In the past two months I have assessed 30+ pitchers, ranging from 11 to 24 years of age. Most of the pitchers had around a 7 month season.
Here are my finding:
1. Approximately 70% of the pitchers had some pain in either their shoulder or elbow.
2. 80% of the pitchers had major scapular stability issues.
3. 90% of the pitchers had scapular/shoulder mobility issues.
4. 100% of the pitchers practice no regular recovery methods. (I’m not including ice or heat)
Youth baseball pitchers need more recovery during the season. Too many high school pitchers are being over pitched with a combined poor strength and conditioning program . This is a cocktail of shoulder and scapulae dysfunction. Something needs to be done so young pitchers are not in pain at the end of the season. Baseball is a game of recovery. The faster you can recover the better you will pitch on the mound.
So what are the options during the season to keep a pitchers body in balance?
Chiropractic – Chiropractors have been known for years to be the doctors of the spine, but in the past 20 years chiropractic has broadened its scope, treating shoulder injuries to food sensitivities. Chiropractics look at the body as a whole and wants to know the under lying cause of the pain. A holistic rehabilitation chiropractor will be an athletes best choice as he or she understands how the body moves a whole.
Massage Therapy – Massage therapy can benefit a pitcher tremendously if the therapist understands shoulder mechanics. Many massage therapists work with just athletes which can be a huge bonus. Working the shoulder, scapulae, lats, pecs, teres, etc. will help deliver more blood flow to those muscles, increasing the recover process.
Oriental Medicine – In the states most people are bit skeptical of acupuncture and cupping, but don’t underestimate it. I practice acupuncture and cupping in my clinic and the result speak of themselves. In a few treatments the pitcher in completely pain free and scapular mobility and stability increase drastically.
I recommend a youth pitcher or baseball/softball player to receive recovery work 1-2 times per month. I know many major league players who started receiving soft tissue at the age of 12. It isn’t an option anymore. For a pitcher to compete consistently during a long season, soft tissue work must be done. If no recovery takes place, the game will out grow the player. It’s only a matter of time! Being able to recover faster than other players maybe one of the biggest advantages in baseball.