Let’s Talk Pitching, Let’s Talk Getting Guys Out with Darrell Coulter Part 2
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development.
Darrel Coulter is the founder of STARTT Pitching. Darrell is Pitching Strategist helping many profession, college, and amateur pitchers be the best version of themselves and develop top notch game day strategy, approach and routine.
Website: STARTT Pitching
In Part 1 of this Conversation Darrell talks about:
- He uses the Quarterback analogy to get his point across about how pitchers should prepare.
- Quarterback to are a bust are not intellectually interested just as pitchers who are a bust.
- His approach when guys have a bad outing and trying to understand.
- How you need to trust your stuff and work on stuff which doesn’t always mean mechanics.
- The question always goes back to what were you thinking when you were on the rubber?
- Making sure you know who you are and what you are capable of doing.
- Keeping your trust network small.
- Going from a convince and compare mindset to compete and contribute mindset.
- How to get point across from guys who seems to not understand.
- Routines and how important it is to helping your career.
- and much more.
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Geoff: Today’s show is part two of our conversation with Darrell Coulter where we continue to talk about getting pitchers, to understand how to pitch.
Intro: Welcome to another episode of The Baseball Awakening podcasts where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs, with your host Geoff Rottmayer.
Geoff: Welcome to the Baseball Wakening Podcast, I am Geoff Rottmayer and today we continue our conversation with Darrell Coulter of STARTTPitching.com. Again, STARTTPitching.com. Darrell yesterday we ended the conversation talking about using information to help you get guys out and what we have to remember this has to be coached into guys and you say, Hey, you need to watch the game, but alot of time they don’t really know what they’re looking at so you have to coach them. You have to get them to understand what they’re looking at and because there’s a lot more to the game than just the results like you said yesterday, you know it, it can, It can be an information overload, but if you start small, if anything will help you get better than you are today.
Darrell: No question. And what happened is whatever it is kinda deal with attention theory. Whatever we pay attention to, it seems like that’s the most important thing and we start seeing things that we never saw before. Once we can convince these guys to start watching games, not like a fan, but like I’m the guy that’s trying to identify some kind of habit pattern tendency that can give us some kind of information or intellectual advantage. Now the game just becomes my master pitches and then which pitched do I throw in this situation account. So we’re. So we’re taking that information and I tell you what Geoff, I tell them all the time, man, I want guys that were quarterbacks and they say, why? Because I say the best NFL quarterbacks are the ones that do the game day prep that you game film study. The ones that can study game film, the ones that see the cues and clues of the defensive. Because the biggest bust in the NFL draft, it wasn’t because they weren’t physically capable. The problem they were having was reading the defensive. It was really studying game film and identifying and having that kind of sense to be able to see these cues and clues and then understand those cues and clues in real time, so now when they broke the huddle or they’re in the, they’re into shotgun and they have to to to read the defense right there in real time. They’re looking for cues and clues from the linebackers, from the strong safety. Where did they, what coverage are they rolling into that que include, it’s going to give that quarterback the ability to pick the right place to throw the ball or whether they’re going to run a pass option or whatever it’s going to be, but it’s all based on this guy has been able to study game film. That’s why I Drew Brees. So good. Tom Brady, so good. They’re not only physically gifted, but dude, they study film. They understand cues and clues. They see patterns and habits and tendencies of defenses and then they see it when they’re blocked again, and so what if it taught? Yeah. What it comes down to, Geoff is decision making, so when these, these pitchers in the minor leagues are super talented pitchers. It really comes down to how they choose what pitch they’re going to throw and why they’re throwing it. And I told the guy that I told were my guys the other day and a coach the other day, if you want to know something honestly about your pictures, take them in an environment where they don’t feel like you’re questioning or threthening them and honestly ask them do how, why? How do you choose what picture gonna throw? And uh, and again, man, I do it all the time. How do you choose what picture gonna throw? What information? What information are you basing that on? Yeah, and man, seriously, if they just, if it goes silent or they just look at you, that’s a, that’s a clue that they don’t enter. Watch. They don’t intellectually understand. They’re just calling with the catcher calls that they got a great catcher. They do all right. If they don’t have a very good catcher or catcher, young catcher, then they struggle because they’re just basing it off of baseball patterns and habits and tendencies that really have no direct correlation to that individual pitcher or that individual hitter or why that pitcher would throw a pitch that they have mastered against that hitter. Does that make. Does that make sense, man?
Geoff: Yeah, that makes sense. So now we got a guy that was drafted and he’s got, let’s just say a power fastball and, but, but that’s all he got. And so he calls you and goes through your process which include you asking them what pitches he has and he says, you know, I got a fast ball curve ball change up, but for whatever reason I can’t locate my changeover, my curve ball, so I rely way too much on my fastball and this is something that we still alot. So what, how does that conversation go?
