Playing catch is a sort of national pastime in the US. All you need is a baseball glove and a baseball. And, all you do is throw the ball, the other guy catches it and throws it back. Why all the fuss? Why do Dad's seem so set on playing catch with their sons?
Playing catch is like a rite of passage. It's something that fathers and sons have done for many years and it's a way Dads connect with their sons without the need for conversation (which as well all know is a must for most men). Dads become kids again, their sons grow up, and they both have a good time.
Until Dad can't throw anymore because his shoulder hurts.
We have seen a lot of Dads over the years who have shoulder pain ONLY when they throw and they feel a heavy pressure to get better quickly. Their sons are growing up and they know that playing catch will fade with age. Every other activity seems to be just fine but the pain from throwing is a stinker. It just won't go away.
Many Dads try things like creams, rub-downs, stretching, medication (Aleve, Motrin, Aspirin,etc.) to chase off the nasty pain pest. Sometimes it works; most of the time it doesn't. And there's a reason why these things fail. Actually, two reasons.
The first reason is that there are two motions in the shoulder that must be within a certain range and have a balance between them- a ratio. We call this the shoulder ratio (for more detail on the specific motions and how it effects the throwing motion, click here). It's similar to other motion ratios of the body (one of the reasons for back pain is an inadequate lower back ratio) and it's something you can restore with prescriptive exercise but never fix with creams, rub-downs or pills.
The second reason is your shoulder is weak. Dads often argue. "Look, I go to the gym, lift weights, and work out all the time. I hardly think I'm weak." But, when we test their strength in specific movements, they are often 50-80% less than normal. Numbers are a beautiful thing; very hard to argue with the facts. You may think you're strength training the right way and that your shoulder is tough and strong but the numbers don't lie. You're weak as a kitten.
If you're a Dad with a sore shoulder or a Mom who knows one, carve some time out of your day and come by Sports Center on May 16, 2006 to hear me talk about this issue. I'll explain the shoulder ratio, what having a strong shoulder really means and the two muscle groups critical for long term shoulder health (and they are not in your shoulder). It's a great talk (I know - I'm biased but it's true) and it's free. You'll get an inside look at how we tackle this issue and help Dads play catch again.
We're ready to play. Are you?
Make today count.