Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in


May 11, 2009
I know I have seen something about this on here before but I am at my wits end with my DD. She is 12 and she has all the physical tools to be a good pitcher. However like today she struck 5 in a row out walked one then the umpire got pretty tight on his zone. She was painting the corners and he was not giving her any calls at all. We were up by 10 at that time and I am sure that had something to do with it but she does not realize that. She got so worked up she was almost hiperventilating on the mound, she was so mad. Her timing went to heck, her stride went down to almost nothing and she never finished with her shoulders up. She is notorious for letting things like this get in her head and then she falls apart.

What can I do? She loves pitching and she is good at it when she is mentally in it. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
Besides all of the pep talk stuff that I guess you are doing, I would try to get a HS pitcher to mentor her. She needs someone that has been there, done that.

When the zone tightens up, there are ways to deal with that. Maybe Hal or Bill will read this and speak to that.

I recommend the DVD, The Mental Side of Baseball. She may be able to download it on her iPod. It is not specific to pitching, though.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
From your post, I can tell you and her think it was the umpire's fault. That is, "had the umpire been better, then your DD would have a great game." That mental approach is wrong and will lead ultimately to your DD's undoing.

She (and you) have to accept that it is *her* fault, not the umpire's. It is important for her (and you) to realize that each pitching performance is up to her.

I've watched softball for 20+ years now, and I have yet to see any softball umpire with the strike zone defined in the rules. The umpires at any level of softball are not professionals. They do this part time, with little or no training. So, if she is going to cry every time she has a bad umpire, you had better bring buckets to the games.

Your DD's job as a pitcher is to figure out the umpire's strike zone. She should be charting in her head what the umpire calls as a strike and a ball. And, then she uses her "chart" when pitching.

The way to break her of this habit is to ask her at the end of each inning what the umpire is calling as strikes and balls. If she can't tell you, then she isn't doing her job. And you should say, "Honey, you aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing. Don't complain to me about it." This also gets her focused on pitching rather than being mad.

This is really what "control" means. A good pitcher has control of her pitches so that she can place the ball anywhere that the umpire may decide are strikes.

As far as her getting upset, it is time for a Daddy-Daughter talk about traffic tickets, idiot bosses, and life. I.e., she can't let someone else control how she feels.



May 7, 2008
This is part of the mental game every pitcher must learn. She must be made to realize how damaging her reactions are to the rest of the team and how much her losing control of the game hurts them.

There is a chapter in my book that deals with this exact thing. It is called 'A pitcher and team hustle'. It was featured as an instructional article in either the NFCA's 'Fast Pitch Delivery' newspaper or in Softball Magazine, I don't recall which now.

If you dont agree it has helped her, after buying the downloadable version, contact Marc within 30 days and he will refund your money.

You cannot lose here.


It sounds like she needs to read several of the other chapters too, that involve the mental game.

Give it a try, she will learn alot. Her attitude towards the game and the other teams players will be noticeably different. She will also learn many tactics she will want to practice and use to make her more successful and will bring her confidence level sky high, so be prepared for that.

May 11, 2009
Thanks for all the replys. I will get your download Hal and have her read through it as will I.
Slugger - I appreciate all your input!! I see how you came up with a lot of what you said. I don't feel the ump got tight other then maybe us killing the other team. I was not blaming the ump at all. I have always told the girls that the ump is our friend no matter what, and that we need them on our side. I agree they are not paid a lot as I have handed them their ASA checks after many tourney's and they do this part time folks doing the best they can. I would not want to do what they do!
I am simply worried about my DD not having the mental tools to get job done for her team and was hoping someone had some helpful idea's. I guess I should have written my original post better but we just got home from the game and I was still upset with my DD, not the ump. She definately has control issues when she gets upset like this and that is my point. So maybe I should have asked "is there something that can be done when a pitcher loses control when they get upset". Again thanks for your input.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
You can't help her out after she gets upset. You have to work with her *before* so she doesn't get upset.

This particular problem is very common. It sounds like your DD, who is young and inexperienced, doesn't understand that the rules are more like guidelines. As an adult, you can start teaching her that "life doesn't always go clickety-clack down a straight line track."

Anyway, to solve the problem, she has to change her mindset from the "umpire isn't calling them right" mindset to the "what is the umpire's strike zone" mindset. (In psychology, this is called a "paradigm shift"--because the world hasn't change, but her view of the world has changed.)

You start off by telling her, "No umpire will ever have a perfect strike zone. So, don't worry about it. Your job is to figure out this umpire's strike zone."

Then, you point out, "Most likely, he/she will call some pitches that should be strikes that are really balls. On the other hand, he/she will certainly call some pitches balls that are strikes. So, you want to find out the mistakes, and then you want to use them against the batter during the game."

E.g., the ump might call a high inside pitch a strike even though it is 4 inches too far inside. That is very useful information to know and to use. Once she finds this out, she keeps this information in her back pocket to use it when she needs it.

You should be asking her during the game, "What is the umpire's strike zone? What does it look like? Is there anything that you can use?" Again, if she starts whining, you say something like, "I don't want to hear it. Focus on what you can control. What is this umpire's strike zone?"

When she starts thinking this way, it becomes more of a process of discovery.

Even when the umpire is "good", she still should be looking for the umpire's mistakes. They are there, and it is her job to find them.

As an FYI, the "good mistakes" from a pitcher's point of view by an umpire can be "used up". If she finds a particular pitch that the umpire is incorrectly calling a strike, you want her to save that information for use in a later, critical situation and not "use it up all at once" to strike out the number 9 batter with two outs and no one on base.

This approach should help her to focus on the "game within the game" of pitching. This is part of the transition from 'thrower' to 'pitcher'. She isn't going to do this immediately. But, you have to keep pushing her.
Dec 19, 2008
She just needs to learn to take it with a "grain of salt". 2 weeks a go daughter was pitching against a tough team out of Tulsa. It was a pitcher's dual, as there were very few hits. We lost 2-1 (and we were playing with only 8). Coaches said it was the best game she every pitched. Now, the next day, daughter is pitching, has the same umpire, and was not given the calls. She was upset, BUT, she did not show it in the circle. I didn't realize there were any issues until after the game.

FFWD to this weekend. Daughter pitched great game Friday night, 10 strike outs, 1 run. Saturday, same umpire, we were up by 5, and the umpire shrunk the strike zone. I overheard catcher tell our coach what the umpire was telling the batters. After a couple of called balls, the umpire would tell the batter "I can't give you anymore of those, you've gotta swing at strikes". This is travel ball, not rec league. We were out of state. Coach was not happy, but daughter overcame, and is learning.
May 11, 2009
Thanks to all!! I think we have some good sound ground work here. We have been working with her trying to get to let things go and get her in the right frame of mind but she is still shakey when things don't go as planned. I think Hal's book will help her and Sluggers advise on the "strike zone" is a great tool as well. I really appreciate the help!! I hope to post a video of her for some critiquing at some point but I cannot figure out how to post it.
Thanks again!!
May 18, 2009
We faced a pitcher this weekend that wore every pitch on her sleeve. The calls were bad, the pitcher knew it. It showed and she was frustrated. Made it even worse when we'd get a hit. She's a good pitcher but starts to lose it if calls go against her.

Members online

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Latest member