Chapter 4 Rehab (2)
When you watch baseball commentaries, you often hear comments about pitchers pitching with only their shoulders .
Pitching with their shoulders mean that they are unable to utilise the rotational force from their bodies .
The weight shift training that Gun was undergoing now was to ensure that he could utilise and maximise his rotational force .
Amateurs typically referred to this as ‘being able to use the hips’ to pitch faster .
Gun and his trainer took a hiatus after a half an hour of weight shift training .
“let’s end it here for today”
Gun dropped to the floor as soon as he heard his trainer’s voice .
Trainer was surprised to see Gun struggling to keep us with what is supposed to be a simple training course .
“Gun, are you sure your body is fully recovered? There is nothing more lethal than overtraining your body . You should seriously re-examine the state of your body”
Gun shook his head .
“No, that’s not it . It’s due to the long break from physical activity that I am struggling . Nothing wrong with my health . ”
Trainer nodded and commenced the next training course .
THUD . THUD .
The sound of the ball hit the gloves echoed the room .
Gun checked the state of his shoulders as he pitched light short tosses .
‘Apart from the unusual heaviness of the body, everything else feels fine’
He kept pitching .
“How does it feel?”
Gun replied in a delighted tone .
“It feels perfect!”
The trainer took his gloves off as he nodded at Gun’s response .
“we’ll end the short tosses here”
For the state of Gun’s yet weak shoulders, he ended the short tosses early .
It was lunch time after morning training .
Lunch time for the second division was far from luxurious .
Despite the poor quality of the food, Gun was able to gratefully enjoy his food .
‘Compared to the dried bread served in the Minor League, this is fabulous’
Seeing Gun enjoy his food, a rookie player approached and asked him .
“Gun, is this really delicious? Is it that enjoyable?”
Gun replied with a grin .
“There’s no way this isn’t enjoyable! In the minor league, you only get bread and jam”
“Whoa, really? A friend of mine that recently went to the US told me that the food wasn’t THAT bad”
Gun explained further to the clueless rookie before him .
“If it’s recent that I’d assume he is still in the Rookie league . There are many teams in that league that are run directly by major league teams . Food that is served from any major league team is decent . But from A-level onwards, that food only gets worse . ”
He stood up as he finished his food .
Afternoon training was to enhance his overall balance .
“One of the main reasons why pitchers fail to recover fully is because the focus too much on their shoulders”
“are you saying that because they focus too much on their shoulders, they neglect other parts that also need slow and steady recovery?”
“that’s right . Pitching isn’t all about the shoulders . As you would probably already know, you need a good balance amongst all parts of your body including the thighs, the hips, the lower back and so on, to be able to pitch effectively . ”
Trainer commenced long stride training to work on Gun’s legs .
“Gun, you are aware that many players actually pitch faster after they undergo the Tommy John Surgery? (operation in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body)
“Of course I am aware” . Gun stretched his legs as he replied .
He could feel the rigidity and the heaviness on his legs as he performed the training .
‘Legs have definitely gone weaker . I also cannot predict when his heaviness will go away . If the program was to enhance my body, shouldn’t I feel lighter? This is the exact opposite’
“the reason their pitching got faster is not because their tendon got stronger” said the trainer as he fixed the positioning of Gun’s feet .
Gun replied as he was puzzled at his trainer’s comment .
“you mean to say that it’s not their fully recovered tendon that they are able to pitch faster?”
Trainer replied as he took a short glimpse at the second division players training from afar .
“It’s because they trained their legs meticulously and diligently whilst they weren’t able to move their shoulders that their pitching eventually got faster . They dedicated their upper body training time entirely into training their lower body . ”
Trainer’s comments weren’t scientifically certified, but were advocated by many .
“No successful fast pitcher has unstable, weak lower body . It is the strength that stems from the lower body that allows fast pitching”
Gun nodded and focused on his training even harder .
The tedious and dragging rehab training continued for nearly 2 months .
In that period, Gun met up with journalists a couple of times . Gun was aware that those photos would be used as the cover images for AT telecom’s image making in the media sphere .
‘It’s troublesome, but I’ve got nothing to lose . Take a few pictures and I get a personal trainer with a rehab training program so It’s a gain for me actually’ Gun thought to himself .
Gun bumped into other injured players during his rehab at AT telecom .
The faces of those enrolled in the first division were bright, whilst those that were bouncing back and forth between first and second vision had chronic distress .
“Mr . Gun, are you returning back to the US?”
Gun shook his head at Sang Jung’s question; a pitcher in his second year .
Sang Jung was one of those that had chronic pressure, bouncing between 1st and 2nd division .
“well I need to find a team first . I’m undrafted at the moment”
“But weren’t you in the top 40 Major League roster? With that kind of resume, wouldn’t you be able to find a team straight away?”
Gun shook his head once more .
“That was more than 2 years ago . People in the team then probably don’t even remember my name anymore . Plus, that top 40 roster isn’t even anything special . You need to make it to the top 25 to be globally recognised as a major leaguer”
Gun let out a sigh as he stood up .
Sang Jung asked another question as he followed .
“But you still have an agent right?”
Agent… it was a word that was long forgotten in Gun’s life .
“Well, I do . But they probably forgot about me . ”
Gun’s contract was until 2022 . However, both Gun and the agent completely forgot about this fact .
“Should I contact them again?… actually no, it’s too early . It’s better to recover fully before contacting them again”
Training recommenced . The heaviness was still there .
Sang Jung joined Gun in the lower body training .
“Gun, can I call you my brother?”
“No . ”
Sang Jung’s faced dimmed at Gun’s immediate and emphatic rejection .
Gun let out a sigh after looking at Sang Jung’s face full of disappointment .
“I’m just a minor leaguer, why do you want me as your brother? There’s no gain!”
“Just in case! You never know . If you become a major league star, then you will be our juniors’ pride!”
Gun replied as he took another stride .
“Fine . You can call me your brother . But don’t think or expect to have me as something to brag about in the future . With that kind of soft mentality, you’ll never succeed amongst the professionals”
“I, too, wanted to become a major leaguer you know” Sang Jung replied .
Gun replied as a droplet of sweat fell off his face . “It’s still not too late . If you become the best in the nation, then you can get promoted and drafted into the US”
“Yeah, well I know that…”
“If you know the path, then simply shut up and walk it”
Gun took another stride with clenched teeth .
‘hmph… this is incredibly heavy’
Sang Jung wanted to get some helpful advice from Gun . However, Gun wasn’t interested in giving advice to other people nor did he have many circumstances to do so . He always thought he was in no position to advise others on their lives .
‘I’m not even a successful major leaguer, I’m in no position to give advice’