Darrell: You know what I do, Geoff. I take them right back to the idea assessment. So do they, do they, do they intellectually understand how to throw a change up? We know what they’ve, if they throw 95 miles an hour, we know they’re physically capable of throwing a change up. Right? So a lot of times I think that’s why we see all these pitch grips videos and all this other crazy stuff that goes on. The truth is, man, it’s a trust factor. A kid that can throw 94, 95. Man, I had the same problem. I was a younger guy through hard. I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to throw off speed pitches. I didn’t trust all speed pitches. That’s the only reason I did that one. And then when I got into pro ball and I needed a change up. It’s probably the biggest regret I have in pro baseball. In 1988 man I was playing. We won the South Atlantic league championship and an our postseason exit interviews. The coach said, hey man, I love the way you pitch man, because I looked like the bat boy. I was like 5’11 ,150 pounds and I could throw 91-92 had a good curveball but I needed a straight change up. But you know what, man, I just never trusted it and there was people that actually went home to. There was a former big league pitching coach that lived in my community, men that I was drinking. And you know what? I just never had the guts enough to go ask him. I felt like at 20 that if I went in admitted, I didn’t know how to do something that, that all of a sudden that would be like a sign of weakness. And you know what, man? I think that same attitude permeates so many minor league players. They feel like since they’re a pro baseball player that all this stuff they ought to already know. And the truth is we don’t. We got the, we got the physical capability and talent, but the truth is nobody’s ever really gave us permission to sit here and throw a change up, grip enough to, to master the understanding of the field, the grip pressure, the grew in, in how that pitch ought to move to where we can honestly take an off season and just master that pitch.
Geoff: Yeah I love how you said it was more of a trust thing then it is, you know, the normal default, the mechanics, but no, you need to go out there. You need to throw more, need to get comfortable and need to see what you’re pitching,
Darrell: Yeah we got to give it an image and a pattern, habit and experienced man. That’s what everything is in life that we deal with. Every pitch that we throw, every reason we decided to pitchers throw is based on the image of what we think that picture is going to do. A pattern of what it should feel like so our brain can trusted and then an experience, whatever, whatever emotional labor we gave it. The last time I pitched against that guy, I threw that curve ball and the hammering struck him out. I felt good. I labeled as good. Next time he steps in the box, I’m going to challenge him with my past until he proves that he can hit it and see that is it. So the decision making process was based on my experience of his last at bat against me, but if I seen him in the box, if I seen him in the back of the box, the last event and I blew him away and then all of a sudden I see him slide up in the box a little bit, then I’m going to challenge him. If I know he can’t hit my fastball, then I’m going to go ahead and challenge him in on his hands. I know he can’t hit a fastball then, but a lot of times it’s those little adjustments like that. Just that is that sense that we have to give these kids permission to trust it and sometimes when they’re developing that, guess what’s going to happen? We’re going to walk guys. We’re going to miss pitches, we’re going to lose games, we’re going to do all that stuff is going to be part of it. It ain’t just something that magically happens one day and I master a change up in a weekend. In a bullpen. There’s gonna. There’s gonna have to be this intellectual understanding and this emotional trust in that pitch, so can go out there and decide that this is the best pitch for me to throw it in a situation and account and at the end of the day that’s pitching is the decision making that these guys make when they’re standing on the rubber. Everything else is just a an event or a circumstance that got them to that point, but ultimately just pitching comes down to the decisions that these guys make when they’re standing on the rubber and that catcher puts the sign down and the amount of confidence that they have that they can execute that pitch by velocity, and movement to that location, and that’s what pitching becomes. And it’s not a perfect science man, but I can tell you one thing. We can’t take the emotion out of it. We can’t take the mental part out of it because that’s all part of it. It’s all part of it. And so when we go ahead and give these guys permission to be intellectual and to be emotional and to trust it, and I don’t mean out of control, it just means I understand the role that it plays and how much it impacts my decision making when I’m standing on the rubber. And once the guys that get that, Geoff, that is the Aha moment there. Finally, that’s when they finally feel like, holy cow, and I see guys, you go from a ball in the big league camp in one year it happens.
Geoff: So let me ask you this and we will use one of your guys for an example. Bad outings happen, they just happen – you don’t have you stuff or whatever, your strategy isn’t working or whatever, They call you and say hey, you know how it is there is a little bit , you know baseball is emotional very emotional. So you’re going to have a little bit of, a little bit of self doubt, you know, thing when you know you’ve got all these guys are competing with and maybe you’re in AA knocking on the door and you’re like, man, I just blew it. Whats that conversation like?
