What are the leading causes of arm injuries?
It’s not pitching mechanics or workloads. Everyone goes straight to those two, but it is not where your focus should be.
The correct answer is: strength imbalances, weakness and poor range of motion. Research shows strength and range of motion (ROM) attribute to over 75% of throwing related injuries.
A strong arm that moves well can handle the stress of throwing. But when you lose strength or ROM, you increase your risk of injury. Plus changes in strength and range of motion can cause compensations that change the way you throw…affecting your accuracy and increasing workloads.
We measure strength as the greatest amount of force you can exert in one repetition. Shoulder strength is critical to accelerating and decelerating your throwing arm. Strength also maintains the position of your arm in the shoulder socket from layback to ball release.
Range of motion (ROM) is the amount of motion that can occur about a joint. Your arm acts like a catapult when you throw. The greater your ROM, the more length you can stretch your arm back to throw.
Players run into problems when they increase the length without increasing strength….range of motion increases and their strength doesn’t. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments are stretched further, but don’t have the ability to withstand the increased tension.
Maintaining proper range of motion and shoulder strength allows players to reach their velocity potential without risking the health of their arm.
Pitch Counts do not hurt arms, preparing for pitch counts do. These days kids pitch too much and throw too little. A consistent throwing regime is critical in arm health and development.