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  • Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
    It's great your son is playing well. However, 57, 58 is very slow for a 12U pitcher. 10U's throw in the mid 50's. The better 12's throw at least 65. The fastest are over 70.

    Just my advice, but put the radar gun away until high school.
    I was watching a JV game last night with an 8th grader pitching. The kid was the golden boy in LL because he hit puberty at 10. He throws over 70 and has for a couple years. He's 14 now. I saw nothing but fastballs and asked the coach if he had a change up. He replied "He has to hit the strike zone first." Teach control and a change up before worrying about speed.

    Comment


    • Tough

      Tough weekend for my boy this weekend. We played another tournement and we didn't do very well. Our team won one game and lost the next two games and didn't even place.

      It was bitter bitter cold....I mean colder than a well digger's butt. I don't see how the kids played at all but in all fairness both teams had to play in the same conditions.

      The first night my boy struck out twice and walked...he couldn't buy a hit.
      Over the three games we played he struck out twice and got maybe four or five hits...I'm not really sure. Even the hits he got were what I call cheap hits that weren't hit very hard. None of our kids could hit during this tournement.

      Oh well, this game has a way of humbling you.

      My boy is starting to get frustrated and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. The coach will not let him pitch. We've played two tournements and my boy has pitched one inning the entire time.

      I don't know how to say this because I'm his grandfather but, I really don't understand this coach not letting my boy pitch. I haven't said anything to the coach and I don't plan on saying anything anytime soon. It's his team and I'm sure he has his reasons. But, I know my boy is one of the best pitchers on this team. Only one other kid can throw harder and none of of the other kids can throw the pitches that my boy can throw. He throws a changeup that is unhittable if he hits his spot.

      Anyway, I keep telling my boy to keep working hard and when the coach calls on him to step up and show him what he can do. The problem is my boy is getting frustrated and I'm not sure how to handle it at this point.

      Comment


      • Sometimes you gotta let them figure that out on their own.

        Just continue having him do what he does, and hopefully he'll get his shots, and hopefully he'll shine.
        While I do prefer to interact with people in a gentle manner... I'm also not at all opposed to establishing my dominance in a reign of terror.

        Comment


        • As someone that has been a parent in the stands and now coach on the field. I have seen it from both sides. As a parent I always thought why this or that not happening or why isn't my son getting a chance to pitch. I really couldn't complain much because he did pitch. Just not in games that really counted. Against teams that was no problem to beat. He just threw the ball past all of the players. Never had to work to get outs or pitch out of situations. We just kept on working on different situations and he did get chances to save the games (big games).
          Now as a coach (assistant) I have some questions about player positions or what pitches I call for the pitcher. Sometimes it really comes down to we cant afford to have there son on the mound because we don't have anyone that can play that position that well. I don't tell them that, I just have to listen. What I am trying to say is there is a ton of things going on or playing on the positioning of players. Coaches makes mistakes and a good coach will take and own up to that. If you keep practicing pitching and when your number gets called. Just be ready and show them what you can do!

          Mike

          Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
          Tough weekend for my boy this weekend. We played another tournement and we didn't do very well. Our team won one game and lost the next two games and didn't even place.

          It was bitter bitter cold....I mean colder than a well digger's butt. I don't see how the kids played at all but in all fairness both teams had to play in the same conditions.

          The first night my boy struck out twice and walked...he couldn't buy a hit.
          Over the three games we played he struck out twice and got maybe four or five hits...I'm not really sure. Even the hits he got were what I call cheap hits that weren't hit very hard. None of our kids could hit during this tournement.

          Oh well, this game has a way of humbling you.

          My boy is starting to get frustrated and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. The coach will not let him pitch. We've played two tournements and my boy has pitched one inning the entire time.

          I don't know how to say this because I'm his grandfather but, I really don't understand this coach not letting my boy pitch. I haven't said anything to the coach and I don't plan on saying anything anytime soon. It's his team and I'm sure he has his reasons. But, I know my boy is one of the best pitchers on this team. Only one other kid can throw harder and none of of the other kids can throw the pitches that my boy can throw. He throws a changeup that is unhittable if he hits his spot.

