Should Youth Pitchers Take Time off From Throwing?

In this session from AMSI’s class on shoulder injuries in throwing athletes, several of the top experts answer the question, “Do you believe in year round throwing or does the research support taking a few months off and shutting down entirely?” The experts had the following answers:

  • Dr. James Andrews: We recommend at least two months off per year without any overhead throwing and preferably three to four months of no pitching. Everything needs a period of rest for recuperation and so do young baseball players. In his free book, Any Given Monday, he recommends three months (p 65)
  • Dr. Lyle Cain: I think not throwing a baseball and giving the arm a rest is important, but still keeping your arm in shape.
  • Dr. Glenn Fleisig: We’ve done a lot of studies and by far the strongest findings are that overuse leads to pitching injuries. We’ve shown that an adolescents that throws more than 100 innings in a calendar year is far more likely to have an injury. If you want to stay healthy, don’t pitch all year.

More broadly, Dr. Andrews made the point that the key risk factors in youth baseball are fatigue and velocity. There’s event fatigue (too many pitches in a game), seasonal fatigue (too many innings in a season) and year round fatigue (playing year round).

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