Cleat Geeks

Old School Saturday; Baseball Sandlot

When you begin to grow old, your mind has the tendency to drift back in time. I was driving in the area by my home and noticed the nice baseball fields. They consisted of nice dirt infields, cut grass, backstops and fences.

NewBaseballFieldProblem was nobody was playing on them. Kids don’t play pickup games like before. The fields are used for league games, such as park district or travel leagues.

Sandlot baseball is an “Old School” term.  Sandlot baseball doesn’t exist in suburban life. Kids don’t meet at a certain time and choose up sides decided by a bat flip.

Let’s compare youth baseball of today with my youth baseball or “Old School” youth baseball.

Now I don’t want anyone to take this as a slam against youth baseball of today. Nothing can be further from the truth as I have three grandsons who play.

Let’s start out with a typical day in the summer from my youth and compare it to today’s.

Wake up, have a bowl of cereal, grab my mitt and off to the park to meet my buddies and start a full day of playing baseball. Today a youngster wakes up and turns on TV to watch cartoons. Mom gets him to come to the table to eat breakfast and an hour later he is playing XBox until lunch.

After lunch, I am off to the schoolyard for another round of baseball. You could find me pitching into a chalked line strike zone box drawn on the cement school yard wall. We called it fast pitching. We would chip in to buy either a ten cents or twenty-five cents rubber ball. The object was to try and strike out your buddy by throwing fast balls and curves.

The young man today meets his buddies and they text or roam the Internet. Now this is not to say young kids can’t play, they can. Some have the potential to reach higher levels in the game.KidSwingingCenter

While I joke about texting and the Internet, they have great tools at their disposal. Indoor batting cages that can be used all year round and metal bats that never break and trampoline the baseball on good contact. We had wooden bats that would crack and require a nail, glue and tape to be ready for use. They have a tee to practice with. We would go to a field, throw small rocks in the air and hit them.

What I see as a main difference is today the kids are bigger and stronger but we had a big edge in fundamentals. We could catch and throw. There is a game I play with my grandsons called pinners. The game is simple, throw a rubber ball against a wall and catch it.

I would never change the neighborhood or the time period I grew up in. We were all a bike ride away from wherever we needed to be, school, store and best of all, the little league field.

Game day was special. I got to wear my uniform and play a game with an umpire, a new white baseball, real bases and a coach. We would get there early and play against each other until it was game time. The games were six innings and the pitcher could pitch the whole game. No  pitch counts and Tommy John was not heard of yet.

No families had two cars, no SUV’s, no mini-vans, just our mitts on our handlebars and our cleats (rubber) tied together around our necks.

KidsBaseballBlack&WhiteI watch many youth league baseball games and I have to hold myself back from trying to help a kid hold the bat correctly or how to field a ground ball.

One thing I don’t understand and it’s really an “Old School” issue is winning. Winning is not important to today’s players, coaches and parents. We played to win, whether it was a sandlot or league game. No one ran back to the dugout after a strike out and got high fives from the coach and players for trying. We were not good losers.

I am sure some people may object to my thoughts. I only say what I see and what I lived. I wish more young kids today would love baseball like me and my sandlot generation does.

Next week the Yankees.

Another Reason Your Kids Should Play Baseball

AndrewLuckFistPumpWednesday’s big news, at least from the NFL, was the fact that Andrew Luck signed a big extension. So big in fact, that with it he becomes the highest paid player in the NFL. The maximum value of the contract can be a shade under $140 million combined over the next 6 seasons. But why does this mean that your kids should play baseball?

Well, we already know about the long term and short term ramifications of concussions that multiple athletes have suffered playing football. Now we have a new reason to play baseball. Luck is the highest paid NFL player. But 29 other baseball players are paid more than Andrew Luck. Yes, 29.

The biggest ever belongs to Giancarlo Stanton, with a 13-year, $325 million monstrosity. There’s an opt-out, sure, but Stanton doesn’t have to opt out. Basically, if he wants it, he can’t make less than $325 million. Alex Rodriguez is almost done with his $275 million deal while Miguel Cabrera’s in the midst of a $248 million deal. Robinson Cano and Albert Pujols each have a $240 million deal while Joey Votto is at $225 million.

