Fastpitch softball has become a huge sport for women over the past twenty years. Although the sport is no longer an Olympic sport, it can be found as a program in almost every high school and university in the United States. A lot of girls benefit from receiving scholarships to college every year for the ability to play. The position that almost always gets the most scholarship money is the softball pitcher. If your daughter plays softball and you think she would make a good pitcher, it is important to be able to identify whether she would be suited for that position. As a parent of a softball player you are sometimes confronted with the question: What chance does my daughter have of becoming a good pitcher? No parent wants to encourage an athlete who has no reasonable chance of succeeding at an athletic endeavor, and this is true of pitching which requires a huge commitment of time and effort.
You first have to consider the physical attributes of a pitcher. Pitching is not that much different than any other athletic activity requiring a high level of skill development. The good athlete has an advantage in that she learns the skills quicker and is more likely to stay with it. Also, the good athlete will probably reach a high level of proficiency much sooner. Just like any other sport, given enough time, the less talented athlete who has superior emotional attributes may actually reach a high lever even though the talented play has more potential.
The speed at which a player can throw the ball is determined in part by a number of physical attributes. These include the size of the player, her strength, her quickness and her flexibility. That's not to say you should only encourage the big players to pitch. Small players have their place on the mound too. Ball control is of the utmost importance to a pitcher. Some players take a long time to master ball control, a few learn very fast and still others just never learn.
Emotional attributes play a big part. Rarely does a pitcher reach her physical limits while playing at the youth level. More often, the best pitchers at this level are those who have superior emotional attributes. The player who is willing to work hard to develop her natural ability may be more successful at this level than the player with superior physical attributes. The advantage of superior physical attributes becomes more apparent at the collegiate and adult levels of play.
Some emotional qualities of a successful pitcher may be described as follows:
Dedication-- The player must be willing to give the time and make the effort necessary to learn proper pitching mechanics. A pitcher can not reach her potential unless she decides that pitching is important to her and she is motivated to dedicate adequate time and effort.
Determination--There is bound to be many disappointments along the way to a successful pitching career, the player must have the guts to overcome these and continue working to become a better pitcher. Any athlete who needs immediate success to keep going probably will not. Windmill pitching is a difficult skill to learn and progress can be very slow at times. It requires an enormous amount of practice before one is skilled enough to even compete in a game. A pitcher must be able to throw a reasonable percentage of strikes before she is ready to pitch a game.
Coachability--A pitcher who is never satisfied with their performance and is always trying to improve is receptive to learning new techniques. It is very common for a player to settle at an acceptable level of proficiency and stop listening to the coach who is trying to move her from this comfortable level to a higher one. The player has to be able to take constructive criticism.
Self-control--Pitching a game is a test of one's self control. A pitcher must stay relaxed and focused to pitch effectively and the forces at play in a game will challenge one's ability to do this. You have to be able to maintain control of emotions regardless of the events that may occur. Self-confidence as an athlete and a person helps a great deal. Some talented players just do not have this ability and should not subject themselves to the pressures of being a pitcher.