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Softball Excellence DUGOUT

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"If you coach softball you should take advantage of the knowledge Cindy Bristow is offering through Softball Excellence. I have been involved in fast pitch softball for more than 35 years as a player and coach, and she is the most knowledgeable coach I have worked with. Cindy's basic approach to teaching sound fundamentals, without a bunch of gimmicks, will greatly assist in the preparation of your players to compete physically and mentally. The material she produces is direct, to the point, and easy to absorb."
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Georgia High School Association

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Lake County Liberty
Softball Excellence - Insider Article 0024 - How Many Pitches to Throw Each Week

How Many Pitches to Throw Each Week?

By: Cindy Bristow

Ever wonder just how many pitches your pitcher should throw each week, and how many is too many? While counting pitches is typical in baseball it's not as common in softball but is it something we need to consider?

Fastpitch Softball Pitching Practice How Many Pitches Pitcher Arm

For years it's been said that baseball pitching isn't good for your arm and that softball pitching is a natural motion. This didn't come from doctors, but rather started in the general public and over time has became an urban legend. Like most urban legends, there's little truth to them as any motion that's meant to be explosive and occur over and over isn't either natural or good for you. So let's look at a few ways to help save the life of our pitcher's arms.

One thing to remember when talking about pitch count is that every pitcher's arm only has so many pitches in it over the pitcher's pitching life before it starts wearing down and performance starts falling apart. The reason for that is that our arms aren't made to be above our heads - so when they are, especially when they are and doing something as explosive and repetitive as pitching - they really wear out the muscles, tendons and ligaments holding the arm in place.

Coming up with a magic number of pitches is hard, and not an exact science - but, it can help prevent injury and soreness from overuse. Soreness can turn into pain and will cause a pitcher to change her motion so preventing soreness is something to focus on with younger pitchers.

For Young Pitchers, 12 and Under:

I work with 8-10 year olds every week and we only pitch for 30 minutes at a time and, including warmups, I think they throw around 100 pitches tops. 100 pitches x 3 practices per week (which is a lot for most of them) = 300 pitches. Add these pitches to any she throws in a game (around 120 for beginners) and you've got just over 400 pitches for a young pitcher in a 7 day period with only 1, 7 inning game and 3 practices. That's more than enough pitches at that age.

Kids are smart - if they like pitching and want to get better at it then let them practice as much as they want to. Just keep in mind if your pitcher only practices 2 times a week she shouldn't get too upset when she can't throw strikes in a game. Make sense?

Make sure they ICE their arms after every practice and game whether the arm hurts or not!

For Older Pitchers, 13 and Older:

Older pitchers shouldn't throw any more than 150 pitcher per day throughout the season and that includes any pitch from the full distance, including warm up pitches. Most pitchers throw far too many pitches in warmup so watch during this part of their workout as this is a place where many pitchers really wear out their arms.

I think a pitcher should try and keep her 7 day/week total pitch count below 700 pitches - that includes counting all games and practices. So, if a pitcher usually throws around 100 - 120 pitches in a game, then a pitcher would throw around 240 pitches in a double header or in 2 games per week. That would leave her just under 500 pitches the rest of the week. Another way to look at that is to realize that most mature (16 yrs and older) softball pitchers throw around 150 pitches at every practice (this number also includes warmups since your arm is still stressed on warmup throws) - so if your pitcher throws 2 games in a week then she should pitch no more than 3 more days the rest of that week.

No matter how many pitches or games a pitcher throws each day or each week - all pitchers should ice their arms after every game and workout!

For more details on Pitching mechanics, techniques, problem areas as well as conditioning and skill development drills be sure to check out ALL the pitching products on our website!

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