Fall Ball Fallacy: Why Throwing Less INCREASES Your Risk of Injury

September 4, 2015

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As summer ends, travel teams pressure parents and players to play fall ball so their son doesn't "fall behind", the main selling point being that fall ball is a weekend-games-only commitment, with few to no mid-week practices.

For hitters, hitting less during the week doesn't pose much of an injury risk. For pitchers, throwing less during the week and then pitching on the weekends can be DISASTROUS.

Why?

In a word...TIMING.

The American Sports Medicine Insitute states year-round baseball and injury to be "strongly linked":

ASMI Injury Rsk

But this is not only due to the total number of pitches thrown. Just as important is the harm of DECREASED throwing between starts in fall ball.

The importance of throwing is NOT about arm strength:

Rotator Cuff Title

Throwing is about TIMING:

Rotator Cuff Passage

Most pitchers are told "You long toss to increase arm strength". WRONG.

You long toss / throw between starts

to perfect the timing of your throwing motion.

Think about hitting: Do hitters practice their swing to make their arms stronger? No. They practice the TIMING of their swing to maximize energy transfer from the legs to the arms.

Applying that to throwing/pitching, long toss/throwing betweeen starts helps you perfect the TIMING of your throwing motion and maximize energy transfer from the legs to throwing arm.

This is called "the kinetic chain", with kinetic meaning "movement".

Poor timing = inefficient kinetic chain = increased arm stress

So unless you are able to throw AT LEAST 3 days per week between pitching starts, DO NOT play fall ball.

Remember...

timing

Have Questions About This Newsletter?

Contact (PitchingDoc@msn.com / 631-352-7654) Dr. Arnold!