"Shutting Down the Arm"

3and2Fastball posted:

More kids nationwide are throwing year round

Kids are throwing 90+ at younger & younger ages

We are seeing a huge increase in Tommy John surgeries for teenagers

It blows my mind that some people might think that taking 2-3 months off from throwing could be detrimental to arm health.  Is that really the case?  Or is the problem with taking 2-3 months from throwing that it can potentially slow down development?

Yes, we are seeing an increase in TJ surgeries for teenagers, but to assume this correlates with an increase in actual injuries is a logical fallacy. An increase in the number of surgeries on teenagers only means that more teenagers are undergoing surgery for an injury that, in the past, wasn't treated with surgery. 

I like to use this example. From 1969 to 1986, artificial hearts were implanted in approximately 100 cases. IN 1986, the Jarvik-7 greatly increased the use of such devices and by 2010, there were some 1300 implants. Now, does this mean heart disease has increased by 1 million percent? NO, of course not. It simply means that the way we treat heart disease has changed an a particular surgery that was once reserved for only the most desperate of cases is now routine. Same with TJ. Rates of TJ surgery are going up because 1) it's now a more accepted surgery at all ages, 2) a LOT more doctors now have the expertise necessary to use the procedure, 3) the results have been good enough to convince doctors to go the surgical route with patients they would not have deemed surgery cases in the past, and 4) we get our young pitchers medical help much quicker than in the past.

Now, none of this proves that injury rates aren't on the increase with teem pitchers. However, it shows very viable factors affecting the increase in the number of surgeries that don't depend on an injury rate increase.

CaCO3Girl posted:
roothog66 posted:

Here's another example of why I take anything Andrews says with a grain of salt:

"Dr. Andrews actually said that kids throwing harder than 85 miles per hour in high school are going beyond the "developmental properties" of the human body at that age and that going over that is a major risk factor." How would he possibly come up with that number? The problem is that when someone when his credentials makes comments, it's hard to shift out what he's actually basing on scientific study and knowledge and what's simple speculation biased with a slant toward low-risk evaluation. Someone said it earlier, but throwing is bad on the arm, period. Andrews emphasis is on the risk side rather than the reward side and understandably so. His job isn't to build big league pitchers. His job is just to fix the damage, so he's naturally going to be on the low risk side of the equation.

 

 

I read his study.  He came up with that number by testing stress on cadaver arms.  Supposedly, a "normal" person can only handle the stress of pitching 85mph without it breaking, or being severely damaged. 

The thing that always bugged me with that assertion though is that it is SOOO obvious that players who throw over that are genetically unique. They aren't the norm.  We have said on here a thousand times that you can't train kids to throw as hard as they do today.  All the training in the world won't work unless the genetics are there to back it up.

There is a LHP senior in my son's high school that wants to pitch at the next level SOOO bad. He does strength training, weekly pitching lessons, he's about 5'11 200#'s, he wants it so much, but he's only hitting around 75.  It's obvious his genetics just aren't there.

I originally addressed the cadaver study in the previous post, but withdrew it because it's difficult to quickly explain. However, most researchers agree that this test on the ucl's of cadavers is useless because of factors it didn't take into account. What it basically found was that, if you don't take into account genetic differences in bone and muscle structure and focus solely on tensile strength of ucl's, you get a calculation that shows that, generally, every kids arm should basically fall off his body when his fastball reaches 81 mph. This, of course, does not and cannot, take into account supporting muscles and the stress affect variances of different mechanical models. In other words, there are thousands of important factors this test ignores. 

roothog66 posted:

As an experiment. How many on here over the age of, let's say 40, had an arm injury as a youth or high school pitcher? If so, did you ever visit a doctor about it? If so, what was the prescribed treatment? And, did anyone ever follow that up with a trip to a specialist?

This times 100...  No one ever went to the doctor for a sore arm.  You just fought through it until the season ended.  Ice and aspirin.  Plus Icy Hot.  Lots of icy hot.  Every team I ever played on had a gallon of the stuff to help you get through a game.  

Granted a BIG difference was that you played the spring season and legion ball than you were done until next spring.  

Obviously a very hot topic that has coaches at the highest levels on different sides of the fence. I will keep my opinion to myself as it is nothing more then an opinion based on the coaches I follow and trust. However, I have learned a lot about the mental side of the game over the last couple of months and different ways to practice the mental side of the game without ever throwing. I would highly recommend that everyone, and especially those who believe in taking time off, read anything and everything you can find by Brian Cain. Great stuff!

There is no question that arm injuries are at an exponential increase compared to 20-30 years ago. I get it in that what surgeons do is: they perform surgery. This is how they get paid. However, I happen to know a former DIv 1 coach who was in charge for 17 years at a prominent South East school ending in the 90's. Guess how many arm blow outs he had???? Zero. Zero in 17 years. Had numerous Big League pitchers from his school.

My own experience was similar. Pitched Div . Graduated in 88'. Zero arm injuries on our entire staff that I can recall in those 4 years. Zero. Pitched in Pro Ball thru mid 90's. I can certainly recall some guys with arm trouble who were shut down but nowhere near what we see today. I'm sorry but its just not close. Guys are throwing, on average, with way higher velocity now & as a result the spike in traumatic arm injury. 

3and2Fastball posted:

Genetics is a huge factor in all athletic achievements, absolutely.  However are we to believe that the current generation is genetically superior to every generation that came before them?  More pitchers than ever are throwing 95+

I believe it is the training that is taking players who could throw 85-90 to 95+ ... 

 I think training is THE factor in why we're seeing so much velocity increase rather than some idea that kids are simply throwing with more intent than in the past because someone stuck a radar gun out there. The fact is there are works in play with the body that limit velocity based on structural abilities and training has somewhat overcome genetics in this field. What I mean to say is that more bodies are being developed that can withstand 90+mph velocities. It's no different than any other athletic endeavor. Athletes get bigger, stronger, and faster over time. 

I actually think the way we train and develop athletes now makes for a lot more guys throwing heat being able to last long enough to reach high levels of pro ball where in the past, genetics would have taken over and they would have been physically out of the game due to injury during their teen years or before.

I just don't see how taking 2-3 months off completely from throwing can be anything but good for your longterm health, and whatever limits that puts on how quickly you develop is very much negated by being healthier.

I would largely agree with this statement but with some assumptions.  Assuming you want to throw 100% during the season - and throw harder than last season - you need for your arm to be in top shape from any number of aspects.  Taking off 2-3 months will reduce wear and tear, but something must be done to maintain, or re-establish - full arm strength to include numerous muscles in the arm, shoulder, back, etc.  If you take time off and don't have a really good program to ramp back up, then you can be more prone to injury.  It sounds simple, but throwing a baseball is probably one of the most efficient method of strengthening many of those muscles.  

I do think more kids' arms are getting hurt these days.  Go watch low level 12yo travel ball.  Most of the kids don't really need to be playing travel ball - they need to be practicing.  However, they are out there battling.  The top pitcher is usually some kid who can throw the ball harder than the other 10 kids and the team relies on this kid to win games.  The kid loves it and thinks of himself as a pitcher.  Who knows - maybe Daddy is in the dugout.  Weekend tournament with 5-6 games.  The team has a little success and Little Timmy gets his share of time on the mound both days.  When not on the mound, he's probably playing SS as he can actually get the ball to 1B without a hop.  Daddy's really proud.

Steve A. posted:

There is no question that arm injuries are at an exponential increase compared to 20-30 years ago. I get it in that what surgeons do is: they perform surgery. This is how they get paid. However, I happen to know a former DIv 1 coach who was in charge for 17 years at a prominent South East school ending in the 90's. Guess how many arm blow outs he had???? Zero. Zero in 17 years. Had numerous Big League pitchers from his school.

My own experience was similar. Pitched Div . Graduated in 88'. Zero arm injuries on our entire staff that I can recall in those 4 years. Zero. Pitched in Pro Ball thru mid 90's. I can certainly recall some guys with arm trouble who were shut down but nowhere near what we see today. I'm sorry but its just not close. Guys are throwing, on average, with way higher velocity now & as a result the spike in traumatic arm injury. 

