Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Training Techniques Aids Rehab for Cole Radar Guns Plays Part in Process

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Training Techniques Aids Rehab for Cole Radar Guns Plays Part in Process

Article excerpt

SEATTLE - Over the years, Gerrit Cole has grown friendly with the radar gun. It really lights up when he is around. So it came as a surprise recently when the radar gun was the reason head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk was barking at Cole, telling the pitcher to slow down.

The Pirates debuted a curious training technique this month to help Cole work his way back from a right triceps strain. As Cole plays catch, Tomczyk stands behind the catcher and holds a radar gun at the ready. He gives Cole a target velocity range and hollers if he strays outside the lines.

Cole called it a way for the trainers to "control the animal," the one which has been pacing impatiently since going on the 15-day disabled list June 11. Tomczyk refers to the plan as a "sub-max program." Maximum reps to maintain mechanics. Sub-maximum intensity to lessen stress.

"I don't know where the radar-gun idea was initiated," Cole said, "but it's really been working."

Pitching coach Ray Searage already swears by the rehabilitation program. He called Tomczyk "a ... genius" for implementing it. The problem in typical rehab, Searage said, is pitchers rely on long toss, stretching out to 150 feet or more, and they can pick up bad habits that way.

Searage said sub-max was "an epiphany." If Cole throws at 75 percent intensity from 90 feet, using the same delivery he would use on the mound, his mechanics stay sound - his release point isn't altered by tilting back and throwing deep in long toss - and he's not breaking down his arm.

"I'm telling you, I'm all in on this," an animated Searage said Sunday. "You're building up the volume at those increments, but not to the point where you're breaking them down. ...

"I'm telling you, this is major. This is major. We could do this with the young kids that just came over from high school or college that want to impress everybody and throw the crap out of the ball. …

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