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What to tell the 12YOA stud with bad form?


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Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
My DD is coaching a 12U team this summer. She also does pitching lessons. My DD was a D1 all-conference pitcher, and had the luck to work with the best pitching coach in Chicagoland. So, she knows her stuff.

The problem is this...

One of the girls on the team is the classic "50 MPH 12U with an awful motion". The 12U kid is on her front foot, closing too early, etc. (If you've seen one, you've seen them all.) But, she does throw hard for 12U. Of course, my DD knows that if the kid doesn't get straightened out, her 12U season will likely be the only memorable season she ever has.

How should she approach a parent and tell them that their DD, even though the best pitcher on the team, is headed for disaster, even though it might really p*ss her parents off? Or do you just take the 20 or so wins the kid will give you as a coach and laugh it off?

IMHO, just because my DD is also a pitching coach shouldn't stop her from telling the parents that they need to change pitching coaches and find someone better.

Jul 29, 2008
The best way would be to acknowledge, then lead them. "Your daughter has advanced speed for her age. She is talented and I would like to make some suggestions to unlock/reach/advance/whatever her to another level. These mechanical adjustments will only help her as she faces more elite hitters through the age groups."

Because starting at 14's, she will get the crap knocked out of her if all she has is speed.

I think it is absolutely her job to say something as this girls coach. Say your peace, that is all you can do. Also, are there physical reasons (foreseen injuries) that she sees by her mechanics? (I'm not a pitching guru!)

I think all pitchers and catchers should have a supplemental coach to their regular pitching/catching coaches. Even if it's just a fresh pair of eyes once a month.
Sep 29, 2008
Northeast Ohio
I agree with Texas. Acknowledge the success of the pitcher. Things like speed, game success, intent to throw hard and succeed. Then transition by saying there are many good pitchers at the 12U level across your state. It is at this age where a separation begins and that separation will occur with the girls that focus on repeating the mechanical traits common to other excellent pitchers. Roll comparison video of the most famous and best (Finch, Cat etc) discuss what you see in common in their motion. Then roll video of your student helping to lead her to the same conclusions you have made about her motion by comparing different key parts of the motion with the best and her. If she becomes convinced that the video doesn't lie and that fundamentals are important after watching the pros then your DD may have a good student and parent to work with. It's the ol' "Don't take my word for it...watch Jenny Finch" strategy.
May 22, 2008
NW Pennsylvania
Your DD's job as coach is not to take the 20 wins & walk away, its to try to help her girls be the best they can be, both individually & as a team. If she
tells the gal & her parents that she feels the gal needs to make some changes so her pitching growth isnt stunted, then the ball is in their court. If your DD gets told thanks, but no thanks, then I would suggest she devote her time to a lesser athlete who is more teachable.


May 7, 2008
"IMHO, just because my DD is also a pitching coach shouldn't stop her from telling the parents that they need to change pitching coaches and find someone better. "

That is NOT the correct way to approach it, as far as one instructor telling another instructor's student. That's called poaching.

As a professional courtesy, she should inform the parents of who she is and the fact that she is also an instructor. THEN she should ask the parents to relay a message to the girls current instructor as far as what she saw the student do that she is concerned about.

The parents and the other instructor will have respect for that. They will not if you do what you initially said.

I have approached parents at tourney many times when I saw something the pitcher was doing that I felt was not safe. I always approached it like I explained and added to please tell coach _________ that coach Hal was concerned about it.

No poaching and usually, the next time I saw that coach he /she said thanks.

I would hope that they would do the same thing for one of my students if the role was reversed.

Aug 21, 2008
I wasn't really going to chime in on this one but, what the heck.... Although I'm sure you've already thought of this Sluggers, what comes to my mind automatically is this.... this girl may not actually be doing what her instructor is teaching her to do. Like it or not, every instructor has students who come to lessons and don't do what they're told. Either they don't care or don't want to put the work in. This always reflects bad on the instructor but you cannot MAKE someone care and change. And lets not forget, there are all kinds of talent levels out there: good and bad. The bad ones get the exact same training as the good ones but, don't put the extra time in or care about their development. Yet, those "bad" students can still claim to be a student of "John Doe" even though they do not do anything taught to them.

A lot of kids and parents are victims of their own success. They think that being superior at age 12 automatically means they are guaranteed success at 18. Not true. Some pitchers at 12 are simply more athletic and better ball players. However, as age progresses.. so do other's abilities and the strong will survive. But it's very easy to believe you're "on the right track" simply because you're having good success at 12 U.

In my own pitching career I did the exact opposite. I got my brains beat out when I was 12 because I didn't do what would win me games right THEN against 'local teams in the beer league'. I didn't follow what the local city league pitchers did... instead I was trying to do what the best in the WORLD was doing. Keep in mind, I was not playing against kids my own age. For a boy to play fastpitch, he must play in men's leagues in the USA. That's what I did.

However, I think all the posters have valid points. Even though I hate to see kids doing things "wrong" I will never volunteer advice unless asked. The parents of this kid will never believe their daughter is doing anything wrong right now. Not while the results are there right now. Tell your DD to save her breath.

Just my 2 cents.

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