Darrell: The first question is, is literally what were you thinking when you were standing on the rubber getting a sign to the catcher? What was you thinking? Man, I mean, is it something that you’re focused on, your mechanic, which is the autopilot skill, I call it mechanics, got to be on autopilot. If you’re out there consciously thinking about your mechanics and you’re not pitching mechanics is the autopilot thing. It’s an unconscious subconscious thing that happens based on the information that we tell ourselves. We know we’re a pitcher. We know this is the movement pattern of our pitches, and so when that catcher puts assigned down, I’m making a conscious choice to throw this pitch and I’m trusting that my brain and my body will do what I tell it to do. See, that’s. that’s mechanics, man. That’s real mechanic. At the end of the day, if you’re consciously deciding that mechanics is a recent, you’re throwing this pitch, then you ain’t pitching. That’s not strategic pitching and so we got to go back and sometimes if a in pro ball, you have it all the time. You get these roving pitching instructors that come in and just give you a little bit of tip or advice and what happens is it might be the right advice, but what happens is you give it way too much weight. You think that if I don’t do this right now, if I don’t lift my knee two inches higher and get a little bit more into my back leg, then they’re not going to call me to the big leagues and that’s how it is. Man. This shit goofy as it sounds. When you’re down there in the middle of it and it’s so emotional and it’s so competitive and you’re in that convinced and compare mindset, then you honestly think, holy cow, if I just get my leg with frighten, this guy is going to help me get to the big leagues. Even though we know it’s not true. That’s the story we tell ourselves, and so what happens is you get the hang on every word that these guys say, and a lot of these guys might have been given you good advice. It just wasn’t meant to be that literal. It was just about getting in a better position or getting in better timing or rhythm tempo and timing into your movement pattern, and so what happens is these guys honestly go out there and in the game they’re trying to do with these guys have suggested to him and and again, that’s one of those things that I tell these guys all the time. If you’re gonna, make them legit mechanical change in a pitcher. Anytime you do that in season, especially in pro ball is not going to work. Now you’ll see guys say, oh, they made this little tweak or do whatever, but when you take a job that’s really struggling with pitch command and he’s really struggling with the ability to locate anything, then that is a decision making problem that is not a mechanical issue and most of these guys, it’s like you said, well, I believe that that’s the default excuse for why I’m not doing, but most of the time the reason they’re struggling is the decision making or what are consciously thinking about while they’re standing on the rubber. If there consciously thinking about an autopilot skill, then we’re in trouble because they’re not consciously focusing on what is the best fish to throw in this situation and count and and so that mindset shift right there is enough sometimes, but at the same time, Geoff, is like we talked earlier. If they’re still in this convincing compare mindset of they haven’t switched into this, compete in and contribute mindset, then it’s fruitless because the natural default for the convince and convert is to go back to mechanics. Go back to physical because that’s what I’ve been comparing myself to these guys about my wife and so that is the. That’s the toughest piece. The most frustrating piece for these minor league guys that I deal with, they got the physical ability to pitch in the big leagues exist. Don’t have the decision making down based on what they understand about their pitches and what they understand about the hitter they’re facing. And again, it’s not a perfect. It’s not a perfect science, but there is a mindset that goes with that because when the brain thinks that you got a strategy and that you can have a intellectually, emotionally and physically execute that strategy, then it’s going to be a lot more confidence and let you go ahead and execute that pitch that you decided to throw. So there’s, there’s, there’s neuroscience that back it up that that we see and we execute what we see in field. That’s the truth and if you can’t see it, if you can’t see it and feel it, then the brain’s going to slow down. And I try to tell these guys all the time. Most pro guys that I see don’t have mechanic issues. They have indecision issues and when they. When they started having indecision issues, the brain will slow the body down because it’s going to go into that fight or flight mindset. And so now when you start having questions, doctor, when you’re the center of attention and you’re the pitcher and you got everybody watching you, that additional pressure in that environment. When you start having a decision issues, the brain is going to slow. The body down and start really asking you whether you really want to do this and that’s why you see the man. It’s, it’s emotional to be a pitcher, man. It’s like it takes more than just positive self talk. It takes an understanding that you got that. You got a plan man, and if you get up there and you don’t have a plan, brother, you’re going to struggle. That’s just, that’s just the reality.
Geoff: Right and the whole trusting the people part, thats one of those things that you got to keep that circle small. There are guys all the time, like you said, the roving instructor who has no clue who I am, but he may be perceived to have the ticket and it’s, you know, you just have to be careful with who you’re listening to and make sure that they understand who you are.
Darrell: That’s human. Just human. We all want to play for guys like us and I tried to explain this to coaches all the time in every one of us has either worked for somebody or played for somebody that no matter what you did, it seemed like they were never happy. And at the end of the day, you can, you know, if you’ve got the personality that you really don’t care, you just leave it at the park. You just don’t care. I just, I played for me. I don’t care about them feeling miserable. Whirlpool, that’s fine. But if you’re somebody that cares and you value their opinion or advisor, you think that they carry some weight to get to a goal that you want. All of a sudden now we feel like it’s us. That’s the problem. And it’s not them. And so, so we try Geoff, we try to constantly change and tweak and screw with stuff that. So we’d never do get to that mastery phase. So what would you always feel like something’s missing? You never get the master. Your brain never honestly feel that you got this pitch mastered, that you can throw this in any situation account or you could throw it in the right situation account anytime you need it to be. That’s why we got to get to physical capabilities. And once these guys get to their physical capabilities, then we got a pitch inside of our limitations. And that don’t mean that we’re limited in what we can do. It just means that we intellectually understand that my two seam fastball 92 to 94, it’s gonna move like this. So when, if, if I’m 0-2, where do I want this ball to end up at with this philosophy, this movement pattern, and this, this grip is to this location. See, now it is. It sounds crazy at first, but when you really start dissecting into what a pitch really is, it’s, it’s a velocity of movement to a location and so, so the more you trust that and the more you intellectually understand that, that is the best piece of throwing that situation account and you ain’t fearful of some emotional consequence to a negative outcome. That’s where we get these competent bull dog. You see these guys? We love pitching Verlanders and the Kershaw and Grienke. These guys are intellectually and emotionally tough, but they’re bulldogs. You know why? Because they have no, no fear of the emotional consequence or pitch pitching because they know strategically, this is the absolute best pitcher. Throw this situation account. That don’t mean the outcome is going to be what they want it to be, but when it comes to the decision making process, just that it was based on their understanding of themselves that hitter and this is the absolute best fish for me to throw in this count. And when you do that, you can live with the outcome regardless of what happens. That’s what we need to teach these guys, man. That’s what we need to teach them.
