In reference to a right-handed pitcher I will discuss the proper biomechanics of the pitch and likely areas to accumulate stress and strain from unlikely sources.
Have you ever thought of the left foot being the cause of right shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff and bicep tendonitis?
Have you thought of the right inner thigh as the reason for slower speed in the throw?
How important is the left hip flexibility in preventing lower back pain?
If you have ever wondered about the “Why” behind the obvious “What” please read on!
It’s easy to diagnose what the injury is (tendonitis, muscle or tendon tear, stress fracture) but how many athletes undergo thorough evaluation of why it occurred in the first place? Yes, it is true that repetitive motion can cause these things but what if there was a way to prevent or slow down the destructive process?
In a right handed thrower there are a few key points to look at in their body movement. As soon as the left foot hits the ground the maximal load is on their shoulder. It’s the point where the more length you can generate the more power you’ll have. So you can imagine if the inner thigh of the right leg or hamstring on the landing leg were at all tightened it could potentially cause an early acceleration of the trunk and throwing arm. Such timing of a highly repetitive motion can accumulate tension on the anterior (front) part of the shoulder including the bicep tendon. It can also be the cause of many side arm techniques that lead to elbow injury.
And let’s look at the landing gear! How important is the ability to balance on one leg not to mention being stable while the mass and momentum of your body spins around it!? If the arch of the foot is flat or unsupported you can see how that could impact the rest of the body in the throw. The foot itself could be the culprit in early acceleration of the arm and also faulty deceleration of the body over the landing leg. Consequently a restricted hip on the landing leg could lead to the lower back compensating that extra torque which it is not designed to do. With this understanding of throwing mechanics how important do you think Flexibility is in training!? If you aren’t currently incorporating sport specific flexibility training in your daily routine it’s not too late to start.
Dr. Donna Copertino is the Director of Back in Action: Athletic performance training center. For free Sport Specific Flexibility training we recommend http://www.standardofflexibility.org or Youtube channel Standard of Flexibility