As the father of an 8 year old, the increasing popularity of year round youth baseball has concerned me.
There is plenty of medical literature out there strongly advising against it, recommending at least three months each year away from baseball.
Here, along the lines of the medical literature, are the views of Tom Glavine and John Smoltz on year round youth baseball:
[quote]Dr. Joe Chandler, Director of Medical Services Emeritus for the Atlanta Braves and Resurgens Charitable Foundation, presented Striking Out Injuries in Youth Baseball. Resurgens has just completed the new video presentation and Dr. Chandler was on hand for the presentation and facilitated the discussion. The video features interviews with both John Smoltz and Tom Glavine about their successes in baseball and their views on youth baseball today.
Highlights from Interview with Tom Glavine:
- Was 7 years old when he started playing baseball.
- Was 8 years old when he first pitched.
- Was 16/17 years old when he first threw a breaking ball.
- Started throwing a change up when he was 10/11 years old.
- Was 16/17 years old when he first threw 100 or more pitches in a game.
- Was 22 years old and in the Major Leagues when he first threw 150 innings or more in a year.
- Has had 22 seasons in the Major leagues; was never on the DL in the first 21 seasons.
- Never received private pitching lessons in youth baseball; received lessons when he was in the Minor Leagues.
- Has never played year-round baseball.
- As a youth, played hockey about 6 months out of the year; baseball about 3 months out of the year.
- His parents taught him to “enjoy what you do”.
- Remembers his high school coach during his Senior year of play; during the playoffs, his coach would not put Tom in the game after 2 days of rest because he did not want to injure his arm.
- Can just 1 game harm the arm? Yes, it only takes one game or 1 pitch to injure the arm.
- When a pitcher can throw his fastball for a strike 70% of the time, then it’s time to learn a new pitch, preferably a change up in the younger years.
- Is the “cut fast ball” a dangerous pitch? Yes, anytime you try to manipulate movement on the ball, it’s dangerous.
- Children need to play multiple sports, experience more things.
Highlights from interview with John Smoltz:
- Has had 21 seasons in the Major Leagues.
- Was drafted in the 22nd round.
- Too many kids are having surgeries at young ages.
- After surgery, you will return to the level of play you were at when you had the surgery; you will not exceed that level.
- Year-round baseball is “horrible”.
- Kids are throwing too much.
- Teach mechanics, limit pitches.
- Repetition of good mechanics will improve the player.
- Parents need to see their child through the eyes of others.
- Allow children the freedom to play in the sports they feel comfortable in.
- The drive to succeed comes from the individual, cannot be instilled by others.[/quote]