Is it okay to be afraid of the ball?

I was at the (ASA) gym today. In the slow pitch alley was a gaggle of little kids and a few dads teaching them how to hit.

Now, whenever you have a gaggle of anything, you can rest assured that 90% of your gaggle is not paying a lick of attention to what the leaders of said gaggle wants them to be paying attention to.

At one point, one of the dads pulled a boy aside (and, yes, it was the kid in the back - the one goofing off the most), and starts to coach the kid.

At first I'm thinking, "Dude, he's just spent the last 20 minutes cutting up, what makes you think he's going to pay attention to you now?" But whatever. So the dad was still ccoaching the kid when I walked by a few minutes later. What do I hear?

"It's okay to be afraid of the ball."

What the? It's not okay to be afraid of the ball! If you're afraid of the ball, you can never hit it.

But I did start thinking, maybe I'm wrong. Did I miss something? Is it really okay to be afraid of the ball?

Or maybe it's about choosing what to be afraid of?

It'll be the topic of my next Letter to my Children, to be sure.

I talked to Kris about this later, and he totally agrees with my initial impression, for many reasons.

  1. Fear causes you to tense up.
  2. Fear causes you to focus in the wrong place.
  3. Fear gives your opponent an advantage.

Kris said, "Sure it might hurt, but bruises heal."

And then revealed to me, "At one point, I think I led teams in hit being by the pitch."

"You have to look at what's going on. Is the pitcher trying to hurt you, or is he trying to get you out? If he can get you out with intimidation, that's a huge win. You can't let him have that advantage."

Yeah.

No intimidation! Come on, ball!