Recapping the Dustin Pease Conversation

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development.

Summary:

On this episode, Host, Geoff Rottmayer,recaps his conversation with Dustin Pease of Lokation Nation. The biggest takeaways that he discussed in this show are:

  • The importance of finding a balance between command and velocity.
  • Making location and getting guys out a priority.
  • Location training will help you right now to get hitters out.
  • Certainly, develop velocity, but get good with command as you develop.
  • The process of starting out with Pitchers.
  • Pressure testing concept and how great it has been.
  • Throwing to location, not just throwing a lot.
  • and more.

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Email Address:geoff@baseballawakening.com

Transcribe:

Hey Guys Geoff Rottmayer here with the Baseball Awakening recap show where I share with you the biggest takeaways I got from my conversation with Dustin Pease – as well as how I plan to implement what I have learned with my players that train with me at my academy in Tulsa Oklahoma

Again, as I always say, we want to hear from you because different things mean different thing to different people so it would be interesting to see how you guys interpret something that Butch said or something that I am going to say today. I will make a show reading your email because we can all learn something from it, so my email is going to be geoff@baseballawakening.com, so so me your thoughts, comment, or feedback.

In a time where we are so focus on velocity, and believe me I like velocity as much as the next guy, but I also believe there needs to be more balance. What this is about, is the current moment, the present moment when you are standing on the mound trying to get hitters out, locating your pitches is the important. Understand where your ball is going, understanding how your ball moves is important. These are things that are going to allow you to advance in this game as a pitcher. Velocity certainly develop it, we develop it at my place but we also spend a good amount of time trying to get the baseball to a certain area. The way you do that is by throwing a lot. Its like anything else – the way you get better at hitting a curveball is to hit a lot of curveballs, to get better at fielding ground balls you take a lot of ground balls – same things with throwing. You need to throw a lot and find a consistent release point. 

Dustin grew up understand that command was going to be a top priority for him to advance his game, and if you look at this career, he had a pretty successful career throughout his youth days and pro days. So there is def something to be said about being able to locate pitches top get guys out and have an opportunity to go as far as he was able to go despite not being one of the hardest throwers in the game. But he realize young that he was going to have to throw and throw a lot to be able to command the baseball like he wanted to. It was nothing for him to go out and throw 300 pitches or have a sole focus on hitting one target until he reach his goal on how many times he wanted to hit it not matter how many pitches it took. This is crazy determination, I have had one kid like this that trained with me. He just wanted to be a good pitcher and he threw pretty hard for his age, but he was determined to hit his spots with all of his pitches and he got pretty good at it. This kid threw a lot of pitches to make that happen. He threw a lot of flat ground to make it happen. The kid just threw the baseball a lot and got good at doing what he wanted with it. But he made it a priority. So I think that is going to be the key – making it a priority. This kid worked through his velocity program and up up to 90 before he left high school –  but he understand and brought into what he needed at the present moment to get guys out was to be able to locate and change speeds to locate. And that is Dustin message – you are going to show up to the ball park with what you have – what you have is what you have for the day and try letting the ability to move the ball around the zone and messing with hitters be the key thing that shows up on game days. 

I went on to ask Dustin to share with me his process to getting started, and he shared that they are looking at deficiencies  in movement patterns and work to correct that first.  Which I think its an important thing that he shared, because there can be a misconception in thinking that one doesn’t care too much about mechanics – its all about throwing and throwing and throwing with what you have and develop itself. There is that misconception with guy to tend to be more command focus. He shared his experience in which he talks about having a funk mechanics but he was able to repeat the movement pattern. So to him it about being able to move the body in a way that his repeatable and then throwing a lot to a certain location. 

I love how Dustin talks about our sole focus needs to be throwing the baseball to a location, not just throwing the baseball. This is something I stress to our guys all the time. You can get better with locating during catch, but putting your focus to throwing the ball to a location. There are a lot of thing you can focus on and get good at during catch. When on the receiving end, you can pick the ball out of your partners hands, so now you are working on eye the ball early and recognizing it out of hand which will help with hitting, you can track the baseball deliberately and follow the baseball all the way into the glove which will help with hitting and fielding, you can throw to a location, you can move your feet. I think catch play is a very underutilized activity in terms of all the things you can work on every single day and every single time you play catch. You can improve so much of a lot of different areas of the just by playing catch the right way. But kids have to be taught this. They have to be taught this. This will be the topic of tomorrow show. But anyways, you need to put your focus on throwing the baseball to a target and track your ability to hit that target. This is something i stress all the time and will have to continue to stress because guys get lazy during their time playing catch. 

