Pitching - Rehab
I'm a 19 year old pitcher in college and recently had an arm injury. It was only my 2nd time taking the mound all year (including spring training) and I threw 110 pitches. It was the 109th pitch that I injured my elbow. After the game I felt that after only throwing 40 pitches during practice sessions 110 was a huge jump and could have played a large role in my injury. What is the pitch count for a 2nd outing that you would say approaches dangerous territory?
AIt depends on the pitcher and his mechanics of course, but generally I expect the practice two days prior to be around 75% of game pitch count at least, or conversely that the game be no more than 1-1/2 times practice count.
So you need to get up to 80 practice pitches to throw 110 in a game, or should only throw 60 in game if you are only at 40 in practice. Those are just my numbers, and to be honest, we can't always stick to it ourselves. Others coaches or pitching instructors might say you need to work up to as many in practice as in game.
Either way increase by say 20 more pitches each week - or if you practice every day then go +20 twice a week. But that is for a healthy teenage pitcher. Follow the guidelines for younger pitchers. By the way we use an inexpensive pitch counter that you should be able to pick up at most sports stores. And we also monitor pre-game bullpen pitch counts, too - not as part of the game total but to make sure our guys are ready to go. (Many young pitchers get bored in bullpen and want to get on the mound at 100% effort too soon.)
I reinjured my back today while pitching. I originally hurt it when I was 11 and threw too hard without proper warm up. It took a week to recover. It didn't bother me again till 14 (ok after a day). Last year as a sophomore, I had to go to the orthopedic doctor (out 2 weeks). He said I had a knot in my back about the size of a fist. Tonight, I was properly warmed up for the lst innning. But then sat till the 2nd. The muscle that hurts is lower back, right side, waist level or above. I am a left-hand pitcher. I go to the doctor tomorrow to get the back problem solved but what am I doing wrong to hurt it in the first place. Today it was a sharp pain in one spot but last year like several sharp pains. Is this common for pitchers and what should I work on to correct my pitching. By the way, I worked really hard this summer conditioning to strengthen my back. I even gained 25 pounds as I was underweight for my height. I am 6'3 and 186 lbs.
AFirst, I appreciate the detail you provided it is a lot more helpful in diagnosing a pitching problem than those who write and say 'my arm hurts, what's wrong?'
Based on what you have told me, I think the problem is in two areas of your mechanics plus something else. First is your stride length, second is your torso rotation, and also your weight.
1. The pain in your landing side hip may be a result of not flexing your knees enough, especially on your landing leg. If the leg is stiff then it is not absorbing the landing - and the impact is being transferred through the hip and to your back. Work on your landing leg from the post position - when your back leg has all the weight - you want your landing leg up to hip level and the lower part of that leg very loose - almost 'dead'.
2. When you begin your rotation, do not pull open with the landing leg, pivot instead on the post - and keep the landing leg and lead shoulder closed as long as possible. It's more a question of letting your body fling your landing leg forward to its natural landing zone - do not reach with that leg. Also when it does get propelled forward, try to land on the ball of that lead foot - not flat footed. Why all this emphasis on legs? Because it sound to me as if you are throwing with your back rather than your legs - hence the pains and tension and knots.
3. You mention the weight - this can be a dangerous change, depending on where you gained the weight. What you need to do is make sure the weight is mostly muscle (low % of body fat) and mostly on your legs. You should not be trying to gain weight for its own sake - nor should you be concentrating on arms and upper body - a good pitcher throws from his legs - make sure you do jogging and wind sprints and work on weight training that emphasizes legs and hips - the more these carry the load the less pressure on your tender back.
QCan't Pitch Anymore
I have not played baseball over winter, and now it is summer (Australia) and I am playing again. Here is my problem: when I pitch, after warming up, stretching and stuff and throwing 3 or 4 slow balls, when I try to pitch mid-pace, or even fast, the inside of my elbow really hurts. The pain goes away after 10 or 15 minutes. This has never happened to me. Is it "tennis elbow" or whateve? How can I prevent this, or treat it? Is it my pitching action or my arm is injured? I really need to pitch, as I did well last season.
