Developing Pitchers

Below is an article about developing players from the Baseball Excellence Newsletter. It is in complete alignment with the Gamers philosophy.

THE HEALTHY PITCHER

Developing Pitchers

Anyone who has participated in baseball, whether as a player, coach or parent understands the enjoyment and inherent merits of this great game. It is the very difficulties and skills required to play at a proficient level that give baseball much of its appeal and enduring qualities. Succeeding at something that is difficult is very rewarding.

Baseball is also a developmental game. It takes years to master many of its skills and players must come to understand that fact. Even at the professional level learning must come in stages.

Baseball also requires a controlled mental state with an understanding of the failures that will come with a long season.

Baseball Excellence believes that development should take precedence over winning.

Appreciating the beauty and symmetry that comes from playing baseball is rewarding even if your team sometimes loses a game. The importance lies in the game itself and players should eventually come to learn that simple fact. Parents and coaches should teach respect for the game.

Playing baseball and competing against other teams should be an enjoyable experience. The ‘win at all costs’ philosophy is a non-productive approach. This “results-oriented” mindset will usually stunt the growth of young baseball players. It is also responsible for many youngsters prematurely leaving the game.

We have talked about this subject so much on our web site that in the interest of brevity we came up with an acronym for this philosophy. We call these coaches EROC- End Results Oriented Coach (or Coaching). This is a philosophy that embraces only Winning and does not take into consideration teaching the necessary skills that allows players to advance. This serves the ego of the coach but does not serve the development of the player. EROC may appear to have the advantage in many youth leagues but as players advance this philosophy fades away, unfortunately along with many players.

We believe that development will lead to winning and is the best long-term approach. Coaches who know the game can make every pitch a learning experience and happily offer knowledge to their players.

Why name this article The Healthy Pitcher? Pitching is a large part of baseball and out of all baseball injuries the pitcher statistically loses the most playing time. We believe that the concerned coach and parent want to become informed about the causes and prevention on arm injuries. However the rise in reported injuries reveals we may not be paying attention to the data.

The medical evidence certainly supports a wise and cautioned approach to the development of pitchers. Is the all-too alluring specter of “Just Win Baby” overshadowing common sense? It is when winning supercedes development that young pitchers are put at risk.

There is a phenomenon in youth baseball that we call the ‘Dilemma of the Ace.’ Because of growth spurts or genetics many young pitchers throw very hard. It is because they throw hard they are in such demand. And because they can dominate another team, coaches have a tendency to overuse them. The extreme forces used when pitching a baseball and the overuse by the coaches put these pitchers at tremendous risk of injury.

There is a startling statistic that over 60% of youth pitchers do not go on to pitch at even the high school level or beyond. The primary reasons are injury from overuse, and poor throwing and pitching mechanics.

Hopefully many coaches who frequent our site will take this to heart and use this off-season to educate themselves to the details of pitching.

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