Part 9: These Folks are Crazy!



All pitchers and their parents are crazy!


Come on, if you haven’t said it you have at least heard it. Where does this thought come from? Many places but the real origin of this beliefs is based on statements that sound something like this:


“My baby throws 11 pitches!” Really? If you’ve have made it to the end of this series you already know that I believe there are only six pitches. So when someone says they throw twice that many the term “crazy” seems to fit.


Who’s to blame?  There is plenty to go around.


Pitchers are usually highly motivated people who want to keep improving. It’s human nature to want to believe we are more skilled and more accomplished than we often really are. When I go out and practice a lot, usually several times a week, I want to feel like I’m progressing. For most kids, that means learning new things! Often, sadly, at the expense of really mastering a fundamental skill before we move onto something more exciting!


Pitchers’ parents are making a huge investment in the skill development of their pitchers. Lessons, back-yard practice sessions, camps, torn-up garage doors, pitching clinics, busted knee caps and scrambled eggs are all part of the price that parents are paying for their pitchers. When they are making this huge investment, they want to see a return on their investment. Just like their kids, they want to “advance” up the ladder. Again, unfortunately, often before they should.


Pitching coaches have a great deal of knowledge they want to share and just like the players they work with want to see the pitcher’s progress. It takes a great deal of self confidence to keep telling a talented and developing pitcher that she needs to keep working on her mechanics, velocity or accuracy. It’s fun to teach the more-advanced skills and we often push kids to move ahead too quickly.


Additionally, the pitching coach has a financial incentive to keep a pitcher climbing the pitch pyramid. Why? There is always another pitching coach out there who is going to tell a pitcher or their parents what they want to hear. They will tell them that “old” pitching coach is wrong and that your kid is ready to learn new pitches. “Old” pitching coach is holding her back and if you come to “new” pitching coach, we are going to move ahead.


The bottom line is for some pitching coaches is that teaching pitches sells!


So what is the most important thing to take away from this series?  Mr. Myagi in “The Karate Kid” sums it up very well:


“Trust the quality of what you know, not the quantity”!


Mr. Myagi nailed it. Pitchers you are much better off with a couple great pitches than a bunch of average ones.


You can win games with a great fastball and an effective changeup. 


About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.