The Ole Ball Game

How do I get my throwing arm back in shape?

by Hunter
(Centerton, AR, USA)

Elbow up, ball on the way back

Elbow up, ball on the way back

Hunter asked: I recently started on the high school team after 1 year or so of no baseball, and my throwing arm has been getting sore every time we warm up, what do I do to get my arm back in shape?

Rick answered: Hunter, thank you for your question.

I would start by checking your throwing mechanics, as they can easily create arm soreness if they are not good.

To consistently throw with accuracy, velocity, distance and painless, the steps below are the basics for these goals.

1. Attempt to get a 4 seam grip on the baseball each time you throw. While it doesn't always happen, even with MLB players, the more it does the better accuracy and velocity you will have.

2. Get your feet squared under you, lined up at your target. Step on line with your front foot. That allows you to take your thumb to the thigh, bring the ball back to where, if you stop and look back, you will see the back of your hand, not the baseball. From that position it allows your elbow to be up above your shoulder. ( Having your elbow up, stepping on line, allows you to throw without your elbow dropping and the ball coming out of the side of your hand)

When the ball comes out of the side of your hand, the rotation of the spin is sideways, thus the ball slices through the air. If the throw is across the infield, it slices away from the first baseman, down the first base line, directly in the path of the oncoming batter-runner. Dangerous place for the first baseman to end up.

If the ball is thrown from the outfield, the slice is even more problematic, due to the longer distances involved.

Players with the above described mechanics almost always complain of elbow pain.

This link will take you to a page on my site, Advanced Throwing

Take good care of your arm. There is only one position in the line up that is based on hitting skills only, that is the DH. Every other position requires that the player be proficient in receiving and throwing the baseball.

The pictures above are various stages of the throwing power position. Number four is at full extension back, elbow up, stride on line.

With those mechanics a player is at less risk of arm problems and in an athletic position to play at a higher level.

The good news is, if you need to realign your mechanics, you have the opportunity to work at it everyday when your team throws to warm up.

I look at that throwing time as working on throwing and receiving mechanics. Warming up is your running and stretching. You have a window of opportunity every day to polish those throwing
skills to be more competitive.

If you find your mechanics to be solid, and you are experiencing soreness due to inactivity prior to the start of practice, keep icing and stretching. You always want to slowly work yourself into throwing shape prior to the start of practices. High schools never have enough time to slowly work into playing shape. MLB has spring training, and even with that the players are expected to show up in physical playing shape.

Icing is always a good preventative.

Good luck with your season. I would be interested in hearing back from you as to whether you feel this soreness is mechanics or inactivity related.

Yours in baseball,


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