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Hey Coach, My Arm is Sore!
By: Cindy Bristow
Is your pitcher just not herself during practice, or have you noticed a drop in her speed? Weekend after weekend and game after game is adding up in the arms of your pitchers so find out how to make sure they can finish their season strong!
This is the time of year when your pitchers are starting to get both sore and tired. That part is not unusual as it’s happening to almost every pitcher out there in travel ball. What matters is that your pitcher knows how to tell the difference between being sore and being hurt.
Of all the things that are important for a pitcher to know one of the most important is being able to tell the difference between when they’re simply sore from having pitched a lot, and when they’re actually injured. It’s the difference between saying my arm is “stiff or sore” and “my arm is killing me!”.
Stiffness and soreness can happen after a pitcher pitches a lot of innings in either a day or an entire weekend, or even when those innings and weekends begin to add up. Any pitcher that pitches for very long will end up stiff and sore but what we all should work hard to avoid is our pitchers getting injured.
Knowing the difference between these two closely related feelings is hard for anyone other than the pitcher to distinguish. I’ve been pitching or working with pitchers most of my life and I can’t tell if a pitcher is sore or injured just by looking at her – only the pitcher can tell. We not only want our pitchers to be stronger at the end of the season when the really important games and tournaments happen, but we also want them to stay injury-free.
While the logical thing to do when any player gets really sore, tired or even injured is to rest, that logic goes out the window when we’re talking about a pitcher. Pitcher’s are often afraid to rest and actually take a break because they think it will somehow hurt their pitching or that they’ll forget how to pitch. While that might sound crazy, the biggest reason that pitcher’s don’t take breaks when their arms are telling them to is that coaches either don’t let them, or don’t insist on it. Players get a little nervous telling coaches they’re sore so you’re going to have to do a better job of knowing the signs.
So let’s look at a few simple things we can all do as coaches and players to help our pitchers take better care of their arms based on whether they’re “sore/tired” or “hurts”.
Sore or Tired:
Hurt or Injured:
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"The Ultimate Softball Practice Guide is a tremendous resource for coaches. It reiterates the importance of practice planning and gives detailed examples to utilize on a daily basis. Quality practice sessions make the difference in preparing your athletes and this is a practical guide for success." - Connie Clark - Head Softball Coach - University of Texas
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