The "intent" to throw hard

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August 31, 2010 12:49 PM

I think the intent to throw @ high velocity is important to be able to throw fast (hard). Son went to a high school that had graduated Jess Todd (in the majors). Behind him was a kid who threw 93. My son began throwing 90s and was one year behind the 93. Logan Chitwood was one year behind my son and he was drafted last draft & is in the 90s. Coincidence or pattern?
 
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August 31, 2010 2:00 PM

Throwing at those velocities is genetic. Could be a coincidence or a fast twitch guy getting around. Eek
 
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August 31, 2010 2:46 PM

I think there's something to intent to throw hard but I don't really see that it correlates to the scenario you've posted without more information.

Personally I think that intent to throw hard can help develop a pitcher's velocity relative to a pitcher with the same genetic potential who seldom if ever tries to throw hard.

The question is always the trade off between developing velocity and developing control/command.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 3:18 PM

quote:
Originally posted by baseballpapa:
I think the intent to throw @ high velocity is important to be able to throw fast (hard). Son went to a high school that had graduated Jess Todd (in the majors). Behind him was a kid who threw 93. My son began throwing 90s and was one year behind the 93. Logan Chitwood was one year behind my son and he was drafted last draft & is in the 90s. Coincidence or pattern?


Jess Todd doesn't throw hard to get people out, but rather a cut fastball he hides well. He may have developed greater velocity than when he was first drafted, but he never threw higher than 90 his first year or two in pro ball. He also was traded to a team that needed him, where as in the cardinal organization he would have sat for awhile, no matter how hard he threw. He was on the 40 man roster I think (for show off trade purposes)before his trade, which means, he was going to be in the mix in Cleveland. His one of the lucky ones who is learning on the ML field.

I don't think intent has much to do with it, son hit 97 the other day and he said he had no intent of throwing it that hard and was surprised, as he was the other few times he did.

I am a firm beleiver in living in your comfort zone, then reaching back and giving it all you got when the situation arises, other than that, as I understand, throwing harder before you are capable of can cause injury (not necessarily to arm or shoulder either). I think in the cases you mentioned, it was there, development and proper conditioning, mechanics brings it to the surface.
JMO.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 4:17 PM

I gunned him in JUCO and I don't remember if he touched 90. His coach told me he threw mid-90s. However, I don't know if my son would have thrown as hard as he did if he wasn't pushed by McCrory. He was often 93 when I gunned him as a senior. I think McCrory was pushed by Todd.

Some of the higher velocities by my son were not very functional. I believe he hit them because of his intent to throw harder.

TPM, you had mentioned (I think) that your son's college coach worked on getting his velocity up for the draft. I thought that interesting. I also wonder if his intent to flash the velo wasn't a contributing factor in getting up where it is.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 4:41 PM

I think high velocity is partly genetic, partly the result of applying yourself.

Not every one can hit 90, but a lot more could than do.

I suspect someone at your high school, or perhaps a private coach they shared, knew how to get guys to maximize their potential.

What you may see at times is someone works at raising their ceiling in a workout bullpen. Later, they pitch in game circumstances and they don't focus on throwing hard, just on executing the pitch. As throwing hard becomes more and more the norm for them, and as their musculature grows stronger to get more done, the game MPH goes up as well. Obviously I cannot know for sure but what TPM reports as to her son's experience fits this pattern.

As for a guy like Jess Todd, it's also not uncommon for guys to lose some MPH as they move forward in pro ball. Sometimes this is an impact of pitching every fifth day instead of once a week. Sometimes you just wear down. Sometimes you stop throwing max effort all the time in order to focus on your other stuff or to try to improve movement and command.

Personally, having worked both with HS age kids and younger kids, I am constantly amazed at how many kids simply do not throw properly. A lot of guys start out doing something quirky and just resist every attempt to get them on track. Sometimes they end up pitching and they become that funky off speed guy, so they never even really try to maximize their velocity. If you give me 50 youth players drawn at random, and if every one of them would do exactly as I asked, I could raise their average MPH significantly in a 6-month period, no doubt in my mind. But in real life, 10 of them would refuse, 10 of them would have their parents send me nasty e-mails telling me off on one theory or the other, 10 of them would abandon the program, 10 of them would show some improvement and 10 of them would show a lot of improvement.

