ESPN Recently Reported One Major League Franchise
Had 62 Arm Surgeries on their Pitching Staff in
about a 4 year span.
If you are interested in
minimizing the risk of arm injury for you or your
young athlete, read on……
Sixty-two (62) arm surgeries
in 4 years! Not arm injuries, but arm surgeries.
Unbelievable? Most professional organizations have
about 65 to 75 pitchers in their entire
organization. On average, almost every pitcher had a
surgery in their organization in that 4 year span.
Is this an
epidemic?..........looking at those numbers, one
would think so. I’ve heard that many of the Major
League organizations have similar numbers.
What we need to do is change
the way training is done in baseball and break the
chain. The arm injury rate in all of baseball is
alarming and astronomical. All the way from the
professional ranks down to the youth baseball
Why? Keep reading ...
Article Written by a Orthopedic Consultant to a
Major League Team writes that “the incidence of
injuries to high school pitchers is particularly
Dr. Joseph Chandler, MD
recently wrote an article about elbow injuries of
youth pitchers. In the article, he quoted James
Andrews, MD of the American Sports Medicine
Institute (ASMI) that the occurrence of Ulnar
collateral ligament (UCL) surgeries among youth
pitchers is increasing at an alarming rate. From
1995 to 1997, he performed this infamous “Tommy
John” surgery on an average of only 4 high school
aged athletes each year. Over the next three years,
this average increased to 17 per year. By 2002, that
number had grown to 26. As of September 2003, Dr.
Andrews had already performed 43 UCL (Tommy John)
reconstructions that year!
frequency of these injuries? Read on …..
I used to think arm injuries
were genetic …. maybe some are. The more I am around
pitchers and throwers, professional coaches, scouts,
academy owners, physical therapists, strength and
conditioning trainers, orthopedic surgeons and
bio-mechanists, the more I am convinced arm injuries
come from several areas.
1) Improper and inefficient
2) Improper or inadequate
conditioning for the movement or,
3) Not enough rest and
recovery time for the too high of a workload.
Let’s examine each one of
Inefficient Throwing Mechanics
A Change in Posture (Postural
All ball players should start
their throwing motion in an athletic stance. What’s
an athletic stance? An athletic stance is
essentially your head over your belly button,
between the balls of your feet.
Through the delivery, if we
change our posture (move head up and down or front
to rear) excessively, we have changed our posture
and we not only have decreased our velocity, we have
made it harder to throw the ball where we want and
we have put more strain on the shoulder and/or
Pitching or throwing a
baseball is essentially transferring energy from
your lower body, through each joint and out through
the baseball. There is a proper sequence to throw
with minimal risk of injury and best performance.
Can we eliminate the risk of injury, of course not,
but we can minimize it with proper mechanics, or
proper sequence and alignment.
The energy travels through
each joint in the body from feet to knee, to mid
section (core), to shoulder, to elbow, to wrist and
out through the ball. This is what we call
When we have a movement out of
sequence, we put more stress and strain on each
joint. Obviously, if we have a weak link (joint) we
increase the risk of injury.
Our players are not
conditioned properly for competition. I can tell you
I’ve been to many youth games including high school
and what is the common thing I see? In about the 4th
or 5th inning, the pitchers hit a wall physically,
the mechanics break down, he starts getting hit
more, walks a few, the mental state breaks down and
all of a sudden, poor outing.
Absolute Strength vs Baseball
Strength. Absolute strength really is how much can a
person lift this one heavy object one time.
We define Baseball Strength as
useable strength. In baseball terms, how many times
can you throw a baseball at full-throttle effort,
with as perfect mechanics as possible over a period
of a game. Football linemen and competitive weight
lifters are two examples of athletes who may need
and need to train with absolute strength. But they
also need baseball strength….flexibility and
Baseball players should try
and max out their functional strength, not max out
on the bench press. Can little leaguers work on
These are the players who need
it critically. They are certainly at risk for
Let’s stop this cycle and help
our kids be in better baseball shape. Conditioning,
proper warm ups and working at an all-out effort
should be part of our daily routine.
Too High of
Workload - Not Enough Rest
Is it more dangerous for Mark
Prior, Kerry Wood or Greg Maddux to pitch on 3 days
rest during the playoffs or for a 14 year old to
throw 90 pitches on his first outing?
