The reality of windmill pitching and over use injuries
Just saw this article today on Marc Dagenais’ Softball Performance blog and thought it was important to pass along. In it he provides a synopsis of an article that appeared in a publication for professional trainers examining injuries in softball pitchers.
As you might expect, some of the high incidence of injury is due to poor mechanics. We’ve all seen those pitchers who are good at throwing hard despite having poor mechanics. Because they’re winning games and blowing away the competition, particularly at the younger ages, no one gives much thought to whether their mechanics are any good. Eventually, though, it catches up with them. I can personally think of a couple of kids who were phenoms at 10U and 12U, but unable to even throw a pitch by age 15.
Equally important, though, is the risk of overuse injuries in pitchers — even those with good mechanics. There is this prevailing myth that the windmill pitching motion is “safe” and “natural,” so there is little risk of injury. That’s simply not true and the article demonstrate it.
Any kind of repetitive motion, especially a violent one such as pitching, can lead to an overuse injury. Those can be tough to recover from, too. If you’re a coach and you’re throwing one girl more than three or four games in a weekend, or you’re a parent and allowing a coach to do it because “the team needs her to win,” you really need to read Marc’s post. Marc is an expert in softball-specific sports training with outstanding credentials, so when he says something is a potential issue you’d best listen.
Look at it this way: if a person get develop Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome sitting at a desk, what makes you think a softball pitcher can’t get it from pitching? I know which one I think is more strenuous.