The Ole Ball Game

Pitch Counts Or Innings Pitched ~ Which Is The Most Effective In Protecting Young Arms?

Pitch counts or innings pitched, a topic which is currently very visible in youth baseball.

Up until recent history, players at the Little League level were limited only to the number of frames they could throw, in a specified number of hours.

The National Federation Of State High School Associations only specifies that each state association shall have a restriction policy to afford players a reasonable rest period between appearances. That seems to be vague at the very least.

good mechanics play a part in arm and shoulder safety

Restrictions on the number of frames thrown do offer some protection; but the true culprit is the actual number of baseballs thrown.

In a 6 inning Little League game, a player could theoretically throw as few as 18; but without a restriction, over 100 is a possibility. It leaves the end result to chance and the hope that the coaches in charge make good, rational decisions, based on the well being of the player and not the outcome of the game.

Ideally, you would like to have players with a high number of frames thrown, and a low number of baseballs thrown.

If you think in terms of a baseball game as being shared by 2- 3 players to throw it, the system would be developing more players who could throw, relieving arm and shoulder stress on those that do, and extending the careers of many.

Since baseball's early beginnings, kids have dreamed of becoming major league baseball players. In this modern era, with the advent of year round baseball, many young players succumb to shoulder and elbow injury before that dream can be approached or achieved.

For many, the dream gets realized, only to be lost or shattered by an injury, whose origin began early on in their youth baseball days.

Safety Tips ~ From the Dugout

safety tips ~ from the dugout

  • With restrictions, players would be forced to become more efficient, that is throw more strikes, so they could complete games or at a minimum go deep into games.

  • One concept that will help them do this is to "Pitch To Contact," forcing hitters to put the ball in play and utilizing the seven players behind them, by locating deliveries down in the strike zone, not nibbling at the corners or attempting to strike out every batter.

  • Sandy Koufax, Dodger lefty won 5 ERA titles, 3 Cy young awards, 1 MVP, pitched 1 perfect game and 3 no hitters.

    I Became A Good Pitcher When I Stopped Trying To Make Them Miss The Ball And Started Trying To Make Them Hit It. ( Sandy Koufax )

  • By throwing good, low strikes and getting ahead of the hitter, numbers of baseballs thrown stay low. The best pitch in baseball has always been, and always will be, strike one! Injury risk should be lower and innings thrown should increase.

  • Set a goal for getting rid of hitters in 4 pitches or less. First offering for a strike, stay ahead and finish him off.

  • Below is a list of 2008 MLB splits and their batting averages for the 12 possible counts:

    2008 Team Splits By Counts

    First Pitch .337 .326
    1-0 .339 .381
    2-0 .355 .376
    3-0 .370 .111
    0-1 .315 .315
    1-1 .329 .326
    2-1 .339 .356
    3-1 .350 .416
    0-2 .160 .142
    1-2 .179 .126
    2-2 .194 .175
    Full .227 .207
  • As shown by the highlighted numbers, hitting with 2 strikes is meager at best. By focusing on getting ahead and staying ahead, the chances of being a successful pitcher jump dramatically.

  • In summary, throw strikes, work fast, change speeds. Reducing the number of balls thrown will increase the number of innings thrown and decrease the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries.

Just Take The Ball And Throw It. Throw Strikes. Home Plate Don't Move! ( Satchel Paige )

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