Saturday, January 14, 2012

How to Reduce Arm Injuries in Young Baseball Pitches?

Know before you throw. Young pitchers in baseball often don't realize when it's time to back off, and many start throwing advanced pitches like curveballs and sliders before they are physically ready to handle the elbow and shoulder stress. Awareness is the best way to avoid an arm injury.
Get Loose; Be Smart
Step 1
This applies to pitchers in particular, but every player on the field -- infielders and outfielders -- needs to warm up the arm before the game begins, particularly when the weather is cold. The pitcher needs to warm up on the sidelines or bullpen prior to taking the mound to loosen the arm. Infielders need to practice taking ground balls; outfielders need to throw back and forth to get the blood flowing in the arms.
Step 2
Being loose and limber is crucial to avoiding any baseball arm injury, but the pitcher needs to take extra precaution due to the heavy amount of throwing. Fortunately, the majority of youth baseball leagues restrict pitch counts and innings. According to longtime college coach and pitching consultant Bill Thurston, avoiding "overload" and "overuse" are two keys to keeping young arms healthy. Overloading is throwing too many pitches during one game. Overuse is pitching too often over a given period, typically a week or two, without proper recovery time.
Step 3
You see a major-league pitcher buckle a hitter's knee with a biting curveball and the natural inclination is to try to do the same; seeing a pro throw a wipeout slider can have the same effect. Think before you act. Thurston cautions against throwing a breaking ball or any other off-speed pitch before the age of 15. Any pitch besides the fastball and changeup puts undue stress on the elbow and shoulder and can lead to an arm injury.
Step 4
You might not be old enough to throw breaking pitches, but you're never too young to use ice. Regardless of age, there is going to be some swelling after pitching or even catching. Even a small amounts of ice placed on the elbow and shoulder after a game is going to help the healing process.

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