A Message to DSP Baseball Clients
Darius and I know baseball season is around the corner when the phone starts ringing as snow is falling. New clients are looking to gel ready for Spring. I have some things to say to new and existing clients before the baseball season begins …
Helping pitchers become healthy and productive Is one thing we love to do at DSP.
It’s a three step process:
1. Assessment- We use the Functional Movement Screen (“FMS”) to learn how the athlete’s body moves so we can identify constraints that increase the chance for injury and loss of performance.
2. Removal of Constraints- The ketllebell is our secret weapon! It is not the only tool we use, but it is amazingly effective and efficient in producing healthy change.
3. Insertion of Efficient Movement Patterns- We rely on science-based information and keen observation of pitchers that have been productive AND HEALTHY over long periods of lime. Follow the recipe.
2015 was a great year of growth for our baseball clients.
Many of our baseball athletes made HUGE changes in their bodies over the past year!
These young boys got very stable, mobile, and powerful. Trainers around the country were blown away as they saw Darius’ web posts of our young athletes swinging, snatching, and squatting because the DSP ball players used better form than professionals in the fitness world!
This video shows one of them in action.
Congrats to our clients for daring to be different
BUT … 2016 Is full of Hidden Traps!
All this additional strength and mobility does not mean our young clients are completely out of harms way when it comes to arm injuries.
The healthiest baseball players, especially pitchers, need to use efficient movement patterns in addition to having high levels of mobility and stability.
Think of a car. It’s not enough to have a powerful engine, good brakes, and a good looking body.
Things beneath the scene like alignment matter …. a lot!
Misaligned cars and people wear out sooner and eventually spend a lot of time on “cinder blocks.”
Our young DSP clients have not mastered efficient movement patterns. That is understandable and natural. They are young and still addressing fundamental human movements.
Many professionals haven’t mastered these patterns.
Turn on the TV and watch a game through the lens of efficiency of movement You will see dysfunction masked by DNA and short term results. This craft takes a lot of time.
One must have both athleticism and efficiency of movement to achieve” long term health and productivity.”
Avoid the following traps In 2016 …
Trap Number 1 • Confusing Effectiveness with Efficiency.
Even though your child is an All Star, is very good at getting batters out, and has become more athletic, it doesn’t mean he or she is moving with efficient movement patterns.
The photo below is of a very effective pitcher. I know he is one because he is pitching in the Little League World Series. Only the most effective make it that far.
It hurts just to look at that photo. He is getting batters out, but at a huge cost to his body in the long run.
Trap Number 2 ·Trusting your coach and/or league rules to protect pitchers’ arms.
There is a book by Mark Hyman, professor of sports management at George Washington University, called “Until It Hurts.”
In it, he reports that many years ago Little League International wanted to address the arm injury issue. They hired a national expert, Dr. James Andrews, to come up with a plan.
His plan included a pitch count limit. We all see the pitch count protocol acted out in games today. The story takes a twist though.
Hyman said that Little League executives over-ruled the originally recommended pitch count limits as they considered them to be “too restrictive”.
Administrators overruling medical experts doesn’t sound good.
There are problems with the pitch count philosophy that we can discuss more fully in a future article. For now, please know that the one-size-fits·all pitch count rules are far from perfect and do not ensure arm health.
Preparation of mind and body is just as important as limiting pitches thrown.
Young pitchers’ arms will still be injured this season despite compliance with the league’s pitch count rules.
Even if you are that functionally fit player with a score of 16 on the FMS (under 14 indicates greater chance for injury) you are still at a heightened chance for injury if you use inefficient movement patterns under enough of a load … and ALL YOUTH PITCHERS ARE INEFFICIENT MOVERS!
DSP clients are not exempt.
For now, be very cautious and keep the pitch counts low. How low? Contact me and we will talk about the customized needs of your particular child. See my L/P ratio below. Let’s avoid having to look at a child’s arm from the inside out.
Trap Number 3 ·Thinking that lack of arm pain means lack of damage.
Damage exists on a spectrum.
At one end is damage that occurs and is easily repaired by the body. It is not noticed as significant damage by the athlete.
At the other end of the spectrum is damage that reveals itself through pain. This is the end of the spectrum and to which most people give their attention. “Mom, my arm hurts.” Hard to ignore that.
In between is a wide range of events that can impact the players many years down the line. There are medical professionals out there that say damage done during Little League years impacts the player when they are teens and beyond.
Damage is done a long time before the pain is felt. Think about damage to the arm like a disease.
Diseases can exist in the body before the person recognizes it. Just because diagnosis was lagging did not mean damage wasn’t already underway.
If your child wants to play this game a long time, develop a small L/P ratio. L is Load and P is Preparation.
Let’s keep it simple and call Load the number of game pitches. Preparation is the time invested to assess constraints, correct those constraints, and learn to move with efficiency.
I advocate reducing this ratio by increasing P like crazy! That’s what DSP is all about. Preparation for baseball is preparation for a healthy life too.
Since no young pitcher is fully prepared, Load must be limited in order to limit damage. We want clients to be still pitching at the next level if they so choose.
Well then, if DSP clients have put in time to beef up their P and are still vulnerable to injury and loss of performance, what about other players’ chances?
I cringe as I think about those young bodies and their young minds. Pain, frustration, and a lack of fun are at the bottom of this trap.
If you know of a player in Alexandria in need, please introduce them to DSP in 2016.