Indoor Long-Toss Throwing Program for Inclement Weather by Alan Jaeger

New England is not a traditional “warm-weather” region for baseball, and being confined to a limited space (indoors) for an extended period of time in the Fall/Winter months (3-5 months in some states) can significantly limit the conditioning and development of the arm. This is especially true for coaches and players who have experienced the tremendous benefits of distance throwing (Long Toss), and realize how disadvantageous it is to suppress the arms needs to stretch out, lengthen and condition properly during this 3-5 month window.

This 3-5 month window, which can start as early as October and can last as late as March, often forces players to train indoors in facilities that may be significantly limited by height and distance constraints (e.g. basketball gym or sports academy with a restricted floorplan). As you will see throughout this article, this 3-5 month window is one of the most important periods in the calendar year for training and yet many coaches and players often feel that they can’t get the necessary work or conditioning done. Quite simply, it represents a huge chunk of time when players can either “build on their base”, or face the real possibility that their arms will either stagnate or regress.

While warm-weather parts of the country have the luxury to train outdoors without throwing limitations, schools that are forced indoors for long periods of time are at a major disadvantage come Spring time if they don’t know how to ensure that players get the necessary conditioning indoors (distance throwing/long toss). Going indoors can seem very limiting when it comes to maintaining a good throwing program, but with a little creativity players can find ways to get the necessary distances of 200-300 feet even if the length of the indoor facility is no greater than 120 feet.

Considering that the key to any throwing program is to build the base of the arm correctly (September/October), the next most important factor is to ensure that this base is maintained or enhanced through the remainder of the Fall/Winter (and eventually, into the Spring). This period between November and March is a critical time to not only deepen the base that was built in September/October, but to ensure that the players make a smooth transition once they get outdoors early in the Spring, without having to “rush” into shape. The arm should be in shape because of how it was properly conditioned throughout the Fall/Winter months, despite the fact that it was confined to indoor throwing.

Two Keys To Conditioning Indoors: Surgical Tubing and Long Toss

For those players or teams that have used the first two months (September/October) to condition their arms well on a Long Toss Throwing Program (see jaegersports.com/articles) the last thing that should happen is regression from a great conditioning mode to “under conditioning” for 3-5 months because of being “limited” indoors. The arm needs to continue to train in a manner that allows it to fully condition, and that means it needs to find a way to stretch out (Long Toss) to distances that are consistent with the distances that are provided outdoors.

There are two key factors with regard to developing and maintaining the health, strength and endurance of the arm through the Fall/Winter months — number one is distance throwing or long toss, and a close second is surgical tubing exercises. There isn’t anything that’s a close third other than pitchers getting the necessary work off the mound at the appropriate time.

Building a “base”, progressively and thoroughly, is the most important principle in developing arm health, strength and endurance. And maintaining this base by conditioning properly throughout the Fall/Winter is of extreme importance if you want to use the Fall/Winter to strengthen, rather than deplete this base. “Proper” conditioning starts and ends with Long Toss and Surgical Tubing — these are the only two factors that are not optional.

Once a team is forced to go indoors due to inclement weather these are the two essential ways to maintain your conditioning through the Fall, Winter and into the Spring. If you are fortunate enough to have an indoor facility (field house/football field) that allows you to consistently get out to 250 feet or more, than simply follow your routine as if you are outdoors. But for most of the schools out there, a basketball gym, etc, seems to be more of the norm, and getting distance is a real issue.

Key #1: Surgical Tubing

Though you may be limited by the distance (e.g. 120 feet) and/or the height of your indoor facility you can still effectively supplement the “conditioning” of the arm by adding repetitions to your surgical tubing exercises prior to, and independent of your throwing program.

Fortunately, the net effect of increasing your reps helps the arm “make up” for the lack of throwing each day. This is especially effective by adding reps to the forward throwing motion (literally, the same throwing motion used as if you were “throwing” the surgical tubing like a baseball), which is the last surgical tubing exercise done prior to that days throwing session (see video clip). This forward motion exercise bests “simulates“ the arms throwing motion because, quite simply, the arm is getting the sensation that it is throwing.

There is actually a “Long Toss” effect without even picking up a ball because “throwing” the tubing in a progressive way (start with low resistance and slowly add resistance) allows the arm to “open up” progressively with each passing repetition, in the same manner that you start out by playing light catch, and slowly add more effort to each throw. Because the arm has had a chance to “measure”, for example, the first 25 reps as a stretch, adding reps begins to challenge the arm as if the distance behind the throws is increasing.

