Young baseball players, defined as pre-puberty, should rest from throwing activities for 2 to 3 months every year. This would include, swimming, tennis/racquetball, or any other overhand sport. The rising number of arm injuries in youth baseball players is attributable to overuse and/or pitching while fatigued which can be categorized as playing on multiple teams, pitching on consecutive days (weekend tournaments), or simply playing year round baseball. Young arms need to ‘stiffen up’ over the winter months for proper regeneration. Continual throwing (without strengthening) will continue to stretch ‘the inside’ of your sons arm (shoulder/elbow), creating too much laxity in the tendons/ligaments and setting him up for possible injury. Your young athlete needs to go play football, soccer, basketball, wrestle, and go fishing or simply do nothing over the winter months. Get them away from baseball so that he (and you) can re-energize in the spring. Specialization in baseball does more harm than good. Let him experience a different group of kid’s, rules, referees and coaches. Let him develop a different set of muscle groups so that he becomes a better athlete when he does get back to playing baseball in the spring. Major league rosters are full of multi-sport, all league athletes! Click here for ASMI’s point of view.
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If you are not playing another sport over the winter and would like to help strengthen your sons arm/shoulder capsule, then the following is a good option. Not throwing for 2 to 3 months will let your sons arm heal itself, while the following will heal and strengthen it. For maximum results, the following 'VIP for little leaguers' workout should be done 2 days per week for 1 hour each, along with an hour of speed/agility training. Currently held on Mon and Wed at 6pm. Proper form/mechanics of each movement are stressed. This is not a turnkey program for someone from the side to yell out successive movements. As a coach, you must be actively involved with the group. Teaching, demonstrating, watching, encouraging...etc.
As the weeks progress, move from 30 to 60 seconds and add more Med ball & arm care movements.
Dynamic warm-up (30-60 seconds each)
Butt kickers (proper form-forward lean, bend at knees)
Air squat (chest up, weight toward the heals)
Planks (or any other core movement)
Fit test (30-60 seconds each)
Record their numbers to ensure maximum effort
Burpees, Broad Jumping, Lunge…
Med Ball – Wall series (15 seconds each) record # of hits
Med Ball – Throwing / putting series
Med Ball – Slam series
Banding, Shoulder strength routine, shoulder blades, scapular work.
Throwing mechanics & throwing program (start with 4oz and progress to 5, 6, 7 & then 14oz)
Sweatshirt, water, nutrition