For many young athletes baseball has become a year round sport. There is fall ball, winter training, and the spring season that extends into the summer with travel tournaments. When I was growing up we played during the spring /summer and then moved on to other sports for the fall and winter. But todays athletes have become sport specialized at a young age, so baseball might be the only sport they play all year long.
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why we are seeing more serious injuries in young baseball players. The majority of youth baseball injuries are the result of overuse. Throwing a baseball generates significant force in the arm. This motion may be repeated tens of thousands of times during a baseball season. The muscles of the shoulder and arm need time recover after a season otherwise things start to “break down”.
Many experts recommend that youth baseball players take two to three months of rest from baseball each year. This means no throwing during that time. One of the most vocal advocates of this is Dr. James Andrews. For the uninitiated to baseball medicine, Dr. Andrews has operated on hundreds of professional baseball players, and is the foremost expert on sports medicine. (see the attached interview with Dr. Andrews) During this period of rest, players should avoid all overhead sports such as volleyball, competitive swimming, throwing football, etc. The point is to rest the arm.
I strongly agree with Dr. Andrews. In my experience treating professional baseball players at the triple A level, almost every pitcher takes at least two months of rest at the end of the season. So if a professional pitcher needs to rest his arm for a couple of months each year doesn’t your little leaguer?