Photo by: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the names of the other MLB players who make more than Andrew Luck; David PriceClayton KershawPrince FielderMax ScherzerZack GreinkeCC SabathiaJason HeywardJoe MauerMark TeixeiraFelix HernandezStephen StrasburgBuster PoseyJustin VerlanderChris DavisMatt KempTroy Tulowitzki,Masahiro TanakaJon LesterAdrian GonzalezJacoby EllsburyMike Trout and Cole Hamels.

Just for fun, here is a list of 5 more MLB players that are within $10 Million of the “mega” deal signed by Luck. They are; David Wright, Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo-Choo and Johnny Cueto.

The other thing you need to remember, is that in the NFL a contract is worth a certain dollar amount, then it is guaranteed a smaller amount. Like in the Luck deal, it is worth just shy $140 Million, yet the guarantee is barley over half that amount at $87 Million. In baseball, worth and guarantee is the same thing in every contract, a player is guaranteed every dollar the contract is worth.

Bottom line , teach your kid to play baseball.

Parts of this article were taken from an article written by Matt Snyder.

A great drill for pitchers: Quarterbacks

 

We’re always looking for great pitching drills.

Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, our eyes and ears are open for new ideas about how to make pitchers better.  One great set of drills that we use for pitchers is called quarterbacks.  It’s no secret where it got its’ name and it’s exactly what you think.

We have the athlete act like they’re a quarterback starting under center awaiting the snap.  When the pitcher begins the drill, he will drop back or roll out in a predetermined way and then aggressively throw the ball toward the target.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)russell-wilsonthrowingFootball

Here are some things that this pitching drill can improve:

  • Athleticism, body control, and motor coordination.
  • Awareness of how to be under control while the body is moving.
  • Keeping eye contact on target while body is in motion.
  • Helps to fix many mechanical issues related to various types of “disconnection” from the body.
  • Cleans up arm action by connecting it to the body’s movement.
  • Teaches pitcher how to aggressively move body and throw accurately.

We are huge fans of athletic pitchers (thanks to Ron Wolforth for the term, not to mention the inspiration).  We believe that too many pitchers are focused on “steps” and balance points during the motion, when they should be focused on being explosive and in good rhythm.arrowPitching

 

 

How to perform the “quarterbacks” pitching drill:

Well we already laid it out basically, the pitcher just acts like a quarterback.  We suggest using a variety of “drop backs” and roll outs, to keep the body adapting and the drill fresh.  For example, the first couple can be just a straight 7 step drop straight back.  Upon reaching the end of the 7 steps, the pitcher plants his rear foot and aggressively drives into the target and throws.  This should happen quickly, more like a plyo-bounce than a stop-and-then-throw.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the fourth quarter of the New York Giants 24-20 win in a NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

The next couple can be 3 steps, or the angle can be changed so the pitcher is now dropping back to the right or left.  If you’re in a big enough area for this drill, the pitcher can also roll out to the side like he’s running an option.  Again, the more variation the better.

Quarterbacks can be a great pitching drill and can be used for non pitchers as well to increase athleticism and throwing accuracy.

This pitching drill is one that is recommended in our Baseball Brains Pitching Academy which is available on our site.

paperbackstanding2

 

Or become a PRO Brainiac for $5/month and get them all for no extra charge!

We will be selling each eBook on the site for those who don’t want to become a member or who just want to buy the system “A la carte”.    Every PRO and All-Star Brainiac is automatically enrolled in the Pitching Academy, which entitles our members to all of the documents in the Academy for free or close to it as they are made available.

 

Early Specialization VS Multiple Sports

Specialize or Play Them All?

Is it better for a young athlete to play many sports throughout the calendar year, or specialize in only one?

CHILDREN-PLAYING-SPORTIt’s a question that is being asked more and more as club sports and travel teams pop up in seemingly every town from coast to coast. With them comes an array of questions, concerns, opportunities, and pressures. No matter the age of the athlete, these issues can weigh heavily on them and their families.

This article will examine a few of the facts surrounding athletic specialization, and attempt to serve as an educational exercise for those who may be facing the decision of whether to play multiple sports or narrow it down to just one.

What’s Your Goal?

Snow Canyon's Blake Ovard steals second base while Enterprise shortstop Tanner Laub waits for the throw to make the tag during the Utah State Little League Tournament Thursday, July 13, 2001. (Photo by Jud Burkett)

Research has convincingly shown that early specialization results in early success. In other words, if a ten-year old basketball player wants to be the best ten-year old basketball player he can be, his best course is to focus entirely on basketball. He will generally elevate his game above his peers who are spending their time playing a different sport every season.

