A worthwhile post from one of you guys

this was posted by JB this afternoon and though it is sort of related to my Curveball post, I thought it was a good point worth circulating.

JB wrote;

I was listening to the LLWS the other night and heard them talking about pitch count for kids during a game. I guess kids can only throw 85 pitches in an outing today. If I recall correctly when I was a kid it was based on innings pitched (6 in one outing or 9 innings in a week – something like that). I am 100% for protecting kids and making sure that they don’t get hurt but can you honestly tell me that limiting their pitch count prevents them from the risk of injury. I am almost certain that there is no study that shows because kids pitch x number innings they end up hurt or straining their arm. The reason why I say it is odd is because when I was watching the Yankees and the Joba innings pitched discussion – professions were even saying that there is no correlation between arm injury and the amount of innings pitched. They referenced Kerry Wood & Mark Prior as two which they felt over work may have hurt these guys. Then the flip side there were talking how pitching also strengthens arms and the biggest key for that was long toss. Shot guys back in the day would throw back to back double headers and be fine. Are we as parents babying our kids and making baseball a specialized sport. 10 years ago there was no such thing as a set up man, long man and closer.

Stop babying these kids and let’s start strengthening their arms w/ long toss. Making them better and stronger for the future. I am not saying a pitch count is wrong because kids need to be protected from psycho adults.


8 Responses to “A worthwhile post from one of you guys”

  1. 1 David Baldwin
    August 20, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    While we are at it….we should also limit how much they run as hamstring injuries can be a real problem. Included in that would be how much they should run based on the heat index and well as whether they should be allowed to slide or not depending on the quality of the infield soil.

    I have never met 2 identical kids. Every kids arm is different, their muscle tone different, their delivery different, the time it takes their body to heal is different as well as what kind of pitch they are throwing.

    Enough already with the rules.

  2. 2 Joeybagabaseballs
    August 20, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Growing up Dad never helped with the food shopping or the dishes and Mom didn’t “work” she ran the house cleaning, cooking ,doing laundry etc.. Today its different story the roles and gender lines are not so clear.Hell my old man would sit in his recliner and made us sit next to the TV and change the channel all 12 of them. Today you have to ask your 9 year old how to turn the TV on because you cant figure it out.
    Why should baseball be different it the classic old school vs new school.You hear about the Jaba Rules and how the Yankee management doesn’t want to ruin his arm,if he throws 91 and not 95 its a cause for debate.How about some days you have it and somedays you dont? Hear comes Nolan Ryan and the old school… no pith counts and let them go nine, Texas is in the playoff hunt my hats off to the Ryan Express!
    Watch the Little League world series and they all throw curve balls.That in my opinion will cause more arm problems then the number of pitches thrown.How far a kid can go depends on the individual.I do believe that by throwing more with the proper mechanics, long toss, and stretching for flexibility is the way to build arm strength. Dads recliner might be gone for good but Pitch counts are here to stay. You have to wonder why Little League is protecting pitchers from knucklehead coaches who wouldn’t know when a kid is done, yet they allow curve balls and metal bats.

  3. 3 Ray
    August 20, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Though I agree that no two players are built the same I believe that there needs to be guidelines that all coaches must follow in coaching there teams at the youth levels. The fact is many factors can lead to arm injuries other than the amount of pitches thrown. The one aspect that remains true is that the more a pitcher throws the more likely they are to have a breakdown in proper mechanics that can then lead to potential arm injury. The strengthening of arms should be taking place during the off season and the during practices.Pitch counts can also be extremely misleading if the maximum is reached in six innings that is ok, but when the maximum is reached in three innings then we are taking unnecessary risks. We also need these guidelines to protect the athletes from over zealous coaches who focus more on the win than the development or experience.

  4. August 20, 2009 at 10:05 PM

    hey Joey Baganastalgia, thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

    Lots of good thoughts here. Something to keep in mind. The folks at the AMSI who originally consulted with Little league and first suggested a pitch count had designated 65 pitches as the original limit. Little League in their ultimate wisdom decided to make it 85. While there are indeed kids who have “rubber arms”, they are the exception not the rule and so I have to concur with the use of pitch counts. having said that, there are many things a good coach can do to increase both arm strength and stamina and long toss is a great one. The reason long toss works so well is because of the long and fluent motion of the arm during the exercise. A coach who just thinks that throwing more pitches will develop the same strength and stamina is just kidding himself. A live pitching situation is a much more violent and stressful muscle movement and will develop strains and tears when overuse sets in. Throw in the bad mechanics of a poorly thrown series of breaking balls over the course of a long outing and you hav a recipe for yet another teeenager who needs Tommy John surgery. Ray has a good point that long toss and any other strengthening and durability exercises needs to be done in the off season and on off days during the season.