Again, this is all done in a safe manner because the arm is progressively being asked to “throw” through more resistance after the arm has already been safely warmed up (the increased resistance is created by slowly moving away from the fence or object that you have clipped the surgical tubing on to).

Over time, a player may actually increase from a distance of 3 feet from the fence and 25 reps, to 4 or 5 feet from the fence and 3 sets of 30 reps. This is ideal for the arm because it is going through basically the same range of motion as if it is throwing, and the resistance (distance) is being increased in a very progressive way. Surgical tubing is not only going to help establish a great base but it’s going to also increase the arm’s endurance in and of itself and best prepare the arm to maximize the effect of the actual throwing program on that given day.

Long Tossing Indoors (into a net if necessary)

Where surgical tubing can help make a significant difference in your ability to both properly warm up and condition the arm without picking up a baseball, getting distance (Long Toss), even in a restricted space, is crucial. Though it may seem very limiting if the length of your facility is no longer than 120 feet the reality is that with a little patience and creativity (and an indoor net), there are ways to get the necessary distance that the arm so desperately needs during this 3-5 month indoor period (as you will see, you can actually throw the ball as far as you want on any given day).

Here’s how it’s done:

Assuming you’ve done a very thorough Arm Care/Surgical Tubing warm up, use the first 5 minutes to have your players play normal catch as if they were outdoors (the first 5 minutes of warm up should come pretty quickly due to the increased work load with the surgical tubing). I would assume that if your players are in good shape they will get out to 120 feet in 6-8 minutes. Once they’ve hit the wall of the indoor facility (ie 120 feet), they can stay there as long as they desire, especially if that’s all the distance they want on that given day (ie they bull-penned the day before). But if it’s a Long Toss day, they should come back in to a net (again, this is assuming you have an indoor batting cage/net) and finish their throwing program the following way: Just as you would expect with regular Long Toss, the more stretched out your arm feels the farther you are going to throw the ball, and the more your going to need to raise your angle. Therefore, as your arm gets looser, keep aiming slightly higher on the net as if you are simulating the same angle as if you were throwing outdoors.

For example, at 60 feet, there is no real angle yet, but as you “move back” in theory every ten feet, your might move your target up one degree or so ( a few inches). That would suggest that after you “moved back” to 100 more feet, your new focal point is raised up to about 10 degrees on the net. Thus, if you were able to throw outdoors as far as 300 feet, your angle up should be approximately 30-35 degrees. Naturally, distance and angle may vary from player to player but the bottom line is that in time, you’ll start to know how high to aim, depending on “how far out you would have gone outdoors”, and how many throws you need to make at each increment. The idea is pretty simple — the more stretched out your arm becomes the more you raise your focal point. As you take your arm through the same motions as if you were long tossing outdoors you will begin to notice that you are getting the same sensation you’re accustomed to feeling at 120 feet, 200 feet, 240 feet and 300 feet. If you are someone who is already intimate with your arm these sensations should come pretty quickly.

Once you get to your desired distance and feel completely stretched out, it is time for the “pull down” or downhill phase of Long Toss (if that is what your workload is that day). This is the time when you would normally come “back in towards” your throwing partner if you were outdoors. So, to simulate this pull down phase into the net imagine that you were coming in toward your partner in 10 foot increments with each passing throw (so it would take you 24 throws, or 240 feet, to go from 300 feet to 60 feet). With each throw, simply lower your focal point on the net by one degree or so, and keep lowering this focal point until you are back to 60 feet. Once back at 60 feet, you may begin to notice that in order to maintain your furthest throw that day (e.g. 250 + feet) you actually have to aim lower than chest height to keep the ball on a line. This is because you are compressing a great deal of distance (250 + feet) into a very short space (60-65 feet). Another way of saying this is to aim 20-30 degrees downhill (your partners waist) and make sure you are maintaining your furthest throw (by not decelerating) and the ball should end up no higher than chest height or so. This lower focal point will teach the body (mind) how to be explosive downhill and how to not decelerate. And if you’re a pitcher, and you want to work on getting even more leverage out in front, simply lower your focal point down to your throwing partners shins or toes (see jaegersports.com/articles) and see if you can get it to where the ball is ending up at knee height. Again, it all comes down to lowering your focal point and not decelerating in order to maximize the compression of your furthest throw into your shortest throw; to be in the best position possible to have optimal leverage downhill with explosiveness. If you are a position player you can aim a at your partners belt line (which should equate to the ball ending up at your partners chest if done correctly).

