In normal times, this would be the time of year when your pitchers start to get tired or sore, or both.
This surely isn’t a normal year, but even so, what matters is that your pitchers know how to tell the difference between being sore and being hurt.
It’s super important for a pitcher to be able to tell the difference between when they’re simply sore from having pitched a lot, and when they’re actually injured. It’s the difference between saying my arm is “stiff or sore” and “my arm is killing me!”
Stiffness and soreness can happen after a pitcher pitches a lot of innings in either a day or a weekend, or when those innings and weekends begin to add up. Any pitcher that pitches for very long will end up stiff and sore, but what we all should work hard to avoid is our pitcher getting injured.
Knowing the difference between these two closely related feelings is hard for anyone other than the pitcher to distinguish. I’ve been pitching or working with pitchers most of my life and I can’t tell if a pitcher is sore or injured just by looking at her – only the pitcher can tell. We not only want our pitchers to be stronger at the end of the season when the really important games and tournaments happen, but we also want them to stay injury-free.
While the logical thing to do when any player gets really sore, tired or injured is to rest, but that logic goes out the window when we’re talking about a pitcher. Pitchers are often afraid to rest and because they think it will somehow hurt their pitching or that they’ll forget how to pitch. While that might sound crazy, the biggest reason that pitchers don’t take a break when their arms are telling them to is that coaches either don’t let them, or don’t insist on it. Players get a little nervous telling coaches they’re sore, so you have to know the signs.
Let’s look at a few simple things we can do to help our pitchers take better care of their arms based on whether they’re “sore/tired” or “hurt”
Sore or Tired:
- This is the first step for a pitcher on the road to hurt or inured so pay attention to it.
- It’s common the first 1-3 days after a weekend tournament where the pitcher pitched a lot.
- Its common 1-3 days after a pitcher threw a long game of 10+ innings or after a weekend of 2-4 games.
- It happens towards the end of the season when all the practice & games before that have taken their toll on the pitcher’s arm and she gets a tired arm.
- The pitching arm doesn’t hurt unless you’re pitching.
- The pitcher will really notice it when she first starts warming up. Her arm will feel stiff or “dead” meaning it doesn’t have any energy.
- Warm-up slowly and thoroughly. Jog more and raise your body temperature before you start actually warming up your pitches.
- Make sure you ICE your arm every day – especially after a game or workout.
- Rest – take a break from pitching at least 1-3 days a week.
- Cut your practices a little shorter
- Don’t pitch as fast during practice and don’t pitch at full distance
- Listen to your arm!
Hurt or Injured:
- The pitcher will usually say her arm is killing her.
- Pitching arm hurts at the joints (shoulder, elbow).
- The pitching arm hurts even if you aren’t pitching.
- Pitcher never can get warmed up because of the pain.
- Pitcher can’t throw full speed because her arm is just too sore.
- ICE and rest!!!
- Don’t pitch for at least 4-5 days.
- See a doctor if necessary.
For more information on pitching check out our fantastic pitching products:
- Controlling Pitchers Counts and Pitching and Catching Drillmania DVD
- Breaking Down the Pitching Motion – Fastball Mechanics DVD
- Advanced Motion Pitches Rise Ball & Screw Ball DVD
- Fastpitch Softball Pitching DVD Pitchers Potpourri – “Identifying Problems Pitchers Face & How to Correct Them” and “Softball Issues Q&A” DVD
- Pitching Clinic 4 DVD Series
- The Complete Book of Pitching
- Pitching eClinics
- Pitching eDrills
- Pitching eSkills Package
- Pitching Training Aids