Unit 4 – The T3 Philosophy
Its no secret that in the game of baseball today arm injury rates are higher than ever.
Millions of dollars are being poured into research and yet still many feel we have not gotten any closer to finding a solution to mitigating injury risk.
We too, have shared this frustration and know how broken the system is. This frustration lead us to years of research and continued discussion with many of the games top influencers. In these discussions we realized in order to look at the big picture we had to look at the multiple factors that lead to arm injury.
In 2018 we launched a philosophy called T3 in which focused on all the working categories that make up arm injury.
Those categories are…
We have had a relationship with Motus Global since 2013. Their ability to track and provide insights on Workload have been uniquely changing the game at the highest levels. As time has gone on we have seen how important Workload is to keep athletes healthy. We have also realized that Workload is the single most overlooked aspect of arm health.
When we consider the T3 Philosophy most coaches focus on Mechanics and Strength.
Mechanics traditionally have been taught from oral tradition within the coaching community of baseball. When we talk about mechanics in the T3 Philosophy we are talking about the understanding the sequence of specified movements determined by research from the biomechanics community.
Subjectively we as coaches simply are not good enough to determine specific stresses by the naked eye. The utilization of research is paramount in the furthering of our athletes from the mechanics category. Research to date only offers weak correlations between mechanics and specific injuries. Due to the low correlations in research between specific injury and mechanics we place the mechanics category as the bottom of our triangular approach.
When we look at the strength category we have to first consider why strength is important to injury prevention. Strength is injury resilience. With higher strength levels the body has a greater ability to adapt to and absorb external forces applied to the arm during throwing.
During throwing specifically the body experiences multiple changes in exertion throughout the span of a practice or game. As the body tires our motor neurons don’t fire as efficiently leaving recruited muscles unable to disperse applied force to the arm.
Due to these muscles inability to efficiently disperse force we can receive higher stress levels more directly upon areas such as the UCL. Strength helps us to counter this force for a longer period of time and protect the body through these higher stress periods.
Strength plays an important role in mitigating injury but with the ability to quantify and control daily incurred stress, our level of strength will play less a role. Strength is our second most valued category within our triangular philosophy “T3”.
As stated before most coaches only focus on the correlation of Mechanics and Strength. Workload though plays the most important role in mitigating injury risk.
For many Workload simply hasn’t been explained. The purpose of this Module is to cover in detail why Workload supersedes both Mechanics and Strength in importance. Workload if not monitored effectively can lead to up to a 25x higher risk of injury for athletes.
Some athletes may have elite level Mechanics and Strength but if Workload goes ignored these athletes still place themselves at a much higher risk of injury. Workload can also be described as monitoring fatigue. If an athlete places themselves under a higher level of fatigue we know the body has less of an ability to adapt to or recover from the stresses received during needed periods of elevated exertion.
Ultimately if an athlete continues in time under higher levels of fatigue the body breaks down leading to injury. Our ability to quantify our exertion daily with Workload Management allows us a unique ability to mitigate injury risk and compete at our highest level by managing fatigue.
In closing, we have to understand that in order to give ourselves the highest chance to stay healthy we must first keep our priorities in line.
Workload, Strength then Mechanics should be the continued focus in order for all coaches to assure that athletes stay ahead and healthy in their development overtime.