Edit - I believe your experience and the coaches experience is true, but I don't believe that experience supports an exponential increase in arm injury.

I believe this to be true, but at the time how did one define arm injury?  I have second hand knowledge from multiple college programs in that era that if you wanted to play you didn't speak about a sore arm.  There was no fix.  So what would happen?  The player would simply stop performing at his peak and get less innings to the point where he was done with baseball.  No injury reported.  It becomes a survival of the fittest.  Those genetically gifted to perform at those levels without injury moved on.  Those that were not simply moved to the bottom of the rotation until they rotated out of baseball.  No injury ever reported.   

real green posted:
Steve A. posted:

There is no question that arm injuries are at an exponential increase compared to 20-30 years ago. I get it in that what surgeons do is: they perform surgery. This is how they get paid. However, I happen to know a former DIv 1 coach who was in charge for 17 years at a prominent South East school ending in the 90's. Guess how many arm blow outs he had???? Zero. Zero in 17 years. Had numerous Big League pitchers from his school.

My own experience was similar. Pitched Div . Graduated in 88'. Zero arm injuries on our entire staff that I can recall in those 4 years. Zero. Pitched in Pro Ball thru mid 90's. I can certainly recall some guys with arm trouble who were shut down but nowhere near what we see today. I'm sorry but its just not close. Guys are throwing, on average, with way higher velocity now & as a result the spike in traumatic arm injury. 

Edit - I believe your experience and the coaches experience is true, but I don't believe that experience supports an exponential increase in arm injury.

I believe this to be true, but at the time how did one define arm injury?  I have second hand knowledge from multiple college programs in that era that if you wanted to play you didn't speak about a sore arm.  There was no fix.  So what would happen?  The player would simply stop performing at his peak and get less innings to the point where he was done with baseball.  No injury reported.  It becomes a survival of the fittest.  Those genetically gifted to perform at those levels without injury moved on.  Those that were not simply moved to the bottom of the rotation until they rotated out of baseball.  No injury ever reported.   

I'm not saying this is inaccurate but it was simply not my experience. If you blow out your UCL or your Rotator, there is not enough aspirin or Ben Gay in Texas to get you to post your next start & be in the zip code of effective. So, the notion that there were a fleet of guys grinding out UCL & Rotator tears & slowly transitioning out of the game seems a bit difficult for me to believe.

Maybe legion ball or HS ball flipping it up there, but 1 dose of that at a Higher College level or in Pro Ball & case closed, you are done. I understand the data was not tracked like now & it certainly did happen (my Dad, without question, blew his UCL in 1964). Never had surgery, was not an option then.

4T2 posted:

OK, I do understand that a long, restful break is essential for arm health. What I can't seem to find solid information on is the meaning of "shutting down" the arm. Is this zero throwing for 2-3 months? Is it just no pitching? What about long-toss?

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I think at the very minimum there should be six weeks without any throwing but ideally it is 2 plus months. Also at least another month of not pitching in games after you start touching a ball again.

That doesn't mean you do  nothing, get strong with eating and heavy lifting (avoid overhead stuff) and also do  lower body expressiveness stuff. Then slowly ramp up intensity again starting with slow throwing and increasing gradually and maybe do weighted balls with it.

roothog66 posted:

Not a fan of this philosophy. Shut down from competitive throwing? Yes. Lighten the load? Sure. A complete shutdown - no throwing? I know of no other athletic activity or motion where this would be considered a good idea. Muscles and proprioception simply don't work like that. I think this notion causes more harm than good.

Other activities aren't as harmfull as throwing,every pitcher gets hurt or is at least having pain with no exception. Throwing is not a healthy activity and causes inflammation in the arm.

 

Now I think you could do just 4 weeks off and then 4 weeks throwing 45 mph and it would give the arm the same kind of recuperation but who really throws that soft for a month when he can throw 80?

Now if the kid has the discipline to do it go for it but most kids will probably throw harder soon.

Btw I think that part of why tj is up is that there is better diagnostics and more surgeons but still most evidence does point towards tj being up and harder and year round pitching being the biggest  factor.

