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Why we let players call pitches

by Stacie ~ October 5th, 2017. Filed under: Softball Pitching, Stacie's Thoughts, Youth Softball.

Amanda Scarborough explained it perfectly in her article The Power of Shaking Off.” I’m going to leave most of the talking to her on this topic.

Before I do that, I just want to say that I’ve heard all kinds of “reasons” why coaches don’t let players call …

  • Not even college players call their own pitches
  • Even the best coaches do the pitch calling for their team
  • It’s too much pressure for the players
    etc, etc, etc

I call BS on all of it.

I’ve never played on a team, not even in college, where the coach called all the pitches. I will admit, that was a long time ago and perhaps the game has changed since then. Though I would hope that we are moving toward INCREASED player competence, not less!

Do some very good coaches call? Yes, but you don’t know THEIR reasons why! So don’t assume it’s because that’s just what “should” be done in every and all situations.

Also, some people seem to think that it’s EITHER coaches are in full control of it all OR players are in full control, but this is NOT just an either/or scenario. Coaches having full control (one end of the spectrum) or players having full control (the other end of the spectrum) are NOT the only two options available!

I’m not at all suggesting that all players should always be able to call their own pitches all the time with zero guidance and/or coaching from anyone. Again, Amanda Scarborough touches upon the kind of PROCESS that can lead to empowering players in this way. Read the article

Every time I read an article like this from Amanda Scarborough (she has a number of excellent ones on her blog), I am simply amazed by the level of wisdom she shares 🙂

She is absolutely SPOT ON in this article!

Here are some of my favorite parts …

***As a pitcher, I’ve never understood a coach’s philosophy of NOT allowing pitchers to shake off a called pitch.

I, personally, never played for a coach that said, “Never shake me off,” or “You better throw what I’m calling.” 90% of being a successful pitcher does from feeling confident…feeling good….feeling comfortable.

How do you feel those things? By being 100% invested in WHAT you are going to throw the next pitch.

The slightest bit of uncertainty will show in your pitch if you are not fully committed.***

Exactly!

***When the pressure is on, bases loaded, playing the best team you’ve played all year, tie game, one pitch can make the difference, and I got to be the one who had the last say. Pretty awesome when you think about it – giving a young woman that much power and leadership at a young age.***

On point again! Too many coaches want to keep the power for themselves rather than developing it within the young ladies they work with. Why? Are we not here to help THEM learn and grow into all they can be?

***When you have coaches who allow you to think for yourself and help you learn HOW to think for yourself, you grow as a pitcher; you grow as a young woman.

You learn to trust your gut instinct. Being able to trust your gut is such an important trait to have in life and that gut instinct can be a pitcher’s best friend and your inner guide. That instinct does not always come naturally, it progresses and can be felt over time … As with anything in life, the more you practice calling your own game, the better you get at it. Little by little you start to trust that feeling in your stomach more.***

Go ahead and read that one again. It’s SO incredibly valuable! So freaking powerful. Why would we NOT do this?

Let’s just say this article is an absolute MUST READ and it even covers how all these issues relate to REAL LIFE. There are SO many decisions that WE, as coaches and parents, make every day that are unintentionally UNempowering (is that even a word?).

Go read this article now

There are so many situations in which we want to control it all. We want to tell young ladies what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and insist that they just do as we say. But there are SO MANY REASONS why that is NOT in their best interest. Amanda Scarborough covers that and more right here.

Enjoy!

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About the Author
Stacie Mahoe shares lessons learned from decades around the diamond. Enjoy her unique insights on softball and life from years as a player, coach, parent, and fan of the game.

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