Avoiding serious damage to the body is not a complex series of decision making, nor does it take a specialist trained in human kinetics. The human body has a way of defending itself with a myriad sensing mechanisms and even perceptions. For example, did you ever get to a high point while walking along and suddenly stop and hesitate prior to taking another step? That hesitation is your body’s defense mechanism telling it to get better focused on what it’s about to do –or, don’t do it at all.
However, in the field of athletics there seems to be many overriding scenarios that counteract this process that nature has endowed us with. For example, the heat of the moment with that driving force to compete, that hesitation not to be left out of the popular way of things, inexperience with proper preparation, the lack of training with a sport specific, and finally the lack of reasonable and experience coaching with a sport specific.
I’d like to make an over simplication before I go any further. I would find it hard to rationalize putting a youngster on his or her first bicycle, then shoves that youngster right onto the street in busy traffic. I would also find it hard to rationalize any reasoning that justifies this action as, “well, the kid is going to be in traffic anyway someday so … “
Any youngster who rides a bicycle for the first time has trouble, starts off a little wobbly, falls down, gets a few bruises, but then gets better and better with balance, stop and go, turning and other movements. Riding a bicycle requires a lot of the body’s natural endowments and the body learns gradually as it goes along with the experience.
Ok, now let’s fast forward to right now and pitching a baseball in the both the amateur and professional game. Pitching a baseball is by far one of the most unnatural acts that one can ask of the human body. Coupled with the fact that movement and execution, with such force in such a confined space, demands things that the body must be properly prepared for – and then some. This is no small order by any stretch of the imagination either.
So, the key to a healthy body, ready to accept the demands of pitching, all hinges on not just the pitching act itself – but so much that comes before and after that act. Things like sleep management, diet and nutrition, priority setting, mental focus, and reasonable coaching that instruct, interacts and properly trained to identify the individuality of each athlete. And all this boils down to allowing the athlete’s body to use all its natural physical and mental endowments to learn and adapt, gradually, just like riding a bicycle for the first time.
The most important phase of any well-educated and coached pitcher – regardless if they are in the amateur or professional game, is to sense when ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. That phase has to be supported by the coaching staff, without compromises.