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Baseball Tips

We offer the following tips for staying fine-tuned for youth baseball.

Avoiding injury:

  • Be sure someone checks the field before play to clean off any debris
  • Warm up and stretching is a must; start with some jumping jacks and then a five minute jog around the bases; stretch out your back, hamstrings, and shoulders; follow up with some easy, gradual throwing to warm up your arm and shoulder
  • To prevent ankle and foot injuries between the runner and fielder at first base, a "double bag" (a separate base for both runner and first baseman) should be used at younger ages
  • Sliding:
    • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that coaches do not teach players under 10 to slide
    • Use a field with breakaway bases; many injuries happen while sliding into bases that are stationary; the breakaway base is snapped into grommets attached to an anchored rubber map so it will dislodge if you slide

If an injury occurs:

  • It is important that the injured player's symptoms be completely gone before returning to play – no pain, swelling, full range of motion, and normal strength
  • Concussions are serious – the player must have no symptoms at rest or as he/she works through a gradual return to play program; the chance of a second concussion on top of one that may not have cleared can cause post-concussion syndrome, which can lead to serious brain deficiencies and even death
  • Shoulder and elbow overuse injuries in young players are becoming an epidemic; a player should never pitch with elbow pain or shoulder pain
  • If the player complains of elbow or shoulder pain the day after throwing, or movement of the joint is painful or restricted compared to the other side, it is best to see a sports medicine specialist immediately for an exam
  • Keep in mind that overuse and stress-related issues in young players can affect growing parts of the bone, not just the soft tissue; if the condition is not treated, it could cause deformity of the limb and permanent disability

Using ice versus heat:

  • Icing is always the best treatment – it reduces bleeding into the tissue, pain, muscle spasms and swelling
  • Do not use heat unless instructed to do so by a rehabilitative specialist (athletic trainer or physical therapist); although it feels good, it can increase bleeding into the tissue, prolonging your healing

Special notes for pitchers:

  • It is best to rotate playing other positions
  • Studies have shown that the number one factor in the growing number of arm injuries in youth players in the number of pitches thrown. Players need to gradually increase their pitch counts to build up arm endurance and reduce the risk of pitching on a fatigued arm.

    Age-appropriate pitching is important – Little League Baseball recommends the following:

    Maximum Pitch Counts

    7-8 50
    9-10 75
    11-12 85
    13-16 95
    17-18 105
  • A pitcher should not pitch on consecutive days and should avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping sessions
  • Develop skills that are age-appropriate so you don't blow out your arm before your baseball career has even begun

    Ages for learning types of pitches:

    Fastball 8
    Change-up 10
    Curveball 14
    Knuckleball 15
    Slider 16
    Forkball 16
    Splitter 16
    Screwball 17
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