Arm Rest in the Off Season?

My son finished travel ball 2 weeks ago. He is 9 1/2. He has not thrown more than 50 pitches a week for the last 2 weeks. During the fall he pitched an average of 2 innings a week. Never pitched excessively. How much arm rest during the winter should I consider for him?

Here is a blog from the LTP Website…great advice…

Annual throwing recommendations for all pitchers

The way to develop big league arm strength is simple: throw. Pitchers make a living throwing a baseball, so I encourage them to throw as often as possible.

In the big leagues, pitchers throw more than 225 days a year. You should develop consistent throwing habits, too. They don’t have to be as intense as a big league pitcher’s throwing routine, but you should throw consistently year-round.

How many days a year should you throw?

Little league pitchers: Throw 125 days a year

Junior high school pitchers: Throw 150 days a year

High school pitchers: Throw 175 days a year

College pitchers: Throw 200 or more days a year

Professional pitchers: Throw 225 or more days a year

I strongly encourage all players (especially professional pitchers) to take at least two full months off every year to allow the arm, body, and mind to fully rest and recuperate.[/size][/size]

FYI, below is a link to a recent (2008) medical study on youth pitching that recommends, among other things:

“For at least three months a year, a pitcher should not play any baseball or perform throwing drills. In addition, any overhead activity (football quarterback, competitive swimming, javelin throwing) should be avoided during that period of time.”

Thanks for the replies. Curious what members think about “mock” pitching in the off season rest period? We have a snap together mound in the garage and throw 10-15 pitches without a ball, a few nights a week for mechanics training.

ASMI recommends at least 2-3 months off each year:
(One of the links under this one lists recommendations for pitch counts, days rest, and time off each year but I can’t get in there at the moment.

Sounds to me like batting practice without a bat. :wink:

Sounds to me like batting practice without a bat. :wink:[/quote]
You should get him to do the towel drill, it provides absolutely no stress on the arm and allows you to work on mechanics.

Why would it provide no stress to the arm when the action is still exactly the same, I think you could still have all the same arm issues even if you arn’t throwing if the action is the same, there is still accelleration, decelleraiton, torque and all the other variable too.

T=Fxr. Since Force =ma, and you are no longer throwing a 5 ounce ball, it is a lot healthier for the arm. You actually don’t have the stress on the elbow, and the point isn’t to throw with the same speed as if you threw with a real ball. You throw focusing on the motion, with little focus on providing acceleration with your arm. This is why people can work on their motion even a day after a start, because it is healthy and un-stressful for the arm.

There is a lot of information that goes along with what you asked…it would be almost impossible for anybody to really tell you what your son should or should not be doing.

Can I ask you a couple questions??? Does your son pitch more then he throws?? And what I mean by throw is a long toss type of program at either practice or on the side with you…

Does he love the game and want to play at higher levels…high school, college, pro’s???

Does travel ball last all year??

Does he play other sports??

I know I am being nosy but just trying to get a better feel for your question so maybe I can put my two cents in…LOL!!


[quote=“douglasbryantwhite”]There is a lot of information that goes along with what you asked…it would be almost impossible for anybody to really tell you what your son should or should not be doing.

Can I ask you a couple questions??? Does your son pitch more then he throws?? And what I mean by throw is a long toss type of program at either practice or on the side with you…

Does he love the game and want to play at higher levels…high school, college, pro’s???

Does travel ball last all year??

Does he play other sports??

I know I am being nosy but just trying to get a better feel for your question so maybe I can put my two cents in…LOL!!


Srry for hijacking the thread, but I wanted to welcome Doug back to the discussion forums. As a current pro pitching coach, he’s a real asset to the questions and answers. (Just wish it weren’t the Cardinals :slight_smile:

I don’t consider these questions nosy at all. His travel ball last year lasted 8-9 mos. last year and has been over a couple of weeks. He is an average travel ball pitcher, but may be best at fielding. So he throws more than he pitches. His pitching has improved dramatically over the last 8 mos… But my concern is that as his coaches have developed his mechanics and speed, he needs repetition to have better command. This is the time of year we do more private lessons but I don’t want to fatigue his arm. Other than private lessons he has no other sport activities till spring ball. He loves baseball enough to play year round, so the other sports have fallen off. We have no future big time baseball aspirations past middle school.

