This was written on the ASMI forums (Written by rockinfire) and just too good not to share around…
This post is directed at all parents of HS pitchers:
Yesterday I saw the “upteenth” pitcher with elbow pain that has these issues:
- Has poor flexibility in his hips/legs
- Has fair core strength
- Has fair - poor balance
- Poor scapula (shoulder blade) stabilization/strength
- Decreased shoulder/rotator cuff strength
- Decreased hip strength
- Loss of internal rotation range of motion on his throwing side
- History of pain and problems for the past 2 years while playing travel baseball and high school baseball
- Does NO rotator cuff strengthening in his conditioning/strength training
- Does NO rotation strengthening
- Does not take at least 2-3 months away from baseball per year
- Displays decreased spinal extension.
I see these characteristics over and over and over again. These kids will go from shoulder pain to elbow pain back and forth, back and forth. Good kids that are getting poor advice, supervision, etc
In my opinion, here is why all of these issues (there are more, this is what is in the forefront of my thoughts this morning) are problematic:
Item #1 is a problem because if you have loss of flexibility in your lower extremities it translates increased forces to the arm
#2 Core strength is vital in athletic endeavors and is the base of strength/endurance
#3 Balance is important for both the stance leg (R leg for R hand pitcher) and the plant/lead leg to decrease energy expenditure, control location, and decrease chance for injury to the throwing arm
#4 Scapula stability is important to provide a stable base for the throwing shoulder and elbow
#5 Loss of strength here leads to increased loads on the shoulder and elbow which comprises the integrity of the structures of the joint leading to breakdown/injury
#6 The hips are the power generator for pitching. Loss of strength/endurance here is going to cause problems up the kinetic chain.
#7 The more they gain external rotation, they lose internal rotation as a season progresses. In medical terms it is called GIRD and it has been proven to cause breakdown as well. Google anything from Kevin Wilk and Dr James Andrews and you can read all about GIRD.
#8, #11 Ask Dr Andrews about this as well and he’ll tell you all about the countless surgeries he has done on kids from overuse
#9, #10 This young man has the same problem most HS pitchers have. Their “strength coach” is usually a football coach that has no clue what to give a baseball player. Find someone that understands the sport-specific needs of your child’s sport and get them on a regular program that provides specific strength for their chosen sport(s).
#12 If you can’t extend (back-bend) through your spine, you can’t reach back into external rotation as easily so you are going to evetually strain the elbow and/or shoulder leading to injury.
These a just a few things I regurlarly see in the clinic. The sad thing is that most, if not all, are entirely preventable. There are more issues such as kids having no idea how many pitches they throw in a particular night, weekend, week, etc. that will probably be brought up as a reply to this post that will be helpful to you as well.
Bottom line: Your son should NOT be throwing if he is complaining of elbow or shoulder joint pain. He needs to take several months off a year from throwing. He needs to be on a regular baseball flexibility/strength and conditioning routine that includes varied intensity depending on whether he is “in seaon/out of season”.
Just my opinion from what I see over and over that sure seems to be preventable