How to Recover From Pitching
After pitching many innings during a game, the recovery process is one of the most important things for a pitcher. Their position is one of the most important ones of the game, and after pitching several innings in a game, it can become very taxing on their throwing muscles. It is also important to note that a pitcher should take care of their entire body after a game and not just their throwing arm to recover well from pitching. This is because a pitcher’s legs can have lactic acid build-up after, and pitchers need to release it during the recovery process. Below are some tips that pitchers can use to keep their throwing muscles in the best shape possible and avoid potential injuries.
Stretching is essential for all players at all positions. Still, it is significant for pitchers to keep their throwing muscles flexible and blood circulating to them. It is important to note that they do not need to stretch parts of their body that are already “loose” when they stretch after a game. If pitchers spend time stretching parts of their body that are already loose and warmed up, this can become counterproductive. Instead, they should be stretching areas of their body that start to feel tight after they’ve been pitching. One effective stretch is the Sleeper Stretch. The Sleeper Stretch can help with internal rotation, which is the area where pitchers tend to feel tight after a game. This stretch can enable them to maintain and gain back any range of motion they may have lost throughout the game. Pitchers also need to ensure they are stretching other parts of their bodies during this recovery process. This is crucial because they do not want to pull a muscle in their back or legs during the next pitching game because it is not adequately cared for beforehand.
Get a Massage
Getting a massage on specific muscles used during throwing can help the muscles receive nutrients from the bloodstream. These nutrients are essential to recovering. During a massage, the blood has an easier time circulating and distributing these nutrients all over the body, which can help speed up the recovery process. Massages are also a great way to help injured pitchers recover because it assists in healing damaged tissue. Massages are a great way to increase tissue permeability, and they can help blood, oxygen, and nutrients reach the damaged areas to speed up the recovery and healing process.
Do Light Cardio and Mobility Exercises
Using light cardio, not distance running, is an easy way to keep their body moving and blood circulating. As stated above, having their blood flow is essential to ensure the proper nutrients are being sent to their throwing muscles. When these muscles are given the right nutrients needed, the recovery process can go a lot smoother. Light cardio also ties into the statement above that pitchers need to release the lactic acid that can get built up in their legs. An important note is to keep it to just light cardio; anything more than this can cause pitchers to become even more fatigued, which is the opposite of what they want to achieve during the recovery process.
Mobility exercises mean going through a full dynamic warmup after throwing. Going through a full dynamic warmup can help engage the entire body, not just their throwing arm. This can include engaging arms, legs, and core to help blood flow to areas that need it the most.
After pitching, a pitcher’s body needs to refuel itself after exerting a lot of its energy. It can take a toll on their body, making a repeatedly fast motion for an extended period. One of the essential things a pitcher can do to help their body regain some of this fuel is to eat plenty of carbs and protein after a game. They can have almost any protein or carbs, but many players opt for a protein shake or bar for that quick recovery fuel. It is also essential to make sure that they are hydrated. This can seem like a given to most players of any sport, but they must give their bodies plenty of water because the more hydrated they are, the faster a pitcher can recover.
Pay Attention to Mechanics
Paying attention to mechanics may seem like one of the most obvious answers, but monitoring their pitches and their mechanics can help their recovery process in the long run. They must pay attention to their body during every pitch to ensure they correctly go through the motions. Even having a few pitches that are not mechanically correct can start to wear down on their throwing muscles. Practicing the proper throwing mechanics during every one of their pitches can relieve any stress that may be put on their arm after a game. The more pitches they throw that are done mechanically correctly, the less stress they’ll put on their throwing arm. It is also essential to monitor how many pitches they are throwing in general. A pitcher does not want to find themselves overdoing it and end up throwing up to 100 pitches in one game because this can put an extreme amount of stress on their throwing arm, making the recovery process take much longer than it usually should. Thankfully, almost all coaches pay attention to how many pitches they are throwing each inning during every game to make sure their pitchers are not wearing themselves out every single game.
Invest in High-End Equipment
Many pitchers want to be able to recover as quickly as they possibly can. Pitchers can buy devices that can stimulate the muscles into a faster recovery, but they can be a bit of an investment. One of the pieces of equipment favored by many major league baseball pitchers is the Marc Pro. The Marc Pro is a device that delivers some of the most effective muscle recovery available. The investment is entirely worth it for many professional athletes, especially during the playoffs when pitchers are sometimes called on to pitch in more than one game a week.
An example would be Nathan Eovaldi on the Boston Red Sox. Over the past few seasons, there have been a few times during the playoffs where he started one game, then made a relief appearance (or two) a few days later. Eovaldi is an excellent example of what happens when a pitcher follows a strict recovery process. It allowed him to be available when his team needed him the most, and he was an integral part in helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2018.
Using any of the tips above can help players speed up their recovery time. For many players, having a shorter recovery time is vital to have extra time to work on their skill set between each game to beat opposing teams more often. Even if a speedy recovery is not necessarily the primary goal, these tips can also help pitchers recover in general in between every game that they have to go out and pitch in. Taking care of themselves off the field is just as important as taking care of themselves on the field because if they are not correctly training when they are not on the mound, they are more likely to find themselves with an injury during a game.