You can always try to interpret the studies your way and everyone thinks he is smarter than the system - until the kid gets hurt. Everybody thinks just a little more goes and then the arm breaks. Andrews reaearch might not be perfect but I would be wary of using bro science to justify  erring on the risky side. Better to err on the conservative side.

Dominik85 posted:

Btw I think that part of why tj is up is that there is better diagnostics and more surgeons but still most evidence does point towards tj being up and harder and year round pitching being the biggest  factor.

You can always try to interpret the studies your way and everyone thinks he is smarter than the system - until the kid gets hurt. Everybody thinks just a little more goes and then the arm breaks. Andrews reaearch might not be perfect but I would be wary of using bro science to justify  erring on the risky side. Better to err on the conservative side.

Gotta ask - what evidence are you talking about that points towards those factors being the culprit? I'm also not familiar with the term "bro science" but I'm sure guys like Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig, Dr. Niessen, and Kyle Boddy probably don't categorize their work as "bro science." Just a guess.

Andrews and fleisig both recommend shutting down and cite overuse as the main risk.their science is not 100 percent conclusive but conclusive enough that it has to be considered as the current gold standard. There are plenty of studies on overuse out there. They are not proving it 100 percent but are enough that the burden of evidence has probably shifted to the other side.

There simply currently isn't a good reason to believe that andrews and fleisig have done wrong with their recommendation to shut down.

 

That doesn't mean there isn't a better protocol out there I actually would prefer a month off and then another month at 50-60 percent intesity but propagating it would not be correct until it has been tested.

Currently 2-3 months off is simply the gold standard even though the evidence is low as there hasnt been anything better being proven yet unfortunately. 

 

But anything else out there is N=1 type of science so the common sense is sticking with Andrews and fleisigs recommendation.

2019Dad posted:
Dominik85 posted:
every pitcher gets hurt or is at least having pain with no exception.
 

Every pitcher is having pain? Are you talking MLB? That certainly is not the case with 16-18 year olds.

I think at some point all our kids who pitch have had pain of some sort.  Perhaps they call it "soreness" or "stiffness", but it is a pain receptor firing.  

Steve A. posted:
CaCO3Girl posted:
Steve A. posted:

No question. Mechanics, genetics, conditioning, volume of throwing. So many variables.

What is impossible to argue, however, is that throwing a baseball with max effort repeatedly, on a regular basis, is much more likely to result in arm injury than throwing a baseball with moderate effort repeatedly, on a regular basis. This is simply a fact.

So therefore, if you reduce the MAX EFFORT in the equation during the "offseason, or down time" this should logically = less chance of injury. 

So, therefore, launching heavy objects at max effort into nets in the offseason DOES NOT = Less Injury. Launching heavy objects into nets into the offseason = more opportunity for injury. Max Effort being key in the above.

 

There is only so far you can go with "max effort".  Trust me when I say my son's pitching "max effort" can't come close to what he does from his knees, into a net, with a weighted ball.  And I say again, it's NOT a pitching motion where he can gather momentum, it's more like shot putting.

Totally get it. Sounds like it is a rational approach. I just have seen crazy winter programs in my area & I am sure it is not exclusive to where I am located.

I do not have it figured out by any stretch & that is why I am here. To gain insight into how others like yourself who are students of the process are approaching it & maybe we can help each other in our common goals to make our kids experience as positive as it can be.

Steve, you're not alone with how your viewing this... Try to get educated with the programs, their hypothesis, their results, their plan.  YOU have to be comfortable with what your son is learning.  A very key thing which is a contributor to injuries from all of the advanced techniques is the "actual throwing protocols".  When the players are taught heavy ball or bands, there is a specific way the training has to be done, or the player is exposing himself to unnecessary risk.  Off season protocols with each program, ensuring proper balanced strength (all the muscles in the back, all it takes is one group to weak and throws off the kinetic chain), pre throwing and post throwing routines.  

