Injuries happen when the body isn’t prepared to take force or absorb force from an external stressor. Often, injuries stem from overuse.
When an athlete gets injured, we tend to look at what could have been done to “prevent” that injury.
However, we can not “prevent” injury. No matter the approach taken for injury reduction in baseball, injuries happen.
The first thing to remember is, you can not control your environment, but you can control the environment you put yourself in.
The environment of baseball is very high risk.
Throwing a baseball is the most violent and unnatural movement in all of sports.
Keep the athlete at the top of their game and on the field for as many games as possible.
Injuries can be significantly reduced, not prevented.
In baseball, there are numerous soft tissue injuries. This includes muscle pulls, strains, and deep bruises.
These are all overuse injuries for the most part, which will happen with the new way of player development and the new high-powered athlete.
Too many times I have thought we have built the perfect program for an athlete, hit everything that he or she was deficient in, controlled the workload and still, they got injured.
I would kick myself thinking about what I could have done better or what the athlete could have changed.
I have learned, we must ask the athlete more about what they do when they are away from the field or not in the weight room.
- Are they going out every night?
- Are they consuming too much caffeine or alcohol?
- Are they eating inflammatory foods?
- Is their home stress too high?
If the athlete has these areas dialed in and is paying attention to detail, why did they get injured?
Systematic approach to development
Remember, more is not always better.
More throwing, more swinging, and even more lifting is not always the answer.
Often, practitioners and strength coaches take a fitness solution to a fatigue problem, which will increase the onset issue and cause more fatigue.
Other factors to consider include:
- Did they change their arm path?
- Do they have inefficient mechanics?
- Did they take too many swings?
- Are they playing too much golf? (Yes, this happens)
Taking a systematic approach to development is key to injury reduction in baseball. Manage your workload.
Think of your body as a bank account. You need to make more deposits (strength training, physical therapy, nutrition, sleep) than you do withdrawals (practicing and playing the sport).
If you make more withdrawals than deposits, you will go broke. The same is to be said for sport.
Know the demands of the sport the athlete plays and create a timeline for development.
A way we decrease workloads with our athletes is by decreasing volume in the weight room when baseball-specific volume increases.
The amount of volume in the weight room should seem light (this might seem scary, we know) when the athlete is in the middle of their season.
The time for strength was built in the off-season and the weight room needs to take priority during that time.
Most high school athletes need to be in the weight room year-round. However, at some point, sport will switch as the priority.
During the season, we monitor loss of range of motion, decrease in forearm/grip strength, hydration, the number of foot contacts a day to the ground, pitch/swing counts, and knowing the difference between pain and soreness.
When an athlete does get injured, they need to have enough trust to tell the coach, so the injury does not become worse.
Have any other questions on how to better reduce injury in baseball? Email us at email@example.com
Looking for more information on how to manage workload? Read Strength Coach Jordan Schiefer’s article here.