          Anyway, I keep telling my boy to keep working hard and when the coach calls on him to step up and show him what he can do. The problem is my boy is getting frustrated and I'm not sure how to handle it at this point.

          Comment


          • Hi Sparks:

            Let's put this in perspective: 'Four or five hits' and at least one walk in three games of tournament ball in cold weather against pitching that the rest of his team -- comprised of older, better players -- couldn't hit .... well, that doesn't count as a slump in my book. That's gotta be an OBP of at least .400, right? Why should you or he be frustrated? Frevvinsakes, be upbeat about it, both with him and in your own heart.

            On the pitching thing, he'll have plenty of time to get onto the mound. Pitching takes a real toll both physically and emotionally, and it takes a big leap of faith for a coach to put his youngest and smallest player in that position, regardless of how fast he throws or how many different pitches he can throw. Most kids in their first year on a rec ball squad are lucky to get more than 8 or 10 innings on the mound, even if they're big and commanding. Let him just be a ballplayer and contributor on the team for now. The coach has seen him pitch, and complaining about it won't help.

            One thing I've done in the past is, at the end of practice when everyone else is going home, is to put my kid on the mound and let him throw a few pitches to me. It's especially good if you have a fairly new, nice stiff mitt. And, I've got some tricks to make that pocket snap like gunfire when I receive the ball. The coach may not stop to look while he's packing up his gear, but he can listen. Just don't make it too obvious that you're "auditioning" the kid.

            Another chance might be for him to volunteer to pitch batting practice. (And I'd have the offer come from him, not you, so you don't look meddlesome.) That's a perfect time to show off his control, but he shouldn't try to burn it past anyone, with one exception - -maybe. If someone gets a loud hit off him in BP, the next pitch should try to zoom past him, just to let the kid and the coach know he wasn't getting the kid's nastiest stuff. But, showing that he can throw strike after strike on the mound -- and do it with a smile on his face to show that it's not a big strain on him -- goes a long way towards showing a coach he's got maturity and focus to go along with his velocity and pitch variety.

            Pitching is the one skill that good ballplayers can pursue later once their arms settle in. Don't rush it, or get him perturbed if he's not doing it a lot now.
            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
              One thing I've done in the past is, at the end of practice when everyone else is going home, is to put my kid on the mound and let him throw a few pitches to me. It's especially good if you have a fairly new, nice stiff mitt. And, I've got some tricks to make that pocket snap like gunfire when I receive the ball. The coach may not stop to look while he's packing up his gear, but he can listen. Just don't make it too obvious that you're "auditioning" the kid.
              As a Little League coach, I always make time after the games for kids who don't normally pitch but would like the opportunity to throw some from the mound. I realize that not all coaches can do this, but your solution is very good - parents who are involved mean a whole lot to coaches.
              Owner of Driveline Baseball - Seattle, WA

              Comment


              • Ursa,

                Believe me, I understand. I was a coach for a couple of years and I know when you have 9 players on a team then you inherit 18 parents (not including grandparents). It's impossible to keep everyone happy. This is why I haven't said anything to his coach about pitching nor do I plan on saying anything to him. I really know the position he is in.

                My point is my boy... I'm trying to keep him motivated and to keep striving to do better. It's hard for me to do that when he is so frustrated about not being able to pitch.

                I knew going into this travel ball that it would be a challenge for my boy. He's never played on a team when he isn't the best player. He's always been the kid to call on when you needed to get a strikeout or a hit with runners on base to win the game. It isnt' that way anymore. Every kid on this team is as good as him and I think he's finding it hard to adjust.

                So in the end this is my problem not the coaches. I keep telling my boy to keep working hard and when his number is called he can show the coach what he can do. Of course he is 11 years old and he can't see the forest for the trees...all he can see is he doesn't think the coach thinks he is any good because he wont pitch him.

                In the end I think all of this is good for my boy. But the problem I'm having is the longer this goes on the more frustrated he gets and he's actually told me several times he wants to quit playing because he wants to pitch. I don't know what to say to him when he says that....

                Man this thing of raising kids isn't easy...it isn't easy at all.

