A review of workload-monitoring considerations for baseball pitchers. J Athletic Training. 55(9): 911-917, 2020.
Because of the unique demands of pitching, baseball players have the greatest percentage of injuries resulting in surgery among high school athletes, with a majority of these injuries affecting the shoulder and elbow due to overuse from throwing. These injuries are believed to occur because of repeated microtrauma to soft tissues caused by the repetitive mechanical strain of throwing. Researchers and practitioners have suggested that baseball pitchers’ workloads are a significant risk factor for injury in adolescent players, resulting in lost time and slowing of performance development. The purpose of our review was to investigate the current research relative to monitoring workload in baseball throwers and discuss techniques for managing and regulating cumulative stress on the arm, with a focus on preventing injury and optimizing performance in adolescent baseball pitchers.
- Baseball requires a specific balance between recovery, to prevent injury and overtraining, and workload to result in improved performance and protection against injury.
- Current techniques for monitoring baseball pitchers’ workloads have relied exclusively on in-game pitch counts. The volume and intensity of throws during warm-up, plyocare, long toss, bullpen, flat grounds, and even pitches between innings are neglected in current workload standards.
- Using multiple techniques to monitor workload can potentially provide clinicians, athletic trainers, and coaches with a better understanding of all the factors influencing injury risk in players.