Note: Once you come back to approximately 120 feet with your pull downs into the net, it would be ideal to go back out with your throwing partner to the 120 foot range in the gym and finish your pull down phase back in to 60 feet with your partner. Naturally, throwing the ball to someone rather than into the net will give you more realistic feedback.

By the end of your pull-downs, you will have taken your arm through the same Long Toss throwing routine as if you were outdoors, without any height or distance restrictions. In essence, what the arm needs is full range of motion uphill and downhill just as if it had been throwing outdoors without any restrictions. This ability to “stretch” the arm out thoroughly, and “pull down” aggressively through a well prepared arm is what allows the arm to best condition — it’s what allows the arm to evolve, rather than regress indoors.

A Smoother Transition into the Spring

What you do during the time you are forced indoors is not only crucial to the development and maintenance of a player’s arm, but also, to allowing pitchers/players to make a smooth transition into the Spring when they do go outdoors. Remember, when players get outdoors after being indoors for months they are often excited and in a “hurry” to get going. If their base was not maintained and strengthened well indoors, a lot of players will be vulnerable to breaking down simply because they have gone from 1st gear to 5th gear in just a few. When a pitcher/player rushes into shape, the first thing that tends to suffer is the recovery period, which is also a sign of poor conditioning (poor recovery period is a sign that the arm is heading into a precarious position). In either case, players who didn’t do the proper work to condition and maintain the health, strength and endurance of their arm indoors are very vulnerable to not only losing arm strength, but also to breaking down.

In Summary

Conditioning the arm indoors through the Fall/Winter months is imperative. Emphasizing Surgical Tubing/Arm Care exercises is Step 1.…Step 2 is Long Toss. Though it may seem difficult to throw 300 feet into a 120 foot space it can be done. Put rather bluntly, there is no substitution for distance throwing (Long Toss) — it, along with Surgical Tubing exercises, is the most important factor in the development and maintenance of a players arm throughout the Fall/Winter months, and to best ensure a safe transition period into the Spring. Again, it’s all about making the time and being creative. There is a way to condition and develop your players arms thoroughly, despite the “limits“ of being forced indoors for a rather significant period of time, and you can do something about it.

Source: Performance Conditioning | Published: August 2008
By Alan Jaeger

About The Author:
Alan Jaeger is a personal trainer and consultant who has worked with hundreds of amateur athletes, including over 70 professional baseball players. His playing experience includes Los Angeles Pierce Junior College (1984-1985), California State University at Northridge, and the Wichita Broncos of the Jayhawk League (1986). His college coaching experience includes four years (1990-1993) at Los Angeles Mission Junior College/College of the Canyons and seven years as an assistant coach/consultant for the Chatham A’s of the prestigious Cape Cod League.

Author Links:
In 1989, Alan began Jaeger Sports, which provides a facility where athletes from a variety of sports disciplines can solidify the mental side of their game. Graduates, including 2002 Cy Young winner Barry Zito, can attest to a significant improvement in their performance.

Long-Toss Throwing Program by Alan Jaeger

This program is based on 3 days of throwing for Week #1 and then evolves into 4 days of throwing for the next 5 weeks. Jaeger’s program actually encourages the player to throw for 4-5 days in Week #1, considering that Week #1 stipulates the lightest workload. If a player feels a need to throw for more than 4 days a week in any given week, simply do it. Again, the arm will tend to want to increase it’s workload from week to week as it progressively gets into shape. This is the essence of getting your arm into a positive “cycle”: The better shape the arm arm gets into, the more it wants to throw — the more it “needs” to throw. However, this is also where “listening” to a player’s arm takes precedence over any set amount of throws or any specific throwing format.

The following distances suggested in this program are based on a college freshman with average arm strength. Therefore, depending on your specific player’s arm strength and history, you may find that these distances are too restricting, or not challenging enough.

