Conventional coaching wisdom in today’s game to reduce youth pitcher arm stress is to build arm strength to handle more stress & enhance their game but studies show this isn’t what is happening.
Professional pitchers based on body weight actually are the best at reducing stress to the arm. This means elite pitchers get better at using more of their body to increase performance than their arm.
So why are we training with extreme throwing programs like; high intent weighted baseballs, extreme long toss or run and guns? Doesn’t make any sense when you read studies like the one above.
If you think about it, pro pitchers getting better at reducing arm stress as they enhance their performance makes a lot of sense. When a pitcher moves up levels of the game not only are they throwing hard but they are throwing more often with professional pitchers throwing around 180 innings a season for starters.
The only way a human being can survive something so unnatural as throwing 90+mph, 180 innings a year, is if they are extremely talented at reducing the stress to some of the smallest joints in their body like the elbow and shoulder.
Seems pretty logical to say, "if you want to become an elite pitcher in this game you better become a powerful and an efficient machine to survive."
Sports are the case studies proving the Darwinian theory today. Basically the strong survive or you are only as strong as your weakest link. Problem is baseball believes the weakest link is the elbow and shoulder when actually it is always at the bottom of the kinetic chain or body.
If the arm is having to take all the stress because the hips failed or the trunk went early then the problem isn’t the arm. The problem is rarely the arm when you understand how the kinetic chain or body must work together to drive energy from the ground up to the ball.
In the case study above they found that the reason youth pitcher arm stress was higher than in pro pitchers was because they delayed their trunks more. This gave them more time to transfer the energy from the ground up.
To learn how to delay your trunk and reduce youth pitcher arm stress while increasing pitching velocity you need to train with the VPX Training Harness, King of the Hill and 3X Pitching. These programs and training aids develop lower half power that supports higher energy loads.
Another interesting aspect to young arms being stressed more so than MLB arms is the tournament circuit. Think about how youth pitchers have to throw back-to-back days in a youth baseball tournament. Add in lack of training, growth, physicality, and frequency....well, you have a recipe headed right to Dr. Yoekum.
I often felt that baseball tournaments should limit the frequency from which a young arm is pitching. Most have done a great job, but the limits are still around 35 pitches before the pitcher is not allowed to return the next day. Most kids cannot throw a healthy 35 pitch bullpen and recover the next day. Additionally, most kids do not support their energy loads properly.
The end result is that you have a lot of sore arms, tendonitis, and elongated health issues that show their ugly head months or years down the road.