Pitchers: Should You Run Long Distance?

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Today I want to share a popular tweet from earlier this week regarding running poles

Pitchers, I’m sure if you ask your coach why they make you run poles they will say one of two things: 1. You need to be conditioned or 2. You need stamina to go deep into a game

Coach: You need to be conditioned

I believe that it’s extremely important to have a well developed aerobic system in order to recover during a workout/game or from an intense training sessions/game. However, is running poles the best option? I don’t believe so. In my opinion you would benefit much more from performing movement based circuits

Utilizing movement based circuits was something I picked up from my time down at Cressey Sports Performance where many of the athletes performed “movement days”.

To give you an example, here’s a complete “movement day” one of athletes performed last week (March 2018)

In this workout I was able to not only improve the athletes aerobic capacity but also his movement quality, hip mobility, thoracic spine (upper back) mobility, ankle stability, core stability, scapular control, anterior core control, spinal stability etc. Obviously with long distance running were not able to improve upon all of the above.

Coach: You need stamina to go deep into a game

Do you really think running pole after pole is improving a pitchers ability to explode off a mound and throw a ball as hard as possible to home plate?

I don’t think so. Here’s what I think: I think pitchers have to be extremely powerful. Think about it… If you’re a pitcher you’re EXPLODING off the mound and throwing the ball to home plate (single fastest motion in all of sports) and you’re doing this for upwards of 80-100 times a game. You can call this “stamina” but my intuition tells me that by executing this explosive maneuver 80-100 times a game will require the athlete to posses a good amount of alactic capacity. I think that if the athlete (in this case pitcher) improves alactic capacity in the specific limb required of them it will allow them to maintain velocity deep into a games. I also believe the pitcher will be able to improve resistance to a shoulder/arm injury as the arm won’t have to overcompensate for lower body fatigue.

Just because something has been done for years (running long distance) doesn’t mean it’s right. In my opinion, there are much better ways we can improve our performance other than running poles. – Alex

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