Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Players Can't Throw Anymore

This is another passage from Bob Cluck's book Think Better Baseball: Secrets From Major League Coaches And Players For Mastering The Mental Game. This is a great read to get you thinking. I do encourage you check it out.

This passage is entitled Why Players Can't Throw Anymore. Basically what he is saying is, although there are more guy's throwing 90 MPH the average high school players ability to throw has gone downhill. He credits the decline with kids throwing ability to batting cages.

His point is that because of all the batting cages of today's world that players don't throw enough so they don't develop their throwing arm. He gives an example of the way it used to be to illustrate his point.

"Three kids went to the park with one or two baseballs. Player one was the shagger, player two was the hitter, and player three was the pitcher. The pitcher threw a pitch, the hitter hit it, and the player way out by the fence caught it and threw it all the way back to the pitcher if he could."

- Bob Cluck Major League Coach and Scout

Basically what he was saying is a lot more fielding and throwing by players improving their throwing. He is saying that in today's world of batting cages players are not throwing nearly as much. He also goes on to add that to much emphasis is being placed on hitting and not enough on throwing and fielding.

Before I open it up to your opinion let me throw in my two cents. I am not one of those guys who always talks about how the past is better then the present. I am not a back in my day we did things better kinda of baseball guy.

I do have to agree with his idea however. Now I am 37 years old so I don't know way back when so I will base my belief on what seems to make sense to me. I do believe players play more organized baseball now then at any other time in history. But somehow I do suspect they throw less. I do believe the batting cage plays a role in this.

I will also add this to strengthen the idea of not enough throwing. I think our country, as I have mentioned before, has become so organized and at such an early age that players aren't throwing enough. Think about it, even though they play more organized baseball everything is so controlled that the players really don't throw all that much.

There are so many hitting aids out there that do not require throwing and most batting practice is thrown by a coach. Is that a possible reason in the decline of throwing? I think it makes logical sense. Combine the batting cages with today's organized practices and players are throwing less. Thus it naturally effects their throwing ability.

Which brings me back to my original question: Has players throwing ability declined? Truth is I don't know the answer. I can guess but for sure I can't be absolute. The logic makes sense!

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. The average speed of high school, college, and professional hurlers has increased in the past 37 years. There are more surgical options and treatments for injuries, as well as a better availablity for simpler cures such as ice and heat. The quality of throwing surely is better now than it used to be.

    However, I would say it is important that players are taught at an early age to throw properly and to throw often. This means incorporating long toss into daily throwing routines, and teaching footwork and mechanics.

    I find it hard to buy into the 'more pitching machines=less throwing development' simply because a batting practice pitch does not simulate very many game throws. It is normally 25-40 ft, much shorter than any throw required in a game, and is casually tossed. The benefits of hitting machines far outweight the negatives, in my eyes, because kids can get in as much practice as they want without having to be accompanied by anyone else. It also allows coaches to have extra hitting stations, giving room for extra development.

    I understand that some kids these days struggle throwing. But I believe they are in the minority, and that the rise of the pitching machine has little to do with it.