Playing Long Toss Has Many Benefits
Throwing long toss is a tried and true method to train your arm and body to throw hard. There are some parts of long toss that we think a lot of people are doing wrong, but we'll save those for a different article.
As we head into the off season every year, the question on a lot of player's minds is whether they can still do their long toss during the rainy months. We get the question all the time: "What is a good alternative to long toss that I can do in the winter so I don't lose ground".
The answer we give is pretty simple: "Just continue to do long toss!".
The benefits of playing long toss are many. First and foremost the arm is conditioned to throw the ball farther, which usually translates to harder. Second, the body is trained to work efficiently and explosively to launch the ball as hard as possible. And third, the brain is geared into that 100% intent level that we love.
We can get the benefits of long toss without the "long" part
So for any baseball player to replicate long toss, it has to meet all three of those criteria. Lucky for us, no ball actually has to travel a "long" ways for those conditions to exist.
When the benefits of long toss are spelled out as above, the ways to achieve those outcomes become more clear as well. A baseball player can do all three of those things inside a batting cage for example.
Watch the video below from Jaeger Sports so that you understand the components of long toss and what people are actually talking about when they discuss it. Jaeger Sports aren't the only people doing long toss and theirs isn't the only way to do it, but for our money they're the best out there on this subject and more.
So there are many parts to long toss. The arcing the ball on the way back, the pulling it down into "line drives" on the way in and so on. All a baseball player has to do in the cage then is replicate this entire routine into a net. It's much harder to do this if you're not in an enclosed cage because of the "arcing" throws that are required in the beginning. In order to throw at such an angle you will need a net up above you at a pretty high level.
We really think that every intention of long toss can be accomplished inside a cage if it's raining outside or if you don't have a partner. The hardest thing for players to do in this method is keep their mental intent at 100% effort. Because there is no feedback of a ball traveling a certain distance, it is much more difficult for the thrower to keep the intensity up.
If you haven't gotten your "J-Bands" yet from Jaeger Sports go do that before you do anything else!
Keep the intensity high and reap the benefits
Like everything else in baseball training then, it becomes extremely important to visualize your goals and focus only on them. Imagine a partner 300 feet away and try to get it all the way there. It will be a challenge at first to visualize this way for some, but it's a great skill to learn in and on itself.
If you don't have an enclosed cage to throw in, there is a product from Randy Sullivan (Florida Baseball Ranch, formerly ARMory Power Pitching) that is called the Baseball Training Sock. With this thing you can literally throw a baseball in your garage (or bedroom) with no nets at all. For all serious baseball players that want to keep their arm in shape over the winter or who may not always have a partner to throw with, this thing is a genius product.
It is not designed to mimick long toss, it is more designed to replicate traditional "hold" programs (but a much more effective method) or normal catch play.
You can buy it by clicking on the picture:
Hopefully you found some useful information in this article about long toss and how to keep doing "long toss" even after the rainy months hit. Thanks for reading!
Follow Baseball Brains on Twitter