The Term As It Relates to Baseball

For decades I have heard the word “Shut Down” used when describing a period of time by which a baseball/softball player takes a break to rest arms. As for Hitters: the best hitters at every level swing the bat year round. I’m always interested in specifics relating to training or non-training so I felt it would be helpful to players, coaches & parents by providing  a perspective from decades of research and in my work with athletes of all ages.

For ages 14 & under the importance of playing multiple sports makes a huge difference in developing various muscle groups & learning the dynamics of competition. Often times by 15 years old a player will make their decision on a primary sport-of-choice motivated by their interest, individual goals, & athletic desire.

My 35+ years of experience at the MLB, Collegiate, High School & Youth levels have provided me with the opportunity in research & developing proven methods to maintain a successful, healthy baseball/softball experience. With the accumulation of tens of thousands of units of measurements which validate the following understanding in “4 Seasons”:

  • In Season (Maintenance) important to maintain the gains of pre-season prep throughout the season
  • Post Season (Recovery) a personally designed physical prep or rest period
  • Off Season (Strengthening) Targeted Strengthening allows maximum results in pre-season 
  • Pre-Season (Preparation) Individualized program specific to reach personal goals

My research & expertise in training baseball/softball players leaning on specific data takes the mystery out of designing each individual’s season. When a group of players are told to “Shut-Down” what is that based upon and what does that mean? A blanket period used for ALL baseball & softball athletes used as a generalized time to “Shut Down” and do nothing is not supportive. Being active using an individualized “Recovery Period” program is much more productive in producing results for a player In-Season.

“Pitch Counts” are not the only factor to consider. Do we count pitches in games plus those in workouts, plus related bull-pen counts? What about showcase events, long toss warm up throws and the estimated throws in neighborhood playing catch time? Does this apply to position players, catchers and pitchers? What is the formula used for number of pitches to demine the time of “Shut Down”? The total number of throws/pitches is not the only measure; a player’s personal physical measurements, “data”, coupled with performance, motion efficiency and the answers to these 5 questions helps us in designing the appropriate time frame for Recovery or ‘non-Throwing’ period for each individual.

Questions to Consider when determining an appropriate Non-Throwing or Recovery Program for all positions:

  • How many teams played for?
  • How many games played?
  • How many practices?
  • Which position’s played & how often?
  • Where Proper Arm Care Protocols followed?

I am not in the business of guessing, the answers to these 5 questions coupled with specific data we can then answer what “Shut Down” actually means AND what is the appropriate recovery time period which then allows time to prepare properly for the next active season.

This helps to establish what individual player timelines are therefore the term “Shut Down” is personal to each player. Using a blanket statement and without individual data the Coach or Family is guessing as to what is best for their player(s). Be certain to know all the facts before determining what is best for your son or daughter. PIPPS (Player Injury Prevention & Performance Strengthening) was created to impact an individual's data and is a perfect match for the Non-Throwing Period.

So the next time someone suggests your player/pitcher needs to “Shut Down” understand that it’s specific to the individual & does not necessarily meet the same timeline appropriate for everyone else.

Craig Pippin


703 714 7377