I think the thing we need to really focus on is making sure that their mechanics or sound before they can even get on the mound and that’s why I think 10 years old is a good age for them to start because they could have at least 23 years of the proper training mechanics to start drawing and I really really feel strongly about this that if we have the teachers the proper teachers teaching them the right way had to throw I would decrease in arm injuries will go down dramatically.any thoughts thank you


The problem is there is no one set definition for proper mechanics. You are always going to have different guys teaching different things. Usually, bodies will coordinate movements to achieve a goal…the path of least resistance. If the goal is to throw strikes at a young age throwing mechanics will be developed that are slower and more rigid/mechanical (no pun intended). If the goal is to cut loose and throw hard the body will learn to move to support this. Of course I am speaking in general terms.
To me, a kid who teaches himself to throw hard with a high level of effort is going to develop more efficient movement patterns. I did no do this with my son…that would certainly be my approach now of I had it to do over.


I love the chicken egg debate about accuracy and velocity. Eventually you need both. In my opinion it’s easier to achieve the accuracy after the velocity. Those who throw strikes early on get more innings but fall away as they reach HS and start getting squared up consistently. I’d rather have speed and need to find control than have accuracy and need to find velocity. As for youth mechanics, I stress swift tempo with no pauses or stops, keeping weight along the target line extending between 2nd base and home plate, outside of stride ankle facing the target for as long as possible, and a delayed hand break. Good mechs start with an efficient lower half.


I agree with this is the way to start a youngster out. Watching youth and high school games the vast majority of kids I see have non fluid lower halfs an virtually no seperation. One piece deliveries.
The other reason I think putting a premium on throwing hard makes sense is it requires better movement patterns to throw hard. If a kid improves mechanics to the point his velocity picks up it stands to reason his control should improve as well. But, like you said, chicken and egg.


I’m real curious why everybody shy’s away from the topic on not letting kids pitch till at least 10 . I really feel strongly about this if they are taught properly 10 is a good age to start pitching not throwing pitching.if you read dr. Andrews articles he says that he has 10 yr olds coming in for TJ surgery how scary is that they start to young I would love everyone’s thoughts on what age they feel. I am trying to discourage my league where I am from to not let 7,8&9 yr olds pitch there is no need . Mainly for injury reasons , but there are other reasons as well which is to long to list. Thoughts please.


I used to throw rocks before the age of 10 and I turned out alright. I also played wiffle ball. I think if a kid is old enough to throw, he’s old enough to learn to pitch.


I did the same things snow balls and had shoulder and elbow problems in college so that defunks your point. My point is that kids are getting surgery at an astonishing young age today and that 7 out of 10 kids today have arm problems by the time they are 12 that’s a fact it all starts from pitching to young and not being taught properly. We can help stop that if we start them a little bit later give them three or four good years of the proper throwing mechanics and when I say proper I mean proper and each kid is different but you keep them all the same but to start a little bit later let them develop older physically and maturely and I believe that will definitely decrease the number it won’t solve it but it would decrease the number of injuries we have


What are these proper mechanics your talking about? Where is the 7 out of 10 number from? I ask because I really haven’t that anywhere.


It’s 49% injury rate in youth baseball, 25% UCL procedures for all current in MLB pitchers, and 15% UCLs in the minor leagues. Just wrote an article about it here:

and this:


It was from a Dr James Andrews article about 3-4 years ago don’t remember the exact time frame .Just go read Dr Andrews articles about how many kids are hurt its pretty scary . As far as proper mechanics just teaching them to throw fri the stretch and where to align your throwing arm and your non throwing arm ,to keep your shoulders level and to follow through. Just really trying to keep it simple at this age you can’t overload them they won’t understand. It’s all about muscle memory and hopefully it will decrease the risk of injury sure nothing is guaranteed but it can help.


Hi Steve don’t you think that almost half of the kids are having arm problems is way way to high I feel that’s pretty scary do you agree.