Depends. My vote would be for
the 3 Cubs pitchers. Those men are physically more
prepared, have much more efficient mechanics thus
less stress on the joints.
Players, coaches, parents all
need to manage the player’s pitch counts. How many
pitches should a young pitcher throw? There is
plenty of debate on this.
What’s good for you, or your
son? That’s a topic for another time.
Typical Under-Preparation to Throw
A typical youth, junior high,
high school and even college pitcher does not
prepare enough to pitch. What does he do?
Simple. Gets to the field,
puts on his cleats, picks up a baseball and begins
to play catch. Some may even run to the fence on the
other side of the field, tug and pull on their arms
and legs and then throw. Ouch!
In our academy, even student
knows that they are to warm up to throw. We don’t
throw to warm up.
After our typical ball player
“warms-up”, he goes to the bull-pen and throws
40-50-60 pitches, never throws over the distance he
would throw in a game and also paces himself in the
bull-pen warm up to “save” himself for the game. The
only time most players throw at “full-throttle” is
in a game.
Why don’t we ever train
full-throttle away from
game? If we did this more often away from game
situations, we would be in better condition to go
full-throttle in the game and probably minimize the
risk of injury. We must warm-up to a point of a good
sweat before we even consider picking up a baseball.
What is the
Answer to all this Madness?
My good friend, Sean Cochran,
and I have been talking about the stresses pitching
puts on the shoulder and elbow recently.
For those of you who don't
know, Sean is a certified personal trainer. Not just
any personal trainer. Sean has been a strength and
conditioning coach for the Milwaukee Brewers
organization as well as the San Diego Padres. He has
many years of experience working with high level of
The Elite of the Elite .
Sean is also a third degree
black belt in martial arts. I like to call him
Wouldn't want to tangle with
him in a dark alley.
Sean currently travels the PGA
Tour with a prominent professional golfer most of
the year, helping this player refine his fitness
level for the demanding rigors of tour play.
Sean is also Mark Prior's
personal trainer. As you know, Mark is one of the
most dominating pitchers in the major leagues today.
Let's get back to talking
Here is what Sean has to
say about the stresses of pitching on the shoulder
and elbow ...
“Throwing a baseball is
one of the most stressful athletic movements on
the shoulder. During the delivery motion a
pitcher’s shoulder reaches rotational speeds of
7,000-9,0000 newton/meters per second. Those
numbers indicate the high amount of stress that
is placed upon the shoulder complex during the
pitching motion. Those rotational speeds are
reached every pitch. Multiply that number by the
number of pitches thrown in a game, and the
numbers get very big.
What is a pitcher to do
to combat this situation, stay healthy, and
maintain a high velocity on every pitch? A
pitcher must do two things; 1) develop efficient
mechanics, and 2) implement a shoulder injury
preventative training program. Point number one
is self-explanatory. The more efficient you are
with your pitching mechanics the less stress
placed upon the body, including the shoulder.
This allows a pitcher to input more energy into
the baseball (i.e. velocity), and become fatigue
Mechanics are only one
part of the equation. Implementation of pitcher
specific training programs are also necessary,
this develops the body to throw a baseball
efficiently and effectively. One component of
this type of program are shoulder complex
programs. Understand that the shoulder complex
stabilizes, and transfer energy during the
throwing motion. In order to perform this
efficiently and effectively, these muscles must
be strong and have high levels of endurance.
What many pitchers do
not realize is that the shoulder complex is
comprised of many small muscles that fatigue
very quickly. If these muscles become fatigued
the mechanics of pitching become difficult to
perform. The end result is lower velocities,
poor performances, high levels of fatigue, and
To avoid such
situations a pitcher must implement a shoulder
program that develops both the endurance and
strength within the complex. Additionally, this
type of program must be comprised of exercises
that train the shoulder through the positions,
movements, and sequences required of throwing a
This type of program
does not require inordinate amounts of time, but
it does require consistency, and the correct
exercises to benefit the pitcher. Implementation
of this type of program in conjunction with a
total body program specific to pitching;
decreases the possibility of injury and poor
Keep in mind it is not
only the body that requires development. It is
also your pitching mechanics. It is a
combination of both that lead to high velocity,
accurate, and consistent pitches on the mound.”
