Some reading for parents, players and coaches

Got this in an email and saw it on another section; but thought it could be read here:

So far this baseball season I have gotten at least 10 phone calls and had another dozen or so conversations with parents regarding pitch counts and abuses on the mound. At this point, there is so much information out there medically and scientifically that it would be considered malpractice by a coach to allow a pitcher to throw an extreme amount of pitches all for the sake of a meaningless win at 10u through HS baseball. So far this year I have gotten reports of a 13 year old throwing 167 pitches in a 2 day time period, a 14 year old throw 119 pitch complete game last week , a 16 year old throw 145 pitches and another 18 year old throw over 200 pitches in a 3 day span. This is stupidity at the highest level.

If I were a parent of one of these boys this would enrage me. The reason for this is simple. This is NOT the Major Leagues. These boys are not under multi-million dollar contracts and have insurance on their arms. When you hear big league managers/pitching coaches allow a MLB pitcher to go 135+pitches it is not comparable to youth baseball in any way, shape or form. The reason for this is the MLB pitchers for the most part have a very good understanding of their body, their mechanics and how to throw to take stress off of their arms and transfer that to the rest of the larger muscles and have been training properly for the entire off season and by the way are full grown men who are much stronger and their bodies able to handle that type of stress much better. They also have been through a building up process in spring training to get their arms ready.

The other side of this is development. At younger ages, you usually have two "pitchers" on a team who just happen to have good arms and throw harder than the rest of their teammates so they get most of the time on the mound. This means that a guy who may have huge upside on the mound but has control problems never gets a real chance to work through some of his issues because a coach is "scared" to put him on the mound because they might lose if he pitches...call the therapist, the kids will never recover emotionally or mentally if they lose a game! Actually, it's the coach who is finding his self worth through winning a 12U or HS game that needs the help. The kids will be fine, they just want to play the game and be taught well!

Amount of pitching:
Age Max pitches/game Max games/week
8-10 52 +or- 10 2 +or- 0.6
11-12 68 +/- 10 same
13-14 76 +/- 10 same
15-16 91 +/- 5 same
17-18 106 +/- 5 same

These are the pitch counts from Dr. James Andrews group and ASMI in Birmingham, AL. He was my surgeon on my Tommy John surgery. The part to understand in these numbers is that these are not a starting point. They are a MAXIMUM, meaning if it is March, these kids should not be at their maximum number of pitches but they should be much lower than this and giving some of the other guys on the team a chance to develop as well and not just worrying about a win. Also keep in mind it is not the number of innings a kid throws but the number of pitches and you combine high pitch counts with poor physical conditioning and a lack of good throwing mechanics(there is a right and wrong way to throw a baseball) and you are just asking for your kid to end up on the sidelines or on the operating table.
If it were my son, there is no way I allow these abuses to go on. Say something to the "coach" or pull him off the team. It's that simple. For what it's worth, my 13u team went 29-15 last year and not one pitcher threw over 75 pitches, we are 8-3 to start out this year and we have not had one throw over 60 pitches so far. Could we win a few more games by keeping a guy in there longer...probably. Do I care? No. Do you?
Original Post
This email has been posted on the Pitching/Throwing part of this board several weeks ago.
This message has gone viral. I hope High School Coaches who read this board and those who don't get the message.

The person who wrote this I consider to be an expert in this subject.
His main mission in life is to not only develop great Pitcher/Baseball players, but to make sure they end up being great Adults as well.

Consider The Source!
Help me with reading this chart as I have to be reading this wrong. As an example, for a thirteen year old this says (at a max, worse case scenario) to pitch no more than 86 pitches per game and no more than 2.6 games per week, so a total of roughly 233 pitches per week at the ultimate worst?

Glad I don't/never had a pitcher.....I'd need a good bailbond company if a coach, at any level, threw my kid that much...
quote:
Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
Help me with reading this chart as I have to be reading this wrong. As an example, for a thirteen year old this says (at a max, worse case scenario) to pitch no more than 86 pitches per game and no more than 2.6 games per week, so a total of roughly 233 pitches per week at the ultimate worst?

Glad I don't/never had a pitcher.....I'd need a good bailbond company if a coach, at any level, threw my kid that much...


