“It’s nothing short of child abuse is what it is,” according to Kevin Rand, who has spent 33 years in professional baseball, the last 12 as the head athletic trainer for the Detroit Tigers when asked about overuse of young arms in this June 2014 article and specifically training over the suggested pitch count limits.
Little League organizations have formal pitch count rules but private travel team coaches are not bound by any rules and can use your sons arm in any way they see fit. Far too often they are prepared to sacrifice a young pitchers arm at the altar of The Holy Tournament Trophy.
What can you as a parent do about it? Take charge. Educate yourself on recommended pitch counts and use limits from experts such as Dr. James Andrews of the American Sports Medicine Institute. In their most recent position statement for youth baseball pitchers they state;
“With the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth baseball pitchers, the adult community needs to take steps to prevent these injuries. Research points to overuse as the principle risk factor. Poor pitching mechanics also contribute to injury risk. Another suggested risk factor is poor physical fitness.”
We at The Pitching Pro couldn’t agree more strongly. We encourage parents of youth baseball players ages 4 to 18 to follow these three simple steps;
- Educate yourself on the pitch count limits and recommended rest periods prescribed by experts like Dr. Andrews.
- Educate yourself on the fundamentals of proper pitching mechanics and the kinetic chain.
- Identify and engage the services of a qualified trainer who specializes in sports performance for children and young adults. Core body strength is the key to pitching safely and effectively and is often overlooked by otherwise well-meaning parents.
Overuse + Poor Mechanics = increased risk of an arm injury
In addition, there are training programs and devices that allow youth pitchers to practice more frequently while protecting their arm from injury and at the same time learn proper technique that can improve speed and control. LEARN MORE