Pitch Smart Guidelines

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An earlier post (cite) presented a review of the risk factors associated with arm injuries in pitchers. The purpose of this post is to present the age-appropriate Pitch Smart Program Guidelines for youth and adolescent pitchers. Included in these guidelines are age-appropriate recommendations for days of rest after throwing a given number of pitches. An 11-12-year-old pitcher, for example, who throws a maximum of 85 pitches in a game should be limited to no more than 20 pitches the next day. If he does not pitch the next day, he should be limited to no more than 21-35 pitches after one day of rest from pitching, 36-50 pitches after two days of rest, 51-60 after three days of rest and 66-85 (the max for this age group) after four days of rest.

Guidelines for Youth and Adolescent Pitchers

Ages 9-12 (typically 46-60’ pitching distance)

  • Focus on athleticism, physical fitness, and fun
  • Focus on learning baseball rules, general techniques, and teamwork
  • Do not exceed 80 combined innings pitched in any 12-month period
  • Take at least 4 months off from throwing every year, with at least 2-3 of those months being continuous
  • Make sure to properly warm up before pitching
  • Set and follow pitch-count limits and required rest periods
  • Avoid throwing pitches other than fastballs and change-ups
  • Avoid playing for multiple teams at the same time
  • Avoid playing catcher while not pitching
  • Players should not pitch in multiple games on the same day
  • Play other sports during the course of the year
  • Monitor for other signs of fatigue
  • Pitchers once removed from the mound may not return as pitchers
  • No pitcher shall appear in a game as a pitcher for three consecutive days, regardless of pitch counts.

AGES 13 TO 14

(Typically, 60′ Pitching Distance)

·       Players can begin using breaking pitches after developing consistent fastball and changeup

·       Do not exceed 100 combined innings pitched in any 12-month period

·       Take at least 4 months off from throwing every year, with at least 2-3 of those months being continuous

·       Make sure to properly warm up before pitching

·       Set and follow pitch-count limits and required rest periods

·       Avoid playing for multiple teams at the same time

·       Avoid playing catcher while not pitching

·       Players should not pitch in multiple games on the same day

·       Play other sports during the course of the year

·       Monitor for other signs of fatigue

·       A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game

·       No pitcher shall appear in a game as a pitcher for three consecutive days, regardless of pitch counts

AGES 15 TO 18

(Typically, 60′ Pitching Distance)

·       Players can begin using breaking pitches after developing consistent fastball and changeup

·       Do not exceed 100 combined innings pitched in any 12-month period

·       Take at least 4 months off from competitive pitching every year, including at least 2-3 continuous months off from all overhead throwing

·       Make sure to properly warm up before pitching

·       Set and follow pitch-count limits and required rest periods

·       Avoid playing for multiple teams at the same time

·       Avoid playing catcher while not pitching

·       Players should not pitch in multiple games on the same day

·       Make sure to follow guidelines across leagues, tournaments and showcases

·       Monitor for other signs of fatigue

·       A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game

·       No pitcher shall appear in a game as a pitcher for three consecutive days, regardless of pitch counts


AGES 19 TO 22 

  • Keep track of the amount of pitching throughout the course of the year. Although the safe yearly limit varies from pitcher to pitcher, it is important to remember that overuse injuries are the result of short-term and long-term overuse
  • Take at least 3 months off from competitive pitching every year, including at least 4 continuous weeks off from all overhead throwing
  • Make sure to properly warm up before pitching
  • Set and follow pitch-count limits and required rest periods
  • Avoid playing for multiple teams at the same time
  • Avoid playing catcher while not pitching
  • Players should not pitch in multiple games on the same day
  • Make sure to follow guidelines across leagues, tournaments and showcases
  • Monitor for other signs of fatigue
  • No pitcher shall appear in a game as a pitcher for three consecutive days, regardless of pitch counts


 

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For more information on the Pitch Smart guidelines concerning pitch limits and recommended rest for different age groups, go to http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines/

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