I certainly didn't mean to incite a riot with my original question, but I truly appreciate the various perspectives. From the scientifically-based to the empirically-based, I appreciate them all. It seems as though science supports a shut-down, but genetics can "trump" that to some degree (as evidenced by those that skip the shut-down, develop faster, and don't get hurt). Seems like a risk, unless one is awfully certain his kid's arm has that magic genetic advantage. I'll be shutting him down and focusing on other areas of development, personally.

A follow-up question, which was actually 50% of the reason I asked in the first place: how do you manage timing of the shut-down? Many advocate fall-ball, many also advocate attending college camps/showcases in the fall/winter. HS baseball starts up in January...I don't see a 8+ week span in my calendar that accommodates the other activities. How do you shut down, but then perform at a showcase/camp? Am I missing a month in my calendar that you guys all have?

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4T2 posted:

I certainly didn't mean to incite a riot with my original question, but I truly appreciate the various perspectives. From the scientifically-based to the empirically-based, I appreciate them all. It seems as though science supports a shut-down, but genetics can "trump" that to some degree (as evidenced by those that skip the shut-down, develop faster, and don't get hurt). Seems like a risk, unless one is awfully certain his kid's arm has that magic genetic advantage. I'll be shutting him down and focusing on other areas of development, personally.

A follow-up question, which was actually 50% of the reason I asked in the first place: how do you manage timing of the shut-down? Many advocate fall-ball, many also advocate attending college camps/showcases in the fall/winter. HS baseball starts up in January...I don't see a 8+ week span in my calendar that accommodates the other activities. How do you shut down, but then perform at a showcase/camp? Am I missing a month in my calendar that you guys all have?

-42

My son shut down for late July & August, started playing baseball again in September, and also started an eight-week throwing program in September. He'll start pitching from a mound again in November, but in the meantime he is just playing as a position player. It certainly complicates things from a recruiting perspective but, like you, it is difficult to find a time to shut down.

Youth pitchers should shut down, I think that we all understand that is what is the protocol. Shutting down isn't always about giving the arm a rest, but rather other parts of the body as well.

I believe that Dominik brings a valid point, most pitchers at some point in their careers experience some type of major injury, and there is an expression among those that log a lot of innings, "my arms is hanging to the ground".   ML pitchers don't pitch in the off season. College pitchers that play summer ball shut down for fall practice.

If this is true why would a youth pitcher, whose body isn't developed play all year?

Weighted ball programs are not for everyone. All pitchers, including youth pitchers should have a baseline evaluation.  And the evaluation should be by a qualified pitching coach.

JMO

 

TPM posted:

ML pitchers don't pitch in the off season. College pitchers that play summer ball shut down for fall practice.

If this is true why would a youth pitcher, whose body isn't developed play all year?

 

Kyle's blog post (www.drivelinebaseball.com/2012...aining-is-the-devil/) touched on this topic, and had an interesting perspective, IMO:

"GREAT ADVICE FOR PROFESSIONALS, TERRIBLE ADVICE FOR AMATEURS

Yeah, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez should probably take plenty of time off in the off-season because they threw 200+ innings, plus tons of side work, plus their legendary training programs, plus spring training, plus… well, you get the point. However, you aren’t Justin Verlander.

Justin Verlander

Is this you? I thought not.

However, amateur pitchers have numerous mechanical flaws, lack of fitness in their pitching arm, and throw maybe 40-50 innings per year. There is plenty left in the tank for them to hit the weights hard and throw a few times per week to improve throwing mechanics, proprioceptive sense, and body awareness."

I have to say, I respect Kyle a ton and am a big fan of his work, but I really think that is just insane to have youth pitchers throw year round without a break.  If anything, their arms are overused well beyond what a pro pitcher goes through.  After they pitch they usually play a defensive position the rest of a tournament, they throw an incredible amount over the course of a weekend between warmups, playing a position, pitching, then back to playing a position etc.... Sure some are PO's but most are not.... Factor in that their growth plates haven't closed, their mechanics aren't top notch, they are still growing which throws mechanics off even more

I think it is just insane, and doubt there is any data to back that up.  It is theoretical, and theoretical is a big roll of the dice.

