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Growing DD and the strike zone

Aug 23, 2016
237
18
The last 2-3 weeks, DD has been watching anything at her knees go by. I think her coach's head is going to explode in the middle of a game if she takes another called third strike at the knees. This is a kid who is generally an aggressive hitter (she's had more called third strikes this fall than she had in the two years prior to this season) and whose hitting philosophy is that she doesn't care if it's a strike or not, if she thinks she can drive a pitch she's going to go for it.

So I talked to DD, and she insists that these pitches are mid-calf (they're not). I am starting to wonder if the problem is her constantly growing body. She's grown nearly four inches since the beginning of the year and maybe an inch and a half of that growth has been since the start of the fall season. Is the growth spurt affecting her perception of the height of a pitch? Is there a way I can help her get a better idea of where her knees are now?
 
Last edited:

4 girl's dad

Finding my way
Apr 5, 2013
1,751
48
Back on the dirt
Set up a ball on a cone or some other device that is an at her knees strike. Then I’d throw as many pitches as possible at that height and have her hit them. Give her confidence that she can get to the low pitch if she tries. The benefit of setting up the ball on a cone or tee is that she can confirm where the ball is vs arguing with you that they are too low. (Ask me how I know...). So we set up teh ball at an agreed upon low strike and then went to hitting them off of front toss. Did not take long to show her.
 
Oct 4, 2018
461
43
50 push up for striking out looking?

;)


Most of us agree (from experience) that striking out looking is a crappy feeling. Even if the ump got it wrong. Part of this is obviously mental -- your DD needs to learn that low pitches are strikes and she needs to swing at them (with 2 strikes especially). I think it will come with time and seeing more low pitches. I would think you can accelerate that with practice and a low tee.
 
Nov 18, 2013
1,621
48
If your DD is very tall her strike zone will commonly be mid calf so she'll need to learn to swing at those with two strikes. Some umps get used to calling pitches at the same height strikes so when the tall girl gets up if a ball is say 18" off the ground it's a strike regardless where the knee is.
 
Oct 11, 2010
7,463
38
Chicago, IL
DD had an interesting strike zone growing up. She was small and balls over her head where called strikes.

Tall player on team at her ankles was called a strike.

I worked on her swinging at eye level balls.

My advice would be to hit a bunch of balls.
 
Jan 5, 2018
174
28
PNW
50 push up for striking out looking?

;)


Most of us agree (from experience) that striking out looking is a crappy feeling. Even if the ump got it wrong. Part of this is obviously mental -- your DD needs to learn that low pitches are strikes and she needs to swing at them (with 2 strikes especially). I think it will come with time and seeing more low pitches. I would think you can accelerate that with practice and a low tee.
A backwards K is not the worst thing in the world. LIGHTNING...when are these happening? No one on? Less than two outs? A strikeout is NOT the worst thing depending on the situation. Less than two outs and runners on 1st or 1st and 2nd....I'd take a strike out over a weak ground ball that results in a double play. Knowing the situation is just as important. If it's a borderline pitch and the player can't square it up or doesn't think they can drive it...I'd take the K in that situation....

Other situations, no one on, 2 outs....especially two outs....can't watch third strike! So I'm with her coach there.

Our DD struggled with the lower pitches as she went through a growth spurt. About 5 inches and 1.5 shoe sizes from March to August and then throw in change in eyesight requiring glasses during the same time. It all settled down and she was back to her normal aggressive self.


LIGHTNING: "and whose hitting philosophy is that she doesn't care if it's a strike or not, if she thinks she can drive a pitch she's going to go for it" Love this mentality. Set her up with a low T or cone as a reference. Or if you're in a cage run string across the cage at knee height out in front of the batter so she can see the height reference...then pitch to that height. Final reminder for your DD...right or wrong the strike zone is what the umpire is calling on any given day learning to adjust to the umpires zone is important.
 
Nov 18, 2013
1,621
48
A backwards K is not the worst thing in the world. LIGHTNING...when are these happening? No one on? Less than two outs? A strikeout is NOT the worst thing depending on the situation. Less than two outs and runners on 1st or 1st and 2nd....I'd take a strike out over a weak ground ball that results in a double play. Knowing the situation is just as important. If it's a borderline pitch and the player can't square it up or doesn't think they can drive it...I'd take the K in that situation....

Other situations, no one on, 2 outs....especially two outs....can't watch third strike! So I'm with her coach there.

Our DD struggled with the lower pitches as she went through a growth spurt. About 5 inches and 1.5 shoe sizes from March to August and then throw in change in eyesight requiring glasses during the same time. It all settled down and she was back to her normal aggressive self.


LIGHTNING: "and whose hitting philosophy is that she doesn't care if it's a strike or not, if she thinks she can drive a pitch she's going to go for it" Love this mentality. Set her up with a low T or cone as a reference. Or if you're in a cage run string across the cage at knee height out in front of the batter so she can see the height reference...then pitch to that height. Final reminder for your DD...right or wrong the strike zone is what the umpire is calling on any given day learning to adjust to the umpires zone is important.
I’d have to disagree on just this one aspect. Love the rest of your post.

Double plays are so rare in softball, especially at the pre-college levels, I don’t think it warrants laying off a close pitch for the third strike. Baseball maybe, but there’s so much less time to get the runner at first in softball.
 
Aug 23, 2016
237
18
A backwards K is not the worst thing in the world. LIGHTNING...when are these happening? No one on? Less than two outs? A strikeout is NOT the worst thing depending on the situation. Less than two outs and runners on 1st or 1st and 2nd....I'd take a strike out over a weak ground ball that results in a double play. Knowing the situation is just as important. If it's a borderline pitch and the player can't square it up or doesn't think they can drive it...I'd take the K in that situation....

Other situations, no one on, 2 outs....especially two outs....can't watch third strike! So I'm with her coach there.
All of these strikeouts have either been the first or the last out of the inning. One of them was with no outs and a runner on third.

I know (I hope?) she'll grow out of it eventually but I can also see the frustration levels rising (both for DD and her coach) and I want my happy hitter back.

I like the idea of giving her a visual reference when she's hitting. I'll try to figure out a way to do that.
 
Jan 5, 2018
174
28
PNW
I’d have to disagree on just this one aspect. Love the rest of your post.

Double plays are so rare in softball, especially at the pre-college levels, I don’t think it warrants laying off a close pitch for the third strike. Baseball maybe, but there’s so much less time to get the runner at first in softball.
MN- don't really disagree with you. I was intending that as a coach...I wouldn't be overly upset over the looking @ strike3 depending on the situation/scenario.

with more info from Lightning.."All of these strikeouts have either been the first or the last out of the inning. One of them was with no outs and a runner on third."

And based on those scenarios I'd be frustrated too!
 

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