Pitching And Overuse In Youth Baseball

  A number of years ago I’m coaching my local Little League team. My best pitcher Rich was on the mound and we were playing for first place. The only problem was Rich played on two other travel teams and we had him on a 50 pitch pitch-count. I don’t remember the exact circumstances but the opposing coach did something unethical early in the game that irked my assistant coaches and me. Now we wanted to win more than ever! The only chance we had was if we could extend Rich’s pitch count. I went to his parents and got permission to go to 60 pitches with him.  What I did was 100% wrong! Coaches are doing the same thing and a combination of overuse and sports specificity is hurting young pitchers. Steal a few pitches here and few pitches there and before you know it we coaches are putting our own motivations first before the safety and well being of our players. We live in a very competitive society but common sense bust prevail. It is up to the player’s parents to monitor their son’s pitch count. I’m against involvement in multiple leagues but kids love playing. Playing in more than two leagues is counter productive. Some parents though realize what is going on and insist in one league their son is not allowed to pitch. Great idea!
  A few years ago the American Medical Association said that children under 13 should not be allowed to play the same sport year round. Sport specificity is also potentially dangerous for kids. At issue is the kid’s growth plates which develop differently for each individual. I addressed this in detail in my book Baseball Coaching: A Guide For The Youth Coach and Parent. 
  One of my best players ever, Stan loved baseball. Only problem was that it was all he did. When he got home from school every day he went out back and threw bucket after bucket of baseballs against a mat that his father had set up. By the time Stan was 14 he had multiple operations and could not play baseball anymore. I remember him telling me he could not even watch a baseball game on television for 10-years.
  Parents have to consider long term consequences with everything their children are doing and who they are involved in. Parenting is the greatest job in the world but like everything else it has to be worked at. 

More Youth Sports Stuff: On Long Island this week a football player died doing what was called a Navy Seal drill. With other players they were carrying a 400 pound log over their head as a conditioning drill when the log fell and crushed Joshua A. Mileto’s skull. He was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital. Coaches will do these creative intense drills. I’m not sure if this was just a freak one in a million accident or this was one drill that should have never been tried. What ever level you are coaching, safety trumps all.

……..In 2016,  31,470 high school students played in traditional 11-player football in New York State. In 2007 the number was 38,354 an 18% drop. Over the same period there was a 4.5% drop nation wide.

……..Dentists estimate roughly 3 million teeth are knocked out because athletes don’t wear mouth guards. Besides football where mouth guards are mandatory, athletes in other sports should wear them.