When to let a kid just be a kid? | Page 3 | Talk Pitching | TopVelocity Baseball Forum
June 6, 2011
we had a breakthrough this weekend…Nicolas had a bad day pitching. he normally throws upwards of 65% strikes or better for the last season, but he struggled this last weekend. sure the ump was calling the zone pretty tight, but Nicolas knew something was wrong with his accuracy later that night we talked and he cried because he got pulled from the mound and he thought he could have turned it around. i told him honestly “after walking 3 batters straight, did you think they would leave you in?” he had to admit to himself that he wasn’t up to par.
“Dad, what went wrong?” he asked. ahhh, now we get back to normal. i told him that he hadn’t throw a bullpin or really worked out in a couple months, that has to take a toll on you. i told him that if he wanted to pitch like he did two months ago, workout like he did…without me pushing him or asking him if he worked out today.
the next day i found Nic outside tearing up after he missed the target several times in a row. it seems he went straight to throwing wide open and didn’t warm up at all. i had him warmup for awhile, then throw from a shorter distance until he felt confident at that distance, then back up and throw more, then back up again until he finally got back to the mound. about 3/4 of the way back he started missing…badly. he couldn’t figure out why he was missing again. 8 feet closer and he hit the target 100% of the time. it was time to address the mental aspect of the game. he suffered from fear….that’s all. even when he hit the target 9 times in a row, if he missed just once fear gripped him.
here was how i got him to understand the percentages; i held up three baseballs in each hand and asked him what would happen to the batter if he threw all 6 balls to him and 3 were strikes and 3 were balls? he wisely said “i would strike him out”. i asked him “so, if you missed the target 50% of the time, you would still be a good pitcher for striking a batter out?” he stood there for awhile as his mind took ahold of this new revelation.
i had him pretend there was a batter standing there in front of the target and he had to pitch to him. from 40 feet away, i only had him throw 6 pitches. pitch one..ball. pitch two…strike. pitch three…ball. now he was feeling the adrenaline flow as he concentrated harder. pitch four…strike. pitch five…strike! he’s outta there! a big smile went over his face as he started enjoying pitching again. we backed up to 50 feet and he threw all strikes. he asked for a few more balls, and he promptly threw them into the target as well. at sixty feet he started feeling the pressure again. he threw 3 balls, and finished off with three strikes. batter is outta there! after that he just kept throwing strikes and barely missed balls for a few minutes. i admit that was a great moment for me also.
the next two days Nicolas came home and worked out before i even got home from work. he asked if he could invite other pitchers over to work along with him. finally, he gets it. it took some time, but he is acting like a leader and has taken control of his destiny.
thanks for this happy ending guys,
April 27, 2008
July 1, 2011
4 Things separate average pitchers from great pitchers.
- Personal Desire. Why do you want to be a pitcher?
- Personal Motivation. What drives you want to be a pitcher?
- Personal Action Plan. What are you willing to do to be a great pitcher?
- Personal Faith. Do you believe in your plan?
The answer to these questions will tell you if any pitcher at any level is committed to excellence.
Number 3 is the only thing that we can control. We can help young pitchers develop a action plan that will help them in every aspect of pitching.
Numbers 1,2 and 4 all we can do is help encourage and be supportive. It is 100% the young pitcher’s choice. They will ultimately decide how good they want to be.
There is nothing more frustrating as a coach or a parent to have a great young athlete with a ton of God-given athletic ability and they don’t either want to use that gift or don’t have the confidence in themselves to see it as a gift.
Now you honestly know why most pitchers quit when things really start getting hard. If they are only playing for fun, they will quit when it either gets hard to keep up with the others or when they can’t dominate with their God-given ability anymore.
Plus now you know why Professional pitchers will tell you that pitching is 90% mental.
Desire, Motivation, A Plan, Preparation, Work Ethic and Faith is what makes up the Mental Side of Pitching.
But the desire, motivation, work ethic and faith only comes from their personal goals and expectations for themselves.
Every young athlete has to decide eventually for themselves whether athletic success is important to them or not.
As parents and coaches we need just to encourage, support and enjoy the ride for as long as it last, because they grow up fast and it will over before you know it.
one benefit to working with my son and other young pitchers is that it forces me to get better also. here i am pitching a little better than last time….and my son was impressed! lol. he said “Dad, it looks like you are getting better separation and velocity”. all i know is it’s getting easier to throw harder with more accuracy now. i’m almost 46 years old, and i pitched 59mph today! i know that ain’t much, but it’s a personal best. i once threw 60mph, but was no where near the target. today i pitched 57-59mph and it was all strikes. my goal is to hit 70mph next summer. if i can get that sciatic nerve to stop hurting, i think it’s possible to get there.
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