I believe it means 86 pitches in a week or 2.6 games per week = 86 pitches.
As a BTDT parent of a pitcher, there are so many things I wish I could go back and do over. I would be that obnoxious mom that the coaches hated and the other parents snickered at. I would make sure my son was not the work horse of the team throwing that complete game for the first win of the tournament and the back in a day or so for the "if we don't win we go home" game. Don't be like me, and mistake it for a compliment on your sons pitching talent if your son is put in this position on his summer/fall team. It just means that you need to find a team with MORE PITCHERS!

The ego in knowing that my kid was the go-to guy for the sure thing win would take a back seat to the common sense reality that his arm HAD to hurt him, no matter how much he assured us it didn't. I would have spoken up more for him, when his people pleasing personality kept him on the mound long after he should have been off. I wouldn't have bought into the line that you HAVE to play be-all-end-all round the calendar baseball to play at the next level. I would have had my kid sit fall and not kill himself schlepping all over the state in the summers. It worked out great for a few, but I also know a few who did NONE of that and they are in the bigs before they are even old enough to buy beer.

My sons dream of playing baseball effectively ended at 17 years old. One shoulder surgery down and another one needed, was more than he was willing to endure. Maybe he just didn't have the physical makeup to be a long term pitcher...maybe, that we will never know? I do know that he out pitched some of the best and the brightest early in his HS career, he wasn't flashy but he sure beat a lot of them....more often than not. He was held in very high regard by some of the best coaches in DFW, so it wasn't just his moms opinion.

I have tried to share our experiences with some friends who are excited about their very young kids being the star pitcher on their select team. I know the ones who weren't around my son personally when he was playing probably think that he wasn't that good, and that he probably wouldn't have gone very far no matter how his arm held up. I still try...so be it....I know that I regret a lot of things and allowing my pride at his success, and not stepping in for him when he was rode hard and put up wet is one of the biggest.

Take my experience for what its worth, just a dusty Mizuno bag hanging in the garage...full of lots of good memories, and some what-ifs and should haves. The one thing I am sure of is I have a great son going to a great school, with a blinding bright future ahead of him... even though it doesn't include him playing out on the baseball field. He will be the most amazing coach someday, and those will be some lucky boys who get the benefit of his experiences!
Great insight, 2010.

I think your last paragraph sums it up... he has a bright future and will be a great coach, dad, husband... and the fact is that his baseball experience(s) are a HUGE part of developing all that.

Thank you for sharing your frank and honest opinions and experience, even if it hurt a little.
I have to vouch for the quality of coaching on the Allen Wrangler team. My son has played for them now for several years. I only have great things to say about these coaches. The incident discussed above happened before my son joined the team. What I can say is that there is not a better set of coaches that have more concern for our pitchers arms then these coaches. They actively monitor pitch counts and pitch choices so that the boys arms are not abused. They do not rely on the curve ball but choose to focus on the change up and pitch placement. I am sorry if the one event is going to be how you define this team. For I can tell you having a son on the Allen Wranglers has been a God send. These men not only teach baseball fundamentals but they teach character building that will far outlast when the cleats are hung up and the trophies are in the box in the attic.
The pitch counts are important, but just as important is the rest in between. In pro ball we always used (1) hour per pitch minimum. example, if we threw 85 pitches on monday, we would rest 85 hours, so throw again on saturday. This 100 + pitches for young players and high school kids is crazy, we never threw over 100 pitches and were in a lot better condition than the previous mentioned.
2010-15-20 posted:
As a BTDT parent of a pitcher, there are so many things I wish I could go back and do over. I would be that obnoxious mom that the coaches hated and the other parents snickered at. I would make sure my son was not the work horse of the team throwing that complete game for the first win of the tournament and the back in a day or so for the "if we don't win we go home" game. Don't be like me, and mistake it for a compliment on your sons pitching talent if your son is put in this position on his summer/fall team. It just means that you need to find a team with MORE PITCHERS!

