Guest Columnist: Gary E. Mattingly, PT, PhD
The first robin, the last mound of snow melting, crocuses emerging from the ground, the budding of trees: these all signal the beginning of Spring. But for some, Spring doesn’t officially begin until the first pitch is thrown with the start of baseball practice. Ron Chiavacci, former professional baseball player, coaches aspiring pitchers, and offers advice on pitching with accuracy.
What got you started teaching young pitchers?
While in the off season, I was asked by parents and teams to help their young pitchers with some one-on-one instruction, which I enjoyed. Later, I became an instructor at Pro Staff Baseball Camp, which I now run.
What are the major things you work on with young pitchers?
I work on all aspects of pitching: the basic fundamentals, strengthening and conditioning, the mechanics of the pitch delivery, and the physical and mental aspects of pitching. With one-on-one instruction, I enjoy developing programs that are specific for the individual.
What are the three most common mistakes you see in young pitchers today?
What suggestions would you give to a young pitcher who wants to take it to the next level?
Other than dedicating and committing yourself to that goal, it is important to understand the game. Baseball is a game of failure. A batter with a 400 batting average fails 6 out of 10 times at bat and yet has a very good chance of ending up in the hall of fame. The same thing applies to pitching. No pitcher is perfect and will always have times of failure. It’s important to learn how to deal with failure in the game. The people that fail the least are the ones that move on to the next level. As we like to say to all developing pitchers, “Strive for perfection, but be content with excellence, because you will never be perfect in this game.”
Chiavacci began playing locally with the Southside Little League and later played with the Moosic Mets, 948 Legion, Lackawanna Junior College, and Kutztown University. Professionally, Chiavacci has pitched for the Montreal Expos, Pittsburg Pirates, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Huston Astros. He also played one year of major league baseball in Korea.
Gary E. Mattingly, PT, PhD is a professor at the University of Scranton, Dept of Physical Therapy and an associate specializing in the prevention and rehabilitation of shoulder injuries at Mackarey & Mackarey PT Consultants in Scranton, PA.
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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: email@example.com Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.