Wanted: A Better Strategy for Developing Young Pitchers

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Aug 1, 2019
304
63
...So the question is, are these girls not developed enough to learn pitching?
It may just come down to that...and the proprioception that Rick and Ken talk about.
Had a nine year old last spring; absolute beginner, heart of gold, strong desire to do well. But she looked like a rag doll in a tornado with twists, turns, and limbs flailing in every direction. This definitely was the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing and no coordination. I'll be interested to see if she tries again this year.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,999
113
California
2. Stop restricting the innings a pitcher can pitch (in rec league). This rule is for Flamethrower Suzy who can strike everyone out in rec league so they limit her to two or three innings a game. Suzy strikes everyone out for two innings and then the next pitcher walks 9 batters. It drives me nuts. Let Suzy pitch.
Hurray! Great point!

Let the batters who can hit be challenged!
Let those who can't recognize challenges in the game are part of sports.
 

pattar

A life wasted chasing rainbows
Jun 8, 2016
10,122
113
Hurray! Great point!

Let the batters who can hit be challenged!
Let those who can't recognize challenges in the game are part of sports.
The point of the article was how to better develop pitchers. “Suck it up buttercup” probably isn’t going to cut it..
 
May 18, 2019
68
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Hurray! Great point!

Let the batters who can hit be challenged!
Let those who can't recognize challenges in the game are part of sports.
The goal: develop young pitchers.

Your strategy: Give all the innings to Suzy flamethrower and hope her excellence challenges and inspires other pitchers and hitters.

The result
  1. Suzy feels awesome and gets lots of work.
  2. Pitchers 2 and 3 get zero practice
  3. Pitchers 2 and 3 get discouraged and may stop trying regardless of potential
  4. Games consist of watching kids get mowed down
  5. Batters get no practice base running
  6. Parents of pitchers 2 & 3 get frustrated
  7. Defense on that team gets no practice
  8. Games are boring and kids quit softball as a result
  9. Suzys team wins the championship regardless of whether the rest of the team has any skill, talent, or coaching
My daughter was Suzy flamethrower. She allowed one run all season. Because she was limited to 2 innings, P2 improved throughout the season, hitters got to hit, defense got work, and to the extent her excellence inspired other pitchers and hitters it happened anyway.

Only playing the best is for TB not rec and even there it will have these same consequences. It's not the best approach for developing pitchers long term.
 

pattar

A life wasted chasing rainbows
Jun 8, 2016
10,122
113
My department spent years trying to fix a problem with our student advising. Year after year students would complain about it on their “exit” (eg after they graduate) interviews. Nothing worked until the geniuses who ran the department thought to actually ask WHY they didn’t like it. Identifying a problem is one thing, understanding why that problem exists is what is needed if steps are to be taken to remedy it.
 
May 17, 2012
2,231
83
Your strategy: Give all the innings to Suzy flamethrower and hope her excellence challenges and inspires other pitchers and hitters.

The result
  1. Suzy feels awesome and gets lots of work.
  2. Pitchers 2 and 3 get zero practice
  3. Pitchers 2 and 3 get discouraged and may stop trying regardless of potential
  4. Games consist of watching kids get mowed down
  5. Batters get no practice base running
  6. Parents of pitchers 2 & 3 get frustrated
  7. Defense on that team gets no practice
  8. Games are boring and kids quit softball as a result
  9. Suzys team wins the championship regardless of whether the rest of the team has any skill, talent, or coaching
My daughter was Suzy flamethrower. She allowed one run all season. Because she was limited to 2 innings, P2 improved throughout the season, hitters got to hit, defense got work, and to the extent her excellence inspired other pitchers and hitters it happened anyway.

Only playing the best is for TB not rec and even there it will have these same consequences. It's not the best approach for developing pitchers long term.


Look at mister bigtime with two pitchers on every team....

The point was when you don't have enough pitching you shouldn't limit the ones that can.

I appreciate that you went to extremes to prove your point so I will counter with walking every batter isn't softball either.
 
