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Pitch To Your Heart's Desire

by Dave
Thursday, May 03, 2007

Doreen writes in with a question:
"My daughter currently plays for XXX Public High School on the JV Team.   They have a girl that pitches every game and sometimes 2 games in a evening or two games in a row.   Aren't there any restrictions to how long a pitcher can pitch in any given time, as they do in baseball?"


Doreen, to my knowledge, the only place which restricts a softball pitcher in any way like this are Little League and the town recreational leagues thereunder.   Little League essentially applies the same kind of rules to softball that are applied to baseball.   Pitcher cannot pitch consecutive games and they are limited in terms of innings.   College ball has no such restrictions nor does high school, ASA, Pony, NSA, ISA, or FAST.   And there's a pretty good reason these major softball organizing bodies do not restrict innings - there's generally no need to.

The fastpitch softball windmill motion does not nearly put the kinds of stresses on the pitcher that overhand baseball pitching does.   Overhand is an unnatural motion.   It stresses the shoulder and the elbow to an unbelievable degree.   If baseball were to allow pitcher to throw as much as they, their parents, or their coaches wanted, there would be a significant number of injuries resulting from the policy.   Even in the professional ranks where pitchers are paid millions of dollars, pitchers seldom stray from a routine of one day pitching, four days off.   the same is not true of softball.

The windmill motion does not place anywhere near the same stresses on the body that throwing overhand does.   It is relatively common to see even a 9 year old pitcher throw multiple games in a day, perhaps multiple days consecutively.   There can be injuries associated with pitching too frequently but these usually involve some other aspect such as landing improperly, throwing too many spin pitches or some other sort of mistake.

Even if you pitch baseball with perfect motion, you cannot do so every day without incurring an injury.   In softball, if your windmill motion is correct, you can pitch until the sun goes down and then comes up again.   You'll be tired - mot likely your legs will give out before your arm - but you can do it.

My youngest daughter was once on a team with no other pitchers.   Her team played a tournament in which the first day they had three games.   She pitched two and a half of them and then just couldn't go on so they put in another girl and let her rest - so she could pitch the next day.   The next day they played a very poor team in their first game and were able to win without her.   She pitched six innings the next game and the team advanced.   They went to the semi-final game where the pitcher against them ahd pitched two games that day.   Both pitchers were exhausted due to intense heat but the game went to the last inning with no score and very few baserunners - both pitchers were effective.   Finally my daughter's will gave out and with the bases loaded and two outs in the last inning, she gave up her first hit of the game.   We went home and she went to bed.   The next day she suggested that we do a little throwing in the morning so as to avoid the heat.

Now I understand your point of view which is as the parent of the number two pitcher on a team whose ace does all the pitching.   You want your daughter to get some opportunity to pitch in a game.   That opportunity may present itself sometime soon but it is getting late in the season.   But if you're looking to find something in terms of a restriction which will provide you that opportunity, it just doesn't exist - at least not to my knowledge.

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