ACL surgeries are very involved with an extensive recovery period. If you are a pitcher trying to return from ACL surgery, follow these tips.
1. Follow rehab exactly! Doctors, PT and Athletic Trainers are the experts. You are not going to discover something that is better than what they collectively suggest. High school players are young enough to have plenty of time to make a full recovery. Also, continue exercises long after physical therapy ends and you are released. High school players are also young enough to get re-injuryed.
2. Ease back into throwing. Your legs are going through rehab but your shoulders are getting out of shape. Talk to the PT or look check out some of our shoulder programs here. Most shoulder injuries I have seen come from pitchers throwing too hard overhand - not many injuries from underhand.
3. Spins - this would be a good time to improve spins on all pitches or even learn a new pitch. Do these about 5-8 feet away from her catcher. You can do these standing or sitting.
4. Walk through the motion with focus on the power line and getting completely sideways. You can get an 8 foot 2"x6" board to use for the power line. Do these without a ball at a slow comfortable pace. Talk to your PT about when you can start this since there will be some lateral movement involved.
5. Forearm fire drills - begin sideways with arms in a W shape, relax the shoulder, lead the snap with the elbow (like the elbow leads overhand throws) and snap the wrist while following through towards the target. This is a good way to maintain or even improve velocity until completely released.
6. Strengthen the core - just makes for better athletic movement in general.
7. When you are released to throw, doing a slow motion pitch is a great way to learn how to control movements. Do this towards a catcher about 30 ft and focus on throwing strikes. Throwing strikes are a good indication of good mechanics. Slowly increase distance and speed as you feel comfortable.
The number one thing to remember- follow rehab exactly, do not rush the return, and build as much overall strength to reduce risks of more injuries.
Want more exercises? Check out our ACL strengthening program along with shoulders and core.
Have specific questions about returning after injury? Comment below! Don't forget to LIKE and TWEET!
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