Friday, February 10, 2017


How to Keep Your Pitcher’s Arm Healthy

Are you coaching a youth baseball team and want to make sure you keep your pitcher’s arm healthy?  If you are thinking about it then you are already moving in the right direction.  Since I was a pitcher through college, I thought I knew how to properly take care of an arm, but a lot has changed in 20 years.  Luckily, I know some great Physical Therapists at TheraCORE who have helped me understand how to really take care of a young pitcher’s arm.  It really comes down to just three things.



Warm-up, Workload, Rest



Warm-up - When I played baseball, I always threw a baseball to warm up my arm.  I will talk about total throws next under Workload, but if you don’t want to waste a high percentage of your pitcher’s total throws just to get warmed up, then consider using a dynamic warm-up to get your arm and whole body ready to play.  You can also have your pitchers do band exercises to warm up their arms prior to throwing.



Workload – For a while now, most youth leagues have used pitch counts to limit the workload on a young pitcher’s arm.  I have come to learn limiting the total number of throws a player makes in a game or a practice should be used along with pitch counts in order to maintain a healthy arm.  Youth pitchers should limit their total throws to 125 in a day.  If a 10 year old has a max pitch count of 75, think about how quickly he will get to 125 total throws if you include pre-game warm-up throws, pre-game warm-up pitches, in-between inning warm-up pitches and in-game pitches.  You should also take into consideration the number of throws that will be made if he is playing another position during the same day that he pitches.



Rest – If you are coaching a travel baseball team in the Midwest, then the majority of the games your team plays are in weekend tournaments.  It can be a lot of fun to play 4 to 6 games in 2 days, but it can definitely make it tough for a coach to follow the recommended rest guidelines for a pitcher.  Per the guidelines, if a 7 to 14 year old pitcher throws more than 35 pitches on Saturday, then they should not throw any pitches on Sunday.  Winning a youth baseball tournament should never come before the long term health of a young pitcher’s arm.  Remember, proper rest includes taking at least two months off each year from throwing.  Have your kids play a different sport during this time.  It helps to protect their arm and makes them an overall better athlete.



Recommended pitch count/rest - http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines/


Brad Goebbert, CFO
TheraCORE, Inc.

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