The Convention on Over-Use


#1

I made a suggestion on the American Sports Medicine Institutes disscussion forum and I’d like the input from our site as to what it would look like.
The suggestion was this;

[quote]How about an internet wide campaign to speak to what over-use does and how it really adversely effects kids, particularly in this very crucial age range…This site, BB Fevor, HSBBWeb, LTP…many parental eyes see these sites, I suggest that as many as can agree, should come up with a statement that speaks to the negative aspects of over-use and “sport saturation”, particularly within the pre-pubescent age range.
I wonder if ego’s could temper and good sense could prevail in the name of a healthier approach
[/quote]

So what would your statement be or look like?


#2

BRAVO, JD! At any age, overuse just plain stinks. I’d love to see a full-fledged discussion on this subject. I see entirely too much of it in the major leagues; even with pitch counts and limiting starters’ innings, there are too many instances of pitchers who just don’t have it being left in there to take their lumps—what in my day the Yankees’ pitchers usedto call “taking one’s turn in the barrel”. And now we’re seeing too much of it at youth levels. What’s going on? Why are so many coaches being such stick-in-the-mud types who act as if they have only one pitcher on their team and so have to use him up? Let’s have a good forum on this subject. 8)


#3

I agree for the most part that we should try and prevent overuse. But I also think that we can not I repeat can not “baby” arms. I strongly believe that a pitcher should try and throw everyday. Even if its just light tossing from 30 feet away. You need to keep your arm loose. I do not mean going out there and throwing 90 pitches a day full speed from a mound. I think Leo Mazzone did the same thing with the pitchers of the braves during the mid 90s. It worked beautifully.


#4

Leo Mazzone was dealing with full grown men. JD is talking about youth pitchers in the beginning of their physical development. There is a huge difference. IMO understanding this difference is a key point in what JD is getting at.


#5

I certainly think there is a difference between adults that have good knowledge of their body and what it should feel like to push their body just too much and kids that are allowed to overuse arms and bodies that are not fully prepared for that sort of abuse. Kids growth plates don’t fuse till somewhere between 15 and 17 depending on the individual, growth plates can separate both in the shoulder and elbow, I find some of the information in Dr. Marshalls book very interesting check out Chapter 9 on injuries.

http://www.drmikemarshall.com/FreeBook.html


#6

Well strictly listening to the good doc would keep pre-teens from pitching at all, though I have requested input on this from him, through someone who has contact with him .
I believe the premise is to deal in the real world. Dr. Marshall is getting some revisionist looks now that he’s retired…the revision to his teachings are (From my observation anyway) that the folks now speaking on the issue as “Marshall Experts”, seem to be contending that Dr Marshall wasn’t intending that pitchers actually throw in the contorted ways he taught…no it was a sophisticated fortification/conditioning regieme. Ok I won’t argue that side…as that I can see some merits in that plainly (Though other Kinesiologists may differ on approach).
The reason I suggested this age level (6-13) was that after this time frame the kids have more access to conditioning and “better” coaching. In those early years I believe is when the real damage is done. Many times the damage doesn’t manifest immediately, but tends to build up over time and become nagging and ultimately catastrophic to the player. With injury tending not to be instantanious, it is easy to fall into the trap that little Timmy feels fine and loves all the hotels they stay at. The next step is back to back over the weekend…cuz he’s got all week to rest you know…(Except travel coach doesn’t know he’ll be making a weekday start in his association gig…maybe two)…and then back at it next weekend…all year round…never truely healing…getting a worse and worse attitude as they go along. How come it surprises people still that so many arms get ligaments inserted from the leg after half a dozen years of this…while a young body is trying to grow properly?


#7

Leo Mazzone wasn’t the only one who advocated throwing every day, even if it’s just playing catch for twenty minutes or so. Before him there were two very fine pitching coaches, Ed Lopat and Johnny Sain, who said the same thing. Lopat, who was my pitching coach for almost four years, told me that this was the best way to keep the old soupbone loose and flexible, and that was what I did—I would alternate between playing catch one day and doing a bullpen session the next, and if I had to come into a game in relief between starts that counted as throwing every day. During those bullpen sessions I would either work on refining a pitch, working on a new one, or working on some aspect of my mechanics, always with my catcher there behind the plate—I firmly believed that there was nothing like having a live catcher with a mitt which he could position in various spots so I could work on control! :slight_smile:


#8

An excellent observation and one that deserves a large sign in every amateur park.

On the other hand, let me approach this subject, overuse, from a different direction.

