My younger son recently turned 11.
One of the gifts we promised him for his birthday was a few pitching lessons from a pitching coach. We got the idea when he attended a baseball clinic last fall and met two former major league players, including former Braves reliever and current Braves minor league coach Vladimir Nunez. He lit up at the idea of getting a few lessons from Coach Vlad, prior to the start of spring baseball in 2013.
Last Saturday was my son's first lesson. He was nervous, afraid he wouldn’t do well. I told him not to worry, as the coach knew he was only 11 and that it was only his first lesson. He expected to get a lot of pitching help.
What he didn’t expect was all the stretching and calisthenics both before and after the session.
I knew my son was working hard when I saw the sweat drizzling down his neck as he worked to get his form correct and hold his balance. I saw how he struggled to keep his arm at the proper position to increase the acceleration of his throws. And, I saw his nods as the coach reminded him more than once how to finish, so that my son was in a proper defensive position if the ball were hit back to him.
I knew by the end of the session that my son would be sore the next day. However, he was sore by the time he got home. We should have iced him on Saturday night, but we didn’t. By Sunday, he was in pain, limping around the house. I am hopeful her can throw this afternoon, if it’s not raining.
He said it was harder than anything he’d ever done. I told him welcome to what it takes to be a major leaguer.
Given his pain, I asked him if he wanted to go back to Coach Vlad.
He grimaced a smile and said yes.
My son learned that dreams can be hard, but now he has a better understanding of what reality requires.