There are many benefits that come from early success in a young athlete’s career:

  • Attention from higher level coaches and recruiters
  • Happiness from achieving success at an early age
  • Mental confidence in the sport
  •  Additional access to better teams and competition

The question then becomes, what is the long-term effect? Surely, most parents would not say that they want their child to “peak” in a sport while they are twelve years old. Likewise, young athletes desire a career path that continues to trend upward into the highest levels of the sport.

As firm as the science is on the matter of early specialization being beneficial for early success, it is just as solid that early specialization does not equal long-term success.

In fact, the effects of focusing solely on one sport from an early age can be very strongly negative in many cases when examined over a longer period of time.

There are many problems created by early sports specialization:

  • Increased rate of “burn out” in the sport
  • Higher incidence of injury due to excessive repetition
  • Narrower motor skill development
  • Decreased participation in sports as an adult
  • Social isolation

If the goal is to create the best youth player in a particular sport, then playing that sport and nothing but that sport is the best path. If the goal is to set a young athlete on the best course for long-term development both in a specific sport and in life, research indicates that playing multiple sports is a much better idea.
What About All The Practice It Takes?

kidssoccerOne of the arguments that is often made regarding early specialization of young athletes is that the sport requires a lot of practice and repetition. So much so in fact, that the only way to spend that much time is to devote the entire year to that one sport. To play a different sport after the season would be to take away the practice hours needed to achieve mastery.

On this count as well, research does not agree. Many studies have shown that participating in multiple sports decreases the amount of time it takes to master any one of them. In other words, it will take a baseball player much longer to become “high level” if he only plays baseball as opposed to playing multiple sports.

This is caused from a phenomenon called skill transfer. Skill transfer is when training in one area promotes and benefits training in another area. This is perhaps the most convincing argument that can be made in the debate of specialization or multiple sport participation.

Skill transfer applies to many different areas:

  • Decision making
  • Movement patterns
  • Strategy
  • Physical conditioning

All of these areas of a young athlete’s development will be made stronger by playing multiple sports in comparison to only playing one.

Your Career Is A Resume

Let’s be honest, one of the biggest reasons why the choice is made to specialize in a sport early on is the promise of attention, exposure, better coaching, and perhaps even scholarships or professional careers. Club teams are very good at selling their product as something that an athlete needs to do in order to have a shot at making it to the top.

The question then is, what do college coaches and professional recruiters prefer to see on a player’s resume? Are they looking for a kid who specialized early on and focused solely on the sport they’re looking to play in college, or are they looking for all around athletes who played many sports growing up?

Patrick-MurphyWe asked Alabama’s Head Softball Coach Patrick Murphy that exact question, and he had this to say in response:

“I think it’s in the best interest of the athlete to play additional sports growing up. I’ve seen too many injuries due to specialization at an early age. There are many positive social aspects as well when playing multiple sports.”

In just a few words, a man who recruits athletes for a living and has had an incredible amount of success at the college level (2012 National Champions, 5 time SEC Champions), summarized very nicely the precise reasons why early specialization may not be the best route.
Is It Just About Sports?

You’ll notice throughout this article that there are many individual traits mentioned in research that aren’t directly athletic. Words such as “social isolation” or “decision making” should jump out at the reader as qualities of life as much as sport.

It should never get lost in all of these back and forth arguments that we are dealing with young people and not just young athletes. In another interview we conducted for this article, the Head Pitching Coach for the University of Georgia, Fred Corral, brought this aspect of the debate into clearer focus:

coachCorral“Each sport brings about different aspects of character, with all having the end result of which to grade your efforts.

For those that do specialize in a single sport they have to be aware of possible outcomes and address the precursors to them, such as burnout and the inability to handle adversity. Things that multiple sport athletes will come about competing for their positions and holding them. Multiple sport athletes learn different things. Different ways to work with teammates for a common goal. Employers seek to hire athletes for this very reason.

Life is more than sport…”

It is very telling that a coach who has dedicated his every waking hour professionally to studying pitching and coaching baseball players, feels so strongly about kids playing multiple sports. He’s seen the benefits, he knows the character that it builds, and he values the quality that it adds to life, every bit as much as sport.

It’s Not For Everybody

We would never pretend that any of our articles would pertain to every single person reading it or participating in organized sports. There are many individual cases and unique people that will not fit the research models.

