BVSA Sports Show: Episode 16
BVSA Sports Show: Episode 16
Anthony – We are back with episode 16 of the BVSA sports show. Thank you guys so much for tuning in again. This week, like Joe and I talked about last week, we are switching it up a little bit. We are excited to welcome back Virg to the show and welcome Nic Civale for the first time. And again, welcome back Frank Ramppen, managing partner at the facility here. So we are really excited to talk today. We talk about things all the time that we’d love to have a camera on us 24/7 in here because we’re in here all day long when kids are at school. It’s tough, and you know, we’re getting business stuff done, but we can’t not talk about things that come up. We’re excited to finally bring on Nick, who’s a doctor of physical therapy. Trying to up the game here a little bit. And little teaser, you’re here, we will be working Bobby Valentine into some of these segments coming forward. So more on that, stay tuned. So, um, today we again, we have Nic Civale, and we’re talking, going back to what we’re talking about last week about Mohegan Sun. One of my favorite guys there was Chris Bojack from Yale talking pitching, and it kind of goes into the first topic that we want to get into here is starting the program early, you know, and getting going. So where are you at on that and when guys should be throwing and when they shouldn’t be throwing and how to get your program going there.
Nic – Yeah, it’s something that people take a look at Major League players and they say, “That’s not me. I’m only 12. I don’t need to start that early.” Major League guys start throwing in December/January to get ready for the season. And that’s really when I think people should be starting, no matter what age you are. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re throwing 98, it matters what kind of effort you’re putting into it. So if you’re trying to put in 100% effort by March 15th when your middle school or high school season starts, you need to ramp up to that. And it’s the same exact process as a major leaguer or a professional athlete. So I think a lot of times people just see young kids throwing at a lighter pace and they say, “Oh, they’ll warm up for a couple of weeks, they’ll be fine.” But there’s a lot of changes the body has to go through to get ready for the season. So one of the main points I try to drive across is that you need to start throwing early so you’re not trying to go 0 to 60 in a couple of weeks.
And there’s a lot of different topics of conversation that go off of that, whether it’s how your muscles respond to it, mentally, are you ready for the season, and just building some muscle memory.
Frank – So what kind of a throwing program should young players be on at that point, like 10 to 12 years old? I agree, everybody should be starting early. They should build up. I mean, like I was in Japan, those guys never stopped throwing from the time they’re little kids. When does a little leaguer 10 to 12 or 8 to 12 start throwing and what do they do?
Nic – If I’m running a team and I’m instructing kids, right, about after Christmas time, that Christmas to New Year’s break is the perfect time to just get the arms starting loosening up. And it doesn’t even have to be getting out on a field. It could be throwing into a net, into a wall, into a fence. And really those first few weeks are very light tossing. And the problem that people have with starting that is it’s extremely boring. No one even wants to do it. But it’s extremely important to building that up. And it’s the same way a runner would prepare for a marathon. They’d start at half a mile, one mile and build up. So it’s very light throwing. A lot of it’s stationary, working on rotation, working on your arm slot, making sure you don’t go into the season realizing, “Oh, I didn’t know my back was tight until two weeks before the season.” Now you’re gonna find that stuff out early. You go see a PT for a couple of days, you get it figured out before it’s a problem. And that gives you an idea of what to expect in the coming two months.
Virg – How do you feel about people never taking time off?
Nic – That’s a great question. I do think there is a need for time off. So fall seasons, it depends on what other sports you’re playing. So I still fully encourage up to the age of maybe junior year in high school for kids to be playing multiple sports, just the wear and tear on the body, the asymmetries you create of doing the same thing year long. It’s not just baseball. It’s any sport. That is something that causes you to start breaking down at 22 instead of 32 or even into college. You see that with a lot of kids, a lot of guys who come from the south who are playing 50 high school games, 50 summer games, they’re up to almost as many games as major leaguers. They’re guys who scouts even look at and say, “Hey, we might not want to sign this guy into his late 30s.” He just went through a whole season when he was 14 all the way up till now. So you have to break it up. And as far as taking a break from fall ball, when does that usually end? In October.
Frank – End of October, early November.
