Managing Little League Pitch Count

This weblog was written by Deven Morgan and edited by Michael O’Connell

Little League Pitch Depend

Since its introduction in 2014, leisure baseball coaches in Little League, Pony, Cal Ripken, and different leagues have used the MLB Pitch Good commonplace for in-game pitch counts, relaxation, and whole innings pitched all through the season.

By committing to being MLB Pitch Good Compliant, these organizations have supplied an amazing profit to their taking part coaches and gamers by prioritizing participant well being.

No 40 pitches are alike. Pitch Good offers volunteer coaches with a easy construction to know and implement little league pitch rely, giving thousands and thousands of youth baseball gamers the next probability of staying wholesome.

Not each system is ideal, however we’ll assessment some important pitch rely factors and expertise that may assist monitor how a lot a participant is throwing past pitch counts.

When Did Little League Pitch Counts Begin?

The present model of pitch rely guidelines began in 2006, with Little League worldwide working a pilot research that supplied pitch rely steerage for participant utilization. Somewhat than the beforehand used innings-based restrict that didn’t think about the precise pitching rely in these innings. Coaches and gamers perceive that one inning can imply 15 pitches or 30. Leaving some holes in utilizing innings as a information for the way a lot a pitcher has thrown.

The MLB Pitch Good guidelines specify pitch rely, with relaxation pointers correlated to the amount of in-pitching to completely different participant ages.

MLB Pitch Good Tips

So what are the MLB Pitch Good Tips?

These pointers are very simple. Completely different ranges of pitches end in a special variety of relaxation days—a particular enchancment over utilizing innings as a tenet.

Monitoring Pitch Depend for Little League

With scoring apps like GameChanger and iScore, you’ll be able to sometimes get an inning-by-inning file of pitch counts. What I might do as a coach is hold my very own file in our observe information after which seek the advice of/affirm with my scorekeeper at each half-inning.


As a result of the MLB Pitch Good pointers are very binary, there have been occasions after I would affirm pitch counts on a batter-by-batter foundation. As soon as a pitcher hits one of many pitch rely limits, they will proceed till:

  • The batter reaches base;
  • The batter is put out;
  • The third out is made to finish the half-inning of the sport;
  • The pitcher is faraway from the mound earlier than the batter ends their at-bat.

That is true whether or not the pitcher reaches the utmost per day pitch rely or the edge for pitches and necessary days of relaxation.

It’s straightforward to say that these are good in a vacuum, however there are various transferring items to make sure that a workforce is compliant. In actuality, managing pitch counts is a workforce administration exercise.

Fundamentals of Little League Crew Administration

Earlier than getting additional into pitch counts, we have to perceive that successfully managing pitch counts means efficient workforce administration. It additionally means we must always have extra of a developmental focus.

What we’re attempting to do with every recreation is:

  • Hold it aggressive
  • Present alternatives for studying & improvement
  • Set the workforce & gamers up for achievement

The basics of how we take into consideration baseball could be summed into:

  • Growth issues greater than promoting out to win each recreation.
  • If we wish to have youth athletes proceed taking part in baseball, they should be having enjoyable.
  • We wish to encourage a number of positions and never pigeon-hold gamers into particular roles.
  • Monitoring skills in observe lowers the stress to solely depend on recreation outcomes for enchancment.

Little league athletes should not small adults. Youngsters take successful and dropping personally. In the event that they win, they’re a winner, and in the event that they lose, they’re a loser. This pushes youngsters to wish to play increasingly more video games to validate the sensation of being a winner.

Introducing competitors and monitoring in observe can ease this detrimental suggestions loop by exhibiting that observe may end up in particular person enchancment.

So how can we relate these rules to pitch counts?

Pitch counts needs to be seen as a possibility for improvement.

Probably the most vital constructive downstream impact of implementing restricted pitch counts is that it:

A) Discourages coaches from frequently over-using their greatest pitchers.

B) Ought to power them to develop extra pitchers on their groups.

Coaches want some construction to information how they use pitchers in observe and in-game.

To roughly map out how we will safely and successfully use pitchers in-game, we will bucket pitchers by capacity, giving completely different observe paths for athletes at completely different expertise ranges.

That is primarily based alone expertise teaching in Little League for the final ten years, so your individual expertise might range, however the rules ought to typically nonetheless apply.

Managing Pitch Depend for Little League

Whereas there’ll nonetheless be coaches who skirt the foundations, if leagues require coaches to observe MLB Pitch Good pointers, the event of extra pitchers needs to be an anticipated and inevitable consequence, which is totally a very good factor.

You possibly can then create some construction for utilizing your skilled pitchers, creating pitchers, and youngsters who want restricted publicity to pitching.

One major piece that we wish to keep away from is placing youngsters who’re reluctant to pitch in when the highlight is on them within the recreation. This implies we’ll wish to plan these pitchers to throw in observe or within the bullpen throughout a recreation.

Bucketing Little League Pitchers

One of many vital points for holding groups to pitch rely pointers is that the expertise stage is more and more broad. Gamers who’re bodily older and larger than their friends might outperform smaller gamers. So a pitching workers will resemble a really big selection of expertise. We will begin by bucketing pitchers into 4 major teams.

