We have an interesting opportunity in Georgia that offers us a great topic to discuss.
The Georgia High School Sports Association offers slow pitch softball at the school-ball level in the spring season. Now to put things into a proper perspective, for the longest time, slow pitch was king in Georgia. Slow pitch was the game of choice for all high schools until 1994 when they began offering fastpitch and had their first state champion. So the fact that Georgia has reinstated slow pitch as a spring sport didn’t come as a shock to those of us who know the history.
So what is the problem? Well there isn’t a “problem” but rather some different concerns for many softball players and parents. Of course, the slow pitch coach wants as many of the fastpitch players as possible to play for them since they want to win. In some cases, the slow pitch coach is also the fastpitch coach so they have a little pull in recruiting the fastpitch kids. Now, some fastpitch coaches use the slow pitch season as an extended training camp for their fastpitch seasons and the games are a necessary evil. For others the goal is simple, have a great season and try to win a state championship.
So you already know that this, like almost all of my blogs is going to be a good news/bad news discussion. Shocking, I know.
Good news is simple. Kids get to play different positions and continue to work on their defensive skills. We know the defense is a crucial part of slow pitch so we love the idea of our players getting so many more reps. The kids also get to experience a different environment where they might get to work on leadership skills and team building. They get to spend time with their friends playing a game that has a different level of expectation and so, maybe just more fun.
Bad new is more complicated. Can a player mess up their swing by playing slow pitch? Possibly, but it shouldn’t be a huge concern as long as they continue to work on their usual routine of fastpitch training. The idea that slow pitch is like a permanent change up is a little flawed but can still be used to help players work on staying back and waiting for the ball to get into the hitting zone. The bottom line is hitting is hitting and the swing that makes a great fastpitch hitter will apply to slow pitch as long as the hitter remains consistent in their training.
Should fastpitch players play slow pitch? Of course, if they want to!