It's that time of the year again! Do you know what that means? Baseball season is upon us and training has begun. As you train this season keep the following tips in mind to learn how to play safe and prevent yourself from sustaining an overuse injury.
The most Important thing to keep in mind, is keeping your shoulders strong.
By completing the proper warm up, you can help keep your shoulders strong, preventing yourself from sustaining a overuse injury, especially if you’re a pitcher. The Thrower’s Ten is a ten-step exercise circuit that can help keep your shoulder strong and injury free. During the season, try 15 sets of each exercise, three or four times per week during practice. It’s important to keep up with them at practice and not try to cram it in right before you step on the field, seeing as this may fatigue your shoulder too much before a big game and compromise your pitch.
Pitchers should take at least 2-4 months off at the end of the season to rest their arms. Whether you play on a travel team all year long, or just your high school league, it's important to take a break from pitching so you don’t injure your shoulders. This is especially true for younger athletes; whose developing bodies need time for rest and recovery.
Stop pitching if you have pain or fatigue. Playing through pain can compromise your throwing mechanics, which leads to additional injuries. If you’re having elbow or shoulder pain, seek out the help from your coach, athletic trainer, or local physical therapist to determine if you’re injured, if you should modify your movements, or if you’d benefit from strengthening of your rotator cuff, shoulder girdle, or core.
Choose a team. If you play for multiple sports teams such as a travel league in addition to your high school team, you should only pitch on one of those teams. Pitching for both teams will lead to over-pitching, significantly increasing your risk for an injury.
Rest. Rest days are very important for pitchers who want to avoid injury. Little League Baseball and Little League Softball have come up with the following guidelines on the number of rest days required for youth players in every season.
If you’re 14 and under
Keep under the max. The following standard was developed to ensure that pitchers don’t over-pitch, to help prevent any injuries. Youth athletes should follow the guidelines below for the maximum number of pitches young players should stay under each day of play.
Learn pitches at the right time. Some pitches are more likely to cause injury than others. Make sure you keep yourself in the game for the long haul by not pushing too hard too fast. Athletic Trainer Amanda Moran, ATC, LMT, suggested the following schedule as a guideline for when to learn different pitch types.
Click here to learn more about what physical therapy is and what it can do to help you. If you are still not sure if physical therapy is what you need request an appointment to speak with a physical therapist about your concerns.