Hi guys, new to the forum and had a question about building my sons confidence back after an injury. My son Matt has always been that “freak” kid who everyone came to watch pitch. At eleven he was gunned during games averaging 63-65 and popped it up to 68 now and then. He was also the quarterback on his football team. After his eleven year old baseball season he took a brutal hit on his shoulder in football. Was out of that game for a bit but went back in and aside from some expected pain didn’t think much of it. After football season we got back into baseball season and noticed his velocity had dropped way off, to about 58-59. We thought this was odd and met with a specialist here in sw Florida who has worked with dr. Andrews. They tried therapy and no throwing for a period of about six months and we got back at it, no improvement. Last august they went in and scoped his shoulder and found the hit had actually caused the bones in his shoulder to collide and cause a “dent” in his bone (technically a fracture) and a small tear on the back of his labrum. They did a micro fracture procedure on the fracture and a high frequency sound method to fuse back the tear. The doctor actually gave him a ninety percent chance of getting back to a hundred percent. We have been super careful and worked him back after his initial six month rest and rehab after surgery. He is in the eigth grade and just turned 14 his fastball is in the low to mid seventies and is back to being one of the more dominant pitchers in the area, however he constantly reminds me he threw almost as hard when he was eleven. I tell him he has gained 12-15 mph since his surgery and will continue to gain if he works hard and correctly. He is having a hard time letting go of the perception he should be further along as a pitcher. How do I build confidence in him that he is on the right track and try to put this injury behind him? I’m jot sure there is an answer, just thought I would see if anyone had any suggestions or similar experiences. Thanks
Fairly new to the forum…looks like I forgot I posted a question three years ago
How’s your son doing now?
That’s a tough/freak injury to see in any age group, let alone how young your son was when it happened. I had rotator cuff and labrum surgery (2 for 1 deal on a Friday) back in '05. That year, our University had 6 RC surgeries and everyone’s approach was a bit different post surgery. I kept complete confidence in myself that I was going to get back to strength and actually be a better pitcher than I was in the past. A lot of that confidence came within me, but other guys needed some help along the way. I stayed positive no matter what, trusted the doctors, trusted my athletic trainers, and I haven’t had an arm issue since the surgery. Your son needs to trust that he’s done his due diligence with his rehab, his throwing protocol, and ask himself if he wants to live in fear of the arm hurting again. It sounds like he’s turned the corner. Remind him of what went through his head prior to the injury (most kids just think about blowing the ball by every hitter at a young age, remind him of that feeling he used to get out there when he was the man!) Confidence is always a tough thing to instill or bring back to life, but if he continues to want success more than anyone, he’ll get it back. Best of luck, keep us updated!
He is doing well, in my eyes. I should have phrased it a little differently, he is confident that when he takes the mound he will win much more often than not. He obsesses in his mind that he should be throwing higher velocity if it weren’t for this injury. He is smart enough not to over throw to try and achieve it however. Even though his injury was from football he is conscious of it while pitching. Like I said he is doing well, threw a no hitter last Friday in the state championship seed game. Struck out four in one inning because the catcher dropped a strike three curveball and the batter reached, struck out the next guy too. (sorry proud dad syndrome). I like to hear your account of your injury and how you came back FULL of confidence, I think that’s so important in a pitcher. He is confident but I can tell the way you talk, I wish he had your confidence! I guess he figures he was throwing nearly seventy at 11 and only mid seventies three years later, in his head he isn’t ever going to get to where he would have without the injury.
That’s great to hear he’s having success on the hill, especially a no-no! In terms of my injury, I had arm problems pretty much my whole life. From the time I was 13 until my RC went when I was 21, my arm was always hurting. I just bit my lip and went, dumping motrin down my throat and flexall on my arm to get through it. When it finally went, I was having a tough time picking up my fork to eat my dinner, let alone throwing the baseball. Our team surgeon at Temple U kept telling all of us (the 6 that had surgery that season) that we all had tendinitis. I knew it wasn’t that, so I sought out another doc and found a great one who ran me through and MRI and an arthrogram (very uncomfortable), which revealed the tear in the cuff. They didn’t find the tear in the labrum until they went in. So, my shoulder was shot, but the doc said I would return to full strength, possibly better if I followed the rehab. For me, that was easy because my baseball career was always a product of hard work and passion. I knew all that I needed to do was listen to the doc and the athletic trainer and I would be fine. I banged it out and that was it. I actually threw harder years later (at age 26, topping out at 93 in a mens league) than I ever did in college. My thoughts on the velocity gains are this: when we all went down with surgery in '05, I set out to figure out why we had all been injured because there was something obviously wrong with something we were all doing. 5 of us were pitchers, 1 of us was a second basemen. Only one thing stuck out in my mind as to why we were all injured; our weight room routine. So, after I graduated, I went into personal training, studied endless amounts of research, mechanics, etc, and found many issues with what we had been doing during the off season in our university weight room. Essentially, they had us all on a football lifting program which is the last thing any baseball player should be doing. Long story short, I just opened up my own baseball performance facility near Philadelphia, Pa and we now spend every day cleaning up range of motion deficits, strength deficits, and mobility issues for players in the tri-state area. Baseball players are the hardest demographic to train in sports because they are so one side dominant. If players aren’t taught how to do the right things and, more importantly, taught how to spot BS when it’s staring them in the face, they’ll end up injured.
I wouldn’t worry about his velocity right now. I’m assuming your son is now 14 years old? Even if he’s 15, he’s just hitting the age where he can start hitting the weight room hard and making some more complicated lifts, depending on his athleticism and range of motion. Velocity comes with age. In terms of order of importance, think of it in this order: Command, Movement, then Velocity. You can control the first two at any age. The third, velocity, just comes with age and hard work. Sorry for the long winded response, hope it helps!
No apologies needed, I really appreciate the feed back. I went to school with a couple guys who got a sniff in the MLB minors and remember seeing them in the gym in the off season working very little weight with their internal external shoulder rotation routines, and can’t ever remember them doing any bench presses or anything remotely close to football workouts, they did some some intense leg work. My son just turned fourteen end of march. He is using the jaeger bands and medicine ball work routinely as well as what we believe is a solid throwing program that is going to build up the arm but not injure it. I think there is a fine line between over use and lack of use. We found early on about pitch counts when he was only ten pitching for two teams he ended up with a elbow growth plate problem. Since we have kept a close eye on pitch counts. Like you said trying to sort through all the b.s. Is a tough one. Always getting different conflicting advice…I have to film him again this week since we have been working on some mechanical things, I’ll post it for you to take a peak. Thanks again.
You’re definitely on the right track with the Jaeger bands and medicine ball work, it’s a good start for his age. It’s definitely good that you’ve been monitoring pitch counts as well. Tell him to try to get each hitter to put the ball in play in 3 pitches or less. I use that approach with guys I coach in the summer and it works well when they have that mindset. It forces them to not focus on strikeouts, but focus on getting outs in general while competing in the strike zone. I’m looking forward to seeing his video, talk soon!
Interesting story CK