Strength a Factor in Elbow Health of Overhead Athletes

May 8, 2015 by Todd Christman
“There is no substitute for strength and no excuse for the lack of it.” So reads a sign in many high school and college weight rooms, its origin unknown but its sentiment endorsed by football coaches far and wide.
However, for reasons that are difficult to fathom, coaches in some other sports are less eager to embrace the effort required to put the words into action. Some are obsessed with skill and strategy, others – such as wrestling coaches – are fearful of weight gain, and finally there are those who are just plain lazy.
Baseball pitching coaches – and even some baseball medics -- fall into the first category. Success on the mound, the pitching coaches believe, is a function of control, match-ups, and changing location, pitch type (fastball, change-up, curve, slider, etc.), and velocity. The medics are obsessed with age, pitch count, pitch type, and biomechanics.
No argument from this quarter regarding the importance of any of those factors. Notice though, that one such factor is velocity and velocity may be a function of natural talent but ultimately, it is a function of strength.
And so is good arm health. So say two recently published studies.

You can read the full version of this article in The Times. John Doherty is a licensed athletic trainer and physical therapist. This column reflects solely his opinion. Reach him at Follow him on Twitter @JDohertyATCPT.