Should Youth/Rec league reintroduce slow pitch softball and abandoned fastpitch

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by TheSoftballZone, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. City Slicker

    City Slicker Active Member

    CARDS likes this.
  2. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    Reintroducing slowpitch into Rec leagues might spike some interest into some kids to participate but in all honesty I do not believe it will enhance fastpitch softball in any way. I believe the spikes up and down come about due to census, the number of eligible kids with birth dates that support the established age groups. More babies a year will end up creating a positive spike. Less sex and more birth control will create a negative spike.

    The loss of girls to other sports is normally due to promotion and to interest in the participating guiding forces that are associated with a particular sport. When an area is flooded with "Super Coaches" the families and girls are normally drawn to their sport of choice. A great bunch of basketball coaches can draw kids to play BB year-round and you'll be lucky to get any other girls to sign up for another sport. We are in competition with the other sports to attract that pool of ladies. I believe fastpitch is doing a good job but basketball and volleyball as well as s---er is well established!

    I would like to take a minute to respond to the posts on the subject of pitching. This really wasn't the intent of the original thread as I read it but deserves some attention. I believe it to have merit.

    Somebody compared fastpitch for girls and baseball for boys with the point being we need more qualified pitchers to enhance the game and make it more available to others to play that don't possess pitching skills. I have 2 comments to make.

    First; the topic didn't really appear to me to consider "watered down" leagues and level of skills. They mention lack of numbers of girls actually participating. I consider what we are promoting in this game as a positive not a negative. Rec leagues may never show the level of skill that travel ball draws to participate but it does open the door for more ladies to play. Not everyone can afford the private lessons and fees to be on a Premier traveling squad. Some times we can only make things happen within our own little world. That's okay. Leave those families to raise their kids as they see fit. After all; when the game is over it IS just a game.

    Also; let me point out something many may not have considered. You can take any baseball player and put him on a mound and with a minimum amount of instruction you can play a game of baseball. Throwing overhand is still throwing overhand. Sure, there are rules to follow but as long as the kid has control there's a good chance the game will go on. In fastpitch we ask our girls to abandon the overhand throw and throw underhand, a totally different motion. not only do we expect them to do this but we expect them to do it with enough velocity to try and strike girls out. Unlike slowpitch where a simple underhand motion is made in an effort to try and let the girls hit, we try to keep them from it. This is actually the only resemblance to baseball because in baseball they also try to keep the offense from hitting a ball within the limits of the field.

    One of the things that might be beneficial to our game is to allow the slowpitch to be considered a legal pitch, as well as relaxing the rules a little for the windmill pitch. something less structured could be easier to police and take away the controversy that surrounds the circle activity. Could be a win win for everyone in our game and add an exciting element to overall involvement. Whatever your roll is in this game keep promoting it and supporting it. Do your part to make it larger. It is exactly why we are now back in the Olympics and now 5 pro teams play across our country with Japan having pro leagues selling out games. We're not dead but we need to compete with those other sports for the athletes that will carry us to a higher level.
    CARDS likes this.
  3. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    Actually from 2011 with the drop in the number of communities fielding fastpitch teams recreational ball has became a travel sport with teams having to drive 30 min to an hour to play a game. The SOGFSA hosted a pre and post 2 and out tournament at all age groups and an All Star Game at each age group in early July. The travel was another reason why parents stopped signing up kids (at least in our area). A lot of times your home games were canceled because the team 30/60 minutes away did not show up because of the drive.
    It is only a small percentage of families that know about travel / tournament softball in these rural and inner city areas so I do not think it has anything to do with parents realizing their DD is not a travel/tournament team player.

    Just curious, how is it going backwards to take a young lady not playing any sports and trying to get them out to play one? Especially; in these rural and inner city areas where it is basically slow pitch they are playing if their school offers softball?

    As I stated in an earlier post I do not think telling families their kid cannot be on a travel team is the answer either. That will just decline the sport numbers further.
    For teams complaining there are "too many travel teams" what needs to happen is the sanctioning bodies need to do what they have done for years with boys baseball and the men's game and have teams play in the correct classification of play.
    However that will never happen because the sport is being taken over by for profit companies that are hosting non sanction events and parents are consumed with the college scholarship.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
    daboss likes this.
  4. In our area we have fast pitch and slow pitch rec leagues. The fast pitch one has one team per age group and two if they are lucky. The slow pitch leagues (we have 2) have 5-7 teams per age group. The girls who are good enough at fast pitch don't play rec in our area, they play travel. And being in slow pitch does not hinder some of the girls who want to play fast pitch in high school. In fact over the years there have been 4 to 5 girls each year that make the team that come from the slow pitch leagues.
    TheSoftballZone and CARDS like this.
  5. chixdad

    chixdad Member

    Sounds like our HS team Lol
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  6. DLamb

    DLamb Member

    I watched a local JR High double header at a complex with several fields. There was a HS game on an opposing field, I casually observed. One school was a Catholic HS with some talented players. The other, an inner city school with I’d say some talent, but not at pitching. I coach rec kids that pitched better and the JR high team I was watching could take that Varsity team any day. I agree slow pitch rec isn’t the answer...teaching the girls to pitch Fast pitch is the answer, relax some of the rules, or at least make the rules for pitching common/uniform.
  7. Southpaw

    Southpaw New Member

    If you have girls trying to play Rec and have only played ball a year or so and they are already 13 years old. Those are the ones that Rec should be utilizing slow pitch for. It makes no sense to have a 14U Rec team that cant pitch or hit fast pitch or run 5 second home to first base times.
  8. bradc

    bradc New Member

    I live in a fairly affluent community in central Ohio and that also poses problems for girls softball. It's not like the small Ohio farm town I grew up in where most viewed baseball and softball as the #1 sports for kids. There are so many options for kids in this community, and softball seems to be about the least popular (including for the parents). The commissioner for the rec league puts a lot of effort into trying to grow the league, but they struggle with numbers. When my daughters played in it, they started kid pitch at 9 years old. Because it was rec, even if a coach knew what she/he was doing, there was only minimal practice time to work with pitchers. And despite some pitching clinics also run by the league, most of the pitching was atrocious and was a walk fest. After a couple games, my wife couldn't stomach it anymore and stopped coming to games. I have to admit I had hopes that my 2 daughters would ultimately play travel softball. But they didn't love it and by age 13 both of them decided they liked soccer far better and stopped playing softball. There are renegade parents who try to have a travel program here, but it seems like it has a hard time keeping momentum once some of the zealous parents move on.
  9. Duke3dh

    Duke3dh New Member

    Keep it fastpitch. The biggest problem I’ve seen is the leadership in the Rec community. Most of the coaches are volunteers and don’t know much about the sport. A good Rec org should run like a good travel org. Leadership and responsibility comes from the top. Teach the coaches from 6u up how and what they need to teach and coach and Keep an eye on it. Leadership needs to give the right tools to the volunteer coaches to ensure the girls are getting proper coaching. They need to have coaching clinics multiple times a yr to help. IMO.
    daboss likes this.
  10. Very interesting comments from all. My thoughts are identical to those of Dan Maz. I live in Beavercreek and we have a fast pitch rec program as well as a slowpitch rec program. Our slow pitch program is unique in that it is co-ed and that it covers kindergartners through high school seniors. The program started 36 years ago and since 2001 when we got lights installed, we have averaged over 1050 participants each year. In our 11/12th grade last year we had 16 teams and 12 in our 9/10th grade league. We found out that there are lots of boys and girls out there that not cut out for organized baseball or softball or who have other priorities but the rec program provides them opportunities to play the game in a fun, non-competitive environment (for the most part).
  11. Chardon Storm

    Chardon Storm Member

    My oldest daughter is a junior. When she played 8U coach pitch rec league softball there were 10 teams; now the city can only field 4. Travel is a big part of it- if your daughter can pitch, she's not likely going to do it in 10U rec, making that level a nightmare for most rec leagues. By the time that snooze-fest is over, player and parent look for other, more exciting options for next year. Enter lacrosse and spring soccer. Neither of them easy by any means but there is more activity to keep the player engaged than if she is standing in the field praying that her pitcher can throw a strike and that they girl up to bat will hit it.
  12. Cory

    Cory New Member

    Our fastpitch rec program has really developed since my daughters have started playing. There is only one school in our county still doing slowpitch and it’s struggling to survive. We have a decent group of parents that seem committed to growing the sport. I didn’t even know of our rec softball program existed when we started out. My daughter played a spring and fall season of coaches pitch baseball before we realized there was a program for fastpitch. But we seem to be staying steady competing with soccer, lacrosse, dance, cheer, etc.