A1) Yes it could be tennis elbow, little league elbow, bursitis, call it what you will. If there is bruising or tenderness or puffiness when it hurts, you should definitely get it checked by a sports doctor.
2) I can't judge your pitching action without a better description from you, so it might be an injury but I can't say without more info. It could be that you are throwing too much with your arm, not enough with your body.
3) I'm not sure what you mean by throwing 3 or 4 slow balls first. A pitcher's warmup should include (after jogging, stretching, etc) a sequence of warm-up throws from 1/2 base length to 1-1/2 base length (5 throws then step back a couple of paces then 5 more till you're out at the full base-to-base distance.) That's before you step on the mound in the bullpen!
4) Other issues could be what, if any, other sports you play in the off-season which could demand different range of motion from your arm. Also, if you have gone through a growth spurt - your arm size (bone mass) may now, temporarily, exceed your muscle mass. Or you may have experienced a change in cartilage at the joint (also part of the growing process into and thru your teen years.)
Start by eliminating the possibility of an immediate medical cause, then take it slower and longer at warm up, then review your mound mechanics, and finally, consider that it could be a temporary phase and that you shouldn't push now and risk permanent damage.
I am 16 and play pitcher, 3rd and 1st. I have a sore elbow after throwing off the mound in a practice game for 1 and 2/3 innings. I throw fast balls and curve. what could I be doing wrong to cause the pain. We have been practicing for about 3 weeks. I have been throwing on the practice mound about 3 times a week 25 to 30 pitches.
AThese are the question I hate to get. As I keep reminding readers, I'm not a doctor or a physio, just a guy who hangs around ballparks and works with kids.
First, stop throwing curves - immediately! (Why would your coach let you?) Second, 25 to 30 pitches once you're fully warmed is not enough for a pitcher to develop. Try 50-60. And because you can't do that right now, don't try. Stay off the mound, work the field - do more long toss, concentrate on your other positions.
As for what you're doing wrong, sight unseen I have no idea. Unless you can send me a video, you're going to have to rely on your coaches to spot the delivery flaws. But that's at least ten weeks from now, before you even try again. Okay?
QCurves & Elbows
I pitch for my H.S. J.V. team. During our off-season training program, around last November, I developed epicondylitis in my right throwing elbow. I was finally put on the disabled list March 10 for one month and missed all but three games of our JV season. I ended up only pitching one inning the whole season, but got the save. I have had trouble since coming back from D.L. keeping a consistent wind up. I've changed it about 10 times and nothing has felt comfortable or natural. The orthopedic surgeon that examined my elbow, told me to lay off curveballs, sliders and anything else that torqs the wrist. During summer league, there were many times that I really could've used a curveball. When do you think it would be smart to start throwing a curve again? I have considered eliminating the curve and slider perminantly from my pitch selection. What is your opinion on a pitcher becoming a breaking ball-less pitcher? Could such a pitcher possibly be successful?
ATough situation, tough question. Lateral epicondylitis is basically tennis elbow - a repetitive strain injury. You're right, the main cause in baseball would seem to be any breaking pitch with torque - curve, screwball, slider. A split-finger should not be confused with a forkball - which can put a lot of stress on the forearm (not the elbow) - but even the split-finger has been questioned.
I can't tell you whether you'll succeed without a big breaking pitch, but I know you're likely to re-injure the arm by trying to throw it again!
Best recommendation: mix a four-seam and two-seam fastball with your circle change and maybe a cutter - slightly off-center fastball grip. You could also look at varying arm angle either side of your basic 3/4 throw. All of that should be enough to keep batters guessing.
As for wind-up concerns - I suspect you're trying different wind-ups to find one comfortable for the elbow. Maybe you should minimize the wind-up and work more on hips and torso to get your body in a comfortable position to throw with less force on the elbow.
I'm a pitcher for a high school team and at the beginning of the season I had a loose arm and was throwing my fastball pretty hard. But lately I have felt like my arm is a little bit stiffer then usual like if my arm has slowed down more and more every time it's my turn to pitch. Is this normal for every pitcher when the season starts or should I take this seriously?
