I have a new "problem" this year. I'm coaching an 11-12 year old baseball team that my 12 y/o son plays for. He will be my #1 pitcher. Our league follows "modified LL rules". One of the modification is that we still go by innings pitched, not pitch count. A pitcher can only throw 6 innings per week. And the required days of rest depends on the number of innings pitched. I will be keeping track of the number of pitches thrown, just to make sure none of my pitchers over do it.
My "problem" is that my son will also be playing on a travel team this season. He was primarily selected to be a catcher, but I think they will want to use him as a pitcher. Should I stick to limiting him to 6 innings per week? Or is there a higher limit that I should apply. This is our first year with a travel team, playing in tournaments, so any advice would be appreciated.
If your league limits pitchers by innings so be it, follow their rules.
That said, I'd still limit the pitchers by number of pitches thrown.
If a kid throws 75 pitches in 6 innings or 75 pitches in 3 innings his arm pretty much needs the same amount of rest.
I would hope that if he throws 75 pitches in 3 innings you aren't going to let him continue and throw 150 pitches in 6 innings just because the league allows him to pitch 6 innings.
You can use the LL guidance on pitches and rest or you can do a Yahoo/Google Search and find other "recommended" guidelines, but the bottom line, rest should be based on the number of pitches thrown not the number of inings pitched (in my opinion).
You are correct that I will still follow the pitch count guideline, not the innings guideline. Chances are that if a kid is throwing 75 pitches in 3 innings, I would have pulled him long before the 75th pitch.
I am just looking for any guidance from coaches/parents who have had boys play on multiple teams and how they handled it.
You follow whatever pitch count/rest requirement you feel is the right one to use (be it LLs or ASMIs or another one).
If he's pitching in multiple leagues/on multiple teams, you just make sure, based on the last day he pitched and how many pitches he threw, that he gets the needed rest before he pitches again.
The other issue is "total pitches in a year/year round play" and in that case, the recommendation is he gets "some time off/does not pitch all year round."
This might shed light on the discussion of pitch counts
Besides following the rules, it depends on the kid. Generally kids throw too little and pitch too much. Too many pitches for the average kid might be just getting warmed up for a kid on an Alan Jaeger or Ron Wolforth throwing program. It's true that over use is the big problem. But that's specific to the kid depending on his mechanics, genes and level of conditioning.
Most leagues not associated with Little League International follow the general "Innings Pitched" rule and, in my opinion, are doing it wrong. My oldest son was in Little League the first year they instituted the Pitch Count rule. Most coaches thought of it as a burden at the time. One more thing to do during a game. I haven't stopped using their Pitch Count rules and it has been 4 years since my kids have played in a Little League sanctioned league.
There is one point that a lot of parents and coaches are missing regarding pitching. The CATCHER. Frequently, a manager will use the same player to pitch and catch in the same game. I plan my line-up to avoid this for one simple reason:
The catcher is making just as many throws as the catcher. Granted, they may not be thrown as hard every time as the pitcher pitches but the fact that the player is making that throw, especially after pitching, will fatigue their arm.
Now factor in that the player has just thrown 40-50-60 or more pitches, the same player moves to catcher and is going to throw the ball another 40-50-60 or more times back to the pitchers mound. I think that you can see where I am going.
My recommendation for pitch counts for any player is to use the Little League International guidelines for the number of pitches allowed and required rest between pitching in a game. And I recommend coaches not to use the same player to pitch and catch in the same game.
"I am just looking for any guidance from coaches/parents who have had boys play on multiple teams and how they handled it."
Both of my sons have played on both in house LL teams and travel teams at the same time. The biggest thing I can suggest is to coordinate with both coaches as to when you kid will be used to pitch and then follow the LL guidelines for total pitches and rest. I talked to both coaches prior to the season and let them know the situation. I also asked that they try to give me a couple of days notice if they were planning on pitching my kid. I know things change on a game by game basis but at least this gave me a way to try to keep things under control. I will also say I was somewhat flexiable in following the pitching guidelines. If my kid was schedule for 3 days rest and we were playing later in the day on day 2 I would let him pitch for an inning or tow if needed. There were other times where I knew he would be eligble to pitch but he was complaining of soreness in his arm that I would not let him pitch. It does at times cause some conflicts with his coaches put as his parent I need to ensure his well being. I've always been in a good position where I know both coaches personally and they know Im just looking out for my kid. As mentioned the key to all this is communication. Now its to the point that the coaches for both my kids ask prior to the game if he is avaliable to pitch.
Dan: The other thing to consider about catcher/pitcher in the same game is the player's legs!
Catching tires the legs.
Catch for 4 or 5 innings and your legs get tired.
Then, you move from catcher to pitcher and guess what, because your legs are tired you pitch more with your arms which is a bad thing.
Tired legs are NOT a good thing to have when you are pitching.
LL has a pitcher to catcher rule AND a catcher to pitcher rule - both of which I think are good rules.
Hi Doug, You probably know that each kid is different and each should be looked at differently. My son is a junior in High school this year and has been playing baseball since he was 4. Like most sports practice is more important than games, this is a hard with LL, everyone wants to jump in and play games. I never let my son pitch more than 2 innings during the local season, for travel, (we did not play travel till the end of the season here) we would stretch that to 3 innings. 50 pitches during a game should be more than enough to get an Idea weather your practice is paying off. We throw more at home than during games by far. A good long toss program is the most important thing you can do this spring. Get his arm in shape and keep it strong. Your goal is to get him ready to play at the next level, if that is babe ruth or teeners, you need to be working on skill development. To go and mow down all the 12 year olds at a tournament is not our goal. My son is 16 years old, Last year he had a couple of games he needed to pitch a little deeper into the game and was able to, due to good conditioning and not over throwing as a Little Leaguer, throw 125 pitches and no hurt him self. He has 4 pitches, great mechanics, and can make ajustments on his own now. Teach your son to pitch, practice, 4 times more than you play, (sit on a bucket it help the knees not get so tired) and your son will grow up to have a long and fun baseball experience Have a great season! Jon
The only part of the LL catcher to pitcher rule that I, and other locals, do not (like) agree with. [But who cares!}
That part being a catcher is charged with catching a full inning having only caught one pitch in any given inning.
One pitch = One inning, how often does that actually happen for a catcher?
Heck, if you have a very good pitcher, four full innings might only be 30-40 pitches.
On the other hand, if the pitching is bad a catcher might catch 30-40 pitches in 2 innings and 50-60 in 3.
So, by the rule, the kid who caught 30-40 pitches can't go in to pitch but the kid that caught 50-60 can!
The problem with a one size fits all rule is that it fits some cases better than others.
The solution could be to use "pitches caught" instead of innings - does anyone really want to go down that road?
Not a question of......."how often does that actually happen for a catcher?"
Point is: the rule, as wriitten, would ALLOW it to happen. Be it a one pitch thrown to the 1st batter of a 4th inning--batter out, or on base as a result of that pitch If it's the catcher's 4th "PART" of an inning behind the plate, he cannot be used as pitcher that day. That one-pitch DQ'ing him!!
Your scenarios ----[pitches thrown/innings examples]---points out the potential absurdities of the rule. as written.
Don't get me wrong, I'm in total agreement with the catcher to pitcher rule-----and reason why it was implemented.
Just don't like the "PART" we are discussing.
Check asmi.org. It's the best resource. The founder is Dr Andrews, one of the leading sports ortho specialist in the world.