Preseason start-up throwing program
Posted Jan 30, 2015

In sports medicine, we frequently see arm injuries in two major time-frames. The first, and most common, are the classic overuse injuries, and are generally caused simply throwing too much. These injuries typically occur during the middle or late in the season and are due to the cumulative stress and fatigue of throwing overcoming the arm’s ability to recuperate. Several factors can help prevent manyof these injuries including: avoiding throwing with arm fatigue or arm pain, strict adherence to pitch counts (as mandated at West Raleigh), good throwing mechanics, and a common sense approach by coaches and parents to general arm care.

Another relatively frequent, but less talked-about, problem is the early season arm injury. These are typically caused by throwing ‘too much, too fast.’ These injuries are often seen the first few weeks of baseball season when young athletes are trying to throw hard, fast, and long before their arms are properly conditioned and ready to throw. This can occur as early as tryouts or first practices as young ballplayers try to impress coaches and teammates. These injuries can typically be averted by allowing the arm to become acclimated to throwing over a period of a few weeks with gradual progression in load, intensity, and volume of throwing. This can be accomplished by a ‘pre-season interval throwing program.’

The following is a sample of youth interval, preseason throwing program. A good time to start this program is mid to late January to enable 4-6 weeks or so of good arm conditioning prior to start of regular practices. I recommend throwing every other day for these four weeks. Remember, a dynamic warm up will allow you to ‘warm up the body before you warm up the arm.’

Click to view the Preseason Interval Throwing Program.

-Josh Bloom, MD, MPH