Every day, parents ask me for advice on how to help their daughter pitch at the college level. They know their daughter has the talent, and they want to give her every resource they can to help her achieve her dream goal.
The reality is only 8.5% of high school players will end up competing in college, and only 1.7% will play at the D1 level.
From my experience coaching and recruiting at the D1 level, there are specific benchmarks that college coaches want in a pitcher. These are the ability to consistently:
pitch 63+ MPH
command four (4) pitches (FB, Change, 2 Movement Pitches)
keep ERA below 2.50
be efficient with fewer walk and hits per inning pitch (WHIP)
Over the last ten years, I have noticed many pitchers struggle to meet the college benchmarks even though most players take lessons and specialize in their craft. Why? Because traditional lessons won't get you high-level results.
Here's an illustration of the different levels of pitching instruction and why some pitchers transform and exceed the collegiate benchmarks while others plateau quickly!
At the base of the pyramid, I have noticed that instructors are selling an hour of their time (sometimes only 30 minutes) and giving a couple of tips and tricks for a quick fix. This approach is transactional and not transformational. The pitcher may leave a little better, but for how long? How long will she retain the information that she learned? One lesson will not lead to long-term improvement.
Please, I beg you, do not fall victim to the "quick fix lesson" fad that parents and players believe will get them better! Just because everyone is getting lessons doesn't mean it's right or good. Remember, there's a reason only 8.5% of high school players play college softball.
To truly impact a pitcher's performance, she needs a roadmap. She needs to know where to go and how to get there. The pyramid's base - Pitching Classes - is more structured and consistent. There are higher levels of growth than lessons, and the pitcher is more dedicated to their training. However, the short-term programming lacks periodization, which is necessary to exceed high-level benchmarks.
Periodization in training is a planned long-term variation in intensity and repetition to peak at the right time! Too many athletes and parents make the mistake of training hard at the wrong time (in season) and too easy when pitchers should be pushed the hardest (off-season). This approach leads to fatigue, injury, and burnout. Think about it. How many players do you know quit high school softball and had a career-ending injury?
The Connected Coaching Program is a yearly, individualized program that maximizes player growth technically, physically, tactically, and mentally! Any athlete who desires to play at the elite level will need to work with a coach and not an instructor. A coach has a relationship with the player. They develop them holistically and are available outside of the 1-hour in-person session. They care about their ambitions and have fostered a positive relationship with them. An instructor exchanges their time for your money (transactional). A coach helps transform you into the player you want to be.
Connected Coaching empowers pitchers to reach their goals through technology, providing targeted feedback any time of day and mini-goals (aka KPIs). This high-level coaching allows pitchers to get the high-level results they desire and achieve with the RIGHT level of instruction.
With this in mind, where do your pitcher's training and instruction fall within the Pathway to Elite Level Pitching? Are you getting the results you want for the amount of time and money invested? Has it been a good Return on Investment (ROI)? How would your pitcher's confidence and performance change by being trained in the top tier?
P.S. If you would like to shatter college benchmarks so that you can get recruited, I invite you to learn more about the 21K Yearly Pitching Program.