I often watch games and hear parents/coaches/players seem to have the game of fastpitch softball confused with other sports like Soccer and Hockey and seem to encourage players, or reinforce behaviors that are best suited for the position of “goalie.” A goalie of course has a pretty singularly defined objective of “not letting the puck/ball get into the goal.” In softball that would correlate to “don’t let the ball get into the catcher’s mitt.”

The problem I see with that thought process is that goalies don’t ever get to score points themselves. If a player approaches the plate with an overwheling desire to just stop the ball getting into the catcher’s mitt she is going to take a defensive swing that is late and slow and the odds that she does anything offensive are really low.

These “goalies” typically put the ball in play to first or second and generally on the ground. While that is perfect if there is a player on third base, it is pretty much useless if the girl ever wants to get on base herself. My heart breaks when parents of my students start conversations after weekend tournaments with “My DD didn’t strike out at all this weekend.” While it is admirable not to strike out, the problem is that when prompted the conversation then becomes “no base hits, but at least no strikeouts.” Those joy filled announcements from parents just reinforce to their DD that the #1 goal they have for them is to “be a goalie.”

I encourage players, parents and coaches to change their thought process. To realize that in the batters box the player should be singularly be thinking about OFFENSE. Their goal should be to attack the ball, and crush it. Do something to the ball that will actually cause it to produce runs.

In order to actually be aggressive in the batter’s box though a player, her coach and her parent’s must be willing to face the fact that if you go on the attack, sometimes the ball will be missed and a strikeout could take place.

I encourage all of you to change your focus from protecting the catcher’s mitt, to attacking the ball.

Category : Hitting | Blog