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Pitch Limit for 13 year olds?

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  • #16
    I coached at the big field for the first time last season and had all 13 y.o. Some of them I knew had been pitching the previous summer at the 54-80 field size - these kids typically would not go more than four or five innings, which was somewhere around 50-60 pitches. Games started in March and these kids had also been throwing (not pitching) since early January. Some of my other kids had played since the year before and just started throwing in February - these kids pitched no more than 4 innings which was typically around 30-50 pitches.

    It was mostly determined by my judgement of whether they were getting tired or not (e.g. body language, loss of velocity, etc...).

    As the season wore on and I could "see" when my kids were getting fatigued, I would shorten or lengthen this limit as needed.

    Usually by mid-season kids would allow for more pitches.
    Last edited by jbolt_2000; 10-15-2011, 10:26 PM. Reason: checked my numbers and did not have anyone throw the LL imposed limit of 95.

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    • #17
      The real issue is arm health, particularly at this age, where a lot of problems - particularly elbow problems - often start to show up.

      Assuming the kid is clear as far as that goes, I'd work 'em up to about 90 pitches max (depending on how much they'd thrown that week or month), adjusting for a host of factors. You've really got to know his form, so that you can see if it's deteriorating due to fatigue, because that's when the injuries can come in.

      If arm health isn't an issue, look to overall fatigue. How hot is it? What kind of shape does he appear to be in?

      After that, you've got to think about whether you're doing a kid a favor emotionally by letting him continue to pitch if he's walking in runs, or if he's just shot-putting the ball up there. Are the pitches being crushed, or is he being pretty effective? Is the kid fragile? If it's his first time out, tell him it's a 'getting acquainted session' and that he won't have to pitch much. But if it's your ace, he can usually find his way even if he's having trouble. And he won't worry so much about what his teammates think if he's just having one rocky outing.
      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ndd View Post
        Set a number, say 30. He gets to 30 he comes out.
        Makes sense...
        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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        • #19
          I like a pitcher to accept some responsibility for a certain number of innings. For example, each pitcher throws 3 innings in a 6 inning game. Then he knows he has to get people out. He can take pride in the results of his 3 innings.

          Of course, if he gets in trouble, or otherwise looks fatigued, before his 3 innings are up, then he will come out.

          This is why I focus on innings vs. qty of pitches.

          This is also why I would never take a pitcher out of the LLWS when he has 85 pitches and only one batter left. The number 85 is an arbitrary number anyway.
          efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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          • #20
            My thinking is based on the understanding in the op that they are just starting out from this distance. I also assumed (perhaps mistakenly) that we weren't necessarily talking about just games?

            I wouldn't want their first experience at distance to be game.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by ndd View Post
              My thinking is based on the understanding in the op that they are just starting out from this distance. I also assumed (perhaps mistakenly) that we weren't necessarily talking about just games?

              I wouldn't want their first experience at distance to be game.
              I can understand that thinking, and I’d say that in most situations that would be true. But assuming the season doesn’t start with absolutely no practice, and the pitchers have never thrown from 60’ on their own, or outside of the team environment, I can see a way that getting thrown right into a game situation wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. If the game is against other players with the same hitting experience as the pitchers have pitching experience, none, it could be a lot of fun for everyone.
              The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                If the game is against other players with the same hitting experience as the pitchers have pitching experience, none, it could be a lot of fun for everyone.
                Or a walkfest / strikeout fest. Steals (well, actually passed balls and wild pitches) to advance from base to base, including home. Final Score: 11-9.

                Away 9 Runs; 2 Hits; ?? Errors
                Home 11 Runs; 3 Hits; ?? Errors

                Of course, errors determined by who is keeping score
                Last edited by johnlanza; 10-17-2011, 06:40 AM.

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                • #23
                  Yeah, most likely it wouldn’t be pretty from a skills perspective, but think about how much fun the kids would have, and how much they’d learn without even realizing it. I guess I’m one of those bozos who believes learning by making mistakes isn’t a waste of time.
                  The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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                  • #24
                    While there are pitching limits guidelines provided by ASMI and specific leagues, coaching 13U involves some common sense. A thirteen year may have a fifteen year old's body or a ten year old's body. Age thriteen is the the area where kids may be physically plus/minus three years of his actual age. At thirteen my son was 5'2", 110. He pitched one or two innings. I didn't let him throw curves. He couldn't snap it off correctly and have it travel sixty feet. He practiced his curve at fifty-five feet. He threw it in games in 14U when he was 5'4", 120 when the season started. When it ended in October he was 5'11", 135.

