Ways to Improve Youth Long Toss for Continued Development

By Ben Harley, Asst. Coordinator, Driveline Academy

Think about taking your youth participant to a Main League Baseball recreation. They’d be excited to see the perfect gamers on the earth exhibit the abilities and abilities they’ve spent a lifetime growing, proper? Now, think about that the MLB had simply put in a brand new rule forbidding the gamers from throwing the ball additional than 120 toes. Would that be any enjoyable?

In fact not. Everybody loves seeing pitchers throwing onerous, outfielders gunning down runners at house with a missile from the nook of the outfield, and infielders throwing bazookas throughout the diamond to get the bottom runner by half a step to win the ball recreation. 

None of these superb throws have been developed in a single day. It took years of onerous work in a mess of various issues to get there. Nonetheless, every of those superb gamers most likely has one factor in widespread: all of them did lengthy toss.

As coaches of youth athletes, we need to put our gamers in the perfect coaching environments and conditions attainable, not solely to assist them succeed on the sphere, but in addition to get pleasure from their time taking part in the sport of baseball, as a result of it’s, in any case, a recreation. 

Let’s have a look into why and the best way to enhance lengthy toss along with your youth baseball participant. 

Why Lengthy Toss?

If and when a participant ought to do lengthy toss has been and continues to be a debate amongst baseball coaches worldwide. We imagine in having our gamers on a structured lengthy toss program to assist a number of long run developmental objectives. 

  • Lengthy toss encourages gamers to maneuver quick, which is nice, and permits their our bodies to self-organize as they proceed to throw farther and more durable. 
  • By permitting an athlete to lengthy toss, we encourage their physique to adapt to the suitable ranges of stress positioned on it, which can assist gamers safely transition to the mound and recreation play basically. If we don’t give athletes this chance so as to add stress to their arms, their our bodies won’t adapt to the extent of stress that they’ll encounter in a recreation, which units them up for different well being points long run. We should always not keep away from putting stress on the arm, however as an alternative ought to correctly monitor and program it for every particular person athlete. 
  • In easy phrases, lengthy toss interprets on to the mound. Gamers who’re in a position to throw the ball farther whereas transferring shortly will be capable of throw onerous on the mound, and throwing onerous is nice (and enjoyable). 

Tip #1: Acceptable Time in Apply

As a youth coach, you might be definitely restricted on time along with your gamers every week. You most likely have a dozen various things that you just need to cowl and never sufficient time to do all of it. With a view to squeeze in a number of extra reps of pickoffs, bunt defenses or regardless of the case could also be, youth coaches (and coaches at larger ranges as properly) will typically quick change the catch play time to maneuver on to what they’ve scheduled subsequent. 

The true query is why? You typically hear coaches say that the group that performs catch the perfect is the group that’s going to win. So why would you quick change the one time in observe devoted to arguably a very powerful points of the sport, throwing and catching?

Another excuse to not quick change your gamers on time for lengthy toss is to present them sufficient time to correctly heat up after which stretch out distance-wise to assist them enhance arm power and throwing capability. All of this results in the largest profit: retaining our gamers wholesome and taking part in on the sphere for years to come back. 

Tip #2: Sport-Primarily based Catch Play

For a lot of youthful youth gamers, lengthy toss and catch play might not be a number of enjoyable. If we will flip lengthy toss right into a recreation, make it a contest and monitor outcomes over time, the buy-in from gamers will enhance. It will result in improved lengthy toss and practices that the youngsters get pleasure from extra. 

The very first thing you are able to do is introduce a partner-based level system. A easy option to begin is to assign factors for every throw that hits their accomplice within the chest. After every throwing session, you possibly can write down the variety of factors every participant obtained and make it an entire group competitors each week. 

A second enjoyable recreation you possibly can play (after everybody has stretched their arms out to a protracted distance) is to have every participant begin on the identical distance and make a throw. In the event that they get the ball to their accomplice with out bouncing they transfer again. The final participant standing wins. You’ll instantly see youngsters PRing on their throws and transferring very effectively to make the ball journey farther. 

youth throw

Tip #3: Making Indoor Lengthy Toss Significant

Do you reside in a area the place you possibly can’t throw outdoors throughout a number of the yr? Then you might be in the same state of affairs to the one which we’re in right here at Driveline. It’s at all times been a problem for youth coaches to make lengthy toss significant indoors. We’ve got two suggestions.

First, if you’re throwing into the aspect of the cage, add markers on the completely different angles that your gamers would throw the ball outdoors. You may clarify to your gamers what every marker is meant to symbolize distance-wise. It will assist them monitor their output and the way they’re throwing the ball. 

Second, if you’re throwing inside a cage, you possibly can dangle some form of goal on the finish of the cage. It will assist gamers work on the target-specific accuracy they’re lacking out on by not being with a accomplice. This can even make it a enjoyable competitors amongst teammates to see who can hit the goal essentially the most. 


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