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The Truth Behind Velocity Increases

Velocity has become the name of the game in baseball, and that's unlikely to be changing anytime soon. At every level higher and higher velocity is required to be considered for participation. Velocity is recruited, drafted, and signed, while those without it are in for an early retirement. The problem that so many pitchers encounter however, is velocity is highly genetic ( Those with great natural laxity and range of motion to the shoulder throw hard, those without, don't. And so for the motivated but non genetically blessed, the quest begins for a way to bridge the gap. Long toss, weighted balls, band programs, the list goes on, have all been explored. But as so many of the non gifted have found, weighted balls and long toss CAN increase layback in the arm, simulating what the gifted throw with every pitch year in and year out; however, the effects are often slight, and most importantly, often not sustainable. The athlete will often throw 3-5mph harder for a short window (increased layback), but once the body accommodates the stimulus, it's back to square one. Here's the truth about velocity-and you can think back to your own career's journey and see the validity of this-every single SUSTAINABLE increase in velocity comes about only because of a size or strength increase. Think about it. Kids start playing baseball very young, ages 5 or 6 usually. They slowly increase velocity every year, not from their pitching lessons or from any throwing gimmick program, but because each year they naturally get bigger from the maturation process. Those who hit puberty earliest are the little league stars and "top prospects". Then kids often have a bump in the early teen years as their growth spurt kicks in. But oftentimes after 17-18 years old, they fail to gain any further velocity. Failing to gain size beyond what their genetics have dictated, their velocity flatlines. There's always "I hit this this one time" or "at this one showcase I touched", but for consistent sustainable velocity, every increase only came about as a result of getting bigger or stronger. So why aren't more pitchers training and eating like madmen? Many have and have seen great results, and credit their consistent weight room work with their sustained velocity and high durability-Max Scherzer, Cory Kluber, Jake Arrieta etc all come to mind. However too many high school and college pitchers sit around, hoping for some tweak in mechanics or "6 week weighted ball program" to break them through. But who can blame them? There's so much confusion in baseball over what to be doing, and not be doing in the weight room, that many are so paralyzed with disinformation they end up doing nothing at all. The good news is that it's not the rubics cube many are worried it is: if you have the heart to actually train hard (the big if), and consistently, you'll see great results, and the subsequent (sustainable) hair on your fastball you've been missing. 

Semper Fi


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