The most genetically gifted out of those last 10 make up the Jess Todds and Logan Chitwoods of the world.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 7:26 PM

During the years those guys played,there was little continuity of coaching and there were three different coaches during that stretch.

The Kilgore conditioning and training program was the constant physically and they are outstanding.

I appreciate the comments.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 8:44 PM

What I meant was as far as I know, he wasn't a high velo guy when he got to pro ball. Much discussion about he didn't need the velo to get people out, but rather with a bit of a different delivery he hid everything so well he was good. He and Dave were roomies for a brief time in their first season of pro ball.

Midlo, players who don't want to make changes to make them better or more attractive to scouts and coaches are afraid they will lose the edge (and this does happen while making those changes). The parents are afraid also. The player willing to make the necessary changes, suffer in their game for awhile will most likely succeed. I do beleive that is why some make it and some don't, they have the talent, just not willing to do what they have to improve their game.
 
 
 
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August 31, 2010 11:27 PM

Just to clarify I believe there's a right time to throw hard and that is during the development process. That is in contrast to Midlo's funky off speed guy who never tries to throw hard. He's right that guy may never develop his fastball to it's max potential.

There are very few pitchers who can be successful pitching within 1 or 2 mph of their max velocity but practicing at times at those velocities is what can help a pitcher get near their genetic limit. There are different ways to get there. Extreme long toss can help some pitchers. Over/under balls can help some pitchers. Throwing hard off the mound in the pen can help some pitchers. Throwing hard in scrimmages can help some pitchers. It just comes natural to some pitchers and they don't need to do anything special to get to their velocity.

There are pitchers whose mechanics can be adjusted to get more velocity and there are pitchers who by trying to throw hard and getting feedback of some sort will automatically adjust their mechanics to do whatever is getting them that bit extra velocity.

Once you've got the velocity then most likely you are going to have to work to improve your command and movement. In most cases that is going to mean a working velocity 3 or 4 mph below the max velocity. I just think it is better to be throwing 93-94 and be working 3 to 4 mph below max than throwing 83-84 and working 3 to 4 mph below max.

As far as what TPM said about throwing 97 coming out of nowhere I'll certainly agree with that. I've gotten my son at 88 mph out of nowhere in games when he's working 83-85. On the other hand, that followed working on throwing hard where he was able to get up to 88 during a pen and figure out what he was doing differently to get there because he had feedback. He had control during the game but I doubt if he knew what he did to get more velocity on that one pitch. He had little control trying to hit a number on the gun in the pen but he did know what he did different when he threw harder.
 
Last edited by CADad August 31, 2010 11:29 PM
 
 
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August 31, 2010 11:55 PM

Bum Jr. works in the upper-80's. Sometimes 88-89 sometimes 85-87, when he's starting. He'll even change speeds on his fastball going 82 one pitch, 88 the next then 85. But that's not his max speed. He threw a nine-inning complete game 83-87 and two days earlier threw a "bullpen" inning gunned at 92 and struck out the side. Any pitcher has to learn how to pace himself.

I think if you're consistently 90 you're predictable and will get hit. Watch a lot of MLB starters and you'll see mid-80's followed by a few popped at 91-92. It's not only velocity but change of velocity.

BTW TPM.. 97! That's really great to hear. Glad to hear your son is healthy.
 
Last edited by Bum August 31, 2010 11:57 PM
 
 
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September 1, 2010 9:46 AM

I gunned a game in Oklahoma at a tournament when my son had graduated from high school and was going to go to college. Both teams had all kids either drafted or going to college to play.

The starting pitchers were both about 85 MPH at the top end, one right-handed the other wrong-handed. The lefty's dad asked me what I had on his kid. I told him & he was surprised, said he is usually 90. [Every kid in Texas throws 90 mph.]

