Shoulder Trouble

I just finished up my first year of college baseball, and I’m experiencing some pain in my shoulder. It all started on the first day of practice in the fall when my coach noticed that I was throwing from the 3/4 arm slot in the bullpen. He stepped in after one pitch and told me that, being close to 6’5", I should be throwing over the top. It made since to me so I tried it.

Two weeks later, my shoulder was killing me. I went to a sports therapist who told me that my bicep tendons had slipped out of place. He put them back into place quickly and told me not to throw for a couple of days. The first day back my shoulder felt great, but within a week I was back to where I started. This cycle continued throughout the fall. I also noticed my velocity drop. I came in at 87-88, but had dropped to 82-84. I just wasn’t as sharp. I talked to my coach, but he just told me that my shoulder would get used to it. I couldn’t believe he said that, especially since he was a big league pitcher at one point.

Now I’m at home after a tough and painful season. I want to get back out and strengthen my arm. Is there anything I can do to help prevent this injury from happening again and return my arm strength (stretching, resistence tubing, returning to 3/4, etc.)?

So your coach insisted that you go over the top, even after the discomfort?

Man, tell him to go F himself…

I’m so sick of these idiot, power-tripping coaches…

He said you should go over the top b/c you’re tall? Ask him if he ever heard of Randy Johnson. Look at Aaron Heilman of the Mets… he stands 6’5 and he threw 3/4 in college at Notre Dame, then the Mets made him go over the top and he sucked, now he’s back to 3/4 and he’s awesome…

I mean, Don Drysdale was 6’5 too…


First, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with changing your arm slot, as long as you do it by increasing how much you tilt your shoulders rather than by trying to bring your elbow above your shoulders.

The whole “bicep tendons slipped out of place” thing is weird. Those are deeply buried structures in the shoulder and you can’t just physically manipulate them. Even if you could, there’s no point because you aren’t dealing with the root cause of the problem.

Do you have a problem with rushing? If so, that might be related to your shoulder problems (and bicep tendon problems in particular).

Do you have any videos or pictures of yourself throwing?


I’m sorry to hear that you’re hurting…no fun. If you are in real pain there is much wrong with the whole picture and you need to get some help.

Based on what I know to be true, the likelihood of one of the two biceps tendons being displaced is just about zero. If you did not have an MRI your trainer’s diagnostic procedures are not very reliable. I am not a doctor but I know enough about this to be very skeptical of what you were told. More likely you have damaged either the muscle or tendon of one of the shoulder’s internal rotators. Did your trainer mention the Subscapularis muscle?

Unquestionably you should see a qualified physician. If something is torn you probably need to have it repaired before you attempt rehab otherwise you will suffer the same injury time and again, only with increasing severity. Asking questions like this on a public board, when you really need professional advice, isn’t a great idea. Don’t mess around with this.

You also need to know exactly what you did, mechanically, that caused your injury. Then you need to eliminate this flaw from your mechanic. If your coach can’t answer the question other than to say ‘you’ll get used to it’ do you really trust his advice? What kind of medical and anatomical expertise does he possess? Just because he pitched at an advanced level doesn’t make him an expert on the human body. It would be interesting to know what injury or injuries your coach suffered when he pitched. If you don’t know, ask him. If he is asking you to do something that also injured him, do you think that’s wise? I encourage you to think seriously about these questions.

To raise your arm from what people consider ‘3/4’ to ‘overhand’ is anatomically impossible without increasing the tilt of your shoulders, in essence bending to the side. Is your lower back also sore?

There are a whole host of other questions that need to be asked if you want to get to the bottom of this. Feel free to send me a private message if you want more specific info. I will be happy to help in any way I can.