The health of a ballplayer’s arm is essential to their success on the field. With baseball revolving so much around throwing, the occasional arm soreness and injury is practically inevitable.
The act of throwing a ball is an unnatural movement that puts a very vulnerable set of muscles under great stress. To try and prevent arm soreness and injury, a player has to be responsible and disciplined in their approach to arm care.
Depending on the amount of baseball an individual is playing, the extent to which you follow these tips may vary. However, it is important for anyone who plays an overhead sport to diligently take care of their arm.
In an attempt to help keep your arm healthy this season, here’s a short list of tips to help you stay on the field with a healthy arm.
1. Condition Your Arm
In order for a ballplayer’s arm to make it through a full season unscathed, it is important to have the arm in shape prior to the start of the season. It is a smart idea to get on a throwing program that gradually increases in intensity as the season grows closer. This way, by the time the season starts, your arm is ready to handle a high volume of throws. You want your arm to be ready to handle this volume and not have to go through soreness in the early stages of the season.
Incorporating a resistance band program into your throwing routine is another tactic to aid in improving the health of your arm. It will help you recover quicker and build up all of the small muscles that need to be strong to help the arm remain healthy for an entire season.
Showing up the first day of practice with a well-conditioned arm is a wise first step towards great arm health in 2018.
2. Condition Your Body
Along with having a well-conditioned arm, gaining and maintaining strength throughout a player’s entire body will help take stress off the arm. Building up strength in the legs, back and core are key to a ballplayer remaining healthy and performing at a high level. Similar to conditioning the arm, getting your body in shape is something that takes time and must be done prior to the start of the season.
While everyone agrees that having an overall strong body is vital to a ballplayer’s success, there is great debate over what types of exercises are safest for a player’s arm. It is generally accepted that lifts that put unnecessary stress on the shoulder are not recommended for baseball players. Baseball players want their arms to be loose and free of any extra muscle limiting their range of motion. While lifts such as bench press and shoulder press are not highly recommended for baseball players, it is completely possible to maintain a full range of motion and a healthy arm while performing these lifts.
Having your body in great shape before the season starts is another step towards ensuring a healthy arm.
Before even picking up a baseball, it is important for a player to have their body ready to throw. Following an extensive warm-up/stretching routine is critical to decreasing the chance of soreness and injury.
Prior to throwing, a resistance band program is a good way to loosen the muscles up in the arm. Along with a thorough resistance band program, dynamic stretching is an extremely effective way to get the body warm and ready to perform.
Not only will an effective warm-up routine prevent injury, a properly warmed up body will also perform more efficiently and effectively.
Taking your warm-up routine seriously is a great step towards promoting greater arm health.
Rest is huge in recovery. A player’s arm is not getting stronger when they are throwing; it gets stronger when they are recovering. While rest is critical to recovery, it is certainly not the only way to help maximize it.
Long distance running or sprints are great ways to increase blood flow and promote recovery. While there are many philosophies on the amount and type of running that baseball players should do, finding a way to increase blood flow will only help the health of a player’s arm.
Staying properly hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet are also important things to consider when optimizing your recovery. Without all of the proper nutrients and an insufficient level of hydration, arm soreness could worsen.
Icing your arm shortly after throwing is another way a lot of players limit the amount of inflammation in their arm. While some studies show that icing may actually delay recovery, it is still a common method of recovery seen in baseball.
If a sound recovery plan is not part of your routine, it could be wise to begin incorporating one in 2018.
5. Listen to Your Arm
The most valuable skill a ballplayer can learn in regards to arm care, is how and when to listen to their arm. Listening to your body can keep a player healthy and performing at a high level. Failure to listen to your body could result in serious injury.
On any given day, your body will let you know the appropriate volume and intensity at which you should throw. The soreness and pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and it needs rest.
Be smart in 2018 and listen to your arm.
A ballplayer’s arm is one of their most important tools. Without a healthy arm, a player can almost guarantee that they will not be on the field. Having an effective routine and remaining disciplined is key to promoting arm health. Do your best to follow these tips to increase your chances of a healthy arm in 2018 and beyond.