The Secret to Coaching an Ace Softball Pitcher | STACK Coaches and Trainers

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

The Secret to Coaching an Ace Softball Pitcher

May 28, 2013 | Bonnie L. Gasior

Must See Softball Videos

Physical talent doesn't always translate onto the field, especially the softball mound. Softball pitchers must possess the ability not just to hit the corners and follow through on every pitch but also to always be mentally prepared.  (Find out: Are You Mentally Tough?)

The importance of mental preparation

An aerial view of any playing field symbolically depicts the pitcher as the center of the action. Before every pitch, a pitcher must quickly evaluate the situation, formulate an attack plan and communicate it to the other players. This type of leadership can be stressful for a young player. Often, when a game takes a turn for the worse, pitchers internalize the blame.

Being mentally prepared ideally allows pitchers to have a high level of mental and emotional toughness. Coaches can develop this in their pitchers by working on growing their confidence. We as coaches tend to devote all our energy to the physical aspects of the game. That's important. But with our pitchers in particular, we also need to spend time on the mental side. (Learn How to Coach Confidence Not Cockiness.)

How to develop a pitcher's confidence

Provide ongoing feedback

This doesn't have to be only positive. No pitcher is perfect and as a coach it's your job to teach. Formulate your feedback as either well-deserved praise or constructive criticism. Just always avoid negative tones. (Review these 3 Tips on Providing Feedback to Your Players.)

Allow her to call pitches

By doing this, you demonstrate trust and belief in her physical and mental capabilities on the mound. Once she gains experience and proves herself, reward her with additional innings.

Nurture a pitcher/catcher relationship

Successful pitcher/catcher relationships are seamless and productive. The two trust each other's instincts and decisions. To develop this type of bond, allow your pitcher and catcher to work in collaboration, calling pitches during practice and games. Off the field, have them communicate their preferences in certain game situations. Once your team has a considerable lead, allow your players to call their own shots. (See Developing Trust Between Pitcher and Catcher.)

Periodically perform video post-game analysis

A pitcher needs to understand that a batter's ability is directly correlated with her position in the lineup and in the batter's box. She must simultaneously acknowledge the impact of potential base runners. As you review a video, pause it and analyze certain scenarios. Ask things like, "What would you throw this girl? She is batting third and is hugging the plate a bit. Bases are empty." Ask and field as many questions as necessary until you sense your pitcher understands why she needs to think quickly and intelligently.

Be a great coach

A successful fast-pitch softball ace is only as good as the person coaching her. Your pitcher looks up to, respects and wants to impress you—sometimes just as much as she wants to do well in every game. If you enable her to develop in an encouraging environment (with an equal focus on technique and psychology), you increase her chances of thriving and in turn, boost your own chance of winning.

For more help in developing a pitcher, I highly recommend Alan Goldberg's book, Using Your Head To Play Championship Softball. This a great read for coaches and their pitchers, providing insight from a scientific perspective.

Must See
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,083,698
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,193,833
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 2,223,229

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

This might sting a little if you are a coach or athlete, but too often the biggest rewards fall to the least deserving actions. This occurs when we...

Franco Harris

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

Teach Your Athletes How to Set Goals

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

Craig Breslow

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

7 Reasons to See

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

8 Insanely Tough Displays of Athlete Perseverance

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

The Secret to Coaching an Ace Softball Pitcher

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season