Long Toss has been used by many coaches and teams as a means to increase arm strength and endurance. There has never been any statistical justification or evidence based research study to support this anecdotal method of training.

Long toss does more damage than good.
Stop Long Toss Immediately OAI Ed Martel

Avoid hurting your arm. Don’t change your angles. Stop long toss now!

Changing the angle of release for an overhead thrower alters the neurological and mechanical recruitment pattern that effectively disrupts the learning curve for accuracy. It also exposes the ligaments of the shoulder to anterior displacement which can have a direct correlation to injury. Specificity of training requires approximation of not only muscle recruitment, but also the environment in which the task is performed. Disrupting the environment confuses the athletes’ movement pattern and muscle memory.

The only thing long toss makes you good at is long toss.

Long toss programs have been advocated for decades with no research or randomized clinical trials to prove that a group of throwers will in any way increase their velocity or endurance participating in such a program. Lengthening the distance an athlete is expected to throw absolutely does not translate to more strength or speed. What it can do is lead to inaccuracy and potentially injury. Baseball is the only sport that retains its ties to outdated training. Elite athletes in other sports do not practice their techniques by training in altered environments. We have never heard of a professional basketball player perfecting their three-point shot by practicing on a twenty foot basket. This makes no sense!

The only way to advance your endurance or speed is to practice as closely as you can to the environment you are expected to perform in.

Every single throw should have a purpose and intent. Practicing accuracy and speed that leads to success can only happen by perfecting your technique. Technique can be improved but it requires repetition and timing. At the OAI, you will understand why you are doing what you’re doing and exactly how to do it!

6 Responses to Stop Long Toss Immediately
  1. With regard to your article, “Stop Long Toss Immediately” how do you recommend dealing with the situation of having a son on a team that practices long toss during practice?

    • overheadathletics 12/02/2017 at 10:49 am Reply

      In most instances where coaches are mandating long toss of their athletes I will instruct the athlete to continue doing it but will tell the athlete to throw no higher than a ten degree angle and bounce the ball. It is a better indicator to see how far you can throw a ball at a consistent angle and does not expose the inferior glenohumeral ligament to as much tensile loading. In rare instances locally I’ve had the coach contact me directly.

  2. That is the idea of long toss… keep the same angle and one hop it if you have too. The name of the article should’ve been stop teaching and using long toss incorrectly. The idea is to do your best not to arch the throw at all. Long toss is not for bringing down the rain. The issue with this article is high school kids who need development will read this and think long toss will hurt them when in fact ACTUAL longtoss will help them as it has generations of baseball players since 1883. I understand the article but the premise behind it is using long toss incorrectly. Thanks for the article though it was well written and insightful.

    • overheadathletics 03/16/2018 at 12:12 pm Reply

      I appreciate your comment. My arguments against long toss originate from the perspective of ligamentous orientation and arthrological joint position. Altering the orientation of the shoulder blade, thoracic spine, glenohumeral ligaments in the presence of high velocity load have an increased potential of causing incremental subluxation which attenuates the ligament most responsible for centering the humeral head in the socket. Anecdotal historical evidence of what throwers have done for generations has no physiological bearing on anatomy. Any exposure to increased stress justified with unproven techniques needs to be evaluated with skepticism and suspicion. There are way better alternatives to long toss that reduce the probability of exposing a developing athlete’s arm to excessive strain that are just as effective. Why risk injury ever?

  3. ligament* orientation. Ligamentous is an unnecessary adjective because you are not giving a description of type of orientation, you are describing the orientation of certain structures, which, in this case, are the ligaments within the shoulder apparatus with which you are concerned. Therefore, it should just be ligament orientation. Also, “arthrological” is not a word. “arthro-” is a latin-based prefix that means “of or relating to a joint or joints”. Therefore the phrase “arthrological joint position” is redundant. It should simply say “joint position. I do not doubt your intelligence at all, I assure you. I am also not doubting whether you have the credentials to make trusted claims or whether you have sound evidence on which your conclusions are based. However, I was very interested to see your answer to the comment from “B Harrell”. I was intrigued by your points about release angles, but “B Harrell”‘s point seemed to be that increasing the throwing distance can be very beneficial as long as players are not using inappropriate release angles in order to get the ball to their partner in the air. I thought this was a valid point, so I read further to see your reply. I am less likely to look further into your claims because of your reply. I feel that you gave no insight into any practical alternative to increasing throwing distance. In fact, you did not address his point at all. It seems that you tried to use unnecessary words with multiple syllables in order to possibly intimidate anyone from questioning your claims, while communicating a cloud of information behind which your actual program could hide. Maybe your program is phenomenal and very successful, but I was very turned off by this response of yours. I do not intend for your to feel disrespected. I only hope that this will encourage you to give clearer, more straightforward responses in the future, so as not to turn away anyone who may genuinely be interested.

    • overheadathletics 10/04/2018 at 7:46 pm Reply

      I apologize if you were not able to understand my response. I’m unsure of what exactly your point of contention is. Athletes will benefit most from training that most closely replicates or approximates what is required in their sport. The staple of our program and my alternative to long toss would be to improve the sequencing of the throw. Thanks for joining in to the discussion, always happy to discuss.


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