There are approximately 900 ligaments in the human body, but when it comes to baseball the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is probably the most famous. Although most would be hard pressed to define what a ligament actually does, the perceptive success of repairing ligament damage has created such a positive aura, I sadly have heard players and their parents contemplate Tommy John surgery with hopes it will increase their velocity?
Are you crazy?
I am not here to judge anyone who had or needs to have TJ elbow surgery, but I am very disappointed in those looking for the easy-way [a simple fix] versus finding out and doing what it takes to be good. Too often we only see Velocity instead of working to get there. Dr. Andrews told a recent player the surgery fixes the issue, while the rehab regiment is what creates the velocity.
Yet too few of us ever comment about the college coach throwing 145 pitches in a losing effort, a 12 year who threw a no hitter and a curve pretty much every pitch, as well a kid who at 13 was throwing 86-87 with horrible pitching mechanics. No doubt, bad, but what I heard next was worse!
“C’mon, why change anything he is winning.” In fact the 12 year old’s parents let me know his son had not lost a game in his last two years, “he’s 24-0.” I just shook my head and left the game.
What did shock me and is the reason for this blog is when Dr. Andrews told USA Today Sports, “…high school kids outnumber the professionals [getting Tommy John Surgery].” It gets worse. He said, “…the success rate of the surgery on children is lower than it is for adults… and 25% to 30%…aren’t playing baseball two years later.” To this day I do wonder if the 12 year and his parents figured it out, or …
Dr. Andrew’s 25-30% statement dispels any value in the rumor, have the surgery and you’ll throw harder.
The late Dick Schoonover, past advisor to Dr. Andrews, told me playing too many games was a direct result of why so many pitchers were getting injured today. He went to say, “They just pitched, played SS, and then pitched again.” Worse, instead of working on technique during the Off-season they felt a need to pitch once or twice a week indoors off a mound. “Less games and more time spent working on technique,” he used to say.
Pitching is simple!
Getting Velocity is Simple!
Provided you stay to the FACTS! Just the Fact’s…”
The answer is simpler than mandatory rules on pitch count; it is about being a parent, about being a coach.
- Focus on the right actions it takes to gain the right outcome.
- Focus on the right pitching mechanics and your ability to hit your spots with your fastball.
Schooney’s training regiment, a combination of dry work, flat ground, and long-toss, was a critical approach to playing catch while focusing strictly on release point. Basically throwing efficiently will help you reach your maximum velocity.
In the words of John Wooden, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.”
Until next Blog,