As a former pro pitcher and now parent and coach of young pitchers, I know firsthand how important it is to help our kids pitch safe and stay healthy on the mound.
Preventing pitching arm injuries is so important.
So what can you do to help your pitcher?
Here are 8 ways to prevent pitching arm injuries to point you and your son in the direction of success:
- Making certain pitchers are properly conditioned before throwing full velocity or pitching competitively.
- Making certain pitchers have and use a proper stretching and warm up program before throwing.
- Developing a year round throwing program to maintain arm strength and stamina, flexibility, and normal range of motion. I personally recommend 1-2 month rest period at end of a long season, and then begin a limited and modified off season throwing program.
- Teaching and supervising a proper weight and resistance program. Coaches or medical personnel should be responsible for this program. Many pitchers restrict their flexibility and range of motion by improper use of weights. Other pitchers have actually weakened themselves by over stretching the shoulder joint, causing too much laxity.
- Having the pitcher throw at reduced velocity and shorter distance when learning new techniques or new pitches.
- Making certain a pitcher pitches with proper mechanics. While each pitcher throw somewhat within his own style, through the critical phase of throwing, most successful injury free pitchers use very similar time-proven techniques.
- Limiting the amount of throwing a pitcher does during drills and practices if he plays another position. The positions which would cause the least amount of stress on the arm are first base or outfield.
- Making certain the pitcher dressed properly for warmth during cold temps, or to prevent early heat exhaustion during very hot weather. I wore compression sleeves up until the temperature was 80 degrees. Also, be aware of proper intake of fluids to prevent early dehydration and muscle fatigue.
Finally, even though I recommend light weight, full range of motion conditioning and strength work like the program I put together in my TUFFCUFF Jr pitching guide, I sincerely believe that the best method to build throwing arm strength and stamina is to throw a baseball…
…and to throw it mechanically correctly.