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  • How Many Pitches?

    In a recent thread there was discussion on pitching injuries.
    I didn't want to hijack that thread, so I'm starting this one.

    All I want to know is how many pitches should I limit to my nine-year old son (and other kids for that matter) when he begins kid-pitch in the Fall.
    After reading a lot of information on this site and others, I have arbitrarily selected forty pitches as my son's weekly limit in games. He would also throw two twenty-pitch sessions on off days. Add in a couple of long-toss sessions (maximum fifteen per session).

    Oh, and did I mention he also wants to play catcher?
    I know he probably shouldn't play pitcher and catcher in the same game.

    To follow the thought from that other thread...Maybe I should go spend a night in a Holiday Inn Express

  • #2
    Originally posted by johnlanza View Post
    In a recent thread there was discussion on pitching injuries.
    I didn't want to hijack that thread, so I'm starting this one.

    All I want to know is how many pitches should I limit to my nine-year old son (and other kids for that matter) when he begins kid-pitch in the Fall.
    After reading a lot of information on this site and others, I have arbitrarily selected forty pitches as my son's weekly limit in games. He would also throw two twenty-pitch sessions on off days. Add in a couple of long-toss sessions (maximum fifteen per session).

    Oh, and did I mention he also wants to play catcher?
    I know he probably shouldn't play pitcher and catcher in the same game.

    To follow the thought from that other thread...Maybe I should go spend a night in a Holiday Inn Express
    You’re making the same mistake so many other people make, but at the same time protecting the kid from those who may not have his best interests at heart. The mistake, at least in appearance, is that you’ve picked a number that may or may not be a good one for your son in the fall. The danger is, if its too high but you stick to it and he gets harmed in some way, you’re the reason. And that’s always been one of the arguments against pitch counts.

    The trick is, what you need to do is become able to recognize when he’s physically had enough, and that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. Some say to use a gun and when the velocity drops, yank him. Others say its when he starts getting pitch “up”, or loses his command. There are probably 100 other ways too, but the point is, you want to get him out too soon rather than too late.

    But that needs to be balanced with what the other boys want/need. The whole point of baseball at that age is to have fun, develops fundamental baseball skills, and create a passion for the game. That means equal opportunity for anyone who wants it, so maybe this week he gets to throw, but next week he doesn’t. You need to come to grips with that he isn’t the only pitcher on the team, or at least shouldn’t be.

    Having said all that, I’m guessing 40 is too high for that age in that venue, and it has more to do with developing other players than it does with his arm safety. Keeping in mind that there’s a limit as to how many opportunities there are in any game and how many players need to share in them, I’d prolly go with a mixture of criteria. 40 pitches max, 6 outs max, and 9 batters max. Those criteria should keep him safe, still afford him lots of opportunities, but not take too many opportunities away from the other kids.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Personally, I like innings count when the pitch count is so low. Pick 2, or 3 innings. Then your team can count on you, and he wont pitch too much.

      The team could have 6 pitchers that throw 2 innings each. Or 4 pitchers that throw 3 innings each.

      Obviously, if the kid is struggling with walking, etc., take him out before the inning limit is reached.
      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

      Comment


      • #4
        In our league, kid pitch starts at 8 but with a t-ball. Hardball starts at 9. The league rule is 50-pitch limit and you're not supposed to pitch more than once a week. Having said that, managers ignore it all the time (ours certainly does). Some teams only pick 4 or 5 kids they deem worthy enough to pitch and therefore ignore the limits. They justify it by saying the kids aren't throwing that hard anyway, so injury isn't a concern. I'm not buying this or justifying it - my son is one of the kids who never gets to pitch because of this philosophy.

        Another one of our league rules than can ramp up pitch count pretty quickly - we have a maximum 3-walk per inning rule and/or no walks with the bases loaded. Which means a batter stays up there until they strike out or get a hit.

        Comment


        • #5
          I prefer to keep a pitch count vs max innings pitched. I have done some research on max pitch counts per age group and every source has a slightly different opinion but are within an acceptable number of pitches (to me). Our league (9u) has a 2 innings pitch cap per game but I have seen kids throw 40+ pitches in one inning. I set my pitch count to 52 pitches/game and if a pitcher is in a grove I will let him finish off a batter if he hits 52 pitches, then I will pull him. Most of my kids get 2 innings/game anyway but there have been times that due to defensive errors, increased number of foul balls, or sometimes a kid just doesn't have his best stuff that I wll have to make a change that inning or going into the next.

