Hello. After reading Ben Brewster's log, I have been inspired to start my own in an effort to further concentrate my development as a pitcher. So to start out, I will kind of summarize my past as a pitcher and where I currently am today.
Background: I started getting serious about pitching the summer following my sophomore year (2013). It was at this point that I realized I had a deep desire to play college baseball, and just to basically reach my ceiling as a baseball player.
- Sophomore year: My sophomore year was my first year as a pitcher-only (previously was a catcher - so not much time for pitching), and I threw 8 innings on the year for my JV team. I threw in the mid to upper 70s with decent control and decent off-speed. I was an average JV pitcher, essentially. So following my dramatic 8 inning campaign, I committed myself to pursuing my goal of getting a college scholarship and embarked on the path to get the most out of my ability. That summer I went from 165lbs to 180lbs, mainly by focusing on workouts that were squat and DB bench based. I based my throwing work off of ideas I collected from various sources such as 3x Pitching and Tom House and some lesser known instructors that I really just don't remember because they weren't very good looking back at it. I did lots of band work though, coupled with long toss and bullpens that I filmed and reviewed twice weekly, along with Jamie Evans Velocity program. By the end of the summer I was sitting in the upper 70s, likely touching 80 (based off of video frame radar techniques which are obviously hit and miss).
- Junior year: Through the fall season I was throwing upper 70s and touching the low 80s. I did very well and I expected to play a fairly large role in the spring. I failed to do a whole lot of mechanical work at this time, but it was probably for the best as I didn't know much useful information yet. Over winter break, I went to a couple camps, including one at Vanderbilt University. The knowledge I gained at this camp was a huge breakthrough. The simple adjustments that I made that weekend led to me topping out at 85 in the live scrimmage, and getting a few calls from travel teams and a small D1 at the showcase. A few weeks later I attended a PG showcase, and happened to be the most sore I have ever been in my life due to a camp the weekend before that I was not prepared for. The result was me topping out at 79. The report can be viewed here. The next week in tryouts I topped at 86, so I was disappointed that I wasted my money at the showcase (later realized I would have wasted it anyways... but that's a different discussion). I was encouraged that the spring would go well, though. As it turned out, I did poorly in one of my outings toward the beginning of the year, and didn't pitch the rest of the season. I finished with 6 innings. Since I wasn't pitching at all though, and my velocity and command were wildly inconsistent in bullpens, I decided to try working out with a coach that had just moved down to the area. This guy introduced me to plyocare balls and tons of new mechanical concepts that took my game to the next level. By the time the spring ended, I had been able to spend so much time training since I was not playing that I was now sitting 83-85 and touching 87 with improved command and a solid breaking ball. I ramped up the training even more over the summer, and we ended up spending roughly 3-4 hours a day, 4 days a week training, not including the weight room. At the end of the summer I received my first (and only) scholarship offer from a junior college in Mississippi.
- Senior year: By the fall, my weight was hovering around 190lbs and I was throwing in the 84-87 range, touching 89, with further improved command and off-speed. My trainer left the area, but with the knowledge I learned from him and the non stop research I have done for the past couple years on pitching, I felt confident taking my training into my own hands. I ended up committing to the juco that offered me after visiting and meeting the pitching coach and really connecting with him on an approach standpoint. I continued to get my weight up throughout the fall as well and got to 198 and felt the strongest I ever have. In December though, I twisted my ankle and ended up having a high ankle sprain, which I thought could possibly derail all my preseason preparations as I had to limp around in a boot for 8 weeks. I was doing the program in the free ebook that Kyle Boddy has out, and continued to do so to the best of my ability in the walking boot. By the time I was cleared to throw off a mound, preseason intersquads were beginning and the season was almost upon us. The third time I threw off a mound was in an intersquad, so I was not banking on my velocity being anywhere near where I wanted it to be. Turned out though, I sat 88-90, touching 91 once. I was finally seeing my dreams come to fruition. The night of that intersquad will be one I will never forget. The spring went on, and I ended up throwing 32 innings with a 1.9 ERA and 50k/18bb. I was happy to see how far I'd come, but I didn't perform as well as I had hoped. My posterior elbow really bothered me basically the whole spring, and between that and the coaching situation, I was discouraged by the end of the year. I did get an opportunity to walk-on at Florida, but I turned it down. I also garnered some late interest from Georgia Tech in June, but due to the lateness and the fact that scholarship money was up in the air, I stuck to my juco commitment. I went on to play a few tournaments over the summer while my elbow pain persisted, but eventually decided to shut it down and focus on rehab/development to get ready for my freshman year of college. I followed the throwing protocols in Boddy's HTKC and blended it with some drills I learned at the ARMory (Randy Sullivan) in Tampa, as well as some modified forms of Eric Cressey's High Performance Handbook protocols. By the end of the summer, my arm and body felt as strong as ever, my elbow pain was gone, and my stuff was as good as it had ever been.
- College semester 1: I showed up to school in great shape, and was very optimistic for the year ahead. The first time I stepped on the mound for an intersquad though, my posterior shoulder was killing me after only 10 or so pitches. This posterior shoulder pain continued the entire fall season, but it didn't really hinder my velocity until the very end. I even sat 90-93 for an inning long appearance at Troy University. But by the end of the fall I was in the mid 80s and in tons of pain. I shut it down and focused on basic band/rotator cuff work for rehab, but nothing really helped until I conducted a Randy Sullivan style evaluation of my mechanics and determined the cause of my shoulder (and previous elbow) pain to be my decel pattern. Since traditional rehab didn't work, I decided to try out Sullivan's hold sock, to both strengthen the shoulder and start to correct my decel flaws while not feeling pain due to the hold technique. By December I had solved the pain and resumed HTKC protocols blended with more of Sullivan's drills. Also during the fall, I learned how to really eat to promote gaining. That, mixed with our high intensity, high weight workouts, led to me gaining almost 20 pounds and going from 192 to 210.
It is now January, and our first game is in 10 days. Now, to give a quick outline of where I am as a pitcher right now.
Body fat: 15%
Strength PRs: 365 back squat 1RM, 100lb db bench 2RM, 385 deadlift 1RM
Pitch arsenal: 4-seam (88-90/93), slider (low-mid 70s), changeup (always been a problematic pitch for me, so still trying to develop)
Long term goal- To play at a good D1 and get a good education, and to go as far as I can in the game by reaching my ceiling as a pitcher.
Short term goals:
- Lead team in IP in 2016
- Maintain 200-205 lbs throughout the season
- Locate changeup consistently
- Get slider to upper 70s/80+
- Get to 220 lbs at 15% body fat, then cut to 210 lbs @ 10%
- Sit in the 90s by 2017
- Refine 2-seam using laminar flow theory
I apologize for the long background, but I just want to familiarize people with my story, so they can better understand who I am presently as a pitcher. Im going to try to update this blog at least weekly during the season, so let's get to it.