Improving consistency

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Jan 20, 2023
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I have a 14 yo who has been pitching for a year and a half (so very inexperienced compared to most kids she pitches against). From day to day her consistency is not great. She threw a perfect game and pitched the championship game with 1 walk and 1 hit and they won the tournament one weekend and walked 8 kids the next with a significantly lower strike % overall.

Does this come with time? Other than just keep grinding is there anything she can do?
 
Sep 19, 2018
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This happens to MLB pitchers. Maybe not as .... severe, but it still happens. With time, and practice, this will get better. If she is open to it, there are books that can help teens with focus and mental toughness. That will help her get battle through the tough days.
 
Apr 14, 2022
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Remember pitchers have bad days. MLB pitchers will have 3-4 bad starts a year.
Best remedy is for the team to have deep pitching so when they have a bad day they are not taking one for the team.

A few not trying to locate and be perfect practice days do wonders for DD
 
May 15, 2008
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Cape Cod Mass.
Such is the nature of all sports. With pitching things can change from game to game, inning to inning, even batter to batter. How she deals with this will be significant factor in her success as she moves through her career. It's good to have a mental toolkit of options, throw it faster, throw it slower, if the change up is working throw more changes, etc. But some days the ball just won't go where you aim it.
 
Jan 20, 2023
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Thanks! I think she’s making great progress- but wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. (Which may be to not believe half of what I hear about other kids who pitch)
 
Jan 20, 2023
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I'm curious as to what her PC tells her in regards to this?

She has suggested a sports psychologist and also that it will come with time and experience and some days it just will not be there. And she points out her older kids are not perfect and she should watch college ball and see that even those kids are making mistakes.

She is reading sports psychology books.
 
Sep 19, 2018
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As has been mentioned this happens at the MLB level. In a typical MLB season, a pitcher will get 33-35 starts. David Cone, who was VERY good, has said he expects 6-7 starts a year where everything is working. At the same time another 6-7 starts with NOTHING is working. The other 20 starts are somewhere in-between.
 
Aug 21, 2008
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As has been mentioned this happens at the MLB level. In a typical MLB season, a pitcher will get 33-35 starts. David Cone, who was VERY good, has said he expects 6-7 starts a year where everything is working. At the same time another 6-7 starts with NOTHING is working. The other 20 starts are somewhere in-between.
I'd add onto what David Cone said, if I may be so bold. While I wouldn't put myself in the same category as Cone, who either IS or should be in the HoF but, sometimes those 6-7 starts where everything works is when you feel the worst. Bad morning, bad warm up, etc. and then the pitching is lights out. Conversely, there are days when you feel absolutely great and it's impossible to record an out, let alone finish a game.

1996 ISF Men's world final: Canada vs. NZ. Mike White was pitching for NZ against the Canadian team that was probably better than NZ, man for man. Certainly a better hitting line up. NZ's catcher Mark Sorenson told the coach to make sure the bullpen is ready, Whitey didn't look great during the warm up and wasn't sharp. NZ won 4-0, White threw a perfect game in the final. Against Canada. You just never know.

4Martini, I don't know where you live or who your pitching coach is. But, in my experience 2 things help with consistency and getting a pitcher where they want to be. #1. Understanding why the ball goes where it goes. If she throws inside but doesn't know why that happens, she can't fix it. Same goes for high, low and outside pitches. They need to know the WHY so they can understand what needs to be done. #2. Innings, innings, innings. Have her pitch her way in and out of trouble in games. Not get pulled out from a bad inning, she needs to learn to work through it and all the troubles that pitchers face: bad umpires, bad field conditions, crappy ball, etc. etc. Have her throw rec games, TB games, BP to hitters, anything she can do to get all the reps she can get. Remember: Practice makes PERMANENT. Not perfect. Your kid is not perfect, she won't be perfect so that's an unrealistic goal.

If she knows WHY a pitch went bad, she's less likely to keep making the same mistake and will make corrections. This will help reduce those bad innings, bad games immensely. Just one man's opinion, take it or throw it away.
 
Oct 1, 2014
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USA
She has suggested a sports psychologist and also that it will come with time and experience and some days it just will not be there. And she points out her older kids are not perfect and she should watch college ball and see that even those kids are making mistakes.

She is reading sports psychology books.
That's solid advice and should be heeded. When my DD's were here at home we were able to watch a lot more high level college softball than their schedule allows in college. It's important to not only watch the great plays/hits/pitching but also to see the failures/errors...it keeps it real for them. Also important to note is when a player comes back from failure to crush the next AB or get out of an inning.

There have been some great discussions on this forum of books to read. Read (or listen to in audio format) as many as you can! Heads up Baseball, Chop Wood Carry Water, The Talent Code, Relentless, etc...

It's also been mentioned on here (but in my opinion hasn't gotten the attention it deserves) to use a sports psychologist *I think it was Hillhouse who has said to spend more time with a mental coach than a pitching or hitting coach. Tell me, how much of this game do you think is mental? Both of my DD's are now in their Senior year of college. This is not meant as a brag but they are both consistently making the Dean's list at what most consider a high academic school, they are involved in multiple extracurricular activities and also have a full social calendar yet, they have made it a priority to work with a Mental Performance Coach and the schools own Sports Psychologist. Both will say they wish we started it earlier.

And then as a final point to add on to what Bill wrote earlier..."#1. Understanding why the ball goes where it goes. If she throws inside but doesn't know why that happens, she can't fix it. Same goes for high, low and outside pitches. They need to know the WHY so they can understand what needs to be done."
and "If she knows WHY a pitch went bad, she's less likely to keep making the same mistake and will make corrections. This will help reduce those bad innings, bad games immensely. Just one man's opinion, take it or throw it away." I couldn't agree more with Bill on this! This is so important and something I see many pitchers and pitching coaches fail at. When we were able to work with Mike Muhlheisen aka Java back in the day this was something he constantly emphasized. Not only coaching my pitching DD on this but also her sister who was (and still is) catching her and calling pitches. Recognize spin (all of it) and mechanics so you can make corrections. And along with that from a hitters perspective recognizing what's coming at you. Wish we'd had more time together for those sessions!

Sorry for the long response....good luck on the journey!
 
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