Preventing Little League Elbow
"Little League Elbow" -- is an inflammation of the inner elbow that affects an alarming number of youth baseball players across America. Pitchers are most affected by this injury, which is the result of the excessive stress on the growth plate in a child’s forearm caused by excessive throwing. Children who experience little league elbow often complain of pain on the inside of their elbows and an inability to fully extend their arms.
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent little league elbow before it starts.
1. Monitor pitch counts.
9-10 year olds should throw no more than 50 pitches per game, or 75 in a week.
11-12 year olds should be kept to 75 pitches per game and 100 per week.
13-15 year olds should keep their counts under 75 per game and 125 per week.
2. Monitor the frequency of pitching.
The number of times you pitch during the week is also important. Even in the major leagues, starting pitchers throw only once every four days. Rest time should depend on the number of pitches thrown in the last game. For pitchers ages 7-16, pitch counts can be easily broken up into units of 20. For example, 20 pitches or fewer require one day of rest; 20-40 require two days off; 40-60 require three days of rest; and anything above 60 pitches requires a break of at least four days.