Keeping your throwing arm healthy and fresh as you build your craft is of the utmost importance for aspiring young pitchers.
In fact, even coaches of the most seldom used Little League hurlers are forced to be cognizant of exactly how many pitches their players throw in a given game, week and season — and rightfully so. Tallying a regular pitch count for players at the youth, high school and travel/AAU levels both aids in the players' long term success and helps the team perform at its full potential on the mound.
As it stands, managers at the Little League level are required to keep a pitch count for any individual put into the game on the mound, adhering to the designated rules in the process. Depending on the age group, a player can throw a maximum of 85 pitches in a given contest and are in turn required to rest for four calendar days; 61-75 pitches would warrant a three day rest period, 46-60 pitches a two day rest, 31-45 a one day rest and 1-30 pitches no rest.
The standard system brings a true strategical aspect to the game, one that would be far easier to execute with all the numbers right at your fingertips.
Insert 'ChangeUp', a brand new mobile application that not only allows individuals to effortlessly track pitch counts of players on their own team, but also provides access to insight and analytics of opposing team's players.
It just so happens that its two creators, Jeremy Coffey and Drew Tripp, are natives of Wenham and Hamilton, respectively.
"This really got started years and years ago when Drew and I were coaching Little League or all-star baseball in town and kids were playing AAU programs and such; we were always kind of juggling how to keep track of how the kids were doing and whether or not they were meeting the pitch count requirements," said Coffey, whose oldest son, Ian, was a standout quarterback at Hamilton-Wenham and also plays basketball, while his younger son, Carter, shines on both the soccer and basketball surfaces for the Generals.
"Certainly from a health and safety perspective we wanted to keep track anyway," he added, "and Drew came up with the concept of ChangeUp."
Thus, the idea of an app began. And with Tripp boasting a background in software and professional services, that idea quickly blossomed into a reality.
"As coaches Jeremy and I struggled with the challenges of balancing and managing pitch count restrictions for kids in multiple leagues," added Tripp. "The concept of the application came up and the MIAA was instituting pitch counts across all MIAA (high) schools so the idea to bring it back to life and get it on the market popped into our heads."
So how does the app work? Tripp explains it best.
"The ChangeUp platform has team schedules and rosters and all this information is laid on top of a pure pitch count application to provide various insight," says Tripp, whose son is a senior at Pingree.
"The application shows the rest threshold that is being encroached upon and provides visual cues that tell the manager or pitching coach when to get the player out or when to warm someone up and so on. You can also look ahead in the schedules and view pitching rotations for opponents."
Think of it like Hudl, used so effectively by high school football clubs. Each team and player will have an accessible profile that provides this necessary pitching information. Tripp and Coffey say the application will be easy to use and believe it will appeal to not only Little League squads, but middle school, AAU and high school teams as well.
According to its two creators, use of the app will be very simple and the system "is intuitive enough to use a drag and drop type deal." Tripp and Coffey already have a prototype in place and hope to launch the app to the public for the start of the 2020 baseball season. They're currently working with a number of area programs on the North Shore to test the application and tweak it if need be to cater to the user.
In addition, the duo says that analytics for a single player most likely won't be accessible to the public, but if that player wants to go ahead and share that information with another coach, fan or recruiter, they will have the opportunity to display what they want on their profile (think Facebook and privacy settings). Tripp and Coffey also envision ChangeUp converting into a recruiting tool at some point.
"We believe it's going to be a useful and popular product for the coaches and players," said Coffey. "The market is flexible at this point and we're planning on rolling it out there and trying to get as many programs involved as possible. Bottom line is we think it's a great product that many people will have the use for."