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How many pitches can my son throw in a weekend?

phil plisky pitcher performance & durability pitcher readiness pitching

We recently received this question about managing pitch count:  

"I'm a physical therapist and cover professional tennis as a physical therapist and athletic trainer. I currently have my son in baseball and I was looking at your pitch count recommendations. It states on there that you can do 75 throws per game as he is 10 years old. The following day he can throw the next day from 0 to 20 . My biggest question is if he only throws 40 pitches the first game how many can he throw the next day? I'm definitely more on the conservative side of this point and don't want him overdoing anything at this point especially because he's only 10 years old. Please keep me posted on what your recommendations are. Thank you so much."

Well, I love this question because you are interested and passionate about taking care of the health and the performance of our baseball players, which is obviously a huge passion of mine. So, I'm happy to answer this, and I'm going to go maybe in a little bit more detail even than your question so we can make sure that everyone is clear on how to use the guidelines.

My go-to guidelines are the Pitch Smart Guidelines. You can see the website that you can find them there at They are, in my opinion, the best research-based guidelines that both manage what we consider acute and chronic workload. So the in-game, that day workload, along with our workload over a period of weeks, a period of of four weeks. It allows you to simply manage both of those things in one simple table.

When we look at this we can see we have our age, our daily max pitches in a game.  So you can see those two columns there. A couple points I want to make on the daily max pitches in the game. Really those are designed to be one game per day. You may be able to get away with if you, you know, pitch under 20, that you could pitch in the afternoon under 20 again. I'm not a huge fan of that because of what happens, the fatigue that happens after pitching. So really we want to consider that one game per day. That's it.

In the question when we're talking about first game and that type of thing assumes that we're, to me, looking at a tournament or a weekend because we're playing multiple games in a day. And so let's let's look at that. So he’s ten years old. So we're 75 max pitch per game. So let's figure out exactly what these days of rest mean, because they are slightly, confusing in that. So let's say on a Saturday, he pitches 75 pitches, then that means he is in this above 66. So he needs four days rest. So what is four days rest? Well, that means he pitched Saturday. He can't pitch on Sunday. He can't pitch Monday. He can't pitch Tuesday. He can't pitch Wednesday. He is then available on Thursday.  Now, remember, we're not just necessarily just not pitching. That is not necessarily recovery. That is not necessarily optimal. We’ll show you link to guidelines that we use, or programs that we use to help recover after pitching. So we're not just sitting still. But it gives you those . . . that's for days . . . so he pitches 75 on Saturday. He's not pitching again until Thursday.

Now let's go specifically to let's say he pitches 20 on Saturday. Well that means he can pitch again on Sunday. Ok? So that there's zero days rest there. One caveat that I want to make there . . . we all, even if it's, zero, even if he pitches in that under 20 range, we're not doing that ever three days in a row. We can do it two days in a row, but we're never doing that three days a row. That's too much. So, again, that would be there.

But let's dive into the specific question. If he pitches 40 on in the first game on Saturday, how many can he pitch on Sunday? Well, if we go if that means we're out of two days rest . . . so he rests Sunday, rests Monday. He can pitch again Tuesday. I think this gets a little bit confusing, because a lot of tournaments will say the number of innings or the number of pitches in a weekend, which doesn't account for what happens when we pitch over that 20, you know to 30 range there. We get some fatigue which changes our mechanics, which then that's pitching fatigued is a huge risk factor for injury.

You can find the Pitch Smart Guidelines here

You can find our Pitcher Performance & Durability program here.



Phil Plisky, PT, DSc, OCS, ATC, CSCS 

Dr. Plisky is a physical therapist, athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Evansville.  As a performance systems consultant with all major professional sports and the military, his passion is teaching athletes how to elevate their game to the next level.