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What Can Cause Forearm Soreness

Do you see kids getting any soreness in their forearm…if so what do you attribute it to?

This question comes from Joy, in response to my last post about how to incorporate teaching wrist snaps when your end goal is forearm fire. Forearm soreness is not uncommon, and it’s important to understand where it can come from.

DISCLAIMER: The following advice should only apply to normal, non-chronic soreness. If there is any doubt about the cause, or the student is in substantial pain, always consult a doctor.

Two types of soreness

Any adults and experienced players reading this probably know about DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness. That’s when you work out for the first time in a while and the next day everything hurts. As painful as it can be, it doesn’t mean you’re injured; it’s just the natural process of your overworked muscles getting rid of excess lactic acid.

When you’re dealing with a new pitcher, especially a young kid or someone for whom softball is her first real sport, she may not have experienced DOMS before, and it may be alarming the first time. If your student is experiencing soreness after her first pitching session, or her first session in a long time, explain to her that it is normal and not dangerous. Have her stretch or do light exercise for a day or two and see if the soreness subsides.

On the other hand, if the soreness develops over several practices, or gets progressively worse, it might not be DOMS.

After DOMS, the most common cause of forearm soreness in a pitcher who doesn’t have the hang of forearm fire yet is excess tension. While windmill pitching should be relaxed, natural, and safe, most pitchers, especially those who are learning, tend to tense up when they’re not yet comfortable with the difficult motion. Performing the windmill motion with unwanted tension is what makes pitchers more susceptible to injury.

If your student is experiencing soreness caused by tension, this is the course of action I recommend:

  • Rest until the soreness subsides and the student can throw without pain or fear of pain.
  • Focus on simple drills that emphasize relaxation.
  • Persist with the drills until you see some improvement in relaxation. Allowing the student to progress too fast and continue throwing with tension will only exacerbate the soreness.
  • If the student is really struggling with relaxing, try drilling with a smaller ball. Young pitchers with small hands often get arm tension from needing to grip the ball too hard if it’s too big.
  • If the soreness is unbearable, or doesn’t go away, the student should consult a doctor.

Additionally, check out Joe’s advice for reducing all types of arm pain in pitchers. More experienced pitchers who struggle with arm pain may especially benefit from this.

About the author

Carly

Carly is a windmill pitching specialist and co-founder of Fastpitch Power. She has coached teams at every level from 10U to NCAA. She also designed and built fastpitchpower.com. Please feel free to leave questions and site feedback in the comments or via our contact page!

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