Tips to help pitcher find balance

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Jun 23, 2020
7
3
Short history: DD is a first-year 14u pitcher. She's had decent success at every level, yet as a gifted kid with some general anxiety and perfectionist tendencies, she's always needed to work on her mental game. For instance, during her first year in 10u, a much larger batter hit her with a line drive...for a month, every big kid saw nothing but 4 non-competitive pitches. Also, we had to block USSSA from our devices because she would scout teams' records in advance of tournaments and have a defeatist mentality against any "good" teams.

Some natural maturation and a few sessions with a local sports psychologist worked out most of these issues--so much that she is now considering a career in sports psychology. She's embraced working on her mental approach. Throughout 12u she was a pretty dominant pitcher and confidence issues seemed to have been worked out.

Due to the success her B team had in 12u, her coach looked for more challenging tournaments in 14u (mix of opens/As). First tournament two weeks ago went very well...3-0; my daughter had two stellar outings (24 Ks, 2 walks, 1 run, etc). However, they were against teams that we've beaten in the past.

Coach picked up two scrimmages against National A teams before the next tournament. Different story from my daughter pitching-wise: 50% or more of her pitches were way up, enough that they stopped swinging at her rise ball entirerly. Pitches she kept down were often swings/misses. Combined, she finished with as many walks as strikeouts in both outings (5/5 in 2 innings, and 8/8 in 4). During warms ups, lessons, and practice everything looked fine.

When I asked her afterward what was up, she said she felt she needed to throw harder to get these "better" hitters out. She said she was trying to max out every pitch. Looking at some video, she was definitely overstriding and getting her release way out in front of her body.

So it seems to me that she's gone from being scared of throwing to big hitters to being overly aggressive. I guess both speak to a lack of confidence, though flight has turned to fight.

TLDR: 14 yo pitcher used to lose command due to fear, now is too amped up and aggressive.

Any tips we can use to help her find her balance? Thanks in advance!
 

sjw62000

just cleaning the dugout
Sep 1, 2018
92
18
North Carolina
My 2 cents as a "bucket dad" and JUCO coach: with varying degrees of success, I tell my DD and my pitchers to pitch the pitch, not the batter.

What does that mean? Sometimes pitchers are pitching batter-to-batter, not pitch-to-pitch. As I said, I've found some success getting pitchers to think about making a good pitch, hitting the spot, getting the spin, etc. Rather than thinking about the AB as a whole.

Finally, it's worth mentioning to pitchers that often times they have to be "the calm in the storm" for their team.

Sorry for being a bit long winded.

Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk
 
Jun 23, 2020
7
3
My 2 cents as a "bucket dad" and JUCO coach: with varying degrees of success, I tell my DD and my pitchers to pitch the pitch, not the batter.

What does that mean? Sometimes pitchers are pitching batter-to-batter, not pitch-to-pitch. As I said, I've found some success getting pitchers to think about making a good pitch, hitting the spot, getting the spin, etc. Rather than thinking about the AB as a whole.

Finally, it's worth mentioning to pitchers that often times they have to be "the calm in the storm" for their team.

Sorry for being a bit long winded.

Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk
That's great advice, and actually similar to something the sports psych had said to her: "There are no counts, just 100-ish opportunities to do something well."

The calm in a storm is great advice too. We watched a little of the game...her body language was not good, especially considering that she is a team leader.

Thanks for the reminders...I'll show her your post...often if someone other than dad says it, it lands better :)
 
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