I am writing this letter out of pure disgust. I am a softball coach of 25-plus years. I was sitting in the bleachers during a tournament recently and overheard a parent discussing a local high school’s varsity softball team. What I heard infuriated me.
The coaches of this high school team actually have a “sign” that they give to the catcher to relay to the pitcher to “hit the batter.” I could not believe it. I was a pitcher and have now coached for many years and have never intentionally hit a batter and I have certainly never told my pitcher to hit someone.
Is this what things have come to? Somewhere along the line the desire to win has surpassed the ethics of coaching and good sportsmanship.
Coaches take on the responsibilities of making these kids not only better ballplayers, but better people. Team sports are not just about winning and losing. They teach confidence, commitment, humility and working with people you don’t necessarily like to achieve a common goal. What life lessons are you teaching a kid when you tell her to hit a batter?
I have seen many girls over the years get hit by a pitch that caused season-ending injuries — broken ribs, broken hands, fingers, wrists and even cracked elbows and nerve damage.
Making a pitcher hit a batter not only shows lack of integrity, it also makes a lack of coaching skills shine like a beacon.