It’s that time of year where teams come out of off season and initiate training to prepare for the spring season. With the excitement of getting back into playing many return with the mindset of picking up where they left off last spring, i.e. throwing at the same intensity they did at the end of the previous season. This is where many injuries may occur. Proper preparation and appropriate training is critical during this winter season to ensure the health of athletes and prevent injuries that could potentially limit playing time in both the winter and spring seasons. Listed are 5 tips we find valuable to consider going into this winter workout season to prevent injury!
- Warm up – Most athletes are familiar with warming up to some degree but many minimize its importance in an attempt to get into the sport specific part of the workout faster. A typical warm up should gently prepare the body for the primary workout. It should do so by gradually increasing the athletes heart rate and circulation via light cardiovascular exercises and stretching. This will allow joints to loosen and will increase blood flow to the muscles. When transitioning out of off-season, it is important to “get the gears running” again and ensure that the body is appropriately prepped for the workout. Stretching the muscles prior to the workout helps them to prepare for the exercises and aids in the prevention of injury. This being the most important reason for performing a 20-30 minute warm up. Keeping the muscles warm will help to prevent acute injuries such as shoulder strains and will help keep overuse injuries at bay by allowing the body to prepare for activity safely.
- Progressive Throwing Program – Coming out of off season, it is important to gradually transition into throwing and pitching. Too frequently athletes return to training wanting and expecting to throw at rates and distances they were throwing at the completion of the last season. It is important to allow the shoulder time to build up endurance and strength again for repetitive throwing. A gradual throwing program is very important in the return to sport. Take the time to allow your shoulder to become accustomed to the demand placed upon it again. This gradual exposure to throwing will help prevent overuse injuries and acute strains that may occur from returning too quickly and aggressively.
- Full Body Training -Importance of Core – Baseball recruits the entire body, not just the shoulder for throwing or catching. Every throw or pitch performed requires the stabilization of the core and strength of the legs. When a throw is performed the force behind the ball must travel somewhere, and the safest place to transfer it is through the core and legs. Pitches and throws consistently cross the body. Ensuring proper technique and core strength will help to distribute the forces behind the strong pitch or throw to reduce strain through the shoulder and elbow. Don’t neglect the legs and core when training for your spring season. The stronger you are at your base (your core and legs) the stronger and more powerfully you may be able to pitch or throw back to home base!
- Rest Days – Taking days off from training is just as important as taking the time to practice drills and perform the workouts. Rest days allow the body to recover from the small (and normal) damage that occurs from training. To allow your body to perform at its max capacity it needs time to rest and recover for the next training session. Not allowing your body to recovery can increase your risk for overuse injuries or acute strains that can limit playing time in the spring. Treat your body well and give it the care it needs as its the only one you have!
- When to Seek Medical Attention – We at Bedford Physical Therapy want our athletes to succeed and have the best season possible, and this means we want our athletes as healthy as possible. Injury prevention is extremely important to us. If any athlete is having complaints of pain or experienced an acute injury during practice don’t hesitate to reach out to us! It is much easier to address and injury in its earlier stage vs 3 months down the line. So, if an athlete is experiencing any type of pain, soreness or had a distinguished injury please seek a professional as soon as possible. Pain, limitation in motion, and weakness can stop you in your tracks and prevent you from doing the things you love and playing your favorite sports. We, at Bedford Physical Therapy, are ready and eager to help you get back to life in the fullest. We are dedicated to the most advanced practice techniques including trigger point dry needling, spinal manipulation, joint mobilization, and the most effective exercise techniques backed by research. We believe that in order to make you the best, we have to be our best, which is why we pursue advanced trainings in state of the art treatments. We have extensive expertise and experience in physical therapy and many of our therapists hold advanced certifications. We want to help you get back to the life and sport that you love.
Bedford Physical Therapy offers “Discovery Visits” which are FREE 10-15 minute consultations with one of our highly trained physical therapists. They will discuss your situation and let you know if PT or a referral to another provider is right for you!
Contact us today and GET BACK TO SPORTS, BACK TO WORK, BACK TO LIFE
166 South River Road , Suite 104, Bedford, NH 03110