Sunday, February 23, 2020

Review of "Throwing Heat," by Fred Bowen

Review of

Throwing Heat, by Fred Bowen, ISBN 9781561455409

Five out of five stars

 Jack has a very lively arm; he throws the fastest pitches in his middle school league. However, he lacks control, while he strikes out a lot of hitters, he also walks almost as many. Since his coach enforces a fairly strict pitch count, he is generally removed from the game long before it has ended. Furthermore, since he tends to lose his control for extended periods, he often walks several batters in an inning, leading to significant rallies by the other teams.

 When his sister brings her boyfriend Finn home, after the initial conversation among the family, the subject turns to baseball. Finn is a former college player, not a star by any means, and is now a coach. Finn immediately understands the issue with Jack and tries to teach him how to throw a changeup as well as letting up a bit on the velocity of his fastball, trading speed for better control. Jack resists at first, but after some lackluster performances and learning a valuable lesson in another sport, he agrees to be coached.

 As most star players in middle school and little league discover, success at those levels generally does not follow them into the upper levels. To continue to be successful, players must adapt and learn, constantly improving their game and never relying on only one aspect. That is the major lesson of this book and it is well presented and written.

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