Week #1 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing and/or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 75 ft — 10 throws 60 ft — 10 throws (and any additional throws if needed)

Week #2 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft — 5 throws
  • 105 ft — 5 throws
  • 120 ft — 5 throws
  • 120 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 105 ft — 3 throws
  • 90 ft — 3 throws
  • 75 ft — 3 throws
  • 60 ft — 5 throws (and any additional throws if needed)

Week #3 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft — 5 throws
  • 105 ft — 5 throws
  • 120 ft — 5 throws
  • 135 ft — 2 throws
  • 150 ft — 2 throws
  • 150 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 140 ft — 1 throws
  • 130 ft — 1 throws
  • 120 ft — 1 throw
  • 110 ft — 1 throw
  • 100 ft — 1 throw
  • 90 ft — 1 throw
  • 80 ft — 1 throw
  • 70 ft — 1 throw
  • 60 ft — 5 throws (or any additional throws if needed)
  • Note: Flat Ground Work Begins on Tuesday/Friday (10-15 Change Up’s)

Week #4 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft — 5 throws
  • 105 ft — 5 throws
  • 120 ft — 3 throws
  • 135 ft — 3 throws
  • 150 ft — 3 throws
  • 165 ft — 3 throws
  • 180 ft — 3 throws
  • 195 ft — 3 throws
  • 195 ft + (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 180 ft — 1 throws
  • 170 ft — 1 throws
  • 160 ft — 1 throw
  • 150 ft — 1 throw
  • 140 ft — 1 throw
  • 130 ft — 1 throw
  • 120 ft — 1 throw
  • 110 ft — 1 throw
  • 100 ft — 1 throw
  • 90 ft — 1 throw
  • 80 ft — 1 throw
  • 70 ft — 1 throw
  • 60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)
  • Note: Flat Ground Work Begins on Tuesday/Friday (10-15 Change Up’s)

Week #5 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft — 5 throws
  • 105 ft — 3 throws
  • 120 ft — 3 throws
  • 135 ft — 3 throws
  • 150 ft — 3 throws
  • 165 ft — 3 throws
  • 180 ft — 3 throws
  • 195 ft — 3 throws
  • 210 ft — 3 throws
  • 225 ft — 3 throws
  • 225 ft + — (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 210 ft — 1 throw
  • 200 ft — 1 throw
  • 190 ft — 1 throw
  • 180 ft — 1 throw
  • 170 ft — 1 throw
  • 160 ft — 1 throw
  • 150 ft — 1 throw
  • 140 ft — 1 throw
  • 130 ft — 1 throw
  • 120 ft — 1 throw
  • 110 ft — 1 throw
  • 100 ft — 1 throw
  • 90 ft — 1 throw
  • 80 ft — 1 throw
  • 70 ft — 1 throw
  • 60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)
  • Note: Flat Ground Work Tuesday/Friday — (15 Change-Ups, 10 Light Breaking Balls)

Week #6 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

  • 40-60 ft — 15 throws
  • 75 ft — 10 throws
  • 90 ft — 5 throws
  • 105 ft — 3 throws
  • 120 ft — 3 throws
  • 135 ft — 3 throws
  • 150 ft — 3 throws
  • 165 ft — 3 throws
  • 180 ft — 3 throws
  • 195 ft — 3 throws
  • 210 ft — 3 throws
  • 225 ft — 3 throws
  • 240 ft — 3 throws
  • 240 + (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
  • 230 ft — 1 throws
  • 220 ft — 1 throws
  • 210 ft — 1 throw
  • 200 ft — 1 throw
  • 190 ft — 1 throw
  • 180 ft — 1 throw
  • 170 ft — 1 throw
  • 160 ft — 1 throw
  • 150 ft — 1 throw
  • 140 ft — 1 throw
  • 130 ft — 1 throw
  • 120 ft — 1 throw
  • 110 ft — 1 throw
  • 100 ft — 1 throw
  • 90 ft — 1 throw
  • 80 ft — 1 throw
  • 70 ft — 1 throw
  • 60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)
  • Note: Flat Ground Work Tuesday/Friday — (15 Change-Ups, 10 Light Breaking Balls)

If you choose the option of throwing beyond the predetermined “peak” throw that day (e.g. 225 feet in Week 5), then once you do peak-out on that day (e.g. 300 feet), remember to come back toward your throwing partner (pull-down phase) 10 feet per throw until you get back into 60 feet. Once at 60 feet, feel free to throw as many as your arm feels it needs at that point. Also, be aware that at 60 feet, especially if you have a strong arm, it may be dangerous to pull-down at this distance. You can finish your pull downs at 65 feet, or whatever distance deems it safe, without sacrificing your effort.

