Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How Much Should a Pitcher Throw?

How much should a pitcher throw? 

     The better question is how often should a pitcher throw? What does our daily workload consist of? How are we monitoring kids throwing? Most parents dont understand the concept. Its not about weekend games. Its all about the training before the weekend. We have to condition our arms in order to be successful on the weekends. What is our pitch count? Not the coaches pitch count. Parents you should give every coach up to high school your sons pitch count. Dont trust any coach with your sons arm. I am thankful my father did that with me. And while I did not understand it and many of my coaches were pissed about it, my arm is still in great shape today as an old man. Common sense tells us that we should be incredibly careful when reaching the 100-pitch threshold for High School and college kids. Our arms were not meant to travel above our shoulder. There are studies produced by www.littleleague.org with guidance from World Renouned Dr. James Andrews about overuse. You can read about that study here https://www.littleleague.org/partnerships/pitch-smart/overuse-primary-cause-arm-injuries/ . How overuse is defined is what I believe is the biggest issue. I think arms definitely need some time off of no throwing during the year. In my opinion November through December seems like a pretty reasonable time to take the ball out of the throwing hand. You can still work on your mechanics, hitting, and fielding. What we are missing is the training of your arm. The arm is complex. It needs to be trained in order to work correctly and have longevity. No different than your legs with running.

     The biggest problem in youth and high school baseball these days is that pitcher's and position players for that matter do not throw often. They have no schedule. They get 1 or 2 practices in a week if they are lucky, and the practice plan for most coaches does not allow enough time to get proper catch play in. The result is the arm is not conditioned to throw. An example would be: 

     This weekend I am going for a 15-mile run. I have been running a couple times over the last week but only ran for a mile each time. How do you think your body is going to react after or during that 15-mile run? Think you might get a blister or two? Is there a chance your lungs are not prepared? Think you will be sore the next day? 

     Now think in terms of your arm. Are you ready to go out in a game on Saturday or Sunday and are prepared to throw 50+ pitches when you have only played long toss or catch once or twice a week? The answer is no. And that is one of the reason's so many youth and high school players are breaking down over time. They go out on the weekend and throw 70 + pitches and have no played long toss or catch since the last time they pitched. So how do we condition our arms to be able to throw on the weekends? The answer is we need to throw more often during the weekdays. We need to train our arms to be able to handle the workload of the weekend. And hopefully our coach also cares about the number of pitches we make in a weekend. USA Baseball and Little League have done a great job of setting pitch counts for youth baseball. I wish that all travel ball organizations would adopt it. There is no excuse for any coach to abuse an arm just to win a weekend tournament nobody will remember in a month. 

    So, what is a proper schedule. I think kids should throw at the least 3 times a week. I was an early adopter of Alan Jaeger's ideas of "feeding your arm." Your arm tells you how much to throw. "Listen to your arm." I am happy to say at age 45 after pitching through high school, college, pro ball, and a short stint in the Major Leagues, I never missed a start because of an arm injury. I pulled my hamstring once and that is it. I never missed a single start due to arm injury. I thank Alan Jaeger and my college coach Dave Snow for that. I threw every day of my career except when we had days off. Yes, EVERY SINGLE DAY. How much I threw depended on how my arm felt. The day after a start I usually threw anywhere from 90-120 feet just to get the blood flowing. Day 2 was long toss and short bullpen. Day 3 was Long toss and long bullpen. Day 4 was whatever my arm felt like and super short bullpen. Yes, I threw 3 bullpens in between each start. Most teammates thought I was crazy. My Pitching Coach in AAA Rick Rodriguez thought I was crazy at first, but after 3 years in AAA he believed in my program. He was often my catch play partner. How does that translate into youth and high school arms? THROW MORE OFTEN. 

    As I said in the previous paragraph, kids need to play catch and adhere to a throwing program at least 3 times a week. I would love to see 4 times a week. What does that throwing program consist of varies by each individual? I do believe we need at least 2 days of long toss minimum. Every pitcher should throw a short flat ground pen as part of their throwing program. What does a long toss program look like? Again, like Jaeger says, "you can’t put a number or time limit on it." Listen to your arm. I teach all my pitchers and players the same program. It works.  

    After doing the Jaeger Band warmup routine:

        10 Throws at 45 feet to get loose

        3 steps back 3 throws

        3 steps back 3 throws

        3 steps back 3 throws

        Keep doing this until you reach your max distance (max distance is a 1 hop to partner)

        Each Throw should have a nice arc on it once you get past 65 feet

        From max distance we come in 3 steps and make firm throws all the way to 90 feet.

        3 steps in 1 throw

        3 steps in 1 throw

        3 steps in 1 throw

        to 90 feet

        At 90 feet we throw 10 changeups (this really teaches you to keep your arm speed)

        After 10 Changeups 3 steps in 1 throw to 60 feet

        Once we are back to 60 feet, we throw short flat ground bullpens

        Here you can work on fb command, breaking balls, and changeups.

