April is National Youth Sports Safety Month, and that sounds like as good a time as any to talk about preventing youth baseball injuries. With levels of skill and competition rising at all levels of baseball across the nation, injuries are rising right alongside them. The good news is that many of the more serious youth baseball injuries are preventable with proper precautions.
Protecting Your All-Star’s Arm
Arm injuries — typically shoulders and elbows — are by far the most prevalent across all levels of baseball. And don’t think that arm injuries are relegated to pitchers. Every position on the field throws the ball around multiple times a game, often at high speeds, high torque, and high intensity. The key in preventing youth baseball injuries across the board, not just in arms, is to adequately warm up before every game or practice. This means stretching plenty before even throwing at all with any intensity, as well as warming up by playing catch for a little bit before getting into a game throwing situation. Warm ups should be extended for pitchers, as they’ll be throwing harder and more frequently during the game. Equally important to the warm up is the cool down. For pitchers especially, icing the shoulder and elbow will help your youth baseball recover faster and prevent fatigue injuries. Check out the list of sources below for tips in preventing youth baseball injuries from throwing.
Strength and Conditioning
As your player progresses through the ranks of youth baseball, throws will become even faster and more intense. It’s important to build up the arm’s resilience as this progression happens, or your youngster will throw his arm out before he can make it to the majors and bring in that big-league paycheck! We’ll also include some links below for gradually building up your pitcher’s arm without over-exerting.
Sources for Preventing Youth Baseball Injuries
We’ve written in the past about preventing arm injuries in youth baseball, so check out some of those blog posts for more tips and tricks:
- Preventing Baseball Injuries: Prepare Your Pitcher
- Youth Baseball Arm Strength Tips and Preventing Injuries
- How to Prevent Pitching Injuries in Youth Baseball Players
- Youth Baseball Pitchers, Year-round Baseball, and Injuries
- Helping Your Youth Baseball Player: A Young Pitcher’s Repertoire
External sources for preventing youth baseball injuries (arms and otherwise):
- Preventing Baseball Injuries (STOP Sports Injuries)
- Many Injuries in Youth Baseball Are Preventable (MomsTEAM)
- The Number-one Risk of Arm Injuries Continues to be Year-round Play (Little League)
- This piece was written by Dr. James Andrew, a renowned sports medicine expert and the authority on Tommy John Surgery — a reconstructive elbow ligament procedure.
- Overuse Injuries Are Real: It’s Important to Know the Risk Factors (Little League)
- Another piece by Dr. Andrews
- Baseball Injury Prevention (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
More from Sandlot Swag
While you are here, please take a moment to browse our entire line of youth Baseball Shorts. And don’t forget, we also offer custom baseball shorts, perfect for travel teams, slow pitch softball teams, flag football teams, and more!