Something to think about--Little League pitch counts


#1

There’s been a lot of discussion on the new little league pitch count rules and I think most people at this site are pleased with the change. I also agree that it was a step in the right direction.

After catching the begining of a local game a few weeks ago, I thought of something that the pitch count rule cannot account for: How do these kids warm up? When I was at the game, I saw a starting pitcher play catch for a few minutes, throw a few flat ground pitches and then he was in the game. Warm ups are even worse in relief situation where a kid often comes in from playing another position.

Pitch counts are great, but until coach’s are able to better teach kids how to prepare to pitch, then how useful are they?


#2

Thank you PALO 20 this is happening in Little league all the way up to high school. I’m a high school pitcher and I’m the only pitcher in the league that prepares to pitch but stretching the whole body and using tubing with about 5 exercises and arm circles to get ready just to play light catch. Every other kid just stretch for 2 min then start to throw and they have no clue about how to prepare.

If it’s that bad in high school then Little League is 10X worse and I’ve seen it also. Some one needs to educate are coaches theses days. It’s bad when I know at the age of 15 know more about preparing my body/arm to throw then my high school coach.

In little league I didn’t know as much as i do know and I took my arm for granted like these little league/high school players do.

It’s not the pitch counts the reason kids are getting hurt it is coaches not knowing how to prepare there pitchers arms to pitch by stretching and arm circles then tubing to prepare the shoulder muscles and arm to throw a ball.

And there is No solution but education.


#3

I think it would help in little league if a kid could be taken out before the pitching change was made in order to lightly throw and work into throwing harder. When they feel ready then they can go to the mound for warm-up pitching. at this time the curent pitcher would still be pitching. Its kind of like warming up in a bull pen before going to the mound in the MLB. I know that kids would just say they are ready so they could pitch or take a long time to aviod pitching but its just a thought.
(I was going to say something else but I can’t remember right now…)

I usually take a long time to warm up or just to get ready to warm up. Some of my friends can just throw and don’t hurt themselves but if I ever threw about 75% without any type of stretching I would definitly hurt myself. And thats how some other kids end of hurting themselves I know my suggestive probably work change anything but it would not hurt to try it.


#4

I tend to only do a light throw before i get up on the mound. I find it easier to throw “cold”, i throw quicker and more controled that way. But im 18, i agree that little kids need to warm up just before they throw, giving there bodies a chance to warm up. When they get older then they can start deciding how they want to warm up.

In australia we have a very striked pitch count with under 12’s only being able to throw a max of 60 pitches, and it goes up by the age group. I still am restricted to 110 pitches.

Our coaches spend a lot of time working with the pitchers before and during warmups just to make sure they were OK.


#5

Good post. Little story…

When I was 15, I attended my first pro baseball tryout: the Cincinnati Reds. I was the youngest kid there by two years. 45 minutes before I pitched, I went to the outfield, jogged, stretched, threw. Every other pitcher at that camp simply grouped up and stood around until they were called. The first thing one of the scouts said when I got on the mound is “Hey, aren’t you that kid warming up just a few minutes ago?”

Warming up did two things that day:

  1. It made me stand out, even though I was the youngest and was certainly not the hardest throwing kid that day (I was a freshman in high school).
  2. It enabled me to truly showcase my potential.

I wasn’t drafted at 15 or by the Reds. But the scout recognized the work ethic. He recognized the good work habits. I stood out. That’s all you can ask for at a tryout camp when there’s 100 other pitchers.

The point? Warming up is VERY important. But I think the education has to start with coaches and parents first or it just won’t happen with young kids. If you don’t warm-up now, you really need to develop a consistent routine. Doesn’t have to be long. 10 or 15 minutes. Get the arm, body, and mind ready to pitch – and make an impression!


#6

Great story, Steven!


#7

How about trying something radical like yoga…strength,balance and flexibility… a winning combo!


#8

All agree the evolution of the Little League Pitch Count was a response to the abuse heaped upon talented young pitchers by ignorant (well meaning but uninformed) coaches and parents.

I don’t think the medical community and the old school baseball crowd are in tune with each other. They may not be willing to even tolerate each other. The most significant factor driving coaches to abuse pitchers, in programs not utilizing the pitch count rule ,IMHO is personal greed or self centered interest in winning percentage or local publicity. In my area, High School and Legion programs are the biggest culprit.

How can any reasonable analysis of the positive/negative affect of the pitch count rule be made when so many other programs permit routine abuse of pitchers?

For example -I would define abuse as: routine 130-150 pitch outings / removal and replacement of the same pitcher in the same extra inning game / lack of warm up activities before relief work.