          I also like the pitch count beacause it lets me see the average number of pitches per inning it takes a kid to get 3 outs. Sometimes I use the avgerage pitch count as a tool. I share this number with the kids and we will try to set a goal to "X" pitches/inning average by the end of the season. I find this makes them focus a little more on the mound. This information is also good to share with your Catchers because a hard working Catcher can help lower a pitch count/inning with proper framing.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've already coached this age group. When I coached 9/10's the 9's pitched one inning per week. The 10's pitched two. They weren't going to get to a high pitch count. If a kid throws 25-30 pitches in an inning chances are he's going to need to be pulled anyway. I was never the coach who worried about pulling a pitcher. I told them if MLB'ers get pulled, it's good enough for them.

            As the ads on tv say, results may vary. Before puberty kids can be physically plus or minus three year of their actual age. So a nine year old may be physically six or twelve. This may have some bearing on how much you pitch your son.

            The key to little kids learning how to pitch is coaches must first teach them how to throw properly. Kids who don't stride properly and open up to much tend to place excessive stress on their shoulders and arm.

            Nine year old baseball may seem like life and death to the boys. Some of the parents get off on the attention they receive as the parents of nine year old studs. By high school no one remembers who the preteen studs were. No one refers to the ones not playing anymore as baseball players. The key to kiddie ball is to learn the fundamentals of the game, build a passion for the game and have fun. You may not develop any future high school baseball players. But you can develop a team full of future baseball fans.

            Don't smoke out any little kids arms. Three pitchers from our area had surgery by age twelve. Their dads loved the attention of being winning coaches. They loved talking about their stud sons. One told me mine would never develop into a pitcher if i didn't get him pitching lessons and develop his killer attitude now. The guy was wrong. My son was a closer in high school.
            Last edited by tg643; 05-21-2012, 10:20 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kan-Man View Post
              … I'm not buying this or justifying it - my son is one of the kids who never gets to pitch because of this philosophy.
              And that’s what it always eventually comes down to. There’s just no reason why at that level especially, every kid on the team isn’t pitching.
              The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                And that’s what it always eventually comes down to. There’s just no reason why at that level especially, every kid on the team isn’t pitching.
                You don't pitch kids who can't get the ball near the plate. No one benefits from watching a walkfest. The kid pitching the walkfest may fear ever pitching again. There's no reason to put a kid on the mound before he's ready.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                  You don't pitch kids who can't get the ball near the plate. No one benefits from watching a walkfest. The kid pitching the walkfest may fear ever pitching again. There's no reason to put a kid on the mound before he's ready.
                  I don't entirely agree with this. Most of our games turn into walkfests, even with the best pitchers on the mound. They're 8-years old - there's bound to be control issues. I don't have a problem with keeping some kids on a shorter leash than others, but the least "talented" kids can surprise you and at least deserve a chance.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    JohnLanza,

                    ”All I want to know is how many pitches should I limit to my nine-year old son (and other kids for that matter) when he begins kid-pitch in the Fall.”
                    The first consideration all caring fathers should ask is what is the biological age (not chronological) of my child is to asses training and competitive timelines!!!! He may be a delayed, equated or advanced maturer.
                    “After reading a lot of information on this site and others, I have arbitrarily selected forty pitches as my son's weekly limit in games.”
                    This is the same method that LL of America chooses their pitch count recommendations and age requirements by way of ASMI’s method of collecting data on the subject for their recommendations. This method is anecdotal and absolutely non-scientific that has no merit.

                    “He would also throw two twenty-pitch sessions on off days.”
                    Non adrenalin assisted practice is OK and much less stressful if proper mechanics are being taught, traditional centripetal (arm flying out to the side) mechanic are not proper and highly injurious especially at this age. His epicondyle (where the growth centers are) at the elbow end of his Humerus shows up as translucent with an x-ray at this age, this should tell you something.
                    Add in a couple of long-toss sessions (maximum fifteen per session).
                    There is absolutely no reason at this age for long toss training. Long toss helps pitchers attain higher velocity (through neural timing recruitment not strength) but unless they are also taught proper mechanics that most popular long toss programs all fail at they only work to solidify bad mechanical habits. Do not stress velocity at all at this age but do teach them how to Crowhop correctly.

                    It has been recommended by the top expert in the field that at this age they should not be competitively pitching at all but we know that is not going to happen so at least spread the load out and make it mandatory that all players must pitch unless their parents expressly want them not to. Limit your child to no more than 2 innings (preferably one) a game and week with your 40 pitch count. If they exceed 30 pitches in their first inning they do not get the second for only 3 months of the year.

