It is wonderful when our instructors hit upon a great truth. While teaching in New York last weekend, a student was hesitant to try a couple of new pitches. Her concern was that she was quite proficient with her curve, drop-curve, and changeup, and she had been winning pretty well with those. Our New Jersey Instructor, Ken, suggested that she let me show her the new drop we have just developed, and he also asked her to try our screwball. He said, “You might just discover your dominant pitch”.
She was ready to proceed and twenty minutes later she was throwing the screwball and drop so well that her father, who has caught for her from the beginning, was struggling to handle the movement. To say she was excited would be an understatement. We instructors were mightily impressed that anyone could learn two pitches so well in such a short time.
We could have left her in her comfort zone at the start of that session and she would have continued to throw the pitches she knew with some success. Our intention was not to add more pitches to her repertoire but to make sure she was throwing the best possible pitches for her.
In Taylor’s case, she had tried the drop and it never worked, compounding the reluctance to try again. There are several reasons it came so easily this time. It had been a couple of years since she last tried the pitch, meaning she now has more body awareness. Plus, we have made some changes in her form which made it easier to throw. AND, and she had never tried this drop because we only recently invented it. You might say she is a different kid learning a different pitch from people who teach differently.
As for the screwball, the way someone once tried to teach it to her was just silly. No wonder she disliked it. We simplified it and she killed it. Because she remained open-minded she came away with two dominant pitches featuring sharp, late movement
As pitchers grow, as their body awareness increases, and as they make changes in their technique, they need to re-visit things that might not have worked before. Look for new approaches and new ideas from new people. Keep searching. As Ken said, “You might just discover your dominant pitch.”
Finally, our congratulations to Ken. His daughter, Kelsey just accepted a softball scholarship to a great D1 college last week. The first time I worked with her it was obvious Kelsey could be a very special.