I’m going to qualify my remarks here by saying that I haven’t witnessed the total spectrum of playing talent in the youth game, across the Lower 48 States, Alaska and Hawaii, nor in Japan, Korea, Mexico, South American and elsewhere. But I have seen enough to say that all of what I have seen - youth players eighteen years of age and below, are grossly out of shape, lacking in any substance of core strength, stamina and endurance. Weak legs, limited lung capacity for bursts of ninety feet and more, and a host of other particulars that this sport requires.

I made those remarks based on witnessing, all too often, countless so called “you gotta see this kid”, only to find borderline endurance, muscular coordination and athletic motor skills. Again, relying on what this sport demands for excellence and sustainable performance. Also in the mix is a total lack of any meaningful attention span for dealing with heat, high humidity, long periods in inaction - then - bursts of dynamic play-by-play decision making matched equally with quality performance.

What age group is the foundation for these remarks? Specifically, the eighteen year old.

Now before you take my observations and remarks to task, this age group that I’ve witnessed hasn’t popped onto the scene, fresh out of a box. No. Just the opposite. These people have played the game for years, experienced the ups-n-downs of the sport, and have had to adjust their life style, their nutritional and conditioning priorities to meet this sport. But - fall grossly short of even the simplest benchmarks of basic physical baseball.

I’ve observed the youth population during my travels and I’ll say bluntly - their a physical mess.
Posture, stamina, motor skills, and attention spans and so on, are just not there.

Perhaps you have a different opinion, if so, I ‘d like to hear it.

In any event, the subject of overuse is just a result of a poorly equipped player’s pool that has little if any support from the collective collaboration of parents, educators, amateur youth coaching and anybody else on the planet.

Coach B.


#9

Coach B., you can say THAT again! And unfortunately, this phenomenon is not confined to youngsters. I’ve seen it in the major leagues as well—pitchers (and position players as well) so out of shape that after spring training is over they have to stay behind and continue to work on this and that. What’s the matter with them??? :?: :roll:


#10

This is what Dr. Glenn Fliesig of the ASMI responded to me with;

[quote]jdfromfla,
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine also thinks that it is time for such a campaign, and has pooled the national experts together to start it (egos aside). I started a separate thread on this. Check this out, and spread the word: http://asmiforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=youth&action=display&thread=1217
[/quote]


#11

I wasn’t saying that we should just listen to Dr. Marshall, my position is that as parents we need to educate ourselves and make educated decisions about our kids sports and not live vicariously through our kids. Reading lots of things about pitching has helped me understand more about pitching (even though I couldn’t hit a broad side of a barn when I played baseball in high school.) I have supported my kid to get involved on this site and to listen and work on his sport daily and to take rests when his body tells him he needs it.


#12

JD,

First, huge kudos to you for proposing such a worthy effort whose time has certainly come.

I’ve been following your posts on most of the sites (didn’t see a post on baseball debate). I’m amazed at the amount of pessimism and resistance to such a good cause.

It’s easy to poke holes in new ideas which is what many folks seem to want to do. I also think too many people would rather wait for the perfect solution to come along. Don’t hold your breath. I think your approach will accomplish a whole heck of a lot more a whole lot sooner. So what if it ain’t perfect. Get something out there and go with it, find out what needs improving, and improve it. It’s gonna’ be an iterative process anyway because the science is still evolving.

The parents of the pitchers I work with are just as clueless today as any in the past. Maybe when today’s youth become the parents then parents will generally be smarter to these issues. But that’s a ways down the road. In the meantime, they are thrilled - and very proud - their kid made a travel team. Parents of the best players are actually blinded by their own pride/egos. This puts their kids at risk if the parents aren’t educated. While there is a lot more info available today, most parents don’t know it exists or how to find it like we do. So there is still a lot of room for education.

Any way, JD, you know you got my support. It obviously will be a battle against the nay-sayers. In light of Fleisig’s post about Andrews’ effort, a regroup might be in order to figure out what will be the most effective approach as duplicating that effort (probably not even possible) would probably be wasteful. Plus, there are other efforts going on. For example, the NPA started up
http://www.injuryfreebaseball.com
as a social networking site for baseball folks with a focus on avoiding injury. Also, guys like House, Andrews, etc. present on such topics at major conferences like the annual ABCA conference.

One possible approach would be to collect published information/recommendations from all the big names you want, identify the commonalities, and re-publish that (with due credit) as your “guiding light” for parents. That would be like the approach the NPA used to come up with their mechanics model - commonalities of the big names in pitching.

Another approach might be to get onboard with Andrews, et. al. and offer to act as a conduit between him and the various sites that would host the PDF. Of course, this would also involve negotiations with all of the site owners. Seems doable.

