A guy I work with is looking for a pitching coach in the New Tampa area. His kid is 8 years old.
Don’t have a clue and not that they know what they are doing but I had a guy that I got hooked up with my kids that I found on craigs list. You know it’s really a crap shoot but the guy I found played for one of the local minor league teams, it worked out great till…he got traded…argh.
My observations with instructors advertising on Craigslist here in Phoenix is that many of them are college or pro guys who are home for the offseason so if you hook up with one of them you will likely be looking for another instructor before long. Some will point out that it’s good to experience different coaches. But there’s also something to be said for having consistency of instruction long enough for things to take hold. Now, this is a generalization - not all instructors advertising on Craiglist are “temporary” instructors. But this gives you something to question propective instructors about.
This is something I never get tired of discussing—finding a pitching coach. whether one is eight or eighteen, or even twenty-eight.
I agree 100% with those who say that consistency is what’s important. A lot of kids go from one pitching coach to another, and so many of those coaches have different ideas, so what is one to think? And how many of those coaches really know what they’re talking about when it comes to dealing with young pitchers who may have different needs—that’s where the “cookie cutter” approach comes in, and doesn’t that add to the confusion and uncertainty? That way lies disaster. Whereas the young pitcher hooks up with one good pitching coach, preferably one with professional experience, and spends several years learning what s/he needs to know in order to become an effective pitcher—that’s getting ahead of the game.
Finding a pitching coach can be a hit-or-miss experience—or it can be a matter of just plain luck. Sometimes it comes about as a result of one’s curiosity, of wanting to know about something in particular. I will never forget the time when I was sixteen, and although I was winning a lot of games and rescuing others with the limited stuff I had (thank God I was a sidearmer and could use the crossfire!), I was wondering what the slider was all about. My curiosity about that pitch led me to play hooky from school (I had just entered my senior year of high school that september of 1951) and go to a Monday afternoon game, which the Yanks won 2-1, and it hit me that winning pitcher Ed Lopat was the one I would need to ask about it. After the game I caught up with him and said, albeit with some trepidation because I had no idea what to expect, that I just wanted to ask him something. His reply, delivered in a calm voice with a hypnotic undertone in it, relaxed me immediately; he said “Go ahead, I’m listening”, and when I said I just wanted to ask him something about the slider, he drew me aside and spent several minutes showing me how to throw a good one. What followed was three-plus years of a wonderful pitching relationship in which I learned things about being a successful finesse pitcher, the value of which can never be measured.
Yes, consistency is what it’s all about—he knew where I was coming from, he knew that I was seriously interested, wanted to know and was willing to work at it, and so he took me in hand, worked with me and helped me become a better pitcher. I would say that a kid who has the good fortune to hook up with a pitching coach who knows his onions—and his fast balls and changeups and what to do with them—is lucky indeed. 8)