Shoulder Health/Pre-Hab

In your search for baseball tips, shoulder health and pre-habilitation, or pre-hab, is one area every ball player must focus on.

Here is a quick checklist so you can pass these baseball tips to your players…

1. Check your mechanics. You can do everything else correctly, but if you have poor throwing mechanics chances are that is the cause of your arm pain.

2. Perform arm strengthening exercises with light dumbbells or exercise bands. Two of the most effective are listed in the section below.

3. Never throw a baseball very hard or very far without being properly warmed-up. This seems obvious but you may be surprised how many arm injuries are caused by this each year.

4. Warm-up the entire body. Now this doesn’t mean a lap around the field and a few stretches. I suggest a full-body Dynamic Stretching routine. This is faster (under 10 minutes), safer (actually lowers injuries) and more effective (improves speed, strength, power and flexibility simultaneously) than traditional warm-up methods.

5. Proper base of general conditioning. Since you throw with your whole body and not just your arm, it is important to have a good base of general conditioning to provide the proper strength that’s needed for throwing. Also, when you get fatigued your mechanics change for the worse. This is when injuries occur and performance declines. The better condition you’re in, the less likely you are to get fatigued and you will avoid mechanical breakdown. This baseball tip may seem like common sense, yet so many players now-a-days are not properly conditioned.

If you’re reading this and already have a tired or sore arm here is what I suggest…

1. R.I.C.E.

The first thing you should do when you have a sore arm is to make an appointment with doctor. In the meantime I suggest beginning the proven R.I.C.E method. R.I.C.E stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Rest = Don’t throw for a few days until arm pain has subsided and you have visited a doctor.

Ice = The best icing method in my opinion is 20 minutes of ice time, 20 minutes ice off and back to 20 minute of ice time.

Compression = An ACE bandage works well here to minimize inflammation.

Elevation = Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb.

2. Strengthen the Shoulder Girdle

Most often you hear about strengthening the rotator cuff. While this is important, be sure not to overlook the muscles surrounding the scapula, or shoulder blade.

These two movements will help an injured shoulder and also help prevent one from happening in the first place…Be sure to check with your doctor or Physical Therapist first…Do not ignore these simple, yet extremely powerful baseball tips! It’s your choice, spend a few minutes each week on strengthening exercises or have severe pain and even surgery down the road.

Coach, have you players perform these exercises after they have thrown and before they ice or cool down.

– Internal External Rotation; with bands looped under feet and upper arm parallel to ground, rotate hands down so that it is level with the elbow and back up with constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps 2-3 times per week. Light dumbbells can also be used.

Cuban Press; as above, holding bands at sides, pinch shoulders back, then pull weight up such that upper arm is parallel to ground and constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps three times per week. Light dumbbells can also be used.

3. Massage/ART

Some say massage increases blood flow to the muscles. It may or may not be true. I know one thing though; when I get a massage and/or Active Release Technique (ART) treatment during a season I instantly feel much better. So do my athletes. A general deep tissue sports massage can work out muscle adhesions and tension. For athletes that perform the same activity at a high volume, such as a pitcher, I suggest you find and ART practitioner in your area and see him at least once per week in-season. This can almost guarantee that a repetitive injury such as tendonitis won’t occur and your body will be primed for peak performance.

One quick note: For acute injuries, such as a hamstring pull, immediate massage is not recommended initially. Try inflammation reducing strategies such as R.I.C.E before you turn to massage/ART.

4. Sleep and Proper Nutrition

I group these two baseball tips together because, even though it seems like common sense, these two areas are often overlooked in-season. With long days and rough travel schedules, sleeping and proper eating is not easy. You must not overlook these crucial areas of emphasis, as they can make or break how your body feels and recovers.

I can write for hours on this topic. Just keep it simple, the last thing you need to do is stress yourself out about this, creating even more stress. Get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, preferably more. Eat fresh, whole foods that give you the nutrients you need to recover and perform. No need for any time of fad eating patterns. Get plenty of all three macronutrients from foods found naturally on this earth.

There you have it, very powerful baseball tips to increase your performance and longevity. Some of these methods seem simple, yet many fail to follow any or all of them. They make a tremendous difference in your ability to recover from injury and everyday wear and tear from the game of baseball.