Feb 10, 2018
343
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NoVA
She’s no world beater, but my daughter (16U) would not be the pitcher she is today without all the reps she got in Little League. When she first started playing travel ball (10U), she was literally the 5th or 6th pitcher on the depth chart. She got a few garbage innings here and there. However, she played LL at the same time and saw plenty of circle time. She was not Suzy Flamethrower (and still isn’t) but could get the ball consistently in the LL strike zone. The game reps she got (and the work we put in outside of games) piled up over time. She got better, other girls stopped pitching, and she moved up the depth chart.

Our local LL used some of the same approaches others have suggested to better ensure pitcher development. In Fall Ball (when no standing were kept), girls were typically limited to no more than two innings (of a 6 inning game). We also used a 5 run limit in the Fall. In the competitive Spring season, pitchers were limited to 6 innings in a league week. We played two league games a week. So, you could use your “ace” for one game, but then she was burned for the second. Teams typically would split innings among their pitchers. Again, these conventions essentially forced teams to develop multiple pitchers.

Apart from the child’s own desire to pitch, I think it is absolutely essential to have a parent or older sibling (or some older person) who is willing to work with the young pitcher outside of games or regular practices. Hopefully with some competent instruction on basic mechanics. Except for the athletic outliers, girls will not show up even at LL games and start throwing hittable balls (let alone real strikes) without working a few times a week on their own. They don’t necessarily have to be the ones sitting on the bucket, but the parents of a young pitcher have to be “all in” as far as the additional commitment it take to develop as a pitcher.
 
May 18, 2019
68
18
Look at mister bigtime with two pitchers on every team....

The point was when you don't have enough pitching you shouldn't limit the ones that can.

I appreciate that you went to extremes to prove your point so I will counter with walking every batter isn't softball either.
I never saw an 8u team where only 1 girl wanted to pitch. The coach knowing he/she needs more than 1 and pitchers getting a chance gives the others the best chance to develop. It's all about what's best for all the kids.
 
Oct 9, 2018
121
28
Texas
The goal: develop young pitchers.

Your strategy: Give all the innings to Suzy flamethrower and hope her excellence challenges and inspires other pitchers and hitters.

The result
  1. Suzy feels awesome and gets lots of work.
  2. Pitchers 2 and 3 get zero practice
  3. Pitchers 2 and 3 get discouraged and may stop trying regardless of potential
  4. Games consist of watching kids get mowed down
  5. Batters get no practice base running
  6. Parents of pitchers 2 & 3 get frustrated
  7. Defense on that team gets no practice
  8. Games are boring and kids quit softball as a result
  9. Suzys team wins the championship regardless of whether the rest of the team has any skill, talent, or coaching
My daughter was Suzy flamethrower. She allowed one run all season. Because she was limited to 2 innings, P2 improved throughout the season, hitters got to hit, defense got work, and to the extent her excellence inspired other pitchers and hitters it happened anyway.

Only playing the best is for TB not rec and even there it will have these same consequences. It's not the best approach for developing pitchers long term.
In 1st year 10u rec my dd could not throw a strike, we went the whole season giving up the run limit every inning. I saw how painful it was for everyone involved. Over the summer I worked with DD like crazy under the idea "IF we throw strikes everyone will enjoy the game, balls will get hit, fielders have something to field, it will be great." We went into fall ball throwing strikes and then struck everyone out. DD gave up one hit all season because I told her to only throw change ups that game. It ended up being the same amount of growth if you threw strikes or balls.
 
May 17, 2012
2,231
83
I never saw an 8u team where only 1 girl wanted to pitch. The coach knowing he/she needs more than 1 and pitchers getting a chance gives the others the best chance to develop. It's all about what's best for all the kids.

No disagreement here. Almost every kid wants to pitch. The question is do you let them pitch in a game if they can't throw strikes (at a minimum rate to be effective)? My answer no. I think the intent of the thread was how to develop (more) pitchers at the early ages.

Same issue if you have coached rec basketball. Most kids want the ball, to be the point guard. If they ask me if they can be the point guard I always ask, "Can you dribble the ball up the court and initiate the offense? " If they cant' they can't the answer is "no".
 
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