Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things to Know About Baseball Pitching Loops

Forearm looping, often referred to as looping, affects many pitchers and causes injuries and a significant decrease in the effectiveness of their pitches. Pitching a baseball causes stress on the four small muscles of the shoulder that make up the rotator cuff. Most pitchers are aware of the delicate nature of the joint and how frequently injuries can occur. They might alter their delivery -- consciously or unconsciously -- and lose effectiveness or suffer a different injury as a result.
Ideal Pitching Release
When a pitcher has an ideal release, his arm will come straight over the top in a full overhand delivery. This will provide leverage and force and give the pitcher an outstanding fastball. However, when the pitching plane is flat and the pitcher does not come over the top, it can lead to a loss of velocity and lead to arm injuries.
Flat Arm Plane
Pitching analyst Chris O'Leary has been studying pitchers with long careers and proper mechanics and compared them with pitchers who have had serious arm injuries throughout their career. One of the key factors, according to O'Leary, is that pitching with a flat arm plane leads to injuries and a loss of velocity on the fastball. When the forearm is vertical and above shoulder height, pitchers tend to stay healthier. Having a flat arm plane while pitching -- the arm is not above shoulder height -- is known as looping.
Many big league pitchers have sound mechanics throughout their development. They are usually the most impressive pitcher on their high school team, college team or minor league team. However, when they have some kind of difficulty in the Major Leagues, they might alter their delivery. If that means a change in the release point and the way the arm gets to the release point, the pitcher might start looping his arm and causing additional problems.
Types of Injuries
Some of the arm injuries that are associated with looping include ulnar nerve damage, shoulder injuries, elbow problems and numbness in various areas of the throwing arm. Pitching injuries can be devastating because they can lead to surgery and long periods of inactivity. Pitchers might be on the injured list and unable to pitch in competition for a year or more when they suffer a pitching motion-related injury.

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