The ego in knowing that my kid was the go-to guy for the sure thing win would take a back seat to the common sense reality that his arm HAD to hurt him, no matter how much he assured us it didn't. I would have spoken up more for him, when his people pleasing personality kept him on the mound long after he should have been off. I wouldn't have bought into the line that you HAVE to play be-all-end-all round the calendar baseball to play at the next level. I would have had my kid sit fall and not kill himself schlepping all over the state in the summers. It worked out great for a few, but I also know a few who did NONE of that and they are in the bigs before they are even old enough to buy beer.

My sons dream of playing baseball effectively ended at 17 years old. One shoulder surgery down and another one needed, was more than he was willing to endure. Maybe he just didn't have the physical makeup to be a long term pitcher...maybe, that we will never know? I do know that he out pitched some of the best and the brightest early in his HS career, he wasn't flashy but he sure beat a lot of them....more often than not. He was held in very high regard by some of the best coaches in DFW, so it wasn't just his moms opinion.

I have tried to share our experiences with some friends who are excited about their very young kids being the star pitcher on their select team. I know the ones who weren't around my son personally when he was playing probably think that he wasn't that good, and that he probably wouldn't have gone very far no matter how his arm held up. I still try...so be it....I know that I regret a lot of things and allowing my pride at his success, and not stepping in for him when he was rode hard and put up wet is one of the biggest.

Take my experience for what its worth, just a dusty Mizuno bag hanging in the garage...full of lots of good memories, and some what-ifs and should haves. The one thing I am sure of is I have a great son going to a great school, with a blinding bright future ahead of him... even though it doesn't include him playing out on the baseball field. He will be the most amazing coach someday, and those will be some lucky boys who get the benefit of his experiences!

tears  I am crying  

I made this mistake when my son was 10 last 2 falls ago. Gosh my heart sinks thinking about this. Tears - he pitch 149 pitch total in 3 games on a Sunday .  I quit the team but didn’t speak up! 

Last spring he played for another team and they over used him again. Every week they put him to play and pitch avg 70ish pitches +-20 a tournaments between 10u and up in 11u ! Every week from March to May no weekend off!  Then one day in the end of May 112 pitches a Sunday - cool down-warm up and wanted to continue pitching him.  I finally spoke up and the coach bench him! In the end I started looking for another team! 

My very young boy is 11 1/2 now. He’s a LHP throws average every pitch 64 mph (pocket radar) (eye roll lol) amazing control and location of the ball, he’s looks like a natural, plays 1st base and outfield!   5 ft 2 inch but he’s a boy, my baby boy with no sign of puberty.

He’s in a 12u team now and I tell the coach 50 max pitches  or I walk into the mound and take my kid home ! This new coach promise me he will care for his arm! The season is just starting  we shall see! 

My husband was in the MiLB and he keeps saying “in our days we pitched way more”  he believes the more the better! “We pitched all the time and a lot”! TJ no one needed it. Our friend a former nfl football player that played baseball  was the same advise  “we pitched all day every day hundred pitches and our arms never got hurt “ 

I finally found the mother balls inside me and said no more-it’s 50 pitches or zero baseball period! My hubby agree to limit his pitching out of love but disagree with the logic!  It was a constant disagreement/fight! I send him all the articles, all the research, and he keeps saying I am wrong, I never played before! 

Hum either way I vow to never allow another coach to over use my son! I’ve started reading article to him, bought every baseball books for him to read, started talking to him daily, teaching him to speak up, and say no! My son loves baseball and will never say his arm hurt or no don’t pitch me! I found a professional former MLB 18 year pitcher to teach him! I tell him wave to me and I come and get you if you ever need me. I told my hubby no more fall ball! No summer ball till he’s older and no extra games! I would never be able to live with myself if my past errors hurt my beautiful boy! 

His baseball genetics is a gift, it’s in his blood and dreams! It’s also a curse to be so natural! Many days I dream he’s ends up a regular engineer but I fear he loves the sports too much! 

Sorry for the rant but I got all emotional! 

 

 

I understand protecting your kid, but just to address a few things. Abuse is a very strong word. There is a very big difference between a coach leaving your son in for a little too long and abusing him. In todays climate, that word getting tossed around can cost coaches their jobs and reputation. Don't take it lightly. 

The second thing is that 50 pitches is nothing. 50 pitches in one inning. Bad. 50 pitches in a game. Golden. Please do not pull your son off the field after 50 pitches. Not a single person that knows anything about baseball will agree with you. Little League is an 85 pitch limit and many think they can expand that a bit further. I think its just right. 