Geoff: Right? I agree. So let me ask you about um, personalities. You know, everyone has different personalities. Do you , for your guys, do you use like a personality assessment to kind of gauge, you know, how they are and what are your thoughts on that?
Darrell: Yeah, I think personality is, is it just that I think, yeah, I think the value that we give it is the emphasis that the kid is going to believe it. If we go in and tell them that personality matters, I think there’s a difference between personality and culture. See, the one thing I do want coaches to control is the culture, the communication, the character, how we’re going to treat each other, the respect it that every team mate is usually looking for when they want to play on a team. You know, there’s three emotional things that I look for, is it, why did they play? Is it for respect, recognition or rewards, and when I can identify that the respect is usually the guys that just want to be on the team, they’re good with it. They just want to say, make the team. They just want to be respected for that. They made the team. Now the what we want them to do is to go into this respect piece of it, but we’ve gradually. One of the movement to the recognition and the reward space as they started taking more and more responsibility, then we want them to be in that recognition phase where the coach recognizes that, hey, I need you to start and left field the day you’re doing this. You’re playing well. See, that’s the second emotional factor that most of these kids are going to play for. They want the recognition, they want people to recognize that their hard work has turned into an opportunity to play, and then what we ended up with, hopefully at the end of the day, is a group of leaders that are in this reward phase. They’re not playing for respected or not playing for recognition. They’ve already got both of those, what they’re playing for the team. Those are the guys that we wanted. It’s going to go out here and and what the game on the line. They’re the ones that are going to want the baseball. They’re the ones that’s going to want it back. They’re the ones who’s going to carry it and they’re on every team in the world. Don’t care what anybody else says. There’s those people that they don’t even play, so the money literally they played just for that opportunity just for that reward just for that, and that is where they get their intellectual reward from it. There are emotional rewards don’t come from the outcome. It comes from that opportunity to be in that situation and to know that it’s on them to go out there and execute and make it happen, and so when we’re developing young players, they’re going to be in one of those three phases if if they honestly are playing for the right reasons, so personalities can be fine. As long as we communicate well, we don’t disrespect each other and as long as we got character that the coaches and influence them in that then we can start sitting and really given the kids eat the individual attention that they need. We can start identifying specific things. That’s why I don’t like these cookie cutter practice plans because a lot of times we’re just sending these kids through the this practice plan just so we can manage the kids and we’re not really individually develop an each one based on where they’re at and what they need in that time. And I think today there’s so many good resources out there that the building for coaches that really want to understand it on how the help the the individual player, then it’s there, but it’s got to be based on what that, what that young player thinks they need and then where they’re at intellectually with that information. Then we can sit here and give them all the philosophies of the world. As long as they buy into it, we’re cool, but if they don’t buy into it, it don’t matter how great you think your philosophy is. It’s useless to that kid and sooner or later if you got seven or eight kids on your team that that philosophy is useless for, then it don’t matter how brilliant and smart it is. It don’t matter how many guys you help get to the big leagues before that. That group of kids that you have right then is the only group of kids that matters and so we can’t just wash your hands and walk away from it, but I think I think conversations like we’re having today, I hear it from coaches now. I hear coaches that are really getting into it. You see Joe Maddon, these guys that are great managers based on their relationships. It’s not that they don’t know baseball is that they go the relationship. They’d go that trust factor. They get to know the players on a real level, not only personally but as a baseball player and then they can see the little things that they can chip in and hopeless strategically help these guys with. But these guys, the best Major League players have went from this convincing compare mindset to this competing contribute mindset. So now their preparation is is purely based on going out and competing against the best players in the world and and how do they contribute to their team? And those are the players that majorly decision makers love. Those are the players of major league managers. Love and I tell them all the time, man, you’ll go to the big leagues when that manager in GM willing to get fired for you. And so what our job is is to prove to them that your major league ready while you’re pitching into minor leagues.
Geoff: Yeah, and it would be nice for a guy to kind of get out of that compare and convince mindset and to do themselves. You know, I tell guys all the time, do you man do yourself and it’s going to be a lot less stressful.
Darrell: Thats it man, hey man, what is the one key to, to a college pitcher or pro pitcher of success? I would say it was having that mindset shift from this convincing compare to this compete and contribute because convincing compare is about where you’re at physically and what everybody else is doing that that compete and contributes really individualized. It’s about how, what? What do you got to do to compete right? Then in that moment, in that game. So it’s not just big picture view is really personal and intimate. So when it becomes personal and intimate, then we’re a lot more apps. So look at what we can do and what we can do and taking the things we can do and figuring out a strategy to go use it. To win a game, to go get a hitter out, to go do the thing. That’s the mindset that I want these guys to have. I want them to believe that they got the physical capability, but I want them to turn that capability into a pitch mastery. I want them to find two or three pitches that they’ve mastered that they can throw consistently by velocity and movement to a location and now let’s create a strategy with those pitches that go out there and get the hitter out. And that’s, to me, that’s the art of pitching brother right there.
Geoff: Right? I agree. Now you got a guy that you are working with, a young guy college guy, A ball, whatever, you know, he, he, he’d gone through your process and he says, yeah, I’m going to do X,Y, , Z to improve X, Y,Z. But it seems like every time you guys talk, anytime you go to next, the conversation never really is the same. It never really goes anywhere. So what was that like?
