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2021 Covid Return-to-Play Guidelines

Many players were limited in how much baseball they could play over the last year due to COVID-19. As players return in 2021, they should make sure to do so safely by following all applicable COVID-19 guidelines and the following return-to-sport recommendations:

  1. Because many players missed seasons, they should be careful to ramp up slowly to avoid injury; we know players are excited to get out there and compete, but it’s important to gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your playing to avoid injury.
  2. Players should ramp up their strength and conditioning program in advance of resumption of throwing.
  3. As much as possible, players should aim to lengthen and not shorten their standard pre-competition throwing progression timelines. An example throwing program is shown here.
  4. Pitchers should account for all types of throws when systematically building up in preparation for game competition. The stress on the throwing arm from any long-toss, flat ground throws, weighted ball exercises and bullpen pitches should be considered. Weighted ball programs should not be used to accelerate preseason throwing progression.
  5. Players with reduced workloads last year should consider gradually building up their pitch counts, more rest between outings and a lower overall workload this year.

Suggested Pitch Counts Daily Max (Pitches in Game)

For players with reduced workloads in 2020
Age Early Season 2021 Mid Season 2021 Late Season 2021 Typical Season
7-8 40 40 50 50
9-10 50 60 75 75
11-12 60 70 85 85
13-14 65 80 95 95
15-16 70 85 95 95
17-18 80 95 105 105
19-22 90 105 120 120

Pitch Counts and Required Rest Recommendations

For all players
Age 0 Days Rest 1 Days Rest 2 Days Rest 3 Days Rest 4 Days Rest 5 Days Rest
7-8 1-20 21-35 36-50 N/A N/A N/A
9-10 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
11-12 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
13-14 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
15-16 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76+ N/A
17-18 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-80 81+ N/A
19-22 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-80 81-105 106+

Suggested Annual Workload (annual inning limit)

For players with reduced workloads in 2020
Age 2021 Recommendations Typical Season
7-8 60 60
9-12 60 80
13-14 80 100
15-18 80 100

6. Proper nutrition and sleep go a long way in maximizing baseball performance and reducing injury risk.

7. As always, it is important that players avoid pitching with arm fatigue or injuries to other body regions; being proactive about your health will help keep you healthy for the long term.

8. It’s beneficial for amateur athletes to take time off from baseball each year and play multiple sports to further athletic development.

9. Many baseball players have showcase opportunities to enhance their recruitment into collegiate and professional baseball. Players should only participate in showcases when they are healthy and have had appropriate time to build up their throwing and strength and conditioning.

TIPS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands regularly.
  3. Whenever possible, maintain at least six feet of physical distance between you and your teammates.
  4. Bring your own water bottle to practice and avoid sharing food or drinks with your teammates.
  5. Limit the sharing of equipment.
  6. Players should have a consistent throwing partner.
  7. Equipment should be disinfected between uses.
  8. If you or one of your family members feels sick or tests positive for COVID-19, STAY HOME! Consult the CDC guidelines to determine when it is safe to return to play.
  9. Always comply with your state, local and league COVID-19 health and safety regulations