Hi Dick and Ginny, Quick question for you… I have strained quads in both my legs. I went to the doctor and he gave me ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer, but he’s not a sports guy and didn’t know for how long I should not play baseball, and what stretches to do etc. Do you have any suggestions? Today (Thursday) was better than Wednesday after taking the muscle relaxer but I still have some tightness/soreness, and I told my coach about it and did not play tonight. Wednesday I couldn’t even get down steps or in and out of my car. I think it happened last Thursday when I pitched… in the two weeks previous to that I had only thrown once, and that was just light catch in my yard the day before. I hadn’t been throwing because I was on vacation, and then I had to go the whole game on the mound in an emergency start because we were short on players… probably not the best idea. The next day I was really sore but I thought it was just normal soreness… I continued to play other positions over the next few days, but the soreness never went away, and I think it actually got worse leading up to Wednesday when I couldn’t even move. I could never get loose no matter how much or how often I stretched… it was always tight and just running on and off the field took more effort than normal. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on how long I may want to stay out or what exercises I should do. Thanks! (I have had no arm problems, just the legs) Darrell
I think I get it. I tried this in front of the mirror yesterday and it felt good. It takes care of my balance and also improves my landing alignment which had been slightly closed. It takes care of two things at once. I just wanted to make sure I completely understand… Am I doing this drill because, with bad balance, the foot would not be under the knee as I stride out?
Hi Dick. I’m trying to get back to basics with my mechanics… one of the problems I experienced late last season was, with my high leg kick, I was kicking myself out of balance (like leaning back) somewhat violently. It was kind of alarming when I saw it on film, and very frustrating. I’m just working on keeping everything chin over belt through my leg kick and staying tight and under control when I throw on the side. Is there anything I can do to help work on this other than just monitoring it when I play catch? Maybe the balance beam? Throw off a dyna disc or a towel? Thanks! -Darrell Henry
This weekend I had neck spasms (like a very stiff neck). It could possibly have been a result of the upper body lifting that I did Thursday. It feels better now, but I was wondering if you have any suggestion as to how long I should wait before working out again. I had them last spring but I can’t really remember how long I waited. I don’t think it’s like back spasms where you have to wait two weeks or else it starts up again. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! -Darrell
I can tell when I stretch that my right hamstring is tighter than my left. In fact, at a showcase last September, I tweaked it running the 60-yard dash. Is there anything special that I should do to try to get this hammy more flexible or should I just do the complete program as laid out, and let it take care of itself? When I go to games I see Major Leaguers using these thick bands with which they pull back on their leg. I’m not sure where to get them though – maybe Perform Better? Thanks! -Darrell
I recently saw the Phils in Baltimore and before the game Randy Wolf was doing his side-day throwing and sprints, and he was doing a drill where he’d go into the high-cocked position, pause, and then throw with a flat-back finish while keeping his back foot on the ground. I can’t think of anything he would have been working on other than this back-foot thing. He would pivot his back foot, but not pull it off the ground.
Hi Dick. As you know I have been working on my velocity and it’s not too bad right now. I can’t blow hitters away with just my fastball but it’s not bad. My 4-seamer is an effective pitch for me when I mix speeds well. My 2-seamer, however, has some movement. I’m not sure how much but anyone who catches me tells me it moves. More often than not I think it moves away from a right-handed hitter. (I am a righty.) I usually only end up throwing like 1 or 2 per game because it is definitely a bit slower than my 4-seamer. No one has hit it hard though. They have only taken it for a strike, and hit ground balls on it. Would it be a better idea to start hitters off with the 2-seamer and go 4-seamer inside only after an off-speed pitch or later in the count to try to blow someone away, or should I continue to use my 4-seamer mostly and possibly use the 2-seamer after this? I have taken note on what you’ve said about what Glavine does with the BP fastball and change. I already mix things well with my change-up and curve that have really improved this season. What are your thoughts on how I should mix the two fastballs? Thanks. -Darrell Henry
Hi Dick. I am currently using glove arm action similar to what Ryan uses (and Roy Oswalt and Steve Carlton). My dad was wondering if I should maybe be more compact. He said he can see a bit of a flail. It may not even be that bad. I remember it wasn’t that bad last time we did video, and it wasn’t bad a month ago. I saw Mark Prior on ESPN Sunday talking about his glove arm action. He says he just aims his glove at the target and everything else falls into place behind that. Should I try this approach, like the “jumping jack” arm action you talk about in an attempt to stay more compact? My mechanics were very good during the high school season most of the time. I think they may have gotten out of sync a bit recently because I began to think too much again. Is this something I should mess with? Thanks! Darrell Henry
I think I’ve got it simplified now. Just one quick question though. Obviously it takes effort to generate maximum power, but should I actually be consciously thinking about throwing hard, or should it be a natural instinct? Thanks! -Darrell Henry
Has anyone ever heard not to throw down and in to a lefty? Why do people say this, and is there any truth to this strategy? By not throwing down and in to lefties, am I only cheating myself or is there some truth to this? Thanks. -Darrell Henry
Is it possible that you’re not attacking the hitters the way that you should? Not getting the ball inside may be a mental problem too if you’re afraid to come in on them. I’ve experienced this myself.
