Many of us grew up playing baseball, whether being taught as a child, with out friends and family on a sunny afternoon, or competitively in an organized league. It’s been America’s favourite pastime for decades and continues to be a fun way to bring people together. Though not much of a contact sport, there are still plenty of ways to get injured while playing baseball, many having to do with performing techniques incorrectly. There are lots of ways to avoid common injuries with a little practice and patience.
Throwing the baseball, pitching specifically, is a maneuver where a lot of little things can wrong if done incorrectly. Elbows, wrists, back, and even leg injuries can occur if a player isn’t careful. Have a coach or trainer demonstrate and observe your pitching as closely as possible so they can give you tips on how to improve. You can never learn too much about proper pitching technique.
One of the most important ways to stay injury-free while pitching is to know your limits. Injuries occur more often when you push yourself too much. Focus on age-appropriate pitches and make sure you’re being rotated into different positions. Don’t pitch for consecutive days and adhere to pitch count guidelines. Little things like communicating about any pain or weariness you’re experiencing could save you from a bad shoulder or elbow injury.
A lot of different injuries are possible when hitting because each swing is unpredictable—they change based on every pitch. Muscle strains, meniscus tears, and hand or wrist injuries can appear out of nowhere. All it takes is one wrong swing.
Form is important when it comes to hitting. A muscle around the rib cage could easily be strained when trying to hit a 95mph fastball sloppily. Comparing your swing to the pros is a great way to look for ways to improve your technique. Stances should be firmly grounded when getting ready to swing with more weight on the back foot to retain control. Keep a relaxed grip on the bat to avoid tense elbows that could strain when swinging. Focus on stance and form to have a smoother, lower-risk swing when hitting the ball.
Many baseball-related injuries come from players not knowing the correct way to slide into a base. This usually results in a lot of ankle sprains and strains. There are a few different types of slides and it’s important to know which one should be used in a particular play. For the most basic feet-first slide, keep your core tight so your entire body is supported. Never throw your arms back or let them drag on the ground when you go into your slide or you could wind up with serious shoulder or wrist injuries.
The bases themselves can pose a hazard to sliding players as most of them are bolted to the ground, creating a painful obstacle for the runner. Safety-release bases have a mechanism that allows them to be dislodged from their position when a player slides. Studies have shown that there can be up to a 95% decrease in injuries when safety-release bases are used instead of standard ones. These are great tools to use when working on sliding, but practicing is the best way to avoid injuries and perfect the right technique