ACUTE AND CHRONIC WORKLOADS FOR THROWERS
For the longest time, coaches have been abiding by pitch counts and the guidelines set by the ASMI.
While this is a great place to be in the baseball community by following a standard, recent sport science research is showing that it is more than just “x” amount of pitches throwing.
Enter Motus, who revolutionized the wearable sport technology world with their arm sleeve that tracks numerous amounts of data.
Some throws are more stressful than others, as I’m sure you can imagine. Not just a curveball from a fastball, but a 1-2 fastball with the bases loaded will be a little more stressful on the arm rather than nobody on base.
One of the greatest things about the Motus sleeve is that it is able to track WORKLOAD rather than just throwing volume. Based on a bunch of fancy calculations, they then compute how many throws your arm will let you throw next time without it basically falling off.
They also give throwing recommendations in the days coming up to your next start.
Now, what if you don’t have this fancy data? Is there a way you can still calculate workload? The answer is yes, and here is how you can do it!
I recently started using a pitch grid for my pitchers. This is my first time utilizing such a tool during game play, and I’m still learning about how I can make the information of the useful for my pitchers.
To calculate “acute” and “chronic” workload(s), let’s understand what it is first.
Simply put, acute workload is the amount of pitches you have thrown in a day or a week. This number is then multiplied by the athlete’s perceived exertion (shown as sRPE on the grid).
Chronic workload is then the amount of stress you have put on your arm in a 4-week span, or 1-month.
Chronic workload is computed by taking the average of your acute workload. In this specific example, the athlete’s chronic workload is 645 units (so far).
The real important metric here is Acute:Chronic ratio. Ideally, we want to sit around a 1.0-1.2.
This means that the athlete’s arm is in the safe zone. If we go above that number, the athlete is at more risk for injury.
If you revisit my post discussing pre-season bullpens, I note that your arm will be in trouble come the summer if you shot up to 70 pitches in your bullpens right away.
The concept is simple, you have to gradually load your tissues so that they can recover quickly and are able to perform at a high(er) level than previously done before.
It’s a little more work for coaches, but your pitcher’s arm will surely appreciate the extra care.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! I’m still learning during the process too!
Keep throwing ched,
Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS