Early in the spring of my son’s eighth grade year, his high school coach put him on the mound to pitch a JV game. My son has always wanted to be a pitcher. I was a pitcher. I think every kid wants to be a pitcher. I hadn’t let him pitch much over the years because I didn’t think his arm action was suited for the mound. He has always had a shorter motion. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to lengthen his arm action. Because of that I have always pushed him to middle infield and catcher. He had pitched some over the years. He even had some success. I just didn’t feel like for the long term that it was in his best interests to pitch. I also didn’t like the idea of him being 60’6″ away from big strong kids swinging composite bats. All the baseball training in the world doesn’t teach you how to avoid 100 mph line drives back at you.
My son pitched pretty well that day. I held back and didn’t say anything to the coach about me not wanting him to pitch. I didn’t want to get a reputation of being a difficult Dad. At least not yet. My son then caught the second game of the doubleheader. I didn’t think much of it since I grew up catching one game and pitching the other in doubleheaders. Shortly after, my son started complaining that his arm didn’t feel good. Some days it was sore and others it was fine. He iced, he took Advil, and even did his bands after a lot of yelling and fighting. He hadn’t ever taken his baseball training as seriously as he should have. He managed to make it through the season. He did pretty well with his throwing. He was doing well in travel ball as well. He kept telling us that his arm felt fine. Around the end of June I noticed that he was dropping down almost sidearm with his throws. When I asked him about it, he said it was because his arm didn’t hurt as bad that way. I decided it was time for a trip to the doctor.
At the doctor my son started telling him about how much pain he was in. Both his shoulder and his elbow were killing him. He had been trying to hide it from us out of fear that he would lose his position if we knew he was hurt. It crushed me. I should have known something was up. Anyways, the diagnosis was a seriously strained labrum and the elbow hurt as a result of compensating for the weak shoulder. He would have to go to a stringent rehab with a physical therapist and then a throwing program. With all my years in baseball, I never thought about how hard catching is on an arm. I always thought that pitchers were the ones you had to worry about. I started thinking back to the game he pitched early in the spring. He had done absolutely no baseball training as a pitcher in over a year. I realized that that day he threw 70 pitches from the mound and probably twice that many back to the mound when he was catching.
He made it through the physical therapy and we started on the throwing program. It was long and boring. We started at 25′ and worked our way to 180′ over the course of almost 2 months. He came back stronger than ever. I got this idea for a blog because one of his high school teammates just went through the same thing. He has finished his rehab, but is pushing himself to get back on the mound for fall baseball. I have a feeling that he will be right back in the same boat with a sore arm(or maybe worse) in no time. As much as I hate that my son had to go through what he did, I am grateful that that injury led him to step up his baseball training. He now takes it very seriously. The thought of never playing again woke him up. For a great workout program to strengthen your arm check out The ultimate Rotator Cuff Training Guide. We use it now.