On today’s show, I talk about my growth as a coach and finding other solutions to help guys get better and getting away from this one way thinking that the baseball industry falls into.
The main thing we cover in this episode:
- Being On-Time when it pertains to fielding and hitting.
- See The Baseball
- Think Baseball
Hey guys, on today’s show I am talking about One way of thinking – as I continue working with players, learn more about the game and reflect on the conversation I have with players, especially very early on when we start working together – there is typically one way of thinking, and this thought process is usually mechanics. So I am going to talk about a handful of different example of this but today going to talk in the sense of a player who steps out of the ball or has been hit by pitch
As I sit here and reflect on some of my players and the conversations I have lately, I am reminded how far I have come in my understanding of this great game. I still got a lot to learn, believe me. But I remember working with kids and every conversation was about mechanics because it all I knew at the time and really the main focus on what I was thought.
All I wanted to do was be a great instructor who could hopefully help guys/gals reach their potential as players and as people. I wanted that because it meant I stay in the game in the game of baseball longer.
This is a tough game to walk away from and go do something else. Believe me, I tried. I also wanted to be a part of players’ journey however ever long their abilities allowed them to play.
When I first got started, naturally you will get a lot of younger players, and be honest it the younger player and the late bloomer athlete that make you a better coach because they force you to find different ways to explain things and find ways to simplify things. But with that age, you got a lot of kids who were afraid of the ball, which pertained to fielding and hitting, you also go kids who have gotten hit but he ball before, which pertained to hitting and fielding as well.
When a parent would relay this to me, naturally I gravitation toward a conversation about mechanics and trying to make sure they knew how to see the ball. I would talk a lot about seeing the ball, but I never really understand what it meant or really how to teach it.
Vision training was something I knew I needed as a baseball player. When I was in college I stumbled upon Dr. Bill Harrison’s training and did all the exercise and it really helped. I didn’t know or understand what I was doing or why I just knew I needed to do it and found it to work.
So as I started working with kids and have a lot of them afraid of the ball and getting hit by the ball, I reached out to Dr. Bill in hope that he would help me understand how I could get these kids better at seeing the ball.
Remember at this time, the conversation was all mechanics. It leads me and the people around me to one way of thinking. The industry falls into this category bad. One way of thinking. You are going to revert to what you know and are comfortable talking about. Instead of looking at the whole picture and see how it all comes together and impacts each other.
This opened up another world for me and it was a lot of fun to seek other solutions to help players get better.
What I want to share today is when you got a kid who is afraid of the ball or have been hit by the ball, better yet, when you work with players at any age, because I have this conversation with college guys too.
When you are hitting and fielding, you need to be on time. That’s the goal. Be on time. You need to be on time to pick the ball up out of the hand, you need to be on time to read the ball off the bat, you need to be on time with getting the foot down and you need to be on time getting the left foot down when fielding, if you are a righty.
But that is the conversation, make sure they understand that they need to be on time. And you have to teach them what that means. what does it mean and how do I implement it. You cannot assume that the players have a clue what you are saying – they are going to say they understand but they don’t sop explain it to them.
In order to be ton time – they need to see the ball. They need to be taught how to see baseball. When to see, where to see, and how to see. Seeing the baseball is the most basic and foundation aspect of the game, yet when I ask a kid how they see the ball, they have no clue and most to the time they do it wrong.
They are always amazed at how well the can see the ball when they have an understanding of where and when to look. For them to pick the ball up they will have to focus and concentrate which will help them in their fielding and hitting.
Lastly, they have to get their minds clear. So the way we have them do that is to simply think baseball. If you think baseball and repeat to yourself over and over again, ball, see the ball. Then you have zero chance to think anything else.
So again, they need to be on time, they are on time by seeing the ball, they see the ball by thinking and repeating in their mind baseball and see the ball.
I had one kid who struggled for the longest time, I would say a year-long slump, and it came across like he understand what I was talking about, and I am pretty good at reading kids so I honestly thought it understood it, but I explain the concept to him in front of his parents and I think that when it clicked for him. Within two weeks of having this conversation – he was on a tear hitting. Hitting everything hard and seeing the ball well.
I had another kid that constantly step out because he was afraid of the ball. Once he learned that the goal was to be onetime, see the ball, and think baseball he said the ball looks so slow and i have all kinds of time to make a decision. His only problem was he had developed the habit of stepping out so it was natural almost. HE spent several weeks cleaning that up and he is a darn good little hitter.
Anyways, hope that makes sense, give it a try and let me know how it works for you. I would be curious.