Skipping This Step Could Lead To Serious Injury

Physical and biomechanical constraints/attributes are intimately interwoven.

Often one spawns the other (e.g., Are you tight because you throw this way all the time, or do you throw this way because you’re tight?). Physical or structural related contributors are probably the most important variables to assess and correct, because they impact all of the other categories of factors influencing performance and arm health.

As I gather more knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and dangers of elite throwing, it baffles me that anyone can recommend any mechanical adjustments, design a throwing plan (including long toss, and weighted balls), create a weight training plan, or make any effective decisions about recovery or workload without first examining for physical or structural related variables. Many times as coaches, we ask a player to perform movements or tasks of which he is physically incapable, or for which he is woefully ill prepared. If we haven’t assessed him physically, we have no way of knowing what his capabilities or limitations may be. And we may be putting him at increased risk of injury.

When I present this message to high school and college coaches around the country I get a common response. “But I don’t have the knowledge or the time to do a physical assessment on every player.” To this I reply, “Then I would suggest you get educated (it’s not rocket surgery) or refer the athlete to someone who can conduct the assessment and get you the information you need to make intelligent decisions. And if you don’t have time to assess the entire staff at once, start with your most important guys – the ones that would tube your season if you lost them – then work your way down to the scrubs. A basic physical screen can take less than 10 minutes per player. Do three guys a week until you get everyone done. Then start over and do it again.”

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