                Sparks

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post

                  My point is my boy... I'm trying to keep him motivated and to keep striving to do better. It's hard for me to do that when he is so frustrated about not being able to pitch.
                  He needs to stay physically, mechanically and emotionally ready for what might be one chance to pitch. If he excels there will be more chances. If he's not ready and falls on his face it may be the only shot this year.


                  Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                  ... the problem I'm having is the longer this goes on the more frustrated he gets and he's actually told me several times he wants to quit playing because he wants to pitch. I don't know what to say to him when he says that....
                  He's young. It doesn't matter if he doesn't pitch this year. As he grows, if he works in his pitching someone will notice. Also, kids grow at various rates. Today's stud may be next year's dud. Or as my son says "from LL stud to big field spud," for the kids who grew early and stopped growing.

                  Your son needs to remember the game is a marathon, not a sprint. No one is going to remember who the kiddie ball heros were unless it's like this, "Remember when Johnny Early Bloomer was good. He's not very good now."

                  Comment


                  • Sparks,

                    Ok, I understand where your coming from. I have 12u that has been in the travel ball since he was 7u. Different teams over the years and one of the hardest things I think for a kid to learn is different rolls they have to fill on a team.

                    One team my son was had the best avg on the team. But he was also batting 8th in the line up. He wanted to move up in the line up. Took some time for him to understand that in that position teams are going to try to throw the ball by you. So you set dead red on fastball and have fun. If he was batting 3 or 4th in the line up he wouldn't have that luxury. If you can covey to your son that each person has there roll to play on the team. If you take care of your roll then everything will work out. Next season things could and will change. In travel ball you will find tournaments that will stretch out pitching. So be ready at any time.

                    I hope this helps.

                    Comment


                    • Kylebee said: As a Little League coach, I always make time after the games for kids who don't normally pitch but would like the opportunity to throw some from the mound. I realize that not all coaches can do this, but your solution is very good - parents who are involved mean a whole lot to coaches.
                      I think that's a terrific policy and means the world to kids who may not be particularly talented right now. The biggest complaint I hear from many kids is, "I'm a good pitcher and the coach won't even look at me."

                      My son has always been a slow developer and was the youngest kid in his age bracket, just "making" the cutoff to move up. As a 10 year old, his coach encouraged him all year long and gave him the chance to practice pitching after practice. He did fine in one practice game, but when it came time to pitch in a game, he stunk and couldn't find the plate. But, he knew he'd had his chance and was happy about it. And, when it was his turn to pitch two years later, he had that experience behind him and did fine.

                      Sparks, I think a point to bear in mind that your boy's impatience at not pitching right now may come in part from the fact that you seem to put so much emphasis on each game, getting excited when he does well and presumably showing a little disappointment when he doesn't. Kids can tell this. It's got to be more about the process -- if he's doing the right things on the field, then you should treat the results the same regardless of what they are.

                      Ursa Minor started out this season like a ball of fire, as everything he hit seemed to find its way between fielders. I commended his contact but continued to note that he wasn't hitting it all that hard because of flaws in his swing, which we worked on. In the last two games, he hit the ball hard four times but ended up 0-for-6 because he hit it at the wrong fielders, who got him out each time. My attitude (and that of the manager) didn't change -- "hey, you're still swinging well and hitting it hard, so don't worry about it." And so his frustration has pretty much disappeared (at least until our next game comes up).

                      Yes, I know he's enjoyed being the guy that everyone relies on for the big pitch, but sometimes someone else gets that role, in life as well as baseball. I hope your work with him goes beyond just mollifying his disappointment at not being the key pitcher now, but also encourages him to cheer on the guy who is in there without reservation. If he's even talking about wanting to quit baseball because he's not the top banana right now, you've got a real issue on your hands. Your response should not be "Well, I understand how you feel, Sport, but that's the coach's decision evem of we disagree with it." That just validates his belief he should be in there and is entitled to sulk a little. Rather, I'd grab the bull by the horns and say, "Listen, chief, your role is to be the best teammate you can be and, if the coach says to sweep out the dugout, you should do it with as much enthusiasm as you can."

