The Properties of Getting Pulled (As a Pitcher) Written By Shannon Murray
Every passionate pitcher known to the world of softball goes into a game with a game plan…a WHOLE game plan. When we are called to the mound, we are under the assumption that we are taking on all 7 innings. The game goes on and things aren’t going as planned. What happens next? A lot of times, we get pulled and a relief pitcher comes in our place. This is the farthest thing from what we wanted starting the game. But the reality is, it’s going to happen and it’s all a part of the game. It’s not the end of the world. And guess what… It’s not about you! The choice to pull a pitcher from the game is about what’ best for the team and what’s going to help the team win in that specific game.
Trust me, I know that getting pulled off the mound is not fun. You can feel disappointed, guilty, angry, embarrassed, or even jealous of the relief pitcher that is taking your spot…your spotlight. However, these are not the thoughts we should be having as pitchers. As a pitcher, whether you see it or not, you are usually seen as some sort of leadership role. Your teammates need to see you as positive, productive, constructive and supportive. After getting pulled do you really think it’s the best idea to drop your head, get mad, throw your glove in the dugout or pout? Absolutely not. When you have a bad attitude about getting pulled, you are affecting the rest of the team. Ignoring or scolding the relief pitcher isn’t going to help the situation either. How do you think that makes the other pitcher feel? She’s already coming into a pressure situation of getting the defense out of a jam, and your poor attitude towards her can’t ease her nerves. As she comes out, YOU give her the ball, a few pointers on the ump’s strike zone and a simple “you got this” as you HUSTLE (not walk) off the field. You not only gave that pitcher a boost of encouragement to go on, but you showed character to the rest of your teammates by holding your head high. By giving the relief pitcher tips on the strike zone you were also productive and constructive to the team. Those little things will make the difference.
Remembers this too, being taken out of pitching doesn’t mean you were pitching badly. It’s about strategy. Different teams are better at hitting some pitchers than others. If you’re in a game getting hammered, it doesn’t always mean you weren’t hitting your targets. It could be that the other team is just good at hitting your style of pitching (whether it’s how fast you are, the kind of movement that you put on the ball, what your best pitches are, etc.). Bringing in a different pitcher serves the purpose of showing the opposing team something different. Their batting line up needs a little shaking up. If you keep pitching, realistically, they are going to keep hitting you. It is not a swing at your pitching or intended to offend you by pulling you out. Pulling out a pitcher is purely strategy. All you can do from there is play your role as a leader and do whatever your team needs you to do. Your job now could range playing another position, to designated hitting, or even standing on the fence cheering on your teammates that are playing. Whatever it is, you do it 100%, with all of your passion and with every ounce of energy as if you were still on the mound.
So remember pitchers, your teammates need you on and off the mound. The kind of attitude choices you make will reflect how they see you. Being in the center circle also means being center of attention and everyone is always watching you. Be a reflection of good character to look at and not one of poor attitude. So the next time you get pulled, stay positive.
Shannon Murray Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, Shannon graduated in June 2013 from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. She played four years as a starting Pitcher and Utility player for the Vikings. She is now an Assistant Coach at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. Going on 9 years of coaching experience, this is her first position at the collegiate level. She plans on coaching for many years to come and give back to the sport that gave so much to her.
Shannon’s ultimate goal is to teach her players that they are astounding young women with the potential to be great softball players through hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
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