Yes, absolutely. Check out this chart from ASMI:

This is a graph of surgeries done at ASMI. For a while, there were none in youth leagues or high school. Then they started happening, and trending up. Back in the mid-1990s, 100 percent of ASMI’s patients were adults. By the time we get to 2010, the adolescent rate is pushing 40 percent, and in 2014 it was 49%.


Hi Steve yes I saw that one already and that’s kind of my point . Look I don’t claim to know as much as you nor am I trying to change the baseball world so to speak . I am just really concerned about this dr Andrews is call this a epidemic. So I feel maybe if we start them a little later it might help. My son starts the minors division by me he is 8 turning 9 in August and it is a kid pitch league which I tried to stop by it didn’t work . I will not let my son pitch till he grows physically and mutually I have been teaching him to throw for three years no and he has pretty darn good mechanics but refuse to let him pitch they are just to young I love your thoughts and respect your expect advise thank you so much for the feed back.


Also one last point I forgot to mention obviousely the pitch count rule doesn’t seem to be helping not sure if there is a correlation or not but arm injury rates are way up something has to change.


Steve isn’t that the ratio of ucl surgeries done at ASMI adult:adolescent and not the total injury rate? I have been involved with youth baseball for several years and have never seen anything like a 50-70% injury rate but our seasons are fairly short. Even with travel ball thrown in you would have a hard time reaching 50 games.

Passionate, Dr. Marshall suggested that pitcher’s should not pitch competitively until they were at least 13 years of age. Of course almost everyone thought he was wrong then.


@Ted22 - I think you’re right about the youth stats… the MLB and minor league stats of 25% and 15%, respectively, however I believe came from Baseball Prospectus.

I do agree with the previous comments on pitch counts not really solving the problem.

At this rate, what will baseball look like 50 years from now?


Tommy John surgeries by year (MLB players only)
2014 - 16
2013 - 19
2012 - 36
2011 - 18
2010 - 16
2009 - 19
2008 - 18
2007 - 20
2006 - 18
2005 - 16
2004 - 12
2003 - 15
2002 - 13
2001 - 12
2000 - 13
These stats are from an ESPN article. How many pitchers does an average MLB team carry? 11? There are just north of 300 pitchers in MLB…a small percentage are getting the surgery every year. Twenty five percent of pitchers in the MLB getting the surgery at some point in their career seems about right.
The thing that bothers me about these discussion is there is little quantifying . Saying 7 out of 10 youth players have arm issues…arm issues defined at what? There is a grand canyon between TJ surgery and arm soreness. 49% of youth players have injuries…again, injury defined as what? In tracking injury rate for youth football one year we discovered the injury rate was 100%. Because bruises and soreness were consider injury (which in reality they are of course, but, you know).
The reason pitch counts have not put an end to the surgery rate for youth pitchers is it does nothing to address players being prepared to pitch. Rest is not training, time off is not training, not throwing is not training. None of these things prepare a player for the stressful activity of pitching. Rest, recovery, limited use, time off…these are all important for youth players. But, until the issue of preparing kids to pitch is addressed by youth leagues in a meaningful way the injury wave will not subside in my opinion.


Pitch counts only serve the purpose to keep out of control idiot coaches in line, this is important, but they accomplish little else.


Listen we can argue about this point all day long the fact is is that pitchers are getting hurt at away way way too high of rate I don’t know what the right answer is I don’t know what the wrong answer is Dr. Marshall may have been right he may been wrong but he right now he looks like he is right all I know is that I think kids that are pitching too young today and as far as the baseball been what it’s gonna look like in 50 yearsWho knows parents might not want to kids pitching I know in my league on the east coast in the state of Jersey I’m coaching the minors division my son has a really good mechanics but I refuse to let him pitch and it’s a player pitch league only and obviously the pitch counts like one of the coaches referenced is for the idiot coaches I totally agree with that pitch counts obviously not helping his kids are still getting hurt and as far as arm injuries yes there is a wide range but the fact is is that they are still arm injuries and it is concerning


I don’t think anyone is arguing. It’s a discussion.
Yes, pitchers are getting hurt. I think everyone is concerned with it at the youth level.
So, now what?