Here are some tips for young pitchers from former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander T.J. Mathews. Besides playing a lot of catch and long-toss, Mathews said young pitchers should focus on:
* proper mechanics and repetition
* a consistent throwing program
* proper nutrition
* strength training
"It's so specialized now that these kids have everything at their fingertips and the majority are utilizing it, which is great," Mathews said. "It's a great time for kids to be able to go out and compete at the highest level and take this game and move it forward.
"With what these kids have in front of them right now, it's like every time you look up you're seeing somebody throwing 95. When I was playing if somebody hit 95 it was considered extremely hard and very rare. You maybe had one or two guys in the whole league able to hit 95."
Mathews said doing simple strengthening exercises to advanced weight lifting, fitness and core training and stretching as players get older is another plus.
"The whole nutrition factor is just enormous and the weightlifting and the training. ... it's head and shoulders better than what we had," Mathews said. "We just didn't have the information back then. There's so much on the table and these kids get it. They understand and they realize if they're going to play and put the work in, they're going to need to do it the right way."
To contact T.J. Mathews about pitching lessons, call 314-941-6451.