Maintaining arm strength and flexibility are key factors in having a healthy arm, which will in turn help in avoiding soreness and arm injuries. Using resistance stretch tubing and doing the listed stretching exercises will provide ball players the opportunity to stretch the arm muscles and if done on a regular basis, avoid injury. REMEMBER: Keep the tubing taut with each exercise!!
- Place the arms at “L” position, keeping the elbows tucked in, close to your sides. Pull arms away from the body which tightens the muscles in the back. Pull until arms reach about 180 degrees. 20-25 reps daily
- Place arms straight down by thighs and pull hands apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. 20 reps
- Place your arms straight out in front of the shoulders and pull apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. 20 reps
- Place the arms straight out in front of the forehead and pull apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. 20 reps
- Place arms straight down by thighs, pull arms apart and hold. While holding, slowly bring arms up in front and over the head, keeping the arms straight out and then return to the starting position. 10-20 reps
- Chest pulls: Attach one end of tubing to a hook, door knob, etc. and stand sideways. Pull tubing across the chest and hold, and return to start position slowly. Both arms. 10-20 reps.
- Bicep pull downs: Attach the tubing to a fence, hook, etc. and assume the “T” position. Hold the tubing as if at 9 o’clock. Pivot and pull down, going from 9-12-6. Rotate the hips and pull down. Rotate back to original position. Do same underhanded. 20-30 reps
- Stand on one end of the tubing. Wrap the tubing around hand/wrist so it is tight/taut. Put the arm in the “L” position from the torso. Do 20-25 reps overhand and same underhand(curls) by pulling tubing straight up to the chest. NOTE: Stand down on the tubing so it does not snap up!
- Tubing squats: Stand with heels on tubing. Squat down and grasp tubing while stretching it snugly. Slowly stand erect pulling on tubing. Slowly return to squat position. 10 reps
There are many other stretch tubing exercises, but these will stretch the basic arm and back muscles, increase strength, and help keep your arm “fresh” and ready to go. GAGPTH!
DO each of the below listed TWO times(2)…Exactly as listed!!
1. Medicine Ball: Russian twists with knees up and feet off ground.
5-10 reps with full rotation.
2. Finger tip Pushups: On your finger tips, back flat, feet together do three(3) sets of five(5) pushups.
3. Rollups: Two(2) reps. Arms out straight and roll slowly all the way down and then all the way up!
4. Regular and reverse “flippers: Using a baseball, in a 4-seam grip, extend your arm out and with ball face up, do 25 up-down “flippers”; do reverse “flippers” with hand turned over, 25.
5. If time: Step-Ups using the seats. 25!!! The key is to step up with one foot, and then other, balance, then one foot down, and other down. Be quick but do not hurry…it is not a speed drill but must be done perfectly.
6. If time: Medicine Ball toss: One player lays on the ground with the LIGHT medicine ball in his hands with ball on the ground above his head. He then does a sit up while tossing(not throwing) the ball to a standing teammate at his feet. Use your CORE to do the sit up and time the throw to maximize the stretching.
As a ball player the MOST important asset is YOUR arm!! When playing defense every position is reliant upon your ability to throw the ball with velocity(with “something on it!”) and accurately. In order to throw and pitch, arm strength is the most important quality you MUST possess. If you want to “Get Good” it is very important to build arm strength, which in turn will increase your velocity and durability, and minimize arm injuries. YOU must take care of your arm and work hard to strengthen it. Focus on HARD work and the fundamental mechanics of throwing. Generally, overwork/use are not an issue, but overwork/use without proper arm strength and poor mechanics are!!!
How do YOU build arm strength? Below are list some simple ways to build it and keep your arm in shape to avoid injury.
- THROW EVERDAY: The basic rule is to throw 10-15 minutes every day during the season and 3-5 times per week in the off-season…for committed players there is no off-season! This means just playing catch and/or throwing, without maximum velocity, at targets. You can devise ways to throw without a partner; be creative and get your throwing in every day.