                    TG,

                    Great first post !!
                    Last edited by Dirtberry; 05-21-2012, 01:08 PM.
                    Primum non nocere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kan-Man View Post
                      I don't entirely agree with this. Most of our games turn into walkfests, even with the best pitchers on the mound. They're 8-years old - there's bound to be control issues. I don't have a problem with keeping some kids on a shorter leash than others, but the least "talented" kids can surprise you and at least deserve a chance.
                      And therein lies the problem. Folks like you and I don’t think in terms of whether or not the kids will be playing pro ball or even at the next rec level! All we’re interested in is what’s best for all the lids and the game. How many times has anyone had to endure the biggest kid, the hardest thrower, or the coach’s son walking or hitting batters at rates so high, the fielders literally can’t focus, and neither can anyone else, because its such a joke. And so what if an 8YO walks a few batters? Its not as though its never happened before.
                      The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dirtberry View Post
                        ...This is the same method that LL of America chooses their pitch count recommendations and age requirements by way of ASMI’s method of collecting data on the subject for their recommendations. This method is anecdotal and absolutely non-scientific that has no merit. …
                        Anecdotal, absolutely non-scientific, and no merit? Pray tell, what have you done that’s totally without anecdotal information, completely scientific, and is 100% correct in every way shape and form?
                        The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                          And therein lies the problem. Folks like you and I don’t think in terms of whether or not the kids will be playing pro ball or even at the next rec level! All we’re interested in is what’s best for all the lids and the game. How many times has anyone had to endure the biggest kid, the hardest thrower, or the coach’s son walking or hitting batters at rates so high, the fielders literally can’t focus, and neither can anyone else, because its such a joke. And so what if an 8YO walks a few batters? Its not as though its never happened before.
                          In our league, at 8 and some 9's we use a modified kid pitch. No walks aloud. Ball 4 coach steps in and is allowed the number of strikes remaining.

                          Those that have coached know there will be players that have close to zero chance of throwing a strike at this age group 9 and under. It's not fair to the other 20ish players to go through that process during a live game. While I agree all kids should be throwing during practice, no way should every player get a chance to pitch in a live game.

                          The next level up is "normal" baseball. If a kid can't throw strikes in practice he shouldn't be on the mound during a game. If a kid works on mechanics and improves to a point that he can throw strikes than he should get some live game action regardless of velocity.

                          My point being, every year I have coached 9 and under, there is 3 to 5 kids that are very beginner throwers. To the point you wonder if they have EVER thrown anything prior to the baseball season.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is the same method that LL of America chooses their pitch count recommendations and age requirements by way of ASMI’s method of collecting data on the subject for their recommendations. This method is anecdotal and absolutely non-scientific that has no merit.
                            What are the other options? Dad's gut feeling? Dad's embellished memories of how much he threw when he was a kid, and he was never hurt? How many CG and IP pitchers threw in the 60s? How pitchers pitched ion the dead ball era?

                            Personally, even as a throw often, type of guy I don't have many good reasons to go outside of the LL recommendations. I find that the guys that don;t want to follow them want to pitch the same kid(s) over and over because it makes managing easy.

                            Teach the non-strike throwers how to pitch? You mean actually work with them in practice so their accuracy improves? Whoever heard of such a thing? They have a name for these kids and they're called "outfielders". Chase it down and throw it in.

                            IMO, there's certainly no reason to "find the line" for the pitch limit at this age. Little League used to have no pitch limits and went to pitch limits based on advice from the medical community in regards to youth pitching injuries. It may not be the most scientific process, but there's not any experiment that can pinpoint the pitch count limit for each pitcher isolating a variable.

                            So, we must employ a limit that ALL coaches can administer to ALL pitchers in ALL leagues to ensure pitcher safety (as best we can).

                            If I, as an informed dad and pitching coach, say "My 10yo is bigger than most others, throws with great mechanics, has a 5:1 K:BB ratio in travel ball, and he can handle 110 pitches in a game", who knows if I'm right or wrong?

                            1. They're kids. They don't need to find their pitch limit or tolerance.
                            2. They'll be over-pitched soon enough.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kan-Man View Post
                              I don't entirely agree with this. Most of our games turn into walkfests, even with the best pitchers on the mound. They're 8-years old - there's bound to be control issues. I don't have a problem with keeping some kids on a shorter leash than others, but the least "talented" kids can surprise you and at least deserve a chance.
                              I used eight pitchers in 9/10's. The other five couldn't throw a ball in the ocean from the beach. It didn't serve anyone's purposes to have these five pitch. It doesn't build confidence to place kids in an environmenrt where they absolutely will fail. It's not fun to stand on the mound and fail in front of everyone. If a kid can't throw any strikes in practice he's not going to throw strikes in a game.

                              Comment

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