Dick, Today I pitched the first 3 innings in a game, and my line was average – not too bad, but could’ve been better. (I didn’t come out after 3 due to lack of success – that’s the way the coach planned it.) There were a couple mistakes that screwed things up for me. At any rate, I sort of felt like I may’ve thrown too many fastballs. I kept with the fastball because they didn’t look like they could handle the good ones – they only hit two of them well and one or both were mistakes. At the same time, I doubt that they could’ve handled my off-speed stuff. In a situation like this, do I mix it up? I guess the name of the game is keeping them off-balance so maybe I should’ve done more of that? Also, the main problem that I had today came from within. As ashamed as I am to admit it because I know it is one of the worst things one can do as a pitcher, I was a little tentative as far as attacking the hitters. There was still some underlying fear of being hit hard again like last year, with this being my first competition since last season. My coach said the FB/CVB looked good, but there was something there that was missing, and he agreed from seeing my body language that this was the problem. Are there any specific mental exercises / affirmations for this particular problem that would help? Or is it just as simple as going right at the catcher’s glove as hard as I can, totally ignoring the hitter? I am still very excited about my future as a pitcher. I was watching the “How to Throw a Bullpen” video, and the part about the pitcher who was successful at a good D1 program, only throwing in the low 80s really caught my attention. In my practice sessions at school and at home, my coach, my dad, and I can tell that all of the off-season mechanical, throwing, and conditioning work has really helped improve my overall skill. My mechanics and velocity are much improved as are my offspeed pitches and location too. I just need to transfer this to the game and overcome that mental block. At least I didn’t beat myself up too much over this one. Thanks for the response! -Darrell Henry
In Week 8 Day 2 the bent over rows are 3 sets (10, 8, 6) of “heavy” weight, while on Wk 8 Day 4 it’s 3×10, 3×8, 3×6. How much lighter should the weight be on Day 4? Also with the sprint 60 yards, jog 60 yards, do you sprint the first 60 and then just continue into the jog or stop and jog back? Thanks. -Darrell Henry
What you’re about to read should come as no surprise, but I found it interesting anyway. I brought the dyna discs into my school’s weight room today for my workout. It was Week 8 Day 1. I was holding either 20 lb. dumbbells in each hand or 25. I can’t remember. Anyway, the last 4 or so my legs were really shaking but before that I was making the squats on the discs look fairly easy having done them for the last year. A couple of my friends were kind of impressed at what I was doing and before long a lot of the football and wrestling guys wanted to know what these discs were all about. One by one people stepped up to try a squat on them with NO weight in their hands and each person lost their balance and couldn’t even complete the squat. These are guys that do your traditional weight room machine workout and as proven today do not have any functional strength or balance. I just thought this was interesting as a sign of what these workouts can really do for you. The program is going very well and it has definitely made me a better athlete in general. -Darrell Henry
I got the red tube from Spri like you told me. (Red tube, Blue ring, Red fig 8 band). I think I was doing possibly the backwards swimming exercise when the first one broke and simulated throwing another time back when I was still doing that exercise, but it broke 3 different times and that was awhile ago (loop attachment, place where tube attaches to handle, finally the tube itself). At the time, I was also using it outside in cold weather. I now use it inside. I then ordered another tube and the only problem so far was last Friday when I was doing very light internal rotations to warm-up before throwing and a piece broke off of the handle that I was not holding, and I wasn’t even using that handle as an attachment; I was using the loop attachment. I have no idea how that happened. As far as how often I use it, I always use it for the rotator cuff exercises that are in the conditioning booklet and I do stretch it pretty far on the internal rotations because they seem fairly easy to me. Often times I must use it for the one arm lat pulls or the seated cable rows if I can’t get into the weight room at school. I also use it for the bicep cable curls. -Darrell Henry