When playing competitive baseball, there’s no way to guarantee you won’t get injured. Although you can’t eliminate the risk of an injury entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Some of the most common injuries in youth baseball are arm and shoulder injuries, general overuse injuries, and sprains. When athletes use best practices to stay safe, they can stay healthy and play the game they love longer. Causes of Common Youth Baseball Injuries To stay competitive with their peers, youth baseball players may feel pressure to learn advanced pitches at an early age. Pitching too soon Executing pitches like curveballs could injure bones and ligaments before they’re fully developed. It’s recommended not to throw curveballs until after a player has gone through puberty. Waiting until an athlete has matured physically dramatically reduces the risk of excessive strain or injury. Repetitive pitching Another common cause of injury is repetitive pitching. Early on, athletes should focus on developing fundamental skills and basic mechanics. When youth baseball players throw too many pitches without rest, they’re at a higher risk for overuse injuries. Excess strain on an arm can lead to injury of the ulnar collateral ligament or “UCL” or to Little League Elbow. Instead of young athletes throwing every pitch as hard as possible, let them figure out the form and different varieties of pitches first. Preventing Common Baseball Injuries Staying away from early specialization At Ballparks of America, we love baseball. That being said, giving young athletes an occasional break is important. This break might mean not playing year-round baseball or using time off between seasons to play a sport that uses a different body part. Diversifying the sports you play is a great way to stay in shape between seasons. Taking time off to rest To better prevent injuries, consider only playing in one league at a time and taking a season off to rest. It can be intimidating to rest, especially as we see competitors training year-round. However, this time off can keep players in the game longer and alleviate the risk of future surgeries. Warming up and cooling down A dynamic warmup and cooldown routine is a great way to stay flexible and reduce the risk of injury. Using consistent conditioning to stay in shape can prevent sprains and pains. Related Post: Off-Season At-Home Workouts for Youth Baseball Players Using the right equipment. Making sure you have the right equipment keeps you safe while you play. Safe equipment includes wearing the right cleats, an appropriate helmet, batting gloves, and shin guards. Contact us at Ballparks of America At Ballparks of America, Coaches are responsible for monitoring their pitching staff. We encourage safe practices and best judgment. For questions, contact us at Ballparks of America or at (417) 464-6333.