To add to that. Arms are most durable in the elementary/middle school ages. When people say they threw a ball from 9am to 5pm all day, they weren't lying. I understand the concern with arm issues, but the odds of him developing shoulder issues at 11 would be most likely from a freak accident or the actual result of arm abuse. If you are that concerned, possibly play summer or fall without pitching. Arm injuries suck, but they are not concussions. They aren't dangerous to your health. 

I'm not trying to tell you how to raise your kid, but you are not going to get a ton of people agreeing with you here. You said your husband was a pro baseball player. Trust his judgement. FWIW I think throwing more and playing everyday as a kid makes you better and helps produce a stronger arm. 

PABaseball posted:

I understand protecting your kid, but just to address a few things. Abuse is a very strong word. There is a very big difference between a coach leaving your son in for a little too long and abusing him. In todays climate, that word getting tossed around can cost coaches their jobs and reputation. Don't take it lightly. 

The second thing is that 50 pitches is nothing. 50 pitches in one inning. Bad. 50 pitches in a game. Golden. Please do not pull your son off the field after 50 pitches. Not a single person that knows anything about baseball will agree with you. Little League is an 85 pitch limit and many think they can expand that a bit further. I think its just right. 

To add to that. Arms are most durable in the elementary/middle school ages. When people say they threw a ball from 9am to 5pm all day, they weren't lying. I understand the concern with arm issues, but the odds of him developing shoulder issues at 11 would be most likely from a freak accident or the actual result of arm abuse. If you are that concerned, possibly play summer or fall without pitching. Arm injuries suck, but they are not concussions. They aren't dangerous to your health. 

I'm not trying to tell you how to raise your kid, but you are not going to get a ton of people agreeing with you here. You said your husband was a pro baseball player. Trust his judgement. FWIW I think throwing more and playing everyday as a kid makes you better and helps produce a stronger arm. 

What you say is exactly “EXACTLY” what my hubby say! 

I feel so conflicted! Thank you for your response!

My heart wants to trust my hubby experience! He will never willing hurt his only child and crush his dreams  

My logical, math side read the experiences, the reports and I get overcome with fear! 

I should not use the word abuse I typed it with emotions blocking my thoughts. 

I express my concerns with his new coach and he promises me he will never use a kid for a win. He assure me that he would care for his arm like he would if he had a child! This team has older boys and lots of pitchers (8 kids that can pitch) on the team! 

After a lot of heated, loving, debate in the home we found a coach and team where my son is not the “go to” pitcher! The coach has also told me if I play in the fall it will be for his hitting/fielding  ability and he will rest the arm! 

I found this page a week ago and grateful for the guidance. Again thank you! 

 

 

If your son is not the go to pitcher he may never be challenged to carry a team which is a big deal for a pitcher.  My sons at 12 threw 100 pitches every weekend and none of them have ever had arm problems.  I believe as you can throw too many pitches, 150 is extreme, you can also throw too little pitches.  I believe you have to throw as a pitcher to build up your muscles and be able to endure.  Can you imagine a runner who only did sprints and then had to go to run for 3 miles or a marathon?  You have to build up your throwing muscles and other parts of the body so that you can endure. 

Again, you will find every side to this real fast and if you research this website you will find 1,000 opinions on how much is enough and how much is too much.  85 is a pretty good rule for a day.  But over a weekend, if you throw a couple of innings on Friday you should be able to throw again a few innings on Sunday.  I'm glad my son has thrown over the years. 

When my son was 12, he threw at a big tournament that I was not at more pitches than he should have.  No ill effects and no pain.  I also understand that every child is different.  Some throw enough away from games to be ready for games and some don't do the in between stuff which is vital.  Just know for every he threw too much and was done there are hundreds of he threw too much and realized it with no problems.  Make sure son is doing  the in between bullpens and flat grounds.  Running and throwing the next day after pitching.

There is much discussion over how much is too much  in a year and summer and fall ball.  Trust your husband, this seems to be his area of expertise in the family.