You may find this program works well just as it is, or you may need to adjust it to your needs. The premise is the same: work on building your base (like walking before you jog, and jogging before you run). Increase from 4 to 5 days a week (or from 5 to 6) of throwing if it feels appropriate. There is no obligation to throw on the exact days suggested above, but the format is designed to both optimize recovery time and maximize development. Remember that on any given day, especially into week 5 or 6, if the throwing arm feels like it wants to go beyond 240 feet, follow that instinct. Utilize that 5-10 minute window to allow the arm to continue to “open up” beyond 240 feet. You may be surprised how far out your arm will take you because of the base you’ve developed from the first month.

Pitchers will also notice that by week 4, it is recommended to throw change-ups at the end of your throwing session. Change-ups are relatively easy on the arm, and throwing this pitch after the arm’s been stretched out so well is very effective. It also happens to be a crucial pitch to command for any pitcher. Finally, remember that the bottom line is to “listen to your arm.” How many throws you make at each increment is dependent on how your arm feels. How far you go out, or how fast you come in may vary from day to day. Your job is to put your arm in a position to throw as often as possible, with awareness and sensitivity to your arm, in order to progressively build a strong base. This mentality is what optimizes your ability to insure health, strength, endurance and improved recovery period.

About The Author:
Alan Jaeger is a personal trainer and consultant who has worked with hundreds of amateur athletes, including over 70 professional baseball players. His playing experience includes Los Angeles Pierce Junior College (1984-1985), California State University at Northridge, and the Wichita Broncos of the Jayhawk League (1986). His college coaching experience includes four years (1990-1993) at Los Angeles Mission Junior College/College of the Canyons and seven years as an assistant coach/consultant for the Chatham A’s of the prestigious Cape Cod League.

Author Links:
In 1989, Alan began Jaeger Sports, which provides a facility where athletes from a variety of sports disciplines can solidify the mental side of their game. Graduates, including 2002 Cy Young winner Barry Zito, can attest to a significant improvement in their performance.

Cal Ripken Rules on Compliant Baseball Bats for 2011

Babe Ruth Baseball has now just announced a extended moratorium on composite non-wood baseball bats for use in its Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth divisions. This composite bat moratorium matches the criteria currently applied by the NCAA, NFHS, and Little League programs (previously posted on DirtDog Baseball). Following is an email broadcast from Babe Ruth Baseball on the subject:

To: League Presidents and District, State & Regional Commissioners

From: Steven M. Tellefsen, President/ CEO

Date:  January14, 2011

Re: Composite Bats

The International Board of Directors of Babe Ruth League Inc. has issued a moratorium on the use of composite bats in the Cal Ripken Division (4-12) of Babe Ruth Baseball effective immediately. This moratorium shall be in effect until further notice by Babe Ruth Headquarters.

This decision is based on scientific data from the University of Massachusetts (Lowell). The maximum performance standard for non-wood bats in the divisions for 12-year-olds and below is a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15. The research found that composite bats can exceed the standard after a break-in process.

“While we are certainly aware of the timing of this announcement, Babe Ruth League must act in the best interest of the young people we serve,” Steven M. Tellefsen, President/CEO Babe Ruth League said. “The decision is based on the fact that scientific research showed that composite-barreled bats may exceed the performance standard after being broken in.”

On October 26, 2010, Babe Ruth League Inc. placed a moratorium on composite bats in our 13-15 and 16-18 divisions with all approved models listed at www.nfhs.org.

A listing of licensed baseball bats approved for use in the Cal Ripken (Majors) Division and below can be found at www.baberuthleague.org/images/2011BRLApprovedNonWoodBatList.pdf.

The moratorium on composite bats, which now applies to all baseball division of Babe Ruth League Inc. does not apply to any softball divisions of Babe Ruth.

NOTE: The moratorium on composite bats only applies to composite barreled bats. Bats that have only a metal/alloy in the barrel (and no other material, unless it is in the end cap of the bat) are not subject to the moratorium, regardless of the composition of the handle.