In our business, we see many athletes who choose to specialize in baseball. In fact, we work with many of them all year long. It is, after all, the athlete’s choice. If they want to work on baseball all year, we will be there to work with them.

kidshockeyThe one huge difference here however, is that we don’t play baseball year round. We vary the training, we give their arms a two month break from throwing, we focus on strength and overall conditioning for several months at a time, and we allow the athlete to completely ignore baseball for long periods of time.

While many athletes don’t desire to play soccer in the fall or basketball in the winter, it is critical that they are able to participate in a varied and multi-pronged training approach that does not include playing one sport for ten months a year. 

For those athletes reading this article who are already specializing or who are considering it, this piece of advice is very important.

For some people, there simply is no passion to be found in other endeavors. They don’t have any interest in other sports, and simply prefer to stick with the only one they truly love. Coach Corral calls this the “only reason why one should specialize”, and we agree.  Just be careful that the “only one you love” doesn’t become a job, or passion for it can also be lost quickly.

The issue of whether to specialize early on or be a multi-sport athlete is a big one, and there are many more aspects to it than we will discuss in this article.  We encourage athletes and their families to lean toward playing multiple sports throughout the year, and to stay tuned to Cleat Geeks and Baseball Brains for further installments on this subject.

Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Coach Patrick Murphy and Coach Fred Corral for their insight.

 

 

My Coach HATES Me!!!

Have you ever played for a coach that doesn’t like you?  I’m betting that most of you (especially since you clicked on this article) are saying yes.  The truth is that if you play sports long enough, you’re very likely to run into a coach that doesn’t like you for one reason or another.

Kids, you might not know The Karate Kid, but your parents do.

Kids, you might not know The Karate Kid, but your parents do.

The other day I heard a student tell one of his friends that his coach hates him.  It got me thinking about the issue a little bit because I realized that our kids didn’t have a choice when it comes to playing for certain coaches.  The coach that “hated” him was the varsity baseball coach at the school he was going to, so if he was going to play baseball he had to play for a coach that “hated” him.

It’s important to realize that a coach might not like you, but that’s different than them being a “bad” coach.  So let’s take a look at some steps both the kids and their parents can take to deal with a less than ideal coach. Because let’s be honest, the coach picks the kids, not the other way around.

Step #1: Identify the problem.  This one can be tough, but you need to find out why you think this coach doesn’t like you.  Sit down and really think about what is going on and see if you can identify what it is, very specifically, that is causing the issues.   Here are some possibilities:footballCoachYelling

  • Personality
  • Style
  • Philosophies
  • Effort
  • Grades
  • Reputation
  • Problems with a teacher

Sometimes we just don’t get along with a coach for the same reasons we wouldn’t get along with anybody else, we just don’t like their personality.  If this is the case, identify it as the reason.

Other times we don’t like the way the coach teaches, or more specific aspects of the way he runs a program.  If we disagree with what he’s coaching, it can cause us to be resistant to it or have a bad attitude toward him when he’s giving us advice.  This is tough and it needs to be identified as a source of problems.

We can’t go to the next step of making this thing better until we know exactly what is bothering us, or bothering the coach.

If you absolutely cannot figure out why a coach doesn’t like you, there are three things you can do:

1: Consider that he may indeed NOT have a problem with you but your own perception might be wrong;

2: Try harder to find the reason, you have to be very honest sometimes to find the real source;

3: Ask somebody! Ask an assistant coach, member of the faculty, other players, and you can obviously ask the coach himself if possible.

Step #2: Identify your part in it.  I know that you feel like it’s all the coach’s fault, but often times there’s a reason why he “doesn’t like” you.  Be honest with yourself and determine what part in that you played. Moreover, you must remember, there are two sides to every story. You are not perfect.

CSFCoachDid you not hustle in practice? Were you complaining about drills?  Have your parents been a pain for the coach?  Have you been stubborn about making a change that the coach has recommended?  Have you gotten in trouble at school?  There are a ton of reasons why a coach can have a bad image of you, fair or not.

Often times a coach will have very limited interaction with players and so their impression of you can be formed by a small handful of experiences.  This is especially true if you’ve never been on his team before, like if you’re a younger player headed toward varsity for example.

If your coach is a teacher at the school, he talks to all of your teachers and is probably friends with several of them.  Something as simple as goofing around in class or slacking on your work can get back to your coach and cause his impression of you to suffer. Therefore, your coach may not have the best opinion of you based on something that you did not even do on the court, diamond, field, or mat.

