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swinging a bucket = shoulder injuries?

Nov 1, 2008
224
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My dd started going to a new pitching coach about 3 weeks ago. He was recommended to me by a couple of my coworkers whose older dd's have been going to him for a couple years now. One is in 10th grade and is the ace at her school (local rival), the other a 7th grader who starts on the varsity team at our school. My dd is 11 and currently only plays rec ball.

One of the coach's exercises is swinging an empty 5 gallon bucket in the windmill motion to strengthen the shoulder as well as solidify the motion. Pretty similar to the xcelerator device i have seen referenced here in other threads. She started out with swinging the bucket 3 times a week, 25 rotations per session with an empty bucket. Now she will increase to 25 rotations at a slow speed as a warm up and 25 at the fastest speed she can while maintaining proper form. Eventually the reps will increase and a ball or two will added to the bucket as she gets older.

I ran into another friend of mine this friday at a HS tournament. His dd is also a pitcher at another area HS. Our conversation was obviously about our girls and i told him who she had started going to and his response was "He's very good, but he'll sacrifice a girl's shoulder to make himself look better." I asked him "How so?" and he asked if she was swinging a bucket yet. I said she was and he said i should NEVER let him add any weight to it or it could injure her shoulder.

Does anybody have any experience with this type of thing? i know any exercise if done excessively or incorrectly can cause injury. I don't want to risk her injuring her shoulder, but i'm not 100% convinced that this would cause an injury if done properly. Several of the girls who got lessons from this coach have signed scholarships so i'm inclined to believe he knows what he's doing. But i also know there is a possibility that some girl along the line has gotten hurt and i've not heard about it. Any advice from the experts?
 
Feb 14, 2009
23
0
My dd started going to a new pitching coach about 3 weeks ago. He was recommended to me by a couple of my coworkers whose older dd's have been going to him for a couple years now. One is in 10th grade and is the ace at her school (local rival), the other a 7th grader who starts on the varsity team at our school. My dd is 11 and currently only plays rec ball.

One of the coach's exercises is swinging an empty 5 gallon bucket in the windmill motion to strengthen the shoulder as well as solidify the motion. Pretty similar to the xcelerator device i have seen referenced here in other threads. She started out with swinging the bucket 3 times a week, 25 rotations per session with an empty bucket. Now she will increase to 25 rotations at a slow speed as a warm up and 25 at the fastest speed she can while maintaining proper form. Eventually the reps will increase and a ball or two will added to the bucket as she gets

I ran into another friend of mine this friday at a HS tournament. His dd is also a pitcher at another area HS. Our conversation was obviously about our girls and i told him who she had started going to and his response was "He's very good, but he'll sacrifice a girl's shoulder to make himself look better." I asked him "How so?" and he asked if she was swinging a bucket yet. I said she was and he said i should NEVER let him add any weight to it or it could injure her shoulder.

Does anybody have any experience with this type of thing? i know any exercise if done excessively or incorrectly can cause injury. I don't want to risk her injuring her shoulder, but i'm not 100% convinced that this would cause an injury if done properly. Several of the girls who got lessons from this coach have signed scholarships so i'm inclined to believe he knows what he's doing. But i also know there is a possibility that some girl along the line has gotten hurt and i've not heard about it. Any advice from the experts?
i am not an expert , but I won't let my DD swing a bucket there's a chance she could hit herself in the head. there are some experts on this site , I
sure they will be answering your post .
you can just ask them . Ask Bill hillhouse ,Ponytail , Hal and Mac , there are
other .
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,924
83
Dallas, Texas
!

Evaluating a drill by itself is difficult. The question isn't, "is this drill stupid?" The question is, "Does your present coach know what he is talking about?" If he does, then shut up and do the drill.

If your pitching coach has produced D1 level pitchers, then you need to listen to what the guy is saying. But, you need to investigate a little further. How many has he produced? Was he their only coach? How does this guy/gal know anything about pitching?

Does he tell you your DD will be the next Olympian? Or does he say something like, "She is OK, but she is really going to need to work to get to the next level." How much time does he spend telling you things that you like to hear? (e.g., "Your DD is GREAT!")

A good pitching coach will be able to tell you what the drill does and why the pitcher is doing the drill and "what comes next". If he/she can't explain, clearly and logically, why a drill is being done, then the coach is clueless. If he says, "OK, this drill-1 does XYZ. It fits into the overall plan, because you have to do XYZ in order to do ABC. Once she can do XYZ, then we are going to do drill-2. Drill-2 does this."

You are going to hear a lot of garbage from other parents about pitching. Bad pitching coaches kiss up to the parents. (It is pretty tough not to trust a guy who tells you how great your DD is. After all, he recognized your DD's brilliance, just like you--so the guy has to be smart, right?) Therefore, parents think that their pitching coach is "the best", and they think your pitching coach sucks.
 

halskinner

Banned
May 7, 2008
2,689
0
It is the general consensus that a ball that is 20% over regular weight is as much as you want to increase it for a weighted ball to be used in practice.

I think it would be prudent to say that same amount of weight should be followed if you are talking about using anything OTHER than a softball.

I would not recommend it.