SMT
cc: Board of Directors

Babe Ruth League, Inc.
P.O. Box 5000
Trenton, NJ 08638

MBCA and MIAA Rules on Compliant Baseball Bats for 2011

The Massachusetts Baseball Coach’s Association (MBCA) in conjunction with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has recently announced a mutual, official position on the adoption of new baseball bat standards for 2011 and beyond.

RULES

On September 14, 2010 the MIAA Board of Directors voted to follow the baseball bat standards established by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee:

“Effective beginning the 2010-11 school year, composite bats shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e).” 

A list of composite bats that are approved by the NFHS for the 2011 season (as of December 1, 2010), can be found here at: http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=4155.

NFHS Rule 1-3-2(d) Through December 31, 2011, each aluminum bat shall meet the Ball Exit-Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. No [non-permanent] BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bat.

NFHS Rule 1-3-2(e) Beginning January 1, 2012, all bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum and composite bats shall be labeled as approved tamper evident, and be marked as to being aluminum or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

For additional information, please reference the NFHS Baseball page: http://www.nfhs.org/baseball.aspx.

The following describes the official position of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association (MBCA) regarding baseball bats for the 2011 and 2012 seasons:

  • For the 2012 season, adopt the new BBCOR standard. Also reject a proposal to ban non-wood bats.
  • For the 2011 season, continue with current Bat of Choice rule, which allows any wood or non-wood BESR-certified bat, including non-wood composite bats.

RATIONALE

  1. The BBCOR standard has come into effect because of the NCAA’s concern with the offensive output in college baseball. It should be noted that offense, not health and safety has prompted this change. The NCAA will use the BBCOR standard in 2011 and the NFHS is adopting it for 2012. The MBCA believes this is the most logical option for Mass. high school baseball, as well. Although the MBCA is very satisfied with the current BESR standard, BESR bats are likely to no longer be manufactured after 2011; only BBCOR bats will be available in the future. Thus, the MBCA recommended that the MIAA adopt the BBCOR standard for 2012.
  2. In addition, the MBCA also strongly opposes the proposal to ban all non-wood bats. The MIAA has considered and rejected this same proposal time and time again over the last eight years. Therefore, the MBCA asks that MIAA committees and the MIAC reject the proposal once again. Since the BBCOR standard will produce bats that perform identically to wood, those who have had concern with either offensive output or safety with non-wood bats should be pleased with the BBCOR rule. The reason to not simply use wood bats going forward is the same as why the MIAA adopted non-wood bats in 1974: the BBCOR bats, which will be much less expensive than the current BESR bats, will be of better quality, more affordable, and more durable than wood bats.
  3. The MBCA supports continuation of the BESR standard for 2011, as this standard has worked very well for Mass. high school baseball throughout its existence. The MBCA sees no reason, particularly for health and safety, that would necessitate an emergency rule change for 2011 (which is a non-rule change year for MIAA). The NFHS has banned non-wood composite bats because of concern with illegal tampering (including “rolling”) that can make those bats perform above the BESR standard. The MBCA has seen no evidence of such tampering in Mass. high school baseball and has no safety or injury issues with composite bats. Considering that adoption of the BBCOR rule in 2012 will require all member schools to discard current BESR bats and purchase all new bats for their varsity, JV, and freshman teams, it is both unfair and a needless expense to require those same schools to discard the composite bats that they currently own and replace them with new purchases this year.

The MBCA position is consistent with the MIAA’s commitment to keeping baseball safe,competitive, and enjoyable for players, coaches and fans.

Note: As of October 21, 2010 the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee and the MIAA Baseball Committee have both supported the MBCA position and have voted against banning non-wood bats.

Little League Rules on Compliant Baseball Bats for 2011

I have just received another email from Little League International dated 12/30/10 which now imposes an immediate moratorium on the use of composite non-wood bats at ALL levels of play in Little League Youth Baseball for the upcoming 2011 season. This is a significant expansion of the moratorium originally announced on 9/1/10 which applied to Junior, Senior and Big League Divisions only.

Once again, this email is authorized by Little League International for redistribution so I have reproduced it here in its entirety (with emphases added) for interested readers. The original can also be found at the Little League Online website via the following link: http://www.littleleague.org/media/newsarchive/2010/Sep-Dec/CompositeBatMoratium.htm

The bottom line is to avoid the purchase of new composite non-wood bats as described in the following letter if your player will participate in ANY Division of Little League Baseball for 2011!

