As super league has already been in progress for a few months it is time for city league baseball (Little League) to get under way. Many cities in our neck of the woods started practicing a few weeks ago and had their first games this week. Many pitchers are involved in both leagues here in Utah and I’m sure it’s the same in most states.
This is the time of year where coaches need to be made aware how many pitches their pitchers are really throwing each week! If they pitch for you they most likely pitch for another team. It is also important to know how often your pitchers are throwing if they play other positions as well. I have talked to some coaches lately who said that between tournaments in Super League and city league their players had 8 games in 4 days. One father told me his son pitched two 3 inning games but failed to keep track of how many pitches he threw. Some of those innings can really drag on with all of the errors Little League teams can make. Pitchers can have 30 pitch innings in some cases.
The problem we see in Little League is, more often than not, these pitchers seem to have a more rigorous throwing schedule than Major League pitchers. This posses a problem for these young pitchers. Not only are they still developing their mechanics, they are still developing and are more prone to arm injury if they are not monitoring how many pitches they throw off a mound each week.
It is also important for coaches to understand that after a pitcher has thrown 45-60 pitches they should not throw anymore that day. I’ve seen some coaches have their pitchers warm up (throw) an hour after their first game with the rest of the team on double header games. The worst is watching a kid throwing long toss with one of the outfielders less than 30 minutes after a long outing on the mound.
If your coaching Little League just use your best judgment out there. Monitor the simple things like pitch count and how often the pitchers are throwing.