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My Daughter's Lack of Enthusiasm for Pitching

May 14, 2008
4
0
suburb of Seattle
I'd really like to get other's opinions on this topic. My daughter is now 12 and has been pitching since she was 7. She started playing select ball at age 8 on a 10U team. She was their ace. People knew who she was. Kids who played against her in Little League were in awe. I'm not bragging - I have nothing to do with her talent. And I quit catching for her long ago, so I can't even take credit for helping her improve!

That year when she was 8, she had such an outstanding year that she didn't want to turn 9 - now what kid doesn't want to get older?!

She has a natural talent. Yes, she's worked hard, but not as hard as some who aren't as good. And not as hard as most have had to.

Here's my dilemma. She's just not really interested in pitching. She doesn't like to practice, and she just hasn't worked hard at all this year. She is playing 14U ball so she has to practice to keep up with the older kids. She has never been a speed pitcher; she's just always been able to hit her spots. But she does have to have some speed, and she does need to practice. Her dad, also her coach, has to nag her to get her to pitching practice and he's tired of having to force her.

I'm so disappointed. She is so good. She just doesn't realize what she's got. On a side note, she plays the flute - her school band instructor wants her to get private lessons because she is so good and learns so quickly. She's not interested in that, either. That has also come natural to her. She'd just as soon stop playing the flute, but hasn't because she doesn't want to let her teacher down. He's excellent, and has been her instructor since she started in 5th grade - she's now in 7th.

She has to continue pitching this season as her select team purposely only carried 3 pitchers this year because we are lucky to have 3 very good ones. She is playing Little League for the sole purpose of trying to play in the World Series and her Little League team needs her. We have one other excellent pitcher and one other good pitcher.

The time it takes her to practice each week is minimal, but it's like pulling teeth. I asked if she still likes pitching in the games, and she does - just not the practice part. I guess it's hard for a kid who's had things come easy to them to realize what they have. She's also a straight A student.

What are your thoughts? We can't force her to do something she doesn't enjoy. But a little work never hurt anyone. She's also an excellent slapper and excellent at defense, so she doesn't want to give up the game altogether, just the part that takes extra work!

Sorry this is so long. I'd just really like to hear other's thoughts.
 

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
8,507
38
Tucson
I have 3 children that are young adults. I think that your DD has reached the age that most kids do around age 14. (Yours may be just a bit more mature, than others.)

She is going to have to either sink or swim.

She has a lot on her plate. I can't say that I would want all of that.

I am wondering how she handles pitching on 2 teams? Is she pitching almost every day?

She has a lot of responsibility and I think she is trying to keep her dad happy. He may need to quit coaching her.

I did insist that my kids work through their problems and not be quitters, but you all need to make some decisions for next year.

As long as her grades are good, she has good friends and she is in some type of activity, I would be happy.
 
May 5, 2008
358
0
When my daughter first started pitching, she was 8. She only started because SHE wanted to. She's asked me for over a year before I finally said okay. I never ever intended to push her toward it. I know how much work it takes to be a pitcher. I never wanted to pitch even though I did do it if it was absolutely necessary.

That said, my daughter wanted to pitch. BUT before she ever started I explained to her that it takes a lot of work and she needs to practice every day. I told her that if she really wanted to do it, I would do whatever I could to help her. I would go out there and work with her every day if pitching is what she wants to do. I told her that she doesn't NEED to do it and if there ever comes a time when she simply doesn't want to do what's necessary to be great at it, then she stops pitching. I told her that there was no point in doing it unless she's going to go all out. If not, then don't pitch. If so, then by all means I'm supporting her 100% whether she is ever a "best" pitcher or not. If that's what she WANTS to do then we do it. But I told her that if I find myself nagging her to do what she's supposed to every day, then we're dropping it.

Now that she's 12, there are days when she doesn't just bounce up and do it, but we all have days like that. If it ever came to what you are describing (like pulling teeth), forget it - I'd rather her put her focus, time, and energy into something she'll go hard at and I told her that I wasn't going to spend my time trying to help her do something she isn't going to work hard at.

So far, she's doing all right. We'll see what happens when she hits 14.

You're right in the fact that since things have always come easy to your daughter, she is probably less motivated to do more since she's already "great." But you also said that she is playing "up" and has to practice to keep up and if that's not motivating her at least a little, then I'm not sure what else will. If she doesn't want it, you can't make her.

