Each phase leads to the next. Our SSFMA evaluation and corrective exercise program train the entire athlete. We give athletes the tools to prepare their body for the movements required to deliver the ball towards its intended target without structural or functional deficits. Our phase specific program creates the correct neuromuscular coordination required to throw much harder. Understanding the forces on the shoulder and elbow during each of the stress producing phases gives us the knowledge to train the throwing motion correctly. The most appropriate individuals to train athletes are the ones who have to rehabilitate them after they are injured.
Every athlete is different. Designing a phase specific program has taken years to develop and will take monumental effort on your part. Each phase must be perfected in order to move to the next. Throwing protocols do not work. They don’t work unless there is a pathway that ensures that the athlete is using their anatomy efficiently. The throwing motion is complicated and difficult. The key is placing your body in the right position at the right time. We will show you how to position your entire kinetic chain in three dimensional space to provide you with the opportunity to understand how the body works to create force. We will also position your upper and lower extremities during the individual phases of the throwing motion to protect against unnecessary force being placed on the throwing arm that can lead to injury.
They use testimonial after testimonial to validate their programs. Every one of these testimonials involves some athlete that threw slower before and now throws much harder. Some of these programs include instructional videos that compare athletes across a very broad spectrum. These comparisons are usually accomplished by looking at professional athletes and simply stating that by copying their technique you will be able to approximate the professional and throw like them. Some even go so far as to say that if the professional threw the way that they instruct that their velocity and command would increase. We have purchased all of these programs and spoke with the creators of these programs through their blogs with the hope that we would find anyone who actually knew what they were talking about. Unfortunately, we did not find that individual. What we did find were former athletes, scouts, and coaches who had observed throwing for a number of years and who had a cursory understanding of the throwing motion who now believed that they were able to convince someone to purchase a program they created that would make athletes throw harder. These individuals did not have medical degrees nor did they have a complete understanding of neurophysiology or muscular activation. They are all exceptional salesmen. Their websites are filled with baseball terminology and catch phrases that create a perception that entices you to believe that they can take any athlete and make them an instant professional. The percentages speak otherwise. The most disappointing aspect of what we investigated is that much of what they are promoting is wrong and most likely dangerous. I applaud anyone who attempts to assist athletes but am very concerned about what they are providing without medical justification.
There are individuals on the web right now former professional pitchers, college athletes, strength and conditioning coaches that are all trying to invalidate each other in order to substantiate their programs. Many of these individuals use disparaging comments about the specificity of speed training, weighted ball usage, weighted vests, how none of them work to create velocity and then offer a program of weight training or conditioning that is non-specific and in no way related to the necessary muscular balance and functional stability required to accelerate a ball with any force. They also site clinical research to validate the programs they offer. We purchased these programs, contacted these individuals and inquired as to the relevance of the clinical research to their programs and found a surprising lack of understanding of the principles behind the research they cited or the intended purpose of the clinical research in the first place. We find this interesting that the same individuals that say weight training doesn’t work offer weight-training programs. There is only one way to accelerate a ball efficiently and that is to have rotational core stability. Exercises that have nothing to do with rotational core stability do not correlate to baseball and have no functional transference to the movement patterns necessary to throw the ball effectively.
We sent them video of a few of our athletes who had sustained injuries, been discharged from physical therapy, and we now participating in our OAI throwing program. We were contacted back and given informal instruction that did not address any of the compensations or mechanical insufficiencies that we had recognized. What we received was a generic application of imitating professionals that were viewed by these individuals to have correct mechanics. Many of the faults of the throwers that we sent in were obvious from a clinical perspective. We were not surprised to find out that these individuals did not understand the physiology of the throwing motion, nor did they understand how each of the phases of the throwing motion are connected and that many of the compensations we observed were a result of structural and functional strength deficits that predisposed the athlete to the compensations that they had in their throwing motion. This was of great concern to us and it should be to you as well. Just because someone says they know throwing mechanics, have worked with pitchers before, or have a website doesn’t mean they know precisely what they are talking about.
It is impossible to just tell an athlete that they should throw like Josh Bard, Roger Clemens, or Greg Maddux without first addressing weaknesses or imbalances that need to be corrected with the clinical application of exercise.