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Thread: Advice for developing a pitcher

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    I can talk softball all day PapaPump's Avatar
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    Default Advice for developing a pitcher

    We just changed pitching coaches about a month ago. My 11 yo DD has one year of pitching experience, but was trying to use too many pitches, elbow to the pitcher,etc. She was inconsistent and based on what I began to read on here and study on my own I made the decision to change.

    She is now only working on her fastball and consistent mechanics. Her new pitching coach agrees she should only be working on that now. We are also working on locating her fastball. She has a tournament in two weeks (12U). My concern is with only a fastball and not always consistent on location she may get hit a good bit.

    I did have her work on throwing an off speed fastball by putting the ball farther back in her hand. When she does this her mechanics are the same as her fastball, but the ball does have some movement and drops .

    Is this enough for her to get by for now?

    I am not so much worried about her getting hit...I'm trying to think about developing her properly, but I do know if she gets hit a lot it will affect her mentally. I plan on talking to her pitching coach about this, but I would also like some thoughts from you all.

    A second question...I have read a lot of posts to work on accuracy, such as, placing ball on tee and knocking it off, etc. I would like to do a lot of this to help her work on locating her fastball. Is an appropriate progression to do it first from a standing position, then move back some, then from a full throw....or always from a full throw?

    Thanks for any help you can give!

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    Certified softball maniac quincy's Avatar
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    She gets pounded she gets pounded, the philosophy you are expressing is correct.

    I like the P throwing from 40’. Get a plunger and put it in the tee and you can place as big of a ball that she can hit off it.

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    Certified softball maniac Rocketech1's Avatar
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    First of all, good for you that you recognized her old PC was teaching questionable mechanics and having your DD learn too many pitches. At 12u having a good fastball and c/u is all you really need. I would not worry too much about throwing games like placing a ball on a tee to hit etc. until she becomes more accurate with locating her fastball to all four corners of the strike zone consistently. Instead, at the end if each pitching sessions do a game where you pretend there is a batter in the box and go through a real pitch sequence calling balls and strikes and you don't finish practice until she strikes out 6 batters. My DD has done this drill at almost everyone of the sessions I have caught for her the past 3+ years and its a great way to keep her focused on game type situations and how to deal being behind in the pitch count.

    You mentioned that you were worried about your daughter giving up too many hits and affecting her mentally. Pitchers need to be mentally tough, have a desire to get better, and have a short memory for past 'failures'. I also give credit to her coach for letting her pitch even if she is still new to the position. Pitchers need as much time in the circle as possible. It's the only way they can get better. Good luck.
    Last edited by Rocketech1; 02-07-2013 at 05:16 PM.

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    Super Moderator sluggers's Avatar
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    I am not so much worried about her getting hit...I'm trying to think about developing her properly, but I do know if she gets hit a lot it will affect her mentally.
    Pitchers will get murdered several times in their career. It comes with the territory. She (and you) have to learn to accept it and move on.

    A second question...I have read a lot of posts to work on accuracy, such as, placing ball on tee and knocking it off, etc. I would like to do a lot of this to help her work on locating her fastball. Is an appropriate progression to do it first from a standing position, then move back some, then from a full throw....or always from a full throw?
    This drill is worthless. It is an interesting parlor trick, but not much more than that.

    A pitcher needs to know how to move the location of the pitch, not how to throw the ball to one spot. She needs to learn how to move the ball up and down, and left and right. During the game, the strike zone is going to move up and down depending upon the height of the girl. And, most likely, the umpires will have different strike zones. So, she is going to have to pitch to the umpire's strike zone and the batters strike zone, not to one spot.

    If you want to teach her how to move the ball, here is what you do:

    Step 1: learn how to move the ball up and down. Basically, you tell her to throw a ball in the dirt. The next pitch, you tell her you want it high. She then practices alternating high fastballs and low fastballs.
    Step 2: Learn how to throw the ball left and right. tell her to throw a ball to the left. Next pitch, have her throw a ball to the right. Alternate pitches. At first, it doesn't matter if they are six feet or six inches left or right. The important thing is for her to get used to moving the ball.
    Step 3: Quadrant drills. Divide the strike zone into four quadrants. High and inside, high and outside, low and inside, low and outside. Then, have her throw the ball into each quadrant in a sequence. She doesn't move to the next quadrant until she throws the ball into the desired quadrant. After she can do this in a sequence, then start randomly calling for the pitch in the next quadrant.
    Ray

    Every softball parent keeps a hockey mask and a butcher knife in their car...

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    Certified softball maniac Ken B's Avatar
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    "This drill is worthless. It is an interesting parlor trick, but not much more than that."

