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pitcher not understanding

Mar 31, 2009
I am the pitching and catching coach for our varsity high school softball team. My younger sister is the pitcher and I have worked with her since last year when she wanted to start pitching. As a freshmen, she was the fastest in the league and had good movement on her pitches but had a lack of control. It was either strike outs or walks. This year as a sophmore, she has more speed and control but less movement. She wants to just throw as fast as she can by the batters because it worked last year but I've told her speed means nothing if there isn't movement. I want her to slow down and work on movement rather than speed.
As her pitching coach, I try to educate myself as much as possible about pitching with doing research and talking with other pitching coaches. She currently goes to Doug Gillis and last year she was told that she has the potential to be a D1 pitcher. The problem is that she wants to play college ball but she doesn't want to put the practice time in for it. She is our only pitcher so she throws 2 double headers, which is 4 games a week.
She started off good this season but now is going downhill fast. As her coach, I try to tell her what she is doing wrong and how to correct it but she says she isn't doing it (what I tell her she is doing wrong). Than she gets mad at me for being negative all the time when I am just trying to correct her. How do I try and coach her when she just makes mistakes and doesn't even know what she is doing or throwing? I know she can play college ball and really believe she can play at a high level but she has all the talent in the world but doesn't want to practice.
May 7, 2008
Here is the deal. You are her sister. Nothing you say is going to work. I admit that you are probably right, but she is going to have to either succeed or fail on her own.

If she is going to Doug Gillis, then she is probably getting very good instruction. See if you can talk to him and get some advice.

As pitching coach, you need to work with some other girls and find another pitcher, your sister is pitching too many games, but that is my feeling only.
May 13, 2008
I go through this with my DD. I'll tell her something that I see and she'll argue with me, despite the fact that I'm watching her directly. Then, during practice one of the other coaches said the same thing I was telling her.

Hmm, she thought. Maybe he IS telling the truth. (I could see the gears turning)

The clincher was when during a pitching lesson with Bill Hillhouse he told her the same thing! Hah! I had her then.

Gillis is an excellent pitching coach. I've had the privilege of taking my DD to him a couple of times and I have his videos. She is in excellent hands IF she'll listen to him and put in the work.

As far as coaching your sibling; I suggest you have someone take video and show it to her. If she won't believe you, maybe she'll believe her own eyes. Getting a second opinion can help too. Take the video to Doug to review during her lesson.
Mar 6, 2009
As a different perspective, sometimes a pitcher fails to believe in their teammates. The goal of softball is to score more runs than your team, not see which pitcher can get the most strikeouts. One thing I see many people clamor on and on about is movement being key. Personally, I think the key to being a good pitcher is understanding more about placement, and changing speeds. I am confident a pitcher could successfully pitch D1 with only a fastball and changeup as long as she could hit all 8 quads and have 3-4 different speeds on a fastball that each look the same. Being a fast pitcher takes dedication/some genetics and practice. Being a smart pitcher is another game within a game. One thing you may challenge her on (in a practice or practice game) is to see how many outs she can get on what she deems her 2nd, 3rd or 4th best pitch. Challenge her on trusting her defense. Also, keep in mind, she may have a valid point on not trusting her defense as well. She may have an iffy catcher or a bad second baseman etc..

Speed is sexy and will get you noticed by scouts. But at the end of the day, what matters is being a good pitcher and winning games.

Mar 31, 2009

Thanks for the replies and input from all.

In a reply to Bill, I know she doesn't believe in her teammates. Our school is very small, class D, and if they had a class E, that would be us. We had to beg other girls to play just so we have a team which is just varsity, no j.v. and we have 10 on the team. Our defense basically consists of a shortstop and first basemen and we have 3 girls on the team that had never played before, not even tball so it makes it very difficult. A lot of the balls that are hit off our pitcher are short pop ups to the outfield which don't get caught that should be due to our outfields not really playing before or knowing what to do. Being that she has decent speed, our infield normally sits backs and relies on her to strike people out which hasn't been happening much lately. Our catcher was just turned into a catcher this year because nobody else was able to catch decently. She catches the ball and has improved at trying to play the catchers position but she doesn't have an arm so anyone on base runs them. Sad thing is that the reason they get on base is because of errors from our in and outfield.
With such a small school, the girls that do play softball also played basketball and volleyball which ends right before the next season starts so they are constantly at practices and games which makes it hard to work on things in the off season when the other coaches don't want them to practice another sport when they are in theirs. As a coach its frusterating and difficult to see some of these girls have so much potential but lack of students and players makes it hard to be a good, disciplined team. If your too hard on them, they will quit and then there is no team. In reality its not being hard on them, its being disciplined and being a good coach but they would rather do as they please. Basically not practice but show up and win games.


May 7, 2008
"Pitching is like owning a piggy bank; The most you can ever expect to get out of it, IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WILLING TO PUT INTO IT".

Coach Hal Skinner

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