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How do I make this point to a 13 year old?

May 12, 2008
What she needs to do is throw strikes that look like balls and balls that look like strikes. This is what she's doing with the change or close to it depend on how much it drops. Then she throws a strike that looks like a strike when you KNOW they are going to be hacking. If fastball and change are what she is throwing, try throwing the fastball first on one of the low corners. Then finish them off with the change.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
So, two adults are arguing with a 13 YOA girl? Why?

You are trying to raise a child to be a responsible adult. How about teaching a life lesson?

What would happen if your boss told you to do X and you refused and did Y? Would you be made to do push-ups? Would he offer you a bribe? I suspect that you would be fired. All you have to do is DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING, except in softball.

Tell her that she should throw the ball where the coach tells her to throw the ball. And, the coach should say, "If you don't, I'm taking you out." If she refuses, then the coach should put someone in who will.

TRUST ME...You will only have to do this once.

After that, then you can explain pitching to her. She might then listen.

Teenage girls (I raised three) have to be hit in the middle of the forehead with a 2x4 just to get their attention. My thought has always been that when they turn 13, someone vacuums out their brains. The brains slowly grow back, and finally return the first time in college when they find their laundry doesn't automatically end up washed and folded in their drawers.
May 12, 2008
I already edited out the part that was a little strident. No doubt your husband would never have thrown the ball in the zone if he could have gotten them to hack at it.

Pitch count is more of a factor in bb than fp but a bouncing ground ball is still an excellent result. At least when they get old enough they have a good defense behind them.

You might tell her if she throws it out of the zone but makes it tempting enough they swing at it, it's still a strike. :)

On that life lesson thing I don't know that she is being stubborn about doing things her way but rather being upset she was told one thing and now is being told different from her perception. You don't want her to start doubting you. I'd explain to her she was in pitching grade school and you wanted her to throw strikes. Now she is ready for the next step...strategy.
May 7, 2008

Let me share a little story with you. My daughter in her Junior year of HS was put into a game with a one run lead bottom of the 7th game on the line and 2 runners in scoring position. No one out.

She gets the #2 hitter to pop up. She gets the #3 hitter to ground out. Up comes #4. We are one out away from winning the game. This girl is deadly. She gets 2 strikes on her and then the coach in her infinite wisdom calls for a change up. So the daughter throws what the coach asked for and the #4 was sitting on it. Drives it to the fence and scores both runs. We loose the game.

I asked the DD why she would throw that pitch to a #4 hitter. The best hitter on the team. Her response. I did what the coach told me to do Dad. At which time I told her the coach was an idiot and that she knew better so throw it in the dirt and go to the next pitch. If you walk her no problem. First base is wide open.

RULE #1. Never let the best hitter on the team beat you. She KNEW that by heart.

Here is the kicker Ray. She didnt start or pitch in another game the rest of the season because of an idiot coach held her responsible for loosing the game. So maybe just maybe it isnt always wise to listen to the coach when it comes to pitching. At some point they have to be empowered to make decision based on their experience.



Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
I understand what you are saying, but... I had two kids play sports in college. The bottom line was that they either did what the coach said or they sat the bench. It ain't a democracy.
Oct 23, 2009
Los Angeles
ifubuildit - so you are advocating that the pitcher ignore the coach who is calling the pitches? I think if its agreed that the coach will be calling the pitches that the pitcher complies (whether or not it is the "right" call). To me, what the coach did wrong was not accept responsibility for his poor selection of pitch. He should have blamed himself, if she threw the called pitch. But the other issue I have is if I was calling the pitches in a game and my pitcher ignored me. Wouldn't be long before I took her out. Thoughts?

sluggers - LOL!!!
Sep 6, 2009
State of Confusion
Am I understanding that a 13 yr old is calling her own pitches? Ive never seen that. The coach should be calling all pitches.

Every pitch called has a pitch, and a location. There are 5 locations, inside corner high, inside corner low, outside corner high, outside corner low, and high middle. The girl can throw the right pitch, but if she misses and puts it over the middle instead of on the corners , it may end up over the left field fence. So, a pitcher does have some responsibility.

But to blame a pitcher for a loss is wrong.

Remember 1 pitch, 1 bad call, 1 mistake, or even 1 inning is NEVER solely responsible for winning or losing a ballgame. A game is the sum of what you do right, minus what you do wrong. A few things might be more visible, but every game is full of MANY mistakes, failures to deliver, etc that contributed to the loss.


Wannabe Duck Boat Owner
Feb 21, 2009
New England
New Objective

Qualifier - this is only relevant if its your DD and NOT the team coach who is reluctant to work off the plate/out of the strike zone.

You just need to sit down w/ DD and review and re-define her understanding of a pitcher's big picture objective!

First, see if you can reach agreement that the pitcher's objective in a game situation, quite simply, is to get the batter out.

Next question to discuss is how can that objective generally be achieved. Again shouldn't have any arguement that there's 2 simple answers (see footnote below too, but later!):
1) having the batter swing and miss; and,
2) having the batter make less than optimal contact and rely on your teammates to make a routine out.

Next step - review her strengths as a pitcher and then discuss how can she, using her skills and knowledge, achieve the desired results? She'll likely say that its by 'throwing strikes'. Its at that point that you need to explain that her perceived strength is really a function of her having developed the command and control to throw the ball where she wants to.

Discuss how a pitcher with excellent control can tempt batters to chase a pitch off the plate - usually swinging and missing or making weak contact. Note additionally that pitchers with great command often get the added benefit of the umpire expanding the strike zone.

Last question - For discussion purposes, if a pitcher could get batters out (either by swing and miss, weak hit, or umpire called 3rd strike) without ever throwing the ball over the plate, why would they ever throw one over the plate?

Ask her now if she wants to be a pitcher or a strike thrower. If she says pitcher, you've helped her re-define her objectives and focus and then the fun part begins - she can start to experiment using her strengths as to how best to achieve the big picture objective - getting outs. Obviously, she'll still need to throw some pitches over the plate, but now maybe she'll be more open to Dad's explanation of the difference between the pitcher's and batter's strike zones and pitcher's/hitter's pitches and how to set up hitters etc.

Next step - everyone lives happily ever after

Footnote: I think the 'mental approach' thread covers both strategies. I can't come up w/ SB examples, but from a BB perspective, Greg Maddux and Nolan Ryan could be considered Hall of Fame examples of the 2 extemes. I know Hal woudl disagree:), but IMO, there's a unique balance between these 2 approaches that will end up being most effective for each individual pitcher.

Good luck - Greenmonsters:D
Jun 22, 2008
I understand your daughters wish to go for the strike out, but there is a big difference between throwing a low inside strike that is barely hittable and hanging a meat ball belt high over the middle of the plate.

She also needs to be careful about shaking off pitches. I see way too often that many pitchers have a "go to" pitch when they shake off. Sooner or later the batters pick up on this and know to either sit back and knock the crap out of it, or lay off of it if its a pitch being thrown out of the zone.

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