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                    • #25
                      I have to agree with TG here. There is no "one size fits all" number, if that is even what you're looking for. It depends on the pitcher. Like he mentioned every 13 year old is different. A lot of it comes from knowing your kids' mechanics. It pays to know the mechanics of each kid, and what to look for when they do get tired.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by ctandc View Post
                        I have to agree with TG here. There is no "one size fits all" number, if that is even what you're looking for. It depends on the pitcher. Like he mentioned every 13 year old is different. A lot of it comes from knowing your kids' mechanics. It pays to know the mechanics of each kid, and what to look for when they do get tired.
                        I didn’t see that the op was looking for a specific number at all, and his saying he realized there were several factors involved showed that. There’s no great wisdom in saying there’s no one size fits all, and I don’t think I really ever heard anyone ever say that to begin with. The numbers ASMI suggested were never a mandate that they said would end all arm problems, or had to followed to the letter or else pitchers’ arms would fall off.

                        When they came out with them, a lot of coaches got their noses all out of joint because they felt they were being attacked, discredited, and told they didn’t know what they were doing, and in the process were hurting kids. Well, in many cases at the time, that was true. But times have changed, and there’s much more of an understanding that everyone’s different, but there’s now something new that’s been added to the game. People now at least think about the health of their kid’s arm, and many like omg, have the sense to seek out the advice of others, rather than to just blindly take the word of someone.

                        How about it ctandc, have you ever heard of anyone state in no uncertain terms that X number of pitches will definitely hurt someone while Y number won’t? But there’s still the problem of making the determination when a pitcher needs to be done for the day, and that’s really not anymore written in stone now than it was 50 years ago. So, since the possibility is still out there that some coach is a poor judge of when that happens, the guidelines are always there to guard against catastrophe by using the old “better safe than sorry” mentality.
                        The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                          I didn’t see that the op was looking for a specific number at all....
                          I (op) was looking for a number of pitches or innings. People's general opinions knowing that there are differences between kids. I appreciate the opinions. I think, based on what I have heard and now seen that 1-3 innings or 30-40 pitches is about right understanding that it may be less for some kids. The advice (this is my first 13 year old team with me coming from varsity mainly) was 60-80 pitches but I now feel that is too many. After watching the kids pitch it is pretty much all they can do to get it up there to the plate (most, not all). I feel 60 feet is too far for that age (coming from little league) but it is what we have.
                          "Thank you for repeating your opinion again for the umpteenth time, we had almost forgotten how important it is....to you. "

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by omg View Post
                            I (op) was looking for a number of pitches or innings. People's general opinions knowing that there are differences between kids. I appreciate the opinions.
                            Then I guessed correctly. Yahoo!

                            I think, based on what I have heard and now seen that 1-3 innings or 30-40 pitches is about right understanding that it may be less for some kids.
                            I truly believe that with what’s now known and understood, anyone who even mentions innings in the same breath with pitch counts as far as protecting arms, is just wasting their breath. An inning is not a measure of anything but outs, and has nothing to do with length of time or expenditure of effort. But I understand change doesn’t come easily.

                            I hadn’t looked at the ASMI recommendations in a while, so I took a peek just to familiarize myself with the age group’s suggested limits. You’re limits are just about half of what theirs are, so in my mind you’re doing fine.

                            The advice (this is my first 13 year old team with me coming from varsity mainly) was 60-80 pitches but I now feel that is too many. After watching the kids pitch it is pretty much all they can do to get it up there to the plate (most, not all). I feel 60 feet is too far for that age (coming from little league) but it is what we have.
                            Can you put into words why you think 80 pitches pitching at 60’ is any more stressful or damaging than 80 pitches at 46’? What kind of limits did you set for your V, JV, and Fr pitchers?
                            The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              If you are going to hold them to 30-40 pitches the I assume that you're only using the experience for development, which is fine. My question would then be, is it different for your starter? I assume you will warm him up. How many pitches. Surely, you don't have guys who may or may not come out of the bullpen throw as many warmups. If so, why not lower the number of warmups and give your pitchers more pitches with a batter in the box. If you are playing to win games and want to hold them to 30-40 pitches you better have a lot of pitchers.
                              I've often wondered how people who are very strict on the pitch limits treat warmups. Personally, if my pitcher is on, I don't have him take the 5 or 8 warmups. If the inning before, we went down fast, he'll usually just go one and down and let's get the show on the road. Let's say a starting pitcher throws 25 warmup pitches prior to the game, then 8 in the first inning and 5 in between innings. He throws your 40 pitches during the game and goes three innings. He has effectively thrown 43 warmup pitches and 40 game pitches for 83 actual pitches. My kid, instead, throws 10 warmups before the game, 3 before the first inning and 2 between innings. he goes five innings and throws 65 pitches. He's thrown 86 pitches to your 83. If we add an extra inning, my kid may throw 85 pitches in the game and I'll take a lot of flack for the pitch count, when in reality he may have thrown just a handful of pitches more than the kid who was pulled at 50 pitches. When scrutinizing the pitch count restrictions, does anyone take this into account?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Moving from 46 to 60’ is a huge jump. It’s critical for the kids to stay within themselves and not overthrow in an attempt to mitigate the increased distance. Those accustomed to dominating on the strength of their arms at 46’ may attempt the same at 60’ and create a host of problems for themselves. At 60’ the throwers have to become pitchers or reconcile themselves to position play.

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