Darrell: You know what I’ve found over the last 13 years of doing this and now I’ve got to work with. And, and the conversation just based on two things. One is they truly don’t intellectually understand it. They don’t want to admit it. They bobblehead because that’s what we’re conditioned to do. His players, most of the time we’re pleasers. We just want to make the coach happy. We just went. And especially in the minor leagues where you think that coach has got some impacts on whether you move up. And so we become pleaser. We just try to do whatever they tell us to do and what the biggest question I get from from first time calls when I do these, I do confidential consulting calls and, and when I talked to them, the first question, you know what they want, man, I wish somebody would just tell me what I needed to do if I’ve that wants to dip. I’ve heard debt 200 times, literally just tell me what I need to do. And so what that tells me right off the bat is that, that now they think the reason they’re not in the big leagues is because they don’t know what to do, which seems crazy. It seems kind of obvious, but it’s the reality of it is if we, if we break it down a little deeper, Geoff is because of the decision making. They don’t trust their decision making, whether they’re picking what pitch to throw. They really don’t believe maybe or they questioned it or they have a little indecision on whether that is the best pitcher, throw in the situation and counts and if they’re. If they’re worried about what that coach is going to think or what the organization’s going to think. If they give up a hit right now, then you can pitch like that. You can’t pitch with certainty and go out there and and the brain pitch with that kind of pressure because it’s not real pressure. It’s pressure based on a lack of knowledge, not pressured based on situation and circumstance and that’s frustrating. The second piece of it is, is I have that when kids are doing what the organization told them to do and they’re changing the kids when, when they, when they come in and just kids. Competence is based on this process and this program and that’s why it’s so hard, man. With all these great trainers out here in different strict conditioning guys and throwing programs and all this stuff, and and if you draft a kid that his, his competence is built in that training program or that recovery program and now you take that kid and he put him into a pro organization who says, we don’t do that here now intellectually and emotionally. This kid feels like he starting all over again and so I tell this. I tell a lot of coaches that, hey man, these kids are not clay. That you’re the potter. You know, at the end of the day you’re getting, you’re getting the jar. It is what it is. Now. What you do with that jar is up to you and what that, what that kid thing, but they’re not just a lump of clay. Just because they’re a great athlete don’t mean that you can come in and they’re not intellectual and emotional beings. That I’m just going to morph them into this. I’m going to shape them into who I want to do. That is maybe the biggest myth in minor league development is that these guys think that I can just draft these super talented athletes and I can mold them into these players. Man, that rarely ever works because you gotta have the intellectual and the emotional connection if you don’t have this intellectual interest and and understanding and if you don’t have this emotional connection and investment than all the fiscal talent, the world is just that. It’s just physical capability but don’t translate into a specific sport and especially pitching into some fine gross motor skill ability and now all of a sudden it’s especially, I’m going to magically just pick the right to throw in every situation account. That’s just crazy. But that’s kind of, that’s kind of what we’ve left it up to. And then you know, and again man, I’m not being harsh on these guys, but the, the prerequisite guys, when we get to the prerequisite to scout skills, the developmental stuff, all this stuff that’s on the Internet right now for sale is all prerequisite stuff. This is, it’s again, that’s what I tell these guys. It’s like having the 35 on your act. If you want to get into Stanford or Harvard, you got to have 35, 36. If not, man, everybody is trying to get in there. It’s right in that range, but. But that act is not going to get you a master’s degree from Harvard. You’re going to have to go earn that thing. You’re going to have to go do the work. You’re going to have to go put it into the time, and so that’s what we think though. If I just throw 94 miles an hour, then yeah, it might get you into that school, but it’s not going to go out there and get you a weekend starter job. It’s not going to get you a call to the big leagues. We got a. We got to intellectually understand what we’re doing and we got to have some deeper emotional connection because the game is so hard. Just that if we don’t have that interest in that connection, that man, whenever we started getting hit hard or we get rocked and we started playing against guys that are just as good or better than us, then we’re going to intellectually not be interested enough to take that next step. That gross stuff that I have to do to become strategic and so usually these guys tap out or whatever their physical capabilities. Most of the time it’s rookie ball are able and they never do make that strategic change and so a lot of times it’s not about adding velocity or doing something different with their pitches. It’s about mastering what they can do and then having a strategy to get that heater out and what happens then is the brain takes a different approach to pitching. Now it’s not in that convincing compare mindset. It’s in that compete and contribute mindset, which is a lot more tribal, a lot more organization team driven. Then the outcome is based on me and my team compete and how I contribute to the team and that’s what sets us free. That it’s not about me being individually jugs anymore in that convinced and compare mindset is more about how do I compete and contribute and help my team win, which is what every organization and coach wants, but we gotta give these kids permission to get there and if we keep comparing them with their fiscal skills against each other, then they’re never going to get to that point where, okay, this is my skill level, this is my capability. How do I master my pitches within that capability and then how do I read this study hitters read the umpire that day, see what they’re calling and how do I decide what pitch I’m going to throw in every situation. The accounts. That’s the game changer, man. That’s how we’re going to take it to not only pro ball to the next level, but we’re going to be able to help these younger high school and college guys that are starting to get their physical maturity level, that they can see the game differently and we’re going to have better athletes that want to play because now we’ve. We’ve put the competing contribute piece back into it. It’s not just this physical capability contest anymore.
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Geoff: Yeah, I agree. Alright. Routine lets talk routines, how important are they?
