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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 player.

Why?  Keep reading ...

A Recent Article Written by a Orthopedic Consultant to a Major League Team writes that “the incidence of injuries to high school pitchers is particularly disturbing”

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!

Why the 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 throwing mechanics

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 these areas.

Inefficient Throwing Mechanics

A Change in Posture (Postural Disconnect)

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 elbow.

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 sequencing.

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.

Improper & Inadequate Conditioning

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 explosive power.

Baseball players should try and max out their functional strength, not max out on the bench press. Can little leaguers work on baseball strength?

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You bet!!!

These are the players who need it critically. They are certainly at risk for injury.

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 the 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 athletes.

The Elite of the Elite .

Sean is also a third degree black belt in martial arts. I like to call him Sensei Sean.

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 about pitching.

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 less quickly.

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 eventual injury.

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 baseball.

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 performance greatly.

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 down.

We now have a great program for you to build your base. We call is the BioForce Baseball 12 Minute Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution.

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 each exercise.

We don't call it the 12 Minute Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution for nuttin'. The program shouldn't take more than 12 minutes for the routine.

It can also be completed virtually anywhere.

The program requires only two items.

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 shoulder stress…

"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.

Secondly, these 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 drop.

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 decreases."

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 is consistency.

The program needs to be convenient.

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 dream possible.

Our program, The 12-Minute Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution, is now available on DVD for only $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

Now Available, Levels 2 and 3 of the Shoulder & Elbow Endurance Solution

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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 dumbbells.

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!

Sincerely,

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.

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