NY I've always had rules about my son’s workload, and your heart is in the right place.  You just need to raise your thresholds.  50 pitches is nothing.  80-100 is fine, as long as he gets the proper rest in between.  Also, at his age, summer ball is important, the competition, reps, experience, failures, success, etc.  Then you can take the fall off if you want.

@CTbballDad @PitchingFan thank you for your insight I truly appreciate it. I slept on it and woke up and had a very long chat with my hubby. I think I am going to back off and let my hubby, and my son coach’s be the persons to make the calls! Your 💯 right it is not my expertise area and I never ever played baseball. I am going to enjoy all the games, and the journey and not bubble wrap the kid! All I can do is get the kid the best instructors and let him live his journey. 

As a mom I get full with fear but I can’t let fear steel joy from “his baseball experience” 

thank you so much for the guidance 

PABaseball posted:

...

Arms are most durable in the elementary/middle school ages. When people say they threw a ball from 9am to 5pm all day, they weren't lying. I understand the concern with arm issues, but the odds of him developing shoulder issues at 11 would be most likely from a freak accident or the actual result of arm abuse.

...

PA, I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, but the above gives me pause.  For most kids, elementary/middle school ages include the years of fastest growth, and that is the time when arms are most subject to injury.  Between ages 12-14 (grades 6 to 8), my son grew about 6 inches.  That means his growth plates were wide open and subject to overuse injury.  He avoided any serious problems, but we shut him down for several months on two different occasions due to "Little League elbow" and "Little League shoulder" -- that is, pain from strain on his growth plates. This happened even though he followed Dr. Andrews' pitch count guidelines. Many kids just can't pitch much during their fast-growth years. I have seen middle school kids end up needing surgery for literally tearing their UCL away from their arm at the growth plate--no parent wants to see that happen.

I have said before on this site:  I think Andrews and his associates are the gold standard. No one has definitive answers yet about arm health. but Andrews and his associates have the most experience and draw their conclusions based on medical expertise and the largest data set. 

I think parents of young pitchers need to remember two things: 1) The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."  You will hear about lots of pitchers who threw 100 pitches 3 times a week from age 6 and never had a problem.  It's true, some pitchers can handle workloads that cause others to break down.  But no one knows exactly why, and no one knows how to create that kind of durability through training.

2)  You need to train your son from an early age to be honest with you about how his arm feels. (Working some stiffness out of muscles is different from pain that signals something more serious.) And until your son is old enough to do it himself, you need to communicate any and all pertinent health information to his coaches. I know my son's coaches wanted to keep their players healthy, but I was in the room when the orthopedist examined my kid and they were not. At times my son was embarrassed when I spoke with his coaches, but parents embarrass their kids all the time--it's part of the job description.   (Now that my kid is in HS, I wouldn't talk with a coach unless I thought there was some serious risk to my kid's health. He's a young man now and he's responsible for his own arm care. But he's a HS junior with a healthy arm, and I don't have any regrets about being careful when he was younger.) 

And somewhat off topic. but this thread reminds me:  There are some folks who do crazy things to win baseball games played by children.  Cooperstown Dreams Park, for example, includes among its tournament records for twelve year-olds: 

--Most innings pitched in one day by a player: 18

--Most innings pitched in a week by one pitcher : 32 2/3

--Most games one pitcher pitched in a week: 9

I can't decide which is more shocking, that this kind of overuse is allowed, or that the tournament organizers actually celebrate it on their web site.

Chico Escuela posted:

And somewhat off topic. but this thread reminds me:  There are some folks who do crazy things to win baseball games played by children.  Cooperstown Dreams Park, for example, includes among its tournament records for twelve year-olds: 

--Most innings pitched in one day by a player: 18

--Most innings pitched in a week by one pitcher : 32 2/3

--Most games one pitcher pitched in a week: 9

I can't decide which is more shocking, that this kind of overuse is allowed, or that the tournament organizers actually celebrate it on their web site.

It's not surprising.  I coached at Cooperstown.  As long as you pay your $$$ and don't tear up the barracks they could care less what you do.  When you regularly have 19-18 games because of the ridiculous field dimensions, it's only makes sense that every kid you bring is going to have to throw more pitches in a week than they should.  Even if every kid on the team pitches, you're going to end up short by the end of the week.....or end up throwing one kid 7 times, which is normally what happens to the teams that make a long run in bracket play

Nothing really different to add here... just additional perspective.