I have gunned a long time and many pitchers. Unless there is injury, I don't get wide velocity reads. I can get an 82 - 90 when the pitcher cuts it, two seams it, etc. but the top doesn't usually read different unless there is a physical problem with the kid. Some high reads are when the bat touches the ball -- I just don't count those.

I do believe the intent to throw hard is important to throwing hard. I think it should be taught as the intent to throw "fast" and not "hard." Hard is often tense and the ball comes out slower.

The other problem with the intent to throw fast or hard is what you all have said -- (1) you may not throw well & (2) it may not be what is best for health reasons. I believe my kid had too much of an intent to throw hard and never really had a pitcher's mentality. The second one does, but he is only 12. The first one was really a hitter, position player who could throw hard so was made into a pitcher. Looking back, he should have hit and would have had a plus arm in the outfield.

I want to convey this so that some parents can temper their desire for the kids to throw hard -- it may not be the right approach. I agree with TPM on what she said above and believe her kid is on purpose or by accident being brought along very well. I also have a feeling that CaDad's kid will pitch for a long time from the comments he has made.

I look forward to watching these players in MLB. I can say I knew the parents from this website.
 
 
 
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September 1, 2010 11:05 AM

I ignore the out of family readings on a hit ball.
 
 
 
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September 1, 2010 12:54 PM

That is funny.

Casey pitched his sophomore year of high school in a preseason tournament with a 20 mph wind in his face and 45 degree temperature. He was topping at 83. My gun all of a sudden showed 95 mph and the dad's behind me were really impressed until I let them know that the hitter just "rocked" my son with a 95 mph bullet to the left-center field fence. I put that down as a 95 mph pitch. Smile
 
 
 
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September 1, 2010 4:32 PM

Intent to throw hard breeds one to throw harder. I honestly believe that. Competetion between hard throwers also is the same and instills intent to throw hard in a pitchers veins. There has never been such a thing as a pitcher who at one point or another doesn't giddy up their fastball with the intent of throwing it harder. It is those times that build velocity. Similar to a weight lifter, if he never tries to lift more, he never will be able to.

I have always told my pitchers that if they want to throw harder, they have to practice throwing harder- it really is that simple. Intent to throw harder is the number 1 criteria for someone who wants to throw harder and ends up throwing harder. Pitchers who throw hard don't just get that way from being lazy with no effort or intent.
 
 
 
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September 1, 2010 5:47 PM

FWIW, those 96-97 have come on one pitch, the last one on the third SO, bases loaded, had to get the hitter out on a SO, so the intent had to be there to throw hard, but he didn't know it until later and he was surprised by it. Dennis' mantra for DK is reach back, when you have to, other than that live in your comfort zone on your FB and stay consistant, work the corners, stay low in the zone and when you have to, get them to chase a high FB, your philososphy should always be one pitch, one out, use your sinker, slider and let your defense do their job . Of course on some days the comfort zone is greater and on some days it's lessor. If son's FB isn't cooperating he finds trouble.
That may not apply to every pitcher, but that seems to work for him.
 
Last edited by TPM September 1, 2010 5:49 PM
 
 
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September 4, 2010 8:50 AM

quote:
I have always told my pitchers that if they want to throw harder, they have to practice throwing harder- it really is that simple. Intent to throw harder is the number 1 criteria for someone who wants to throw harder and ends up throwing harder. Pitchers who throw hard don't just get that way from being lazy with no effort or intent.


The caveat I would suggest with this is that without proper preparation "just throwing harder" is a recipe for potential problems. I accept and recognize that it is your conviction but I would urge you specifically GGBM to consider the pathway of incremental growth..particularly for the amount of play your son participates at. Even N yman admitted that his program had a conditioning hole in it. Pitching at higher levels is a holistic endeavor..cannot have one without the other, simple intent without supervised moderation and correction imo isn't an efficient method. Let me just pose the example; What if a kid devises a "crutch habit" in his delivery to increase speed but in doing so he starts completely losing accuracy? He's acheived what "just throwing hard" intent has stated..but become less of a pitcher for it. Now to achieve the higher levels he has to "overcome" the "crutch habit" (Things like slinging the glove, head violence as just a couple of examples), without injury and resume the process of fundementally increasing his capabilities..so what you are doing here is acheiving short term success (Potentially throwing harder) at the potential possible expense of the long term success..because let me tell you in high school varsity and beyond..reworking the whole product is nearly impossible due to the incredable speed and pace of events...I'd urge you to really consider this as you progress.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 9:57 AM

