Training for baseball and softball is an individual game. Each athlete focuses on what works best for them. A well-developed throwing schedule should be a cornerstone in any training program, however. Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network, says a solid throwing program is one of the most important parts of any athlete’s training routine.
This progressive throwing program can help you transition from offseason to midseason form in a matter of weeks. All while putting as little strain on your arm, shoulder and elbow as possible.
According to Velasquez, the first two weeks of your throwing program should have you throwing two days a week. This will be followed by three throwing days in weeks three and four. “And in the final two weeks,” notes Velasquez, “we’re throwing two days on, one day off, two days on. So, for example, it would be [throwing] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off, [throwing] Thursday, Friday, so it’s four days a week.”
Velasquez says you should take two things into account during each session: time and distance. To help transition you back to peak levels, Velasquez recommends throwing for eight to 10 minutes per session for the first few weeks. During this time, you should throw distances no shorter than 45 feet but no farther than 75 feet. This might seem easy and unrewarding at first, but you don’t want to sprint out of the gates. Remember, rushing your progress can hinder your results.
For weeks three and four, Velasquez says that you can begin to extend your throwing distances out to 90 feet. Aim to still stay around the 10-minute mark on time, though. “And this is dependent on how old you are,” he adds. “Sometimes your long toss will be 90 feet. If you’re high school, college or pro, your long toss might be out to 120, 200 feet, so you have to take all of that into account.”
The final two weeks of your throwing program should have you throwing for, at most, 12 minutes. You should start short for a few minutes to get a solid warmup. Next, increase the distance until you’ve reached your maximum long-toss length. After a few minutes of long toss, you can begin to reduce the distance slowly. “If you’re able to follow this recipe,” Velasquez says, “you’ll reduce the risk for injuries during your season and possibly enhance your performance.”
Having a well-developed throwing program can be a huge benefit to improving your game. Keep other aspects of your game sharp by fine-tuning your rotational power for baseball and softball.