On the ESPN web site I read this article on pitch counts, and found this comment on point:
What's interesting here is that the 20-pitch specialist is the residue of a change that did not, strictly speaking, emanate from problems within Little League itself. Around the coaching community, it is widely understood that the advent of nearly year-round travel (or "competitive") ball is one of the primary reasons for the rise in young arm problems. In some ways, Little League has made a pitch-count adjustment in reaction to forces that are beyond its control.
Travel ball has become an almost de facto part of a competitive player's baseball life -- just as it has in soccer, basketball and several other youth sports. An alphabet soup of sponsoring organizations, from AAU to USSSA, BPA and well beyond, offers the opportunity to play baseball at levels -- and sheer numbers of games -- that a previous generation of players would have found mind-boggling.
But travel ball is here to stay -- and so too, apparently, is a new approach by Little League to containing the potential damage to young arms. So get used to the 20-pitch kid. He's a closer on the shortest leash imaginable.
In other words, coaches know that it isn't pitch counts per se that cause the problems, but rather the number of months of the year the kids are pitching.
Interestingly, there is no ban on breaking pitches, though when I talk to coaches, there is speculation that these cause arm problems. In fact, on the Little League web site, they state:
While there is no medical evidence to support a ban on breaking pitches, it is widely speculated by medical professionals that it is ill-advised for players under 14 years old to throw breaking pitches,” Mr. Keener said. “Breaking pitches for these ages continues to be strongly discouraged by Little League, and that is an issue we are looking at as well. As with our stance on pitch counts, we will act if and when there is medical evidence to support a change.
I'm glad they are studying it, but the decision not to act to ban breaking pitches due to a lack of data is interesting since there is also a lack of data with pitch counts, but it didn't stop the officials from making rules there! Hopefully with the new pitch count rules, and the new data collected, we can see of the data bears out this hypothesis.