JD,
I agree with what you have said, that was the point I was trying to get across up above. I don't ever remember anyone, telling son to "throw harder" when he was young, rather than making the adjustments as the pitchers grows to help in the process of throwing harder. And it takes a long time, years for many to get to that point.
In college, there was a RHP who absolutely was very effective, he was in the 86-88 range, I do believe he racked up more wins than any pitcher in the programs history. His dad was very discouraged that he wasn't getting the attention that the harder throwers were getting for that years draft (90+). So he told him not to listen to the coach, and every time he took the mound he threw his hardest with intent, and he wasn't effective at all (missed his spots and wild). At one point he even lost his start as a starting pitcher, and I heard that Sully had to try to undue the damage which was created, which was too late, the player was drafted in the 30 something round, if he had not tried to intentionally throw hard and mess up his mechanics, he probably would have been a 15-16 round guy and then, most likely after a year or two, been able to throw a bit harder. So my understanding is that you just can't always force the peg into the round whole, (until you have shaved down the sides) throwing harder on purpose, doesn't always serve the purpose it was intended for (making the pitcher a better pitcher).
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 11:32 AM

jd,

I never tell my pitchers, or any for that matter "son, you need to go out there and throw your fricken arm off". I am not advocating that they get out there in games and throw as hard as they can. When they do their long toss, bullpens, etc, in "practice" they should work on trying to throw harder at some point. That is why I said "practice". For instance- Near the end of a bullpen, our pitchers will pony it up and throw some of their last few pitches harder than their normal cruising speed. This is what is meant by practicing to throw harder.


I hope that clarifys things.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 12:36 PM

I'm clear.
I hope you consider what I said. It was a suggestion, that suggestion has had proven healthy success, your way may have plenty of that also. More than one way to train up a pitcher in my estimation.
I recommend that pitchers be able to efficiently and with success deliver a baseball, in order to do that it is important to address all angles as you advance.

quote:
I am not advocating that they get out there in games and throw as hard as they can.
There has never been such a thing as a pitcher who at one point or another doesn't giddy up their fastball with the intent of throwing it harder. It is those times that build velocity. Similar to a weight lifter, if he never tries to lift more, he never will be able to.


No doubt but a lifter who is unprepared to go for his max is just as foolish as a pitcher who on a competitive level is unprepared to go for his. Without it there alot of potential downside.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 1:08 PM

quote:
Originally posted by jdfromfla:
No doubt but a lifter who is unprepared to go for his max is just as foolish as a pitcher who on a competitive level is unprepared to go for his. Without it there alot of potential downside.


Excellent!
There is nothing mentioned about the important development of the pitchers core and lower body, which helps to develop higher velocity. Just the intent to throw harder has no value unless other things develop first. This is leaving out the pitcher who just has the natural ability to throw hard but even then, sooner or later, if the other things don't develop there will be injury.
Interesting, there are lots of pro pitchers that come into pro ball with back problems (quad strains too)as well as arm problems, mostly due to throwing harder than they should. You'll find those are the ones who didn't develop the lower body properly. It's not always about poor mechanics.

My belief is that you never should tell a pitcher to throw harder unless he is ready to do that. Young pitchers do not have the core or leg strength to do so. Most HS pitchers don't either. JMO.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 1:44 PM

Yea, we should just baby our pitchers. Not buying into it. Sorry.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 2:41 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Gingerbread Man:
Yea, we should just baby our pitchers. Not buying into it. Sorry.


Placing a pitcher on a solid conditioning, nutritional and work out program, long toss as well (where you spend more time doing that than just playing to get better) is not babying pitchers. It's preparing them for what is to come later on. You think these guys throw harder because someone just told them to throw harder? You ever wonder why some HS, college and pro players spend endless hours in the gym? They don't do it because they learn more about throwing better pitches.

