Recent research on softball pitching techniques shows the importance of involvement of the body as a whole and not just the shoulder/arm. The power of a pitch is primarily generated from rotation in the hips and core stabilization. Proper use of the core muscles and mechanics are very important in these athletes, to sustain the ability to pitch for many innings. However, like many other injuries in life, softball injuries cannot be fully prevented. South County Physical Therapy, Inc. is happy to offer a few tips to assist with the reduction of the risk of injury in young female athletes.
It is important to not throw every season and to be sure to take time off. The arm and body require rest from overuse. Also, adequate rest is needed to decrease the chances of tendonitis and other overuse injuries.
The proper warm-up is needed before a pitcher begins throwing with any velocity. The warm-up should include: stretching, step & snap, one knee windmill, one-legged balance, sideways “K”, one knee double windmill, three step walk through, behind & step, double tap, 45 degree angle, and throws from the mound. Before you practice different pitches, first try throwing straight down the middle. After throwing 10 to 15 pitches, move on to the next.
Focus on flexibility vs. strengthening of the upper extremities, in order to have proper use of shoulder mechanics during the full arc of motion.
Train the core. This should include hips, buttocks, abdominals, obliques, and the back. In addition, single leg balance training statically and dynamically is valuable, since it will help with the explosion and strength of pitches.
Do not pitch more than two consecutive days when 13 years of age or younger. If over 13, do not pitch more than three consecutive days. Think of this as an opportunity to play other positions to stay in the game and give your arm the rest it needs.
SCPT’s therapists have provided skilled care to professional and amateur athletes of all ages. For more information, schedule an appointment at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. today!