Confidence and technique go hand in hand. With our years of experience, we know more and more that a player’s confidence is directly related to their chance of success. By building technique and confidence, our players are better able to focus when faced with challenges out on the field.
We know that most players will not reach the major leagues. In fact, only .5% of high school players will be drafted by an MLB team. But the skills we teach in the process – hard work, focus, and playing as a team – have the ability to impact the rest of their lives, as students, professionals, friends, and fathers.
Pitching while fatigued
Studies show that players who pitch when their arm is fatigued are at a significantly greater risk for sustaining a serious arm injury.
The Journal of Medicine, Science, Sports & Exercise found that if you pitch with a tired arm you are 6 times more likely to suffer from elbow pain and 4 times more likely to have shoulder pain than those who did not have a tired arm.
Throwing too many innings over the course of the year
For pitchers that throw over 100 innings per year, the risk factor for injury is 3.5 times higher than those who did not exceed 100 innings.
Lack of proper training and mechanics
Training must include a strength and conditioning program with a shoulder and elbow component. Numerous studies have shown that deficits in upper extremity strength and mobility correlate to serious arm injuries. Good throwing mechanics should be learned in order: 1) basic throwing, 2) fastball pitching, 3) change-up pitching. Basic instruction on good pitching mechanics in combination to encouraging players can reduce pitching burden. We tailor strength and conditioning programs depending on the age of the player and how advance they are.
Throwing in a game after having time off
It is important to train properly before throwing again.
Pitching in consecutive games
When players pitch consecutive games, the risk of arm pain is 2.5 times higher.
Pitchers playing catchers
Pitchers should not be catchers for their team. Pitchers who catch are at 2.7 times more risk of injury.
Playing for multiple teams
Pitchers should not play for multiple teams at the same time.
Pitching with other injuries
Pitching while having injuries in other parts of the body can change biomechanics and put pressure on the arm.
Throwing curveballs and sliders at a young age
Avoid throwing curveballs and sliders. Best practice recommendations suggest that young pitchers should work on their fastball, master a change-up and refine their ability to locate the ball in specific spots. Throwing a curveball or slider often changes mechanics in younger pitchers, and this may lead to injury.
Radar gun use
Use of radar guns with youth pitchers can pose a risk by overthrowing and altering normal mechanics in an attempt to bolster their speed on the gun.
Time off between seasons
There is a risk of injury if not enough rest time is taken between seasons. This is especially difficult in Florida, where there is play year round. Off times vary depending on the player’s age and style of pitching (power, crafty, etc.) There is no “one fits all” – every player is different.