How to Prevent Overuse Injuries in BaseballApril 02, 2015
I love Southern California. I moved out here when I was 8 years old and I don’t think I could ever live anywhere else. One reason is the weather. I am also a baseball fan. California and other warm weather regions are a hot bed for youth baseball. Unfortunately, playing in warm weather climates also leaves youths vulnerable to overuse injuries. Kids and teenagers often play on their local team, travel team, club team, etc and get way overused. There are a couple interesting facts about top MLB players in terms of hitting and pitching and where they grew up. Not surprisingly, the best hitters are generally from warm weather environments where the kids can play year round. However, the best pitchers are from cold weather environments (most likely due to being able to rest and encouraged to play other sports!!!). This graph shows pitchers with >200 wins in MLB. Most as you can see are from the Northeast and Midwest!!
Does year round baseball really impact the potential of getting an overuse injury?
World renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, MD is adamant that it does. In several interviews, he pleads with parents to not let their children play baseball year round. He says youth baseball players need at least 2 months rest per year but recommends 4 months as optimal rest from overhead sports to prevent overuse injuries and prolong baseball careers. (Read the entire interview HERE)
How Can Overuse Injuries in Baseball be Prevented?
(Source: STOP Sports Injuries)
Overuse injuries – especially those related to the elbow & shoulder areas – are preventable. Here are some tips to allow you to play baseball pain & injury-free:
Pitching Specific Injury Prevention Tips:
- Rotate playing other positions other than pitcher
- Focus on age-appropriate pitching (see Age Recommended for Various Pitches Table)
- Avoid pitching for multiple teams with overlapping seasons
- Follow pitch count guidelines, such as those established by Little League Baseball (See Maximum Pitch Counts Table)
- Do not pitch when experiencing elbow or shoulder pain, if the pain continues, see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Do not pitch on consecutive days (see Rest Periods Required Table)
- Learn & master fastball first, the change-up second, and then consider breaking pitches.
General Baseball Injury Prevention Tips:
- Start warming up with stretching, running, and easy, gradual throwing
- Don’t play year-round. Take at least 2 months off to recover.
- Avoid using a radar gun (especially with younger players)
- Communicate regularly about any arm or shoulder pain
- Develop skills that are age-appropriate
- Emphasize control, accuracy, and good mechanics when throwing
- Speak with a sports medicine professional, physical therapist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about baseball injuries or baseball injury prevention strategies
Interval Throwing Program
Interval throwing programs are also critical at all ages to prepare for an upcoming season or to get back into full participation after rehabilitating an injury. CBPT can provide you with a researched based interval throwing program specific to age and position. Come in for a assessment to assess your child’s injury risk and to get a free interval throwing program outline specific to age and position.