ATake it seriously. Always. Your arm could be your livelihood and it must be protected. The key is to start slow, not hard. Limit bullpen sessions and mound sessions in pitch count and intensity - especially until the weather is warmer. also throwing alone is not enough. You need to work on core conditioning with plyoballs and plyometric jumps and power lunges to strength legs. You see, you arm may be your career but it takes power from the belt buckle down. For the arm itself, condition using the Jaeger program (or the original Jobe Exercises, or derivatives such as Ron Wolforth's.) Afterwards, if 20 minutes with an ice wrap is not enough to bring down the pain, then go see a doctor.
Why does my arm starts hurting by the elbow whenever I throw at least 10 pitches. I stretch my arms before I throw and now throw overhand (I used to throw sidearm and submarine).
AOverhand, sidearm, submarine impact the shoulder differently but should make no difference to the elbow. I suspect your mechanics are stressing your elbow - either in forearm flyout or over rotation, or in not following through fully after releasing the baseball (putting the brakes on your arm movement too quickly). It would be best for you to seek out a good local instructor to work with on safer mechanics.
I am a left handed pitcher and my freshman year in high school i was clocked at 78 mph. The following year in the winter I was throwing in the low 80's then blew my elbow and had Tommy John surgery. I am now 10 months out of surgery but can only through 72 mph. Will I ever be able to get what fastball I had back. Secondly I am only 5 foot 9 is there a possibility of a left hander with the potential to throw in the mid to high 80's to get drafted.
AProjectability is a factor. If your parents are taller then you may still have some growing to do. But if you stay 5'9 then your chances would have been slim even without the injury. Recovering 100% of a pre-injury velocity is always problematic. And one thing we should point out that if you simply go back to throwing the same way you injured yourself then the result is likely to be a re-injury which might be the end of the line. So you need to get with a better instructor who will teach you how to rehab and not duplicate your previous mistakes. Still, no matter what, my advice would be to work on your hitting and fielding, whatever prospects you have are much more likely as a position player. As you know most recruited pitchers are now over 6' and throwing 90 plus already. (Please don't write WebBall on this - I don't say I agree with the velocity emphasis, I just see the reality of it.)
QProper Wrist Snap
I would like any help you could give me on pitching. My arm hurts me somtimes and just to make sure that I stretch it properly. It hurts sometimes and then goes away, so any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am 14 years old and do not throw many breaking pitches but I might be snapping my wrist too hard and not know it.
AIf you review the page on Practice Cycle you'll see that the key to pitching without injury is in part following all the steps - during on and off days.
The thing most young pitchers and their coaches neglect (and I've been guilty of this too) is not doing a proper cool down after a pitching outing - wind sprints, flexing the shoulder and arm muscles, ice and a jog, proper energy replenishment (the right foods!). This recovery period is the key to preventing sore arms the next day and in the next practice. Sure, it can be inconvenient, and it takes more personal time but, hey, being a pitcher is a lonely job!
As to the wrist snap, if you are throwing proper fingers-on-top fastballs, and you aren't twisting the sideways on release - just a straight downward bend - you shouldn't have a problem there.
QSore Rookie Arm
I was wondering how to prevent a really sore arm in a relatively new A-league pitcher. I'm concerned that he might not be concentrating on throwing using the proper muscles
AYou're probably partly right. There are only three reasons for soreness to develop. Poor mechanics is certainly one. More important may be poor warm-up/conditioning and simple overuse.
When is he pitching (day or night?) What's the mean temeperature? (He shouldn't be throwing more than that in pitch count. i.e. 50 degree night = 50 pitches max. With a proper rest/rehab cycle in between (covered in the Bullpen).
How much did he throw during the winter? How much warm-up does he get before a game? How many days between games? - forget league rules about 40 hours rest after 7 innings (or whatever) that's not nearly long enough.
As a new pitcher, you should definitely have a clicker on him - establish a pitch count and NEVER exceed it - even if he's pitching a no-hitter.
Now, if you're convinced that warm up is adequate, pitching cycle reasonable, and general conditioning is there, turn to mechanics. Too many pitchers throw with their arm - not their legs and torso. Review the mechanics - get a good trigger from the back leg turn in to the hip rotation to the torso arc and shoulder counter balance. Have him work on all that without using his arm to throw. In other words, get his body working first, let his arm action come later.