A very different experience
Last night I was out teaching as usual. Only four lessons thanks to the start of the HS season, starting with an eight year old and finishing with a high schooler. During that last one Ashlee was working on her movement pitches, and broke off a particularly nasty curve ball. The curve is probably her most reliable movement pitch, and she can do wonders with it.
After throwing the pitch, a guy came walking up and asked “Wow! Was that a curve ball?” He then told me he and some of his buddies play men’s fastpitch in Wisconsin, and none of them would’ve wanted to go up against that. He also mentioned that two of the guys with him were their pitchers. Then he went back to hitting, and we finished the lesson.
After I packed up, I went by just to say goodbye to the guy (Matt) since I hadn’t had much chance to talk during the lesson. He and the two pitchers stopped what they were doing and asked what grip Ashlee was using for the curve. I showed them, at which point Matt got out his digital camera and asked if he could take pictures of that and the grips for a couple of other pitches.
One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was giving an impromptu (and free) lesson to the pitchers on how to throw a backhand changeup. We didn’t take a long time, but I did explain some of the principles and things to follow, demonstrated it (poorly I might add — I really need to do warm-ups before I start doing demos) then each of them tried it. It was rough, but they picked up the basics pretty quickly. With some work they should have a nice, new pitch come this spring.
That’s the first time I’ve ever worked with men’s fastpitch pitchers. It was definitely different. For one thing, they were both taller than me. I got the impression they were both self-taught too, mostly playing for fun.
In any case, I had a good time working with them. Maybe they’ll wander up to Grand Slam again some Wednesday night and we can talk more softball. You just never know where life — or fastpitch softball — will take you.