~ Sean Cochran
One of the best ways to start
your arm and shoulder care program is with a great
shoulder and elbow endurance workout. You need to
build a solid base...a rock solid foundation with
your shoulder and elbow strength. Without a solid
foundation, the house you live in will come tumbling
We now have a great program
for you to build your base. We call is the BioForce
Baseball 12 Minute Shoulder & Elbow Endurance
This program is now available
on DVD. Sean will explain the background of the
workout and demonstrate the exercises for you, show
you the pace you should take, and the purpose of
We don't call it the
Minute Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution
for nuttin'. The program shouldn't take more than 12
minutes for the routine.
It can also be completed
The program requires only two
1) Your own body weight.
Probably the best resistance tool given to each and
every one of us. Some of us have more resistance
than we should, but it is a great fitness tool.
2) A physio ball. I've heard
these called swiss balls, exercise balls and many
other things. If you don't already have one
collecting dust in the closet, they are easy to get
at most sporting goods stores. We're not talking
about medicine balls, you know the heavy balls about
the size of a basketball. These are the air-filled
light-weight large balls, about 4 to 6 times larger
than a basketball. We should soon have some
available to purchase online.
Here is more from Sean on
"We hear it often on
television or read it in the paper of a pitcher
“going under the knife” for surgery. More times
than probably we need to hear. Don’t quote me on
the statistic, but in professional baseball. An
organization averages 10-20 surgeries in a year.
Too many in my book, and we are only talking
about the pros. What about all the college, high
school, and younger pitchers playing? The
numbers get big and they should not.
The question I have for
you is what is the most common injury to the
pitcher? An easy question to answer and you
probably either said the shoulder or elbow. And
you are correct. The majority of
injuries/surgeries to the pitcher are either to
the elbow of shoulder. Why is that?
The answer is two-fold
when you get down to it. The pitching motion is
an extremely stressful action performed by the
body. The stresses placed upon the elbow and
shoulder are extreme when pitching. It occurs in
a repetitive manner every time you throw a
baseball. And it is only exasperated by throwing
down hill on the mound, which places greater
stress on the body.
anatomical parts of the body are made up of many
small muscles. These small muscles in the elbow
and shoulder are required to handle very high
workloads every pitch. Eventually these small
muscles can become fatigued and once this
occurs. The possibility of injury increases
significantly and performances are likely to
What can a pitcher do
to combat the stresses placed upon the elbow and
shoulder during the pitcher motion? It is
necessary for pitchers at any level to implement
a comprehensive shoulder and elbow training
program. This type of program will develop the
required levels of endurance and strength within
these muscle groups to handle the stresses of
throwing a baseball. These parts of the body
will become less fatigued creating a higher
possibility of extended performances, and less
risk of injury.
If a pitcher does not
utilize this type of program on a
consistent basis the probability of injury
increases exponentially. Performances are likely
to drop when pitch counts get high, and the
ability to develop proper pitching mechanics
Now, How Can
I Start My Shoulder & Elbow Training?
Pretty simple really.
You need a series of exercises
you can do consistently.
The key to success in anything
The program needs to be
If it is not convenient, you
are less likely to get it done.
Commitment . Sean’s style and
your fast improvement while on the program will help
you continue and achieve results you never could
Our program, The 12-Minute
Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution, is now
available on DVD for only $19.99 plus shipping and
Available, Levels 2 and 3 of the Shoulder & Elbow
Just released, on one DVD,
advancements to the original 12 Minute program. With
this DVD, Sean takes the training up a few notches
by using implements such as light and heavy
resistance tubing, medicine balls and light
This DVD is now available for
$29.99 plus shipping and handling.
If you are like most folks,
you’ll want both DVDs. The package price for these
two fantastic DVDs is $44.95.
So, click below and we’ll be
getting the program our to you pretty darn quick so
you can get on your way to a more durable throwing
shoulder and elbow!
P.S. If you are looking for a
quick and easy workout for the shoulder and elbow,
you've found the right program. Just click below and
within a few days, you'll be on your way to a
stronger and more durable shoulder and elbow.