Almost all shoulder injuries in young pitching are related to overuse. Pitch count guidelines are largely used in youth baseball, although many coaches and sports medicine doctors disagree as to the use of limits by game, week or season.

Much debate also exists regarding the effect of throwing curveballs and other off-speed pitches at a young age. Generally we recommend that kids avoid throwing these pitches until they are old enough to shave.

Limit kids to 100 innings per year for youth baseball

A simpler strategy to prevent overuse shoulder and elbow throwing injuries might be to set a limit on the number of innings a kid can pitch over the course of an entire year. A study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine illustrated the danger of exceeding 100 innings per year. Pitchers aged 9 to 14 who threw more than 100 innings in a season were 3.5 times more likely to suffer a serious injury.

Also read:
4 risk factors for youth pitching injuries
7 tips to strike out youth pitching injuries

Preventing youth pitching injuries

Pitching too many innings doesn’t increase a kid’s risk of a few days of shoulder soreness or elbow tightness. They are more likely to suffer injuries that require surgery or end their playing careers. Despite what many young athletes and their parents think, the surgeries are not simple or minor. The younger the athlete is when he undergoes many of these arm surgeries, the less likely he is to make it back to baseball.

Parents and coaches can discuss ways to utilize the innings. Rather than spreading them out throughout the year, I would prefer kids take three consecutive months off from baseball each year. Regardless, I think limiting innings pitched is an easy way to avoid serious youth pitching injuries.

Young baseball pitcher