LLBCorporateLogo_152px

By Communications Division
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa.
December 30, 2010

Little League International has placed a moratorium on the use of composite bats in the Little League (Majors) Division and all other baseball divisions of Little League, effective immediately.

“Today’s decision of the Little League International Board of Directors Executive Committee is based on scientific research data from the University of Massachusetts (Lowell), which was contracted by Little League Baseball,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “The maximum performance standard for non-wood bats in the divisions for 12-year-olds and below is a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15. The research found that composite bats, while they may meet the standard when new, can exceed that standard after a break-in process.”

Local Little Leagues were first informed of the research last September.

“From the beginning, and throughout this process, we wanted to keep everyone informed,” Patrick W. Wilson, Vice President of Operations at Little League International, said. “Our intent was to provide local league constituents clear direction regarding composite bats. There is a process through which manufacturers can submit individual models for a possible waiver if they wish to seek it. Going forward, we will let our leagues know which ones meet the standards for the Little League Baseball (Majors) 12-and-under divisions, if any.”

On Sept. 1, Little League International placed a moratorium on composite bats in the Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball Divisions of Little League. Subsequent to that moratorium, some composite bat models have received a waiver and may be used in those divisions. Information on the composite bats that have received waivers for the Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball Divisions of Little League may be found here:

http://www.littleleague.org/learn/equipment/approvedcompbats.htm

At present, no composite bats for the Little League (Majors) Division and below have received a waiver. If and when any models do receive a waiver, Little League International will inform its leagues of that decision. An updated listing of licensed baseball bats approved for use in the Little League (Majors) Division and below can be found here: 2011 Approved Non-Wood Bat List (PDF) (This list was updated on Jan. 7, 2011.)

The moratorium on composite bats, which now applies to all baseball divisions of Little League, does not apply to any softball divisions of Little League.

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Note: The moratorium on composite bats only applies to composite-barreled bats. Bats that have only a metal/alloy in the barrel (and no other material, unless it is in the end cap of the bat) are not subject to the moratorium, regardless of the composition of the handle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This 2011 moratorium on bats for use in Little League Baseball is separate from the new 2010 NCAA/NFHS bat regulations previously identified in other recent posts on DirtDog Baseball. The bat performance research was done at the same facilities for both sets of regulations.

NCAA and NFHS Rules on Compliant Baseball Bats for 2011

As a service to readers who have visited DirtDog Baseball in order to learn more about the current NCAA and NFHS bat requirements for the upcoming baseball season, here is a helpful searchable link that will give you the latest updated information. Please check back often on this as the information is sure to change.

NEW NCAA BBCOR BAT LABEL RULE FOR 2011

To begin with, in May of 2009 the NCAA adopted a new Batted-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) standard for testing baseball bat performance. This standard is effective January 1, 2011 as an addendum to NCAA rules, and states that bats not constructed of one-piece solid wood  must be certified and labeled by the manufacturer to meet the new BBCOR standard in order to be approved for NCAA competition play. The BBCOR standard supercedes the previous Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard which measured the “exit speed” of the ball off the bat and certified that BESR-compliant non-wood bats do not drive balls significantly faster than wood bats of comparable weight and length.

The new BBCOR standard regulates the flexibility of non-wood bats in their construction along with the resultant “trampoline effect” of balls springing off the striking surface of the barrel. This will be accomplished by making barrel walls thicker and less flexible, or by installing barrel inserts behind the “sweet spot” to block flexing. It also requires that the length/weight differential of bats be no greater than 3.0 (or -3) units without the grip. Additionally, the bats must display a new, permanent BBCOR  certification label on the barrel end of the bat.  Bats without this mark will NOT be allowed for NCAA play effective January 1, 2011 regardless of whether the identical make/model of bat was used during the previous season. There is no grandfathering provision in the rules, so players will be obligated to purchase new “compliant” bats for the upcoming season that have the correct certification label. Bats will not be available with the new compliant labeling until August, 2010 at the earliest.

NEW NFHS BBCOR BAT LABEL RULE FOR 2012

As of this writing, the NFSH has also adopted the same BBCOR standard to be effective January 1, 2012. This will aid High School players by making them accustomed to play using compliant bats prior to their introduction to NCAA-level play. Affiliated Middle School programs can also expect to follow compliance according to this schedule, especially since talented Middle School players often “play up” onto High School JV squads.

