Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Healthy Arms

Do you ever get that feeling in your arm or elbow where you know you've thrown too much or too hard? I felt a bit sore this morning and thought I would look into baseball's experience in the subject of pitching. Although the pitching motion is very different than a backhand or flick it does have similarities to these throws and is very similar to the hammer. As always, this information is from the internet, and as much as the internet is all knowing read with a critical eye. This is by no means a replacement for seeing a physician or medical professional.

Here are some general concepts I found.

  1. Warm up properly (Resources [1], [2], and [3])
  2. When it hurts, stop throwing.
  3. Your arm only has so many hard throws in it. Building up your muscles will help but only so far.
  4. Mechanics play a huge factor in throwing. The hip and wrist should generate lots of your power in Ultimate.
  5. There are workouts to strengthen your arm for pitching (Resource [1])
From what I read it appears that pitchers have sore arms after training and this is a reality of the sport ([1], [2]). This soreness, however, is not acute pain in specific points in the arm. Acute pain is definitely a concern and needs to be seen by a professional.

Pictured Above: Jaleel Paje marking Derek Sigurdson at a UE scrimmage this weekend (photo courtesy of Jaleel taken by Marc Hodges).

Another similar motion to both the forehand and backhand are in racket sports with, surprisingly, the same name. The major points I've seen in articles with respect to these sports is how to prevent tennis elbow ([1], [2], [3]).

There's actually a tonne of material on elbow and shoulder injuries and there are all sorts of injuries related to different sports ([1]). My suggestion is to give your arms some attention during your warmups and training. Ultimate players tend to focus on their lower body and back, but your arms and hands are key to catching and throwing (arguably two important parts in the game ;).

In my search on this topic I read some other interesting and useful articles from the world of baseball. Here they are:
  • [1] Controlling your nerves in big pitching situations
  • [2] Spring training for pitchers to prepare your arm
  • [3] Pushups for pitchers
  • [4] Pitching pshycology
  • [5] The ulnar nerve
  • [6] Two books I would like to read: Moneyball and Scout's Honor (If you have them and live in the GTA could you lend them to me).
  • [7] Changing a player from fielder to pitcher - sounds like receiver to handler?