I began teaching this clinic in 1996. I could no longer play ball myself due to numerous long-lasting injuries incurred during my playing days but I felt I had something to offer the young ladies in the area. This prompted me to get in touch with the local recreational league. I had only lived in the area for a few years and found out that fastpitch had just been started in the area the year before and no one knew how to teach the girls to pitch this new style.
I had never coached before but had 16 years of pitching experience in my favor. My mother could not afford to send my sister and I to all of those fancy pitching clinics and the idea came to me that there are probably a lot of girls who can not afford to go to these types of clinics or to private coaches. An idea was born: a free pitching clinic to anyone who wants to learn how to pitch. (Notice that I did not say any young ladies…We have had some brothers graduate from helping catch to learning to pitch themselves).
The first year things were a little crazy while I figured out the best way to work with numerous girls at one time all by myself. We still have our spurts of big crowds but I generally find 12 – 15 girls show up each week and I find a way to get everyone plenty of mound time and one on one instruction. We have dad’s helping catch and mom’s warming girls up and with patience and persistence we all have a good time and learn to pitch as well. I work full time so Sunday is the only day I have free for this clinic so we tried to schedule the best we could between church services.
My main goal when I started doing this was to offer young people a chance to learn how to pitch and to show them how to prevent injuries like those that I have. Pitching can be fun and injury free if you learn strong fundamentals using the proper techniques to relieve stress on the body.
I also teach the girls how to analyze themselves and others while they are learning. They have to be able to adapt to different situations on the mound since there are no coaches out there to help you. This also helps them to become smart pitchers. A fundamentally sound pitcher is good but a fundamentally sound pitcher who is also a smart pitcher can be dangerous to the opposition.
The expectations I have for the young ladies who attend my clinic are that they become the best pitchers they can be, to be smart on the mound and use that to their advantage, display the highest standards in sportsmanship and become confident leaders on and off the field. I have not been disappointed yet.
Thanks for reading my story, Charlene