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Help!!!

My 12 year old daughter is trying out for a USSSA travel team. She is currently playing ponytails rec ball. She shines as a catcher in the rec ball league, but is kinda dull at the travel ball level. We have to go back for one more try out practice on Saturday. Do you have any suggestions on how she could shine as the super star at the higher level? Most of the rules are different and only time will correct fixing the changes from one league to another, or at least I think so. She has an amazing arm for a 12 yo and is capable of throwing out the fastest runner at 2nd. The assistant coach made a comment, they were looking at several other catchers, but Haylee really wants to play on this team. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sharon
 
Catcher tips

As the dad of 2 FP players both of who have caught and one who became a Pitcher I will give my perspective. I have assisted and coached on over 20 teams and currently have a 16U team.
OK here goes.
If the Pony rules are like Little league then one of her biggest adjustments will be that the runners can advance on the pitch leaving the pitchers hand, not crossing the plate. This is tough for someone to test, so she must be sure when trying out to come up throwing. For second she must throw to the right side of the plate knee height. Tell her top not wait under any circumstances for the SS or 2B to get there. That is THEIR PROBLEM. On teams we played on as well as HS teams that is what we expect. If the defense is not where they need to be they will get the flack, net the catcher.
She needs to drop and block, nothing should go by her. Practice in full gear and throw buckets of balls in the dirt in front of her. A pass ball is a run in this league.
She must know to look back the runners to avoid a delayed steal and NEVER give the ball back to the pitcher if you have a runner on 3B and she (C) is up the 3rd base line. No one is guarding the plate.
Lastly my favorite, always throw a good ball back to the catcher. It sounds simple but, it is very frustrating for the pitcher to have it go in the dirt in front of her or over her head. It also makes your team look sloppy. Part of this game is mental (the biggest part) and someone watching sloppy play will get a mental boost about playing you and most likely will do it if they feel you are inferior to them.
I always tell my catcher that I want her to return to her throwing area after retrieving a pop up or foul tip from the fence. She knows how hard to throw it from there because of all the reps from that position. Throwing from the back stop is asking for trouble. Good Luck! We are in SC too!
 
Hey Stepping,
I have worked with catchers for many years and have found that the number one thing for improvment is confidence. Your daughter will need a bucket full of it when she decides to move up. Tell her that her game is a work in progress, and to trust what she has right now. Help her to make a list of what she feels she needs to improve on in her game. Encourage her to become a student of catching. Watch all the videos,etc.. and pick one thing to work on at a time instead of trying to master all the skills at once. Put her list into priorities, with the one that is "hurting" her the most in the top spot. Find drills, talk to coaches, watch older successful catchers in your area (high school) and study what they do in the area you are working on. After you get a game plan, go to work. Remember she is 12 and is a work in progress. Catching skills take time, but will develop in a possitive, supportive enviroment. It is not a natural thing to allow a thrown ball to hit you! This is a learned skill that takes a tremendous amount of determination. As the drills become more the norm her confidence will increase and so will her game. When she feels good about improving, she will become motivated to want to learn, and ready to move on to the next "project".
Be patient with her. It sounds like she really wants to be on the new team, but keep in mind what is best for her and her game at this point in her career. She needs to be on a team where she will get alot of playing time. If she is working hard on her game and not being able to use it she will become unmotivated. While she may not be on the team that she really wants to be on, help her to understand that she is working on personel goals which will help her improve. Ask yourself which team is best for her right now, and remember that she has many years ahead of her. You are in the important development years where you need to form a firm foundation and not be as concerned about on the field performance, but more about improvement. One more thing. Please keep it FUN! If she sticks with this game she will have plenty of time when she will need to be grinding to reach a goal. Our job as parents and coaches is to support and strengthen our athletes but at a pace which is right for them. Let her enjoy the game and learn to compete, this will make your job alot easier and more memorable for both of you. Mark
 
As the dad of 2 FP players both of who have caught and one who became a Pitcher I will give my perspective. I have assisted and coached on over 20 teams and currently have a 16U team.
OK here goes.
If the Pony rules are like Little league then one of her biggest adjustments will be that the runners can advance on the pitch leaving the pitchers hand, not crossing the plate. This is tough for someone to test, so she must be sure when trying out to come up throwing. For second she must throw to the right side of the plate knee height. Tell her top not wait under any circumstances for the SS or 2B to get there. That is THEIR PROBLEM. On teams we played on as well as HS teams that is what we expect. If the defense is not where they need to be they will get the flack, net the catcher.
She needs to drop and block, nothing should go by her. Practice in full gear and throw buckets of balls in the dirt in front of her. A pass ball is a run in this league.
She must know to look back the runners to avoid a delayed steal and NEVER give the ball back to the pitcher if you have a runner on 3B and she (C) is up the 3rd base line. No one is guarding the plate.
Lastly my favorite, always throw a good ball back to the catcher. It sounds simple but, it is very frustrating for the pitcher to have it go in the dirt in front of her or over her head. It also makes your team look sloppy. Part of this game is mental (the biggest part) and someone watching sloppy play will get a mental boost about playing you and most likely will do it if they feel you are inferior to them.
I always tell my catcher that I want her to return to her throwing area after retrieving a pop up or foul tip from the fence. She knows how hard to throw it from there because of all the reps from that position. Throwing from the back stop is asking for trouble. Good Luck! We are in SC too!

Thanks so much for your help. Where are you at in SC, we are looking for a pitching coach? Sharon
 
May 9, 2008
1
0
Hey Stepping,
I have played FP softball before. I did some drills when i did play because i was a catcher. Make her get her gear on and go down to a field and throw for a couple of minutes keep backing up and have her thrrow to you further and further. After doing the you should make her get behind the plate or in front of the fence and pitch the ball low on the ground so she could stop the ball. Then move onto getting her to throw down to 1st 2nd and third so she can get used to doing it. if she still struggles getting the ball down there fast enough you can get one of those big cone and place a volleyball on there and make her throw the softball down and try to knock it off. Have some fun with these! Hope these help her!
 

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