Having a daughter who pitches is a huge investment of time, but also a huge investment of finances. In addition to equipment and travel team fees, you are also paying for lessons and cross-training. All of that can really add up.
It can therefore be really tempting to skimp a little bit on lessons. You might do them less frequently, or you might (gasp!) go to someone who “knows about pitching,” and does lessons inexpensively. You might say, “I don’t need lessons! There are groups on the internet where I can learn!” or “I can learn from Youtube!”
Let’s step away from pitching for a second and pretend that you are building a house. You find out how much an expert plumber costs, and that is more than you are willing to spend. Do you get the cheap plumber who has little to no experience? Do you watch some videos on Youtube and join a plumbing Facebook group and then see how that goes?
I thought not.
A good pitching instructor is engineering a pitcher’s body to be biomechanically sound and kinesthetically efficient. A good pitching instructor should know at least some anatomy and SHOULD HAVE PITCHED FASTPITCH AT SOME POINT. Again, you wouldn’t hire the plumber who says, “well, I have never actually done this myself, but I have watched people do it thousands of times.” Yes, I know you haven’t thought of it that way before. You’re welcome.
Now let’s look at some numbers. Let’s say your pitcher starts taking lessons at 12 years old and it takes her 3 years to hit 62 mph. Let’s assume that she is going to take lessons every single week for those three years. That would mean that you will spend close to $11,000 in lessons over that period of time.
Contrarily, let’s say that you skip lessons altogether, but now she doesn’t have the knowledge to get to 62 mph in three years. The average value of a Division II athletic scholarship is nearly $8,000. Over four years, that’s $32,000. But it doesn’t stop there. If your pitchers mechanics aren’t correct, she will likely not be playing every summer season because she will likely sustain an injury at some point. So what is the real cost of missing a season on the DL? What is the real cost of weeks upon weeks of physical therapy to fix something that should have been addressed in proper form?
Are you getting it? The cheaper lessons are waaaay more expensive.
In over twenty years of teaching pitching, I can tell you that I have not ever seen a pitcher who was a product of either a parent coach or a completely inexperienced coach end up pitching at a high level.
I tell you this not to scare you, but so that you can make a fully educated decision about how to best allocate resources for your pitcher.
Here’s the caveat: I realize that there are areas of the country where there really aren’t any good pitching instructors, and that puts both parents and coaches in a tough spot. So, do you:
a) drive several hours to see someone who has produced some amazing talent over the last several years
b) find the best possible pitching coach that you can and do lessons with her via the internet or via her online programs
c) settle for someone local who has never produced a single Division I pitcher
d) try to do it yourself
Okay, now I know you studied, so you know that the answer here is…… BOTH A and B.
So you can buy the equipment on sale, you can fund raise to play on the best travel team, but you are not going to skimp on pitching lessons.
And know that it is okay to ask a pitching coach how many Division I girls she has produced over the last several years. Or, maybe she has produced a lot of Divison II pitchers. That’s still good. Even if you don’t want to play at that level, you need to know that she could get you there if you have the drive and the talent.
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