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Question for coaches, players and supporters...

I've posted before that we are newbies, I guess, to this whole fastpitch realm. This is my dd's 2nd season playing. She played with the All-Star team last year. Might not should have, but there weren't really enough in our area from which to choose. This year, she was ready. I gave her the option of playing for the All-Star team and practicing with varsity at our school OR sticking with just the varsity. She chose the school. Two girls dropped off of the All-Star team the first night of a tournament. My dd was asked if she would please play with them. She told me that she "wasn't going to let her team down" and she'd go ahead and play.

The girls were signed up to play in a World Series Warm-Up tourney over the weekend. They smoked the first team they played. The next day, it was awful...got killed both games, which were back to back. Sunday was even worse. My dd got in the car all teary eyed saying she knows the main reason they lost the game - the pitching. She said to me, "Mama, the pitcher sets the tone for the entire game. If she's not going to throw fastpitch and her balls are going to arch like those at McDonald's, why do we say we are a fastpitch team?"

She was disgusted, I was disgusted - everyone was just livid. I rode the catcher pretty hard b/c she was not popping off her helmet coming out of the hole to get the pop-ups. Upon further reflection, the balls that she missed that were balls, were not really her fault - they were bouncing in front of home plate, around home plate, etc.. On top of that, when she'd throw the ball back to the pitcher, the pitcher would miss (yep, around the bases they did go!).

Our coaches are wanting to keep this team together and play in tournaments throughout the fall. My dd told me she wanted to play through the World Series, as it was her committment, but did not want to proceed any further unless there was a pitching change. Throughout the entire tournament over the weekend, there was not a single pitching change. I stood on the hill overlooking the field several times and all I could see was an arch and a 3 mph ball heading towards home. The other fans and coaches were talking about our "slow pitcher"! What can you say when you know yourself how sad it is to watch? Her parents discussed in front of other parents that they thought they'd just pull her from this team who "doesn't care about winning" and find her a team that is "good enough for her". In my experience with friend's children, you have to try out for competitive teams. I don't believe you can buy a spot on a team like that, can you? Also, would a competitive team not be looking for someone who can hit the ball? Catch the ball? Throw the ball? UGH!

I advised our coach (might should have kept my mouth shut) that in the World Series, it is a requirement to play fastpitch and that balls with arches are not considered such.

Our coach is hot to trot for my dd to play on through the fall and then pick back up in the spring. I don't quite know how to approach him in a nice manner and let him know that school ball is our top priority right now. There wouldn't be but maybe one conflict with it and tournaments with the All-Star team. Should I keep my dd on a team that she knows is not there to really play to win? At 10, should they be there to play to win or am I too hard on them? My dd hates to lose, especially when the other girls haven't given 100%. If they have put forth the effort and lose, we call it a "moral victory". We haven't had one of those - they have given the games away.

Please let me know your thoughts. I'm just trying to wrap my brain around all of this. It's very frustrating as a parent to see your child "defeated" and so upset - especially when she loves the game and can figure out where the problems start!
May 7, 2008
Hi Holly. I need a little more information. I thought you were discussing a HS girl, when you said that maybe your DD would just stick with varsity, but then you say something about 10 YOs.

A 10 YO is a beginning pitcher and with lessons, she could come along very quickly.

If your DD is 10, maybe she should learn to pitch.

Also, if the catcher has a good "hockey style" mask, most (moo) coaches have them leave it on, even with pop ups.

I sympathize with you about the catcher not being able to throw to the pitcher. It is something that I had to work on with pitchers and catchers this year. I bet that the pitcher pitches and retreats to the rubber, instead of coming forward and receiving the throw.

I am sorry you are having such a hard time. Softball is supposed to be fun.
10u age group. My dd turned 11 in March and is going into the 6th grade. We are a very small school - soccer coincides with softball, so we've lost an awful lot of girls to that.

One of the varsity girls told us at practice that she'd work with my dd after practices, if she wanted to learn. DD is left handed and I have heard that is a good thing?! She is willing to do whatever it takes, play wherever she needs to, for us to have a good team. She offered to put on the catcher's get-up over the wkend in 100 degree heat just so maybe we would be okay on that end!

I just feel the frustration she feels and it is disheartening to watch the glimmer fading in her eyes when she goes to practice with the All-Star team. She told me last night that she loves softball and loves the school team b/c they are all "nice". We have a couple of girls on the team who just cannot get along - another problem, drama. My dd told them all she wasn't there to make friends, she was there to play ball. However, she will take up for those getting picked on in a hurry b/c she feels like as long as they are on the field or in the dugout, they need to be a team.

I promise - it's going to drive me to the drink! The coach called me after the Sunday game and said when I picked up, "are ya having a cocktail yet?" I answered that if I were a drinker, I'd have been hooked up to an i.v. of something long before that afternoon!

I don't understand why he keeps asking my opinion, I give it and it's ignored. That, too, is frustrating. Don't ask if you don't want to know the gospel from me b/c I'm not going to mince words. We'll see how practice goes tonight.

A parent from another team said to me, "I'd just have to get redneck all over this group of folks". That is not in my nature, but losing isn't either, without giving all you have to try and win!

Any of y'all playing in the Dizzy Dean World Series this weekend in Southaven, MS??? If so, come sit with me and you'll see!
May 7, 2008
Kevin, I "think" that I have it. At least one of the varsity girls has taken this DD under her wing and will work with her.

Of course, it is a possibility to take her off the awful team and just give her more time to work on individual skills. She may not be learning anything with stuff the way it is. Or, she could go to a pitching coach and learn to pitch herself, but that will take a while.
Our children go to a small private school that is K3-12. The 6th graders are allowed to "play-up" in basketball, baseball and softball. Does that make more sense? Having been in the public school realm myself early in elementary years, I can see where it would be confusing. Our public school here does not offer softball at any age. There are several public schools out of our area who do, but not sure about the eligibility, age wise, for the younger ones to play with them. I hope this has given some clarity - sorry, y'all!

There are several individual coaches when we go to practice at the school who specialize in certain areas - pitching, batting, etc.. My dd has come a very long way with her batting and is doing really well now. She shocked us all when she placed a beautiful bunt in a game on Sunday - shocked the other team, as well! They just stood there as if they'd never seen one! ;)
O wow you have got a mess on your hands. I am soooo sorry:(. I would tell the coach of the All-Star team what you think or what your dd wants to do. And explain your answer to him in a nice peacefull mannor. But in the end I would do what is best for your dd in the long run, she is the one it all comes down to in the end. I hope I helped:)

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