For the last several decades, arm injuries have been steadily on the rise in baseball. The majority of them have occurred within the first month of the season. So, with the start of the baseball season upon us, I wanted to touch on some recovery methods that can help prevent some of these issues.
Proper Deceleration Patterns
One of the first things we teach our players in Healthy Heat are our Decel Drills. Peak Shoulder Internal Rotation can reach 7000° per second. That means if your arm was not attached to your body it would spin around in a circle almost 19 ½ times in 1 second. That is a tremendous amount of force that could lead to a lot of damage in your arm if it is not slowed down in a safe and effective manner. One tool that I like to use with my pitchers the day after they throw is to put them in an Oates Throwing Sock and have them throw a light flat ground. If the player has soreness that is caused by a poor deceleration pattern they will show some discomfort if that pattern is repeated. The Throwing Sock will take the majority of the stress off the players arm allowing them to make some low stress throws and navigate through the discomfort to find a more efficient movement pattern.
Increase Blood Flow
Growing up I was religious about icing after I threw. After the game you could find me strapped up with ice from my neck to my fingertips. We now know that icing will delay your healing process. Ice slows blood flow to the area and we want to get as much blood flow to the injured tissue as possible to remove the waste produced by the lymphatic system and repair the tissue. The way we do that is by dynamic movements as well as using Rocket Wrap after players throw. Rocket Wrap is a compression floss that temporarily restricts blood flow to the area for the 30 seconds that it is wrapped around the desired area which sends a signal to the brain that more blood flow is needed to that area. When the wrap is removed the area receives in increase in blood flow flushing out toxins and promoting healing to the area.
Strength & Mobility
Maintaining a regular strength and conditioning program during the season can be difficult but is critical to staying healthy throughout the course of a long season. Players should have a regular recovery program filled with T-Spine and shoulder mobility exercises as well as exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff, shoulder and scapular stabilizers, and maintain core stability.
Creating a routine that drills/reinforces proper decel patterns, increases blood flow after you throw, and maintains strength and mobility during the season will go a long way to keeping you healthy throughout the year. Our focus in Healthy Heat is shifting as the season starts to accommodate players increasing need for recovery to keep players healthy and throwing hard with the gains that they have put on all offseason. Below I have included links to the aforementioned Oates Throwing Sock and Rocket Wrap. They are both inexpensive and two of the best tools that I have found on the market.