It is important that our kids return safely to help prevent overuse injuries from occurring during the season. Common overuse injuries in baseball are injuries to the elbow (ulnar collateral ligament, UCL) and shoulder in the throwing arm. A proper warm up, maintaining an age appropriate pitch count and good throwing mechanics are essential to preventing overuse injuries.
Here are some specifics to keep in mind:
- Warm Up: Start practice and games with light jogging and stretching. Start your throwing with soft toss and gradually work your way up to desired distance as you warm up.
- Age Appropriate Pitch Count: Little League Baseball has established age appropriate pitch counts, required rest periods, and recommended ages for various pitches. These guidelines were established with the help of medical professionals who researched baseball mechanics and child development. They have determined that observing a pitch count is a safer way to regulate pitching in youth baseball (see tables below).
|Ages 14 and Under||Ages 15-18||Required # of Rest|
|66+||75+||4 Calendar Days|
|51-65||61-75||3 Calendar Days|
|36-50||46-60||2 Calendar Days|
|21-35||31-45||1 Calendar Day|
- Good Throwing Mechanics: A strong shoulder is necessary for a strong thrower, but strong scapular (shoulder blade) control and core is essential. Your arm should be used more like the end of a whip when throwing. A throwers power in generated in the legs and core and transferred to the arm. The scapular muscles and rotator cuff needs to be able to control the power that is generated and stabilize the shoulder as it whips the ball towards the catcher. Talk to your coach and seek out an Athletic Trainer or a medical professional trained in throwing mechanics to make sure your core and scapular muscles are strong enough to maintain proper mechanics as you throw.
- What not to do:
- What to do: