Overhead athletes are prone to a multitude of shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Baseball pitchers are at a high risk of injury due to the stress pitching places on the body. Pitching requires a complex set of skills that take years to develop, and little leaguers may be more susceptible to injuries. Understanding a few essentials may aide your pitcher in keeping healthy.
Common mistakes that may happen are a short stride length and a lack of upper body rotation. When your pitcher does not stride far enough, he will most likely over compensate by using his arm as a force generator. The shoulder and arm should be used as a force regulator or control mechanism. Apart from the shoulder, the elbow may also be injured during this time. A lack of lower body strength and coordination may be leading to this breakdown.
Decreased upper body rotation may also lead to shoulder injuries by placing an unnecessary amount of force on the shoulder joint. Without the proper rotation to “square up” your shoulders, the arm tends to slide forward in the joint. An improperly aligned joint may cause significant injuries to arise at the shoulder or elbow. Flexibility and sound mechanics are often to blame.
Due to the complex nature of pitching, young athletes will benefit from proper coaching and preventative therapy. While these are only two common mistakes, many more can be identified by a qualified professional. Additional preventative measures can also be taken prior to the start of the season to keep your athlete healthy. Your ApexNetwork Physical Therapist can improve your young athlete’s strength, mobility and may also help identify common mistakes while pitching.
Reinold MM, Gill TJ. Current Concepts in the Evaluation and Treatment of the Shoulder in Overhead-Throwing Athletes, Part 1: Physical Characteristics and Clinical Examination. Sports Health. 2010;2(1):39-50. doi:10.1177/1941738109338548