How much is too much?
Below is the max pitch count for each age group. It is important that your young female athlete does not pitch the same pitch over and over to decrease overuse injury. In order to prevent injury and harm, you should have your female athlete following these guidelines as closely as possible.
Every athlete should have two days of rest after a day of pitching to prevent injury. A day of pitching would include two or three games with the maximum pitch count listed below. Girls < 12 years-old should not pitch more than 2 consecutive days and girls > 13 years-old should not pitch more than 3 consecutive days.
Recommended rest time means no live pitching, which includes no pitching during batting practice. It is important that your young female athlete takes this time to fully rest to allow proper healing components to the area.
Young female athletes that are in their resting phase can still participate in hitting and fielding drills, but should eliminate as much overhead throwing in the field as they can. During rest periods, it is essential that your athlete performs a 2-5 minute jogging routine to stretch muscles before starting to stretch specific areas. They then should follow-up with a 20-30-minute stretching program that targets cross-body movements, shoulder rotation, flexion, and abduction, and wrist motions.
Maximum Pitch Count
Days 1 & 2
Reference for chart:
Ireland L. Mary, MD, Snyder-Macker Lynn, PT, ScD, Ferguson Bonnie-Jill, Coach. Stop sports injuries- Keeping Kids in the Game for Life. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. 2010. https://www.sportsmed.org//aossmimis/stop/downloads/Softball.pdf. Accessed July 31, 2018.
How can physical therapy prevent your young female athlete from injury?
Surprisingly, surgery is not always required! Whether preventing injury or stopping further injury, physical therapy can help in various ways. Physical therapy will give your female athlete insight on proper body mechanics both on and off the field in order to prevent injury.
Referring back to the electromyogram (EMG) study I talked about in my first blog on young female athletes who perform windmill pitches; it has been found that there is a greater increase in the biceps and brachialis musculature contractions than all other muscles within the arm.
Physical therapy can provide your athlete with specific exercises to these muscles to promote proper contraction throughout the arm. This can be done through specialized training like dry needling, myofascial decompression, or individualized manual therapy techniques. Your female athlete can also be provided with knowledgeable experts who have background on functional training and proper upper body mechanics in order to prevent unnecessary strains and sprains.
Additionally, your athlete must have good stability of their lumbo-pelvic junction. This include their low back and pelvis. If your athlete does not have a strong base of support then they will have poor body mechanics, will eventually fatigue, and cause injury to areas that cannot handle torque and compression. Physical therapy can address this deficit by engaging your athlete in glute exercises, lower body functional strength and endurance, as well as stretching routines to perform pre and post gamedays.
Lastly, it is pertinent that your athlete knows how to properly transfer ground-reaction forces throughout their body. This means transferring forces from their legs, through their abdominal cavity, and up to their pitching arm. If this is not done properly, then momentum will be lost, and power and speed will be decreased. At therapy your athlete can be taught proper rotational forces to apply along the spine, can receive evidence-based osteopractic techniques, and be provided with a sports-specific program.
At TOPS Physical Therapy your athlete is guaranteed an individualized program to get stronger and faster both on and off the field! Come see us today before it’s too late!!