The most important part of a softball pitchers body is the pitching arm. Granted there are many other important body parts that allow softball pitchers to perform, but the arm is the most important. Softball pitching is very different than baseball pitching. The windmill and underhand release are a natural motion, especially for females. Baseball pitchers who throw overhand have to monitor pitch counts and there are even rules for the number of pitches to be thrown in games for each pitcher. These pitching restrictions don’t necessarily exist in softball.
Maintaining a healthy pitching arm is going to set a softball pitcher up for success during a long season. It’s very common for softball pitchers to experience soreness after long weekend tournaments. Softball pitchers will typically throw double or triple the amount of pitches they are used to throwing in practice during weekend tournaments.
Below is a list of three ways to maintain a healthy pitching arm in softball. These tips can be used by pitchers at any age level and will be extremely beneficial for the long summer months filled with games. They will also help keep a pitcher’s arm healthy for the long run.
- Stretch and Warm Up: Pitchers should always stretch and warm up before pitching a softball. Even though pitching is considered to be a natural motion, pitchers at ALL ages need to get their body ready for movement. Take five minutes to stretch out the arms and do some jogging to warm up the legs. Pitchers benefit from team warm ups just like everyone else, even though they warm up on their own when pitching begins. Don’t skip over this step, as pitchers get older, their muscles will need to be loosened up. Stretching and warming up before practices and games will also limit the pitchers chance of injury, especially as they get older. It’s also better to get accustomed to a warm up routine early on and get in the habit of doing it every day.
- Throw Overhand the Right Way: Softball pitchers have one of the shortest throws to first base in the infield. With that being said, it’s sometimes easy for pitchers to get lazy with their throwing form. Even though pitchers rarely throw the ball overhand, it’s still important to practice and execute good throwing mechanics on overhand throws to help prevent injury. It’s common for softball pitchers to develop a sidearm throw to first base. This isn’t keeping the elbow safe and can lead to injury. A good time for pitchers to work on overhand throws is right before they warm up pitching. Take an extra two minutes and do some overhand throws with a lined ball before beginning pitching drills for the day. Your elbow will thank you in the future if you correct it now.
- Ice After Pitching: Almost every softball pitcher has heard this pitching rule before. “Ice your arm!” How many pitchers actually go home and ice their arm after a pitching workout, practice, or game? Icing the pitching arm is extremely important when it comes to pitching arm maintenance. When softball pitchers pitch, the muscles in their arm are constantly moving and doing more work than they are used to. Icing after pitching helps relax the muscles and brings them back to normal. Icing the arm also limits the amount of soreness. Even though pitching is a natural motion, pitchers are still requiring effort from their muscles to get the job done. Take care of those arms and ice!