My son is a pitcher (on the HS JV team, 14 turning 15 in a few months). He has only been playing since he was 11 turning 12, and has always been behind his peers in hitting and fielding, though he has caught up on his infielding by a lot of hard work. He is still "hitting challenged" lol. He shines, though, when he has the ball in his hands. He's always been the top pitcher on his (relatively low level) travel teams and we've never pushed to upgrade teams because of the above stated deficiencies. He's 1 or 2 pitcher on the JV team.

He is not a confident athlete. When pitching, however, a different kid emerges who lives and dies by his latest pitching performance.

Where this gets weird is that he is also a totally introverted nerdy underdeveloped (skinny as a rail) kid who would rather play video games. Fitting in with his teammates has always been awkward for him. 

So he is a nerd with skills that makes him hang out with athletic, confident kids his age and older...  He finds this mismatch stressful, but he knows that is what he needs to do to keep pitching. I'm hoping that he'll gain some of their swagger, but time will tell. 

Any similar experiences with your son?  How did it turn out?  Any thoughts are welcome. I'd like to help him navigate this, but in the end its his to navigate...

TIA

Original Post

My son is 16 and has some introvert tendencies. he made Varsity this year as  a sophomore, and is struggling with the social aspect of it. None of the upperclassmen have gone out of their way to include him outside of practice/games  (like a big group of them go out to eat a lot after practice) and he isnt one to include himself. I know it weighs heavily on him, but its just his personality.

His biggest fear in life is being in a  crowd of people where he doesnt know anyone. He literally used to make himself sick...like actually vomit... the night before the first day of the school year. When we would go out to eat, he wouldnt talk to the waiter (until around 10 we finally told him we wouldnt order for him anymore).

He has a few good friends, and around them he is almost comically boisterous. But away from those 4 or 5 kids, he is shy as shy can be.

Its funny because on the field he is an entirely different person. Always has been.

I dont really have any advice, just some commiseration. One thing ive learned about my son is to not try to push things. I offer support where i can. Its hard watching our kids struggle. I know. I was kind of a social misfit in HS and i turned out ok, i guess. They will survive.

Y'all need to have one of our type kids to see the hilarity of the restaurant ordering description. We had to do the same, and even when he would get it out it was always so quietly that he ended up needing to repeat it 2 or 3 times.  lmao 

When you see the team huddled together around coach, you can always count on mine being on the outskirts... part of it all, but NOT in the middle. I didn't mention it in the OP, but another reason for not changing teams often was the paralyzing fear of getting with new guys...  

I am not an extrovert, but I'm not the introvert he is either. Like you said threeU, you want to help as much as possible, but this is just one of those things that you can only work from the background. The only thing worse (to my son) than getting with a bunch of new guys is having his dad trying to grease the wheels. This only draws more attention to him, which is exactly the opposite of what he wants...  

 

cluelessDad2019 posted:

 

........

He is not a confident athlete. When pitching, however, a different kid emerges who lives and dies by his latest pitching performance.

 

Kids come in all kinds of packages.  When my oldest son discovered (at a young age) he could throw a baseball very fast, and the game involved a lot of math and stats.... he was hooked.  He was intrigued by it at at a very young age.  Don't get me wrong he worked very hard to improve his skills at every level, but it was the initial appeal that won his love for the game.  If you are a good pitcher with "stuff", and you understand baseball situations and probabilities....you can go a long way in this sport.  If I'm a coach, I'd be saying "give me more nerds"!

Good luck!  

fenwaysouth posted:
cluelessDad2019 posted:

 

........

He is not a confident athlete. When pitching, however, a different kid emerges who lives and dies by his latest pitching performance.

 

Kids come in all kinds of packages.  When my oldest son discovered (at a young age) he could throw a baseball very fast, and the game involved a lot of math and stats.... he was hooked.  He was intrigued by it at at a very young age.  Don't get me wrong he worked very hard to improve his skills at every level, but it was the initial appeal that won his love for the game.  If you are a good pitcher with "stuff", and you understand baseball situations and probabilities....you can go a long way in this sport.  If I'm a coach, I'd be saying "give me more nerds"!