        Should be no more than 15 pitches.

        And done Now time to go throw a bullpen if it is your bullpen day.


    Non long toss days you follow the same program but limit the distance to what your arm feels like. Always be cognizant of your arm. It will tell you what to do. It’s an integral part to learning ourselves as we grow older in this game and you will find that the more in tune you are with your body, the more command and control you will have over the ball. 

Any questions feel free to email me or hit me up on Instagram @marcusrayjones or twitter @nationalclassic 

Alan Jaeger and Jaeger Sports have nothing to do with this blog. I simply love his teaching and made it a part of my career. I think every player should have Jaeger Bands in their bag and follow him on twitter and read all his articles on www.jaegersports.com


Friday, July 3, 2020

The Pitching Academy Training Sessions

The Pitching Academy Training Sessions

Our training sessions will be dialed towards improving our command of the baseball. We build pitchers not throwers. Each station is 15 minutes in length with a practice plan in each station. Each athlete will be paired with another athlete near his same age.

Station One: Arm Prep

·         We will prepare our arms for the work at hand today. We use Jaeger Bands and the Jaeger routine to get our arm ready for the day’s action along with simple arm stretches.

Station Two: Catch Play

     The most important part of the day! How we play catch is the start of our journey from having control to having command of the baseball. Each throw has a meaning. Each throw has a target. Each throw has a breath. Players will be taught the proper way to play catch and be given a daily throwing routine which includes long toss.

Station 3: The Mental Game

     Here we work on breathing and having a routine before each pitch. We visualize our game plan. We focus on the present and pitch one pitch at a time. We visualize executing our game plan. We focus on our target and put ourselves in the tunnel.

Station 4: The Pen

      This station has 2 parts. 
  • Dry drills where we work on our mechanics and fine tune our arm patterns both on flat ground and the mound. 
  • Bullpens with a set routine that focuses on fastball command of both sides of the plate out of the stretch and windup
  • Pitch design during bullpens after mastery of the fastball to both sides of the plate working on breaking balls and changeups.
Station 5: The Cooldown

     Post throwing band work and cardio to help in recovery. We encourage players to stay longer if needed to get more mental work in. Stay longer to get extra dry reps in. We are here to train the body, arm, and mind and that takes time, hard work, and plenty of reps.

The Cost

$80/Session     4 Session Minimum $320       Sessions meet once a week

Each training session is a minimum of 1 hour 15 minutes. They might go longer, and we encourage our guys to get the extra work in they need.

Sessions will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 
Times will be locked in with athletes

If you are interested please email to info@theofficesports.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Pitching Academy with Marcus Jones

The Pitching Academy

with Marcus Jones 

The Focus 

        The focus of the Pitching Academy is simple. Teach and/or refine pitchers pitcher's mechanics to be simple and repeatable. We must have control of the body before we have control of the baseball. Once the body is in order, we focus on command of the baseball. Command and control are too different things. Control means we can throw strikes consistently. Command means we can throw to different spots of the strike zone at will. We will build the complete pitcher. 

The Goal

      The goal of the Pitching Academy is for each pitcher to have command of three pitches. They will be able to throw these pitches in any count whether they are ahead or behind. They will be fierce competitors with extreme confidence while being relaxed and under control. 


Simple and repeatable. Less moving parts is easier to fix, easier to control, and much easier to repeat. We teach biomechanical movements that relate to power and productivity. We want our pitchers to be strong and fast. We will use dry drills to work on our mechanics daily to emphasize simple and repeatable. Our pitchers will be 1.35s or less to home plate out of the stretch. (something your High School, College and Professional coaches will be extremely thankful for) 

Arm Strength and Health 

    We utilize a throwing program based on individual arms. We use Jaeger bands. We do Jobe exercises. We focus on core strength. Our belief is that players do not throw enough. This is not to be confused with pitch counts. Today’s pitcher may throw a bullpen a week, may play long-toss once a week and then expect to go throw 100 pitches on the weekend. That is a recipe for disaster. We want our pitchers throwing more often to condition their arm. We should play catch nearly every day and long toss at least 3 times a week. Again, what you do at the academy must be combined with what you do outside the academy to gain the results we desire. 

Pitch Design

    Pitch Design is one of the fun parts of any pitching program. Whether its teaching a new pitch or refining an old one, pitch design is essential for any pitcher hoping to compete at the next level. Our pitchers will learn to command the 2 and 4 seam fastball, a breaking ball, and a changeup. We will teach different grips but the arm action will remain the same. You hear the word tunneling these days. What is tunneling? Tunneling is having every pitch come out of the same arm slot and release point so that the hitter cannot distinguish fastball from off-speed. Same thing we have been working on for ages, just a new term.    


    Velocity is a by-product of clean repeatable mechanics, arm strength, and god given talent. Our pitcher's will see increase in Velocity based on their work in and outside the academy. Between Jaeger Band use, Long Toss, and volume of throwing, velocity will grow. If anyone gives you the blanket statement that their program adds 5-10 mph, turn and run. Velocity will increase as strength increases. We build pitchers not throwers. 

