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Line drive back to the circle

May 7, 2008
I've seen a couple pitchers get hit in the face in the last couple of years and was wondering what some of you do to help them get back in the circle again.
May 9, 2008
Ride the horse

Coach Tim,

The best thing you can do is get them back in the circle again before they have too much time to think about it. I'd advise giving them a protective face mask as well. Which is a good idea for all your infielders as well. That will address the safety concerns up front and give them confidence.

It's like riding a horse. If you fall off you've got to get right back on to get to your destination. The U.S. Air Force puts a pilot back in the seat as soon as possible after a crash. It makes sense for softball pitchers too. A hitter who gets dotted during an at bat should go back in the batters box as soon as possible as well.

Athletes have to learn to face their fears. If they don't they can become overwhelmed by their thoughts. Teach them to look forward not backwards and they will soon regain the confidence necessary to perform at a high level.

Courage is necessary to overcome adversity. Courage is the act of taking action inspite of fear.

Have patience with them but encourage them to get back in the circle as soon as possible. Even if it's only in practice.



Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Part of it is to train your daughter to protect herself in the circle. That consists of teaching her how to field and also where to have the glove after she pitches.

I used to take a softball, stand 20 feet from her, and have her practice catching hard thrown balls that I threw to her left or right (not at her).

So, when the inevitable line drive got hit at her head, she was able to get a glove on it and it glanced off the top of the glove, then the top of her head, only to be caught by the third baseman who then doubled the runner on first.

In her college years, she said it wasn't that much of a problem because she knew where the ball was going as soon as she threw it. If it was a fat pitch, she knew she had to "duck and cover".

May 7, 2008
I would strongly enforce the game face (face mask) for all the infielders. It is only in developmental years, but it does help my dd overcome that fear. Additionally, in a previous thread, we talked about response time. My dd will pitch to my husband who fires a second ball at her instantly. Pops is right. She needs to get out there as soon as possible (like falling off of a bike). It comes down to re-exposure, your belief in her, quick response drills, and her mental toughness. I respect the ocean, but I don't fear it. She needs to respect the position, but not fear it...fear will get her hurt. Lastly, someone mentioned the pitcher must become an infielder, in position, as soon as that ball is released and where to have her glove... All great advice.



May 7, 2008
It's a confidence thing

I've seen a couple pitchers get hit in the face in the last couple of years and was wondering what some of you do to help them get back in the circle again.
You have them practice their pitching. Have a pitching machine set up just to one side of the catcher. Position it so that it is throwing wiffle balls back at the pitcher. Try and time the ball hitting the wheels at the exact instant the pitched ball crosses into the 'hit' zone.

Don't do this on EVERY pitch. Stagger it but make them think it IS going to come on every throw. Practice this alot and gradually increase the speed of the return (hit) ball.

You will be very surprised how fast, with a little practice, they can catch a hit ball coming back at them twice as quickly as any hit ball in a game will come back.

It sounds nuts but it really works. You CAN improve their reaction time.

You also have to give them experience in recognizing the self-defense situation.

The faster that wiffle ball comes back, the faster they have to get the glove in the way and catch or deflect it.

They still have to throw strikes and they cant let their mechanics go South either.

Let them know when they reach the point that they are stopping balls coming back twice as fast as any that will get hit back at them.

Build their confidence back up.

I have a chapter in my book with many pitcher / batter self-defense drills.
Jun 16, 2008
I am a pitcher in a very competitive fastball league in southern ontario and most of the stuff that I've read in this thread i agree with but the the talk about a pitcher being trained to deflect a ball with the glove hand that is hit back at him/her i cannot agree with. i have had many balls hit back at me and have the scars to prove it (broken ring, middle and pinky on glove hand, cracked jaw, bone chip in knee) teaching a pitcher to try to deflect balls rather than recognize which can be caught and which cannot is silly to me. If the pitcher gets used to just deflecting she/he is going to come across a situation where the ball is a screamer and tries to get the golve up and gets hit wrong and breaks a finger or gets it in the wrist and breaks that. This is just from experience and from what I've seen playing ball.
Jun 17, 2008
Fond du Lac, WI
Reaction time. Hand I coordination the same things to teach to your third basemen. After the pitch work on getting into a defensive stance, they just have to be alert and ready. Its like driving a car if someone is coming at you how do you react. Practice throw the ball hard at her, from the plate, take grounders from the plate and just get her used to seeing the ball come back at her. I too have the bruises and scares to prove it but its just getting your feet back in the pool.
May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT
Line Drive to pitcher

Thankfully we have been lucky not at her head yet...but so far she's snagged many close enough for her to get her glove to.

We spend time in the winter and early spring using tennis balls and a racquet.
right at her about 10-15 feet away. I;m not swinging full force...bet they are pretty straight but don't hurt.
If she can catch it great...but she has learned to be able to bat a ball down in front so she doesn't get hurt but may still be able to make a play.

This is something we can do in our basement. Although my 12 yr DD still has a way to go on being quicker...this has certainly helped.

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