Question:My 10-year-old daughter is pitching for her Little League team. What can she do to prevent an injury from using her arm too much?
This question applies to young boys and girls who pitch. There are no Little League rules about pitching limits. Coaches use various guidelines. You can help by keeping track of your daughter's pitches. The following guidelines are used by many coaches and apply to the child who has not reached full skeletal growth:
- Count pitches in practice as part of daily or weekly pitching time. Pitches in practice count for half as much as pitches in games. For example, throwing 30 to 40 pitches in practice counts the same as one inning of 15 to 20 pitches.
- Do not pitch more than the total of one game per week, including practice time. For example, do not exceed 100 total practice and game pitches in any one week.
- Do not pitch more than 75 pitches in a game. There are usually 15 to 20 pitches per inning.
- Young pitchers should not throw more than 600 pitches during the season. It is best if the training and practices help them build up to at least 300 pitches per season.
- Young pitchers should avoid using the curveball and slider pitches until the arm is more fully developed. These pitches have greater risk for injury. The change-up pitch is generally safe for younger pitchers.
- If the arm starts to show fatigue, stop pitching and/or remove the pitcher from the game.
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