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To Pitch or Not to Pitch

by Softball Dad & Mom

Hello,



My daughter is 11 years old and has been playing softball for several years. we have been giving her pitching lessons for the last two years and she does pretty good. Last year she was on the Gold team as the second pitcher and did a great job.. won every game with the help of her team as the second pitcher.

This year in the majors, she was once again the second pitcher and had anxiety before every game that she was going to start/play. During several games we notice that she was falling apart before the games from the thought of pitching.

Then the number one pitcher hurt her arm and thus our daughter became the number one pitcher. It really got bad when one of the parents from another town (unbeknownst to us) was saying things about her pitching ie slam these ___________ pitches etc.

Well needless to say she fell apart and wanted nothing to do with pitching, including that game which was the first time she starting crying on the mound. It really hit the home when we were playing a team in our own town that we beat with our number one pitcher and now that she was hurt, they had my daughter pitching.

For the first time, myself and my wife were not at the game do to other obligations, however we heard that we were ahead 6 to 4 on the bottom of the 4th inning and one of the fathers from the other team (someone we know and have played with - gold team last summer) started saying things about her pitching and low and behold my daughter had a breakdown and wanted out of pitching again.

We lost this game by a lot when we really had no other pitchers to back her up. one more time after that she pitched and won the game, however thinks she is pitching too many innings.

To cut this short, My daughter no longer wants to pitch and for the first time in a long time, I see her smiling in the field. The problem is the summer league coaches are under the impression that my daughter owes it to them (and the team) to continue pitching as she has been for the last year and a half.

We as parents told them that she is done pitching however she still wants to play softball with her friends on the team only at another position. They all want to talk to her including having some of their kids to try and persuade (upbeat talk) her otherwise, which we are not going to let happen.

My question to you is how would you handle this.. its to the point when they ask her to pitch she tries to hurt herself to get out of it. Mind you these are friends of ours and their intention is not bad, only some do take it over the top. One is a high school boys soccer coach who really wants to talk to her and thinks he can solve her lack of confidence in herself with regard to pitching.

Thank you for letting me vent and if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Response From 'Skip'

You know, pitching is a very demanding position in baseball and softball. Much of the game revolves around the pitcher and their abilities or lack of. It is quite a compliment for the coaches and her team to want her to pitch. That means she is pretty good or at least better than most.

I am speaking from baseball but I am quite sure there are some similarities with softball and baseball in this regard. Baseball is not a sport for the timid and meak and especially the pitcher. You have to a little mean on the mound. A little middle linebacker type mindset. You don't really show it but inside of you there is a real warrior mentality.

There is nothing wrong with you if you do not have that really competitive nature but it will be difficult to pitch with out it.

So, I would say that if your daughter gets easliy distracted and even rattled by fans and opponents to which she cannot perform at her best then by all means she should play another position for awhile.

Otherwise, she will have to find a way to block out all chatter and banter from the opponents and ignore it or use it for incentive to compete. Thanks for sharing your situation and I hope things work out for you all!


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Skip- Came across your books & videos 2 years ago at the end of the season.

I implemented your techniques the next season and can't thank you enough. The kids love practice, we accomplish a lot, and most importantly they all develop throughout the season. I don't worry much if we win or lose just as long as we try and they get better.

My pitchers only throw fastballs and a change up and we do just fine. If the other team hits the ball, great it gives the defense an opportunity to make a play.

I never coach from the box, I just encourage them to hit. And they all know the have the green light on 3-0. The best thing I can do for them is make them better hitters and the only way is to hit! By the way my kids are Junior Little league ages 13-14. Zach, Stockton, CA...


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