The increase in arm/shoulder injuries in youth baseball is both alarming and disturbing. If a player is serious about playing the game, it is imperative that he/she take precautions for reducing these risks. Injuries are part of sports but many may be avoided with a practical approach and proper preparation.
Tips for Proper Preparation and Success
- Proper Rest: The body needs time to recoup and 8-10 hours of sleep each night will provide it. Most importantly, keep regular hours and go to bed at a decent time. Being tired affects one’s focus, reaction time, and ability to make good decisions.
- HYDRATE: Drink 3-4 glasses of water the night before games/practice/activities.Also, drink water before, during, and after each game. Drink a full glass of water each a.m. upon getting out of bed. Avoid sugar and energy drinks, soda pop, and caffeine drinks. Water keeps the blood flowing and without it, dehydration may occur greatly affecting performance.
- Proper Diet: Eat Right! Eat three(3)balanced meals with ample vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Eat FIVE colors at every meal! Try to avoid snacks and stay away from seeds, candy, soda pop, and gum.
- Dress and Use Safety Equipment: Make sure all gear fits properly and are in perfect repair. Helmet must fit snugly(short haircut required!). Clean equipment nightly to insure proper playing condition. Catching gear and gloves must be perfect!
- Warm Up Before every Game and Practice: Do not throw to warm up, warm up to throw! Stretch and run at home before leaving for the game/practice. Take time to stretch all muscles and prepare for action. Arrive at the field in time to adequately warm up with the team and get arm ready for play. Ready the mind and body! Good Rule: Throw 3-5 times per week, 10-15 minutes. Do regular physical training: jump rope, work the peg board, sit-ups/push-ups, running, etal each day!
- Play Multiple Sports: Try not to focus on a singular sport. Play others even if it is not an organized team. Run track or cross country, wrestle, play tennis, swim, and enjoy all the others!! Each sport has significant value and will help with focus and the development of mental skill sets appropriate for all sports. Also, playing at least 3 sports will help avoid “burn out” and utilize all muscle groups.
- Communicate with Parents and Coaches: If you have a persistent pain that does not respond to ice or rest, tell your parents and coach immediately! Soreness is natural but pain must be dealt with NOW! Do not let your ego or zest for play get in the way of clear thinking. See a doctor if pain persists.
- Common Sense: Do not over work or over use your arm or body. Follow a realistic plan for arm care, wear a jacket after games/practice, and avoid playing whiffle ball or throwing as hard as you can with any object. Create a reasonable throwing regimen and have a pitch count. If you become tired or sore, stop and tell the coach. Follow your doctor’s orders and do not return to play too quickly after a serious injury. Short term greed equal long term stupidity!
- Off Season: Rest and enjoy life…play another sport and follow a solid physical training workout plan! GAGPTH! KWTP! YBON!