11 Yr old pitch count

My son is 11 yrs old and playing in 11-12 yr old little league. We have a very talented 11 yr old left handed pitcher on our team who is throwing in the middle 60’s. The problem is our coach is overpitching this kid. Last Tuesday, he threw 116 pitches and it was very apparent that he was strugling at the beginnig of the fifth inning, but the coach would not take him out of the game.

This coach, in my opinion, is obsessed with this kid. This kid is contunually throwing over 100 pitches in games week after week, and he is also throwing 60 or so pitches in batting practice each week. You can tell when he is getting tired, because he swings his hand at least a foot behind his head to throw the ball. It is like he is trying to compensate for a tired arm by swinging his arm to keep the velocity up. The coach even yelled at him in the fifth inning that his velocity was down and he needed to crank it back up.

I hear the other parents in the stands saying “wow, Jack is pitching again” and “Jack sure looks tired” and “how many pitches has he thrown?”

I finnally looked on the internet about pitch count and this kid is way over the recommended pitches for this age. I know I have opened up a can of worms, but I sent the coach an email of two links which discusses this just to bring it to his attention. This was two days ago and now his will not respond to my emails or phone calls.

I am at a lost and would like some guidance. We have a game tomorrow and I can just see that my son is going to be benched for my comment to him and the coaches ignorance.

Obviously the coaches could care less about reasonable pitch counts and anything you say to them won’t help. Your best bet now that the bridge has already been crossed is to go the the league’s board of directors. It probably won’t work but it has a small chance of protecting the kid. If the kid was 12yo and throwing 70 mph the other major coaches would probably get behind your effort to give their teams a better chance of winning. As it is you aren’t likely to get much support so don’t get your hopes too high.

You are going to have to weigh the potential impact on your son’s playing time against doing something with only a small chance of success.

If it comes down to my sons playing time or the welfare of an 11 yr old kid, I will pick the welfare of any kid over my sons playing time.

If it comes down to this, I will go in with guns blazing by sending emails to every parent on the team, the little league board, and anyone else I can think of stressing the potential harm the coach is doing to the future of this kid.

What I need help with is to get links to website, articles, etc on this issue so I can back up what I am saying and have all my ducks in a row if the coach continues this action and I am forced to proceed.

Someone has to make a stand and if provoked, I am a good candidate for the job. :evil:

Holy sh&$.

And people wonder who the kids are who are having TJ surgery at 15…

My son’s 1 month short of 11 and I get nervous when he throws more than 40 pitches. None of my guys pitch more than 3 innings and most just go 2 (e.g. 30 pitches).

Doesn’t your league have pitch count or inning limits? If not, it should.

He’s not obsessed with the kid, he’s obsessed with winning. He obviously couldn’t care less about the kid (or else he wouldn’t treat him that way).

This is a way of getting more velocity, but it’s terrible for both the elbow and the shoulder. I permanently damaged my shoulder by doing this kind of stuff.

The coach doesn’t care, so you’re just wasting your time.

What you need to do is go to the boy’s parents.

It sounds like this kid may have a real gift (plus he’s a LHP!!!), but this coach is destroying him as we speak. At this rate, his arm will be finished before he gets into high school. He’s obviously an early maturer (which is why he can throw so hard) but his bones will not be able to hold up under this load.

If he was my son, I would shut him down as a pitcher and hope that his body can recover from this abuse. I would let him pitch next year, but under much more strict limits.

I would be glad to the boy’s parents if you send them my way.

Dr. Mike Marshall (www.drmikemarshall.com) is the authority on the subject, but he’s EXTREMELY controversial. That’s partly because he is VERY conservative when it comes to what age to let kids start pitching.

However, I have thoroughly researched everything he says and have become convinced that 90 percent of what he says is right.

Perhaps you might share this with the boys parents … if the coach doesn’t count pitches, buy him a clicker ($9 well spent) . Parents need to step in when needed and make a stand here … no excuses .

Pitch Count and Other ASMI Recommendations
Pitch Counts
Age Max. Pitches
Per Game Max. Games
Per Week
8-10 52 2
11-12 68 2
13-14 76 2
15-16 91 2
17-18 106 2

Recovery Times
Age 1 Day Rest 2 Day Rest 3 Day Rest 4 Day Rest
8-10 21 34 43 51
11-12 27 35 55 58
13-14 30 36 56 70
15-16 25 38 62 77
17-18 27 45 62 89

Jeez Chris, you had to bring Marshall into this… :roll:

Like everyone has said, this is madness. I was almost certain that little league had adopted the 75 pitch limit for the 12 and under group. I guess that only certain leagues are following it.

The kid’s parents are the only ones that can help in this instance. The coach obviously doesn’t know much about pitching. Bubba, if nothing else, make sure that you bring the issue in front of the league leaders.

I think it’s just a pilot program (and therefore optional).

The kids dad and the coach are close friends. I really feel the kids dad does not know what the coach is doing to him and that is why I have asked for information to back my position up. I am going into unchartered water here, but need to do this the right way.

I have sent emails to the Little League main office and our reginal district today, but do not know what else to do.

