TIP of the MONTH
Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista
FROM September 1, 2016


Coach Jerry Kalista
Coach Jerry Kalista

For many years, I have believed in, and charted pitch counts. I have seen coaches and parents absolutely abuse pitchers at all levels when it comes to pitch counts. With the increased elbow and shoulder injuries with baseball pitchers at all levels, something needs to be done to prevent or at least, reduce the chance of pitching injuries. There are many reasons that contribute to arm, elbow and shoulder injuries in pitchers. Overuse is the main risk factor! Remember, most pitchers also play another position or two. All the throws in warming up, practicing, bull pens and games, add up! Also, poor pitching mechanics, throwing curveballs before a pitcher has physically developed enough, and the overall poor physical condition of the pitcher, are contributing factors!

We as adults see our kids get their bumps and bruises and they continually bounce back from nearly everything. So, does it matter if their arm, elbow or shoulder is a little sore from pitching? The answer is YES, it does matter! The pitching motion puts a tremendous amount of stress on the arm, elbow and shoulder. It is our duty and responsibility, as a coach or parent, to see that the arms of our pitchers (at all levels) are taken care of.

As a parent or coach, here are a few tips to assist us in our duty of protecting the arms of our pitchers (at all levels)…..
…..watch for signs of fatigue
…..don’t allow pitching for multiple teams in the same season
…..manage carefully, a player that is a pitcher and a catcher
…..count/chart the number of pitches on every outing
…..take the proper amount of rest based on the number of pitches thrown
…..prepare and use a year-round throwing program
…..take four (4) to six (6) continuous weeks off from all baseball physical activity after your season (summer and/or fall) ends

One major step in the right direction was recently taken by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) related to pitch counts. Effective in 2017, each state will establish their own guidelines to limit the number of pitches that can be thrown in a game and dictate specific rest periods between pitching appearances.

There are numerous associations that have established pitch count guidelines, such as; American Sports Medicine Institute, Ripken Baseball and USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Committee.

Each baseball organization, whether a recreation council, a recreation league, a travel league, a club league and all tournaments (at all levels) should establish pitch count rules! Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the coaches, parents and players to know and follow the pitch count rules and guidelines.



Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista

NOTE: Direct any questions or comments to Coach Kalista at kalbaseball@comcast.net