A series of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers.
Pitch Smart Guidelines
USA Baseball and MLB team up to help young players reduce arm injuries by providing a comprehensive resource for safe pitching practices. Baseball is a safe game to play at all ages, but research has shown that pitching too much — particularly at a young age — can increase a pitcher's risk of injury.View Guidelines
Risk Factors for Injury
Through decades of research, experts have gained insight into the behaviors that put amateurs at an increased risk of injury. In the most recent nationwide study of youth pitchers, research found that youth pitchers were still exhibiting many of these risky behaviors, all of which were associated with increased likelihood of pitching with arm tiredness and arm pain.
pitched in a league without pitch counts or limits
pitched on consecutive days
pitched on multiple teams with overlapping seasons
pitched in multiple games on the same day
pitched competitive baseball for more than 8 months per year
Source: Yang G, Barton J, Guettler J, Dugas J, Irrgang J, Fleisig G, Albright J; Risk-Prone Pitching Activities and Injuries in Youth Baseball; American Journal of Sports Medicine; 2014
Tommy John Surgery FAQ
Tommy John surgery, also known as Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Reconstruction, is an elbow procedure that involves replacing a torn or damaged UCL with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. While the procedure has helped many players extend their careers, Tommy John surgery is poorly understood and there are many misconceptions about it among parents, players and coaches.
General Manager, Oakland A's
“Tommy John surgery has both extended and resurrected the careers of many of our players, and the science of medicine has been an incredible boon to our game. That said, this procedure is not a panacea. The goal for young players should be to avoid being in the position where surgery is a possibility by diligently taking care of their arms. Getting to the big leagues is hard enough without having to go through rehabilitation from a major procedure.”
Manager, Cleveland Indians
“Pitch Smart brings together some of the brightest people in our game, all of whom share one goal: informing our coaches, parents and players about the facts so that they can make educated decisions about how to approach pitching. The knowledge we have in the game today is an asset, and we are fortunate that Pitch Smart will allow us to apply that knowledge to the futures of pitchers at every level of our sport.”
Resources that will help young pitchers avoid injury and aid performance. Learn how pitching mechanics and good habits will improve pitching proficiency. Stay up to date on the latest research and news on Tommy John surgery.