My pitcher is afraid to field her position.HELP

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RADcatcher

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Dec 13, 2019
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California
We are big on teaching her mental game. This is helpful and we will try.

I'm also looking for drills or something that will improve confidence and reduce fear. Hubby says take her out and just start hammering them to her. Sink or swim I'm sure it would work but looking for a more "humane" way. She's an awesome fielder during drills at practice.
Some may say field tennis balls but I like to do something a little fun and get a bag of big marshmallows not the bitty ones but the ones that are about 2 in round and viciously 😁
throw them at her like darts...and see if she can catch them!
it helps lighten it up because it's fun and also can show how fast she can actually move when not inhibited by getting hurt.

Another little comment I share with athletes is if there was a bee or fly coming at our face... how fast could we move our hands to swat it away. We actually can move pretty fast when prompted to 🙂

Skills we can use on the field 👍
 
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Oct 10, 2018
304
63
My DD is playing 18U and wears a fielding mask when playing the infield. You know why - I like her teeth and nose just the way they are. I've seen too many videos of girls taking one right to the face and nose and then need bridge work and plastic surgery which takes them off the field for months.

Her coach isn't a fan but no mask, no play. DD saves face (pun intended) with the other girls and coach by letting them know it's not up to her to make that decision. Why on earth would anyone stop a player from wearing a defensive piece? They look scared of the ball - BS. And if it gives her the slightest increase in confidence to keep the ball in front of her, and not flinch, on that crappy hop or bad throw I say what's wrong with that?
 
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Oct 4, 2018
3,405
113
We are big on teaching her mental game. This is helpful and we will try. I'm also looking for drills or something that will improve confidence and reduce fear. Hubby says take her out and just start hammering them to her. Sink or swim I'm sure it would work but looking for a more "humane" way. She's an awesome fielder during drills at practice.

There's a bit of logic here, but not "hammering" them. Start slow and progress. It'll take a while to build up her confidence. If this was me, I'd schedule time to do grounders. 15 minutes per day. Start with rolling them to her for first 2-3 days, then light hits for 2-3 days, then medium, finally hard. Two weeks of daily grounders and I'd bet she'll be back to normal.

Thing is, in these cases, most parents don't want to put in that time.
 
Oct 4, 2018
3,405
113
Sad fact she ALWAYS wears it except in outfield. She doesn't need it in the outfield. This was the one time she didn't bother to put it on when they transitioned from outfield drills to infield and it cost her. She's great at drills in practice or when hitting infield. It's happening in games. 99% mental block

At 11 years old they need masks in the outfield. If I saved facebooks posts I would be able to show you hundreds of reasons why.
 
Oct 26, 2019
1,063
113
There's a bit of logic here, but not "hammering" them. Start slow and progress. It'll take a while to build up her confidence. If this was me, I'd schedule time to do grounders. 15 minutes per day. Start with rolling them to her for first 2-3 days, then light hits for 2-3 days, then medium, finally hard. Two weeks of daily grounders and I'd bet she'll be back to normal.

Thing is, in these cases, most parents don't want to put in that time.
A pitching machine can be a huge help here. When my daughter was younger and would shy away from ground balls, we took a lot off the pitching machine, and I would slowly turn it up as she got more comfortable. I also told her if one came out too fast that she could forehand it or backhand it giving her permission actually made her more confident. Some other things we did were take ground balls off the machine while sitting on a bucket, so there was nowhere for her to really run to.
 
Nov 18, 2015
1,419
113
DD wasn't wearing her face mask in the infield. She turned away on a grounder and got nailed in the throat.
Would she have turned her head if she WAS wearing a mask? It's an understandable reaction to turn away (masked or unmasked) , but depending on the hop it took, a facemask isn't made to protect the throat, so she still could have taken a hit.
Hubby says take her out and just start hammering them to her.
If you're looking for her to take up soccer in the spring, sure. 🤷‍♂️

Only drill suggestion I'd add is to find some lite-flites or wiffle balls, and ask her to catch them with her face. (You could call it the "Snoopy" game, just be prepared to explain what a comic strip is...). You could probably throw them overhand at a good speed, but no "whipping" - a wiffle ball can still hurt if it misses the mask!

You could end by switching to real balls, and SOFTLY toss them to her, so she can feel the impact of a heavier ball, but now understand how the padding works. (i.e. The wiffle balls / lite flites help teach how the frame protects her, the real balls help teach how the padding will also protect her.)

And to build on Pattar's comment - start on as smooth a surface as possible (if you hit it right at her) to minimize the chance of a bad hop until she regains some confidence.
 
Jan 25, 2022
326
63
Thing is, in these cases, most parents don't want to put in that time.

There are a lot of supportive parents I've come across that I think just don't realize how much better their kid can get if they work some at home. Something as simple as forcing their kid outside to throw the ball straight up in the air to practice catching. Or god forbid they get out and play some catch. It's just so obvious which kids are working outside of practice. One day I asked one of the girls if she was working at home, and she said "yeah, with my dad AND my stepdad." I loved that.

I can remember as a kid, my dad being on the couch asleep after working a midnight shift and would still get up and pass if I asked. I've always kept that in mind when my girls want to put in some work. I'm never too busy for them...within reason..lol

The parental involvement is especially true when the kid is taking pitching lessons. There' sooooo much money being wasted for such slow progress. Get a damn bucket and a mitt, people!
 

pattar

I wasted time and now doth time waste me
Jun 8, 2016
13,000
113
In my experience if you hit a young kid a hard ground ball to their forehand side they will more often be ok (not that they will always catch it but they won’t freeze up) Ask yourself why that is and the answer will be what needs to be nailed down in order to handle all hard hit balls (@Towny9 already mentioned it in this thread)
 
Oct 26, 2019
1,063
113
In my experience if you hit a young kid a hard ground ball to their forehand side they will more often be ok (not that they will always catch it but they won’t freeze up) Ask yourself why that is and the answer will be what needs to be nailed down in order to handle all hard hit balls (@Towny9 already mentioned it in this thread)
Funny story. I had a girl recently on my youngest DDs 10U rec team who was afraid of ground balls. I told her jokingly that the cow used to make her glove gave his life for no reason because she wasn’t using it. After getting over the initial shock of realizing that her glove did indeed come from a cow, she has fielded much better. She has since named her glove Betsy (she said that was the cows name) and she doesn’t shy away from groundballs anymore. If teaching them to read and pick hops doesn’t work one could always try the dead cow guilt tactic.
 

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