Chapter 14: How to handle a loss, fan reactions, and bad calls in sports.
FAN REACTIONS (none game)
When you are practicing or warming up you will hear comments which are almost always positive. I think its OK to eavesdrop in this case. There is nothing more beneficial to you than to hear one of the other team’s players say “How we suppose to hit that” as they walk by. Be sure to have your warm up catcher use their LOUD glove. This is part of the real fun to pitching so enjoy it.
FAN REACTIONS (game)
The bigger the game, the more fans. More fans mean louder cheering, not all of it for your side. What do you do? NOTHING!!! You will find that if you are concentrating when you are pitching, you can’t hear the fans, everything will be just muffled background noise. The bigger the game the more true this is. This is called “zoning in”. If someone does go out of their way to distract you in an offensive way, ask the plate umpire to deal with that spectator.If you were to respond to the fans and let them know that you heard or noticed what they did or said, it will get worse because obnoxious fans live for this! Don’t read any placards or look for friendly faces in the crowd. Just go about your business in the most professional manner possible with a smile.
BAD CALLS For you, this problem will be limited to balls and strikes or delivery errors. I have never seen any ump, at any level, change a ball/strike call because the pitcher complained. If you read “Working an Umpire”, you know that challenging a ball/strike call will get you in hot water. And you will know that when a bad call does occur you can help the umpire cover his mistake which will be to your long term advantage.
If the call is against your delivery (crow hopping, violating the pitching lane, leaping, balk etc) you will never win the argument. All pitchers that train hard and are competitive often get very close to the line of legality. Actually you and your pitching coach probably already know if you are illegal and should be working on correcting it. Nicely ask the ump to explain what he thinks you are doing wrong (even if you know) and how he would like you to correct it, tell him you will work on it and thank him. As you walk away, hope that was all you needed to do to satisfy his complaint. If not, your coach should pull you for the common good of the team.
BAD SELECTION You, your coach and your catcher must decide who will do the pitch selections and rather or not the pitcher can shake off. Once the ground rules are set you must live with them. If a selection is ordered that results in a negative way for you….OH WELL!!! In the Gold Medal game of the Atlanta Olympics, Dot Richardson was struck out in her first two at bats by a Chinese pitcher with an awesome change. The third time Dot came up, with two strikes, the pitcher threw another change which Dot promptly hit over the fence for the game winning run. Was this a bad selection? Probably, the home run was VERY CLOSE to the foul pole (in fact the hit was called foul by one of the field umps) and Dot probably was looking for it. Should the Chinese pitcher be ashamed of the pitch? NO, not unless she executed the pitch badly. Would I have made the same choice, NO. Why? Because I know the level of Dot’s play. She is a winner, and will not allow herself to make the same mistake over and over. You will say, “All Olympic players are winners” and I will agree with you BUT Dot is level above that. I think she is probably looking for a change up and if I throw it, I will show a consistency that is too predictable. I would have sent a change up sign (maybe the USA has picked up our signals) having already decided that if the sign is given in this situation with Dot, it is to be replaced with a high fast ball. Who knows what will have happened, all selections are just a guess.
BAD EXECUTION Lots of things must come together for a perfect game. You must have good selection, reorganization (strikes called by the ump), execution, great defense and a few breaks. It also helps if the other team has aggressive batters. Can you guess why? The only part of this the pitcher can control is execution. Change ups must not look like slow pitches, they must have the illusion of a fast ball. Rise balls that don’t, get hit to the outfield and beyond. Drop balls can become passed balls. You improve your execution through hard, complete, correct practice. There is no other way. If you can’t execute you won’t be pitching
HANDLING A LOSS I’ve seen pitchers get really upset from losing a one to nothing game. As far as I know there is no way to score runs from the mound. Since it is required that your team score at least one run to win, it can’t be your fault if you lose a 0-0 ball game EVEN if you walked home the winning run! It is actually possible to loss a game that finishes as a perfect game under ASA regulations. Can you guess how? I’ve also see pitchers get recruited because they did so well in a losing effort. Imagine this, in a game I can remember pretty well, I had 28 strikeouts and lost the game on catcher pass balls and we did not score…tough loss….
We are all human and suffer ups and downs, pains and ills, good and bad fortune. Some days will not be as good as others. In youth sports, NO ONE (including yourself) should expect perfection over the 100 or so pitches thrown in a game. Pitchers can and often do come back from terrible games. In college I pitched the WORSE game of my life against San Diego state (thought I had lost my mind) and then came back to BEAT University of ARIZONA…(they had not lost in 2 years and they were 43/0) and pitched the VERY best game of my entire life…even Mike Candrea asked me after the game…what I had put on that ball??
And finally, it’s only a game…
but…dont forget to trade your pins!! Order your team trading pins today!! GH Pins