This section outlines the basic knowledge needed before starting the Fusion Throwing Program.
Pain or discomfort- If the player is feeling any pain or discomfort in their shoulder or elbow, immediately stop the throwing program and put them through the Red Flag Screening Protocol. If any of the four Red Flag Screens are positive, have the player see a licensed medical professional. If the player test negative for all of the screens, they should discontinue throwing for two weeks and perform two sets of the CS Recovery Phase every other day. Following this two week period, the player can attempt to restart the throwing program from the day one in the throwing program. If the pain returns, the player should see a licensed medical professional.
Pre-Season- Is the time when an athlete is not in a structured practice or game setting. The pre-season training starts 12 weeks prior to the first day of practice. There is a calendar to map out your pre-season training. Find out the date of the first practice and work backwards to know when to begin the throwing program. During the Pre-Season is when you develop your foundation by preparing your arm for the day to day stresses it will endure throughout the season. This foundation is the most important element of the Fusion Throwing Program. If you wait until the in-season to develop your foundation, you will be unable to handle the workloads as you will have an under conditioned arm resulting in early fatigue and poor performance.
Foundation- Is the level of throwing conditioning as well as the shoulder strength (rotator cuff and scapular muscles) that is built in the pre-season by gradually increasing throwing workloads and completing prescribed arm care protocols based on the throwing schedule.
In-Season- Playing games or practicing with a team on a regular basis. The goal is to have a strong foundation built by the time the season starts. This will undoubtable improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.
Environmental Challenges-Unless you live in warm weather states, your pre-season schedule with coincide with harsh winter months making it difficult to complete the program as outlined. There are however, some parts of the program that can be done routinely regardless of the weather. You can follow the pre-season schedule indoors with limited space by setting throwing time limits on the throwing program. If throwing indoors, the light day would equate to around 8-10 minutes, the regular day would be 10-14 minutes and the long toss day would be 15-18 minutes. Whether throwing indoors or outdoors, always listen to your arm. If you feel like you are starting to fatigue during the throwing program, it is time to stop.
Listen to your arm- This is not a generalized throwing program. The duration and number of throws are determined by how the individual athlete feels. The athlete’s awareness of his arm health is the best guide to progress or shut down the throwing program on a particular day. Listen to your arm! Listen to your arm! Listen to your arm! If you feel a hinge in your arm that “doesn’t feel normal” or cannot be worked out by continuing to throw, “SHUT IT DOWN!”
Five Steps to the Fusion Throwing Program
Step 1: Total Body Dynamic Warm-up
Dynamic warm-up and flexibility training are essential elements of any pre-practice or pre-competition routine and helps prepare the body for the demands of the practice or game. An effective warm-up accomplishes five very important things.
- Increases body temperature allowing muscles to work more efficiently
- Gets the heart and lungs ready for vigorous activity.
- Stretches muscles actively, preparing them for the forces experienced during a baseball game.
- Ingrains proper movement patterns and the coordination needed in baseball.
- Wakes up the nervous system and gets the brain talking to the muscles.
Step 2: Crossover Symmetry Activation
Complete one set of the Crossover Symmetry Activation phase day prior to picking up a ball. Different from the total body dynamic warm-up, the CS Activation phase focuses specifically on the rotator cuff and scapular muscles preparing them for high velocity throwing.
Step 3: Throwing program-Light, Regular, Long Toss
The Crossover Long Toss Program was designed to give the player or coach three throwing options. The difference is how far the players are throwing. There is diagram at the top of the pre-season throwing schedule that illustrates the Light, Regular and Long Toss distances.
- On a Light throw day, the maximum distance the players would throw is from the foul line to where the back edge of the infield dirt meets the outfield grass.
- On a Regular throw day, the players would back up until the player in the field was between the back edge of the infield dirt and the long toss distance.
- On a long toss day, the player in the field would gradually back up to the long toss distance where they cannot reach each other in the air. This is what we call the max one hop distance. If the player can reach their partner in the air, they are too close and need to continue to back up.
- Select a partner with similar arm strength and playing position (infielders, outfielders, pitchers and catchers).
- Start with one person on the foul line and your partner 30 feet away.
- Back up at your own pace not dictated by number of throws or time but rather how long it takes your arm to get loose on that particular day.
- Once the player in the field reaches the max distance for the day, both players should attempt to throw the ball on a line to each other or at the very least keep the ball under a 15 foot ceiling.
- The time and number of throws that it took to reach the max distance for the day should be about twice the time and volume of throws on the way back in. For example: 10 minutes out to a max distance and 5 minutes back.
Step 4: Practice
This is the pre-season and all players want to get better. If the players practice following the throwing program and that includes throwing, that is completely okay and actually encouraged. Players just need to monitor their workloads to make sure that are not throwing more than what their body is conditioned for.
Step 5: Post Practice Arm Care
Post-practice arm care can make a huge impact on the health and performance of ball players’ arms. The pre-season schedule clearly list what we recommend for arm care on each day. The essential arm care protocols which include: CS Recovery, Plyometric, and IRON SCAP phases as well as trigger point massage and posterior shoulder stretching are prescribed based on the schedule and the throwing workloads.
Preseason Throwing Schedule