    IMO it's worth adding occasionally to the end of a session for fun and games.

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    Certified softball maniac Perfect Circle's Avatar
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    Copied from my other post... This is when How's technique of learning by reading... comes in handy, and his statement is right!!!
    GIVE HER MORE SPEED AND A FEW SECRET WEAPONS. My book will show you how to do that IMMEDIATELY. You don't have much time, your not going to get murdered.!!! Bring it!!!
    Relax, and just try it!!!Get it on Kindle immediately too!!! Gonna be the best thing that could have happened to you!!! Pray your DD has the wind is blowing into her face... if so, you might just have 3-5 pitches all in one...Practice both ways, so she'll be ready...unless you know the orientation of the diamond your playing on all ready...

    I would just have her hold the pitch she is throwing back tight against the palm, and see if she sees the difference, to start with. Then I would use How's Flat finger Knuckle Ball. Throw it the same way she throws the other one, just as hard, and fast. Don't change a thing, just the grip... Call it HER CU.

    4 seams, and make sure that the fingers are behind the seams...Don't touch any seam, even with thumb.

    Model Grips
    Last edited by Perfect Circle; 02-07-2013 at 05:41 PM.
    Warning !!! Proud Dad: views expressed are only experiential experimenting 8-10u... do not try at home !!!!!!alone
    PS: I highly value cinematography and aesthetics and am not a DFP-certified hitting guru. Not yet, that is! 740-500-0157

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    Pitching Coach Carly's Avatar
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    I like what Rocketech1 and Sluggers said. She has to get the fastball before she can move on. She's definitely going to get hit, and she has to be completely OK with that. If that makes her want to give up, it's a harsh reality but it may mean pitching just isn't for her. Plus learning to get through this stage isn't just a pitching skill; it's a life skill.

    If she sticks with it, when you look back on her career right as she's applying to college, no one (including you and her) is going to care what her stat line was when she was 12. What's important is that you're laying the right foundation now for success in the prime years.

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    Softball Junkie FrozenRope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaPump View Post
    We just changed pitching coaches about a month ago. My 11 yo DD has one year of pitching experience, but was trying to use too many pitches, elbow to the pitcher,etc. She was inconsistent and based on what I began to read on here and study on my own I made the decision to change.

    She is now only working on her fastball and consistent mechanics. Her new pitching coach agrees she should only be working on that now. We are also working on locating her fastball. She has a tournament in two weeks (12U). My concern is with only a fastball and not always consistent on location she may get hit a good bit.

    I did have her work on throwing an off speed fastball by putting the ball farther back in her hand. When she does this her mechanics are the same as her fastball, but the ball does have some movement and drops .

    Is this enough for her to get by for now?

    I am not so much worried about her getting hit...I'm trying to think about developing her properly, but I do know if she gets hit a lot it will affect her mentally. I plan on talking to her pitching coach about this, but I would also like some thoughts from you all.

    A second question...I have read a lot of posts to work on accuracy, such as, placing ball on tee and knocking it off, etc. I would like to do a lot of this to help her work on locating her fastball. Is an appropriate progression to do it first from a standing position, then move back some, then from a full throw....or always from a full throw?

    Thanks for any help you can give!
    So what...if she gets hit, she gets hit. There is an entire team of girls standing behind her that are there to help her. The important thing to focus on is her mechanics. Moving onto movement pitches before she's developed the basics of consistantly locating with decent velocity is like taking a student that's lousy in geometry and algebra and moving her onto Trig and Calc. It's not going to work. This is just my humble opinion. At 11 years old, the most successful pitchers I have seen have a GOOD fastball that they can move around and a decent change up that they can sell to the hitter. Working on velocity and accuracy at this age in my thoughts are the most beneficial in the long run. I'll take an 11 year old with a good fastball and an effective change over a pitcher that that has 4-5 movement pitches that don't break and aren't located well. Your job is to sell her on this concept, especially if her previous pitching coach put the bug in her ear that she's actually throwing 4-5 movement pitches that are anything other than fastballs with a funny spin, that may or may not be correct.

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    TOUCH EM ALL 1fingeredknuckler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenB View Post
    "This drill is worthless. It is an interesting parlor trick, but not much more than that."

    IMO it's worth adding occasionally to the end of a session for fun and games.

    which one are you referring to?

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    Certified softball maniac Ken B's Avatar
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    The knocking a ball off a T game. As sluggers stated, the game should not be used as the foundation for building accuracy. Follow his advice for developing control once you are confident that her form is solid. The T and other games, like Bunny on a Bucket, are for fun and motivation. They are great for end of practice competitions alone or with multiple players. They do not substitute for hard work.

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