Why Radar Guns Are Overrated In Throw Training March 14, 2015 16:46 1 Comment
People ask me all the time, “How hard does your son throw?” The honest answer to that question is, “I have no idea.” I really don’t, and what’s more, I don’t really care. Well, that’s not true. I care. I want him to throw hard. I want him to blow fastballs by people. I want him to get batters out, and for now, he does. You know what else? I want him to pitch to contact when the situation calls for it, and to trust his fielders behind him and reward them for their hard work by not walking too many batters, and when a batter reaches base, I want him to hold him on the best he can, and he’s gotten pretty good at that too. He hits his spots consistently, and he can change speeds and make hitters uncomfortable because he has good command of three pitches. Most importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). His arm has never given him any problems. His shoulder and elbow have been maintained and tuned and managed in a way that has allowed him to progress and learn as a pitcher without being overworked to the point of injury.
Leo’s ability to pitch was built on the strong foundation of good throwing mechanics, and I credit this to his use of The HeadCoach for years. I invented The HeadCoach for my other son, the one who really struggled with his throwing, but my older son has used it for training since he first stepped on a mound, and he’s been pretty successful up to this point. But, as far as how hard he throws, be it 75, 77, 82 or 84…I really couldn’t care less.
See, to me those numbers don’t mean anything at this point. My boy is 14 years old, a freshman in high school, and God willing, he has a few good years of baseball ahead of him. To dangle some meaningless and detrimental goal in terms of MPH in front of him by clocking him with a radar gun makes very little sense to me. It is counterproductive, and it could be harmful. His mechanics are very solid, and he’s worked hard to get to this point. The last thing he needs is to mess with a good thing in order to gain a mile or two an hour on his fastball. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s beneficial for any kid to strain to throw “x” on the gun in order to keep up with teammates, other kids in the league or any of the pitchers they see at tournaments and showcases.
Mark Buehrle is an amazing case study. He’s a bit of an anomaly, but he’s amazing nonetheless. He has defied the odds by throwing, by major league standards, a below average fastball, giving up a ton of hits, working at a very quick pace, and eating up innings. This guy would have a hard time breaking a window from 60 feet, yet year after year after year, he trots out to the mound and pounds away at the strike zone. That’s the most important thing to know about Mark Buehrle, the year after year part, because Mark Buehrle never, NEVER, gets hurt. Ever. He’s never been on the DL in his entire career, and this is a guy who makes 30 starts a season and devours innings.
Buehrle isn’t a flame thrower, and I don’t know if he’s ever tried to be one, but my guess is, he’s gone with what’s given him the greatest success. He has great control, he holds runners very well, he fields his position extremely well, and he’s been unbelievably durable. All in all, I’d say he’s an exceptionally well rounded pitcher. Isn’t this what we all want our kids to be? Yeah, I guess it would be fun to be the parent of the kid shattering bats and striking out 12 a game, but that comes at a price. Trust me, it comes at a very steep price. For now, it’s best to focus on building that strong foundation of good mechanics, getting better, staying healthy, and enjoying the game. If this hits home for you, I suggest you give The HeadCoach a try. Help your kids throw correctly, and the heat will come with time and proper mechanics. As for me, I’ll worry about radar guns when my son gets his license. Now that is something to really worry about…