldn’t agree more with everything you stated about him. I have never said Long Toss is the key to everything in pitching. I simply believe it to be very beneficial.

      • Graham, Long toss is beneficial in what way?

  19. Dick Mills Reply

    Graham,

    Yes…the law of gravity works every time. So don’t all the laws of science including the Principle of Specificity.

    Why doesn’t long toss then work for everyone since the large majority of high school and college pitchers use it and most of those are still looking to improve their velocity.

    You can believe what you wish but neither you nor Alan Jaeger can explain why long toss is better than full effort mound pitching.

    Nor can you or anyone else explain with any intelligence how long toss improves pitching in any way. You have not done that so far in any of your comments.

    Some people still think the earth is flat.

  20. Dick Mills Reply

    Graham,

    I could not agree more. You make some good points.

    However, Bauer was hyped to be throwing upper 90′s by the Diamondbacks. A drop in velocity like that is a red flag. From 97 down to 91 mostly…with an occasional 94 from what I observed. Just trying to find what the cause might be so that other pitchers and coaches might be able to diagnose a drop in velocity. And why such an elaborate and non-specific warm-up routine makes little sense and why it should be questioned.

    As I said, I like the way Baurer throws. His quick movement toward the plate. I think that is very deceptive. However, I did not observe very good command of his fastball at all. Again, what could be the cause – an extreme non-specific long toss routine? Too fatigued from that routine? Not enough pre-game bullpen pitches focused on location? I don’t know but all those things should considered and questioned by coaches.

  21. TJ Reply

    Dick,

    I used to be a big long tosser (one of the reasons as to why i believe i hurt my elbow).

    Like the long tosser above, i look very similar at ball release in terms of trunk flexion.

    I was wondering what drills/things i could focus on to help improve my trunk flexion at ball release.
    Also,
    is there any mechanical changes i could make earlier in my delivery to help improve trunk flexion.

    thanks,
    TJ

  22. Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more,
    thanks for the info!

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