Excessive Performing Pitcher Group – HPP – 2 Gamers

The HPP is a participant who will throw constant strikes and has sufficient velocity to generate a very good quantity of swings and misses or unhealthy contact. They’re in a spot the place they proceed to refine what’s already a very good base as a pitcher. They’ve a assured strategy, plan of assault, composure, and management – and once more, this participant has stuff on the mound.

Medium Performing Pitcher Group – MPP – 3 Gamers

These pitchers might throw constant strikes however don’t throw onerous sufficient to generate extra swings and misses and/or constant unhealthy contact. Or this may very well be a participant who does throw more durable than common, however the location is poor. They are going to generate a very good chunk of swings and misses or unhealthy contact, however you’ll have to tolerate some walks. 

Growing Pitching Efficiency Group – DPP – 3 Gamers

The DPP pitcher continues to be creating their strategy to pitching. This will likely imply the participant continues to be getting comfy working down the slope, might not have a secondary pitch, and could also be extra spotty with regards to constant strikes – however is on the trail to resolving these attributes. 

Introduction To Pitching Group – ITP – 4 Gamers

All these gamers are a lot better fitted to a development that typically seems to be like this:

  • Introduction – Getting on the mound and simply getting aware of throwing down the slope
  • Tiered Bullpens – Scale down, set up efficiency, enhance familiarity, scale as much as competitors
    • The hyperlink above is to a pitching recreation that we’ll play at Driveline. The mound can, at occasions, be an intimidating place. A solution to ease that may be adjusting the space gamers must throw. Adjusting distance monitoring progress can, ideally, imply they see enchancment all through a season.
  • Observe / Reside ABs – Introduce competitors, and refine fundamentals of strategy, duty & intent.
  • Competitors – Full competitors reps

This provides the coach three completely different ‘varieties’ of pitchers, all of whom will probably be utilized in video games persistently. The fourth group will spend extra time training pitching in hopes that some can pitch in video games close to the top of the 12 months.

We’re assuming that any pre-All Stars end-of-season event that leagues might run doesn’t decide its seeding by regular-season file. Coaches needs to be incentivized to strategy their regular-season video games to maintain their pitchers creating over the season.

If we will bucket our workforce of gamers into these classes, we will create “Teams” of gamers who will probably be pitching in video games every week.

Grouping Pitchers to Plan inside Little League Pitch Depend Guidelines

With teams 1 and a pair of, we will really feel fairly assured that our Excessive Performing Pitchers and Medium Performing Pitchers can most likely get us someplace round two innings at about 20-25 pitches per inning at worst.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4

Referring to the MLB Pitch Good pointers, that ought to put us ready for these two gamers to have necessary prescribed remainder of 2 days. 

Little League groups sometimes play not more than three video games every week – two throughout the week and one on the weekend. We must always have the ability to have this group’s pitchers work on, for instance, a Tuesday, relaxation on Wednesday via Friday then be again able to pitch once more on Saturday. Though we will assume they’ll play the sphere on Thursday and have some quantity of throwing. An instance of how this grouping and the participant bucketing system would appear to be is as follows:

Understanding that normal framework, you’ll be able to then take this format and apply it to your workforce and its wants.

Managing Little League Pitch Counts with A number of Pitchers

schedule breakdown for little league pitch counts under pitch smart guidelines
The idea right here is that the three gamers which might be within the Pitching Group for every recreation ought to have the ability to – amongst the three of them – have the ability to full the sport. If this isn’t attainable, you might be free to select a participant out of both the subsequent group – or after the primary week of video games – from the earlier group that has already accomplished their necessary relaxation interval.
roster breakdown for little league pitch counts under pitch smart guidelines

For instance, when you have a look at the week 1 schedule for recreation 1, we begin with considered one of our MPPs (Medium Performing Pitchers). Our subsequent pitcher will probably be considered one of our DPP (Growing Efficiency Pitchers). Ideally, our DPP is getting via 2-3 innings at round 50 pitches.

In a perfect situation, the sport has performed out that our DPP will not be put ready the place their success or failure will not be going to resolve whether or not the sport can proceed or not because of run/mercy guidelines. If we will get this DPP participant via 1 to 2 innings beneath 50 pitches, we’re then ready to have the sport closed out by our HPP (Excessive Performing Pitcher).

With this type of construction, there’s a good bit of “bet-hedging” occurring and certainly hinges on lots of best-case eventualities that generally can go awry in youth baseball.

This strategy hinges on coaches embracing an strategy to youth baseball that places participant improvement of all gamers as a precedence.

Finally we imagine that this strategy pays dividends by creating a extra aggressive and higher-performing workforce over time. As a result of it affords gamers at completely different developmental levels the chance to compete, pitchers can refine their present abilities and develop new ones. The end result of this strategy needs to be a extra aggressive workforce over the long run. It units your workforce as much as play its greatest baseball on the time of the 12 months that it ought to matter essentially the most – the top of the season, relatively than the start. 

