How often should a 12 year old throw?

When it comes to determining how often a 12 year old should throw, there are a few quick answers to consider. First, it depends on the context – are we talking about throwing for sports/athletics, just playing around, or another situation? The frequency will likely vary based on the reason for throwing. Second, physical factors like strength, coordination, and conditioning should be taken into account. And third, what guidance has the child’s coach or other experts provided? With those quick thoughts in mind, let’s explore this topic in more detail.

Background on Throwing for 12 Year Olds

Throwing is an important motor skill for children to develop. It involves coordination between the brain and nervous system to execute the proper sequence of muscle movements. Mastering throwing takes time and changes as children grow and gain strength. By age 12, most kids have advanced from the basic throwing stages to a more mature ability to throw various objects with greater force, accuracy and efficiency.

For pre-teens around 12 years old, throwing skills are still developing. Growth spurts during puberty can temporarily affect coordination. Fine-tuning technique at this age is important to avoid injury as throwing power increases. Understanding appropriate throwing frequency, distance, intensity and rest for 12 year olds helps support safe advancement of their skills.

Throwing Guidelines by Context

Athletics and Sports

When throwing is part of athletic activities and sports, guidance from coaches and training experts is key. Throwing too much, too hard or with improper form can lead to overuse injuries. But adequate throwing is needed to advance skills. Some general youth throwing guidelines include:

  • Take at least 1-2 days off per week from overhead throwing to allow rest and recovery.
  • Limit throwing to 2-3 times per week in a training/practice context.
  • Throw no more than 30-50 pitches per session.
  • Avoid throwing on consecutive days.
  • Focus on proper throwing mechanics and technique.
  • Build up throwing distance, intensity and duration gradually over time.
  • Stop throwing immediately if pain or discomfort is felt.

For pitchers, additional precautions may be needed to avoid overuse injuries. Pitch counts, rest periods and evaluation of mechanics should be guided by knowledgeable coaches. Throwing too much, too hard, too soon is a common cause of elbow and shoulder injuries.

Playing Around

During free play and casual throwing activities with friends, some general throwing guidelines for 12 year olds include:

  • Take breaks as needed to avoid fatigue.
  • Stop throwing if any pain is felt.
  • Gradually build up the intensity and duration of throwing sessions.
  • Throw objects of appropriate weight – not too heavy or large.
  • Emphasize fun and proper technique, rather than maximum effort.
  • Keep safety in mind regarding throwing objects that could break or cause harm.

Free play throwing with light objects like foam balls or beanbags can help reinforce motor skills. But even during play, overexertion or using poor form can lead to minor strains. Monitoring fatigue and allowing rest periods is important.

Physical Education Class

In an organized P.E. class or fitness setting, a trained instructor should provide appropriate throwing activities and guidance for 12 year olds. Things they may monitor include:

  • Proper throwing technique and mechanics.
  • The size, weight and type of objects being thrown.
  • Target distances based on ability.
  • Duration of throwing periods and rotations.
  • Intensity of effort based on fitness level.
  • Amount of activity and rest periods.

In these structured environments, throwing lessons and challenges can be tailored to each child’s capabilities. This allows them to expand skills safely under supervision.

Physical Factors Affecting Throwing Ability

When evaluating appropriate throwing frequency for 12 year olds, its important to consider their physical development and ability. Key factors include:


Arm, shoulder and core muscle strength allows forceful throwing without strain or fatigue. At age 12, strength is still developing. Tasks like throwing weighted balls can build strength, when done progressively. Sudden throwing of heavy objects can overwork muscles and lead to injury.


Throwing involves complex body movements and motor skills. At age 12, coordination is still improving. Throwing too frequently can interfere with learning proper technique. Adequate rest between throwing sessions allows the brain and muscles time to coordinate.

Fitness Level

Aerobic endurance from cardiovascular fitness provides stamina for extended throwing activity. Anaerobic fitness allows brief, intense throwing. Building up slowly allows the fitness needed for throwing demands. Too much throwing without adequate fitness stresses the body.

Growth Plate Development

Growth plates in the shoulders and elbows are still developing around age 12. Too much force across joints can damage growth plates. Overuse throwing injuries involving growth plates may require prompt treatment.

Developmental Stage

Children 12 years old may be starting or already in puberty, with rapid growth in height, weight and muscles. Coordination can be affected temporarily. Throwing ability needs time to catch up with physical changes. Patience and gradual progress are required.

While individual child development varies, these are some key factors to consider when determining age-appropriate throwing frequency and intensity.

Signs of Throwing Too Much

When trying to avoid overuse throwing injuries in 12 year old athletes, watch for these signs of throwing too much:

  • Consistent or worsening pain during or after throwing
  • Rubbery, weak or sore feeling in the arm and shoulder
  • Decreased throwing accuracy and distance
  • Discomfort or minor injury that won’t heal
  • Popping, cracking or grinding sounds from the elbow or shoulder joint
  • Loss of interest or motivation to throw

If these or other concerning symptoms appear, take a break from throwing. Consult a coach, trainer or doctor if needed. Growth plate-related injuries require prompt medical attention.

The Role of Rest and Recovery

Rest periods are just as important as training periods for developing 12 year olds. During rest:

  • Muscles repair and strengthen.
  • Energy stores rebuild.
  • Minor strains have time to heal.
  • Coordination and technique advance.
  • Growth and adaptation occur.

1-2 full rest days per week are ideal. Even during daily throwing, include warm-up, rest between sets, and cool-down periods. Listen to the body’s signals for the need to take a break. Pay attention to any pain as a sign to stop throwing.

The Role of Proper Throwing Mechanics

Using correct throwing form reduces injury risk and develops efficient technique. Key tips for 12 year olds learning to throw include:

  • Stand sideways to the target with the shoulder pointed.
  • Keep eyes focused on the target throughout the throw.
  • Bring the throwing arm back with a bent elbow.
  • Step toward the target with the opposite foot.
  • Rotate hips and core while transferring weight.
  • Whip the throwing arm forward and release the ball.
  • Follow through fully toward the target.

Good coaches reinforce proper mechanics during skill development. Breaking down the steps and practicing in slow motion help engrain proper throwing technique.

Sample Throwing Progression for a 12 Year Old

Bringing the guidance together, here is one sample throwing progression for a healthy 12 year old beginner:

Week Sessions/Week Reps/Session Intensity Distance
1 2 10 50% 15 feet
2 2 10 50% 20 feet
3 2 15 60% 25 feet
4 3 15 75% 30 feet
5 3 20 75% 40 feet
6 3 20 100% 50 feet

This allows for gradual increases in throwing frequency, intensity and distance over time. Rest days, proper mechanics training, and listening to the body’s signals are also critical for injury prevention and skill development.


Determining appropriate throwing frequency for a 12 year old depends on several factors, especially the reason for throwing. In general, throwing programs should include:

  • At least 1-2 rest days per week.
  • Focus on proper mechanics and technique.
  • Gradual increases in volume, intensity, and distance.
  • Use of appropriate balls/objects for age and ability.
  • Watching for signs of fatigue or overuse.
  • Communication with coaches about capacity.
  • Ending activity if any pain is felt.

With a thoughtful training approach, a 12 year old can continue developing their throwing skills safely. Patience is needed as both mental coordination and physical strength advance during this period of rapid growth and maturation. Following guidelines tailored to a 12 year old’s readiness allows stepping up throwing activities gradually over time.

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