I applaud your brave efforts to protect your son.  You should.  Also, in spite of your new perspective, you may even need to continue to protect him somewhat from your very sport-knowledgeable husband.  In the past, I have worked as site director for one of the bigger youth tournament organizations.  Previous MLB/MiLB players as dad coaches were not unusual.  Still, love and pride of their talented sons combined with their very competitive nature  often resulted in questionable overuse scenarios.  Also, many of the old-school guys held the "throw forever" mentality, which has largely been dispelled by sport-specific medical experts.  You two should come together on what is known to be best in today's world.

On the other hand, I agree with the others here that, as you have discovered, the 50 pitch count is probably not realistic or helpful for his development.  Continue to research.  Come up with reasonable guidelines with reasonable situational flexibility and have the discussion with son's coaches prior to season starting so there will be no need for ugly game day exchanges.  And learn to observe and listen to your son!  Get accustomed to his specific language.  Each player is different.  Some never experience any discomfort.  Some have light, general soreness after a normal outing.  What are his thresholds?  I'm not suggesting asking during a game but after each, get a feel for his tolerance.  

A good approach, IMO, with coaches is to express early on that you will completely support him, root for his team and his kids and be a good parent/fan but need assurances of your son's health and safety.  Ask what his specific guidelines are when it comes to pitching use/ innings/ pitch counts over the course of a game/tournament/season.  If those don't align with yours, communicate.  This usually makes for relatively smooth sailing.

PS- and BTW, out of curiosity, how did you come up with 50?

Chico Escuela posted:
PABaseball posted:

...

Arms are most durable in the elementary/middle school ages. When people say they threw a ball from 9am to 5pm all day, they weren't lying. I understand the concern with arm issues, but the odds of him developing shoulder issues at 11 would be most likely from a freak accident or the actual result of arm abuse.

...

PA, I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, but the above gives me pause.  For most kids, elementary/middle school ages include the years of fastest growth, and that is the time when arms are most subject to injury.  Between ages 12-14 (grades 6 to 8), my son grew about 6 inches.  That means his growth plates were wide open and subject to overuse injury.  He avoided any serious problems, but we shut him down for several months on two different occasions due to "Little League elbow" and "Little League shoulder" -- that is, pain from strain on his growth plates. This happened even though he followed Dr. Andrews' pitch count guidelines. Many kids just can't pitch much during their fast-growth years. I have seen middle school kids end up needing surgery for literally tearing their UCL away from their arm at the growth plate--no parent wants to see that happen.

I have said before on this site:  I think Andrews and his associates are the gold standard. No one has definitive answers yet about arm health. but Andrews and his associates have the most experience and draw their conclusions based on medical expertise and the largest data set. 

I think parents of young pitchers need to remember two things: 1) The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."  You will hear about lots of pitchers who threw 100 pitches 3 times a week from age 6 and never had a problem.  It's true, some pitchers can handle workloads that cause others to break down.  But no one knows exactly why, and no one knows how to create that kind of durability through training.

2)  You need to train your son from an early age to be honest with you about how his arm feels. (Working some stiffness out of muscles is different from pain that signals something more serious.) And until your son is old enough to do it himself, you need to communicate any and all pertinent health information to his coaches. I know my son's coaches wanted to keep their players healthy, but I was in the room when the orthopedist examined my kid and they were not. At times my son was embarrassed when I spoke with his coaches, but parents embarrass their kids all the time--it's part of the job description.   (Now that my kid is in HS, I wouldn't talk with a coach unless I thought there was some serious risk to my kid's health. He's a young man now and he's responsible for his own arm care. But he's a HS junior with a healthy arm, and I don't have any regrets about being careful when he was younger.) 

Honestly it's tough to say. Are they growing pains or arm problems? You see the Dominican kids playing all day everyday and have strong healthy arms. American kids (used to) throw tennis balls, wiffle balls, rubber stick balls 900x a day at elementary age and were fine. It's anecdotal, but at a certain point it is/was true. I'm not sure if we know enough yet.