On the other hand, I understand that you don't want her coming back to you 10 years from now asking, "Why didn't you push me harder? I could have been really good." So it's definitely a tough position to be in as a parent.

We just had a discussion with our daughter last night about being the "best on the team." We told her that just because you are the best on your team at something, doesn't mean you don't need to push yourself in that area. We told her that it's really not all that special to be the best on your team. There are a gazillion teams out there and each team has a "best on the team" so if you're just the best on your team, you're only one in gazillion. There's a gazillion other girls like you. Don't you think you can do better than that? But you're not going to get better than all those other girls by slacking. The only way to get better though is to push yourself to do your best every single day, even if you already are "the best."

Of course, we've had this discussion before, but a little reminder every now and then is necessary and I was very proud of myself and my husband for being able to have it as a "discussion" and not a "lecturing/scolding" type session.

Talent is only a part of what it takes to be great. Some people have the other part, but not talent; some have talent, but not the other part. Truly great ones have all parts in some combination.

On another note, your daughter does have a lot on her plate. Maybe she just needs a break.
 
May 7, 2008
235
0
Parenting is tough. My oldest played piano three years. Gifted. Piano instructor begged me not to allow her to quit. Although gifted, it requires discipline and practice. She was not passionate about the piano, and everyone telling her how good she was could not change that. It is hard to parent when you can see the potential and talent. I had to let her explore other options knowing she would either come back to piano or find her niche. She plugged her passion and creativity into photography with a promsing future. I am grateful because that may never had happened had I lacked the courage to trust my daughter's intuition. My middle child is my pitcher, and she is out there drilling some aspect of her sport on her on cognition everyday. She uses duct tape to draw her pitching stride on the carpet. People will come in to our house and ask what the tape is...its our pitching mound! Doesn't everyone have one in their living room??

Sandif...help her discovery her passion and then nuture it. Best wishes.

Ang
 
May 9, 2008
98
0
Sandi,

My daughter is a 12 year old 14u pitcher as well. Best player on the team etc. The best way to motivate her is to find something she really likes and reward her with it.

My daughter has to earn a monthly reward that she really wants by practicing pitching three times a week, during the season games count. You can try itune gift cards or other small tokens. Whatever gets your daughter going. It will teach her that there are rewards for hard work and dad won't be pulling his hair out anymore.

Pops
 
May 9, 2008
98
0
I started with iTunes gift cards for my dd. She thought they were okay. Then one day she told me that she would really like to have me get her a "Club Penguin" membership. It's an online forum that kids go to which has fun, shopping, visiting, and playing with animated penguins. There's no fee to visit but if you want the upgrades you have to pay a small fee. She loves it and her friends go there as well. You can get monthly membership cards at Target stores that cost $5.95. It's a very cost effective motivational tool. The key is to listen to your daughter, she will tell you what she wants and that's what motivates her the best.

Pops
 
May 14, 2008
4
0
suburb of Seattle
Thanks for replying

I have 3 children that are young adults. I think that your DD has reached the age that most kids do around age 14. (Yours may be just a bit more mature, than others.)

She is going to have to either sink or swim.

She has a lot on her plate. I can't say that I would want all of that.

I am wondering how she handles pitching on 2 teams? Is she pitching almost every day?

She has a lot of responsibility and I think she is trying to keep her dad happy. He may need to quit coaching her.

I did insist that my kids work through their problems and not be quitters, but you all need to make some decisions for next year.

As long as her grades are good, she has good friends and she is in some type of activity, I would be happy.
Thanks for responding. Just to answer your question, she doesn't pitch too much between the two teams; far less than when she was 8 and 10! Her LL team plays 2x a week or so and they split it between 3 pitchers. Her select team plays almost every weekend and she pitches 1 to 3 games.
 
May 15, 2008
473
18
Eastern Long Island
With my daughter the problem is getting her out of the house (or off the computer). Once we get outside and start a workout she usually enjoys it. We begin by throwing overhand and I always sneak in a few curveballs (which I taught her as a prelude to the rise), she returns the favor. At the start I stress to her the free and easy feeling of the pitching motion itself, the joy of movement so to speak. I know that if the physical part becomes too much like work it will become a problem. As the session progresses we work more seriously on pitching itself. I suppose that the father-daughter thing makes it easier in my case.
 

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