So there’s a couple ideas for moving forward. I’d say that’s two more than provided on any of the other sites so far. :roll:


#13

I am not into youth athletics, nor do I have any intentions of going in that direction in the near future. My comments on this subject of overuse and other relevant topics are strictly confined to what I witness by many players coming out of the youth environment into the adult world of competitive baseball.

A human being who is not involved in the business of athletics, as he or she grows and develops, does so with only the issues of healthy day-to-day existence. Diet, exercise and things relative to this world’s environment all fall in line with said person’s ethnic and social surroundings, in addition to various personal persuasions. Add athletics to one’s youths experience and we have additional concerns - but not overly so, depending on the athletics. Simple playground fun, sandlot ball and other non-organized activities are as healthy as they are enjoyable.

But - let’s crank up the stress load(s), the repeated demands of performance, and address specific movement with rules and protocols, times and distance demands, scorecards, labels attaching winner and loser to people and organizations, and last by not least - money.

With all that just said - why do so many find it surprising, not to mention a revelation in being something totally new, injury related happenstance from subjecting a youngster to sports, who hasn’t had the benefit of preparing for this competitive environment, with nutritional and physical strength and conditioning counseling. Add to this, the absolute complacency and neglectful attention span of most - not all, in organized youth baseball to address nutrition, strength and conditioning, even at the secondary school level, is beyond me.

I’ve been witnessed to the most amazing “how the heck did you get this far?” I’ve seen some of the most pathetic examples of baseball player, and in numbers that would astound most casual observers. Or sure, these people look great, perform well during the short run - but that’s it.

Case in point. Recently, I attempted to offer some coaching assistance to a young man from a college not far from me, that fits this example to a tee. His core strength was so weak, that after only a few days, he had couldn’t sustain his attendance. Now this man was college material, made it through high school ball, summer leagues, the works. But how he managed to acquire a roster spot on a college club was beyond me. I know this is only one example, but I could go on with others, and that would only be repetitive.

Overuse and other conditions/terms relative to youth sports, I think, should also address the condition, at the outset, of the participants first. Specifically, their overall health and physical maturity, motor skills, and their competency at the level that they’re competing at.

But then again, I’m not from the youth game. My experience is woefully inadequate here. However, I’ve tried to contribute to this topic based on what I’ve experience at the other end of the tunnel, when these youngsters, as men, stepped onto my fields.

Coach B.


#14

Taking time off from baseball at the end of the season, as has been mentioned, is really important in my opinion. What I’ve found ironic in observing competitive youth baseball is that parents have their kids playing the game year round with no breaks whatsoever. MLB’ers and college players don’t even do that!! So whoever came up with the model that kids need to play year round, all-out, 100% is not basing their advice on what’s done at any of the upper levels of baseball.

  • I like to see kids play a fall sport.
  • I like to see kids shut down their arms for at least 2 months in the fall and early winter.
  • I don’t like to see kids playing on multiple-travel teams at the same time. Choose the one that has the MOST PRACTICES than games b/c you don’t learn squat in games just standing around between pitches. Practice and repetition is where the learning takes place.
  • Just throw fastballs and change ups until you’re 13-14 years old. Seriously, it’s not about the injury factor with the curve ball … it’s more about the simple fact that you MUST develop a good fastball or you’re toast. You’re done. No fastball, no baseball past high school, folks!

There’s a lot more I could add to this, and it’s all not related to injury, but it’s a start.


#15

i know that you guys usually like to deal with athletes that are at a much higher level say college and pros but what if the best athletes aren’t actually getting to those levels, that is why I think it is important that even the most advanced coach and instructor should be interested in these issues. I hope we hear a lot more about it in the future.


#16

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Taking time off from baseball at the end of the season, as has been mentioned, is really important in my opinion. What I’ve found ironic in observing competitive youth baseball is that parents have their kids playing the game year round with no breaks whatsoever. MLB’ers and college players don’t even do that!! So whoever came up with the model that kids need to play year round, all-out, 100% is not basing their advice on what’s done at any of the upper levels of baseball.

  • I like to see kids play a fall sport.
  • I like to see kids shut down their arms for at least 2 months in the fall and early winter.
  • I don’t like to see kids playing on multiple-travel teams at the same time. Choose the one that has the MOST PRACTICES than games b/c you don’t learn squat in games just standing around between pitches. Practice and repetition is where the learning takes place.
  • Just throw fastballs and change ups until you’re 13-14 years old. Seriously, it’s not about the injury factor with the curve ball … it’s more about the simple fact that you MUST develop a good fastball or you’re toast. You’re done. No fastball, no baseball past high school, folks!