Darrell: I love routines. I think there’s aspects of the game that we need to be routine that we want to drill, so I’m not against me. I’m not against working on mechanics. It’s just got to be in the right time. I’m not against that. I want this, but I want the. I want any movement pattern that we’re trying to automate or we’re trying to make instinctive that we want it to be on autopilot. Right? And so when we have this piece of it, so if there’s an instinctive way that we moved in and then we train and there’s so many great bob mechanical stuff and major method teeth trainers and pts and these guys can do that. They can find lots of inefficiency deficiency, hyper and Hypo, all these different things that they can do with these kids to individually help them be as strong as stable as they can, which is a great thing and I think the sooner that we do that with younger players, the sooner that we start given that mindset to these kids that, hey, this is about me individually continuing to mature physically into the, to the young man I’m going to be. So once we keep the fiscal development piece straight, but I think what happens now is we start judging that fiscal development and we start labeling these kids. Here’s the philosophy kid, here’s a command kid, here’s a velocity kid and command kid, and the only difference between the two is one of them is more physically developed in the other one, but absolutely nothing has nothing to do with pitching. Has everything to do with physical capability at that point in time that we’re taking the snapshot. But what happens is actually an emotionally is when we start labeling these kids and we start telling them that they start believing it. Right? So, so all of a sudden now when we get to high school and we really need these kids to do both, we need them to intellectually grow and understand how to master their pitches and how to get hitters out and we need them to physically continue to develop and grow. Then we got to be able to keep those two together. We can divide those two and I think that’s the piece that you know, that we see in sports today. That, and again, when you go back to the quarterback analogy, that Drew Brees is a great physical quarterback. He’s not 65, but he’s got the all the fiscal capabilities he needs, but he understands his limitations and his strengths as in reading defenses and pick them. Making the right choice of where to, where to deliver the ball to and and so that is a process that he learned over a course of learning how to study. Hitters are study defenses. And when we see that piece of it, he can start looking for the accused. Inclusive ain’t like he’s warning the whole other team’s defense every week, but he knows that there’s a fundamental ground of situation they’re going to be in and so when he comes in up by a down, down and distance, he has a pretty good idea of how that defense is going to line up, so he sees this, this foundational, a formation as a defense is going to be. Now he’s looking for cues and clues out of individual players on that defense that’s going to give him a signal to what they’re going to do. Same Way with pitching man, and we can teach this in the high school and in college, but we got to, we got to change the conversation from this convincing compare mindset and get into this competing contribute mindset and we’ve got to get more. We got to get more individual Geoff into that and so until we, until we do that, then, and again, man, I tried to tell these guys that that pitching or baseball is, is a paradox. Sportman is the individual team sport. There’s a team aspect to it, but truthfully there’s nine players out there, all in different physicians, all got different roles and responsibilities and they trained each one of those positions individually. You know, you don’t train pitchers to be a third baseman, don’t train third baseman to be an outsider. They got specific things that they do just for that position and so we got a train players like that. We got to train them almost like golfers are tennis players. We got to take their strengths and their capabilities and we got to show them how they can take what they’re capable of and use it in a competitive environment, use it in a way that gives them a strategic advantage and that’s why I call it the strategy gap. I think that’s what’s missing. It has nothing to do with physical capability and talent. I think it has to do with individual strategy and what’s what that picture is honestly thinking when he standing on the rubber gets assigned from the catcher and I think at the end of the day if I was running a pro organization, that’s the one question I’d be asking my pictures every everyday and there wouldn’t be judgemental. It would be honestly where I want to intellectually understand whey they think why they think that. Do they trust the pits way more than they should? Are they putting too much reliance in this pitch and one situation account or they throw this pitch every 2-2 count. See, those are the habits and patterns in tendencies that good hitters pickup on. Right, and so again, all of us have them, but a lot of times if we’re having success, we don’t pay no mind to it and that’s something not totally. I tell these programs to all the time, man, I’ve never seen him take a picture that was pitching, dislikes, lights out and changed his mechanics. Even though they might think this guy has got the jacked up, this dysfunctional looking at mechanics ever. If he’s getting that consistently and he’s pitching well, they are not changing that guy no matter how bad they think his mechanics are, and so again, then at the end of the day it comes down to get hitters out. If you’re getting hitters out, you can do it in the ugliest way ever and some coach will love you it and that’s okay, but at the same time, as long as we’re using these scout measurements and and these static reports and that’s the fiscal measurements that we’re using, then we’re going to get that type of kid and the kid said, intellectually are interested in or emotionally invested and can you get into that? The competing contribute mindset are the ones that end up making it to the big leagues.
Geoff: Lets talk about routines. Lets talk about routines in terms of waking up on games days.
Darrell: 39:09 Sure. Yeah. Well that’s the that’s the gist of what I do. I call it STARTT. It’s S T A R T T is specific thoughts and the actions required today and tomorrow, and so what I try to get these guys to do is I call them daily think sheet. I want them to get up and focus on specifically just what they need to do today and we cover all four aspects, the intellectual piece of it, the emotional piece of it, the mental piece of it and the physical piece of it and so within those concepts, what are we need to do today to make sure that that we’re moving the ball forward. We’re doing what we need to do and that’s in season off season and preseason, and so what it does is it just gives them a structure based on how, how much sleep they get, what are they eating, and so we can start honestly measured and tracking and testing what is the best route for them, how, what is the right amount of sleep for them. And again, there’s sometimes, especially in the minor leagues when you’re on buses a lot, you can’t control all that stuff, but what it does, it lets us start seeing that. That here’s the tendencies that I have when I have seven and a half hour sleep and I eat at 8:00 in the morning and I do this at 2:00 and then I go into my pregame routine. That is what I need to do to get my subconscious ready for me to go out there and intellectually and emotionally and physically pitched the game today.