IMPACT ON PLAY

With the adoption of the new BBCOR standard, non-wood bats will closely compare to their wood counterparts more than ever before. This will improve safety for pitchers and also return the game to a point where skilled hitting is essential for success. It will also minimize the changes that high-level players need to go through in adjusting to play with wood bats, while providing the benefits of wood bat characteristics in the form of more durable non-wood products.

UMASS LOWELL BASEBALL RESEARCH CENTER

To help keep track of what bats qualify for play (a constant moving target), a searchable bat model link has been made available by the University of Massachusetts – Lowell Baseball Research Center (UMLBRC). The UMLBRC link summarizes bats that have been submitted for and passed the Ball-Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) and Batted-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) certification tests for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The certifications are intended to limit bat performance at or near the maximum performance limits of a wood bat, thereby minimizing additional risks and promoting the sound traditions of the sport.

The UMLBRC does not test bats specifically for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Their results, however, provide an opportunity for interested parties to check if a particular bat is compliant with NFHS high school playing rules. Additionally, the UMLBRC has performed testing work for Little League Baseball which has resulted in another set of regulations for that organization which substantially impacts youth baseball going forward.

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF HIGH SCHOOLS JOINS NCAA BAN IN 2012

The NFHS has banned hollow composite bats unless they remain BESR-compliant after undergoing the Accelerated Break-In (ABI) protocol. The ABI is intended to confirm that as such bats break-in, their performance does not improve beyond the BESR ball exit speed limit. For the 2010-2011 academic school year, and through December 31, 2011, the following types of bats are legal:

  1. Any aluminum BESR bat (listed as category A on the UMLBRC site),
  2. Any aluminum barrel BESR bat (listed as category A on the UMLBRC site),
  3. Any non-hollow (filled core) composite BESR bat (listed as category D on the UMLBRC site),
  4. Certain approved hollow composite BESR baseball bats (found on the NFHS website at http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=4155),
  5. Any solid (one piece) wood or wood laminate bat (listed as category B on the UMLBRC site),
  6. Any aluminum or composite BBCOR bat (anticipated delivery date to retail stores and online outlets late fall/early winter).

SEARCHABLE BAT MODEL LINK

The UMLBRC list is located at http://m-5.eng.uml.edu/umlbrc/ncaa_certified_bats.asp. For bats that meet NFHS high school playing rules until December 31, 2011, go to the “League Approval” drop-down list (located at the bottom of the page) and select “NCAA 2010 Season”. For bats that meet NFHS high school playing rules on and after January 1, 2012, go to the “League Approval” drop-down list and select “NCAA 2011+ Seasons”. The UMLBRC is responsible for updating and maintaining the list. Other leagues or rules organizations may not require the ABI process or adopt the NFHS position on banning hollow composite bats.

If you have any questions, please contact the NFHS by email at baseballbatlist@nfhs.org.

Off-Season Rehab Throwing Program Stage #4

Matt’s supervised, off-season rehab throwing program continues, building on established endurance. 

Stage #4 (Perform 3x per week with at least 1 day off in between)

Start session with drills to warm-up. Also use resistance bands.

Warmups at 30 feet: 5 throws facing partner, 5 scap pinch throws, 5 slow follow-thru, 10 one knee.

10 throws at 45 feet: Alternating figure eights and step-backs. (WIDE stride on figure eights and LONG stride on step-backs w/ stride leg staying on ground).

6 throws at 60 feet: Step-behinds to balance.

6 throws at 90 feet: 3-steps back per throw drill.

6 throws at 120 feet: Simulated ground ball to aggressive front side

6 as far as you can throw it: Simulated ground ball to aggressive front side.

1 throw at each distance coming in: Focus on leading with the logo on the front of your shoe and not “flying open” with that front side. Maintain side profile until landing front foot at last second with hip rotation.

6 nice and easy throws from 60 feet on flat ground: Work on mechanics (Full coil, back leg push-off and maintain side profile until landing front foot at last second with hip rotation).

Note on driving out and down the mound:

  • Push off the rubber at peak leg lift (when the side of the pivot
    foot is against the rubber) with a small, sideways push performed by the hip abductor to initiate movement. This will create momentum while the hip is still closed.

Finish with sleeper stretch and forearm stretch.