Throwing a ball is a complex skill which requires a full body action to allow an efficient, powerful and pain-free movement. Injuries are often repetitive, overuse injuries to the shoulder, elbow and low back.
4 things to get right:
Throwing technique: Throwing technique is important and takes time to develop. Working with a coach who understands the mechanics of throwing, providing drills to help assist in improving throwing efficiency whilst also monitoring throwing load can be vital to reducing injuries and improving performance.
Thoracic spine mobility: Often people lack the appropriate rotation range of motion through the thoracic spine (mid back). As a result it is common for the throwing action to place increased load on the shoulder and elbow joint. We use a variety of stretches, manual therapy and muscle activation exercises to help the athlete engage a greater range of motion. We will then talk with the coach about some sport specific drills which assist the thrower in using this range of motion in the throwing action. Essentially allowing them to throw with their body and not their arm.
Shoulder stability: When we think of throwing we automatically think of the shoulder, this is for good reason. The shoulder does a lot of work in the throwing action and hence it is important we have good control, stability and strength through the rotator cuff muscles. We assess the health of the athletes shoulder through a series of tests, allowing us to determine if there is any pain or dysfunction which needs to be addressed. We then prescribe a series of exercises which aim to improve the control, stability and especially deceleration speed of the arm at the end of the throw.
Lower body strength: This area is often overlooked, however is seen as being the most important factor when producing an efficient, powerful and pain free throw. The action of through originates in the legs and hips. Often we see thrower who will overuse their arm to compensate for a lack of strength in the legs. When programming exercises we focus on the transfer of lower body strength in the rotation and sideways planes. This will allow the thrower to project all their energy towards the target they’re trying to hit.
If pain or niggles are bothering you, we are always available to assess your issue, provide guidance about safe return to activity and give you simple exercises to help you on your way.