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Left Handed Pitcher

Jan 4, 2019
24
0
We are at a dilemma. Daughter is 13 and has tried out and made a pretty competitive A team. She is a solid batter and a solid 1st baseman, and has been getting private batting lessons from a previous D1 SS. At her recommendation she started working on pitching just to see how she would do. She is doing well, and she the private coach thinks based off her height and being left handed it would be a good skill to keep working on. So we are to these options. Go on the A team and most likely not get any pitching time, or go on a B team and get to pitch. Is being left handed as a pitcher and tall really that much of a benefit that we should forgo the A team.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,851
63
Dallas, Texas
It sounds like your DD is good athlete. You probably know this, but her chances of a college scholarship are higher if she is a pitcher rather than a first baseman.

To answer your specific question:

Yes, being tall and left handed give your DD a better chance to succeed at pitching.

But, what matters most is whether you DD wants to pitch.

Pitching is a different game than the rest of softball. Pitching is a different experience--emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Some kids love to pitch, others hate it. Some kids like being the center of the whole softball game. Others don't.

I've seen kids with all the physical attributes for being a great pitcher wash out because they didn't want to pitch...and I've seen pitchers with less than great physical attributes excel at pitching because they loved it so much.

Pitching is a lot of work. My DD pitched in college. When she was your DD's age, my DD pitched or practiced for one hour a day, 4 days a week, 48 weeks of the years, for 5 years. Your DD has to throw 100,000 pitches. It is a huge commitment. Your DD will give up a lot of time to pursue pitching.

The conversation you need to have with your DD is if she wants to pitch. It is a pretty big mountain to climb, but it sounds like your DD has the talent to do it. The question is whether she has the desire to do the work to become a good pitcher. As my physics professor might say, "Is she willing to pull the sled to top of the hill?"

To be clear, it is no reflection on her if she doesn't want to pitch. Not everyone wants to be a pitcher.

If she wants to pitch, then you have to put her on a lower level team where she gets plenty of mound time.

So, find out if she wants to pitch.
 
Last edited:
Jan 29, 2016
49
6
Go with what the kid wants to do. Does she enjoy pitching? Will she be happy just going to pitching lessons and not be able to utilize the pitching skills in games?
 
Dec 18, 2014
273
18
My daughter played rec ball and transitioned to travel early because she was very competitive at a young age. At 8U she joined a travel team that had a bunch of natural athletes. My daughter is NOT a natural athlete. That team was very good and even won a 10U C level tournament at 8U. By 10U they won the State Open Tournament.

We decided that if she wanted to continue to play at a high level she either needed to be a catcher or pitcher. Teams always need a good catcher or pitcher. Even a mediocre pitcher can stay around longer and be utilized. She was not very good at first and her team had a flamethrower and was a natural. One mother even said, "Either you have it or don't", referring to pitching ability.

My daughter quickly shot up in height (and is still growing). With great coaching she became the teams #1 pitcher by 10U. By 11U other teams were recruiting her to play for them. She is now the #1 on the best A team we could get her on. (IMO there are only 2 other teams better, and she's trying out for one in a month).

Being tall definitely helps. They have longer levers and that equates to speed. But by 14U a pitcher can no longer blow fastballs by every girl. Speed and movement become important. But speed is an important part of the equation. Being lefty helps too. Being fast and lefty, well, it's a great combination. The #2 on our team is tall and lefty, but doesn't have as good spin. So your daughter has 2 traits that can't be learned or taught, being tall and lefty!

If your daughter wants to pitch, the only way to get better is to pitch. She won't get better at pitching playing first base. The only girl I know who throws as well as my daughter (and is lefty) is on the number #1 team in the area. Your daughter has two important traits already that can't be taught....tall and lefty!
 
Last edited:
Oct 2, 2011
3,089
63
Florida
We are at a dilemma. Daughter is 13 and has tried out and made a pretty competitive A team. She is a solid batter and a solid 1st baseman, and has been getting private batting lessons from a previous D1 SS. At her recommendation she started working on pitching just to see how she would do. She is doing well, and she the private coach thinks based off her height and being left handed it would be a good skill to keep working on. So we are to these options. Go on the A team and most likely not get any pitching time, or go on a B team and get to pitch. Is being left handed as a pitcher and tall really that much of a benefit that we should forgo the A team.
Softball loses a lot of pitchers to your situation - their hitting and fielding is in front of their pitching level and they have to make a decision - better team, but no pitching versus weaker team, but I get to pitch. You can only help in that decision - in the end it is her decision.

