By: Jason Roth PT, SCS
By this time of year most of us are wrapping up the fall baseball season. Setting up our players’ off seasons is vital to next year’s success, future health, and overall performance. While some parents and coaches are rushing to get their players signed up for training sessions, pitching instruction, and more baseball, those of us in baseball specific sports medicine and performance fields are cringing at the thought.
In this age of social media it is not hard to find recommendations and guidelines for keeping kids healthy and performing at their
highest potential from the best in the field such as Dr. James Andrews, Mike Reinold, and Eric Cressey. With the players’ health and longevity as a primary motivating factor, these professionals structure programs for baseball players using evidence based research.
Heading into this offseason follow the recommendations below to help keep your athlete healthy and get the most out of your player for the next season and beyond.
These guidelines are a consensus opinion from some of the leaders mentioned above:
• TAKE A BREAK FROM BASEBALL
Your player will benefit both physically and mentally from a break. Throwing for months at a time builds up cumulative stress in your body that can have negative and long lasting effects. Time off will go a long way in making the player stronger going into next season. Offseason training programs including agility, plyometric, core and other non-baseball specific activities will improve performance as well as help avoid injury.
• PLAY OTHER SPORTS
Baseball movements are very repetitive and very one sided. Participating in other sports will help focus the development of similar muscles and will ultimately lead to improved baseball performance. Playing other sports will also allow the stressed body structures to heal and return to their healthy states. This can help athletes to avoid psychological “burnout” which is a known risk when youths specialize in one sport at a young age.
• ADDRESS ISSUES
Any injuries, pain, or dysfunction that may be in the body following the grind of a full season should be corrected.
While rest can be helpful for healing, resting alone may not be the solution. Post-season injuries or overuse symptoms may require a screening from a healthcare or fitness professional. Be sure to address any complaints of pain
and look for nonverbal signs from players such as a drop in pitching velocity towards the end of the season, diminished motivation, or players fidgeting while throwing.
• STRENGTHEN BASEBALL MUSCLES Using programs such as The Throwers Ten developed by Kevin Wilk can help strengthen players’ muscles that are integral for shoulder
health with throwing. After enough rest time has been taken, it is a good idea to incorporate some or all of these exercises in an off season strength and conditioning program.
• PITCHER’S REST
Pitchers should take 2-3 consecutive months off of throwing baseballs during the offseason. This is a nonnegotiable requirement for any player.
At Evolve Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation we, as collaborative members of Dr. Andrews’ STOP Sports Injuries in adolescents, strive to help our athletes get healthy and stay healthy while simultaneously succeeding at the highest levels possible. In order to keep our athletes health and strong we read current literature in addition to following leaders in baseball sports medicine. We are an integral component in helping get the information out & assimilated into mainstream team culture.
MLB along with it’s advisory committee consisting of some of the top orthopedists in the world, has developed the Pitch Smart program. It is a series of guidelines, recommendations, and information for players and parents to avoid injuries and develop successful, high
performing pitchers. All players and parents should check out this website for all of this essential information.
For help getting your baseball athlete ready for the next season by implementing a postseason rehab protocol give us a call to set up an appointment.