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Thread: Limit number of pitches for a pitcher?

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    Certified softball maniac PEPPERS's Avatar
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    Default Limit number of pitches for a pitcher?

    My daughter is just turning 15, she pitched for a team last year and pitched as much as 6 or 7 games in a 3 day period at 40 feet. This year the mound is being moved to 43 feet.

    My question is with the extra 3 feet do any of you coaches have a recommendation of how much a fast-pitch pitcher should pitch and how much rest in between games? Do you count pitches, innings or how do you determined when to rest your pitcher?

    Everyone has advised that a fast-pitch pitcher could pitch as much as she can and not damage their arm but the American Sports Medicine had a report at the end of last year that a fast-pitch pitcher can damage her arm just like a baseball pitcher.

    Analysis of windmill pitching shows risk of injury to biceps in softball players | Eureka! Science News

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Certified softball maniac Mark H's Avatar
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    Well it's certainly not as bad as baseball but over use is over use. Varies with a player's motion, genetics and conditioning. Listen to your arm and your body.

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    In retrospect, I would have limited my DD to 2 games a day in tournament play. If I could, I would have limited her to 1 game a day in college.

    Additionally, while it is a big ego boost to see your kid pitch every game for a team, it doesn't do her any good physically or mentally. You should find a team where she has to share playing time with at least one other pitcher.

    Mark, the idea that a player is going to take herself out of a game is far fetched. Athletes learn to lie to their parents and to the coaches about pain. And, let's be honest--coaches don't want to hear that their star athletes are hurt. So, the coaches manipulate the players, the players manipulate the coaches. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the mantra of sport injuries.

    I had two DDs that played in college, and both have nagging injuries years after finishing their career. DD#1 can't lay on her pitching arm, and this is almost 10 years after she stopped pitching.
    Ray

    Every softball parent keeps a hockey mask and a butcher knife in their car...

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    Banned halskinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEPPERS View Post
    My daughter is just turning 15, she pitched for a team last year and pitched as much as 6 or 7 games in a 3 day period at 40 feet. This year the mound is being moved to 43 feet.

    My question is with the extra 3 feet do any of you coaches have a recommendation of how much a fast-pitch pitcher should pitch and how much rest in between games? Do you count pitches, innings or how do you determined when to rest your pitcher?

    Everyone has advised that a fast-pitch pitcher could pitch as much as she can and not damage their arm but the American Sports Medicine had a report at the end of last year that a fast-pitch pitcher can damage her arm just like a baseball pitcher.

    Analysis of windmill pitching shows risk of injury to biceps in softball players | Eureka! Science News

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Peppers,

    That extra three feet should not make any difference at all. If she is OK at 40 ft, she will do fine at 43 feet. If she is barely making it to the plate at 40 ft and you think she wont at 43 ft, then she really needs to work on building more speed.

    I had students that only pitched during their rec league season. They would start up their lessons a month or so before the season started and stop at the end of the season. The younger ones were only allowed to throw 3 innings a day.

    What I had most of my students do was to mark the number, keep some kind of record, of how many pitches they threw in practice at home every day.

    What I told them to do was simple; increase the number of pitches a day by 10 each week. Week 1- 40 pitches, week 2- 50 and so on. Keep increasing that numberuntil you get to the point you are pitching 150% of how ever many pitches you might throw if you are having a 'Bad' game. That way, even the worst game and that many pitches would not be even as stressful as a normal days practice session.

    You have to build up your 'Pitching stamina'. You dont start out running a 20 mile marathon, you have to work out and build yourself up to the point you can do that. Same goes for how many pitches you can safely throw in a day, a game or a weekend.

    I have seen 14u pitchers that started the game throwing BB's noone could touch and then, after two innings of that, they could not throw a pitch that didnt hit the dirt 3 feet in front of home plate. Why? Because they lost their grip strength because they never practiced, at least nowhere near enough or the only practice they got was in their session with the instructor.

    I have also had a few students that practiced at home every day and threw 250+ pitches each time. Those pitchers could throw hard for 5 games a day and not get injured, tired yes but not hurt and still had their speed and grip strength at the end of the day.

