I met with some coaches recently to discuss BALL for some older (13-14 year old) kids in baseball. Because the kids were older than the typical BALL youth league demographic of 6 to 12 year olds, I decided to include the physiology units that we use the in high school program as a part of this league's older kid lesson plan. The logic goes like this: With all the misinformation out there about how a body reacts under stress, and all the guys that peddle the latest and greatest to eager parents about how to get that magical 90 mph fastball over the internet, I figured the coaches would appreciate learning what their high school and college counterparts already know.
Sometimes I figure wrong.
I made the mistake of presenting a lesson titled "Preventing Throwing Injuries and The Elbow", written by the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. For those that don't know, let's just say that this group is made up of the finest doctors in their field. Period.
In the article, it tells about safeguards to prevent long term injuries to the young arm - injuries that might not surface until years after the kid actually starts hurting himself.
It was interesting to see how a few of the parent/coaches reacted when the doctors (who are specialists in this area) were advocating coaches to limit pitch counts and focus on proper conditioning, stretching, rest, etc. It seems that there is an opinion with a few well-meaning but (in my opinion) overly-aggressive youth coaches that a 13 year old kid can handle the same kind of stressors that a high school kid can handle.
I was baffled. And then I understood why. Apparently, guys that sell pitching performance on youtube to these well-meaning parents know more about 13 year old kids' arms than these doctors. Or maybe the parents just want to believe them more. Or maybe...just maybe...the information is good, but the audience is misapplying a solid message. Maybe a malleable 13 year old kid's body needs to be treated differently than a 17 or 18 year old prospect (with good mechanics) who is targeting a college career.
But I could be wrong...