Sometimes a player doesn’t even realize that something they did has caused the coach to have a problem with them.  That’s why this step is so important, and why it’s critical that you’re honest. But, if that is the case, the problem can more than likely be solved with a simple adjustment.

Step #3: Make a change.  Now that you know the problem and what you’re doing to make it worse, change it.  Even though a coach may have a poor impression of you now, that doesn’t mean at all that it can’t change.  Start making an improvement on your end today, and commit yourself to showing the coach that his impression of you is wrong and you deserve to be treated well. Parents, this step relies alot on you. This allows you to teach your child that if they make the first move in good faith, that all will work out in the end. This is one of those “life lessons” we always say we are going to teach our children when the time presents itself. So when it does, do your part.

If the issue is just that you don’t like the way the coach behaves or you don’t like his coaching style, then the change has got to come from within your own mind.  The game your playing is much bigger than one coach.

It can become consuming to us if somebody doesn’t like us, but you need to release yourself from this burden and focus more on the game.  We play sports because we love them and because they’re fun, and you need to remember that all the time.YouthCoach

Set your mind on the game, and on improving yourself in every way possible on the field.  Focus intensely on that process and in the fact that you’re getting better at something you love to do.  The coach can only affect you if you let him.

Make the changes that you need to make to get it right, and then get on with excelling at the sport.  Work your butt off and do it with the best attitude possible every single day.  If you’re truly doing those things and your coach still doesn’t like you, then regard him as another distraction and continue your dedication to your process. 

You can’t ignore your coach, but you can prioritize the things that are important to you.  Take his instruction with a nod and get on with it.  Being a better player is what’s important to you so don’t let anything, or anybody, get in your way.

Lastly, remember this. You want a coach with emotion and passion. That means he cares for you and the game he is coaching.

Behind the Plate…

  

1000634_10151657232334639_876184589_nHey Guys! I’m the newest addition to Cleat Geeks! I’ll give you a little information about myself and what to expect going forward. My name is James Knox, and I am 34 years old. I grew up in the Gateway City (St. Louis), after moving there when I was 11. I graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a degree in Communications (focus on radio and television, I work in radio), and also pitched all four years as a Saluki. I am now working on my Masters degree at Western Kentucky University.
I am a testicular cancer survivor of ten years and now live in Western Kentucky. I am a baseball/softball umpire, and have called some major Little League, Babe Ruth, NSA, ASA, and USFA softball tournaments. This is my 20th year of calling games. I am a HUGE St. Louis sports fan. The Cardinals, Rams, and Blues are my teams, and in college; it’s Illinois basketball and Alabama football.
So what to expect from me? Everything! Obviously, the title will give you the idea that a lot of my stories will come from my baseball experiences on the diamond; as a player and umpire, and while that’s true, I am opinionated about everything. I had a podcast for about two years, “The Hard Knox Podcast,” which was successful, but I wasn’t reaching nearly enough people. Thankfully the fine people here at Cleat Geeks have given me that platform. So that’s a little bit about me going forward…Hope you enjoy!

Since when are teenagers getting Tommy John surgery?

In this day and age where IPhones, video games, and television play such a large part in an adolescent’s average day; participation in our national pastime—baseball—may be one of the healthiest and most rewarding distractions a kid can find. But perfection is hard to come by, and recently baseball has been getting some less than glamorous media attention due to a recent increase in injuries to our little league ptichers’ elbows and shoulders. I am here to set the record straight and dig up some of the evidence for and against these proclamations toward our pastime.

Once upon a time shoulder and elbow injuries in baseball appeared to be reserved for professional pitchers, and while feeling remorse for their pain, I think a lot of us remembered in the back of our heads these pitchers were on multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts—a thought that seemed to slightly ease some of the concern. This is no longer the case. In 1994 only 6 pitchers received Tommy John surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in their elbow, and none of these players were under the age of 18; however in 2010, 41 of the 131 surgeries were in youth and high school athletes (Fleisig, 2012). Part of this trend in data change is no doubt attributed to advancing medical diagnostics and increased reporting of injuries, but it is hard to argue that could account for such a dramatic increase in youth injuries over the last 16 years.

