Softball Training - Shoulder Injuries in SoftballI received the following email from one of our subscribers:"Marc, Quick question please: Have you noticed an excess number of shoulder injuries andshoulder surgeries? I was in OKC to watch the WCWS (4th year attending) and talked withanother coach from Mississippi that told me he sees the same thing. An awful lot of players withshoulder injuries. If so, what do you attribute to this? 50+ weeks a year work and overuse??Improper stretching along with improper throwing mechanics? One thing is for sure, this needsto be addressed at a national level and coaches need to be educated to ensure our young femaleathletes are not damaging their shoulders and requiring surgery as an expected part of playingsoftball! I did like the note ref Jaegers Long Toss, Arm Circles and J Bands warm-ups beforethrowing. Ill have to get quite a few coaches to tell me they are already using this type warm-upbefore throwing, as Im sure my coaches will be reluctant to change unless it’s well known in thecommunity. “Jim" Here is my answer: Yes, there is an increase in the number of shoulder injuries in oursport.It is due to many factors:1) Uni-dimensional athleteThe modern day softball player isnt an athlete anymore; she is just a good softball player. Bythat I mean that nowadays, kids specializes in one sport (softball) tooearly and dont participate in other sports. This results in poor overall athletic development,muscular imbalances and overuse of certain muscles (throwing) because ofrepetitive use.2) Improper throwing mechanicsWe dont spend enough time reinforcing proper throwing mechanics and many kids end upovercompensating with other muscles which create problems over time.3) Improper conditioningLack of stability, flexibility, and strength in certain muscles will cause problems and lead tooveruse injuries. The shoulder is an especially complex and fragile joint.4) Improper warm-upA simple small tear one time because of a poor or rushed warm-up is enough to lead to a majorshould overuse injury that will last months and even longer. The warm-up isabsolutely crucial.
5) OveruseIf you do too much softball without ever giving your body a break, eventually it will break down.So, what do you need to do to prevent shoulder injuries?1) Ensure proper overall athletic development2) Give your break a rest3) Always warm-up thoroughly, especially the shoulder4) Fix and optimize throwing mechanics5) Use shoulder injury prevention exercises6) Pay attention to any sign or symptoms of shoulderinjuries and seek medical attention early7) Never ever play through shoulder painLooking after your shoulder is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a longcareer in this sport.