Fastpitch Players – It’s Not Their Size You Should Worry About
Last week on our Facebook page – we posted a home plate meeting picture. Each coach had brought two girls from his team to the plate, and it certainly appeared – from the outside looking in, that there must have been a mix up in the age groups. Funny thing was, so many folks commented about how BIG the one teams players were, and how small the other teams players were. Some folks even encouraged parents to take a look at birth certificates, because you know, folks cheat.
The player pictured at the left <—- who is obviously ‘size disadvantaged’ had a 100% on base percentage during this particular game.
The reality was that both the teams pictured on our Facebook Page were 12U. In 12U, you can have girls that are 13 and girls that are 11. The difference in these ages can be huge, especially when it comes to size. A lot of growth occurs between 6th and 8th grade.
It’s also interesting when we take our own young 12U team to tournaments how the girls on the team, will react with fear when they see a team that is ‘bigger’ than they are. We have a bunch of tiny scrappers in the infield – most of whom could pass for 10U players. When they are on, you could take a team full of Yeti’s and they’d be hard pressed to break a ball through the infield. Its also funny the way teams will see a bigger girl come up the plate and immediately move back (often at the instruction of their coaches), as if she is destined, based on size alone – to it a ball to the fence. (We sometimes put our tallest player as a lead-off and get her to bunt and 9/10 times she gets on base simply because too much emphasis is placed on size.)
For one thing – girls aren’t BIGGER than another. This is a lesson we all need to revisit. Taller? Yes. Bigger? No. In the female brain, using adjectives like ‘bigger’ or ‘huge’ to describe young girls are taken as insults. They are all just kids, who like all adults, come in different packages.
Secondly, size doesn’t really matter when it comes to fast pitch. Some of the taller teams, who may be at the top of their age groups – or who may have just hit a growth spurt faster, aren’t automatically better because they are taller. Our coach always tell them, “It’s not the size of the player, its the size of her heart!” And you certainly cannot see her heart until her feet hit the brick dust.
Third and perhaps more importantly, is the reality of perception. When it comes to all things in life, your perception is most likely going to govern the outcome. Even if that perception is thwarted. A team of taller girls is not automatically cheating. (You should have your birth certificates anyways) Bigger/taller isn’t automatically better. Older isn’t necessarily better either. Unless of course, you perceive it that way, which truly puts your team at a disadvantage before the game even starts.
At the end of the day, the way you play and the way others play has nothing to do with the size of the kids on the field. Let’s just get over the whole ‘size’ thing and judge a team based on their softballing hearts rather than their growth chart!