Why You Should Pay Attention to Pitch Counts in Little League

Why You Should Pay Attention to Pitch Counts in Little League

Pitching takes a lot of effort and exertion. Without limits, it can wear out a young player’s arm or joints. The goal of pitch counts is to help your child learn their limits and be able to play their sport without pain or long-term damage. 

Major league pitchers are limited as to how many pitches they can throw per game to prevent injury; young pitchers deserve the same protections.

While our specialized team of orthopedists at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists can help if your child develops Little League elbow or another injury to their arm or shoulder due to sports, we’d rather your child stay healthy. 

Here’s why paying attention to pitch counts matters.

Overuse can cause damage

Throwing is actually one of the highest intensity activities that can affect a joint. The action puts significant stress on the elbow as the arm accelerates. The shoulder endures a lot of tension and stress, too. 

Every time your child pitches a ball, they put stress and wear and tear on their joints. The body repairs everyday wear and tear readily, but when this wear and tear exceeds normal stresses, the body can’t keep up. The result is gradual and lasting damage to important tissues.

Pitching too much at too young of an age means your child may never reach their full potential.

When a young pitcher throws too much, they’re vulnerable to long-term injury. Their bones and joints aren’t fully formed yet, and overthrowing can cause damage to the growth plates and stress damage to your child’s bones. 

Younger players’ growing bones and joints are simply more susceptible to devastating injury than adults. 

Pitch count limits and rest days

The Little League Baseball and softball organization has established maximum pitch counts so players only throw so much during a game. These numbers depend on the age of the athlete. 

In addition to mandating a certain limit of pitches, the organization also recommends young pitchers take a certain number of rest days between the days that they pitch.

You have to work with your player, coach, and other parents

You have to help your coach enforce pitch limits for your child’s safety. If your child plays on multiple teams or in a variety of venues, they’re at risk of overpitching. 

Only you know that your child played a game and pitched 50 times on Sunday. Your Monday team coach needs to know this to limit their pitching accordingly. 

Your child may protest and so might a winning team or a competitive parent of another player who really wants that trophy. But remember, this preventive measure is for your child’s own good and only helps them play their best long into the future. 

Also know that enforcing pitch limits doesn’t guarantee your child won’t develop an injury. It just makes injury to the shoulder or elbow far less likely. 

If your young player is struggling with elbow or shoulder pain, contact our orthopedic team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists in Bethesda and Germantown, Maryland. Call our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office or set up an appointment here.

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