Pitching Training Articles
3P Sports Healthy Start Program

How to maximize pitching performance without injury following your “rest” season

Returning to the mound with game-level intensity this spring is a process that must be respected by pitchers, coaches and parents. The 3P Sports 12-Week Program is intended to help pitchers start the season without injury and achieve their performance goals from game 1 onward.

This program has been designed for 3P members. It presumes you will follow the monthly training programs for pitching drills (3P Skills & Drills) and strength training (3P Performance Physical Conditioning) as listed in your 3P Sports Portal. This program is supplemental, and doesn’t replace the content on your site.

These guidelines are for healthy pitchers who have been approved to pitch in the coming season. Pitchers who have had injuries last season should get medical clearance before starting any pitching program. The 3P Sports 12-Week Program was specifically designed with “Frequency” intervals and throwing (Throw Count & Bull Pen Count) objectives. Please pay close attention to the two right columns through the 12 weeks as they periodically change from week to week.

The first step is to look at the calendar to determine when you will start pitching in game situations. If you still don’t have a start date, use an estimated date so you can adequately prepare. Once you have selected a date, count backwards 12 weeks and apply the following 3 phase approach.

Phase One:

Week Throwing Program Notes Frequency Throw Count
1
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss
[Warm up with a light catch before starting your Long Toss throwing]
Get your arm ready with Crow Hop throws, throwing lightly. Rest 2 days between sessions. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 20 Long Toss throws at 50% of your maximum throwing distance
2
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss
[Warm up with a light catch before starting your Long Toss throwing]
Get your arm ready by throwing lightly with Crow Hop throws and by slightly increasing the intensity. Rest 2 days between sessions. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 20-25 Long Toss throws at 60% of your maximum throwing distance
Week Throwing Program Notes Frequency Throw Count
3
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss
[Warm up with a light catch before starting your Long Toss throwing]
Continue your throwing program with Crow Hop throws adding increased intensity. Rest 2 days between sessions. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 20-25 Long Toss throws at 70 – 80% of your maximum throwing distance
4
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss
[Warm up with a light catch before starting your Long Toss throwing]
After getting loose, use Crow Hop throws at high intensity. This will get you ready for Phase Two that starts next week. Rest 2 days between sessions. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 Long Toss throws at 80-90% of your maximum throwing distance

Phase One is critical to getting your arm and body ready for the season. Coach Peterson has successfully used this approach for over 20 years at the major league level. The next phase of the 3P Sports 12-Week Program notches up the training intensity a bit higher. For Phase Two, (listed below) all pitchers should execute their Crow Hop throws with the catcher in the catching position at roughly the distance you normally pitch.

Phase Two:

Week Throwing Program Notes Frequency Throw Count
5
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
Warm up and when ready throw a majority of your Long Toss throws at 80-90% of maximum distance. 2 rest days between each session. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 Throws
  • Crow Hop Throws
Throw on the flat ground. Catcher should be in the catcher’s position at the distance you normally pitch. 15 – 20 Throws at 90% effort
6
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
Warm up and when ready throw a majority of your Long Toss throws at 80-90% of maximum distance. 2 rest days between each session. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 Throws
  • Crow Hop Throws
Throw on the flat ground. Catcher should be in the catcher’s position at the distance you normally pitch. 20 – 25 Throws at 90% effort
7
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
Warm up and when ready throw a majority of your Long Toss throws at 80-90% of maximum distance. 2 rest days between each session. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 Throws
  • Crow Hop Throws
Throw on the flat ground. Catcher should be in the catcher’s position at the distance you normally pitch. 25 – 30 Throws at 90% effort
8
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
Warm up and when ready throw a majority of your Long Toss throws at 80-90% of maximum distance. 2 rest days between each session. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 Throws
  • Crow Hop Throws
Throw on the flat ground. Catcher should be in the catcher’s position at the distance you normally pitch. 25 – 30 Throws at 90% effort

In Phase Three, we add Bull Pen throwing to your progressive training plan. Bull Pen sessions are intended to be added to your previous throwing routines from Phase Two. Keep in mind this is how the top MLB and college pitchers get ready for their seasons. Take your time and stay focused. Remember the training adage “You only get out of the drill what you put into it… .” If you prepare for the season correctly, you greatly increase your chances for successful results.

Phase Three

Pay close attention to the “Frequency” column in this chart. It changes after the first week.

