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Travel Ball’s Long-Term Effect on the Future of Pitching

Oct 5, 2017
165
28
Western Indiana
I have made it clear in the past that I am not a fan of time limits on fastpitch softball games. Maybe I’m just old but I believe the game is meant to be played over a minimum of seven innings, no matter how long that takes. Time limits, however, are a fact of life […]

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Great read Ken. I like the idea of a closer. We currently use that idea but it is more of a change of speed reason. Our #2 is noticeably slower than our #1 pitcher. So we will bring in #2 if needed for a change of "pace". I wish is was more of a fireballer reason but it is what it is. This great game must change and evolve with the ability of the athletes to continue to improve.
 
Jul 5, 2016
281
43
FWIW, baseball evolved in the same way from more than 8 innings per start in 1901 to less than 5 today. I would guess that part of the problem is that batters are improving faster than pitchers thanks to things like the ability to slow-motion analyze batting styles.

 
May 6, 2015
2,021
113
DDs team has 4 pitchers

Flamethrower, gets a little wild, not certain what she has beyond fastball, but few teams they play catch up to it.

Movement pitcher, DD (catcher) says she has 5 pitches, not certain I believe that, but she does make the ball move, and has decent velocity on her fb.

Location pitcher, has a CU too, moves the ball around zone, induces a lot of contact outs.

Off speed pitcher, much slower than others, has an effetive drop. they like to bring her in if flamethrower is struggling with command.

it works for them, HC generally lets them pitch "complete" games when possible, but that is normally anywhere from 3-6 innings (not just time, some games end on mercy rule instead).
 
Feb 10, 2018
261
63
NoVA
Ken, I think your observations are spot on and it is very interesting the way the game is evolving. I think having and using a pitching staff introduces more decisions and, thus, more strategy into the game, making it inherently more interesting to watch. Also gives us parents more things to criticize and second-guess the coaches about. LOL!

Beyond the growth of offense (and I do think the game is tilted that way—also probably not a bad thing from a casual fan’s point of view), is the sheer number of games being played. So health/safety and load management are an issue. Young bodies are strong and resilient, but not unbreakable.

A heavily scheduled travel ball or college team could easily have 250-300 innings they need to cover in a relatively short span of time (say, 12-16 weeks). I think that’s just too much to try and put on one girl—both physically and mentally. Using more pitchers develops more pitchers, who drive the game. Without quality pitching, there is no game.

Last, I’ll just say that the goal of the game is for the team to win, not to ensure that you have one pitcher that is a warhorse and can throw 75%+ of the innings. What if she gets injured? Or quits the sport over burnout? And is she really being pushed to get better if she is not competing with other pitchers on the staff?
 

Vertigo

Jersey Girl
May 27, 2013
968
93
Unfortunately, I think that too many people (players and parents) are wrapped up in stats during the HS years. Lowest ERA, most K’s, no hitters, etc, are what get the accolades and the media attention. Difficult to determine who makes 1st Team All-State if pitchers are sharing the workload. Also, those stats then fall by the wayside if pitchers share the workload.

At the end of the day, what is more important? The stats or the health of your pitcher? HS should be about team wins and outcomes, not one player’s stats. Too many people lose focus of this. I see teams who throw their hoss against a team that stands absolutely no chance against them, but it pads that pitcher’s numbers.

I truly wish that my DD’s HS team had our #2 pitcher this year so they could share the load again like they did 2 years ago. Unfortunately, she had shoulder surgery in the off-season and isn’t back to pitching yet. We don’t have the luxury of having more than one arm right now. Don’t take having more than one good pitcher on your team for granted! It helps teams not to see your ace quite as often as they would come post-season!
 
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