Ask the Coach
David Koopman asks:
What treatment should be given to a player if he develops a sore arm?
Coach Swift answers:
Baseball coaches have been trying for years to figure out how to prevent injuries, and then how to treat them after they occur.
How to deal with “fixing” a sore arm depends largerly on whether the arm is sore only after throwing or if it’s a constant problem.
The best I can do for you without actually knowing the boy is to tell you if it’s an injury then it’s probably being caused by improper techniques. Those pitchers that do not have arm problems always have excellent mechanics. Therefore the first thing you need to look at are the throwing mechanics.
Some questions to answer are:
- Is his body in front of his arm?
- Is his elbow in front of his hand?
- Are his hips opening up square to the plate?
- Is he following through with his body and not making his arm do all the work?
As far as treatment goes, ice and rest are the best treatment until the injury heals itself. When his arm feels good, I believe he needs to start a good long toss program, do stretching exercises for the arm, and even strength development. This would be good advice for any player at any position that has arm problems.
A pitcher needs to stretch before he pitches and then ice after he pitches since swelling is just a natural occurrence of throwing the ball repeatedly. Then, what I feel is extremely important, in the two days after he throws he needs to stretch each day and play easy catch and long toss so as to revitalize the arm.
It should be mentioned that we need to make a big distinction between injury and normal stiffness or soreness. If there’s pain in the joint or sharp pain in the muscle all of the time, whether he is throwing or not, that’s an injury. If it’s just stiffness and soreness, the physical conditioning described above can help or stop that particular problem.
The last thing to remember is that each individual is different in his throwing style, strength, and mechanics…..all of which come into play regarding the arm’s well being.