Pitching Arm Care

Pitching arm care is recommended for most athletes. There’s no question that pitching injuries are up. From the major leagues to the little leagues, far too many pitchers are coming off the mound and into the waiting room due to overuse, poor mechanics, and a real lack of basic pitching arm care. This could be easily fixed by doing these three things, as suggested by some of the top minds in the game.

First, Dr. James Andrews suggests that a young player should not only not throw year-round, as more are doing, but should not specialize in a single sport. Especially prior to puberty and before the growth plates begin to close, an arm is at increased risk for injury. This kind of workload issue can be managed simply, through pitching and innings restrictions, but pitching year round is unacceptable in almost any situation. The pitcher would be better served to take time off and work on other parts of his body and game.

Second, a pitcher should establish a routine. Habits create action and some of the simplest things a pitcher can do for his arm are things that have nothing to do with pitching arm care. Sleep impacts performance, especially in younger athletes, so a sleep hygiene and monitoring system can create huge gains. A recovery routine should also be adhered to strictly, both after games and practice. While those routines can be different, they should definitely focus on mobility, getting a healing blood flow, and making sure that the body is given proper time and nutrition to rebuild properly.

Third, the mind is one of the most neglected aspects of pitching arm care. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be one of the most effective techniques for both performance and recovery. Visualization, mental practice, and meditation can all be combined to help a pitcher. There are currently studies being done across several sports that are attempting to quantify the effect, but a simple one minute breathing exercise done in the dugout between innings can have a big effect.

There’s obviously a lot more that could be done, including the use of the motusTHROW system designed to help a pitcher manage and keep his arm healthy, but these three steps can be done quickly and at no cost. There’s simply no excuse for a player, a coach, or a team not to immediately make sure that his players are doing these three things, advancing the pitching arm care program.