There’s a lot more I could add to this, and it’s all not related to injury, but it’s a start.[/quote]

There is extreme pressure from the “community” to see kids who throw heat and have control to play year round, giving glory to any particular travel team. It’s not easy as a parent for your son to sit on the sidelines and listen to other parents with less developed kids get the kudos while your son keeps his arm potentially from being hurt by overuse. It’s a road less traveled.

My son (10U) plays spring and fall ball with LL Majors, and one fall TT tournament with a very competitive 11U or 12U team. His pitch count this year in spring ball plus LL tourneys was under 800 pitches. I keep pitch count for the year, as well as ball to strike ratio, which this year was 67%. Fall ball will be limited to two inning stints to work on his change up and slider, with an emphasis on fielding. This is mainly because his FB is unhittable for Fall Ball kids, and it’s not fair to the other kids. I limit him to pitching one game in the TT Tournament, however it goes, and if the coach wants his bat in the line-up, he can play 1st base or outfield when not pitching. One game gives the TT team a win and allows them to advance without using up one of their regular paying players. Mid-October to early March is basketball, and he doesn’t play baseball during this season. He also doesn’t play between spring and fall ball, which this year was mid-July to Mid-August. During spring and fall we also practice fairly regularly in the backyard on mechanics, etc.

I’ve witness an increase in velocity and zeal for the game after each period of sitting out and being a kid. He was throwing 62 MPH during LL Tourney in July. Last week he threw against some very good 13 yo, who all play TT ball. None of the 13 YO was able to hit him beyond a foul ball off the 1st base side, and all said he threw harder and his pitches had more movement than anything they see in TT ball. Now, he was throwing against older kids and had the leeway to throw the leather off the ball, which he doesn’t have in LL, but the point is after a month off he was throwing harder and better than if he played year round.

He has two occasions to gain kudos: LL Tourney and one fall TT. Otherwise, the emphasis is on mechanics, throwing strikes and learning the game. So far, playing for one team, practicing in the backyard and skipping all the stress and time involved in TT play has worked. Yet, he’s not as developed fielding wise and knowing about game situations as the kids who play LL and TT.


#17

Sho,

It sounds like you really have your kids best interest in mind, keep it there and don’t be influenced by others thinking that at that age he need to do more than continue to progress as a baseball player at all levels. If you want to see him in high school and beyond help your kid keep focused on the longer term goals and not just the something small today.

Kudos to you too!


#18

This is not meant to rain on your parade or take away from the attaboys you certainly deserve. This is a serious question:

shoshonte,

What do you plan to do when his future coach decides that your input about how many pitches he throws, how many innings he throws, how many games he throws, how many days rest he has, how many teams he plays on, how much throwing he does in practice, how many showcases he attends, how many all star tryouts he goes to, how many tournaments he comes back and pitches on a days rests…is not welcome? Especially when your son says, I’m not going to another team, these are all my buddies.


#19

[quote=“Dino”]This is not meant to rain on your parade or take away from the attaboys you certainly deserve. This is a serious question:

What do you plan to do when his future coach decides that your input about how many pitches he throws, how many innings he throws, how many games he throws, how many days rest he has, how many teams he plays on, how much throwing he does in practice, how many showcases he attends, how many all star tryouts he goes to, how many tournaments he comes back and pitches on a days rests…is not welcome? Especially when your son says, I’m not going to another team, these are all my buddies.[/quote]

Dino,

That’s the whole point of this thread. I have control through LL. After that, it’s becomes more difficult as the coaches retain more and more control, and then in HS when they have full control. He does have a pitching coach, who formally coached college pitchers as well as a few major league pitchers, that he will stay with through HS, so his instruction comes from somebody else. But, for the ages of 9 thru 13, we get to decide what is best for him and his development. All in all, there’s four years between now and HS to work out these potential problems and develop the respect and relationships needed.

All of this is predicated that he continues to grow and mature, remains overpowering and has command of his pitches. If the other kids catch up with him or surpass him, then it’s a mute point. That’s part of the reason to have a pitching coach now instead of later.

But I think he still has some growing to do. We just bought his cleats for this fall, Size 10-1/2 Wide.


#20

[quote=“Dino”]This is not meant to rain on your parade or take away from the attaboys you certainly deserve. This is a serious question:
[/quote]

Dino,

Thank you! These are serious question and I try to keep them in the back of my mind in all of my dealings with LL coaches, All Star try-outs (where the HS coaches are making their notes and observations), dads and the community in general.

There’s a small line between a loving father and an arrogant jerk. I’ve been both, and prefer the loving father reputation. :lol: