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Parent/Player Relationship: How to Make or Break a Pitcher Mentally

Sep 15, 2020

To the parents: 

You have the power to motivate your daughter to be the best person she can be on and off the field, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I might be biased, but pitching is the most complicated position to master, especially at a young age. It takes not only your daughter putting in the work and effort to understand all concepts of becoming a pitcher but you too. Be her number one supporter. Motivate her. Let her know that softball is ONLY a game. This sport is meant to be fun. The minute you see your girl struggle emotionally, take a pause. Let her breathe. Do not over stimulate her. There is a difference when a girl is a mentally exhausting verse being disrespectful and rude. Understand how your daughter thinks and find a way to communicate with her in a way that does not make her shut you out. The minute you raise your voice at her due to “poor performance” she will shut you out. If you see that start to happen, don’t show anger. Show grace. Show her that you are proud of her and all you ask is for her to give 100% every day. Be a proud parent whether she shut the lights out that day or walked 5 batters in a row. Let her know it is okay to have an off day!!! Softball is a game of failure... and a pitcher is involved in every failure and every reward. It takes a lot for a pitcher to deal with that pressure. My dad never yelled at me for my performance. He would yell at me if I had an attitude and was being disrespectful but never yelled if I had an off day on the field. My favorite phrase he said to me when I was on the mound was, “Next pitch!” That was short for, “The only thing that matters is the next pitch.” One of my forever favorite quotes. Forget about the strikeout. Forget about the grand slam. Focus on the next pitch, that’s the only thing that matters at this moment. You are spending countless hours at the ball field every weekend, spending insane amounts of money... if you see your daughter miserable, let her know it is okay if she wants to stop playing. If her heart is not in it, don’t let her see you break if she is second-guessing being a pitcher. Don’t live your dream through your daughter. Let her live her own dream and support her decisions. I promise that she will respect you that much more and you will see a “light bulb” go off in her head once she realizes that all you want to see is her having fun. The endless support on and off the mound will stay with her forever. 


To a pitcher: 

Your parents are you are FULL-time coaches. They come to your games, practices, lessons, etc. They see you on and off the field. Let them help you. Let them talk to you. Let them give you advice here or there. They wouldn’t be telling you something they didn’t hear from your pitching coach. They are spending ENDLESS amounts of money & time to let you play softball, let alone be a pitcher. Do not shut them out. I refuse to let my pitchers be rude to their parents during a lesson. I refuse. There is a difference between a parent screaming at you verse asking a question or making a comment. Do not get defensive. Find a way to communicate with them that works best for you. Maybe set a “24-hour rule” for after games. If mom or dad have a question about something you did in a tournament and you are exhausted after playing 5 games in a row, you could politely say, “Can we please talk about this tomorrow. I’m physically and emotionally drained. I just need some time to decompress.” My parents studied softball and pitching throughout my entire career. The way I coach now is the way my dad tried to help me when I was 10 years old... and I shut him down. I regret the last 12 years not even making an attempt on rotating my hips when I fire through the ball. All I had to do was try it ONE time. And I didn’t want to listen to him. I was wrong. Be coachable with your coaches and your parents. Be experimental. Be open-minded. Just because your coach says one thing and your parent has a different opinion doesn’t mean mom or dad is wrong. They are trying to understand. They are learning with you. Show them grace. Always be respectful. I promise you will want a close bond when you are older. I am now a 22-year-old adult and I can proudly say my mom and dad are two of my best friends. I can thank softball for the bond we share. Traveling all over the country as a family so that I could live my dream to be a college pitcher. They always had my best interest at heart. They made my dreams become my reality. And your parents want to do the same for you! 

#ShowGrace #BeRespectful #LoveAlways #DR3Pitching 

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Thank you - Coach D

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