Ulner Collateral Ligament (UCL) injuries are on the rise. The number of high school pitchers requiring UCL reconstruction each year has tripled in the past decade. Many pitchers never even make it to the high school level because their arms are worn out before they reach their late teens.
According to Nathan E. Gotch, pitcher's arm injuries can be prevented. It really boils down to four things that coaches are doing wrong:
- Poor Warmups: A good pitcher uses his entire body, so the entire body needs to be stretched before a pitcher takes the mound. More often than not, the only thing you see young pitchers warming up are their arms. A complete stretching routine needs to be utilized, concentrating on the legs, midsection and finally the forearm and shoulder.
- Coaches Are Wearing Out Arms: Quite often, young pitchers are throwing from 80 to 100 pitches every four days. This is far too much throwing for a young arm. Coaches need to utilize more pitchers in a game and not put the entire burden on one young arm. This, more than anything, is ruining young arms!
- Post-pitching Recovery Routines are Essential: Far too many young pitchers do nothing but sit on the bench after throwing, sometimes icing their arm. As we mentioned in our article, "Icing Your Pitching Arm May Hinder Recovery," sore muscles need oxygen and blood flow to recover. A post workout routine of stretching and running will lead to faster recovery and a healthier arm.
- Poor Pitching Mechanics: One of the other major reasons young pitchers are blowing out their arms at such an early age is that they are never taught proper pitching mechanics. The whole body needs to be used when pitching, as we pointed out in "Want Maximum Pitching Velocity? It's All About Torque!." Far too many coaches see a strong arm and think that's good enough. If you don't know how to teach proper pitching mechanics, find someone who does!
You can read Nathan's full article, " 4 Reasons Why Arm Injuries Have Increased in Youth Pitchers," here.
Pitching Machine Stop Quote of the Day: " I think I rushed and I needed more time with my comeback. I needed more time to get my legs stronger to be able to handle the workload." - David Cone