3and2Fastball posted:

I have to say, I respect Kyle a ton and am a big fan of his work, but I really think that is just insane to have youth pitchers throw year round without a break.  If anything, their arms are overused well beyond what a pro pitcher goes through.  After they pitch they usually play a defensive position the rest of a tournament, they throw an incredible amount over the course of a weekend between warmups, playing a position, pitching, then back to playing a position etc.... Sure some are PO's but most are not.... Factor in that their growth plates haven't closed, their mechanics aren't top notch, they are still growing which throws mechanics off even more

I think it is just insane, and doubt there is any data to back that up.  It is theoretical, and theoretical is a big roll of the dice.

Fair, but keep in mind he is talking 13+, not 10, 11, 12

TPM posted:

I think KB's philosophy is more about working in the gym to get stronger and better, learn, rather than be in competition all year round.

Absolutely, and in a perfect world, if Coaches held to the ideals that Driveline frequently proposes (strict pitch counts, practicing more than competing, not playing SS/3B after pitching in the same weekend etc) that'd be different.  But in reality most of those kids are abused at tournaments, pitch way too much and their arms need a break...

I believe that every young pitcher should take at least two months off of competitive throwing.  However, people need to understand that it doesn't have to be the same two or three months for everyone.  But for most it will be in the end of July to beginning of February time frame. In other words within those 6 months. 

Everyone should understand that pitching has risk involved.  You cannot eliminate risk, but you can do things that will help.  High velocity is a problem and can create additional risk.  However in many cases high velocity gets the biggest rewards.  Risk Reward, too much risk might create injury.  No risk = No reward.

Probably still too early to call, but it looks like PitchSmart and HS Association pitch rules are helping to eliminate a lot of abuse. I think we only had one or two violations of the pitchsmart rules all year.  We are talking about thousands and thousands of games.

2019Dad posted:
TPM posted:

ML pitchers don't pitch in the off season. College pitchers that play summer ball shut down for fall practice.

If this is true why would a youth pitcher, whose body isn't developed play all year?

 

Kyle's blog post (www.drivelinebaseball.com/2012...aining-is-the-devil/) touched on this topic, and had an interesting perspective, IMO:

"GREAT ADVICE FOR PROFESSIONALS, TERRIBLE ADVICE FOR AMATEURS

Yeah, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez should probably take plenty of time off in the off-season because they threw 200+ innings, plus tons of side work, plus their legendary training programs, plus spring training, plus… well, you get the point. However, you aren’t Justin Verlander.

Justin Verlander

Is this you? I thought not.

However, amateur pitchers have numerous mechanical flaws, lack of fitness in their pitching arm, and throw maybe 40-50 innings per year. There is plenty left in the tank for them to hit the weights hard and throw a few times per week to improve throwing mechanics, proprioceptive sense, and body awareness."

You have to consider that kyle hates youth select ball at least according to his tweets. His post probably describes kids who mostly play rec for like six months a year.

I'm sure he would recommend off time for players who play from february till November in travel, school and showcase teams, espec two way players.

But a kid who just plays LL or  HS and then shuts down competitive pitching for 5 months probably is fine taking two weeks off and then continue light throwing.

PGStaff posted:

I believe that every young pitcher should take at least two months off of competitive throwing.  However, people need to understand that it doesn't have to be the same two or three months for everyone.  But for most it will be in the end of July to beginning of February time frame. In other words within those 6 months. 

Everyone should understand that pitching has risk involved.  You cannot eliminate risk, but you can do things that will help.  High velocity is a problem and can create additional risk.  However in many cases high velocity gets the biggest rewards.  Risk Reward, too much risk might create injury.  No risk = No reward.

Probably still too early to call, but it looks like PitchSmart and HS Association pitch rules are helping to eliminate a lot of abuse. I think we only had one or two violations of the pitchsmart rules all year.  We are talking about thousands and thousands of games.

Pitchsmart is being followed but  do wish the daily limits were set lower for the young kids.  Pitchsmart is SOOO careful in saying anything over 20 pitches needs a full day rest, but then let's a 13 year old  throw 95 pitches in one game and an 11 year old throw 85 pitches?  OUCH!  My son's JV Coach in High School said "You will never throw over 80 pitches in a game, even though the state says you can throw 90."

