A lot of work goes into excelling at a sport. Whether you play baseball as a hobby or are a professional, the last thing you want is to get injured. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may be forced to sit the season out, and in some cases, it may affect the quality of your life.
Beginners are often required to learn all about the rules of the game and the strategies to adopt to win. However, there is seldom a focus on recovery and what training you need outside the baseball pitch to help you perform at the highest level.
This blog post highlights some pre- and post-outing activities that may help prevent injuries and aid recovery.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Stretch
It’s common for baseball pitchers to skip stretching before and after games because of time constraints or laziness. However, when done correctly, stretching can help prevent injuries.
As necessary as stretching is, learning more about it is essential, as all stretches are different. There are two main types of stretches that you should implement into your routine – dynamic and static stretches. Knowing when to do each type can reduce the risk of injury.
Dynamic stretches warm the muscles, reduce stiffness, and prepare the muscles and ligaments for exercise. These stretches should be done before your game and should be part of your regular warm-up routine.
Static stretches help with recovery by elongating the muscles and are an excellent method to release muscle stress and tension. It’s best to do static stretches after your game, as it will aid recovery.
Ensure You Get the Right Nutrition
Eating correctly can give you the fuel you need to perform at the highest possible level, so don’t neglect nutrition. Make sure that you eat balanced meals and hit your macros every day. Include a range of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables in different colours.
Before a game, you need energy, so it’s best to carbo-load. This means eating starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, and rice. Also, ensure you stay hydrated during and after the game by drinking water or sports drinks. Drinking sports drinks can be a great way to replace electrolytes lost as you sweat.
After the game, continue hydrating. Eating a snack or meal of protein and carbohydrates is also a good idea after your pitching outing. Since pitching may cause similar muscle and tissue damage to that caused when you lift weights, you may need to consume protein as it plays a vital role in muscle recovery and repair. However, if you don’t feel like eating a full meal, consider drinking a protein shake with good-quality whey protein or snacking on a protein bar.
Make Mobility Exercises a Part of Your Routine
Pitching can put a lot of pressure on the elbow, shoulders, hips, and spine, as the muscles in these areas are used the most. To minimize injury and pain, it’s helpful to do light mobility exercises. In addition, these exercises help to improve blood flow in these targeted areas. When blood flow is improved, more nutrients are transported to these areas, speeding up the repair of the tissues and muscles.
Whether you’re a seasoned baseball pitcher or reasonably new to the game, it’s essential to implement steps that will improve your performance and prevent injuries.
Types of mobility exercises that you can include in your routine are:
- Hammer curls
- Tricep curls
- Arm swings
- Arm circles
Don’t Neglect Cardio Exercise
Any type of cardio, whether walking, running, swimming, or cycling, is excellent for your overall health. Besides being good for the lungs and heart, cardio exercises consistently improve endurance and builds stamina, allowing baseball pitchers to pitch for longer at an optimal level.
Since cardio exercises get the blood pumping throughout the body, they can aid muscle recovery because nutrients necessary for repairing muscles and tissues are moved through the body in the bloodstream.
Get Enough Shut Eye
Sleep should be essential to a baseball pitcher’s routine because it can affect their performance and recovery rate. When a baseball pitcher does not get sufficient sleep, they may lack focus and concentration. Another issue affecting performance may be fatigue caused by a lack of sleep.
Sleep also plays a role in the body’s recovery. During sleep, the body is in a state of rest, so the brain and body slow down. This allows the body to focus on resting and repairing muscles, tissue, and other areas that could have been damaged during exercise.
Baseball pitchers typically put their bodies through a great deal of strain. So whether you’re a novice or a professional baseball pitcher, you must implement steps into your routine to prevent injuries, speed up recovery and help you perform at the highest level. To this end, you must stretch correctly before and after games, fuel your body with the proper nutrition, keep hydrated, do mobility and cardio exercises, and get enough sleep.
- HSS: Static vs. Dynamic Stretching: What Are They and Which Should You Do?
- Uchicagomedicine: What young athletes should eat before and after the game
- Baseballspecifictraining: Why do Baseball Pitchers Run Long Distance?
- Marcpro: Attention, Baseball Pitchers! Take a Look at the Top 8 Throwing Muscle Recovery Tips
- Journals.lww: Sleep and Athletic Performance
- Ryanweissbaseball: How to Recover from Pitching