I am sure there are many possible explanations as to why there has been a steady increase in substantial injuries in young pitchers, but here are some of the most likely ones. Since I was in high school–almost ten years ago–there has been a large increase in young athletes joining traveling teams, out-of-season leagues, and adding many other forms of practice and playing time in their sport. Like any sport, as you continue to play more and more, the chances of receiving some kind of related injury will increase. Furthermore we could be seeing more injuries in this age range simply from the sheer fact of their young age, and that many little leaguers have yet to reach puberty. And what does puberty bring? Other than a bit of social awkwardness around the fairer sex and the required bout of acne, puberty is a large stepping stone in the physical development of males. Bones become denser, muscles become stronger, and all-in-all a kid can better handle the stressors that competitive pitching can place on the body. So now that we have a bit of an understanding as why our adolescents may become a possible target for pitching related injuries, let’s look at some of the specifics from a baseball standpoint.

The curveball is one of the deadliest pitches in a player’s arsenal when put to perfection, but unfortunately, it is frequently dubbed public enemy number one and the prime suspect for what could be causing increased injuries in young pitchers. The idea stems from the rotation a pitcher is forced to put on the ball in order to obtain that dramatic last second breaking motion we have grown accustomed to seeing in today’s best professionals, and this motion could potentially be increasing the strain on the elbow. But yesterday’s villain has been found innocent in recent research. In fact some studies have discovered that the stress put on the UCL is actually slightly less than that used when throwing the much more utilized fastball (Nissen, 2009; Dun, 2008). I must throw in a small addendum here and let you know that many clinicians, despite this new research will still add caution for youngsters trying to bend it like Buehrle—so-to-speak. So where is the increased injury rate coming from if it is not the broadened selection of pitches we are asking our young athletes to master? Perhaps it isn’t a matter of the type of pitching that is occurring more and more frequently, but instead it could be a problem of the sheer number of pitches being thrown.

The study conducted by Fleisig et al. also compiled data from multiple other research groups looking at young pitchers over the years to discover what factors might qualify as risky and lead to potential injuries later on in their lives. Here is some of the data that they collected.

Risk factors Increased risk of injury
Pitching with fatigued arm 36.18x increased risk
>8 months competitive pitching per year 5.05x
>80 pitches per game 3.83x
Fastball velocity >85mph 2.58x
Pitching >100 innings per year 3.5x
Played catcher as well as pitcher 2.7x

Table 1: Injury was qualified as future surgery or necessitating the player to end his baseball career.

There has always been a warning to coaches and players about the adverse effects of throwing too many pitches or pitching on a tired arm, and this helps collaborate those warnings. The most important part of most of these risk factors (as seen in the table) is that they could be easily avoided. Because of this, coaches and parents alike should keep statistics like these in mind. Plus to be frank, I don’t think the game would change too much in youth leagues if pitchers had a mandatory amount of days’ rest in between games and heavy practices or if a pitch count of no more than 80 pitches was instigated for players under the age of 16. And personally, as a fan of monster home runs and a lot of offense, I’d love to put a cap of 85mph on every pitch anyway—but something tells me I would probably strike out pretty quickly trying to push that idea around. Now before too many heads start to turn and panic begins to spread regarding the safety of young athletes, let us remember the grand scale in which these numbers play a part. Every year millions of children participate in structured baseball leagues, and of those millions, yearly incidence of adolescent pitchers reporting substantial injury was around 5% (Fleisig, 2012). That being said I would wager that if some of these risk factors were given more consideration that number would begin to decrease.

In wrapping up, the last thing that I want is for anybody to think that I am trying to persuade anyone from participating in or shying away from sports—especially our kids. This is not the case at all, and it is quite the opposite. This article serves more as a reminder to keep the long-term interests of young pitchers in balance with the short-term ones (such as letting your pitcher play one more inning, throw those ten extra pitches, or—worst of all—play with one fewer day of rest). Baseball is a great sport, but like all the other ones, it is important to stay safe . . . at least until you sign that first professional contract with all that guaranteed money.

 

 

 

References

Dun, S., Loftice, J., Fleisig, G. S., Kingsley, D., & Andrews, J. R. (2008). A biomechanical comparison of        youth baseball pitches. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 36(4), 686-692.

Fleisig, G. S., Andrews, J. R. (2012). Prevention of elbow injuries in youth baseball pitchers. Sports Health, 4(5), 419-424.

Nissen, C. W., Westwell, M., Ounpuu, S., Patel, M., Solomito, M., BSBE, & Tate, J. (2009). A biomechanical comparison of the fastball and curveball in adolescent baseball pitchers. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(8), 1492-1498.

 

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