Guidelines for avoiding arm overuse

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, considered the foremost authority on pitching-related injuries and a director for the American Sports Medicine Institute, spearheaded several studies after noticing a significant rise in the number of young athletes requiring Tommy John surgery. In attempt to offset this epidemic, he proposed guidelines for coaches, players and parents to follow:


Pitch count limits

Age Max. pitches/game Max. pitches/week

8-10 50 75

11-12 75 100

13-14 75 125

15-16 90 Two games a week

17-18 105 Two games a week

Note: Actual number of pitches thrown determines number of rest days in between pitching outings.


Earliest age to learn pitches:

Age Pitch

8 Fastball

10 Changeup

14 Curveball

15 Knuckleball

16 Slider, forkball, splitter

17 Screwball

Note: Breaking pitches should not be thrown in competition until bones mature (indicated by puberty).

No year-round throwing: Pitchers should not compete in baseball for more than nine months per year. For at least three months, he/she should not participate in any throwing drills or any other stressful overhand arm activities.