We all want a healthy and positive experience for our players. We also like to watch our kids compete and be successful, but to what expense if they are a pitcher. All the research out right now is showing that over-use is the major culprit in the arm injury epidemic we are seeing in amateur pitchers. There is a correlation to be drawn here to the explosion of travel ball around the country. Previously the best players played local league ball, then did All-Stars and if they were real lucky had a chance to play fall ball. The total number of organized games annually for the lucky ones would be 30-40. Now with the players playing travel tournament ball, plus travel leagues or continuing to play in local league the kids are playing in 75-90 games or more.
Obviously, someone has to pitch in on all these games. The NPA has established pitching totals for each age group to keep your pitchers healthy. My question to you is “are you keeping record of the number of pitches on a spread sheet or tallying them for weekly and annual totals?” If the answer is yes then you are doing what you need to do as a parent or coach. If the answer is no, you are putting your kid at risk for injury. No one ever got a scholarship or drafted because they threw a no-hitter at 13 years old or had 19 wins. We all need to look long term, not short term for the player’s health and progression in the game. I’m not trying to point any fingers or step on any toes, what I am saying is as a baseball community we need to start putting the kid’s healthiness, ahead of winning. Look, I’m as competitive as the next person, I’ve lost girlfriends from being over competitive, but with the information available I’m not risking a kid’s health to win a game and neither should you.
It’s time coaches and parents step up and so NO, when pitching a kid puts him at risk for injury. Long, injury and surgery free careers are what we all should aspire for our pitchers.
Next how does fitness relate to overuse.