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Fox Valley Orthopedics’ Dr. Kevan Ketterling Coaches Kids on How to Bring It Home When Playing Ball

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Fox Valley Orthopedics’ Dr. Kevan Ketterling Coaches Kids on How to Bring It Home When Playing Ball

MLB Baseball Season Kicked Off Down Under Last Month

On March 22nd and 23rd, baseball fans enjoyed the opening of the Major League Baseball (MLB) season as – for the first time ever – it kicked off in another country. The Arizona Diamondbacks played the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sydney, Australia. And the Dodgers were victorious in a 3-1 win.

If you’re thinking about introducing your kids to baseball this baseball season, Dr. Kevan E. Ketterling – a sub-specialized and fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon at Fox Valley Orthopedics – has some tips on how to help them be unstoppable on any field in the world.

“I’ve been taking care of high school teams for over 20 years; there’s no question that athletes have gotten bigger and stronger and faster over the years, and this has lead to an increase in traumatic injuries,” says Dr. Ketterling.

This is why learning injury prevention and conditioning is vital for today’s young athletes, especially if they want to stay healthy and safe, and be able to play baseball when they get to be as old as their parents.

Here are Dr. Ketterling’s recommendations:

In General…

  • Kids need to stay in shape throughout the year.
  • Before a practice or game, children ought to warm up by stretching, running, and doing some easy, gradual throwing.
  • Encourage children only to do what their bodies can do…little bodies are still growing and changing, so different playing techniques will be safe at different stages of a child’s life.
  • Coach kids never to pitch through elbow or shoulder pain…if they’re in pain, they need to tell their parents, so a physician’s appointment can be arranged.
  • Learning the proper mechanics of the game, including control and accuracy, is key.

The Mechanics of Pitching…

There are 5 key points to remember when throwing a ball…learning these will help your child pitch perfectly:

1. The way the ball is removed from the glove after catching

As your child removes the ball from her glove hand, the thumbs of both hands ought to be in the “down” position in preparation for tilting back her arm.

To work on this skill, have your child place a ball in each hand, touching them together while moving in a circular motion away from each other.

2. The way the ball turns as it leaves your child’s glove 

Your child’s fingers should remain “on top” of the ball as long as possible as his arm is brought back and raised in the air. Make sure he keeps a straight line with his target.

3. The position of your child’s elbow in relation to her shoulder

Your child’s elbow needs to remain high so it is slightly above shoulder height at the time of release. Her hand should always be positioned behind the ball for this part of the throw.

4. The position of your child’s lead foot as it hits the ground

Your child’s back foot should remain in front of the rubber while his lead foot strikes the ground pointed directly at the target. He needs to land on the ball of his foot rather than on the heel.

5. Your child’s hand position at release of the throw

Your child’s hand should remain behind the ball, causing an upward rotation of the ball as it leaves her hand.