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​Preventing pitching related injury

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​An increase in pitching related injuries is an issue for all levels of play within the game of baseball. Athletic directors, coaches, parents and players in school and club sport baseball leagues need to understand the importance of addressing pitcher safety. ​​

Factors affecting injury risk dramatically increase with pitchers based on their performance, skill level, conditioning, throwing motion, types of pitches thrown and their ability to command and locate pitches over home plate and in the strike zone.

Pitching is a skill that requires countless hours of practice to develop and master. To help prevent injury, pitch count requirements and limits, combined with rest days, have been adopted and widely endorsed by baseball organizations and the medical community. Pitch count requirements are based on age:

​Age​​Pitches / Day
​7 - 8​50
​9 - 10​75
​11 - 12​85
​13 - 16​95
​17 - 18​105

Pitcher rest day requirements are based on the number of pitches thrown in a day. The criteria are divided into two categories:

Ages 7 - 14

  • 1-20 pitches/No rest day
  • 21-35 pitches/One rest day
  • 36-50 pitches/Two rest days
  • 51-65 pitches/Three rest days
  • 66 or more pitches/Four rest days

Ages 15 - 18

  • 1-30 pitches/No rest day
  • 31-45 pitches/One rest day
  • 46-60 pitches/Two rest days
  • 61-75 pitches/Three rest days
  • 76 or more pitches/Four rest days​

Age is a factor in bone and joint growth and development, and in hand and eye coordination. From a pitching development standpoint, it is recommended that throwing certain types of pitches begin at a particular age, plus or minus two years:

  • Fastball           age 8
  • Change up      age 10
  • Curveball        age 14
  • Forkball          age 16
  • Slider              age 16
  • Screwball       age 17

Adopt​ing standardized pitch counts and rest day protocols has increased awareness about the health and safety of pitchers at all levels of baseball. For more information regarding pitch count guidelines, visit: ​

Protecting Your Pitching Arm/Little League Baseball​

​​​Share comments or questions on this information email: sports.medicine@marshfieldclinic.org​.