Fastpitch ability is also in the eye of the beholder
Regular readers know how much I love a good fastpitch softball success story. With the tryout season upon us I have a great one to share.
This one involves one of my pitching students, a girl who was 10U eligible but played up on an 11U or 12U team. (I’m old school, so I don’t really buy into the odd-numbered levels, but they seem important to others.)
Anyway, she isn’t the biggest kid in the world, so pitching at 40 feet instead of 35 and throwing a 12 inch ball instead of an 11 inch one was a bit challenging. She probably could’ve dominated hitters in 10U ball. She worked hard in lessons throughout the off-season, though, and got herself prepared.
Unfortunately, the season didn’t go quite as expected. Although the coach recruited her hard during tryouts, convincing her parents to have her play up and not even try out for the 10U team, when the season rolled around he just didn’t seem to have much use for her. I saw her pitch a game and she actually did her job. But her team had trouble making basic fielding plays, and struggled more than they should have. They won, as I recall, but it was tough.
After that she had a tough time getting playing time, either in the circle or on the field. Weekend after weekend she’d come to the games only to watch most of them from the bench. She was very discouraged, and her mom told me she was in tears on a regular basis. She even thought about giving up.
The last two weekends she’s been trying out with some new teams, and it’s been a completely different story. In fact, both teams she’s worked out for so far made offers right away, and are very interested in having her pitch for them next year. She’s gone from unappreciated and discouraged to having her choice of teams for which to play.
There’s a lesson in there for other players, and for all of us, really. While you always want to be working on your game, sometimes it isn’t you. It’s just someone else’s perception of you. Keep working hard, keep battling, and you’ll come out ahead in the end.