Team sports are a fun past time for many high school students. It encourages them to stay active, socialize, and learn to work together as a team. Baseball is one of the most popular sports across the US.
If your teenager just joined a baseball team you may have one serious question running through your mind. “How often should a high school pitcher throw?” In order to reduce the risk of injuries, the average high school student should pitch no more than 95 times per day or a maximum of 125 times a week, all depending on how often they play.
These may seem like high numbers, but there have been times where young pitchers had to pitch 125-150 times a game. Surgeons were seeing a rise in the number of young baseball pitchers that came to them due to overuse. A surgeon named Dr. James Andrews dealt with 164 pitchers between 1996-1999. That number jumped to 588 between 2004-2007, and 146 of those pitchers were teenagers.
Look At The Numbers
In order to get a better understanding of just exactly how often a high school pitcher should throw the ball, you need to take into account their age, how often they play, and how often they get rest time. A student between the ages of 13-16 should only pitch 95 times a day maximum, where a 17 or 18-year-old can pitch up to 105 times.
While there aren’t any weekly or seasonal limits on how often older teenagers can throw the ball, there are for younger teens. Players who are still freshman, 13-14-year-old, should not pitch more than 125 times a week, 1000 times a season, or 3000 times a year. They are still growing at that age and it’s important to play safe.
Rest Days Are Very Important
It’s very important that every pitcher take days of rest, especially young ones. The more days of rest your kid has, the more pitches they can throw per game. If a high school pitcher just played a game yesterday then today they can’t throw the ball any more than 30 times.
If they had a day off from the game and got to rest their arm then we can safely move the number of pitches up to 31-45 throws. That’s better, but the second day of rest practically doubles the number of pitches to 60. The only way a high school pitcher can safely pitch the maximum 95 throws in a day is if they were given at least 4 days of rest from the game.
Coaches Pay Attention Because Every Pitch Matters
Your pitches aren’t just limited to what was thrown in the game. If a high school student has pitched during practice or even for recreational fun than that counts as a daily pitch.
Coaches sometimes have a bad habit of throwing too much at their young pitchers for the game. Every coach has a responsibility not to allow their pitchers to exceed the daily limit.
They must make sure every pitcher gets a turn to play. Too often they overwork their star players during a game and ignore the rest. Not only is this completely unfair to the kids on the sideline, but it also puts their star players at a greater risk of injuries.
Some coaches are so wrapped up in the spirit of winning, which is why they overwork their lead players and ignore the rest. If a coach constantly leaves a player on the sidelines that will also negatively affect their throw. Every pitcher on the team needs to throw the ball in order to improve their toss.
Prepare Yourself, Practice Safely
Did you know that the main reason so many pitchers get injured isn’t actually from over pitching? Most of the time injury happens because the player was not properly preparing themselves for the game. Coaches need to make sure they prepare high school pitchers adequately for the big game. If they over pitching without the right preparation than an injury is bound to occur.
12 Ways on How To Prevent Pitching Injuries?
Any serious coach knows just how important it is to be teaching young players how to play safely. Let’s take a look at some ways that your teenager can avoid injury on the field.
- Make sure all the of pitchers on the team are properly trained before throwing the ball at full velocity
- Make sure every kid has stretched and warmed up thoroughly before the big game.
- Encourage the students to practice in a year-round program to maintain flexibility, strength stamina, and range of motion to maintain their throw quality!
- Have your players practice weight and resistance training, but always supervise to make sure they are using safety precautions.
- Always have your pitchers throw at a reduced velocity when learning a new technique.
- Limit the number of pitches thrown during practices.
- To avoid heat exhaustion make sure your players are wearing proper garments and stay hydrated.
- Teach your younger players the fundamentals of a good pitch. Teach them everything they need to learn about mechanics, control, and accuracy so they fully understand how to pitch at their best ability.
- Follow your pitching guidelines and make sure to count those pitches.
- Always follow up games with rest days to keep their arm in the best condition.
- Concentrate on age-appropriate throwing techniques.
- The most successful pitchers that have remained injury-free all have similar throwing techniques that have been proven to be the best and safest. Teach them to throw in safer styles.
- Take care of your pitcher’s arm before and after they throw the ball.
Preventing injuries is one of the most important parts of playing the game of baseball. A safe athlete is a successful athlete.
Arm Activities To Improve A High School Pitcher’s Throw
Learning a safe throwing technique will eliminate a big chance of injury, but there are many other activities your high school pitchers can do to make sure their arm is in the best shape it can be for the upcoming baseball season.
They can improve their arm action with any of the following activities:
- Exercises with resistance tubes
- Shoulder stability exercises (such as scap holds and waiter walks)
- Wrist-weight exercises to improve forearm
- Rice bucket exercises for finger and forearm strength
- Reverse and pivot pickup with a light medicine ball (no more than 2 lbs)
- Rhythmic stabilization movements
- Foam roll with a lacrosse ball to relieve pressure on any built-up knots
Incorporating these activities into a high school pitcher’s routine can greatly improve the condition of their arm and shoulder. This puts them at a lower chance of getting an injury.
Why Are My Arms Sore?
A high school pitcher may not have experienced an injury to have sore arms. There are numerous reasons why their arms could be sore. If you ever feel aching in any part of your arm always take it seriously. Don’t ignore it to play a game because that is how it becomes much worse.
If you are experiencing any soreness in your biceps or triceps it could be a result of your arm not being strong enough for the demands of the throwing increase from starting to play more games. In order to avoid this from happening you need to properly utilize your legs, hips, and trunk for the throw. When you don’t do this you force your arm to carry the majority of the throw causing soreness.
Shoulder soreness could be a result of a poor throwing technique and weak rotator cuff muscles. This is probably happening from releasing the baseball when your elbow is behind your chin.
Weak wrist and forearms mixed with a bad throwing technique could result in elbow soreness. Don’t snap your wrist before releasing the ball and avoid throwing when your elbow is behind the chin.
It is also important that you distinguish the difference between soreness and pain. If any part of your throwing arm feels pain then seek medical attention. This is almost always a sign of an injury.
Traits Of Successful Pitchers
Every successful pitcher has some habits they follow to remain injury-free. Here are some tips to follow to keep your throwing arm safe and strong.
- Always maintain proper balance, flexibility, and control of your body to play your best game
- Perfect your body and arm alignment
- Throw in your own style, as long as it’s safe
- Always use the same arm actions
- Their pitching arms has a long smooth arc of declaration
No high school player should pitch more than 95 throws a day, given that they had adequate rest time. Making sure young players stay safe during the game will keep them having fun and feeling motivated. High school sports are a great way for your kid to feel involved, stay active, and build life-long friendships with other kids in the community.
Don’t forget to include plenty of stretching, and a good warm-up before the game, as well as a cool down routine afterward. Play safe everybody!