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General  | General  | 4/7/2021

Wolforth Thrower Mentorship: Article 2

Jerry Ford      Ron Wolforth     
Photo: Perfect Game
Ron Wolforth probably knows more about the throwing arm and arm care than anyone we know. Many of you may have heard about the famous Texas Baseball Ranch that Ron has been running for many years. We have built a great relationship with Ron and his wife Jill over the years.

It all started a few years back when Ron sent his son Garrett to a Perfect Game event. His son was a catcher/infielder and set some all-time PG records for pop times (1.75) and velocity (89 mph) at the time. He also threw mid-90s across the infield. He is now playing professionally. Being an average-sized kid, this really drew our interest. Once we realized who his father was, it became clear.

Since then we have followed the Texas Baseball Ranch closely. Ron is a very humble man, which is a reason so many speak highly of him. We have never run across a single person that shows any disrespect for him or the Ranch. So we decided to ask him to help our millions of followers.

Over the years he has helped thousands of pitchers, including many that became Major League All-Stars. Yes, he teaches velocity gains, better control and command, and everything a pitchers needs to be successful. However, unlike many others, he is an absolute stickler when it comes to doing it safely. His interest doesn't just involve velocity gains and other improvements, all of which are very important. He wants his students to understand arm care and how to throw and stay healthy. He does this without a cookie cutter program. He understands that all players are different individuals.

Perfect Game's interest in prospects, arm care and keeping young kids healthy is the major reason we have decided to work with Ron Wolforth.

Below is the second of an ongoing column he will be doing on our Perfect Game website. This information will be gold for any player interested in improving their throwing ability and staying healthy. Make sure you read every column he contributes and feel free to comment on them.

If you want to attend one of his camps and improve your throwing ability, here is the link to the website:

Jerry Ford
Perfect Game

. . .

Below is Article #2 of Ron Wolforth's Elite Thrower Mentorship series on the Perfect Game website. To read the first installment of the series, click here.

The Exact Location of Your Arm Pain is Incredibly Valuable Information

There are four primary locations of arm pain in baseball pitchers (and position players): Medial Elbow, Anterior Shoulder, Lateral Elbow, and Posterior Shoulder.

Medial Elbow

Anterior Shoulder

Lateral/Posterior Elbow

Posterior Shoulder

Each specific location tells us something extremely important about our pain and gives us important clues on how to reduce/eliminate it.

Generally speaking, we have found discomfort emanating from the medial elbow and/or anterior shoulder to most frequently point towards movement pattern disconnections/mechanical inefficiencies during the acceleration phase...and so that’s where we investigate first.

Additionally, when we have found discomfort coming from the lateral elbow and/or posterior shoulder, it most frequently indicates movement pattern disconnections/mechanical inefficiencies during the deceleration phase. If this is the primary location of the discomfort, then we bear down on the patterns of the athlete’s deceleration first.

We have found these are very solid starting points to begin our investigation. I say “starting points” because as Randy Sullivan frequently points out, “Human beings are far too complex and unique to assign ‘always’ and ‘never’ to.” The body often exhibits “displaced” pain...meaning the individual feels the pain in this area but the actual trauma is somewhere else.

But Coach Wolforth, Every Pitcher Has Arm Pain! Doesn’t Pitching Just Involve Enduring Arm Pain? Doesn’t It Just Go with The Territory?

Mark Twain once famously said, “It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble but rather it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Twain is absolutely correct. This common defeatist paradigm (every pitcher has arm pain) has stopped a bunch of young athletes from achieving their dreams and from approaching their God-given potential. It doesn’t have to be this way.

This conventional wisdom exemplar is just plain wrong. Accepting it has kept hundreds of thousands of young men from throwing harder. Accepting it has kept hundreds of thousands of young men from having high-caliber command. Accepting it has kept hundreds of thousands of young men from sharper, more deceptive secondary offerings. Accepting it has kept hundreds of thousands of young men from playing at their next level.

Many mistakenly believe arm discomfort is a fait accompli...the luck of the draw; most will have it, some will be injured, and a lucky few will make it through the performance gauntlet, either because of good genes or just good fortune.

This is, on one end, incredibly fatalistic and cynical, and on the other end, completely nonsensical and even comical.

Soft tissue doesn’t have freewill. Soft tissue simply responds and adapts to the stresses it is placed under.

Mismanage that stress, in the form of ramp-up, workload and/or recovery...pain and possible injury may very well be the result.

Add to that stress by placing body segments in biomechanically less sound positions...pain and possible injury will often be the result.

If, instead, we "Start with the Pain", and begin our training process by overlaying those four locations and intensities of that pain with 6 basic assessments...

1) Your Physical Structure and Alignment
2) Your Mechanical Efficiency
3) Your Wake-Up/Warm-Up/Preparation to Throw
4) Your Training Processes (Including Strength Program, Conditioning, Mobility/Flexibility, Throwing Program)
5) Your Internal Systemics (Sleep, Hydration, Nutrition)
6) Your Workload and Periodization (Where you are at in your calendar year: Offseason, Preseason, In Season, Postseason)

...we will have a far better chance at developing and maintaining a healthy, durable, connected, and electric arm.

Why is the Mayo Clinic so well respected in terms of identifying medical issues that are often misdiagnosed or uncovered by regular medicine?

The general consensus is that the Mayo Clinic has an entire “next level” of assessments, testing, appraisal, investigation, inspection, and analysis.

In short, the Mayo Clinic has a more thorough evaluation process than other health providers.

They ask different questions.

They ask better questions.

They test for things that other medical facilities don’t even recognize as important.

If you and your young throwing athlete desire to have a healthy, durable, connected, and electric throwing arm, you typically will not find it in general consensus and conventional wisdom.

That is where mediocrity lies.

At the Texas Baseball Ranch®, we follow the following process:

Our Recommendation:

-Pay close attention to the location and intensity of your pain. This provides valuable clues as to where the issue is occurring.

-DO NOT EVER ignore pain. Pain is information. Your body is trying to tell you something, pay attention to it! It may not mean you are headed to the orthopedic surgeon's table, but there are multiple reasons not to ignore it.

-Soft tissue has no free will or voice. EVERYONE, in our opinion, with the proper assessment and the appropriate training can create a high-caliber throwing tool.

-Do not ever accept that pain is just the luck of the draw...or something to be endured. Having a healthy, durable, connected, and electric throwing arm is your birthright, no matter what the "herd" will tell you.

I look forward to continuing our discussion.

-Ron Wolforth
CEO - The Texas Baseball Ranch®

Coach Wolforth has written six books on pitching including the Amazon Best Seller, Pitching with Confidence. Since 2003, 122 of the players Wolforth has trained have been drafted and 458 have broken the 90 mph barrier. He has consulted with 13 MLB teams, dozens of NCAA programs and has been referred to as “America’s Go-to-Guy on Pitching” and “The Pitching Coaches Pitching Coach”. Coach Wolforth lives in Montgomery, Texas with his wife, Jill.  They are intimately familiar with youth select, travel baseball and PG events as their son Garrett (now a catcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization) went through the process.  Garrett still holds the PG Underclass All-American Games record for catcher velocity at 89 mph which he set in 2014 at the age of 16.

If you would like a free copy of Pitching With Confidence go to www.freepitchingbook.com.