I really hope they reexamine the daily pitch count for next year. 

CaCO3Girl posted:
PGStaff posted:

I believe that every young pitcher should take at least two months off of competitive throwing.  However, people need to understand that it doesn't have to be the same two or three months for everyone.  But for most it will be in the end of July to beginning of February time frame. In other words within those 6 months. 

Everyone should understand that pitching has risk involved.  You cannot eliminate risk, but you can do things that will help.  High velocity is a problem and can create additional risk.  However in many cases high velocity gets the biggest rewards.  Risk Reward, too much risk might create injury.  No risk = No reward.

Probably still too early to call, but it looks like PitchSmart and HS Association pitch rules are helping to eliminate a lot of abuse. I think we only had one or two violations of the pitchsmart rules all year.  We are talking about thousands and thousands of games.

Pitchsmart is being followed but  do wish the daily limits were set lower for the young kids.  Pitchsmart is SOOO careful in saying anything over 20 pitches needs a full day rest, but then let's a 13 year old  throw 95 pitches in one game and an 11 year old throw 85 pitches?  OUCH!  My son's JV Coach in High School said "You will never throw over 80 pitches in a game, even though the state says you can throw 90."

I really hope they reexamine the daily pitch count for next year. 

Those numbers for 11-12-13 year olds go back to the deal with the devil that Andrews and ASMI made with Little League to get something passed.  He has stated publicly that he wishes they were lower, but they compromised to get Little League on board.  Now those numbers are pretty much etched in stone.  

3and2Fastball posted:
TPM posted:

I think KB's philosophy is more about working in the gym to get stronger and better, learn, rather than be in competition all year round.

Absolutely, and in a perfect world, if Coaches held to the ideals that Driveline frequently proposes (strict pitch counts, practicing more than competing, not playing SS/3B after pitching in the same weekend etc) that'd be different.  But in reality most of those kids are abused at tournaments, pitch way too much and their arms need a break...

If a kid's arm gets abused between the months of Feb-Nov, then a 2-month break is certainly called for.  However, if the kid has a light load between Feb-Sept, then 2 months off might not be completely necessary.  Where exactly a "light load" turns into "overuse" is not real clear, but the comments above provide a start.  I also individual kids experience different wear and tear based on their current strength (relative to competition) and their overall mechanics, which can include whether the kid is high effort or low effort.  

Two months off is the gold standard, but to apply that standard and ignore all other aspects is, IMO, short sighted.  I would still promote the 2 month break (with proper program to ramp back up), but folks should not think such a break is a panacea for abuse during the other 10 months.  Conversely, under the appropriate circumstances, tossing the ball around during those 2 months is not going to blow the kids arm out.

4T2 posted:

>>>>>>>>

A follow-up question, which was actually 50% of the reason I asked in the first place: how do you manage timing of the shut-down? Many advocate fall-ball, many also advocate attending college camps/showcases in the fall/winter. HS baseball starts up in January...I don't see a 8+ week span in my calendar that accommodates the other activities. How do you shut down, but then perform at a showcase/camp? Am I missing a month in my calendar that you guys all have?

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4T2 - For Pitchers, I'd stay away from winter camps.  As you mentioned, there is no way to achieve a complete shut down and rest period, plus the arm will be tired after a full year of throwing, the kid won't show well as a P on a winter weekend.  We've done a quick two week shut down at the end of July and take two weeks to slowly ramp back up so the boys were ready for both fall ball or the fall camps and showcases.  (this served as an excellent mental refresher as well, plus I could play some golf).  Complete shutdown started around Nov 1, started throwing bull pen Jan 15 (or so), ready to go in Feb for HS, which for us starts Mar 1.  

JMO.. the winter camps we attended were more for position players...

If your son is a higher academic kid, get him to a few of the high academic college camps  for the fall of junior year.  Two full days under the watch of all the coaches, if he's got skill and grades the coaches will notice, he'll have momentum going into any October AZ, HF, PG Acad, or ShB large format showcases.

