I just recently purchased the High Velocity DVD and Video Analysis to help me with my two sons, 13 yr old Ben and 11 yr old Sam.
We started throwing around the first of February. About two weeks ago, my oldest son Ben was complaining that his arm was sore. I started videotaping some bullpen sessions to see if I could see what was wrong. I watch some of the free videos that Dick provided but I need professional opinion so I decided to to purchase Dick’s latest DVDs. We didn’t pitch for a week and this past Saturday he threw a short bullpen (20 pitches) and I videotaped him to see if I could see why his arm is hurting. Well, the next day, he complained that his elbow was hurting in the joint area so I made a appointment with Orthopedic specialist today.
I just got back from taking him to see a Orthopedic specialist who diagnosed Ben with “Little League” elbow. He said that he has no ligament damage but has irritation in his growth plate in his elbow. The doctor wants Ben to stop throwing for two weeks to let his arm rest. Ben is one of the few boys on his 13U team that hasn’t started puberty. He’s 5’2″ and weighs 100 lbs. The doctor also asked what other positions he plays. Ben also plays shortstop and second base. The doctor said that he has seen quite a few players in this age group that play SS and pitcher with arm problems. He asked me which position was more important because he couldn’t play both or he’ll continue with elbow problems. Ben said he wants to be a pitcher.
I just got the DVDs in the mail yesterday.
My question for Dick is since I purchased the Video Analysis, should I wait to provide you videotape of Ben pitching after he lets his arm rest or do you want to see the videotape from this past weekend?
After reading the material you mailed to me yesterday, we have many things to work on both boys mechanics. Both boys play their first tournament next weekend and league play starts first week of April. Of course the doctor already said that Ben shouldn’t be throwing from any field position for the tournament. He can DH only.
Your feedback is appreciated!
How about some background leading up to his elbow injury? He starting getting ready for the season when and how? How many pitches did he throw from a mound prior to the season starting?
When exactly did it start hurting? First game? How many games has he pitched in? How many practice bullpens to get ready? How many pitches in practice bullpens, how many in each game?
What does he do prior to pitching? Warm-up routine?
Is this from overuse or not being ready to throw hard too soon?
How much recovery time does he gets in between games? What does he do during bullpens between games? Pre-game bullpen? How many pitches during bullpens at what intensity?
Your video quality is poor and you shot it a bit too far away. It is tough to pick up his arm position and the ball from hand break to MER (maximum external rotation) to ball release. I can’t see whether his elbow is in front of his trunk at MER or not.
There are lots of reasons why his arm could be hurting because he is not using his body…only his arm but I wish I could see his arm positioning more clearly.
* collapsing his back leg
* his weight shift isn’t bad but he needs to pick it up after hand break and continue with building momentum
* no lead arm action to assist his trunk – his arm is doing the work not his trunk
* not getting much from his back leg
* back leg off the ground prior to ball release
* once he braces his front leg and hip his trunk has already 1/2 way rotated toward the plate
* at ball release his head and shoulders are still behind his landing knee
* not getting much from trunk flexion either so he finishes straight up and down instead of flexed forward
Now having said all that I think he has a lot of potential to fix this and really improve dramatically. He looks like a good athlete.
In the DVD’s focus on what Ryan and I are saying about back leg action. He needs to focus on being stable by hand break and not collapsing.
He is just not using his body.
Get to work watching the DVD’s and see what Bard and the other MLB pitchers do to produce momentum so their arms are along for the ride not doing all the work.
He has a lot more velocity in the tank and his arm should not be hurting.
Thanks for the reply…here’s my answers to your questions.
For the last three years, we’ve gone from baseball to football to basketball then to baseball. We played something just about every season. This past year, Ben didn’t play football or basketball. He wanted to rest so we took it easy this winter to get ready for baseball season.
We started throwing the first week of February to get back in shape. From Feb. 5th to Feb. 26th our routine was as follows on Tues/Thurs/Sat:
* Arm stretching (arm bar/twirls)
* Leg/hamstring stretching
* Play catch starting at 30 feet working up to 90 feet
* Throw bullpen at 54 feet pitching distance working on fastball and change-ups
– first two weeks we threw 25 pitches
– next few weeks we worked up to 35 pitches- Goal was to threw up to 50 pitches by March 21st.
* after bullpen, we run ten 30-yard sprints (I run with him). He runs sprints every day of the week. Me? not so much.
He also does 50 push-ups every night and uses the chin-up bar.
Before bullpen, we do fielding drills from the shortstop area so he’s throwing at about 80-90 feet to first base. I wonder if this is why his arm has been hurting. The Doctor said yesterday that he shouldn’t play shortstop if he’s going to pitch due to the strain on the arm at the shortstop position. I’m seriously thinking about moving him to second base but my other pitchers also play infield. I don’t know what to do about this one.
