Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers
Since our inception, arm safety has been the foundation of our Club. Far too many athlete's are used and abused on the mound in the name of winning a $5 piece of plastic. As a Club we have been activists when it comes to the protection of young arms and the introduction of pitch counts to all games. Every organization that works with young athlete's has an obligation to provide the safest environment possible for the betterment of the gaming. As such, we have been following the LL Pitch Counts since 2010. There is plenty of room on the Safety Band Wagon, climb aboard.
ASMI Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers
With the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth baseball pitchers, the adult community needs to take steps to prevent these injuries. Research points to overuse as the principle risk factor. Poor pitching mechanics also contribute to injury risk. Another suggested risk factor is poor physical fitness.
Throwing curveballs has been suggested as a risk factor, but the existing research does not support this concern. However, a youth pitcher may not have enough physical development, neuromuscular control, and proper coaching instruction to throw a curveball with good mechanics. Throwing curveballs too early may be counter-productive, leading to arm fatigue as well as limiting the youth's ability to master fastball mechanics.
Thus, the recommendations for preventing injuries in youth baseball pitchers are:
- Watch and respond to signs of fatigue (such as decreased ball velocity, decreased accuracy, upright trunk during pitching, dropped elbow during pitching, or increased time between pitches). If a youth pitcher complains of fatigue or looks fatigued, let him rest from pitching and other throwing.
- No overhead throwing of any kind for at least 2-3 months per year (4 months is preferred). No competitive baseball pitching for at least 4 months per year.
- Do not pitch more than 100 innings in games in any calendar year.
- Follow limits for pitch counts and days rest.
- Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
- Learn good throwing mechanics as soon as possible. The first steps should be to learn, in order: 1) basic throwing, 2) fastball pitching, 3) change-up pitching.
- Avoid using radar guns.
- A pitcher should not also be a catcher for his team. The pitcher-catcher combination results in many throws and may increase the risk of injury.
- If a pitcher complains of pain in his elbow or shoulder, discontinue pitching until evaluated by a sports medicine physician. Inspire youth pitchers to have fun playing baseball and other sports. Participation and enjoyment of various physical activities will increase the youth's athleticism and interest in sports.
Example limits for number of pitches thrown in games
Age 2006 USA Baseball Guidelines 2010 LL Baseball Regulations
17-18 N/A 105/day
15-16 N/A 95/day
13-14 75/game 95/day
11-12 75/game 85/day
9-10 50/game 75/day
15-18 N/A 31-45 pitches = 1 day rest
46-60 pitches = 2 days rest
61-75 pitches = 3 days rest
76+ pitches = 4 days rest
13-14 125/week; 1000/season; 3000/year 21-35 pitches = 1 day rest
11-12 100/week; 1000/season; 3000/year 36-50 pitches = 2 days rest
9-10 75/week; 1000/season; 2000/year 51-65 pitches = 3 days rest
66+ pitches = 4 days rest