Pitch Count Vs. Number of Serves


Interesting question posed on reddit.

I’m an avid tennis player and this question just dawned on me. Pitchers routinely have pitch counts to limit the amount of times they violently fling their arms forward and risk injury or wearing it out. In tennis matches you could easily serve 100+ times, day after day, and seemingly not be much worse for wear. The motion is actually pretty similar in certain regards, and as my serve becomes much better, I fling my arm/whole body forward that much more forcefully.

I know there is injury risk associated with any sport, but clearly there is a big difference in how it’s treated. There’s no “serve count” in tennis unless it’s mentioned incidentally to highlight a certain point in a pro match. Otherwise you just have to not play overly much and you’re probably fine.

What is the main difference, and as a tennis player why do I not really have to worry about a “serve count,” but pitchers in baseball have to keep meticulous count of pitches? It’s definitely not as if tennis players are holding back on their serves and not trying to rocket their arm forward as quickly. Does it have something to do with the act of actually striking the tennis ball — an equal force is put back on your arm and sort of negates the pressure of the violent forward swing? (damn you, high school physics, I forget if this would apply).

edit: I’m not sure if I wrote the question clearly because a lot of the feedback has been about tennis generally being a solo sport with no way to substitute while baseball is a team sport. I’m a big sports fan so that much is obvious, but I was wondering what makes the mechanics of a tennis serve generally injury-free (even if you do 100+ too often), while the mechanics of a pitch risk wearing your arm out or injuring it horribly (if you do hundreds too often). They don’t seem all that different to me and the swing of a tennis serve seems pretty fast-paced/violent too, but I’ve never played baseball. What’s the physical difference that makes one REQUIRE a limit (lest you get injured) while the other doesn’t, when both are like forward whipping motions?

See the conversation HERE and add our thoughts to the debate

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