Personally I think the biggest problem in middle school+ aged kids is pitching and then practicing at other positions everyday. A 7th grader throwing 90 pitches on Monday for his MS team and then practicing at SS for the next 3 days isn't good. I agree with a lot of what Andrews says actually but given how kids grow differently, it is tough to lump the limits of all the kids together. 

Pitch count is needed but imo should be co-registered with signs of fatigue. The signs of fatigue is debatable but I think it can be done in an objective manner i.e., breakdown in pitching mechanics/sequence or technology such as wearing a motus sleeve. I think 50 pitches for kid in a solid pitching program and 15 to 20 pitches an inning with no signs of fatigue is cruising. Whereas a kid who pitched 45 to get out of a 30 minute inning, who is both mentally shot and winging balls tells me to stick a fork in him (not literally).

I may be that parent but a coach SHOULD know the relative maturity of their players and make the adult choice of removing them rather them learn how to "gut it out". I had my share of arguments over that issue with coaches who imo left kids to over bake on the mound.

PABaseball posted:
Chico Escuela posted:
PABaseball posted:

...

...

 

Honestly it's tough to say. Are they growing pains or arm problems? You see the Dominican kids playing all day everyday and have strong healthy arms. American kids (used to) throw tennis balls, wiffle balls, rubber stick balls 900x a day at elementary age and were fine. It's anecdotal, but at a certain point it is/was true. I'm not sure if we know enough yet.

Personally I think the biggest problem in middle school+ aged kids is pitching and then practicing at other positions everyday. A 7th grader throwing 90 pitches on Monday for his MS team and then practicing at SS for the next 3 days isn't good. I agree with a lot of what Andrews says actually but given how kids grow differently, it is tough to lump the limits of all the kids together. 

"[I]t's tough to say. Are they growing pains or arm problems?"  That's when you get an expert opinion.  An orthopedic surgeon reviewed X-rays of my son's arm during middle school and told us to shut him down for 6 months.  I could have gotten a second opinion, sure--that's often a good idea.  But one way or another I'm going with the best medical information I can get. And I can't imagine my son's baseball coaches suggesting I do otherwise.

I agree about the stress of pitching and playing in the field.  On the other hand, most kids didn't want to be a pitcher-only at age 12, and in general I don't think it's good for them to specialize that early.  Reducing pitch counts and/or infield reps seems like a reasonable compromise.  And a coach should pay attention to specific situations:  If a kid threw 80 pitches on Tuesday, he shouldn't make 30 throws from 3B on Wednesday.

I'm not sure exactly where you come out on this, but maybe you are making it harder than it needs to be?  Yes, players are different (as I said in my initial post).  Some kids throw 100s of pitches weekly with no problems.  But no one knows how to identify those kids in advance.  (You don't hear about the kids in the Dominican Republic who blow out their arms, because they stop playing.)  Dr. Andrews' recommendations might be too conservative for a particular kid.  But there is no way to know that in advance.  That's why I suggest relying on the best available medical opinions.  Maybe a player could have thrown 25% more pitches during 6th-8th grade without injury.  Or maybe he would have needed surgery and spent a  year doing physical therapy instead of playing.  Why take the risk?

Pitch Smart is an excellent reference. Many well meaning and knowledgable people were involved in developing these guidlines. Your son may be blessed with the right genetics that will help protect his elbow and shoulder, which would be wonderful. But, he might not.

One thing to keep in mind... very few position players develop serious arm injuries as compared to pitchers. This is by far a pitching problem, not a throwing problem. 

https://www.mlb.com/pitch-smart/pitching-guidelines

MidAtlanticDad posted:

Pitch Smart is an excellent reference. Many well meaning and knowledgable people were involved in developing these guidlines. Your son may be blessed with the right genetics that will help protect his elbow and shoulder, which would be wonderful. But, he might not.

One thing to keep in mind... very few position players develop serious arm injuries as compared to pitchers. This is by far a pitching problem, not a throwing problem. 

https://www.mlb.com/pitch-smart/pitching-guidelines

Pitch Smart is very good.  (And was developed in part by Drs. Andrews and Fleisig, of American Sports Medicine Institute.  ASMI is really what I mean when I refer to Andrews' recommendations.  Fleisig has done some of the best empirical research on pitching that I have seen.)

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