 

4T2 posted:

I certainly didn't mean to incite a riot with my original question, but I truly appreciate the various perspectives. From the scientifically-based to the empirically-based, I appreciate them all. It seems as though science supports a shut-down, but genetics can "trump" that to some degree (as evidenced by those that skip the shut-down, develop faster, and don't get hurt). Seems like a risk, unless one is awfully certain his kid's arm has that magic genetic advantage. I'll be shutting him down and focusing on other areas of development, personally.

A follow-up question, which was actually 50% of the reason I asked in the first place: how do you manage timing of the shut-down? Many advocate fall-ball, many also advocate attending college camps/showcases in the fall/winter. HS baseball starts up in January...I don't see a 8+ week span in my calendar that accommodates the other activities. How do you shut down, but then perform at a showcase/camp? Am I missing a month in my calendar that you guys all have?

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Here in lies the entire problem, IMHO.  My issue is with the Sophomore to Senior in HS that is looking to play at the next level.  If you are trying to get a college scholarship, the summer and fall is the time to be seen by colleges.  I understand there is some recruiting happening in the spring, but that is there competitive schedule.  This is the EXACT issue we struggled with when my son was going through the process in 2013-2015.  

Son pitched since he was 8 or 9.  We always tried to be sensible and use pitch counts before they were in vogue.  He never complained of arm pain until he felt a "pop" at the age of 15 (actually 1 week before his 16th birthday).  I don't think he was overused, but he did throw frequently as the pitch count rules allowed.  He played CF when he wasn't pitching.

I beat myself up very badly when his UCL was injured.  I placed ALL the blame on myself.  We had the fortune to see Dr. Andrews.  He is an incredibly caring man that takes an incredible amount of time with his patients.  He sat there and listened to our "story" and asked a LOT of questions.  He was extremely patient as well and assured me that it may or may not have been anyone's "fault" that it happened.  He did state that the harder throwing kids ARE the ones getting injured.  He also admitted that he was unsure if it was because they threw harder, which led to them being used more and possibly overused, or it was simply a genetic factor.  Most likely it is a combination of all the above.

The last 5 years of my son's life has been extremely difficult.  He has gone through ulnar nerve transposition and recovery, then UCL reconstruction and recovery.  12/16/17 will be 2 years post-op from TJ surgery.  Things still aren't back to "normal", and they may never be.  It has been and is a LONG road with lots of "two steps forward and then one step back".  His dream is still MLB.  I support him in whichever endeavor he pursues, but as a dad, I'm tired!  The stress is significant.  I completely understand that there is NOTHING I can do, but he is my son.  I will never watch him play again without fear and trepidation.

Competitive baseball is now available year around. To blame the organizations that provide it as the problem is ludicrous. If you choose to have your kid pitch competitively year round - that's on you. I personally think that the availability is fantastic. It gives incredible scheduling flexibility for those attempting to make it to the next level. It allows a kid ans his parents to have choices as to when they take a break and when they schedule off-season work. However, in my experience, I have seen very few (in fact, can't think of one kid) who actually pitch a 12 month schedule or anything close to it.

What works for one may or may not work for another. My '18 son learned to say no to a lot of people and opportunities. In the end, the missed opportunities.....(Scout ball, Ft Myers, AZ).....he'll never know what they were and they don't matter.

He played one season of fall ball freshman year.  Sophomore year, shut down in Oct after doing a couple camps, trained for HS start in March.  Junior year, first time he was really clocked (we really seen it as good velocity and never really cared about the mph)....... 86-90, which garnered very little interest. He decided at that point 90 was not good enough. He shut down in August, worked out and prepared for HS spring, came out 89-93.......That's what it took to bring them out........no instate schools ever surfaced, coincidentally the instate schools were the only camps he attended in the past.

He shut down in August, works out daily, currently gained 11lbs of lean muscle, works with an athletic trainer on mobility and will start arm care/pitching program the first week of November, ramping up to February. To be continued..........

Time off has paid him back well. It comes down to doing your own thing to improve or following the pack and having less time to get it done. JMO

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