After a few years away from playing baseball, I’ve decided to join a men’s adult baseball fall league or, as my kids affectionately call it, the “old man baseball league.” Having seen many former players who have returned to baseball or softball in the PT clinic over the years, I thought I would put together some tips to help reduce the likelihood of injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to return to the field.
Warm up. We may remember the days where we could just show up to the field and get right out there and play. Unfortunately, as we age, those days are over. Having some form of warm up is key to preventing injuries such as muscle strains and tears. Do some light jogging and follow with gentle stretching or a dynamic warm up such as body weight squats and lunges to get the blood flowing and loosen up your muscles before you play.
Be careful with sprinting. As we age, we lose muscle mass, particularly the fast twitch muscle fibers that are used with sprinting type activities. Combine that with tight hamstrings due to sitting at a desk all day and you have the perfect situation for hamstring tears. Don’t let your first sprint be when you are trying to leg out a double. Practice some sprints before you play by slowly progressing your sprinting. Start at 50% speed, increase to 75%, and then build to full speed.
Build up throwing slowly. Just as you should increase your sprint gradually, you should build your throwing slowly as well. Overhead throwing is not a natural motion for the body and, again, if you sit at a desk for much of the day or just generally have bad posture, the throwing motion is even less natural. When you return to throwing, slowly build the number and distance of throws you make. If you start to feel pain in your shoulder or elbow, stop, get some ice on it and rest. If the pain doesn’t go away, see a medical professional. I’ve seen many people who returned to throwing after a long lay off, tried to throw through pain and ended up with shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tears.
These tips are not only helpful for baseball but also soccer, basketball or even playing back yard touch football. Follow these tips to help stay injury free and on the field!
At Complete Game Physical Therapy we help athletes and active individuals of all ages get back to the sports and activities they love without missing valuable playing time or losing their competitive advantage. For more information or to make an appointment call 978-710-7204 or email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.