At the academy I last worked at, first thing I did was evaluate a new student for their overhand throwing mechanics. Many tim es I would have to dig into my 'Bag of tricks' (Ballbag) and give them a half sized football. Throwing a football in a spiral is the exact same mechanics as throwing a softball overhand. Use a fottball that looks and feels like a real one, no foam or plastic ones, got to have a little weight to it.
As far as the pain in the elbow. If it ios a nerve pain, you must also consider it possibly coming from 'farther up the line', so to speak. I will use myself as an example here.
Multiple roll over truck wreck in 1986. Everything on my right side was torn up, including shoulder, elbow and bicep ligamate. I would get a sharp pain in my little finger. Not long after that my elbow would ache too. It turned out to be a slightly pinched nerve at the shoulder causing it. I felt it in my little finger first, then the elbow when it got pinched a little more. Alittle adjustment froim the chiropractor, gone.
Large nerves in the shoulder near the spine, they branch out and get smaller as the go down the arm. The smallest ones in the ends of the finbgers. Pinched nerve in the shoulder first felt in the little finger.
Dont forget to consider a pain in an extremity might be coming from farther up the line.
Checking out the clubhouse
I agree with L.F. and also think that it's overuse. Watch a practice and count how many throws a player makes. Warm-ups can be as much as 50-70 throws, then grounder and pop ups another 30-50 throws. Then we do infield with runners another 30 throws. Then it's time for the pitchers to pitch 75-100. It all adds up. Combine that with year round playing of one sport and overuse is more likely to happen. At the high school we have cut down on the amount of throws that are made during practice.
I eat, sleep and breathe softball
Good points. Also consider the tournament nature of travel ball compared to the league nature of school or professional sports. You might play 4-5 games in a single day. You might warm up for a total of 3 hours preceding those games. You make several throws between each of the 20-25 innings that you play. It's incredible how many throws kids are making on travel ball teams in a single day. And Dr. Andrews recommends a full 2-4 months off from throwing per year to heal.
Originally Posted by Mike-Coach Q
People and doctors can kick around 'overuse injuries ' all they want. They do happen. However, the amount ANY individual pitcher can throw in a given game, day, weekend or whast have you is ALWAYS an individual thing. It all depends on how much 'pitching stamina' the player has worked at and built themselves up to. Or, have not built themselves up to.
There is no generic number that can be used to say 'this is OOK or this is too many.
I will use a few cases of my students as examples, both were 10unders.
#1. Started pitching with Dad at age 5. Worked her way up to 250 top 500 pitches a night with dad 3 times a week. Then pitching at practice 1 or 2 times a week. Then throwing multiple games in a tournament day. Kept this routine all the cway to college. Never an injury whatsoever. Throwing 5 full 7 inning games on a Sunday was not too much as she had tremendous 'Pitching stamina.
#2. This 10yo started at 10 years old. Came to her lessons once a week for 30 minutes. Progress did not come quickly but was happening slowly. Found out she practiced at home for around 40 pitches once a week. A little more at practice once a week . During her game once a week she was spent after 3 innings, per her Mom. Anything mopre than that would have been risking injury surely.
Pitcher #1 was obviously exceptional. Pitcher #2 was at the exact opposite end of the scale.
If a pitcher's mechanics are not good, an overuse injury can happen early on. I have no doubts about that.
Even when the mechanics are good, they still must build up their pitching stamina or run that same risk.
There is no generic pitcher, no generic amount that can be applied to every pitcher in any givenjage group.
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I have seen very few teams practice the mechanics of throwing let alone have coaches that know how to teach it properly. We cant confuse a rec player that is getting sore from increase in throwing and one that has an injury. Many are into playing the games and have a tendacy to only throw at a practice or game and nothing else. Or will miss practices and lessons before they miss a tournament. In tb playing every weekend does not allow for much practice either. All the above can eventually lead to injury.
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You hit the nail on the head. We work on teach the correct throwing mechanics at all levels. I can remember one 14U practice we had a new girl show up and we just happen to pick that practice to work with correct throwing mechanics. The new dad asked one of the other dads, "Have they ever coached this level (14U) before?". Yes we have, and we see numerous girls get to this level and still not have the correct throwing mechanics. Most have learned how to compensate (or overcompensate) but it leads to unreliable throws about 15% of the time, or at least throws that are harder to catch than they should be. I suggest getting the USA Softball videos from Mike Candrea's org and look at the throwing technique he teaches. Most inexperienced coaches I see teach the glove under the elbow drill along with the step through on the throw drill. Also get rid of the side arm tendencies at the younger ages also.
Originally Posted by splinterpicker