Bubba, you need to help protect the kids arm … forget trying to be politically correct . I have done the same thing in our league, and while we ran into some old school resistance changes were made appropriately. It’s about educating the adults and establishing league accepted guidelines , so that no coach has the opportunity to leave a kid in too long … go get 'em !

well I mean when you see him tireing down how many pitches did he throw at that point?

You need to have a conversation with the dad along the lines of “I think your son is throwing too many pitches in a game. As a result, he could end up permanently injuring himself. This is too bad because be shows so much promise.”

In general, you need to start planting seeds of doubt in the dad’s head. He’s thinking that this will turn his son into a great pitcher when the truth is it’s far more likely to destroy his arm.

You might also want to try working on the mom either directly or through your wife or one of the other moms on the team. Very often they tend to be more receptive to this perspective.

I know…

However, at this rate the odds are that this kid’s dad will be e-mailing Dr. Marshall in a year or two about how to recover from a growth plate or other elbow injury.

I have an 11yr old left handed pitcher who pitches in a Cal Ripken league (Babe ruth Baseball’s version of Little League for those who don’t know) and while we don’t keep track of pitches per se the League has a 6 inning limit for the week. If you pitch more then 2 innings in a game you have to take the next two days off…even if only 1 pitch more. All of this is to protect the kids arms and keep coaches from going with the same kid over and over. It only makes sense!!

There is a growing consensus that once a pitcher reaches muscle fatigue, each pitch thrown thereafter counts as 3. This is because muscle fatigue leads to compromised mechanics which puts more wear and tear on the body - particularly the throwing arm.

But, the way a coach knows his pitcher has reached the point of fatigue is by recognizing the deterioration of the mechanics. And it takes a knowledgeable coach with a keen eye to do that.

" I have an 11yr old left handed pitcher who pitches in a Cal Ripken league (Babe ruth Baseball’s version of Little League for those who don’t know) and while we don’t keep track of pitches per se the League has a 6 inning limit for the week. If you pitch more then 2 innings in a game you have to take the next two days off…"

Inning limits with mandatory rest are better than nothing, but what if a pitcher throws 45 pitch innings?


That’s why I track pitches, not innings.

You’d have to be a pretty stupid coach to leave a kid in that is struggling that mightly that he needs to throw 45 pitches in an inning. Common sense steps in at that time and you remove him.

In my opinion strict pitch counts don’t work as it doesn’t take into consideration the make up of the kid. Obviously an 11 or 12yr old who is 5’ 5" and 120-130lbs is going to be able to throw more pitches before reaching the fatigue point then an 11 or 12yr old who is 4’ 9" tall and 70 lbs soaking wet. Thats why I personally like the inning rule better then some arbitrary number of pitches. It protects the kid from an overzealous coach but yet allows for the development of the pitcher as well. In our league we strictly follow the inning rule (forfeit if you go over…even one pitch) and most of us monitor pitch counts as well to help with the decision of when to pull a kid.

I am in the minority I’m sure as I feel that tightly controlled pitch counts are part of the reason so many arms breakdown…pitchers don’t PITCH enough anymore. Although I do feel that kids of the little league age obviously need to be monitored closely…which is where the innings rule comes in. It also allows for the development of more then 1 or 2 pitchers per team. You get a kid who throws smoke and strikes and he’d be way below his pitch count…could pitch all week if no inning limit. Just my opinions.

Pitch limits force coaches to actually work with their pitchers. You can’t sit there and leave your horse out on the mound for six innings every game. There has to be at least 5 pitchers on every team in order to play a 2 game a week schedule. So, it evens out the load across more kids. They get a chance to learn on the mound, and nobody should have to worry about throwing way too many.

“I am in the minority I’m sure as I feel that tightly controlled pitch counts are part of the reason so many arms breakdown…pitchers don’t PITCH enough anymore.”

I think that is an interesting view. Pitchers arent practicing enough anymore. If you only pitch once a week, and you are throwing full speed for 100 pitches… that’ll cause trouble. Personally, I came up a few years before pitch limits. I think the record was 135 pitches for me at 11 years old (complete game shutout btw). But, I never had any shoulder problems. Looking back, playing nearly everyday and throwing longtoss a lot probably saved me from destroying my arm. But, you can’t take that for granted anymore. Pitch limits or inning limits protect kids from crappy coaches. A good coach would never leave a struggling kid out there, or a over-fatigued one. But if the coach doesnt know what he is doing, or they really want to win, they can cause serious damage. It happens way too much in Little League. Take the LLWS. I have never seen a coach correct those wrist snap curves that EVERY pitcher throws now. Tommy John Surgery here we come!

Trust me, there are plenty of coaches out there without common sense.

You need to be careful with that opinion. Lots of coaches feel kids with stronger arms can have higher pitch counts. This is true from the standpoint that the stronger kids don’t reach muscle fatigue as quickly and, therefore, can maintain good mechanics longer. However, the stronger arms exert more force on the soft tissues and skeletal structure and could make the stronger kids more susceptible to certain types of injuries (e.g. growth plate separation) than weaker kids. It’s not so simple.

Controlled pitch counts need to be part of the equation. So does limiting the number of breaking pitches. But your thinking that pitchers don’t pitch enough goes against what most of the experts are saying which is that kids are pitching too much and not throwing (e.g. long toss) enough.