Pitcher Safety Part II - Post Pitching Recovery - Cornerstone Coaching AcademyCornerstone Coaching Academy

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Pitcher Safety Part II – Post Pitching Recovery

Similar to the controversy surrounding the use and over use of youth pitchers, the debate of whether pitchers should use ice after a start  rages on in some circles. Many pitchers (including myself) just iced because it’s what we are supposed to do.  Many pitchers ice because they are afraid not to.  Some truly believe in the benefits and some will never know pitching without it.

 

On the other hand, many pitchers do not ice after starts.  Some pitchers don’t ice because they do not have access to it, some don’t like the way it makes their arms feel, and some don’t do it simply because they are lazy.

 

I will preface this by saying that I am not a doctor, athletic trainer, or physical therapist.  The findings I am reporting in this article are simply based on the research of others and are based on my reading and experiences as a player and a coach.

 

 

It is important to note that if the player has an acute injury to his arm such as getting hit by the baseball, a ligament sprain or muscle pull, they should be highly encouraged to ice.  It is true  that ice may be more effective for acute injuries such as those, and it may not be as effective for eccentric injuries (repetitive deceleration) such as throwing a large number of pitches.   Understand that the type of injury that occurs after after pitching is a delayed onset muscle soreness, which is essentially micro-tears of the muscle.  This type of soreness usually peaks 24-48 hours after use and is characterized by stiffness of the muscle and joint.  This type of soreness after pitching is totally normal.

 

 

Since ice causes constriction and stiffness of the muscles and joints by constricting blood flow, it may not be the best modality to use after pitching.  There are several other options a pitcher has to decrease the amount of time that he is sore after and extended outing.

 

 

1.) Proper warm-up prior to throwing (in order)

 a.) Start with an activity that will get the heart rate up, light jogging or other baseball activity

b.) Dynamic stretching (most done at 10-20 yards)

 i.) High Knees

ii.) Butt Kicks

 iii.) Karaoke

 iv.) Lunge Twists

 v.) Skip Series

 vi.) Side shuffles

 vii.) Jog to sprint series

 c.) Core activation and warmup

i.) Core twists

 ii.) Twisting yoga poses (Check out your baseball yoga program here)

 iii.) Med-Ball exercises

 d.) Arm tubing

 i.) Internal rotation

ii.) External rotation

 iii.) Scap Squeeze

 iv.) Iron Cross

 

2.) Refuel your body

 a.) Eat something high in carbs and protein within 30 minutes of pitching

 b.) Eat a balanced meal within 2 hours of pitching

 

3.) Next day stretching

 a.) Shoulder girdle stretches prior to any activity

 b.) Shoulder tubing prior to any activity

 

4.) Monitor post pitching practice and game activity

 a.) Give your two-way players lighter throwing work loads in the two days after pitching

 b.) Give a day off or game off if possible

 c.) Try to avoid allowing pitchers to catch on a regular basis

 

 

Research shows that there are more (and possibly better) ways to recover from a start than to ice.  Encourage pitchers to experiment with their post throwing routines (including ice) to find the one that works the best for them.

 

For more great baseball coaching info check out our Cornerstone Elite membership

References:

 

Yeager, D.W. (2011). An alternative to ice: A more comprehensive method to post pitching recovery.  Retrieved from www.baseballstrengthcoaching.com.

 

ASMI position statement on youth pitching. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.asmi.org/asmiweb/position_statement.htm.

 

Lyman S, Fleisig GS, Andrews JR, Osinski ED (2002).  Effect of pitch type, pitch count, and pitching mechanics on risk of elbow and shoulder pain in youth baseball pitchers. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 30, 463-468.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Mark Weber says:

    Post game arm care depends on what kind of pitcher you are. If you throw a lot of fastballs you may not need ice. If you throw a lot of breakingballs, you are going to need ice because the trauma to the elbow and shoulder will inflame those joints. If you don’t ice, you will have inflamation which will need care (getting blood to move in those joints) by stretching, massaging, tubing or whatever works for the individual.

    It also depends on how many pitches are thrown and whether the pitcher plays other positions, etc., etc.

    I agree that post game therapies are different for each situation and each arm. There are so many factors that go into arm care but there is no one magic formula. All you can do as a coach or trainer is get your player in-shape physically and mentally and let em play. Injuries happen. Soreness is part of sport but a good coach should be able to tell when a pitcher is ‘laboring’ or when a player is not being honest about his arm. A ‘tired arm’ should never be pushed. That is just ignorance. Always look for the elbow dropping below the shoulder and the pitches ‘running high and away’.
    These are indicators that its time to pull that pitcher and let his arm rest and recover.

    MW

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I am particularly interested in your comment about the difference between power pitchers and breaking ball pitchers. I am constantly looking for more research to expand my knowledge base. If you have an article or other material you could direct me to it would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks again for reading and for your feedback.

  2. Gerry_C says:

    Here is an article I just read on how ice impedes recovery time http://drmirkin.com/fitness/why-ice-delays-recovery.html
    I’ve also recently read a few that suggest foam rolling and, or light band work to speed up recovery after pitching

  3. […] Our article on post pitcher recovery – This article includes whether a pitcher should ice or not, and different modalities for pitchers to reduce soreness, speed up recovery, and reduce injuries. […]

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