I know that’s what everyone loves to say but it’s not realistic and I for one don’t think the “so long as they are having fun” method is really what’s best for kids.
Now, I am not saying it should be life or death or win at all cost by any means. But kids should to some degree be pushed to do their best and strive to be better and getting better means having some sort of measurement. It also means having some standards beyond are they smiling. I mean there are kids that just don’t get it who are up there throwing 70% balls who are thrilled with it.
One of the best things boys can learn by pitching is the relationship of work and effort to results and how to compete both with others and themselves. They also can learn to fail (especially that there is a possibility of failing) and how to move past it. It’s actually something I think schools do a pretty lousy job at. Kids who aren’t doing well move into IEP’s and still get good grades. Taking that away from sports and making it about smiles is doing a disservice to kids in my view.
Pitching is a wonderful life lesson in that most kids with any aptitude for it are going to see progression in line with their effort. When a kid puts in effort (real, focused effort) they will see results. Strike % will rise. Walks will drop. Taking the time to learn a new pitch can shorten AB’s and raise K rates. Even comparing them to their teammates (oh the horror won’t someone think of the children) teaches a lesson. You want to explain to a kid the results they get from their work show them how they improved relative to kids that just work at practice and in games. When they improve faster than their peers they will understand why their going outside to throw three or four days a week while their teammates are playing xbox matters. Numbers are part of accountability.
Ultimately while one isn’t here to win necessarily at the young ages you at least owe it to yourself and kids/players to teach them how to get everything out of themselves. Understanding measures of success and failure is how they hold themselves accountable and see the results of their work or lack therof.