You changed things you have posted before, you have stated when your son is having trouble on the mound you have told him to throw harder, now it's just the end of a BP session, not understanding which it is? No problem with telling them to end a session with a little more push, their last one of two pitches, but again, that's not what you have posted in teh past.

BTW, babies learn to crawl before the walk, right?
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 5:14 PM

some babies never crawl--they just begin walking
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 5:20 PM

quote:
Originally posted by TPM:
quote:
Originally posted by Gingerbread Man:
Yea, we should just baby our pitchers. Not buying into it. Sorry.


Placing a pitcher on a solid conditioning, nutritional and work out program, long toss as well (where you spend more time doing that than just playing to get better) is not babying pitchers. It's preparing them for what is to come later on. You think these guys throw harder because someone just told them to throw harder? You ever wonder why some HS, college and pro players spend endless hours in the gym? They don't do it because they learn more about throwing better pitches.

You changed things you have posted before, you have stated when your son is having trouble on the mound you have told him to throw harder, now it's just the end of a BP session, not understanding which it is? No problem with telling them to end a session with a little more push, their last one of two pitches, but again, that's not what you have posted in teh past.

BTW, babies learn to crawl before the walk, right?


There are many aspects to being a complete pitcher both mentally and physically. You know that as well as me or anyone else who has a son who pitches. I just get the feeling sometimes that I post information and people want to critique it thinking that is "only" what I teach. What I was getting at is that "besides" all of the other performance conditioning, pitchers have to actually try to throw harder if they are going to ever throw harder. Many advocate a long toss program where they work themselves further and further and harder and harder gradually. The main purpose of the long toss program is to gradually build up the strength from conditioning to throw harder and more consistantly at that harder velocity.

So, when I say- "if you want to throw harder, you have to practice throwing harder", it means that besides all the other conditioning they should be doing as pitchers, they need to apply the mentality of actually thinking about and trying to "throw harder" when they practice pitching/throwing.
 
 
 
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September 4, 2010 6:54 PM

The intent to throw gas is no different than the intent to mash. Its a mindset imo. I believe you have to have the intent to throw the s__ out of the baseball. And then as you mature in the game you learn the finer points of pitching. Yes some kids are born with great arms and can throw hard. But learning to throw harder comes with the mindset of working to throw harder.

I believe you will never be too fast. You will never throw too hard. You will never hit it too hard. You will never play too hard.

I have helped many kids reach their full potential while they were in my program. At least I believe I did. And building arm strength , learning to throw the baseball as hard as you possibly can comes with the intent to throw hard.

You can throw the baseball hard. But I think you have to do it to do it. Its no different than working to get faster. You have to run as fast as you can in order to run faster. There are many aspects to pitchers learning to throw harder. The intent to do it is one of them. JMO
 
 
 
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September 5, 2010 1:21 AM

Golf & tennis pros used to teach to get the ball in play & don't be concerned about velocity. It is the opposite now. They teach hart or fast first & accuracy later.

The reason is you must time your lower & upper body to get maximum power. Same with pitching.
 
 
 
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September 5, 2010 8:40 AM

quote:
I just get the feeling sometimes that I post information and people want to critique it thinking that is "only" what I teach



The first comment I had was that I was adding a caveat..a stipulation or warning (Addressing your comment) of the need for prep because you just threw the cliche out, as if this was the "simple answer" to how to acheive velocity.
Logically the intent is an essential point, a base ingrediant (So I did/do agree but wished to add to the thought...taking it critically is something you'll have to work on..not everyone is on you)..can't have velocity without it...but it isn't as simple as that. TPM is spot on though...the very fastest my son ever threw..he felt completely effortless..it happens with the young Mr. Kopp and my son..and many many pitchers that I know..so perhaps the more logical road may be to increase the physical totality and work for acheiving the highest levels of EVERY aspect..not just velo. You never addressed my points on the building of "crutch habits" that this sort of "wide open" approach facillitates.
 
 
 
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