                      Sorry if I sound cranky (it's late), but you've got a good kid and I'd hate to see him get too caught up in his own successes or failures or opportunities right now.
                      Last edited by Ursa Major; 04-10-2007, 02:40 AM.
                      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                        Yes, I know he's enjoyed being the guy that everyone relies on for the big pitch, but sometimes someone else gets that role, in life as well as baseball. I hope your work with him goes beyond just mollifying his disappointment at not being the key pitcher now, but also encourages him to cheer on the guy who is in there without reservation. If he's even talking about wanting to quit baseball because he's not the top banana right now, you've got a real issue on your hands. Your response should not be "Well, I understand how you feel, Sport, but that's the coach's decision evem of we disagree with it." That just validates his belief he should be in there and is entitled to sulk a little. Rather, I'd grab the bull by the horns and say, "Listen, chief, your role is to be the best teammate you can be and, if the coach says to sweep out the dugout, you should do it with as much enthusiasm as you can."
                        UM's got it right. Last year my son and one of his teammates were the two big (in the son's case not physically) studs in LL. They pretty much dominated in all respects. This year my son is on the JV team. He is the second youngest and the smallest by a healthy margin. He may not even get to pitch this year. He recognizes his position and is motivated to show them that he can play with the big boys. He works hard on skills and strengthening outside of practice and hustles in practice. That's all a kid can do.

                        Your boy and mine have one advantage, they were the big dogs once and know how that feels. They want it again. That's all the motivation they should need.
                        Last edited by bbjunkie; 04-10-2007, 06:17 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Ursa,

                          Believe me, BELIEVE ME I do not put an emphases on each game like I do on this board. I'm always ALWAYS ALWAYS POSITIVE TO HIM ABOUT HIS GAME. I'm never negative. When he strikes out I tell him good swing. When he hits a week grounder I tell him way to hit the ball. As a matter of fact after we lost this last tourney I expressed to him how proud I was that he got on base so many times and that he ONLY STRUCK out twice the entire weekend. He also scored a lot of runs and I tried to remind him of that.
                          Bottom line is I let the coaches do the coaching. I think my job is to be a positive factor in his life (especially after the troubles he has grown up with).

                          So believe when I tell you that I absolutely do not put an emphases on any one game or tournament...NEVER!!! (not to him anyway).

                          I appreciate the advice given by others on this thread. I think what it all boils down to is everyone (including myself) is thinking like an adult. This is an 11 year old kid. When he tells me he wants to quit believe me there is no way he means it. It's just his way of "lashing out to try and get his way". I"ll stop right here to make a point....THIS IS WHY I PUT HIM IN TRAVEL BALL. He cannot get his way when all the other players are as good as him...this is the number one lesson I want him to learn. I also want him to push himself to be better also.

                          I might also add.....so far this has worked. The problems we are having with him I fully expected (actually I expected worse).

                          I've said a few of the bad things that have gone wrong with my boy and travel ball now let me tell you some of the good things.

                          1. Never in my life have I seen a kid work as hard as he is working. Every single day he ask me to take him to the ball field and we practice. Just me and him. We work on everything....hitting, grounders, pitching and pop fly's.
                          We spend on average two hours a day five days a week doing this and that does not include practice with his team or any games he may have. This is his choice not mine.

                          2. It is a rule that he must have ALL HOMEWORK done before we go practice. I help him with his homework and then we go to the field (or the backyard).

                          3. We've only played in two tournaments with his new team and I can say without a doubt that my boy is already twice the player he was last year. This isn't because he is older, it is because he is getting better coaching and he is working harder.

                          4. He and I made a list of goals for him to reach. We have three sections on the goal sheet. Obtainable goals, Hard to reach goals and Impossible goals. Impossible goes are throw a no hitter and hit two homers in a game and stuff like that. He has already reached 5 of the goals on his goals sheet. He really loves marking off a goal when he has worked so hard to achieve it.

                          5. He had a personal life-long goal to hit a homerun over the fence. He did it against the best pitcher he has ever faced in a tournament. Not only that it was the bottom of the last inning and we were down by two runs and there was a runner on base. His homerun tied the game and sent us into extra innings and we eventually won the game.

                          6. This one some of you may not like but that is your opinion. Remember, I always stress strikes to him. He had a personal goal of throwing 58 mph (actually his personal goal is to throw 60 mph but we lowered it to 58 so that he might be able to reach it sometime this summer). Yesterday he asked me to get the gun because he wanted to try another goal. He hit 58 mph on the nose. He was ecstatic with joy. After that he said hit me some grounders because he wants to work on defense.

