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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - Feb 2006 > Trainer Shares Insight

Trainer Shares Insight


Volume I, No. 2

   February 2006


World Series Trainer Shares Insight
By Nick Caringi
Director of Operations
Little League International


While people enjoy the excitement of the Little League Baseball World Series on TV, the players and coaches experience some of the best medical and sports medicine care around.

Take a look at a few questions and answers from an "Ask Little League" segment involving Mike Ludwikowski, athletic trainer at the Little League Baseball World Series, and coordinator of outreach athletic training services at the Susquehanna Health System Sports Medicine Center in Williamsport, Pa.

Doug, a local Little League president in Wilton, Conn., asks:
  What is your advice regarding proper pre-game warm-up to improve performance and reduce injuries?
First, you want to get your cardio-vascular going with a team jog, or jumping jacks, or something of that sort. Then your flexibility program is important for stretching major muscle groups. Once properly warmed up and stretched, I recommend working on sports-specific drills or techniques. Working on these early in the practice should help to guarantee that the athlete is not fatigued or tired, and should ensure they are done properly. Have fun at practice!

Jim, a manager in a local Little League in Richmond, Va., asks:
  A batter gets hit by a fast ball on the arm just below the shoulder. It's my pitcher and the ball has hit his pitching arm. Is there a quick remedy?
We would need to ensure there is a normal range of motion, and normal bilateral strength. Also, we obviously need to rule out a fracture. We would apply ice between innings or for as much time as possible, and a compression wrap. If the pitcher complains of pain or limited range of motion, or if the coach notices irregularity in his/motion, the pitcher should be removed. In any case, the parents must be notified of the injury, and an injury report should be made. If symptoms persist, the parents should notify a physician.

A league president in Connecticut asks:
  What is your advice on an off-season training program for young pitchers (12 years and younger)? I'd like to know how they can build arm strength and stamina.
First of all, arm strength is built through long tossing, using the shoulders and hips. Basically, you over-exaggerate the throwing motion. This technique should begin in the early spring, a month or so before practices begin. I would not throw him every day…maybe every third day, and no more than every other day. The traditional winter off-season should be spent doing other activities that exercise the body, but do not put stress specifically on the pitching arm. Examples could be swimming, gymnastics, karate, skiing…any sport that offers overall body fitness. Remember, pitching is a total body technique, and that is why we stress off-season training in these other areas. The off-season is a good time to break down the pitching motion, with proper knee lift and step. We see kids who throw all winter, and their elbows are shot. They develop shoulder growth plate inflammation and rotator cuff tendonitis at that young age. Your ultimate goal is to have a safe, productive season that leaves your son looking forward to the next year, and not an intense off-season program.

To learn more and see the entire segment from Mike, please click here.

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