Arm health is important for all pitchers, particularly for youth pitching athletes who are continuing to grow and develop. This is why pitch counts are important. Coaches, athletes, and parents should all know and implement recommended pitch counts for players. This can help reduce stress on arms and keep health as priority number one for young athletes.
Why are Pitch Counts Important for Youth Pitching Athletes?
If you haven’t heard of pitch counts, they are exactly what they sound like: the number of pitches a player throws at any one time. There are maximum recommended pitch counts for players based on age. Pitch counts are designed to limit the amount of stress on the athlete’s arm to help reduce the risk of injury. While there are many potential causes and factors of injuries among pitchers, workload is one common one that is simple to control through pitch counts. Maintaining reasonable workload plus improving mechanics and functional strength can help youth pitching athletes care for their arms now and in the future.
Recommended Pitch Counts by Age
Pitch counts vary based on the age of the player. Here are the general recommended youth pitching pitch counts from Little League:
|Age||Pitch Count per Day|
In addition, Little League also has recommended rest guidelines for pitchers. For instance, youth pitchers under 14 typically must rest one day after pitching 21 to 35 pitches in a day, 2 days for 36 to 50 pitches, 3 days for 51 to 65 pitches, and 4 days for 66 or more pitches in a day. They also have rest period recommendations for athletes over 16, such as high school pitching athletes.
Personalizing Youth Pitching Counts for Each Player
Of course, it’s important to note that everyone develops differently. Therefore, while pitch counts are good general guidelines, it’s also important to individualize workload to the youth pitching athlete.
For the most part, it’s important to abide by pitch counts even if a pitcher is doing well. This can help protect the arm and reduce the risk of added fatigue throughout the season. However, there are times where you may need to pull the pitcher before they reach the maximum pitch count. If a player is obviously fatigued, then typically it’s better to be safe than sorry and pull them out to help reduce the risk of injuries. The most common sign of fatigue from a pitcher is loss of command, so coaches and parents should look out for this sign even before the player reaches the maximum pitch count.
Helping Pitchers Stay Healthy and Achieve Their Potential at National Pitching
Our team at National Pitching is committed to helping baseball pitchers improve through our health-first, science-backed program. Whether your player needs help improving mechanics or increasing pitching velocity, our team has the knowledge, experience, and research at our fingertips to help players enhance their game. Get started with National Pitching today – find a coach near you or sign up for a V.I.P. membership for exclusive access to online training.