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pitching AND catching?

Nov 1, 2008
225
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my DD is 11 and playing in her first year of softball. she played the spring and now fall ball. she began pitching in the spring due to a DESPERATE need for a pitcher and is becoming quite good at it. her change-up is finally beginning to settle in and it made her look brilliant tuesday.

the fall ball season is winding down now, but the girl who has been catching most of the games has been advised by her doctor to discontinue catching because of her knees. my DD wants to try catching now. she's been playing SS when she doesn't pitch, but i'm concerned that catching might cause her the same kind of problems as the other girl. should this be a concern? catching would seem to me to be alot harder on the body than playing SS. is it common for a girl to play both catcher and pitcher? the other girl was both, but was unable to pitch her most recent attempt due to her knee. anybody have any thoughts on this?

btw, great forum, i've been lurking for a few weeks and have read alot of interesting stuff here.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,844
63
Dallas, Texas
The short answer: No, she can't play both positions, unless her goal is to be mediocre at both.

Look at the good teams. There is only one "big dog" pitcher on a team, although there may be a couple of kids that pitch. The big dog pitcher pitches the money games. Similarly, there is only one big dog catcher. So, if your DD tries to do both, she will end up doing neither. There is simply too much to learn.

Which position should she play? Whichever she wants to play--it really isn't up to you. (Yes, Daddy, this is the first step in "letting go".)

The truth: The only way for your DD to become truly good at softball is to practice 3 to 4 days a week in the off-season. But, you can't make your kid practice. She has to "want" to practice. If you start deciding what she can and can't do, and she'll quit. She may never say, "I quit", but the effort won't be there.

So, let her catch.

There was a kid who was perhaps the 2nd or 3rd best hitter I ever saw. (Samantha Findlay, u of Mich, was the best.) This kid wanted to catch. Her dad was worried about her knees, so he made her play SS. Guess what? She quit softball.
 

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
8,507
38
Tucson
It is unusual for an 11 YO to have such bad knees that she has to give up catching. I am wondering what the heck happened?

That said, just yesterday, I was asking an 8U coach if one of the pitchers could catch, because I have taught 3 of the girls to pitch and the lack of a good catcher is hindering the team.

I would get your DD a good catching coach and go for it.
 
Jul 29, 2008
49
0
I agree with everyone else- she won't be great at both, but let her choose while she's still young.

My story is backwards. I have a catcher that has always hinted around at pitching. So when she was 12, I told her that I would buy her a pitching video, see how she practiced (work ethic), and then I would decide on pitching lessons.

She almost watched the whole video and pitches into a net about 4 times a month. No lessons needed. I knew she wouldn't work at it that hard, but at least this way it was her decision.

Another note, her best friend is a pitcher and wants to catch. The grass is always greener...
 
Jun 2, 2008
62
0
My daughter is first year 12. Very good 12u pitcher (the big dog) and usually effective 14u - and she catches. The down side - she is dog tired after every tournament. The upside - she loves it. She is constantly commenting on how she wants to be part of the action all of the time - and the other positions on the field, except 1B, do not give her that feeling. So, for now, we are okay with it - but she also knows that she will have to make that decision when the time comes, which will be soon I think. What I have noticed is that when she catches, she commands the game. When she pitches, she seems to be along for the ride and lets everyone else lead. I don't know why, but that's how she is.

The negatives I've heard range from "it's too much" to "why would you risk getting your ace injured". I say this, when I was 12, I was not even remotely concerned about getting hurt when I was playing. I knew it was part of the game and I knew I'd heal. I broke bones, got scars, etc. I Loved it. My daughter is young and loving it - and if she gets hurt, at least she got hurt doing something she wanted to do, not playing a position she didn't. Let her love and play the game for what it is, not for what you or others want it to be!

FWIW
 
Nov 1, 2008
225
0
thanks for all the advice everybody. she caught tonight and did well considering it was her first game and the pitcher hadn't thrown in a few weeks. she was the girl who was catching before. she has decided to give up pitching last i heard, but her dad talked her in to one last outing. we won pretty convincingly against the team in 4th place. the A's took care of the marlins for us after our game so we're guaranteed a share of first regardless of the outcome of our last game tomorrow.

madskilz, i think dd is probably about the same as yours...she always wants to be in on the action. she played first in machine pitch 2 years ago and in spring FP this year. unfortunately for her, there is a very tall 12 year old playing first base on her team this fall. although she's a very good SS, for some reason she just doesn't care for it very much. i'm not sure what she'll want to do in the spring if first is available. i'll be coaching so i'm sure she'll let me know...often. she did say she still likes pitching better. which is good, because she's in the circle for the money game tomorrow.
 