Pitching is basically a second sport if you are a softball player. It takes that level of time commitment and dedication to be good at it - and it is not easy to be even average at it. And as others have said, there is a REAL mental makeup part to it. It really isn't for everyone - you are the center of attention and the game often is decided based on how you are doing today. You have to be able to not fall apart when they hit you to (or over) the fence, or if you walk a couple of girls, or errors are made behind you, or you are not 'feeling it' that day...You also have to be able to come back the next pitch, inning, game, day or weekend and pitch like what happened last time didn't happen.

There is NOWHERE near enough pitching out there at any level. If she has it and wants it - then I highly encourage her to do it 100%. If it is just something she kinda does - go be great at hitting and fielding.

One more note: First base... by high school pretty much ANYONE on a travel team can play 1st base. Being 'only' a 1B can become very limiting without a huge bat. Hopefully she gets some time at some other positions as well. I don't know any coach who specifically recruits a first base player - they will recruit a big bat who can be put at first base if needed if they have a bat they can DP.
 
Jul 14, 2018
191
28
Some great advice on this thread already. You didn't mention anything about school ball. At 13, your lefty is either at the end of middle school or just starting high school -- is there a team there? If so, and assuming your daughter is familiar with the personnel, is there an opportunity to pitch in school?

Option #3 could be some sort of hybrid where she continues to put in the work on pitching on her own and maybe gets some innings for her school while playing 1B for the high-level travel team. Many schools have to recruit players to the circle, if for no other reason than even the best travel pitchers have rarely (if ever) pitched a full seven-inning game. That might be a better way to start than looking at B-level travel teams, where pitchers might not have the velocity or control but most have been pitching for a few years. Expect the first few outings to be rocky. But that will let your daughter get her toes wet and decide if she wants to make the commitment to being a pitcher.

Also, to echo marriard, first base is typically where teams put their big sluggers who don't have the mobility to play elsewhere. If your daughter is athletic and doesn't go the pitching route, get her working on her outfield skills. There will be more opportunity for a solid bat who plays a good outfield than a first baseman who might be keeping the team's big bopper off the field.
 
Oct 21, 2015
69
6
If she wants to be a pitcher she needs to be on a team as a pitcher. My dd was taking pitching lessons but was on a team at another primary position, she never really seen the improvements as we felt she should. She changed teams to be able to pitch and she has really improved. In game circle time is invaluable..
 
Jan 4, 2019
24
0
Thank you everyone for the advice. She does have a solid bat and can play CF as well, but she is not as fast as she should be at CF in my opinion. There is no school ball as a option till next year. She will put in the work to pitch, and see how she develops. I think right now she has self doubt because she is starting a little older than most kids. After reading suggestions I think playing on a team she will get to pitch on is then best fit for her. Thanks everyone!
 
Jun 6, 2016
859
28
Chicago
Thank you everyone for the advice. She does have a solid bat and can play CF as well, but she is not as fast as she should be at CF in my opinion. There is no school ball as a option till next year. She will put in the work to pitch, and see how she develops. I think right now she has self doubt because she is starting a little older than most kids. After reading suggestions I think playing on a team she will get to pitch on is then best fit for her. Thanks everyone!
Two things: First, you don't have to be fast to be in the outfielder, even in center. It helps for sure. It's preferred. But if you get great reads and jumps, take good routes, etc. you can survive without speed. I am convinced this is more true in softball since there is so much less ground to cover. The first two steps are so much more important than top foot speed. This is more of a hunch than something I've seen proven anywhere, but it makes sense to me; a softball CF is rarely running more than 50-75 feet if there's a regulation fence.

The second thing: Starting later than others matters, but probably not as much as you think for a few reasons. Very few pitchers get good instruction and dedicate themselves to it from the time they're 8 years old. Plenty of pitchers at 8U quit or play other positions by 13U. Maybe most girls she'll play with have been pitching for a couple years already. Work hard, learn the right way to pitch, and pass them up. It can be done. As others have said, it takes a lot of work, but I'm working with two juniors in high school who have no to almost no pitching experience, and I expect them to be good enough to get us through our high school games this year. At 13U, she has plenty of time to develop into a great pitcher.
 
Oct 4, 2018
490
43
Lots of great advice.

My DD is 9 and decided she wanted to pitch. We've been at it 6 months, with a coach giving her a weekly lesson. She's improved a ton, and we throw about 100 balls per session at home, 5 days per week. Takes a little more than an hour.

Of perhaps 50 10U pitchers I've seen in tournaments, my DD is ranked about #44.


It's a long, long, road. She loves to do it, I love being with her. If either of those don't exist, I'm not sure success is possible.
 

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