IHSA looks to adopt pitch count recommendations
The Illinois High School Association Baseball Advisory Committee is in the process of recommending pitching limitations for the spring 2017 season.
At least one high school coach does not have a problem with the recommendations. He just wishes the committee would go a little further.
"The biggest issue is not guys being abused during the high school season,’’ Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko told the DuPage Policy Journal. "One of the biggest issues are guys being abused pitching on summer travel ball teams. Pitchers are going to one-day showcases where they have not thrown for a lengthy period of time."
For that reason, young pitchers may try too hard.
''They are throwing their hardest to light up the radar gun and pop some eyes of some college coaches and scouts," he said. "You combine [that with] guys throwing in the summer and that could lead to some potential for problems in the future.’’
Smelko said he gives his pitchers all the rest they need, and his staff keeps tabs on the pitchers and their pitch count during the regular season and playoffs.
''We have a good understanding on what our pitchers can handle and where they started in the number of pitches thrown during the week and number of pitches thrown per game,’’ Smelko said.
The committee initially met at the end of August and in attendance was Dr. Preston Wolin, director and founder of the Center for Athletic Medicine in Chicago who helped draft some of the proposed rule changes along with area coaches.
‘’This meeting was not only extremely gratifying but really historic for the players, parents, coaches and administrators,’’ Wolin said.
Wolin said Illinois has gone above and beyond any other state in the nation when it comes to pitch counts.
‘’The proposed rules also provide a weekly cap on the number of pitches throw,'' Wolin said. ''The reason this is important is that while many of the models used by other states protect the pitcher, there is a potential for overuse by throwing the pitcher on multiple consecutive days even at the allowable number of pitches.''
The IHSA reported the recommendation passed with unanimous support and will follow normal protocol.
A committee of athletic administrators discussed the recommendations earlier this month and then the staff will vote on the recommendations.
The recommendations will be reviewed and voted on by the IHSA Board of Directors. If passed, the recommendations will become rules and be applicable for the 2017 season.
‘’I think these recommendations are going to make the game safer and more enjoyable,’’ Wolin said. ‘’The cooperation of the baseball coaches in coming up with these limits was outstanding. Everyone in that room was committed to the safety of our young pitchers. That dedication is being translated into our pitch count limits in the state of Illinois.’’
Here is the pitch count proposal: www.ihsa.org/documents/ba/2016-17/Pitch%20Count%20Proposal.pdf.