Sunday, May 23, 2004
Coach K's 10 tips
Coach Jack Kuzniczci, who was a catcher in the Montreal Expos' minor leagues, has been the varsity baseball coach at Madeira High for 14 years. None of his pitchers has needed arm surgery. Here are his recommendations for young pitchers and their parents:
1. Learn the proper mechanics, including emphasis on the legs, hip turn, balance
2. Warm up before entering the game. That is, 10-20 minutes, at the proper distance,
off a mound, with a catcher, and with a gradual increase of velocity and types
3. On the pitch-count chart below, pay particular attention to the "days' rest" category.
Rest does not mean playing high throwing-stress positions such as catcher and
4. Pitch counts are critical. Begin tracking them as soon as your child enters
organized baseball. The colder the weather, the fewer pitches you should allow.
5. If your child's youth league has regulations on how many innings a pitcher
may pitch and how much rest he should have before his next appearance, be aware
that it is possible for coaches to abuse these rules if he or she is not counting
6. Be conscious of "big pitch-count" innings. Even if your child hasn't reached
his pitch count, if he throws a lot of pitches in one inning (defined as 25 or
more) and is struggling in his next inning, pull him.
7. Encourage the young pitcher to develop a changeup to go with his fastball.
Absolutely no curveballs until high school, although the knuckle-curve as taught
by qualified experts might be acceptable if it is closely monitored by parents
so as to avoid the wrist snap that stresses the elbow. (See box on Ted Power's
8. Have a "throwing program" between starts. Don't lurch from one Saturday start
to another Saturday start with no throwing in between.
9. Protect the young pitcher's arm at all costs. An overemphasis on winning before
the high school level is a breeding ground for abuse. Do not allow the young
pitcher to pitch through the pain.
10. If the coach is doing his job, then you, as the parent, need not worry. But
if you see the coach violating the rules as listed above, inject yourself into
pitching throws off young arms
player under count
K's 10 tips
curve easier on the wrist
Dr. Timothy Kremchek
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