Girls throw like their fathers

This is more of an observation than anything else. But teaching as many pitching lessons as I do, I’ve had occasion to watch a lot of girls play catch with their fathers. And it’s amazing how closely the throwing mechanics of the daughter reflect those of her father.

If Dad stands face-forward and pushes the ball, so does his daughter. If Dad wraps his arm around his head when he throws, so does his daughter.

I don’t seem to recall that so much with boys. Not sure why — maybe boys receive more training at an early age, or perhaps they just spend more time throwing on their own. It’s my firm belief that to a boy, duck+rock=throwing practice. A girl would never draw the same conclusion.

In any case, whatever the reason, step back and watch sometime. You’ll see I’m right.

For those of you who are fathers, definitely keep that in mind. However you throw is how your daughter is likely to throw. So if you want your daughter to succeed, work on your own throw first. It could help shortcut her path to being the player she wants and needs to be.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on March 7, 2010, in General Thoughts, Parents, Throwing. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “duck+rock=throwing practice” This made me laugh!One question though. Why don’t girls throw like their mothers? When I have a daughter I sure hope she throws like me because if she throws like my husband her softball career won’t last very long.

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  2. Good question, Shira. I think it’s a matter of how much time the girls spend with their fathers working on their games. In most cases Moms are more substitutes than leads in their daughters’ softball educations, although I certainly know some excellent exceptions. Maybe you’ll be the start of a new trend! Teach her right and give her a real leg up in the softball world.

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  3. I’ll agree to your comment, but please follow up. I understand the concept of thumbs to thumbs for catching above the waste and pinkys to pinkys below the waist. BUT what about the proper stance, before the ball is thrown, squared up or glove foot slightly forward? and how do you teach a girl not to line up her head with the ball so if she misses the ball she doesnt take one on the nose. If you teach her to move her feet to recieve the ball on her throwing arm side. I notice hers (and mine) glove wants to lay sideways like you said. Please respond because I cant live with the fact she could possibly blame me the rest of her life for catching like her father. (ha ha!) Thanks.

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  4. I think you have the basic idea. Keep the hands at chest level to start, and get into an athletic stance. Having the throwing side foot back a little is good, although not required. For the glove up or down, I like them to keep the fingers up as much as they can. For younger players I use a rainbow as a visual — draw the rainbow in the air, and continue to do as the glove comes lower. Remind them also that they can squat to get lower, keeping the glove up longer. Fingers to the sky prevents a ball from bouncing off the heel of the glove and into their face. I like two hands as long as they don’t have to reach for the ball. After that, you get more range using one hand. So if it’s high, below the knees, wide left or right, forget that second hand. Catch it first, throw it second. If the glove is laying down on its own, maybe it’s too heavy. Try turning the wrist in a little more. Hope that helps.

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  5. This is a very interesting trend for sure. I used to throw like my father. I say used to because we realized very young that throwing side arm (how he used to throw to me when I was 3) isn’t very good mechanics for a long and prosperous fastpitch carrier. I’d say that after spending countless hours beside a wall to break my side-arm throwing, I now through like me. My sister and I throw differently – we are different people – and neither of us throws like our father. Of course this may be because we’ve collectively spent more time in pitching and catching clinics, infield scenario clinics and actually playing the game well into our 20’s, and just recently our 30s, we’ve learned to hone that technique at the hand of some incredible coaches – both male and female. I wonder if the same holds true for the batting stance.As for catching a ball – my Dad was a little bit of the tough love guy. Full catching gear while he hit balls at us until we caught it, asking after each miss if it hurt when he drilled it at us and we missed. As we got a little older (like 4) we’d lose a piece of equipment – face mask first, while we learned to move our feet and protect our head. One piece of advice tot he father worried about the catching methods he’s passing on – always go with the rule that you throw and catch in the middle of your body. If you through a ball at someones center-mass, even if they miss it, it will hit something that will not forever cause alteration to their physical appearance =) My Dad taught us that. Plus it at the very least knocks a ball down if you take one in the chest, and doesn’t leave visible marks there. Really great question – I may quantify your statement though. I know too many ladies that play competitive ball who’s fathers are envious of their throwing abilities.

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  6. Pam, nice to hear from you. My observation relates to how they throw organically, i.e. without any particular training. I agree you can train girls into better mechanics. I’ve done that with many. But when girls come in for pitching lessons I often get a chance to see how they throw naturally. They could throw any number of ways, but the tendency is for them to do what their fathers do – for better or for worse. Interestingly, I don’t see the same phenomenon with mothers. I’ve had students whose mothers played ball, and I don’t usually see them throwing like their moms. In some cases to their detriments!

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