The first game of the season is March 25th and runs through July 1st. We will play around 40 games. He normally pitches in 10 to 12 games during the season. About one game a week maybe two in a tournament. For weekend tournaments, he’ll throw around 80-100 pitches in two days as do most our pitchers. We could play anywhere from 3 to 6 games in two days. We play two tournaments a month.
Last year at the end of the season, I kept his pitch count during the games to around 70 to 80 pitches depending on game circumstances. At the first of the season, everybody was on a 50 pitch count. As the season went along, we would increase bullpen pitches to simulate game experience. Our bullpens were pitched at game intensity. We chart balls/strikes and number of pitches thrown during bullpen.
He first complained about soreness during the week of March 5th so we backed off pitching last week. He rested and just did some batting. On March 12th, we did infield drills and the pitchers threw bullpens. Ben only threw around 25 pitches which I videotaped that shared with you in my post. After practice, he said he felt better than the week before but was still a little sore. To me, he looked good throwing. On Sunday, he really complained that his elbow hurt so that’s when I scheduled the appointment.
We watched the first DVD last night and then watched the video of him pitching. He quickly said that he sees things to improve on. He’s ready to get to work but the doctor wants him to rest for two weeks. Since the season(games) haven’t started, I’m inclined to rest him so he will be ready to go. We will watch the DVDs together for the next two weeks so that he’ll be mentally ready to make the changes.
I need to get a new camcorder. Do you have any suggestions on what to buy for better quality? I would like to use it to give you a better tape to analyze once he’s ready to pitch again. I purchasd the V1 Home 2.0 motion software to help me look for mechanical faults. My next purchase other than a new camcorder is a radar gun. Any suggestions? I want to be equipped with the tools to help my sons improve their pitching. Like you said before, I’m tired of guessing what to do on their pitching.
I’m a little frustrated with myself on his elbow hurting. I’ve always tried to watch their throwing mechanics and conditioning so they don’t get hurt and then this happens. I’ve been trying to replay our practices in my mind to see where he might have hurt himself.
I have noticed the things you mentioned. He does use his arm more than his body and we have talked about that. Last night, he could visually see the difference between him and Bard. I’m glad he sees that and is ready to want to get better. We just need for his arm to feel better.
Has he continued with pull-ups and push-ups? Pull-ups are a back exercise but kids do them incorrectly so they stress the shoulder and elbow. Both of those exercises should have stopped when his arm started hurting. Does he do anything else for his arm, like dumbbell curls or any flexible tubing. Any arm exercises should stop until the arm stops hurting.
What about breaking ball? What is he throwing?
The first two things on his list – the stretching prior to throwing is a no-no. Any static stretching should always be done after pitching or practice…never before. Increases the risk of injury and reduce velocity based on a 2004 study. That article has been on the site for 7 years now.
What is he doing for lower body and core strengthening? Lunges etc. Medicine ball. Get him going now or he will have issues later on.
We’ve stopped the chin-ups and push-ups. He was doing 10lb dumbbell curls but we’ve stopped all those as well. We haven’t done any tube exercises. I’ve never believed in those.
For lower body, we run and do lunges.
He hasn’t thrown any breaking pitches like a curve ball. He only throws 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs and change-up.
What would you recommend as a bullpen session during the week if he pitches every 6 six days? Let say he pitches on Friday. What would you recommend that he do on Saturday leading up to the following time he pitches Thursday?
Let’s assume he pitches for example of Friday and then will pitch again the next Thursday.
The day after pitching is a good day to do any conditioning to get the body feeling better. Sprints, lunges, box jumps…explosive exercises that only take about 20 minutes twice a week.
He could do more conditioning Monday or after throwing his bullpen on Tuesday. Rest Wed…play some catch and be ready for Thursday.
Sunday would normally be a bullpen day if in college and then another bullpen on Tuesday. Both probably 50 pitches.
Pitchers should be fully recovered within 48 hours of pitching. If they are then throwing another bullpen is how you use feedback from the last game to improve.
The bullpen on Tuesday is to get ready for the next game on Thursday.
That would be a routine for a healthy pitcher with good mechanics.
Does the 48 hour recovery rule apply for any age pitcher or just adults?
I wouldn’t call it a rule.
Everyone is different based on their level of fitness and their mechanics. If either is not good then more recovery may be needed.
You said, “Pitchers should be fully recovered within 48 hours of pitching”.
My question should have been phrased “is the 48 hour recovery guideline specific to adults or is there a reason youth pitchers should wait more time for recovery.”
This is assuming that the pitcher is fit to pitch, healthy and has good mechanics.
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