Nov 23, 2008
1
0
Well I'll tell you a story of a girl that sounds just like yours. I coached little league 12U back in the spring. Two weeks prior to the season tryouts, I started teaching my DD how to play. She became infatuated with the game. Two weeks into the practicing part of the season, I told her I needed to teach her how to just pitch a ball to get it over the plate because the two girls that said they pitched for the last two years, couldn't hit me standing on the plate. Ugh. Our DD took to it like a duck to water, and then some. This is not "daddy-bragging" it's very true. She accelled very rapidly - beyond belief. Halfway through our season, a coach from one of the top 5 competitive teams here in Colorado called me wanting to come watch a girl on my team that he had heard about. When he told me her jersey number, it was my daughter, but I didn't tell him that she was. So I invited him to her next game, She pitched as 15-0 game for 4 innings. After the game, they had a short chat and then a tryout. She was offered a spot on the team right there. Then she let the cat out of the bag and said "Dad, can I join their team?" Well she finished the little league season as well as playing on her new team as a hitter and SS, 2B, RF. She grew SO much and SO fast. Now that the season is over, her team moved to a 14U. Her coach said she had a place on the team, but honestly, not as a pitcher. She was devastated, but understood that it was a whole new pitching level at 14U. This was the best thing for her in hindsight. The next day, she wanted to have a more solid position to be "seen" in, so I became her catching coach. I did it myself for 9 years. We also got her a pitching coach. In April, she was pitching a one step pitch (no windmill )at a whopping 18mph. By end of June, her windmill was at 30 and just catchable. First of September and the big investment of the Finch Windmill trainer, she hit 40mph and 7 out of 10 decently accurate. Now in Mid November she's at 45mph, 9 out of 10 accurate, a really deadly movement. Here's the part that's really great. She's killing ME. This girl pitches 5 nights a week, at least 180 balls. We made a full length pitching lane in our basement and she hasn't slowed down. I now coach a 14U Competitive team, and she decided to stay at 12U to get pitching experience / time. The catcher on her team got hired because of a good showing at the tryouts, but has turned out to be absolutely horrible. She cannot stop a ball, block out, or remember the signs. In one inning, she had 6 dropped 3rd strikes and subsequent overthrows to 1st and clearing the bases. So what is a coach to do? You got it, take out the "big dog" pitcher with great movement and put her in at catcher because she's better than the team catcher and put in a single pitch pitcher with decent speed. Same game, next inning - base hit, then thrown out at second trying to steal. Base hit, then trown out at second trying to steal again. Third batter bunts, thrown out at first base. Oh yeah, and she also practices and plays with my team when she isn't with her team and, again not "daddy-bragging" is the best player on my 14U team. So, moral of the story. If these girls want to do it, let them go for it. For someone to say if they play both, they would only be "mediocre" at best at the two positions, I invite anyone, to any of her games to see an exception. She cannot be the only one like that. If their knees hurt, they don't get to play both positions. If they can do it, and WANT to do it, let them, they might just impress you, as well as themselves. I really wish it wasn't my daugher, just so it didn't seem like I'm making her out to be more than she is, but she really is that hot. If your daughter is brave enough to take on both of those difficult roles, let her. She is probably just as good if not better than my daughter because someone gave her a chance. Our girls are stronger than we think.
 

KAT

May 13, 2008
92
0
daughter did both

My DD did both up until last year. She has played since 10U and often would catch part of the game and then take off gear and start pitching or start a game and then move to catcher. She loved it. Last year she gave up pitching because of her shoulder hurting. After a long battle to get her to doctors she finally relented, she has bilateral impingement syndrome. Her therapy is going well and the pain in lessening and she is feeling more strength come back into her arm. I am sure her throw downs will be better...but her physical therapist has told her with the way her shoulder is built (shallow socket) she might have problems playing catcher at a college level due to the frequent games played. She has always loved basketball more then softball so now as a junior I think she has made the decision to stop playing softball after high school and not pursue the softball career but rather the basketball due to that shoulder....but heck she is almost 16 this could change next week!!!! I had no idea her shoulder was subluxing fairly easy....she is a tough kid.
 

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