Trust me, I've been there. Pitching in a game when my arm absolutely feels like it's going to fall off.
But this isn't how it's suppose to be. If your arm is sore, hanging, or in pain, then there are some serious adjustments that need to be made.
Arm soreness can severely effect a pitcher's ability to throw at maximum velocity, maximum accuracy, and most importantly, effect our confidence level out on the mound.
Anytime your mind is focused on something other than performing, you will not have great success. Arm soreness is one of the hardest distractions to eliminate, but fortunately, there are some solutions.
So why is your arm sore so frequently, and how can you fix it?
It all begins with your pitching mechanics.
- You're throwing ALL arm
- You aren't letting your arm recover
- You're running too many poles
- You aren't stretching after your workouts or games
- You're throwing too much and too frequently
In a lot of cases, sore arms can be attributed to ineffective mechanics. What defines ineffective mechanics?
Well, in many instances a pitcher's arm soreness stems from their inability to properly use their body as a single unit. This tendency is often referred to as "throwing all arm".
In order to reduce arm soreness, pitchers must focus on utilizing their body as a single unit. While this takes a considerate amount of practice, it will eventually lead to reduced arm soreness and will allow you to perform at a higher level.
One of the other biggest contributors to arm soreness is pitchers neglecting proper recovery.
An effective recovery routine is essential to reducing arm soreness after a start, and allowing your arm to be prepared for subsequent appearances.
I'm going to tell you right now, if you go and run poles after you pitch, you are wasting your time.
Many pitchers are instructed to run poles because it will "flush out the lactic acid" out of their arms.
There is no evidence to prove this famous reason for running poles. And even if it comes to find out that running poles can help decrease lactic acid buildup, this same result can be achieved through running sprints.
In half the time.
Sprints will not only significantly increase your heart-rate and blood flow into the arm, but this great exercise will increase your anaerobic endurance.
I can't say this enough, pitching a baseball is ANAEROBIC, not aerobic.
Aside from running sprints, a proper static stretching regime is essential to your recovery after pitching. Many pitchers have no problem stretching out their arm before throwing, but many neglect stretching after.
You should spend at least 15 minutes stretching out your rotator cuff (especially the posterior side), lats, upper back, forearms, and triceps. These are typically the areas most prone to soreness, so make sure you focus on them.
Typically, you should stretching each body-part for about 15-30 seconds. I always preferred 30 seconds because I knew I was getting a good stretch in, but it's up to you!
Just make sure you never use static stretching prior to throwing. This is strictly a post-throwing routine.
Yes, there are some guys with "rubber arms", but most pitchers do not have the crazy ability to throw hundreds of pitches a week.
If your is still getting very sore after fixing your mechanics and implementing a proper recovery program, then you might simply be throwing too much.
You might want to consider not throwing the day after you pitch or only throwing lightly. It really all depends on the person.
Just use your common sense! If you can barely lift your arm, then you probably shouldn't be chucking long toss the day after. Despite what option you choose, the day after you pitch is essential to your recovery between starts.
Not throwing or throwing lightly, doesn't mean you just relax. In fact, your recovery process must be in full gear.
An effective routine the day after a performance should include some type of anaerobic conditioning, an emphasis on stretching, and even possibly a lower body strength training routine.
You can use light cords for your rotator cuff, but avoid excessive training of the rotator cuff or upper body. Your muscles are already damaged from throwing a baseball, don't damage them even further.
Don't forget that throwing a baseball is an exercise within itself.
You need time to recover.
Should pitchers ice, or not ice?
This is a pretty debated topic in the pitching community, and there really is no consensus. Some people advocate icing, and other don't.
My opinion: ice your arm if you think it's working for you. If your arm is in agony without icing, then use it. Only you can truly decide what's best for YOUR arm.
I hope this article was helpful, and I hope you can start decreasing your arm soreness as soon as possible.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
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