The Mental Game 

     This is the most important part which is almost never taught in individual pitching lessons where the focus is always on mechanics and stuff. Our pitchers will be calm and relaxed under the most extreme pressure. They will learn to control their breathing. They will understand the calming effects of the breath. They will learn how to believe in themselves when everything is falling apart around them. They will understand the 1 pitch at a time and 3 pitches or less concepts.

I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it. -Sandy Koufax

Marcus Jones is a former MLB pitcher with the Oakland A's. He prepped at Esperanza HS in Anaheim before playing collegiately under National Coach of the Year and USA Baseball Pitching Coach Dave Snow at Long Beach State. A two time All American and Big West Pitcher of the Year at Long Beach State, Marcus was drafted in the 40th round by the Mariners in high school, the 8th round by the White Sox after his sophomore year, and signed after being the 95th pick overall in the 1997 Draft by the Oakland A's. He has been working with youth, high school, college, and professional pitchers for over 15 years.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Bullpen Routine

    When I was in high school, I remember throwing bullpens for my coach and starting with a fastball, mixing in a curve, and throwing the change. I worked out of the stretch some but mostly out of the windup. When I got to Long Beach State and pitched for National Coach of the Year Dave Snow that all changed. I learned the importance of having a routine. That routine was reinforced by the teaching of our Mental Skills coach Dr. Ken Ravizza. The purpose of the routine is to have a plan. To be able to map out the work you want to put in and make every pitch meaningful. Let me explain. 

    Pitching is unlike hitting in that we cannot take 500 hacks a day. If we throw 500 balls a day there is a good chance our arm falls off by the end of the week. So, mapping out your bullpen limits the number of pitches and gives us a framework in which to work in. It also allows us to focus on each pitch more knowing that I only have a set amount of pitches to get this right. I cannot throw 50-75 pitches in a bullpen. Rather I should not throw 50- 75 pitches in a bullpen. Everyone has heard the quote, "quality over quantity." That is especially true with bullpen sessions. 

What should a bullpen session look like? 

    First it important to understand what your role is as a pitcher. A starter's bullpen is typically longer than a reliever's. Relievers typically pitch more often but a starter pitches longer. Are you a one inning guy, a two-inning guy, long relief, or a starter? The pitch counts should gradually get higher based on the amount of pitches you typically throw in a game. Know who you are! 

    Second always listen to your arm. Do what it tells you to do. But make sure you always set limits for bullpens. 15 pitch, 25 pitch, 35 pitch, and 45 pitch bullpens. Can you add a couple pitches here and there? Yes of course but limit yourself to not overdoing it. 

    Third. Bullpens are strike throwing sessions. We are not necessarily working on stuff. It does not matter how good your stuff is if you cannot throw a strike with it. Focus on command of your stuff in the location you want to throw it. Command and control are two different things. Control means you can throw the ball in the strike zone consistently. Command means you can throw it to the different parts of the strike zone at will.


Regular Bullpen 30 pitches:

    From Stretch:

        3 fast balls middle down in zone

        3 fast balls away to a righty down in zone

        3 fast balls in to a righty misses can be up or down but always in.

        3 change ups down in zone

        1 Fastball away to righty

        3 breaking balls misses are always down

    From Windup:

        3 Fastball in to lefty misses up and down but always in

        3 Fastball away to lefty miss down

        3 change ups down in zone

        1 fastball in to lefty

        3 breaking balls (depending on command can back door or back foot)

        1 FB middle

        1 Pitch Out from stretch. 

    Most of your bullpen work should be from the stretch. You should be varying your times to the plate and your time from start to the ball hitting the catcher’s glove should be 1.35 seconds or less. Why is the bulk of our work out of the stretch? I get asked this a lot. And I always answer back with a question. "How many perfect games have you thrown in your life?" The answer is usually none. So, what that tells me is that every game you have pitched in there are runners on base? As pitchers, do we want to be the best with runners on base or with no one on? For me that is simple. I do not want guys scoring so I better be really good out of the stretch. That is where the bulk of my work is done. 

    It is easy to add and subtract to this basic plan. adding 1 pitch to each sequence adds 10 pitches. Subtracting 1 removes 10 pitches. You can also add a simulated at bat or two to the end of the routine. It is important to have a plan with everything you do. From your stretching, to running, to throwing, and obviously your bullpens have a plan and stick to it. You can make changes that fit you as a player. 


"Failure to plan is planning to fail."


    I hope this helps anyone who reads. And especially the young pitcher just trying to find his way. Learn to simplify. Learn to plan. Work Smarter not Harder.


Marcus Jones



Marcus Jones is a former MLB pitcher with the Oakland A's and All American at Long Beach State


How Much Should a Pitcher Throw?

How much should a pitcher throw?        The better question is how  often  should a pitcher throw? What does our daily workload consist of...