    How much a pitcher can throw safely at any age depends on their work ethics AND ONLY THEIR WORK ETHICS. It has ZERO to do with their DNA, their genetics or anything of that sort. IT'S ALL ABOUT WORK ETHICS.

    Here is a favorite saying I came up with many years ago. I hope you find it useful.

    "PITCHING IS LIKE OWNING A PIGGY BANK;
    ALL YOU CAN EVER EXPECT TO GET OUT OF IT IS
    EXACTLY AS MUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN WILLING TO PUT INTO IT"


    WINNING FAST PITCH SOFTBALL

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    I can talk softball all day JC heir's Avatar
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    I cant see why pitch limits should change regardless of distance to the plate.It seems to me she should be throwing as hard as she can at either distance.

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    Softball Junkie SoCalSoftballdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggers View Post
    In retrospect, I would have limited my DD to 2 games a day in tournament play. If I could, I would have limited her to 1 game a day in college.

    Additionally, while it is a big ego boost to see your kid pitch every game for a team, it doesn't do her any good physically or mentally. You should find a team where she has to share playing time with at least one other pitcher.

    Mark, the idea that a player is going to take herself out of a game is far fetched. Athletes learn to lie to their parents and to the coaches about pain. And, let's be honest--coaches don't want to hear that their star athletes are hurt. So, the coaches manipulate the players, the players manipulate the coaches. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the mantra of sport injuries.

    I had two DDs that played in college, and both have nagging injuries years after finishing their career. DD#1 can't lay on her pitching arm, and this is almost 10 years after she stopped pitching.
    Ray - in hindsight, having two players pitching at the college level, would you have done anything differently in your DDs development as it relates to their pitching practices so they did not have arm injuries for the rest of their lives. I have a young pitcher and I'm always concerned about overuse, improper or lack of stretching, injury, and burnout.

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    How much a pitcher can throw safely at any age depends on their work ethics AND ONLY THEIR WORK ETHICS. It has ZERO to do with their DNA, their genetics or anything of that sort. IT'S ALL ABOUT WORK ETHICS.
    Hal, generally, I respect what you say about pitching instruction. But, that statement is just crazy and irresponsible. That is just nonsense.

    So, according to you, softball pitching is the one athletic body movement in all of sports which can be done without fear of injury "as long as they practice correctly". In all other athletic endeavor repetitive motion (e.g., running, jumping), causes injury in athletes, but softball pitching somehow is the exception--even though parts of the body are moving faster than 65 mph.

    First, you use circular logic.

    You say, "If a kid practices correctly, they won't get hurt." If a kid gets hurt, then you say, "She didn't practice correctly." If a kid does get hurt, you say, "She didn't practice correctly.

    In fact, you can't predict ahead of time if a kid will be hurt or won't be hurt.

    Second, what you are saying is "magic". There is nothing that I have read any of your posts or book laying out a "magical" pitching practice schedule that eliminates the risk of injury. "If you do something, your kid won't get hurt," but you never say exactly what it is.

    The reality is that coaches want to justify the abuse of kids to enhance their own resumes.

    (And, I coached my DD when she was pitching, and I over-pitched her in travel ball.)
    Ray

    Every softball parent keeps a hockey mask and a butcher knife in their car...

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    I can talk softball all day JC heir's Avatar
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    Ray : amen!!

    Hal: I so disagree with almost your whole post that I just couldnt say a thing.....especially since you have credentials thatb I dont, but just common sense tells me....

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    Quote Originally Posted by halskinner View Post
    Peppers,

    That extra three feet should not make any difference at all. If she is OK at 40 ft, she will do fine at 43 feet. If she is barely making it to the plate at 40 ft and you think she wont at 43 ft, then she really needs to work on building more speed.

    I had students that only pitched during their rec league season. They would start up their lessons a month or so before the season started and stop at the end of the season. The younger ones were only allowed to throw 3 innings a day.

    What I had most of my students do was to mark the number, keep some kind of record, of how many pitches they threw in practice at home every day.

    What I told them to do was simple; increase the number of pitches a day by 10 each week. Week 1- 40 pitches, week 2- 60 and so on. Keep increasing that numberuntil you get to the point you are pitching 150% of how ever many pitches you might throw if you are having a 'Bad' game. That way, even the worst game and that many pitches would not be even as stressful as a normal days practice session.