Geoff: Yeah I try to get some quality time with our guys on routines and getting them to understand the value of it. And it can be kind of a tough sell for a younger guy, but it’s worth mentioning over and over and over until they get it. Because once they get it, then they started to find consistency.
Darrell: No question. And I think we gotta give them time to adjust. I think sometimes, and I’m guilty of it. I feel the whole kitchen sink at these guys and I have information overload and that’s 100 percent my fault. That’s not their fault, but, but we want to start with maybe our sleep habits then move into our nutritional habits and he just Kinda kinda slowly do this. But I think what happens is the habits and routines, master level of success they’re having and vice versa, the more success they have, the better their habits or routines get because they start looking for habits and patterns and tendencies of why I was successful. And so I think, I think some of it is just a conversation. It’s not just a habit to be a habit and it’s not just a habit because that’s what we need to do. It’s a habit because strategically that’s what helps me prepare to go pitch today. Right? And so that’s what we base it on. And so there’s a lot of times we have to filter out stuff that I say, hey man, if you can’t tell me honestly how that’s helping you be a more strategic picture or how to help and you stayed capable and healthy, then we’ve really got to question why we’re wasting time on it. Because the brain is not. The brain is neutral. The brain only measures what we put into it. It only takes it. It only labels what we label it. It only gives value to what we give value to. And if you don’t think that your routine in the habits has anything to do with your success and they’re not going to do it, if they think that it has everything to do with their pitch and success, they’re going to do it almost to perfection. And, and again, both, both sides of it can be almost too crazy because we want it to be instinctive and true to that picture. But it’s one of those things that in today’s society, man, we want everything today. We want to fast and I think most sciences and most neuroscientists and tell you to take 60 to 70 days to really change a good hat or create a good habit or bad habit or are to really develop a habit. And so a lot of times we just say we ain’t consistent enough to get to that point where it truly does become a part of our mindset on that we think is why we’re having success is this routine. And so that’s why the cab, that’s what you guys can do, man. That’s what we do. We gotta we gotta just be consistent. We got to get on them. And that’s, and that’d be honest with you, Geoff is the hardest part of my job, cause it’s not scalable. There’s only so many guys you can work with. There’s only so many guys that you can hours in the day that you can try to help. And within that, I think there’s the ability for coaches to manage that, but they’re going to have to work together with the guys like us that are really trying to just help kids get to a point that they can go compete, contributed any level at whatever level that there is. We’ll let them go play it. And I hope that that’s what baseball it turned into. And again, I hope that’s what all you sports turned into. The, the kids that are dedicated and committed are the ones that will intellectually be interested in. They’ll carry the game forward because they’ll carry the right parts of the game forward and they’ll keep it at that competitive level that, that people want to go watch them play at Man. And that’s cool.
Geoff: Yeah and the thing that I hope people who are listenting are picking up and realizing is everything is a conversation So you gotta talk, you gotta, you gotta build trust in your player and you got to have the conversation whether it’s uncomfortable or not.
Darrell: Yeah, i think. I think you’ve nailed it. I think the most important part for us coaches is that we care, but we honestly care about them as a person first and that that’s probably the biggest turnoff I had, man, is that the guy said, I just don’t know that. Don’t feel it. Don’t get it. That’s usually the discernment that that hits me, is that truthfully they don’t care. They don’t care then man, you ain’t fixing that. That’s, that’s. That’s something they have to change. They have to do. You can guide it for a little while, but we waste too much energy on super talented guys that really don’t care. Instead of focusing on the guys that maybe just talented that do care that can turn into this super talented pitcher. And so I looked, I looked for those guys. I looked for the guys that maybe that’s not riding at physical talent. And again, that goes into that. The idea assessment. Are they intellectually interested? Can they explain to you how they throw their pitches and why they pick what pitches they through? That’s what I’m telling you. That’s the one takeaway of they don’t take nothing away from this podcast. It go ask your pitchers why they throw the pitches that they throw and if they can’t honestly, intellectually, and that don’t mean they have to break it down kinetically or all the other crazy stuff that’s out there today, but they got to have a thought process on why they chose that pitch. But you got to do it. You got to do it in a nonjudgmental way. It’s got to be more curiously. It’s got to be more inquisitive and it’s got to be an the fact that, hey man, it. What that will tell you right off the bat is whether this kids just don’t want the catcher calls and hoping. I call it wishful thinking because it’s not strategic. It’s just wishful thinking. And, and I got minor league guys like that. They don’t, they have no idea why they throw the. They do. They just throw with the catcher calls and, and hope for the best. And that’s, again, that’s not a strategy, that’s wishful thinking, right? And so again, strategy don’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be yours, so it needs to be personalized, it needs to be based on the pitches that you’ve mastered and the information that you know about the other team and the hitter you’re facing. And then you can make an intellectual choice and the emotional choice on what’s the best fish through and the guys that do that are the ones that have the most success. And that’s just as real as it gets. Man,
Geoff: Awesome, well listen Darrel this has been a great conversation, lets kind of end it with if I just got done listening to this conversation and I’m sitting here saying, Jeez, this is so much information, it’s Kinda, it’s Kinda overwhelming. So what my action items can I do? What can I take away from this conversation that it’s getting me down the path to help him, my pitcher to get guys out?
