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If you want to throw hard and throw accurately you must throw hard and throw repeatedly. However, your shoulder and arm must have time to heal and adapt to the imposed demand. Progression too rapidly in the throwing program will DELAY your recovery and return to sport.

Always pay careful attention to your throwing motion / mechanics:

Use a gathering step to initiate your throwing motion on all throws. Use a 4 seam grip to allow better view of ball rotation. Stay on top of the ball. Throw over the top. Keep your elbow at or above shoulder level. tmiAvoid trunk extension or shoulder dip (causes high arc on throws). Use your legs. Follow through with your arm and trunk. Emphasize your follow through in the early part of the throwing program to promote good mechanics.

Throw on a line, but throw with sub-maximal effort and throw within your comfort level. If you cannot throw on line at a given distance, do not lob the ball in an attempt to move to the next level. At 90 feet, for example, the arc or the path of the ball should not carry the ball higher than about ten feet.

Throwing with a qualified coach or pitching instructor will improve your ability to progress in the throwing program. Videotape your throwing workout at least once a week to analyze your throwing motion and monitor your progress.

You must meet the following criteria in order to move to the next level:

  • No pain or stiffness while throwing
  • No pain or stiffness after throwing (mild muscle soreness is acceptable)
  • Good throwing motion / mechanics
  • Good throwing accuracy throughout the current distance
  • Throws are consistently on line
  • Good arm strength throughout the current distance with little fatigue

Continue your upper trunk, scapula and rotator cuff rehabilitation / pre-habilitation program throughout the interval throwing program. The interval throwing program is a guide that should be adapted or modified to meet your individual progress and problems. Anticipate throwing every other day for three days at each throwing level. However, if you are having problems at a given level, remain at that level or return to the previous level until your problem is corrected or resolved. Do not hesitate to take an extra day or two off if you are having problems. If your problems do not resolve, see your athletic trainer, physical therapist, or doctor. Prehab shoulder exercises should be performed on the specified throwing days, Recovery is an integral part of a successful throwing program. Use the off days as recovery for the shoulder and arm. It is ok to use light tubing or a cuff program as a daily warm-up but it should not be used as a strengthening exercise on off throwing days. Please take advantage of the non-throwing days to train balance, proprioception, core, and the lower body.

The off-season interval throwing program was designed for professional players. It can also be suitable for amateur players who have at least the arm strength of a typical in coming college freshman.  You should be fully rested and recovered from the previous season before starting the program. The program should start in early January and be continued through spring training. There are seven two-week training blocks. The first block starts at 45 feet. Subsequent blocks increase at 15-foot increments up to 135 feet. The progressive increase in distance from block to block should allow you to gradually build up arm strength. Let the distance of the throw dictate the velocity of the throw. You will perform two sets of 25 throws in the first week of at each new distance and three sets of 25 throws in the second week of each new distance. This approach is consistent with an important principle of training that states that volume should be increased by increasing the number of sets, not the number of reps. After completing the interval throwing program, your arm should be strong enough to step back and throw from 150 – 180 feet in Spring Training.

Plan to throw three times per week on alternate days. If you feel you need to start throwing on a daily basis, we recommend you wait until after you complete the first week of the 105-foot phase before doing so. When you play catch every day, alternated days of 5-10 minutes of light catch at distances up to 60-75 feet in between your main throwing days. Allow Sundays as a complete rest day. You are also encouraged to place the ball on the ground and make one set of 10-15 throws at each distance from a fielding position in each workout to simulate the footwork and throwing mechanics required in game situations.

Hat drills: The hat drill program is designed to improve your ability to throw flat or slightly down with better strength and throwing accuracy after completing the 120 foot phase. Place a hat at 90-105 feet from your position. Your throwing partner is positioned behind the hat to catch the ball on one bounce. Your goal is to throw with effort, imagining that you are throwing through the chest of another throwing partner standing 45 feet in front of the hat. Attempt to hit the hat.

TMI Interval Throwing Program for Outfield / Position Players
45-Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1- First Day Warm-up throws at 20-45 feet

Throws at 45 feet

Warm-down throws

1 set only / Rest the next day

 

25

Week 1 – Days 2 and 3 Warm-up throws at 20-45 feet

Throws at 45 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-45 feet

Throws at 45 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

60-Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-60 feet

Throws at 60 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-60 feet

Throws at 60 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

75-Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-70 feet

Throws at 75 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-70 feet

Throws at 75 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

 

 

 

90-Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-90 feet

Throws at 90 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-90 feet

Throws at 90 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

 

 

 

TMI Interval Throwing Program for Outfield / Position Players – continued
105 Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-105 feet

Throws at 105 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-105 feet

Throws at 105 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

Intro to daily light catch 5-10 minutes 60-75 feet max in between main throwing days. Sundays are complete rest days

 

25

120 Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-120 feet

Throws at 120 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

Daily light catch 5-10 minutes 60-75 feet max in between main throwing days. Sundays are complete rest days.

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-120 feet

Throws at 120 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

Daily light catch 5-10 minutes 60-75 feet max in between main throwing days. Sundays are complete rest days.

 

25

135 Foot Phase Activity Number of Throws
Week 1 Warm-up throws at 20-135 feet

Throws at 135 feet

2 sets / Rest 10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

Daily light catch 5-10 minutes 60-75 feet max in between main throwing days. Sundays are complete rest days.

 

25

Week 2 Warm-up throws at 20-135 feet

Throws at 135 feet

3 sets / Rest 5-10 min between sets

Warm-down throws

Throw on alternate days

Daily light catch 5-10 minutes 60-75 feet max in between main throwing days. Sundays are complete rest days.

 

25

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Keith Meister, MD is Director of Texas Metroplex Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics (TMI), Arlington, TX and Head Team Physician, Texas Rangers. For more information and TMI programs, go to http://www.tmisportsmed.com

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