A New Twist on a Great Idea by Randy Sullivan
Dominic was hurt.
He was just finishing his first college baseball season and he could barely lift his arm. The 5'11" lefty was topping out at 76 mph, and although he's a pretty tough guy, he said that every time he threw a ball it felt like he was being stabbed in the back of his shoulder.
He had been to several doctors and had had multiple X-rays, a CT scan and an MRI, but no one could find any reason for his pain.
His coaches called him soft.
He was frustrated.
He thought his career might be over.
The orthopedist he was seeing had recommended "exploratory surgery". The plan was to cut him open see if anything would show up.
I had just seen a segment on HBO Real Sports about Steve Delobar and the NPA holds idea, and I really liked the concept.
We had known for years that pitchers tend to have significant imbalances between the accelerators and decelerators of the shoulder, but the way we were currently training the scapular musculature, and the posterior rotator cuff was not functional or specific to pitching motion.
I thought the process might help Dom, so I scoured the internet looking for information. Unfortunately I found nothing. I guess it was before they had rolled out their product.
So we just started.
I told Dom to ask the surgeon to give us about 3 weeks before operating. He did, and we started working on Dom's decel pattern with a weighted ball but we told him not to let go.
He said it felt great, so we stuck with it. He did holds for about an hour a day for three weeks. Then he picked a baseball and threw without pain, and we were on our way! Dom is now a 90-92 mph closer for his college team. Last year he set a school record with 5 saves in 5 days -- pretty good!
After seeing the results we got with Dom, we started using the holds idea for all our students, and found the holds to be useful in a lot of different ways.
I was liking the idea of functionally strengthening the posterior musculature to create a balanced shoulder, but then my friend Kyle Boddy at Driveline Baseball, wrote and insightful blog showing the subtle differences in the movement patterns of holds versus normal throws.
According to Kyle, the danger was that if the movement was close to normal, but not quite right, it could create a "negative blending" situation and disrupt the normal pattern.
I really liked the holds, but I had indeed noticed that our pitchers' arm actions looked kind of dorky when they did them. We had to find a way to normalize the movement pattern while still hanging onto the ball. The sock holds solved that problem for us.
I gave a presentation on our holds program at The Texas Baseball Ranch last December, and we started introducing them at camps both here and in Texas.
But we had another problem.
The socks were tearing and our guys were doing them so much that they were getting abrasions on their fingers. Enter Robert Oates who offered to design a better sock. He did just that and the product is now on line in his store. Check it out here
We made a training video and an e-book on how we use them. You can get it here
This has been a valuable and versatile addition to our training program here at The ARMory. I'm sure you'll like it!
Have a great day, don't forget about the Rocket Science Live webinar tomorrow. Integrating a World Class Throwing Process into Your College Program. It's gonna be great!
See you there!