Preventing Youth Injuries in Little League

Little League Baseball season is upon us.  Sign-ups for Little League are in full swing and most league tryouts are in early January with practices starting in February.  Now is the time to start getting the equipment but young throwing arms for baseball season.  One primary reason youth baseball players and pitchers in particular experience elbow or shoulder pain especially early in the season is lack of preparation or throwing too much too soon.

Keeping in mind these are not big league players we are talking about but 8-12 year-olds, preparation is as easy as getting outside in the yard with family or friends and playing catch.  In the absence of a catch partner, players can improve arm conditioning by throwing a ball against a wall thereby working on strengthening and fielding simultaneously. Full force throwing or pitching should be delayed until at least two weeks of every other day playing catch, sessions consisting of 20-50 throws from limited distances depending on age of 20-60 feet.

If a player complains of arm soreness persisting more than one day after throwing or develops while throwing, the activity should be stopped and can be gradually resumed when there is no longer any soreness.  If arm pain or soreness persists have the player examined by a qualified specialist in throwing or sports injuries.


Eric Welker, MA, ATC, PTA


Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.
Andrew Vertson

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