My experience in working and counseling players and families in the way of youth sports has made one fact clear - I do not claim nor do I wish to...
The arm injury epidemic is real. Pitchers are chasing the radar gun in increasingly large numbers. Unfortunately arm surgeries and missed seasons are alarmingly as rampant.
Conversations with parents sadly fall upon deaf ears when it comes to allowing the development process to progress naturally. The “funny” answer to this not so funny scenario is that instructors like me have job security thanks to those out there who want to chase the holy grail.
While I understand parents’ love and desire to enable their children to have it better than they did this all too common conversation about finding the “fast track to the fast ball” is presenting way too many sad endings. Baseball careers should end on the athlete’s own terms – not an orthopedic surgeon’s order to stop.
Consider the following factors that contribute to our current injury epidemic:
1. Scholarships hang in the balance for many high school pitchers and competition to impress coaches is forcing many to throw for the radar gun rather than trust mechanics and brains to get batters out.
2. College recruiting has entered the eighth and ninth grades – enough said.
3. Many young bodies are not prepared to take on intense “velocity building” programs that are advertised and promoted by coaches and organizations. There is a good way to get to the promised land.
4. Some pitchers are “running before the can walk”. The idea of mastering proper throwing mechanics has been placed on the back burner in favor of plainly throwing harder.
5. Pitching specific training is often overlooked as the best way to attain one’s optimal velocity. Putting on muscle and adding weight can be a blessing but a curse if handled haphazardly.
6. Peer pressure is common among adolescents and the baseball field is filled with the stress of keeping up with others for fear of letting family down.
I’m sure there are other factors that are unique to certain families that are not listed here but these paint a familiar picture of the state affairs in youth and high school baseball. Needless to say there are many reasons for a pitcher to find a shortcut but I am here to tell you that the rarely pay off in long term success.
I am on a mission more than ever to take care of pitcher’s arms. Yes pitch count rules are a great way to help but injuries occur in spite of the close monitoring of pitchers by adults.
There must be a stronger focus on practice and training time and taking care of the total body with care and discipline.
In many of my social media posts I have begun to present “evidence” through articles and anecdotes to the important points of becoming a complete pitcher – that is throwing with the most efficient and well conditioned body possible in order to stay away from injuries. You will see posts about core fitness, stretching, balance, leg strength, and arm health with a goal to help “subliminally” assist those who are interested in what is important to focus upon as pitchers “chase the dream”.
There are many ways to accomplish good health for pitchers. I know the information and techniques you will see from me are time tested by not only me but many professionals who share the same dedicated service to baseball student athletes.
Some parents know baseball, others don’t. I know baseball. I also know that I do not have all the answers but I am curious to learn and more excited to pass along what I learn to as many people I can. My sincere hope is that you share the same open mindedness for the benefit of your son or daughter.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding personal training and improvement techniques. All that is needed is a simple email to me on this site.
Good luck and good health!