With this type of bucketed strategy to pitchers, we will additionally have a look at the place they play within the discipline.

youth pitcher pitching within little league pitch count

Managing Little League Pitch Depend and Enjoying the Subject

The very first thing we wish to keep away from is having gamers pitch and catch in the identical recreation. Whereas MLB Pitch Good pointers have that as part of their steerage, oftentimes, it appears the calls for of the sport ignore this suggestion.

All too typically, the very best gamers that you’ve are the varieties of gamers you are feeling that you simply must play on the “excessive leverage” positions – pitcher, catcher & shortstop.

Which means we have to assume upfront about balancing aggressive actuality with our strategy to managing pitch counts.

Our bucketed strategy doesn’t depend upon having our greatest gamers pitching each single inning of each single recreation. Which means we will distribute our gamers appropriately.

If we’ve got 2 HPPs on our workforce, and it simply so occurs that each of them are additionally the very best choices you could have at pitcher, catcher & shortstop, we will distribute our “expertise” with a watch for aggressive workforce play and preserving gamers wholesome.

If our #2 HPP will not be going to pitch in recreation 1 of week 1, then we will have that participant play shortstop when Group 1’s MPP is the beginning. The concept is that this pitcher is extra seemingly to surrender extra hits, and the workforce will wish to have a aggressive participant at shortstop to show these hit balls into outs.

If mandatory, this participant may also get moved to the catcher place when the #1 HPP is tasked with closing out the sport. This can be wanted in case your greatest pitcher throws onerous sufficient that sure gamers might wrestle to catch them.

This permits us to stability the competitiveness of the workforce and isn’t negatively affected by permitting the basepaths to show right into a revolving door of baserunners because of repeated handed balls. 

With planning and roster administration, we will ideally keep away from mixing in pitching with the opposite excessive leverage and excessive anticipated throwing quantity positions on the sphere. And since we additionally imagine in the advantage of giving all gamers in leisure baseball alternatives to learn to play quite a lot of positions on the diamond (extra on the worth of this strategy in our Youth Baseball Growth certification course), we will combine this strategy to how we distribute positions, improvement and taking part in time to the entire workforce. 

Monitoring Pitching Workload In Addition To Little League Pitch Depend

One draw back to MLB Pitch Good pointers is that it is vitally binary. It doesn’t think about the quantity of throwing finished exterior the mound, whether or not these throws happen within the discipline or in warm-ups to go pitch.

Analysis has proven that pitch counts solely account for about 40% of whole pitches made in a recreation at the highschool stage. We will break this down by estimating warm-ups for pitchers.

Excessive intent throws:

  • Sixty pitches in three innings.
  • Three innings at 5-8 warm-ups for 18 pitchers
  • Fifteen pitches earlier than the sport in a warm-up bullpen
  • This equals 93 whole pitches and a pitch rely of 60 pitches. Not together with throws which might be warm-ups or finished on the sphere.

Attempting handy rely each throw {that a} participant makes is sort of not possible in any baseball surroundings—a lot much less youth baseball, the place coaches must be hands-on with every part from directions to tying shoelaces.

However this doesn’t inform us two issues:

First, gamers are making extra whole throws than we predict.

Second, to make higher selections, we should be a minimum of conscious of those throws, even when we will’t rely all of them.

Pulse for tracking little league pitch count

With a device like Driveline PULSE, coaches can monitor gamers throwing workload with the least attainable energy to burn and the best attainable perception. We will do that by following the easy steps:

  • Charging the PULSE sensor
  • Placing on the PULSE strap & sensor earlier than throwing
  • Syncing the PULSE sensor after throwing 
  • Observe throwing workload over time

We all know that measuring in-game pitches misses a major quantity of non-pitching throwing as a result of we’re speaking about making higher selections about pitching and participant well being we can not afford to overlook this data. 

Driveline PULSE offers coaches super leverage by amassing this data on throwing and utilizing subsequent to no bandwidth. Then by utilizing the PULSE sprint and studies after the sport, coaches can guarantee at a a lot larger stage of constancy that we’re establishing, creating, and sustaining throwing quantity all through a whole season – which provides you huge leverage to maintain gamers wholesome and protected. 


The introduction of necessary Little League pitch rely guidelines has massively benefited thousands and thousands of youth gamers worldwide. Particularly when these requirements have been adopted by Little League, Pony, and Cal Ripken.

We will solely hope that the coaches – and oldsters who put their kids beneath the care of those coaches – are conscious of those limits to try to hold pitchers wholesome.

Youth gamers are typically fairly resilient. However stress testing that resilience by having coaches stay unaware of this kind of common sense regulation on pitching is a solution to put gamers’ well being and talent to remain and develop in our recreation in danger.

On condition that the upside of this danger is so extremely marginal – successful a youth baseball recreation by overtaxing youth gamers who is not going to recall the result in 6 months, not to mention six years – we hope all coaches see the advantage of pitch rely monitoring and relaxation. 

Whether or not you achieve this with a normal like MLB Pitch Good pointers, otherwise you pair compliance with that commonplace with Driveline PULSE, all of it works towards what we imagine to be a mandatory strategy to youth baseball that trumps all else:

Hold Youngsters Wholesome and Having Enjoyable