12u Elbow pain


My 12u was throwing a winter bullpen the other day and felt some mild soreness that has lasted 2 weeks. We are going to see a doc this week but I have a few questions:

His team warms up by doing 20 or so towel throws then he threw 15 light throws before going into the bullpen. Is this really sufficient?

40 pitched in the bullpen and about 10 were curves (which I wasn’t aware of). I am not a fan of offspeed at that age but is this reasonable?

So here’s what I think is going on:. He is 5’4 100lbs and throws 68mph. I think this may be a decelerator issue as he gained 10mph over the winter.

Can Anyone suggest a regimine or mechanical adjustment to help ease the strain on deceleration?


What part of the elbow? Is spring practice just starting? Has he done a ramp-up? 40 pitches is a lot if he’s not in condition.

CB are not the problem. I would guess lack of preparation. 68 is bringing it for a kid that size (my son throws about the same but is 5-5 and 130). We have a kid that throws about 70, is 5-8, and all of about 120lbs soaking wet. He’s pulled the tendon from the growth plate. My son experienced LL shoulder three springs ago when we started practice in late Jan/early Feb. I’m guessing the Dr. is going to xray and if he doesn’t see anything on the xray, tell your son to take 2-3wks off, and then come back for a follow-up.


40 does seem like a lot but we have been throwing some. It’s the inner elbow but more so down his tendon. Sounds like tendinitis. maybe Medial endocondylitis?

Will rest 2–4 weeks rest no matter what and follow Drs advice but I was curious once cleared how to prevent.


I think if it was a decelerator issue it would present itself on the backside of the shoulder.


I should have said that the CB needs to be thrown correctly.


His coach is a student of the game. Pitched in college but more importantly studies mechanics attends clinics like Tim House Kyle Boddy. I am more worried about his velocity on a young arm than the Curve. And yes Cu is the go to offspeed.


As a Coach for the past 13 years and played for over 20, all of my coaches never preached curve balls till I was 16 or my body was fully developed to deal with the stressors of throwing that type of motion.

They focused on my 2 and 4 seam, including a good change up. If I was caught throwing a curve or slider, I was benched. They said in the long run you will thank us. Now, I’m almost 50 and my arm is till strong, I don’t have arm issues and I pitch 2Ball to my 12U team live, I can still can heat it up.

The message I wanted to say is that we Coaches need to stop hurting our young players. Just focus on building their mechanics, listen to the children and if they hurt shut them down. Let the body heal and follow your family docs advice. We have to make the game fun again. The last time I looked, no one gets paid to play till A ball or earning a full ride…baseball is a lifestyle so let’s teach our players to love it first, if not they will burn out their arms and their hearts too if it’s based on winning only…Be safe our there…:baseball::+1:

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The studies show that a properly thrown CB puts less stress on the arm than a FB. I do agree that pitchers should master the FB and CU bf moving on to other pitches. But there’s nothing wrong with 12YO’s beginning to play around with the CB, they just shouldn’t rely on that pitch bc the batters at that age struggle with hitting the CB


Get him looked at by an ortho. My kid is 11u and going through a similar sounding circumstance right now. During the first bullpen of the season he felt some pain on the inner elbow. We shut him down from pitching, and had him rest his arm as much as possible for about three weeks. He still had some pain after the three weeks, so we took him to the doctor, and he has “Little League Elbow”. The growth plate is slightly compromised, and while it is unfortunate that he is injured, we were lucky that we shut him down when we did. He has a couple more weeks of limited participation coupled with physical therapy to go before he is reevaluated by his doctor, and hopefully back to full (non-pitching) participation.

Most people talk about overuse or mechanical issues leading to this condition, but it’s now always the case. My kid’s tissue surrounding the plate is more developed than the plate itself and is simply putting too much tension on it. We’ve decided to have him move from P/SS to 2B, and to work on everything we can pitching-wise except for throwing until the plate catches up.

We don’t love the choice, but we’re glad that we actually have one as opposed to being forced to shut him down completely due to not addressing it with a doctor.


Thanks. Seeing Ortho in 2 days. I hope your son gets the rest at 2b. Tough for mine (C, P SS). Might have to play him at first this year.


Young kids (pre-closure of growth plates) have softer bones than adults. And the growth plates are even softer still. So, in general, young kids are more likely to have bone-related injuries while adults are more likely to have soft tissue injuries.

Overuse and mechanical issues can cause or exacerbate bone and soft tissue injuries in youth as can one-time events such as a fall or collision. Growth plates in young kids going through growth spurts are particularly vulnerable.


Elbow issues are a direct result of decelerator weakness.


I have a kid that throws exceptionally hard. I make it a priority to take care of his arm knowing it might become an issue. To warm up we do jab-step throws for about 20 throws and then get to a distance a little further than home plate and the mound. We then transition to doing modified crop hop throws using our entire body and letting the arm come along for the ride. Modified in the sense we take a step behind rather than in front. This helps keep the hips and shoulders closed. I will take one step back after each throw. We go until he is one-hopping me. At that point we come together and throw from a distance about 10 ft further than the mound to the plate using the jab-step once again. Max effort. This is the way we warmed up when I played in the Valley League. Try it and modify it to your liking. It will build arm strength for sure. Hopefully health as well. If you are sure it is decelerator then try doing reverse throws. If he is right handed, start with the ball beside his left foot on one knee. Mimic the throw in reverse. It is a heck of a work out. Do about thirty. Also do pull ups. Careful to stretch out the bicep afterwards.


Yep. We had actually been doing those. Anything else for decelerator? I will see what doc says tomorrow first. My guess is he’ll just call it little leave elbow and tell my son to take his 12u season off or play 1b.


Reverse plyo ball throws (into a wall if you have one).


Weighted or underweight ball???


Whoever posted the House comment about warming up to throw, not throwing to warm up is right on. Kids can be different, but light tossing (in my eyes) really isn’t sufficient to get his arm loose and ready to start throwing full speed in the bullpen.
I always thought it was better for the kids to warm up their bodies, then throw. Allow them time to go long, then shorten up, then move on to the bullpen.
Coaches are often more worried about time constraints and getting 10 kids bullpen time rather than using the first 15-20 minutes of a practice to keep the kids healthy.
Just my two cents.


X ray and ultra sound show no damage. Player has no pain or swelling after resting for 3 weeks. Ortho says no pitching or catching for 1 season full just to be safe due to his belief that there is a “potential” for injury because, get this…the player throws too hard for a 12 year old with unfused growth plate. Does this make sense to anyone? My inclination is to shut down while getting a second opinion.


Well said. Serious question, how do kids that small throw so hard!? I’m 5 foot 10 170 and throw about 75!!


A 2nd opinion with a knowledgeable sports ortho makes sense to me.