For those boys and girls who are entering high school, the next four years means preparation and a competitive environment that will generate college baseball and softball players. Of all the skills that translate to all positions at all levels is the ability to play catch and develop arm strength. Playing catch accurately, with strength and from great distances, is paramount to players who move on to college and it does not happen by genetics or chance. All have actively followed some type of throwing program that required them to gradually and consistently increase in distance and volume. These programs are called long toss and there is some debate as to whether it is best going as far as one’s arm allows using an arc to reach your partner, or that your throwing should be contained to the arm angle and release point to keep the ball on a straight line.
The first thing that must be made clear is that any throwing must be done with proper mechanics to use the whole body and not just arms. If players have not been throwing consistently it is also important to build up the volume your child is throwing before he or she will be able to feel his release point comfortably as he or she increases his distance. If he’s in high school it’s important that he determines which program his varsity coaches want them to be on before making any decisions. If you have no coaching however I offer this program from my own experience:
- 0-5 minutes – Spent warming up the arm with short forearm toss, shoulder warm-ups and then regular stand-up-and-catch from 60 feet.
- 5-8 minutes – Begin backing up to 90 feet and spend a majority of your time at 90 feet, as it is the distance of the bases at high school, college and professional baseball.
- 8-10 minutes – Begin backing up using your legs to shuffle and throw to 120 feet, this will take arc for younger boys and girls without experience in a throwing program.
This is a simple program that will help get your player ready to throw greater distances when he is ready to back up and being stretching out his arm.