Darrell: Yeah, First of all, I think for all of this that we have to take a step back and realize that yeah, there’s some physical prerequisites that it takes to be a good pitcher, but at the same time they’re just prerequisites. They don’t, they ain’t the strategic identity of these young players and we got to stay away from labeling these kids too early. And so again, I know, again, I’m not hammering showcases. I’m not, I’m not into all that that serves no purpose. We can agree or disagree or love it or hate it, that don’t matter. It’s the end of the day. It’s a reality that’s happening. There’s parents and kids and coaches that want to play and do it, so we need to help them, but the best way to do it honestly is to really find out. And I and I did a program with already so we had to be fun and it was really neat. Paul’s a great guy and really insightful. You coach and does a lot of great things for baseball and we went through an eight week program with some his parents and some of them and it was based on do they really know whether their kid honestly wants to play baseball or not and if they do then here’s what we can do to help. And so that’s what I tell every parent, every coach, whether they got 10 kids on the team, but doing town ball team where they got to select ball team, have a good enough relationship with your players that you could go up and ask them what do they, what do they liked? It’s not baseball related and I do it with my, with my recruiting piece of my program that I do with these guys. I tell them all the time. The first schools that you ought to look at are the schools that you would go to if he wasn’t playing baseball. And people like, what do you mean? That’s like, what school would you pick? And you know what? Some kids tell me I wouldn’t even go to college. Okay. Then you know what? Go to Juco. Go somewhere that you don’t have the pressure of being a D1 guy that coaches get fired if you suck. You know what I mean? Pick a school that yeah, I pick a school and at the end of the day what it does is it just gets the mindset of the parents and the. And the Pitcher, right? Let’s go to college for the right reason. Let’s go to college because of an it’s something that I want to do and that I can add value to that coach and that organization, that team, and then let’s do it based on what do I really want to do with the rest of my life. That baseball is just an avenue that helped me either get my school paid for our just another, each four year experience I want to have, or maybe it turns into a hall of fame, baseball career, but at the end of the day, players play for experiences. Every one of us at coach, we coach for experiences. It’s not just the day in, day out, grind. That’s just part of what we do. We coach so we can see these kids achieve and live out these baseball experiences that only comes from the dedication and the hard work of the guys that really care. And so the things that. The things I love most about coaches and parents and Admin is that they care. The coaches don’t care, man. We can help them. All the baseball guys out there, all the baseball gurus, geniuses out there, the parents and coaches that really care. We can help them guys, but the ones that don’t care, that are only doing it for their own experience, not for the experience that the kids can have and the parents can be a part of and the coaches can be a part of. And so I think what happens is us coaches need to take more of a guide, more of a leader, a mindset to it and approach to it and instead of it being about us and our philosophy and how many of these kids can I prove that my philosophy is the best loss be ever in baseball development. And really of flipped that script around and and honestly say, hey man, what kind of baseball experience are you looking for? And then, you know, based on physical capability and based on intellectual interest and based on emotional connection and based on are they really mentally focused on what they want to do. That kind of gives us the cues and clues and signals as coaches and scouts and in college coaches and recruiters about those are the kids that are going to have the best opportunity to be successful and those are the ones that we need to be scouting and recruiting, but we don’t need to be hammering 12, 13, 14 year old kids in the ground and driving them away from baseball because we gotta lay blown before they’ve even reached puberty. And so that’s what I would lead you with, brother. I would tell every parent, youth coach out there, get to know your kids. Honestly. Give them a value besides baseball and and honestly, if baseball is her passion and desire and they have the physical capability, then encourage it. But if it’s not their passion and desire and they just want to be respected, they want to play with her friends than give them a role and responsibility. If they’re good enough to make your team that that fits, that respect that they’re looking for, but you can’t put them in that recognition or reward because they’re going to fail at it. But the only way we know that is if we have real honest conversations with these young men and these young players and we don’t be mean and hateful about it. We’re just real about it. And that don’t mean that you’re that you’re insensitive it. This means that when we talked to parents and coaches, we we put them in in that respect, that recognition or that reward grow. Instead of saying you’re my starter and you’re never going to do nothing but run to say, hey man, they want to be on the team. And when you have that conversation with parents and you ain’t, you ain’t charged them ins bordered mountain though of money and different things about Geoff. Then we have a lot better relationships and these kids and these parents have a lot better experiences and it ends up being fun for coaches too. But I think most coaches struggle because of the experience they create for their players and the atmosphere and the environment that either the parents are controlling the experience of the coaches and the experience. And at the end of the day we got to let players play. It’s got to be fun, it’s got to be something they want to do, and the truth of this, if the parents and the coaches try to make it to be the best experience that the players could have everyday, then all of us would do a lot better at our job at the end of the day.
Geoff: I agree, Darrell, I appreciate your time. I learned a lot. Thank you for coming on.
Darrell: Hey Buddy. I love you, man. I appreciate you. You’re doing a great job, man. I’m looking forward to see how this goes for you and then any way, anytime I can help brother, you just let me know. I’m glad to do it.
Geoff: I am Geoff Rottmayer and thank you for listening to our conversation on the Baseball Awakening Podcast. Stay tuned for our recap show tomorrow.