Good luck!  

Wow fenway, I think Goose Gossage might have something to say about that one!

My son (HS 2010, college 2014) also liked the thinking part of the game as a pitcher and later learned to apply it as a hitter too. Outsmarting the hitter was what made pitching his favorite part of the game. Having what you describe as a "nerd" son can be an advantage as a baseball player. Working opposite of what the hitter may be looking for can be very successful.

 

MomLW posted:

Take a look at this.  Absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted - help them to be comfortable with it.  Also, I think everyone feels socially awkward at some time or another.  Just make sure they don't feel alone in it. 

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan..._power_of_introverts

 

My son is also an introvert. He comes from a long line of them...

While my son has been described as "quietly confident" and has always been relatively comfortable in his own skin, I did have him read the sister book to the above Ted talk, Quiet by Susan Cain, in 8th grade. He would not be headed to his base high school, with the kids he had been with for the past nine years, but instead be off to a bigger pond where he would know very few. I wanted him to have a deeper understanding of his introversion before he jumped in with a whole new peer group.

As others mentioned above, I also continue to be amazed at how he would dread having to stand on a stage in a theater but is completely unfazed and unflappable on the "stage" of the pitcher's mound...(or batter's box, or anywhere else between the white lines).

 Khailil Greene from Clemson, considered an introvert,  was never really the perfect teammate.  They chalked it up to just being Khalil. He was the ACC player of the year, and drafted first round.

Turned out that he had  severe social anxiety, has left the game and in hiding somewhere.  The Padres never recognized his behavior as troublesome, but after going to the Cardinals, he was seen hurting himself in the dugout and teammates spoke up.  He received help but has left the game since. Such a shame, such a great talent.

Zack Grienke also has the same disorder now managed by medication. If you google him, he will state  it never bothered him on the mound and he never really understood why he felt the way he did. At one point,  it was so bad,  he did leave camp one year with the Royals, but since then has been on medication, he is better.

I did not post this to be negative, just thought it might help if you have concerns.

 

jp24 posted:

Does he have a killer instinct on the mound? Just curious, because I know a young man who sounds like your son. He has fairly good stuff but lacks that competitive fire, and it bites him.

 

One of my best friends had good velocity and great stuff. What he lacked was confidence. When the count was 2-1 he would think, "Another ball and it's 3-1. Then I'm close to walking him." This led to too many grooved pitches that left the park. 

He was still lightly recruited into a good program. Post freshman year we were both in the same summer league on different teams. When he took the mound it was painful to hear a teammate yell to us, "That's pure meat on the mound. It's fatten the stats day."

To this day my friend still has Eeyore tendencies.

-----

As others mentioned above, I also continue to be amazed at how he would dread having to stand on a stage in a theater but is completely unfazed and unflappable on the "stage" of the pitcher's mound...(or batter's box, or anywhere else between the white lines).

------

me too!  This is so true of my son. I appreciate all your thoughts and the sharing of experiences. 

- MOMLW... I had seen that TED talk before, but had forgotten about it...  I'll get him to watch it. Thnx

- JP24... an astute observation. On the mound that killer instinct comes and goes... He is still trying to figure out what makes himself tick, and also how to get outs on sheer will when he doesn't have his best stuff. In the end, this may be the thing that derails his goals. We shall see once the testosterone really gets firing how his will to win and compete changes. The jury is still out whether he can continually take that competitive fire to the next level.

Best of luck this Spring to your boys, whether they be little or big...

still clueless...

 

cluelessDad2019 posted:

 

 

Any similar experiences with your son?  How did it turn out?  Any thoughts are welcome. I'd like to help him navigate this, but in the end its his to navigate...

TIA

I think your last sentence says it all. I also have a 2019 and the one thing I've prepared him for is dad is not there in the dugout anymore to help him, he needs to recognize where to make his adjustments and then make them. I'm always around to talk about things after the games. But he has to do the heavy lifting now. 

Enjoy it. My 2016 has become a man in HS, which makes me proud and kind of sad at the same time. A good kind of sad I guess. 

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