    The organizations need dedicated individuals with some softball knowledge to help keep it going tho. Flyers sent home, websites, FB pages, high school clinics, winter indoor workouts, stuff like that works. We play other organizations that lack all of this and it shows. Their participation numbers are much lower and they are not at the same level to the more established organizations in the league.

    I wouldn’t say we are a large school district but we aren’t tiny either. Last spring season we fielded 3 8u teams, 4 10u, 2 12u and 1 14u. This spring our registration isn’t done yet but looking at 3 8u, 2 10u, and edging near 3 12u. But our travel players are still playing rec and the other teams in the county are following suit. Pitching was not a issue in our first season of 12u for my older daughter. I was actually surprised of how good it was.

    We and other teams in our county were contacted last spring from the county next to us about starting a rec all star league in the summer. It was right after rec ended and so we decided to give it it a try. We played during the week and the goal of the parent/coach who came up with the idea was to keep the travel players interested in rec and playing in their communities. Also the idea was/is to offer more competitive games between the rec teams that are exceeding the others in their respective counties. I believe there was about 5 neighboring counties involved and the plan is to do it again this summer. Also games played during the week wouldn’t interfere with tourneys.

    I’m a firm believer in developing our own players in our district. We have players in our school district that play on a variety of different travel teams but still do both. Rec, yes it can very bad sometimes and boring, but more than likely, all travel players start in rec. We need more dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers to help out and keep it growing.
    Duke3dh likes this.
  13. coachjwb

    coachjwb Well-Known Member

    Ideally a community would offer both. But as Ricky suggested, some smaller or rural areas probably can't make this work. I used to live in the far northeast corner of the state where fastpitch came last to the high school game in Ohio. Between that fact and that my daughter loved playing slowpitch, she actually played slow pitch up through age 12. She pitched a lot in slowpitch, though she also got to play a lot of outfield and got a lot of action there in the slowpitch game. So went she over to fastpitch in 7th grade, she wanted to pitch and play OF as well. She had a lot of catching up to do, but she worked really hard and did it and in fact was a conference player of the year in her sophomore year in high school, and a 4 year starter, 2 year captain, and became the career wins leader at her D3 college. She also got to play a lot of OF and DH, and really enjoy all phases of the game. I'm not bragging about her (though I am not saying I never do!), but simply trying to make the point that you can play slowpitch young and still be successful in the fastpitch game. She will be the first to tell you that she learned a lot playing slowpitch about how to maintain her composure on the mound, how to defend her positions, how to run the bases, and how to be a good teammate and leader. Could she have been more successful in college had she started fastpitch earlier? Perhaps, but I know both of us have great memories of playing both games, and neither of us regretted that decision when all was said and done.
  14. Hilliarddad3

    Hilliarddad3 Active Member

    Great topic, but I believe there are zero schools that play slow pitch. If a community wants to field either, the parents are the ones who have to help sell it at each level. The parents are Volunteer coaches. Regardless of the sport, each one of us or them, learn the actual sport by being involved in it and seeking that higher knowledge of said sport. Many parents thought of some of the teams as a babysitter for a few hours a week, and those kids are the ones I felt for and worked harder with them and loved, literally loved, when They made that first big catch or even had their first hit..... As a coach one had to seek those who knew the game and techniques to help the girls learn the skills needed. Then to help reinforce those skills and love for the game. First and foremost the game needs to be fun and for a few kids, the time in between the lines is time away from whatever worries they have.... So as in anything its cyclical and the coaches need to be the ones to carry that beacon and keep the fires burning for the kids. Life gets in the way of many, but in the end it is still a great game. If I didn't travel 4 days a week, I'd still be out there with them and personally do miss it, but never say never I say......
    coachjwb likes this.

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