Spring time means baseball season, and this is the perfect time to talk about spring training tips and how to prevent common baseball injuries. The most common injuries, injury prevention and rehabilitation are all important topics. Baseball is a great sport and should be enjoyed injury-free and feeling great!
Tips for spring training actually begin in the off-season. The off-season is the time to put in the hard work in order to have a successful season. Strengthening the muscles used during the season is an important part of the off-season. These muscles include those in the legs, core, and shoulder musculature. During the off-season, you can push the envelope in terms of lifting heavy to increase strength, whereas during the season the intense strengthening is on a lesser level so that the athlete is not worn down for actual games and competition. The better shape you are coming into the season, the better chance you have at success.
There are common injuries related to playing baseball such as rotator cuff injuries or tears, muscular strains in the larger muscle groups such as quadriceps and hamstrings, UCL injuries (ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow), and low back pain. Rotator cuff injuries are common due to the repetitive overhead throwing aspect of baseball. Muscle strains are common due to the running, cutting, and sudden start and stops of the sport. UCL injuries occur frequently with pitchers due to the repetitive throwing and resultant strain on the elbow ligaments. Low back pain can result from pressure on this region due to twisting involved with batting, throwing and other high-velocity movements.
Injury-prevention should be an integral part of the spring training, in the pre-season as well as during the season. Rotator cuff strengthening, core strengthening, and leg strengthening will all help decrease the risk of injuries. With that, the proper training schedule should also be instilled as as not to over-work the athletes as they progress into their season. Movement patterns should be assessed as well in order to determine any risk of future injury based on faulty patterns of movement. A physical therapist can assess where you are starting from and which areas to focus on in order to reach your goals.
Proper recovery and rest days are also very important so that the athletes’ bodies are not breaking down while working hard at their sport. Depending on your position, you may need considerably more rest time or days off between competition. For example, pitchers are often given a certain number of pitches they are allowed and then they are forced to rest a certain amount of time before they pitch again.
Lastly, proper nutrition, hydration and sleep are also key components that help to keep the athlete safe and healthy. Unhealthy eating and inadequate hydration and sleep can cause physical issues in the body. These areas are great to keep front of mind and as part of a well-rounded plan for spring training. Nutrition goals should include a balanced, clean, and protein-filled diet. Proper hydration should be half your body-weight in ounces of water and you should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
All of these components will help you achieve your ultimate capacity in baseball, and hopefully a winning and successful season with no injuries! If you’ve had an injury in the past, you don’t feel quite 100% of your best capacity, or want to be evaluated preventatively, then contact your Orthology provider today.