As a baseball player having a strong accurate arm is critical. It doesn't matter if you are a pitcher or a position player you need to build arm strength. There are some different ways to do this one is lifting weights and packing on lean muscle to gain arm strength. Which we will discuss in later posts. Another way is a long toss program. A such program can help you gain arm strength and condition your body to the stresses of throwing a baseball but that also come with some sessions of light throw to build up to that point. Also remember as baseball players before we pickup a ball or bat we need to warm up properly with dynamic stretches that get the blood flowing and muscles, joints, and tendons ready for baseball. I have a article that talks about a long toss program given to me by Larry Cicchiello called The Long Toss: A Pitcher Will Benefit Tremendously From Long Tossing!
It may help you decide if long toss is for you. The "long toss" is simply a throwing session where you start out fairly close to your throwing partner, then gradually increase the distance between the two of you. You finish the drill by then gradually decreasing the distance until you are back to the distance you originally started from.
Many very good authorities believe that the best way for a pitcher to build arm strength and increase the speed on the fastball is by making very good use of this fabulous drill. It is totally acceptable to take a couple of steps when long tossing.
You can approach it basically the same way as if you are trying to throw a runner out from the outfield. You don't want to be throwing fly balls when long tossing. A trajectory that goes a little bit up and down is okay but try to keep it as low as possible.
How To Properly Long Toss:
First, be advised that you may have to work yourself up to the distances listed below and be patient until you can comfortably work up to these distances. Adjust distances downward for younger pitchers. Be extremely cautious with both the distances and the number of throws. This is not a competition of any type between you and your throwing partner and do not overexert yourself!
You and your throwing partner should be sure to loosen up your arms before doing the drill.
Possible Distances When Long Tossing:
60 feet apart--6 throws 90 feet apart--8 throws 120 feet apart-10 throws 90 feet apart--8 throws 60 feet apart--6 throws
Remember not to overexert yourself and find distances and number of throws that are comfortable for you! I would not recommend long tossing on two consecutive days. If you have a somewhat serious session, I would take two days off before long tossing again.
During the season, I would recommend long tossing only occasionally. Some pitchers don't like to long toss at all during the season and love it in the off season.
It's going to come down to your personal preference as to how often you "long toss" and don't overdo it.
Long Toss In "OFF" Season:
In the off season, many pitchers use this drill every other day and gradually increase the repetitions to develop arm strength. Several outstanding professional pitchers have changed their off season throwing strategy and incorporated more "long toss" and less throwing from the mound. One M.L.B. pitcher actually gained 5 m.p.h. on his fast ball after increasing the amount of time spent on the drill and decreasing his throwing sessions from the mound. The drill has definitely grown in popularity the last several years.
Please remember this is not a competition between you and your throwing partner. Be very careful with the distances and the number of throws. We do the long toss to improve arm strength and not to get injured. If you are not long tossing, do yourself a huge favor and start immediately. Like we mentioned, some excellent baseball authorities believe it is simply the best was to build arm strength and gain velocity on the fast ball and some even go as far as saying it is the only way!
The benefits will be tremendous but remember to proceed with caution.
Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of “Excellent Baseball: 30 Seconds Away.” He unconditionally guarantees that ANY baseball player, coach or baseball parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips at http://www.LarryBaseball.com
In the following days we will be discussing workouts that will help your players gain strength for the upcoming season. I leave you with this "If you are going to play the game of baseball, play it as hard as you can every time you step on the field, in the weight room, or into the training facility and good things will happen."