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Coaching Pitchers

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How to choose a Pitching Coach
by Lou Gareis and Darlene Gareis Truesdale

Choosing a pitching coach for your daughter is probably the most important thing, you as a caring parent will do for her softball career. Great care must be taken to choose one that both your daughter and you will be satisfied with over the years. I have seen many pitchers switch from one pitching coach to another. They will start out with someone who will teach them to throw just fastballs, ( usually with bad form), then, when they are ready to learn drops, risers and other pitches they are told " I can’t teach you those pitches, you’ll have to go someplace else, Sorry!

Many of these pitchers will already have shoulder and / or back problems because they are being taught incorrectly by well intentioned coaches who just don’t know. Many fathers, or so called pitching coaches will try to teach by purchasing a film from one of the softball magazines. While this method is better than nothing, it will not take the place of hands on teaching from a reputable experienced pitching coach. The coach you choose should be someone who can teach your daughter through her whole career up to college, if she chooses to go that far.

There are many, "so called", pitching coaches you will want to avoid. Here are some questions you want to ask your daughter’s potential pitching coach.

1. How many years have you been teaching women’s style fastpitch?

This is important because there are many men’s fastpitch pitchers out there teaching incorrectly. Women throw different then men. There are also many new coaches coming out of the woodwork, since fastpitch has become so popular.

2. How many girls are you now teaching?

If your coach isn’t teaching 25 to 50 students, maybe he or she is just getting started or has a hard time keeping students. You don’t want to be their first experiment in teaching.

3. What are your credentials?

Has your coach pitched, where? when? for who? and were they successful?
Many coaches in South Carolina have never pitched, or they only know men’s style. Keep in mind that just because you were a good pitcher, doesn’t mean you’ll be a good pitching coach!

4. How many successful Pitchers have you coached?

This is very important. Many coaches have never had a pitcher who achieved any type of success other than Little League or one or two pitchers in a local High School. A good pitching coach should be able to give you detailed list of pitchers they have coached that have been successful in High School and in "A" ASA summer ball.

5. How many of your pitchers have received College Scholarships?

This is a must question and shows that this coach has the ability to take your young pitcher to the top level. If your potential pitching coach can not give you a list of their pitchers that have received scholarships, with names, phone numbers and names of Colleges to verify, then maybe you should move on.
There are many good pitching coaches in South Carolina, in the Upper State, the Midlands and the LowCountry who can show you a list with many names.

6. What do you charge?

Rates should be fair. We have seen some outrageous rates for clinics and private lessons. We’ve seen rates range from free to $60.00 per hour for private lessons. Some clinics can run into the hundreds of dollars.
Free lessons can indicate the pitching coach is just starting out or they aren’t sure of themselves. High rates for private lessons could indicate not many students. Reasonable rates are available, look around!

If you presently have a pitching coach that doesn’t meet all the above criteria, don’t hesitate to change immediately. Your young pitchers health and future are more important than causing hurt feelings. If you would like to have one recommended,call one of our local ASA summer teams and ask for a reputable pitching coach. There are good experienced pitching coaches in the area.  

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