With tournament season in full-swing, there is a lot of pressure on the coaches to do everything they can to put their teams in the best position to win. Depending on the age groups, the importance of having a quality pitcher can definitely make the difference between winning a few rounds, or having an early exit. The problem with a lot of teams is that without a lot of consistent pitchers, the top one or two kids may be used for a majority of the innings. To make matters worse, those same kids that are pitching often get moved to catcher because of their arm strength and reliability when it comes to catching the ball. So how many pitches should they be throwing? How many days rest should they have between starts? What should a parent do when they see their child getting over-used? The last thing anyone wants is for these young kids to hurt their arms, or lead to burnout before they make it to high school.

I recently read an article that suggested a limit of 70 pitches for a young player (8-12). It also recommended that after pitching that many, the child should have 4 days of rest before pitching again. I read this AFTER watching one of my sons start at pitcher and throw for 3 innings in each of 3 games over a two-day period. And when he wasn't pitching, he was catching. I knew this was a lot to have him throw, but the team is short on pitchers. He doesn't throw particularly hard, but he is consistently over the plate. He doesn't get flustered. He doesn't throw a lot of walks or passed balls, which can lead to free runs for the other team. When the next tournament started, I was there with my pitch counter to keep a closer eye on it. Fortunately, due to some rainy weather, they had a number of days between games which meant his arm was able to get a lot of rest. I didn't even let him pick up a ball between games.

So my question is what do you do to protect your kids? What have you done that has worked? I'm hoping that some of you add your comments below to help me and the other parents that are reading this!