Every Tuesday night the members of the P360 Pitching Program get together to work on things other than pitching. No one takes the mound, as players work on their physical development with various pitching-specific drills. For an hour Alex and Avery work with the entire group of players, a team within the Sox teams to focus and develop pitching within Sox Baseball.
A critical key to success in pitching is arm safety. The Tuesday drills are designed to teach pitchers the proper way to use their entire body to deliver a pitch, every pitch. Alex Gunn, who pitched professionally in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and independent ball, understands and explains the importance of using more than just an arm. "Lasting in the game when you get beyond high school is all about lasting on the mound for a pitcher. Short outings make for short careers for pitchers, so using everything you've got physically and mentally is key to survival on a baseball mound. Avery and I were very fortunate to learn from some of the best coaches in college baseball, Daron Shoenrock at Memphis and Hill Denson at Belhaven. I learned so much from my pitching coaches at Memphis - Fred Corral and Russ McNickle. We incorporate much of what we learned into our Pitching Program."
Dr. Adam Smitherman, MD, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon in Sports Medicine Surgery at the Jackson Orthopaedic Clinic, oversees the program from the medical view. A graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, his is a baseball family. He provides medical advice to the pitching team, meets one-on-one with players and addresses them as a group, and attends to players that have developed any pain to correct any problems before the20 and advice about the proper way to safely develop baseball pitchers, and it continues to be effective as the program develops.
"The program continues to grow," added Avery Johnson, "and Dr. Smitherman, Alex and I keep working to get it as perfect as we can. Dr. Smitherman has a million ideas and really makes us better. The kids love talking to him because it's not just about pain - he knows baseball. He's pretty fun to talk to."
There are currently 20 pitchers in the program, with a plan to add 5 more players in April. Sox players interested in learning more can check out the program here.