I went on to ask Dustin how the coaches and kid on how to manage a coach telling him to do x,y,z when every his is comfortable with his mechanics and is just focus on trying to get guys out. I ask this question because think every coach has this conversation and I think its interesting to hear other coaches perspective and how they coach players. Players have coaches that they trust, and those coaches work really hard to gain this players trust. This coach likely have taken the time to teach a young man about his mechanics or pitch grips or whatever and the player has seen it work and is getting confidence. The quickest way to shock a kids confidence is to make him do something outside of what he has been working on and is comfortable with. Especially when you haven’t taken the time to see how the kid executes. I think coaches need to accept what a player is doing and let him fail and then make some suggestions, instead of spewing things out right aways. For me at my academy, I always ask pitchers what their biggest issues are and we will film and we will talk mind set. So the combination of these things we are able to get a big picture idea of what might be happens. A lot of time you get a kid movement better and change the thought process, you will be amaze how much the mechanics clean up on it own. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t coach mechanics, but i like to film and continue to film, work on moving better and then execute drill that will coach a desire movement. But i think we tend to react too fast in terms of seeing something you don’t like and making a kid change something, especially if we are not having a conversation and explains why we are doing everything. When players come to me and said coach said x,y,z my first question is why. What happen that made him make that suggestion. and like Dustin I tell them to be respectful and go back to continuing to do what you are doing but I also say, see if you can pull the coach aside after practice one day and see if he can explain it to you so you can understand what he is seeing and really suggesting. Most coaches should take the time to explain themselves, but i have seen coaches just said because i said so. Trust me coaches, if you are a guy that said, because i said so – you lost all trust of that player. Gaining the trust of your players is your top priority and you blew it by tell him because i said so. 

Dustin later on in the conversation shared with us his pressure testing protocol and I like how he structured that and its quite amazing and I have tried this since I have had this conversation with Dustin and it crazy when you get to test time and you can sense some kids tighten up and the heart rate goes up – so it was an interest thing to observe but was also able to see who needed more mental talk and breathing technique and who can withstand pressure and deliver. So it was an interesting thing to watch and something we will be doing a lot more of, same goes for hitting.

Next thing we talked about what the intensity. And something I agree with Dustin on, a lot of kids do not want to go slow before they go fast. But you must go slow and coordinating the movements to execute a task before you can turn it up and go max effort. Now, I do think you have days where you work on max effort throwing and my definition of max effort throwing is different then what is currently out there but that another conversation for another time, but think you need more days lower the intensity and focusing on repeating a movement that will get the baseball where you want it to go. So slow and easy and as you get better go with little more intensity and then every so often add in a day where you are going max effort. 

I later ask Dustin about focal point, and he does have a section in his book on this, and its a great book, I highly recommend it. But a lot of kids struggle with this concept, they struggle with looking anywhere but the glove so they have to be coaches and reminded all the time. And then they have to be able to do the same thing in games. Its tough enough to do it in bullpen for most kids and asking them to do it in game is tough. But i think this is an important part of the puzzle. Using your eyes to make adjustment or to understand where you need to throw to play off the movement of a pitch. Some days your pitches are going to work better than others, so you get to mess around with focal point there and different focal point for different days – but kids have to be taught this and they have to be reminded often. 

If you had listen to some of my other conversations you will notice i tend to play stupid on the topic of visualization and its because i want to hear other people thoughts when it comes to it and I think visualization is really important. Really important. Dr. Bill Harrison calls it visual thinking. But I think you are able to pre-play something you want to have happen in your mind prior to it happening it one of the better ways to keep yourself from thinking about previous thing and then it keep you focus as Dustin said, positive mental imagery. I try and tell our guys all the time to focus on some of your best at bats or some your best outing or heck even just one pitch and pre-play and replay the heck out of it. Seeing it, feel it and focus on that and remember what it felt like. Throwing pitches and executing at the plate is about trusting your stuff. So if you can visualize and maintain positive mental imagery then you are going to develop great habits that will no doubt help you with your performance over time. 

When I later asked about developing game plans, dustin nailed it when he said that – if you cannot locate your pitches, then its going to be tough to develop a game plan. The guys that are really good have game plans, but the guys that are really good can also throw the ball where they want it. They can make strikes strike, ball ball, ball strike, strike ball, so this comes with making it a priority though. If you can do this with velocity then that is great, but when it comes to now – the only way you can execute game plan is to put the baseball where you want it. 

Then I ask about when i guy comes to you after a game and his curve ball wasnt working – Dustin went on to explain that there are alot of different things that come into play when a pitch is working so its not always mechanics. Understand the big picture when trying to figure out why something didnt work. Sometime somethings dont work and thats fine – it happens to the best of them, the key though it to keep executing and find a way to get guys out that what seperate guys. 

So My biggest takeaways, is that yes develop velocity but make location a priority. Make is a priority every single time you throw a baseball – even during catch. We tend to throw alot already at my place, we also focus on throwing to certain location – we added the pressure testing which has been very telling for us and the guys. And all in all, we like Dustin message, and we use information from his book – so I would encourage you to go back and listent to the conversation – also listetn to the very last thing dustin said when i ask about advice for guys who want to be more location focus – so just a great conversation with lots of nuggest. Let me know your thoughts or feedback – email me at geoff@baseballawakening.com thanks for tuning in.