Week Throwing Program Notes Frequency Bull Pen Count
9
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
  • Bull Pen
Continue with your warm ups and Long Toss with Crow Hop throws, throwing at week 8 levels on your throwing day. 2 rest days between each session. You will throw 2 or 3 times per week depending on the week. 30 pitches
Week Throwing Program Notes Frequency Bull Pen Count
10
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
  • Bull Pen
Continue with your warm ups and Long Toss with Crow Hop throws, throwing at week 8 levels on your Phase Three throwing day. 1 rest day between each session unless sore. If sore, then rest for 2 days. 35 – 45 pitches
11
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
  • Bull Pen
Continue with your warm ups and Long Toss with Crow Hop throws, throwing at week 8 levels on your Phase Three throwing day. 1 rest day between each session unless sore. If sore, then rest for 2 days. 35 – 45 pitches
12
  • Light Catch
  • Long Toss with Crow Hops
  • Bull Pen
Continue with your warm ups and Long Toss with Crow Hop throws at week 8 levels on your Phase Three throwing days. 1 rest day between each session unless sore. If sore, then rest for 2 days. 35 – 40 pitches Five minutes rest and then 15 – 20 more pitches

For many, a practical example of this program is worth reviewing. Let’s assume your first scrimmage game is scheduled for April 3, 2010. Counting backwards by 12 weeks, we would recommend starting the 3P Sports 12-Week Program on December 28, 2009.

During weeks 1 – 4 you would follow Phase One of the program warming up with a light catch and moving into Long Toss throwing. You are throwing one day and then resting for two in Phase One. Do not over throw. Too many throws and excessive distance is not the goal in these first 4 weeks. We want you to get your arm ready for the season ahead. Scientific evidence clearly documents that a progressive approach is critical to getting muscles, tendons and ligaments ready for the long season ahead.

Phase Two starts on January 25, 2010 in this example. At this point we are assuming you have achieved the Long Toss throwing goals from week 4 and are comfortably throwing at 80-90% of your maximum Long Toss distance. Furthermore, you are following the 3P Drills Program for January and will continue to follow the 3P Drills program monthly. In cases where the 3P Portal Drill type is identical to the 12-Week Program, follow the 12-Week guidelines.

Once you have warmed up and have completed your Phase Two Long Toss throwing, it’s time to add the next challenge. Have a partner catch your throws in the catcher’s position. These pitches should be executed at 90% of effort using a Crow Hop throw. Each week you will add more throws as your arm gets stronger.

In Phase Three, it’s finally time for a visit to the Bull Pen. Following a warm up period and a Long Toss throwing session using the week 8 levels, it’s time to visit the mound. During the week 9 transition, your goal is 30 quality pitches from the Bull Pen mound. If you begin to tire before you get to the goal – stop. The work done by Dr. Fleisig at the ASMI labs tells us that fatigued pitchers are 37 times more likely to incur injury. This is not the time to be taking chances. During the first week of Phase Three, it’s critical to rest for two days before returning to the Bull Pen for your next session. During each Phase, you should follow the 3P Pitching Drill and Physical Conditioning schedules as outlined on your 3P Portal for those days.

Weeks 10 – 12 are where the intensity really ramps up significantly. Assuming you are not sore and don’t experience pain, you are throwing in the Bull Pen every other day starting with week 10. Bull Pen sessions always follow the warm up and long toss activities. While the pitch counts progress higher, it’s important to throw a quality pitch each time. This is a great opportunity to train your mind to focus on one pitch at a time. It will benefit you greatly later in the baseball season. Additionally, Long Toss throwing is still critical as fast ball velocity is directly related to long distance throwing.

Finally, it’s game day. While your training has prepared you for this event, it is still “early” and Coach Peterson strongly recommends the “Rule of 15” for all pitchers regardless of age. The “Rule of 15” is intended to prevent injury during the initial games of the season. Simply stated, we suggest you throw 15 pitches per inning and no more than 2 innings for starters and 1 inning for relievers during the first weeks of the season. Over time, you will add more pitches and increase your pitch count while continuing your training routines. We will have more on this process in February.

Conclusion

Following the 3P Sports 12 Week Program will prepare you to throw at your highest velocity levels without jeopardizing your health. Additionally, the stepped nature of this process is intended to prevent injury and to prepare your body for the challenges of the season ahead. If you feel any pain, you should stop pitching and seek professional advice immediately. If you miss a day for whatever reason, pick up your Long Toss and 3P Drills on the next scheduled date and stay with the program schedule for your Bull Pen sessions and pitch count. Should you have any questions on this program, use the Support link on the 3P web site (www.3PSports.com) to start the dialog. Good luck and good pitching.

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