Arm Health For Pitchers.

At the early stages of a baseball season, a manager must have a plan with regard to pitch counts and arm health. Use these helpful guidelines to ensure proper arm care.
One of the most important responsibilities of a youth baseball manager is proper arm care. Especially at the early stages of a baseball season, a manager must have a plan with regard to pitch counts and arm health.


Daily and Monthly Pitch Counts

It is not the number of innings pitched which matters most. Instead, the number of pitches thrown is most relevant to significant arm health. Pitches should be counted at all times, with the manager holding strict to a pitch limit - both per day and per week. This ensures that no young arms are compromised for the sake of winning a youth league baseball game.

Leagues often set guidelines to assist in monitoring athletes' throwing levels. Develop several pitchers and their arm strength, to help distribute the pitch load. A chart offering suggested pitch limits and games pitched follows below:

Age
Games
Pitches
8
2
48
9
2
52
10
2
56
11
2
60
12
2
66
13
2
72
14
2
78
15
2
86
16
2
96
17
2
106
18
2
106


Season Plan

One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a baseball team is the topic of sore arms. Typically, sore arms are not medically serious. Instead, it is a young arm getting in shape, much like the lungs or legs of a middle-aged runner after taking a considerable amount of time away from jogging. A young arm is like any other muscle in the body, it must be worked into shape at the beginning of a season. Regardless of age, size or athletic ability, a plan must be set in place to ensure that the arm has ample time to build strength and endurance.

This can be safely achieved with a simple plan. Several weeks before the first game of the season, set up a schedule designed to "ramp up" your athletes' pitch count levels. Use an increasing scale to bring arm strength from "out of shape" to "game ready" in this time. An example of pitch counts (thrown in practice bullpen sessions) follows below:

Day 1
25 pitches
Day 5
28 pitches
Day 9
31 pitches
Day 13
34 pitches
Day 17
37 pitches
Day 21
40 pitches

This does not mean that a pitcher needs to be ready to throw 60 pitches on opening day. Instead, plan on working through a long-term schedule that will have your pitchers peaking near the latter stages of league play. With a plan in place, your athletes will be safely ready to throw 50-55 pitches by the second or third week of competition.

This way, as other arms grow tired from the rigors of a 20-30 game schedule, the arms of your pitchers grow stronger and show no signs of slowing down. Remember, each pitcher should still be held to strict daily and weekly pitch counts.

Be sure to also check out:
The Art Of Catching!

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