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Fatigue Point vs. Pitch Count
By: Cindy Bristow
What's more important to your pitcher - how many pitches she throws or her fatigue point? Are these two things linked or completely separate issues?
A previous article on Pitch Counts really stirred up some comments from many of you so I want to talk more about Pitch Counts and how something called The Fatigue Point effects a pitcher's performance as well.
In a previous article I talked about how pitching a softball as fast as possible, over and over for years isn't a completely healthy activity for a pitcher's arm. For years there's been an urban legend-type of thought process out there that says pitching a softball is a "natural" motion for the arm as opposed to pitching a baseball which is harmful and should be monitored and limited. Since a softball pitcher's arm motion goes above her head, combined with the violent explosion at release and the constant repetition over years, softball pitching can have potentially harmful effects.
So, some quick points of clarification on the Pitch Count for Softball Pitchers:
What's the fatigue point? That's the point where every athlete becomes tired and their performance is affected. Everyone's fatigue-point is different and every pitcher has a different Fatigue Point as well. There are some pitchers who get tired after only 25 minutes of pitching while others can throw strong for over 60 minutes. What's important to know is where is your pitcher's Fatigue Point?
How do you find the Fatigue Point? That's simple, just watch your pitcher during a pitching workout. No matter how good or bad she is you'll notice a point when:
It doesn't mean she's too exhausted to continue but it does signify some important issues for the pitcher and coach:
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