- Learn to LONG TOSS: Long toss takes about 10 minutes or so and is the BEST conditioning drill for your arm! Long toss will increase arm strength and durability. Begin warming up with a teammate by throwing from 20-30 feet. Increase the distance as your arm gets warm; in 30-40 feet steps. When you get to the maximum distance(varies according to age/size) throw for 1-2 minutes. The key is to not over extend your arm and focus on an exaggeration of throwing mechanics.
- EXERCISE YOUR ARM: Keep the arm in shape by doing basic arm exercises on a regular basis; build a daily, weekly, and monthly routine and stick to it! Using a simple stretch cord(medical tubing or black flexible tubing) build a consistent regimen stretching your arms and core. There are many websites with good arm stretching and tube exercises.
- LEARN PROPER THROWING/PITCHING MECHANICS: You need to focus on the perfect fundamentals of throwing and pitching. It is important to learn the “T” drill and the basic 9-12-6 rotation. Work on keeping your body in balance without putting undue stress on your arm. Work on each step in pitching mechanics with a clear focus as to your goal and mastering the drills.
- RUN and CONDITION: You must build a consistent conditioning program which addresses your needs. YOU can never run too much…sprints, “poles”, backwards, etal. Focus on your CORE with exercises that strengthen the CORE: YOU essentially throw and pitch with the CORE and these exercises will increase velocity and develop durability! Repetitions!!! Develop wrist, forearm, and arm strength with roll-ups, squeezie balls, push-ups(10 different), etc.
YOU are the one who MUST do the work and commit to excellence! “Commit to Compete!” Remember to always ice your arm after extended throwing, wear a jacket at all times after game(warm or cold weather), give your arm the proper rest, and to shut down if you have extreme soreness, achiness, or numbness in your arm. If the latter persists, tell your parents and/or coach and see a doctor! Remember: Nolan Ryan pitched 27 seasons and he worked out and threw EVERY day…many times by himself!!
In order to be the BEST ball player that YOU can be, it is VERY important to maintain proper physical fitness, eat a healthy diet, get the proper amount of rest, hydrate, and workout EVERY day!!! Being physically fit helps to stay mentally fit and empowers you to perform at the highest level. Prepare your BODY and MIND for ALL that you do….and of course, GAGPTH!!
- Try to sleep eight(8) hours each night and get to bed at a reasonable hour..never go to or have a sleepover the night before a game.
- Eat breakfast. This will provide you energy for a good start to each day and help so you will not overeat during the rest of the day.
- ALWAYS use stairs…over a year this will provide a lot of exercise.
- Drink WATER!!!! Whether you are thirsty or not try to drink at least 6-8 ounces per day. It will help “oil” your joints, burn fat, flush toxins, and help condition your skin. AVOID soda pop, sweet juices, and sugary drinks.
5 colors for dinner
Eat balanced meals,three per day, with at least five colors on the plate.EAT BRIGHT!! Do not skip meals and try to eat 3 veggies and 3 fruits per day: orange(cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, apricots) and dark green(broccoli, spinach, greens, collards). Limit sugar intake…candy, sugar gum, ice cream, etc.
- Work out EVERY day!! Try to do 30-40 minutes of physical “work”..stretch, run, skip rope, side jumps, juggle, and the “daily dozen”(sit ups, pull ups, push ups). Stretch every muscle, run sprints, jog distances, and get your aerobic heartbeat up.
- Eat fiber and reduce fat. Fiber is grains, fruits, and veggies!! Reduce fats by limiting burgers, fries, chips, etal..all the “greasy gang”.
- Throw EVERY day but maintain the “dignity of your arm”: If your arm is sore or hurts DO NOT throw and tell your parents and coach. It is good to throw every day but not if it hurts your arm. Also, stay away from side arm or throwing breaking pitches. Use the four(4) seam grip and throw “over-the-top”(9 to 12 to 6).
- AVOID alcohol, tobacco(chew included), drugs, and steroids. YOU do not need to “test” them..they are proven losers!!!
- Hug your parents and be the BEST YOU can be!!!