                          7. My wife and I told him if he hit a homerun over the fence we would buy him a new bat. I honestly didn't think he would do it because he is so small, at least not until later in the summer when it got hot. Well, my wife and I didn't have the money after he hit his homer but a promise was a promise so we bought him a new bat. Of course the bat he wanted was almost $200....ouch.

                          8. Finally, his attitude has improved 1000% but he still needs a lot of work. But he has improved.

                          Yesterday I printed out a list of all the tournaments that we may or not play in. There were over 13 pages of them. I told my boy that we will be playing all summer and sooner or later the coach will have to pitch him, he will have no choice. I talked with him and I said lets keep working like we are working and when your number is called you can show what you got. I told it to him like this....I said when you finally pitch I want to hear the coach say....WHY HAVEN'T WE BEEN PITCHING HIM?
                          It's always better to reach a goal after you've worked harder for it. I believe my boy has the stuff to be the number 1 pitcher on the team. Maybe he will get the chance to show it before long.

                          In the end I'm proud of my boy. He's worked harder than any kid I've ever coached. Yes there are ups and downs, good times and bad but when he hit that homerun over the fence it was all worth it. He still has a tooth missing, one of his baby teeth that hasn't grown back yet, and when he was running around the bases with his arms in the air I pretty much lost it. There was something about seeing that smile with the tooth missing that just ate me up. It was something only a grandparent can know the feeling of when we've spent hundreds of hours talking and practicing baseball.

                          I lay in bed at night wondering if I'm doing the right things. I want him to have everything that life has to offer and I often wonder if I've made a mistake along the way. When he throws a fit my first thoughts aren't how bad he is acting but WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG? I don't know, I beat myself up wondering if I'm doing right but in the end all I can do is what I THINK is right. It is my hope that someday he will realize that every breathe I take is for no other reason than to give him a happy life. It's really all I care about. Right now he doesn't appreciate anything that I do for him or anyone else for that matter. He is going through life with blinders on. Maybe, someday, the blinders will be lifted and he will see that the only purpose I have for what ever remains of my life is to see that he is ready to face the world.

                          So thanks for all the tips...believe me I listen to every single person....EVERYONE.


                          Sparks

                          Comment


                          • Sparks and everyone else who have posted in this thread:

                            Thanks and please keep it up!

                            I have to admit that reading this tread and all the wonderful comments and support that it contains has really been a life saver at time. As a parent of a player, it is very difficult to keep things in perspective and to know how to handle situations for and with my son. By reading and listening to what is passed along here, it has helped me many times in the past year or so. This season so far has been very difficult for my son, wife and I. His new coach, first year coach, for his last year of middle school ball has been a nightmare and just about drained his desire to keep playing. The only bright spot is that it is over next week and he will get the opportunity to play on the HS summer team soon. It has not failed that when we have had a difficult day, I have either found this thread or a new post has been added to it, and some store or piece of advice has helped me to relax and put things into a more proper perspective. I am finding that this parenting thing is fairly difficult and really appreciate the help!

                            Comment


                            • dw8

                              I wish you well with your son and I hope that he doesn't lose interest in Baseball.

                              best wishes

                              Sparks

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by dw8man View Post

                                This season so far has been very difficult for my son, wife and I. His new coach, first year coach, for his last year of middle school ball has been a nightmare and just about drained his desire to keep playing.
                                A player should never allow a coach to drive him out of a game he loves. What happens if he develops into a good player, loves the game and the high school varsity coach is a jerk? The answer is he has to be mentally tough.

                                You said it's been a difficult year for your wife and you as well. While it's natural to want to protect a child, an eight grader is a budding young adult. Let go a little and let him handle the battles a little more himself. Let him come to you when he can't sort it out himself. Then when he asks you for advice the first thing you should say it "What do you think?" The second is "Why?"

                                My son has been there. There's a coach in his path in another sport at the high school who was a problem for him in travel. My son mentioned quitting. Then he decided he's not quitting. He's either going to prevail or is going to make the coach knock him out of the game. He's refusing to remove himself.

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