    You have to build up your 'Pitching stamina'. You dont start out running a 20 mile marathon, you have to work out and build yourself up tothe point you can do that. Same goes for how many pitches you can safely throw in a day, a game or a weekend.

    I have seen 14u pitchers that started the game throwing BB's noone could touch and then, after two innings of that, they could not throw a pitch that didnt hit the dirt 3 feet in front of home plate. Why? Because they lost their grip strength because they never practiced, at least nowhere near enough or the only practice they got was in their session with the instructor.

    I have also had a few students that practiced at home every day and threw 250+ pitches each time. Those pitchers could throw hard for 5 games a day and not get injured, tired yes but not hurt and still had their speed and grip strength at the end of the day.

    How much a pitcher can throw safely at any age depends on their work ethics AND ONLY THEIR WORK ETHICS. It has ZERO to do with their DNA, their genetics or anything of that sort. IT'S ALL ABOUT WORK ETHICS.

    Here is a favorite saying I came up with many years ago. I hope you find it useful.

    "PITCHING IS LIKE OWNING A PIGGY BANK;
    ALL YOU CAN EVER EXPECT TO GET OUT OF IT IS
    EXACTLY AS MUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN WILLING TO PUT INTO IT"


    WINNING FAST PITCH SOFTBALL
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ray and JC,

    I was not talking about mechanics. Maybe it would have sounded better if I started it off with "As long as their mechanics are sound,,,"????

    The title of the thread is 'Limit the number of pitches for a pitcher?'. If a pitchers mechanics are not sound, they should not be pitching AT ALL, as far as I am concerned. That would not be a case of 'only let her throw this many because her mechanics are not sound'.

    It's like doing drills when the mechanics are not sound, it's an effort in futility, it will only re-inforce bad mechanics.

    You are somewhat trying to quote me as saying things about mechanics in my post and I said NOTHING about mechanics. The cases I cited were at both ends of 'pitching stamina' thing. I cited a couple of the worst examples and I cited a case that I had of a few students that were exceptional on the high end of work ethics.

    One of those students started out pitching to her Dad when she was 5. She started coming to me at age 10 and she already had those tremendous work ethics. She was the NSA state champion pitcher that year, pitched 3 games on Saturday and then pitched all 5 games on Sunday (with the exception of the first inning of the first game). After the tourney, she got into the back seat and slept the entire trip home but no injuries, not even sore the next day. She got breaks between games, not long breaks but some time between to rest.

    She could throw a scedule like that because she had worked her way up to being able to do that. Her mechanics were very sound and smooth. I thought that would be understood, a given, so I didnt say it.

    You guys have mechanics on your mind but I said nothing about mechanics.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional.

    I should probably also mention that the 10-year-old I noted changed speeds constantly. Unlike some on this board that think you must throw with full speed every pitch, this young lady used speed as a weapon and did it like a pro. I would guess she only used full speed every 4 pitches or thereabouts. It's the 110% everything but the kitchen sink pitches that wear you out and run a big risk of injury when the muscles, tendons, etc, get tired.

    Throwing off-speed and slow speed does not wear you down like the fast ones do. I hope you will at least agree with that!

  10. #10
    Certified softball maniac PEPPERS's Avatar
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    I did not mean that the extra 3 feet is going to add a lot of additional stress to her pitching motion although I do suspect to see some maybe. Iíve heard that a number of great pitchers at 40 feet have been average or less at 43 feet. Iíve even heard of a few who just canít seem to adjust. One problem is that the extra 3 feet is a big advantage to the hitters and itís going to take more pitches to get fewer outs.

    I tend to agree with slugger that even though the motion is close to perfect and the hours are put in on training there has to be a limit. You need to listen to your body and the pain factor, the pain is there for a reason. I want to make sure I error on the side of caution with my 15 YO. She would have her arm fall off before she would admit she could not go on.

    Halskinner I am new on the form, from what Iíve seen you have a number of great suggestions and good advise I certainly donít have the experience you have as a coach.
    My daughter has pitched 4 and 5 games a day and I donít think that is the best thing for her development.

    Great advise everyone, thanks for your all the suggestions.

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