Dilemma: Keep original pitching coach; look for new one?

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Jul 21, 2008
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When I have a new student, the first think I tell student and parent is that the mechanics I teach will be different than 90% of other pitching coaches in our area including most college pitcher and college coaches. I realize I'm the minority but this is what I teach.

First I show the the wrong mechanics (push down/wave up) then I explain why these mechanics are wrong. I ask (student/parent) do you throw like that overhand and of corse the answer you get is NO. I tell student that when anyone tells you something about pitching ask yourself do I throw like that overhand. If yes.....you are getting good instruction. If no......not so good instruction.

If a pitching coach tells you to push and wave (show the elbow to pitcher) ask them to show you a high level pitcher on video using these mechanics.
 
Jun 18, 2010
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Fastpitch,
I was in your exact same position last year. My DD (now 12) had the same pitching coach (our local high school softball coach) for three years. My DD was dominant in league play. I personally didn’t know anything about fastpich SB pitching when we started. Now over 4 years into it, I feel like I have learned quite a lot. Last year, I really got into watching the Women’s Team USA softball whenever I could find it on TV. I enjoyed watching all aspects, but because my DD is a pitcher, I especially focused on the pitching. It hit me like a ton of bricks… my DD was not pitching at all like the elite pitchers I was watching.

Like you I started doing research. I started on this website as a matter of fact. I ended up buying the Hillhouse DVD and the Osterman’s DVD. After watching the DVD’s and comparing it to the way my DD’s coach was teaching, it was clear, she was being coached using the “step-close-the-hips-point-the-elbow” method.

Wow, what do I do? I started watching as much Women’s SB as I could find to analyze the pitchers. I kept coming back to the question what do the best pitchers do?, and why is my DD not being coached to pitch similar to the best. I asked my DDs coach, who was herself a DII college pitcher. It seems her approach to pitching was based on how she was taught, many years ago.

Now I am at the cross roads, do I mess with my DDs success at 11 years old, or do I go with what my gut is telling me will better prepare her for the future? What do I do to put my DD in the best position for her future if she decides to keep pitching?

I knew I had to make a change.

I let the league play finish out. I didn’t want to make any changes to her mid-season, and mess with her confidence and all that. Once the season finished, I started her transitioning to Hillhouse’s method. We have been working on it regularly since. Just last night we were practicing and I was thinking how good she is getting. You see, Bill makes it very easy for the DD’s to self diagnose their problems. He spells it out in simple terms the DDs understand. For a right-hander, throwing inside, you’re closing your hips, throwing outside you’re opening your left shoulder, too-high-too-low check your timing and release point. Before we switched styles, if she would miss inside or outside we had a laundry list of things to check. For me sitting on the bucket a lot of times I just didn’t know what was wrong and I would have to wait for the next lesson. Now, with the Hillhouse approach, she tells me what she did wrong and self corrects. What a difference. Her confidence is really starting to skyrocket.

I would like for her to get some lessons from someone more knowledgeable than me. I didn’t know what to look for in a pitching coach before, now I have a much better idea. I will wait and find a new coach that teaches like Bill Hillhouse (anyone know of any in KC?).

I will keep you posted on our progress. We have not yet pitched in a game, but if she pitches in a game the way she did practicing last night, she should be in good shape.
 
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Oct 19, 2009
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Bill great post and very well said!:)

From my perspective there are so many pitching coaches, hitting coaches and coaches in general out there who teach some bad and even sometimes dangerous mechanics. There is a Middle School coach in our area who teaches open the door close the door pitching mechanics show the elbow, and yells very loudly at any of her pitchers that don’t do as told. Then she yells at the kids when the team gets beat 10 – 0 every game.

All I can tell you is try and educate yourself on good mechanics and make sure anyone coaching/teaching you child teaches proper and safe mechanics, not always easy to do.
 
Apr 27, 2009
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Yes knight, the greatest thing is giving the pitcher ways to self-correct in a game that don't create overthinking or anxiety, and that work immediately.
 
Apr 25, 2010
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Have you guys thought of maybe coming to this area to have an extended lesson with Bill sometime? Every once in a while he holds some Sunday lessons so he can accommodate people on his waiting list. I know it's a long distance to travel for one lesson, but it may give you exactly what you need to help propel your dd forward. He gives lessons in NE Ohio and in the Pittsburgh area.

Also, keep an eye out for his clinics that are maybe closer to you. You can usually get lesson time during those clinics, too.

Bill definitely reinforces self-correction with the girls. In practice, whenever dd throws one to either side, all he usually has to do is look at her funny, and she'll tell him what she did wrong mechanically. And when she's in the circle, more often than not, you can see the wheels spinning when she hits a batter...lol. She knows she closed up early and threw around her body. I think that, as a pitcher, that is an invaluable skill to have. And at these young ages, if mom or dad are always telling them what to fix, they begin to feel as if they can't do anything right, so it's great for them to have that knowledge and power for themselves.
 
Oct 18, 2009
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Now maybe this is the wrong thread or maybe even forum to do it in... but is there anyone here who advocates what I will call the "point the elbow at the catcher" finish? Just trying to see arguments for both sides.
 
Oct 23, 2009
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Los Angeles
Hey Bill - thanks so much for the response. We are in the NY/NJ area. I guess a main problem is that most of the PC's around here seem to teach basically the same or similar style. As much as I'd like to get her instruction that I am %100 behind... I don't really know who we'd go to... and I don't have the knowledge to be or really want to try and be my DD's pitching coach. If you know someone in the NY/NJ area... please let me know! Thanks again for the response!

I going to be very blunt here. You HAVE to be her primary pitching coach if you want her to have any real success as a pitcher. Unless you are going to pay a PC to work with your DD 3 to 4 days a week for an hour at a time, year-round, than the person sitting on that bucket is going to be you. It's critical that you educate yourself on pitching mechanics because at the end of the day, your DD and you are the ones that will determine whether or not she succeeds at the position. Otherwise you are just throwing your money away.
 
Oct 22, 2009
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I going to be very blunt here. You HAVE to be her primary pitching coach if you want her to have any real success as a pitcher. Unless you are going to pay a PC to work with your DD 3 to 4 days a week for an hour at a time, year-round, than the person sitting on that bucket is going to be you. It's critical that you educate yourself on pitching mechanics because at the end of the day, your DD and you are the ones that will determine whether or not she succeeds at the position. Otherwise you are just throwing your money away.

I have to agree, as I stated in another thread I have watched some of my pitching dads work or actually not work with their daughters at their practices.

I confronted one of them last night at lessons, explaining to him that he needed to stop her from rushing through her drills and just jumping all over the place chunking balls everywhere and not even trying to do anything properly. His reaction was just to shake his head and said "I can't see her doing that and really have no clue what she is doing."
He doesn't want to try to understand, he doesn't want to help her, so I do not see much of a future for her.

On another note, I overhead one of pitchers scolding her mother for telling her what to do. She said, "Mom! Your not my coach so stay out of it!"
Yeah....I nipped that in bud right there.
 
Jun 18, 2010
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Fastpitch, yes... I fired her PC ;-) and took over the job exclusively working with her using the Hillhouse DVD. Don't get me wrong, If Hillhouse had lessons in KC or nearby, we would go in a hearbeat. I even emailed him asking if he had any protégés in the area, but no luck. After doing this for many months, I am now confident that me working with her using Bill's DVD as my reference is better than our previous situation. We have had good luck with her drop and are developing here change-up, soon we tackle the rise.

I agree with what SoCalSoftballdad stated, "You HAVE to be her primary pitching coach if you want her to have any real success as a pitcher." I have been sitting on a bucket since she was 8, and she is 12 now, so I have picked up a few things along with way, and Bill's DVD, and other youtube videos have empowered me to fill confident enough to take this leap. I also have to give the website its due. I do not post regularly, but I am a regular viewer, and there is excellent information to take from many of these knowledgeable posters.

Good luck.
 

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