    We are not babying these kids. If anything there are far too many idiots who try to sidestep these rules that were put in place to help keep the kids safe.

    If you’re waiting for pitch counts to go away, don’t hold your breath.

    While it’s true that some pitchers used to thorw more pitches and on less rest, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Hell, I’ve heard of women who smoke crack during their pregnancies and still have a healthy baby but I don’t think you’ll find many doctors writing books about using a crack regimen to ensure a healthy child.

    How’s that for an analogy?

    Coach Tony

  5. 5 David Baldwin
    August 21, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    Instead of some arbitrary group of “experts” deciding on new rules and pitch counts why dont we focus more of our attention on:

    1. Developing our kids into confident athletes who know when they are hurting and aren’t afraid (due to peer pressure) to say something to their coach. I often here people yelling “leave it all on the field” “take one for the team” “suck it up” “are you hurt or injured”. A athlete…at almost any age…will know when things don’t feel right. The problem is that most are afraid to say something for fear of humiliation from the coach or other players.

    2. Putting more rules in place to get rid of bad coaches and train the ones we do have better. You can probably trace a a lot more injuries to a coach who pushes his players beyond their limits and doesn’t recognize when a player is hurt.

  6. August 21, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    hi Dave

    I think #1 is much more easily said than done. While a very noble idea, I also think it’s a very ambitious one. That may be asking quite a bit from a kid but nonetheless, I believe that a parent can have a much bigger impact than a coach in these situations but getting that accomplished is certainly no easy task.

    On #2, I couldn’t agree more. Just as so many coaches simply wind the kids up and let them play instead of teaching them, most towns simply wind up the coaches and let them do what they want. I think there should be much more stringent guidelines put in place regarding the choosing and training of youth coaches. Having said that, I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one because again, most town youth sports programs are run by retards. anything short of a coach molesting a kid usually results in the same guys coaching the smae group of kids until they get to High School.

    BTW, I do believe thathaving these groups of “experts” can be a very valuable thing. Unfortuantely, there are sell-outs like Mike Mussina who attach their names and reputations to ridiculous notions like “there is no difference between metal and wood bats”. organizations like Little League pay these guys to either join their boards or to become “consultants” because they want to pass their own agenda.

    great post.

    • 7 JB
      August 25, 2009 at 3:02 PM

      Yo Coach did you hear this one. Maybe you can help me out because I wasn’t listening all that closely last night during the Staten Island vs. Iowa Game. The beloved Dr. Andrews you referenced earlier who made the recommendation of pitch count to the little league had started a Board of Directors to consult with the USA Baseball and the Little League. That comity has total disputes Dr. Andrew’s findings and say that pitch count and curve balls have no bearing on kids arm injuries. I don’t know coach but the more I hear about this it seems like it is based on an individual’s own mind set whether or not this has a baring on kids arm injuries. I go back to my original statement there is no hard and fast evidence that proves pitch count and curve balls have a bearing on kids and arm injuries.

      I think I got you on this one coach!

      “You want the truth” “You can’t handle the truth”

  7. August 25, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    C’mon JB. If you’ve been following the LL at all you’d know thay they been actively looking for people to endorse their retarded notions. Do you really believe that arm overuse and throwing curveballs has no impact on arm injuries? I wonder if this committee of “experts” is aware of the most important statistic in this case? That being the number of Tommy John surgeries that have been performed on pitchers in their teems and younger. I’m on vacation so I don’t have the exact numbers but the number of surgeries has gone up beyond any possible and/or conceivable manner.

    The geniuses at Little League also convinced Mike Mussina to attach his name and reputation to the idea that there is no difference between metal and wood bats. Are you gonna tell me you believe that one too?

    Little League has become nothing more than a global media business and they’re interested in nothing that diminishes the marketability of their “sweeps week”. Just ask ESPN.

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