Getting sore, in my opinion, is the worst part about pitching. Actually, I digress, it’s a fact. There is nothing worse than pitching your tail off for your team, then waking up the next morning with your arm feeling like it got run over by a truck. It’s a humbling feeling to say the least. There are undoubtedly countless variables that go into the fact that you are sore from pitching. The first being the most obvious in that human beings weren’t designed to be able to throw an object overhead at incredible velocities. There are many others to consider as well. Here are just a few….
– Proper post-game recovery/cool-down (I’ll touch on this soon)
– Optimal sleep-something professional baseball players either get too much or too little of
– Proper nutrition/hydration- fried chicken and beer? If it didn’t work for the Red sox, it wont work for you.
– Good soft tissue quality- Soft whaaattttttt? Ya dude, you can’t just roll out of bed and expect to be ready to throw everyday.
Some can get away with doing the bare minimum for a while, but eventually, if you aren’t careful, improper arm care will catch up to you. There’s this piece that many of us miss when wondering why the heck we get so friggin knotted up and sore in our throwing arm. It’s called soft tissue quality! When we throw at peak velocity, incredible strain is put on both our shoulder and elbow to try and hang on for the ride through your delivery. Somehow, your body will find a way to stabilize the arm to do the amazing things that it’s capable of. As an unwelcomed side effect though, the muscles around the shoulder and elbow joints take a beating each time you throw. “GREAAAT. So that’s why I wake up feeling like I got into a car wreck?” Yep!
So now what? Here are a few select areas where pitchers tend to get the most sore, and some tools and strategies for breaking up some of that junk from the night before.
SORE SPOT-Posterior Shoulder-TOOL-Batting Cage Ball
Just about every baseball player has one of these balls collecting cobwebs in the garage somewhere. When I do this, I try and find the spots the back of my shoulder that are the most sore, then allow your bodyweight slowly relax into the ball. I’ll hold it there for a good 30 seconds or however long it takes for the pain to subside.
SORE SPOT- Extensor and Flexor Muscles around the Elbow-TOOL-Tiger Tail Stick
This bad boy can iron out some sore spots alright. Its never pleasant when having someone roll over a knot, but stick it thru the pain, and you’ll thank me later. Grab a partner for added leverage and force. Also, add a bit of extension (extend elbow palm up) and supination (roll palm open, turning back of hand to face the ground) when getting the flexors rolled on to help open the area up a bit.
SORE SPOT-Upper Trap-TOOL-Thera Cane or Batting Cage Ball
Ever feel like you have a pinball permenatly lodged in your trap from pitching? My bet is, if you pitch a ton, you sometimes do. We can get this are to chill out a bit with a couple easy techniques. This upper trap area, in particular, I like to apply consistent, hard pressure, until that knot either releases or calms down. Both the Thera Cane and batting cage ball are effective tools.
The fact is, most of us can’t afford a deep tissue massage after each time we pitch to eliminate the soreness from our arms. We do however, truly need quality soft tissue to maintain optimal arm health throughout the season. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this both inexpensively, and effectively. The techniques demonstrated above will get you started on the road to feeling better. This is just the tip of the iceberg though. I’ll be back soon to show you more cool ways to get you back on the mound feeling good.