Identifying elite pitchers
Marc Dagenais put up an interesting post on his Softball Performance blog. In it he identifies the characteristics he would use to determine whether an 11 or 12 year old has the potential to be an elite pitcher. It’s based on his experience in training, as a grad student, and coaching.
I looked at the list and I would agree with everything he says. It does seems like those are the characteristics for an elite pitcher. The thing that might discourage many people about the list, though, is if they see their daughter doesn’t have some or all of those characteristics. Does that mean she shouldn’t pitch?
Not necessarily, in my opinion. First of all, most of those attributes are true regardless of position. Becoming an elite player takes more than hard work or wanting to play at
UCLA ASU. There’s a certain amount of good fortune involved. As I told my own daughter last night, certain people in the college game did a better job of picking their parents than she did.
The point is, she doesn’t have any particular desire to be an elite player, but she does love to play and does love to pitch. The attributes she does have lend themselves to being successful at the level to which she aspires to play. You don’t have to be everything on the list to pitch. You mostly have to want to, and be willing to work at it. Those things are required regardless of the level.
People fanatical enough to hang out on softball boards and read softball blogs often hope their daughters will be the next Cat Osterman. But those players are rare. Fastpitch softball is a huge sport, though, with a great many levels to it. There’s a place for everyone who wants to play.
If your daughter wants to be an elite player, definitely check out the list and see how she measures up. It’s a great level set. But if she doesn’t, don’t sweat it. Just make sure she does the things to be successful at the level she can compete at. That’s the single best thing you can do for her.