There are 10 common mistakes that most of the pitchers in this game make at some point in their pitching careers which can or will lead to injury and can be avoided with some basic knowledge of science driven pitching mechanics.
Let’s face it, pain and injury is a serious problem for pitchers at all levels of the game. Baseball is a game that involves periods of apparent inactivity punctuated by the highest recorded angular velocities of human movement. (6) Due to this hostile environment the threat of injury is that snake in the woods that is hunting you down and you are just hoping you do not run into it. Every pitcher is just praying that this pain or discomfort in the arm is not going to be a career changer. I really don’t want to scare you here because I am here to help and the best way for me to start helping you is by acknowledging the risks involved.
Working towards the goal of pitching at a high level is risky when it comes to arm health. You are going to have to put some serious wear and tear on the joints if you want to have a great career. The better chance you have of surviving this is knowing what is at stake and how to prevent injury along the way.
Here is a list of factors to help you develop a good understanding of what we are dealing with as pitchers in this game. These statistics are taken from research performed by organizations like the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI).
If you are going to avoid these risk factors or survive this climb in your pitching career then your biggest hurdle is going to be the conventional pitching coach who has not taken the time to learn this information and more than likely because he could care less about this critical information. Because of this problem there are too many pitching instructors out there who are completely unqualified to coach a pitcher how to increase pitching velocity while preventing injury. They are what I like to call, “Pitching Destructors.” They believe just because they played this game at some high level that this means they are qualified to coach it. Some of the worst instructors I have ever met, are some of the best athletes I have ever seen. Just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you can coach it and just because you can coach the game doesn’t mean you can play it. It goes both ways!
That being said, I hope if you are a player who has been taught by an unqualified pitching destructor or you are a pitching destructor yourself, then I hope you get the point and are ready to learn. I am not just going to teach you what I learned when I played this game, then I would be the pitching destructor, what I am going to give you is what I have spent the last 10 years behind this computer screen doing for about 8-10 hours a day, which is collecting loads of advanced knowledge of the science of high velocity pitching to help the young pitchers of today, on top of my playing and coaching experience. So don’t kill the messenger, I didn’t make this stuff up!
This is a list of common mistakes that pitchers make which lead to injury. This is a list of common mistakes from all levels of the game. These mistakes are more common in the lower levels but this doesn’t exempt any level of pitching from learning these critical pitching injury factors when trying to avoid injury.
Results indicated that trail leg musculature elicited moderate to high activity levels during phases 2 and 3 (38–172% of MVIC). Muscle activity levels of the stride leg were moderate to high during phases 2–4 (23– 170% of MVIC). These data indicate a high demand for lower extremity strength and endurance.(2) Incorporating trunk training exercises that demonstrate sufficient trunk ranges of motion and velocities into a strength and conditioning program may help to increase ball velocity and/or decrease the risk injury. (3)
Namely, breaking pitches and high pitch counts were demonstrated to produce a significantly increased risk of elbow and shoulder pain among youth baseball pitchers from the ages of 9 to 14. (4)
You need to use a program like the 3X Pitching Velocity Program which allows you to complete a good amount of reps using the proprietary throwing program without overusing the rotator cuff and elbow.
There was a trend for pitchers who also played catcher to have an increased risk of throwing injury, but this trend was not statistically significant (P = .09). (7)
The complex interaction of the lower extremities and core musculature in the kinetic chain reduces the kinetic contributions of the shoulder joint. Thus, the pitching motion should not be thought of as an upper extremity action, rather an integrated motion of the entire body that culminates with rapid motion of the upper extremity. Improvement of velocity can result from optimization of the kinetic chain, which likely also reduces the kinetic contributions of the shoulder to produce top velocity. Reduced kinetic stresses on the shoulder may prevent injury, leading to greater durability and health of the throwing shoulder. (5)
The maximum shoulder anterior force found during the arm cocking phase was found to be on average 350N, so if a pitcher were to place their lead leg 10cm toward the open side and 10° further open, then this would be associated with a 51N (or approximately 15%) increase in shoulder anterior force during the arm cocking phase. (6)
This work infers that those pitchers who have a more flexed elbow at the point of stride foot contact and a more flexed elbow at the point of ball release will have a reduction in the amount of peak longitudinal distraction force at their shoulders during the throwing motion. (6)
In the simulated overhand and three-quarter arm conditions elbow varus torque was minimized with arm abduction of 90°, while overall varus torque was minimized at 100° of arm abduction with a contralateral trunk tilt of 10°. During ipsilateral trunk tilt conditions the optimum angle of arm abduction in terms of minimizing elbow varus torque was generally 100° or greater. (6)
Fleisig (1994) found the maximum horizontal adduction range displayed to be proportional to the maximum elbow medial force during arm cocking phase at a rate of 2.4 N/°. Since the total amount of elbow medial force during the arm cocking phase was 270N in Fleisig’s study, an increase of 7° horizontal adduction would be associated with an 18N or 7% increase in this force. (6)
Professional pitchers predominantly use the subscapularis and latissimus dorsi for acceleration, whereas amateurs use more of the rotator cuff muscles with an active pectoralis minor and a relatively quiescent latissimus dorsi. (1)
It has been suggested that those in whom the lost range of internal rotation exceeds their gained external rotation are at a greater risk of subsequent shoulder labral injury (Burkhart et al., 2003c) and that remediation (Burkhart et al., 2003b) and prevention (Burkhart et al., 2003b) of this lost range of motion is curative and preventive of these injuries.
Now that you have a good understanding of the risks involved in becoming a high level pitcher and the factors causing the injuries then here is the program to help you prevent or correct these problems. It is a systematic program that will teach you the motor coordination of the efficient high velocity pitcher and help you develop the power and joint integrity of one. If you want to learn more about the 3X Programs and 3X Pitching then fill out the yellow form below to subscribe to the 30 Days to 5MPH video series NOW!
The fifth episode of the 3X Pitching Podcast covers this article. Check it out!