Well, you could go a couple routes here then…

First off, I would never concern a nine year old with command…I understand that the goal is to get people out but not for a nine year old…

Let me back up a second though…I reply to most all of these forums with a mindset that all these ballplayers want to be big leaguers…I of course understand that is not the case for all kids but my replies are going to be more directed for the big time and then you can get off on whatever floor you choose best…if that makes any sense…LOL

Ok, so as to the command comment from your last reply…you always want to develop velocity first before command. The reason being is that if you develop a movement pattern that supports velocity, you can always then work on command…but if you are a command guy as a young pitcher and have told your body to perform in a way just to throw strikes, then it is tough to break that mold as you get older. So I understand you want him to practice command but I would say forget all that…in the off season, throw the ball as far as you can every other day and then in the season throw the ball as hard as you can off the mound, in a game.

If you feel he is wanting to be more serious with the game and wants to play past middle school then I would suggest other sports or activities to fill some space. The reason I say this is because at your sons age it is critical his body moves in all different ways. When a younger child sticks to one sport, they don’t develop as well (necessarily) as a child who is doing multiple sports year around or a martial arts class or some sort of dance class…it is best for the nervous system to get used to a whole lot of different things at first and then specialize as you get older and closer to high school.

As for the time off…if your son has not really pitched much, then a couple weeks off or maybe one month off should be fine at the end of a season. If your son was being abused by the team and throwing in two or three games a weekend in the tournaments then maybe you would want more time. But that does not seem to be the case. Just time the “off season” work to build up as you go. So when you just start back throwing again, concentrate on a long toss program but start with fewer days, shorter distances and less amount of time at first…then build as you get closer and closer…mound work is not a focus of mine for younger kids. I focus more on a solid long toss process and learning proper arm action…the mound comes later and then the off speed stuff (except for a CHG-UP) comes after that.

I know this is a lot and not as specific as I could have been but I am sure you get the point…good luck to you and your son…sounds like he is learning to love the game!!!

Mechanics, Mechanics, Mechanics!!! The control and velocity will take of its self with emphasis on good mechanics especially at 9yr old.
I would also suggest a couple of months off. JMO

I understand people love to get all wrapped up in Mechanics but I can’t take that response on this one…

First reason is this is a forum and it is impossible to know what any kid looks like while he is throwing, so I am just going off of what is responded by the people involving themselves in this forum…

Second, everyone has so many different views on “Mechanics” that if you say something on a forum like this then everyone likes to get their word in and say their piece on what mechanics are…

Third, if a child who is 9 years old focuses on learning how to throw, NOT PITCH, their body will get better and better and better, almost on their own. Not needing any coaches to tell them how or what or why…

If a young athlete starts to throw on a regular basis, does a solid long toss program and doesn’t just toss from 30 feet with Dad in the front yard, then they will get better.

Velocity just doesn’t take care of itself if there is not an intent in this matter. Now I am not saying this kid needs to get out there and throw one hundred balls as fast as he can, but again this is a forum and is very hard to convey all the information correctly. But I do have to disagree on the Mechanics statement and putting velocity on the back burner.

With respect DBW, I think proper mechanics can have the most impact on velocity with a 9yr old. I think you are very limited with this group due to their lack of size. I can also tell you that if they cannot throw strikes they won’t experience success and get more opportunities. I have coached first year kid pitch teams the past 2 years and had a couple of pitchers that could throw 5-7 mph more than the other pitchers. However they couldn’t throw strikes due to mechanical deficiencies so the velocity really didn’t matter. After young pitchers develop solid mechanics I believe you can move on to workouts that will improve velocity, I just think 9u is a little early.

This is fascinating to me. I find myself agreeing with you very much in the broad spectrum, but experience tells me that on some of the specifics what you’re saying won’t work very well.

FI, you are so spot on about not knowing what players look like from a few paragraphs, or even one or two short videos. While it is possible to come to snap judgments that may or many not be correct. analyzing pitchers takes much more than that.

You’re also on point about mechanics. Not long ago, a friend of mine who was at the time working for a major sports network, showed me a video of the performances of several pitchers from different levels, spanning LL to the ML. In it you get to see everything, just as though you were watching a live game on TV, except for one thing. They somehow managed to completely edit out the pitchers, so all you could see was the results of the pitch.

After watching it and answering some standard questions, we were shown another video, this time without the hitters able to be seen, so it was impossible to tell what happened. When done watching that one and answering some more questions, we got to see the video, but this time everyone was able to bee seen. It was embarrassing to say the least.

When you say if a 9YO child learns to THROW not PITCH, you also very much reflect my thinking, but there’s one kink in the armor, at least for me. I know how difficult it is to do, but IMHO you can’t just leave it at that. Those concepts need to be much better understood than they are now.

