This word has many meanings to many people – but in youth athletics it’s sometimes a two side coin flip that lands heads down for the kids involved. A problem that has thin a vale of loyalty, bragging rights, history, tenure, and vacant spot in the ole trophy case that’s itch’n for a coach’s name on it.
I’m now addressing everyone of you youngsters that are in this season’s routine and you’d be wise to take a moment and jot down some notes here.
If I were your pitching coach or an assistant or even your head coach and I was to direct you to conduct your next practice session in the passing lane of the nearest interstate, you would more than likely tell me where I could put my practice session …
It’s obvious to you that the interstate … passing lane or not, is the last place you’d want to be. Somebody could get hurt! Not only that, but my judgment as a coach would come into play immediately and any future advice would be discounted as well. The bottom line here is that I would have shown you no respect for your safety, no respect for your health, and no respect for other things in your life … like your future career goals, etc.
However, somehow when you’re playing baseball on a team and your assumed to pitch 150 or more pitches in one game, or pitch 130 pitches Monday then pitch another 130 pitches Tuesday… well no one speaks up and says whoaaaa! And you know what … you as a “kid” normally won’t object because if you set a pitch count limit for yourself … you’ll be labeled a kid that can’t go the distance … not a team player … a cry baby … momma’s boy… and a host of other phrases. Now here’s a sad fact - some youth coaches thrive on this stupidity. In fact, this “using you” is found from 10 – 12 baseball all the way through high school ball.
Coaches that employ this kind of ignorance do so deliberately … or out of inexperience. Either way, their going home with no skin off their nose … you on the other hand will have issues that will haunt you well on into adulthood.
So look, there is a section on Steve’s web site about pitch counts and their reasonability … and why. This posting was done by someone who not only has experience in this area but … without even knowing YOU has RESPECT for YOU.
You respect you coach(s) because of their game knowledge and their ability to improve your playing skills. They should respect your age and physical limitations and your horizons that will see a sun rise some day well beyond the ball field. Competing aggressively is a good thing when channeled professionally – when not, it lacks the very foundation of youth coaching …RESPECT.
GO TO THE SECTION ON THIS WEB SITE ABOUT PITCH COUNTS - FIND WHAT’S REASONABLE FOR Y0UR AGE AND LEVEL OF COMPETION AND USE IT … STICK TO IT.
Coach John A. Baker