Making a List & Checking it Twice – Your Off-Season Pitching Checklist
The ‘making a list and checking it twice” season is upon us.
If you are a pitcher…or a father or coach of a pitcher…your off-season checklist is another list that should not be overlooked. The weeks before practices and games resume are your most precious weeks and should be used wisely. It’s never too late to start…so if you have forgotten something, get started now!
Off-season should be about repair, wise use of off-season time, and planning for the next season.
- Did you restore balance to both shoulders? (they should look the same by now in terms of height and size)
- Did you build the external rotator of the rotator cuff of the pitching arm?
The shoulders take a beating during the season…with the dominant shoulder getting way more use than the non-dominant shoulder. Off-season should be about getting them back to symmetry.
The external rotator of the rotator cuff is usually in need of restoration due to the deceleration stresses it undergoes. It usually needs to be restored back in terms of size and strength.
Wise use of off-season time:
- Did you have your mechanics from your last game analyzed so you could put together a plan for improvement?
- Did you remember to include your elbow/fingers/and wrist in your strength training program
- Did you add in exercises specific to the types of pitches you will be throwing?
Off-setting injuries should always be a priority for the upcoming season. Being sure your mechanics are sound is important. Analysis can predict the potential for injury. It is the most important weapon you have against damage.
The increase in the number of injuries to the elbow is astounding. Next to making sure your elbow mechanics are sound, there is nothing like strength training the elbow to the fingers to send them back into the game ready to go.
Each pitch-type has special needs…particularly when it comes to range of motion. Off-season planning for your pitching arsenal can ensure quality pitches for the season.
Planning for next season:
- Did you get out a calendar and reverse engineer a throwing/pitching schedule?
- Did you think about what issues occurred last season: unusual soreness, an injury, location problems, pitches that didn’t work well? Did you come-up with a plan to create a solution?
While off-season is often used to rest the arm, it is as important to create a sound return to the mound. In order to do that, throwing and pitching have to be resumed with enough time to workout any issues that need to be addressed. Team practices are NOT a time to do that; it should already be handled.
You need time to work up to the pitch counts that you will need to have for the season. Create a plan where you can slowly increase your pitch counts (including the proper rest for the pitch count) and cycle your volume, increasing the number by about 10% each time. If needed, you can always cycle your pitch counts down again before the season. Remember, bullpens are for proper conditioning. Don’t get caught facing a season where you are expected to throw more pitches than what you are conditioned for OR trying to fix mechanics in the middle of a game! Remember, your body repairs and strengthens during your off-days so be sure and learn now how to honor the proper Rest & Recovery Guidelines.
Your NEXT Season Improvement Idea
Make this the year that you have a strict regimen of preparation and restoration for before and after every time you throw or pitch.
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