Why Do You Do That??? Written By Troy Olson
I am no world class pitcher by any means or reason, I am just a guy that has always been a third pitcher on the team or an emergency type guy. If nobody else shows up to our league games that can pitch or cares to pitch, then I step in and do what I can, sometimes its good and sometimes its a disaster… As I have ventured in to the world of coaching, I have noticed more and more coaches calling pitches from the dugout….
I guess that this isn't new, as I have noticed college coaches doing this for as long as I can remember watching softball on TV. My question is WHY? What is this purpose of having a coach sitting on a bucket in the dugout calling pitches??? Do we feel that these pitchers and catchers aren't experienced enough to know what pitch to throw?
So why am I against this you ask? Well for one, every situation is different when you are on the mound, every ball is different in the game. What you say, yes every softball is different, some have higher seams, some are heavier than others, some are scuffed up a little, some are slick. So what if I have a ball with low seams and you call a rise ball from the dugout, if this is a slick ball with low seams I cant throw that pitch effectively. I might be able to throw that pitch 4 out of 10 times with that ball, but that won't cut it against great hitters.
What if the pitcher notices that the batter opens their stance, or the batter grips the bat a little different, what if you call a drop ball and I notice the batter slide their hands a bit in the box wanting to bunt, we need a rise ball in this situation. These are things that a pitcher and catcher need to be able to work together on, these are game time adjustments that we have to make. Maybe with a runner on base I have more confidence in my change up than my drop ball, don't you want your pitcher to throw their most comfortable and confident pitch in this situation? Maybe I want to throw a change up so the ball goes to third base, because I have more confidence in that fielder to get us out of the inning…
I think that at a certain point you as a coach need to have faith in your players, at the college level the pitcher and catcher should be able to call the game. Talk about the situations between innings with the athletes, maybe I am just not a control freak and that's why I don't do this. Or maybe its because I would hate this if I were the pitcher, out there waiting for my catcher to get a sign from the dug out. How do you ever get into a groove pitching if you have to wait for someone to decide what you are going to throw next? What if I want to quick pitch a batter that screws around in the batters box? There is just too many situations that the pitcher needs to control, and waiting for you spitting seeds on a five gallon bucket to send in a called pitch isn't one of them….
Troy Olson has been playing mens fastpitch since he was 11. He grew up in a family of fastpitch players. His dad had 7 brothers and a cousin that made up their team in the 70's and 80's. This is his 30th year of playing this wonderful game. He helps coach a 16u team and is a member of their softball board. He has played in three National Tournaments over the years. His team the Siren Steel had his Dad playing 3rd, his cousin played SS, his brother played 2nd, his uncle pitched, and a couple cousins played outfield, and Troy played 1st. It was an awesome experience getting to play with his Dad.
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