Nic – I’m probably not touching a ball between then and right before Christmas.
Virg – Even though you could potentially just look at it as a build-up of conditioning. Bryce Harper is a perfect example. Yeah, he just blew out his arm and had Tommy John, right? Now, 30-year-old season coming up or 31-year-old season. Yeah, but in reality, his body has been conditioned since he was a kid to withstand a full season.
Nic – And so his mileage starts at probably age 13, where he’s throwing 90-something in middle school or whatever it was. And it will take a toll. You see all the benefits of it, but not every person out there is going to be Bryce Harper and sign that nine million dollars and get all the best trainers in the world and get paid to recover. But to your point, I do think it’s very important for you to do something baseball-related. I’m not saying just don’t do anything baseball at all or stop working out. It’s just specifically for throwing. I think that’s when you need to take a break and give your arm a little bit of a rest.
Virg – And even if it’s not a normal arm slot. You’re playing around, you’re having fun, you’re messing around.
Nic – Oh, yeah, that’s fine. Like if you’re just throwing a football with friends. It’s more like formally throwing a bullpen. That’s got to be there’s got to be some time off for that. But yeah, I’m not saying don’t play. Be in a sling for three months. Totally do that stuff. Yeah. And that’s exactly that multi-sport mentality too. Like go play football with your friends. Go swimming. Use your arm in other ways. Just don’t keep throwing bullpen until January and then start it all up again.
Anthony – Yeah. Essentially, that kind of goes back to thinking about Bojack. And he’s of that mindset. They just throw. They always throw. Same thing. I think they were going back to their throwing off the mound during those October sessions. But he definitely wanted them throwing three or four days a week along with their lifting and whatnot. And one thing that he said that we heard a lot, actually, before he went to the event was, “It comes pitching a lot of it’s a pain based.” Yeah. Like, throwing, and it’s all, like you said, there’s different perspectives. What are some things we can do to start measuring the body so that the body can tell us, “Oh, he’s ready to do this. He’s not ready to do this.” Is there anything that you’re seeing there, like, you know, just quick, simple movements that they could do so that kids know, “Yeah, we can actually put a kid run, run a kid through something.” And they know, “I’m prepared to go today.”
Nic – Yeah. The shorter answer is, go through every joint in the body and say, “How does this compare to what that joint is supposed to look like?” And that’s something we’re trying to do with our screens and that’s sort of what a physical therapy evaluation would entail. And I even have a few kids now who come in and they don’t have any pain, but they know by the end of the season, they’re starting to wear down. So they say, “What can I do?” And you go and you look at the ankles, the knees, the hips. A lot of times, it’s the hips where one side of rotation is tighter than the other. And it’s because it’s a very asymmetrical, unilateral sport. You’re always rotating one way, unless you’re a switch hitter. That affects your momentum from the feet all the way up through the arm slot. So if you have a limitation at the hip, it’s like any other machine, the other parts and the other joints are going to have to make up for that. So one of the biggest things we can do is just measure all these different joints and say, “You are limited here, you’re fine there, you’re fine there, let’s focus on this.” So with a good amount of my off-season baseball guys, Gio included, it’s not actually a spot that’s bothering them, it’s somewhere else that’s affecting their arm slot or why they’re not getting velocity. And that’s as simple as you talk to a physical therapist or you talk to a really good personal trainer and they notice that, “Say, hey, stretch out your pecs more or stretch out your lateral hip muscles.” And problem solved instead of trying to bear through it and get some kind of injury in mid-May.
Virg – So how do you teach kids, or how have you done in your experience, teach kids how to know the difference between soreness and pain or injury?
Nic – That’s a very tough one because honestly, they’re going to lie to you in a lot of cases. It’s a young kid who wants to play and they’re going to say, “No, it’s fine. It’s just a little sore.” And I know that because I did it myself and I know all my teammates who did it too. I think the conversation about what an injury is has to take place. If you go to somebody because you’re sore, you can’t have the feeling like you’re going to lose your spot on the team or you’re going to get pushed to the end of the bench. And that’s something that starts with the coaching and maybe it’s something that everyone feels like it’s kind of understood, but it probably needs to be vocalized more.
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