Proceed at your own risk.:(
 
Nov 6, 2008
71
0
Bad idea because:
1. As pointed out, the resistance provided by a large bucket, even when empty is exponentially greater than a regulation softball. The injury potential is obvious.
2. The centrifugal force provided by weight suspended outside of the circle, whether it be an “Xcelerator” or a bucket can only serve to straighten the lever (arm) throughout the circle. We are not looking to create muscle memory that reinforces the straight arm circle, but instead a loose, flexed, “whipping” arm.
3. How in the world would a 5 gallon bucket clear the hip without having the arm pass by a foot or so away from the body? Again, bad mechanics reinforced.

Having a student go on the next level is the result of the convergence many factors, one of which may be the competency of the pitching coach. I wish that I could take credit for the kids that I have taught over the years that went on to pitch in college, but I can not and will not. The credit belongs to their genes and to their work ethic, in most cases. Do not be wowed by a pitching coach because of this type of success alone. This coach may be excellent for all I know, but his promotion of this drill is a red flag in my mind.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,924
83
Dallas, Texas
Again, if there is a concern, you should discuss it with the pitching coach.

Hal: What consensus about "20%" are you talking about? Resistance training for athletes is done all the time at greater than 20% of the expected load.

sjss: "Exponentially greater resistance"? I'm not sure what you mean by "resistance", but a softball weighs roughly .4 lbs, while a 5 gallon bucket weighs about 1.5 lbs. So, you would need about 4 times more force to accelerate the bucket into motion than with a softball. (F=ma, so if m increases by 4x, then the force required to produce the motion increases by 4x.) The force is considerably more, but hardly exponential.

And, also, I don't know of any kid who was successful at the D1 level without a good coach.

As to this drill, kids do this all the time "for fun", and I'm not aware of any rash of shoulder injuries associated with bucket swinging.
 
Nov 6, 2008
71
0
Exponential: “(of an equation) having one or more unknown variables in one or more exponents.”

You must consider more than the weight of the bucket alone- there is resistance and other centrifugal forces here that it would take a physicist to calculate.

"And, also, I don't know of any kid who was successful at the D1 level without a good coach."

The point I was making was that just because a coach’s former student is pitching in college,that alone does not provide total credibility to the coach. There are many pitchers at the D1 level who have less than optimum mechanics and are performing below their capabilities. A trip to a weekend college tournament will demonstrate this to you, especially if the teams are from a mid-major or lower D1 program. I have to believe that at least some of them did not receive the best of instruction.


"As to this drill, kids do this all the time "for fun", and I'm not aware of any rash of shoulder injuries associated with bucket swinging".

When I was a kid we used to grab on to the side of freight trains, ride them a while then jump off when they were going 30 mph or so. Nobody ever got hurt.
 

halskinner

Banned
May 7, 2008
2,689
0
Again, if there is a concern, you should discuss it with the pitching coach.

Hal: What consensus about "20%" are you talking about? Resistance training for athletes is done all the time at greater than 20% of the expected load.

sjss: "Exponentially greater resistance"? I'm not sure what you mean by "resistance", but a softball weighs roughly .4 lbs, while a 5 gallon bucket weighs about 1.5 lbs. So, you would need about 4 times more force to accelerate the bucket into motion than with a softball. (F=ma, so if m increases by 4x, then the force required to produce the motion increases by 4x.) The force is considerably more, but hardly exponential.

And, also, I don't know of any kid who was successful at the D1 level without a good coach.

As to this drill, kids do this all the time "for fun", and I'm not aware of any rash of shoulder injuries associated with bucket swinging.

The Steadman / Hawkins report determined that the force against the shoulder with just the weight of the softball was 80 - 100% that of the pitcher's body weight. Increase that by 4 times by using a bucket and a few balls in it and doing a full windmill circle?? I DONT THINK SO!

I am a proponent of resistance training for pitchers using only the bottom half of the circle, with the elbow bent and doing the exercises very slowly. I am NOT a proponent of any additional weight and doing a full windmill circle.
 
Nov 1, 2008
224
0
His stated purposes of the drill are to a. increase shoulder strength and b. increase the speed in which her arm rotates while pitching. Right now, she spins the bucket faster than she spins her arm when she is pitching. so in theory she'll create muscle memory of a fast arm rotation and begin speeding her pitching rotation up to the same speed as when she's swinging the bucket. It also seems to clean up her form when she gets kinda sloppy with it. Would having her swing something like a regulation ball on a short rope or something like that be suitable?

How would you recommend i approach discussing this with him?
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,924
83
Dallas, Texas
If you are happy with the coach:

(1) Go to Wal-Mart, and buy a 1 gallon plastic oval shaped bucket. It weighs perhaps 5 ounces. Since it is oval, you won't have to worry about it hitting her hip. Since it weighs less than a softball, it isn't a whole lot different than swinging a softball.

--OR--

(2) Do the "smile and nod". The "smile and nod" is a fundamental tool in every pitcher's toolbox. People will come up to them all the time and offer them "expert" advice. The better they are, the more people will suggest ways for them to improve. Rather than discuss the advice, it is best to put on that charming young girl smile and have her nod her head vigorously at the suggestion, and not say a word. Then, quickly move the conversation to another topic.
 

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