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Overuse Injuries and Year Round Training

Oct 16, 2019
2
1
This happens with everything. My 14 year-old has to go to physical therapy to increase her core due for dance. Competitive dance is pretty much year round.

If you are travel sign the team up for other things as condition...by Other things I am mean rec versions like bowling, indoor soccer, acro, jump place dodgeball...these will let them have fun together without pressure. Team bonding is as important as how many grounders you take.
 
Jan 31, 2014
273
18
North Carolina
As we learned over time, we found ourselves using a multi-front approach to managing softball for DD, which I think also minimized injury risk. In no special order:

Rest: equal to about 2 months/year, split in two parts (late summer and Thanksgiving till the week after Christmas).

Weight Training and Conditioning: This started with a 12u travel team utilizing a trainer specializing in child and youth training. This qualifies as a second sport, I believe, because it interrupts the constant repetition of non-stop softball movements and also strengthened her for the continuity of playing and practicing 10 months per year. She considered swimming or playing volleyball also, but her greatest love was softball, so from that perspective she chose to be a one sport athlete.

Mechanics: worked very hard to learn and use proper mechanics in all aspects of softball. Proper movement reduces stress and lowers risk. Also makes you a better player, so win-win!

Mental (in thee parts): First, if DD said she needed some time off, she got it. I never questioned this request, which only happened maybe 3 times. Second, we always highlighted and praised the work over the results. It helped her remain focused on improving without getting caught up in the treachery of feeling the need to "get this right" every time. She accepted that there was a learning curve and it was alright for improvement to develop. Third, helped her understand that nobody controls everything, so while it's fair to be frustrated about playing time, etc., don't live in that frustration. Give your best effort with good attitude, and trust the process of improving.

Control practice time: Softball only 5 days per week. I practiced with her 4 days per week, and on a 5th day she had a pitching lesson. One of those days she had a hitting and fielding lesson. There were time limits, though, which fits with emphasis on the work over results. Pitching in particular was limited to 30 minutes per session (not number of pitches), with a warm up first. Her teams were never crazy with long, unending practices, so we never had to deal with that.

DD was her own inspiration as far as practicing, playing, and just loving the game. She's always been driven to excellence in everything, and didn't need any parental push to perform. Very lucky about that, and very blessed by an awesome DD!
 
Jul 31, 2019
130
28
From Dan Pfaff, a highly successful coach of Olympic track and field athletes.

Rest, recovery and pre-hab isn't nearly discussed enough/planned for.

Plus, I think pitchers pitch WAY too much,
especially in the 13-18 year old age group.
Just because there isn't a pitch count in high school/travel, that doesn't mean coaches can't/shouldn't use one.
curious as to what people believe is too much. For me, I believe too much is when DD is mentally or physically fatigued. With can be dangerous. By mentally I mean they need time away to reenergize and get back the excitement for the sport. Physically is when the mechanics start to go because they are tired
 
Jul 31, 2019
130
28
As we learned over time, we found ourselves using a multi-front approach to managing softball for DD, which I think also minimized injury risk. In no special order:

Rest: equal to about 2 months/year, split in two parts (late summer and Thanksgiving till the week after Christmas).

Weight Training and Conditioning: This started with a 12u travel team utilizing a trainer specializing in child and youth training. This qualifies as a second sport, I believe, because it interrupts the constant repetition of non-stop softball movements and also strengthened her for the continuity of playing and practicing 10 months per year. She considered swimming or playing volleyball also, but her greatest love was softball, so from that perspective she chose to be a one sport athlete.

Mechanics: worked very hard to learn and use proper mechanics in all aspects of softball. Proper movement reduces stress and lowers risk. Also makes you a better player, so win-win!

Mental (in thee parts): First, if DD said she needed some time off, she got it. I never questioned this request, which only happened maybe 3 times. Second, we always highlighted and praised the work over the results. It helped her remain focused on improving without getting caught up in the treachery of feeling the need to "get this right" every time. She accepted that there was a learning curve and it was alright for improvement to develop. Third, helped her understand that nobody controls everything, so while it's fair to be frustrated about playing time, etc., don't live in that frustration. Give your best effort with good attitude, and trust the process of improving.

Control practice time: Softball only 5 days per week. I practiced with her 4 days per week, and on a 5th day she had a pitching lesson. One of those days she had a hitting and fielding lesson. There were time limits, though, which fits with emphasis on the work over results. Pitching in particular was limited to 30 minutes per session (not number of pitches), with a warm up first. Her teams were never crazy with long, unending practices, so we never had to deal with that.

DD was her own inspiration as far as practicing, playing, and just loving the game. She's always been driven to excellence in everything, and didn't need any parental push to perform. Very lucky about that, and very blessed by an awesome DD!
Man I wish I would have read this before my last post. This is exactly what I believe. The amount of times per week is largely driven by the athlete, and not the parents
 
Jul 31, 2019
130
28
I cannot say enough about the importance of training to strengthen their decelerators. Whether it’s change of direction, or our ability to decelerate our arm after throwing, these are the muscles that are most often injured.
 
Feb 25, 2018
85
18
I cannot say enough about the importance of training to strengthen their decelerators. Whether it’s change of direction, or our ability to decelerate our arm after throwing, these are the muscles that are most often injured.
In my limited experience with my 13 year old DD thus far, her improving her strength, stability and mobility has helped a lot.
Hard to quantify how much, though. I can't put her in a time machine and have her repeat the last two years without doing the S/S/M work and compare!

In all seriousness, I think a pitcher's movement patterns are greatly enhanced by the S/S/M work, even if that means pitching less to free up time to do that work.

I like Dana Sorensen's take:
"Movements before mechanics."
 
Oct 4, 2018
1,341
113
This happens with everything. My 14 year-old has to go to physical therapy to increase her core due for dance. Competitive dance is pretty much year round.

If you are travel sign the team up for other things as condition...by Other things I am mean rec versions like bowling, indoor soccer, acro, jump place dodgeball...these will let them have fun together without pressure. Team bonding is as important as how many grounders you take.
Our girls are having a blast playing rec basketball together with zero pressure.
 
Feb 7, 2013
3,188
48
Just my perspective but I like the approach of "slow and steady" thoughout the year to stay in optimal shape. My DD pitched from 7 - 16 years old and she/we practiced pretty much year-round only taking a two full weeks off, twice a year (end of July and end of December).

With that said, here is what she/we did:

- her routine, whenever possible, was to pitch every OTHER day allowing her body to rest at least one day between pitching sessions.

- we always tried to make sure she was using good, proper form. I can't tell you how many of her travel ball peers had back stress fractures from using improper techniques.

- she ALWAYS warmed up with various throws/drills/progressions for about 15 minutes before a pitching session.

- she was a quick routine pitcher with sessions never going more than 35 to 40 minutes inlcuding warm-ups. Think "less is more"

- she always finished a pitching session having to "strikeout" 5 imaginary hitters which among other things allowed her to use different pitches, spins and speeds and not just throwing curveball after curveball.

- when possible, her team coaches would split her pitching time with another pitcher during games so for many games she only pitched 3 or 4 strong innings keeping her fresh for the next game(s). This was especially important during tournaments.

- lastly, she pitched 10 years and only had to ice her arm/shoulder one time. Get rid of the ice, its 100% for injuries only and should never be used for normal soreness from pitching.

Just my 2 cents from a recovering bucket dad :)
 
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