For a long time I’ve believed the easiest way to produce pitchers, is to teach kids how to just play catch correctly. That’s the most fundamental thing there is in baseball. Look at the target, step toward the target, get the ball to the release point, release and follow through. Sadly though, at almost every level, that time where players play catch to loosen up and could be the opportunity to teach the most basic fundamental there is, turns into the time coaches spend doing everything else other than coaching their players.

I do differ a bit about the long toss program. There’s absolutely no way to know if or how much long toss helps pitchers. The reason is, no player can do both a long toss program and no long toss program at the same time so the results can be compared. So, while I do believe it will help, to me there’s no way to tell how much the player’s normal growth and improvement in his timing contributes than his throwing the ball long distances. Again, I’m not at all saying it doesn’t help, but I do question its value when compared to everything else.

I find myself also pretty much in agreement about velocity being more of a NURTURE issue than a NATURE one. And I do agree that putting velocity on the back burner isn’t a very good idea. But, I also don’t believe mechanics and command should be shoved back there either. Now if the only group you feel is worth targeting are kids who not only want to play high level ball, but have the wherewithal to pull it off, I suppose what you’re saying makes sense.

But, the truth is, while a small percentage of players move to the next level, whatever it may be, they’re all playing at their current level, and just want to have some opportunities and fun. If the only kids getting those opportunities are the ones who can throw a strawberry through the side of a battleship, there will be many who may well have transformed into great pitchers at 18-20, but were literally run out of the game at 9YO.

My point is, all human beings do not develop the same way, and IMO, opportunities have to be found for as many as possible in order to give late bloomers a chance. I believe worrying about mainly velocity, is one of the most retarding factors in youth baseball. What could possibly be more boring than watching a game where an overpowering kid 9-12 is basically doing nothing but playing catch? What does it do to help hitters develop, not to mention fielders?

So, like I said, in general I really do agree with most of what you say, but it wouldn’t be any fun if everyone agreed with everything, would it? :wink:

I agree that Mechanics can have a great effect on velocity…that is an obvious statement based on the fact that with mechanical efficiency comes better movements comes better results and then of course you can take your focus to wherever you want during workouts and expand on that…

The point I was making was that I don’t want kids to be dependent on coaching and someone telling them how they should be mechanically because a lot of coaches do not have the ability to truly assist kids with that part of the equation…

So if you set up some easy parameters like throwing a ball as far as you can during a long toss workout and the kid knows what the goal is, they can find out ways on their own of how to increase distance or accuracy or velocity or anything else you want to throw in there…

The last thing I would say is why would a 9 year old not get opportunities if they don’t throw strikes but do throw a lot harder then the rest of the kids on the team?? Who cares if the kids don’t win…of course the kids have more fun if they do and the kids who are struggling will have some points of confidence issues but that is where the coach comes in to explain what is really going on…who cares about the win, who cares about the results…the kids are young…let them chuck it and have a ball!! This is part of the reason I think travel ball is tough because it brings the attention more to winning and results instead of fun and development. IMHO.

My first reply on this forum was for keepitfun…

This reply is in regards to scorekeeper…

A lot of valid points…just too tough to cover in a forum like this…a lot of things can be taken out of context and misunderstood when words like mechanics and velocity are thrown around…LOL

But I fully understand your points…when I answer some of these replies I am always thinking of a short term process and a long term process…everything will be covered but in due time all depending on the type of individual you are working with…it is just so tough to do this over an email type process, that’s all.

That’s one whale of a point! :wink:

Hmmm. I agree with the concept, but I don’t quite understand why setting up easy parameters for long toss can be such a positive, leading the player into finding out a lot of things on his own, but the same wouldn’t be true for seeing parameters for accuracy.

It all depends on the situation. If I were the coach, at that age I don’t want my fielders picking clover and chasing butterflies while the pitcher and catcher play catch, with players constantly moving up on balls that aren’t caught, or there being lots of Ks where no play is needed. I’m also a big believer in that there’s no reason for kids that age to throw more than an few innings a week, so chances are more likely I’d have 12 pitchers on my team than only 3 or 4.

So its not that I don’t think they shouldn’t get opportunities because they haven’t got decent control. Its more that I don’t pray to velocity such that a kid with good control loses opportunities to one who has little going for him but velocity. These are kids and I want them all to play as long as possible and to get as many opportunities as they can.

Now that I agree with 100%.