You and your coach(s)
Some of you are going to have – if you haven’t already, encountered a coach that is instructing you with your pitching. Seeing how the preseason is just about underway for some if not most of you, I like to pass on some suggestions to you.
.................................Differing methods and Approaches
As you have seen here on this site, there are different interpretations and approaches to just about any question and circumstance. You will experience this environment in real time while in the company of resident coaches. The justification for this variation is primarily due to the
combination of the coaching history, resource availability, and expectations dictated by the level of competition.
If your club has little if any coaching history at the pitcher’s position then you can expect to cultivate the same. So, the only option open to you may be self taught, private sources and any combination in between. You’re going to be learning by doing, that’s a painful learning curve. You’ll also interject a lot of your own personality which can – from time to time, run counter productive with coaches whose personality clashes with yours. By the way, a meeting with a private pitching coach to see how your “chemistry” jells BEFORE you start your sessions is mandatory. It’s that important.
All coaches, regardless of the sport, come with a bit of history to them. Some have a history of developing with the sport and its advances while other’s mark time and are perfectly comfortable where they are. (I personally have fallen into this trap more often than I’d care to admit – it happens.) Sometimes being in an environment of sparse resources and little or no support for a program can wear down even the best of coaches – not to mention their intensions. So, as the sport advances and
terminology starts to narrate those advance some coaches find themselves on the outside looking in.
I can’t stress terminology and the use of language in the coaching process. In that regard, I’ve had pitchers from other programs arrive with a vocabulary that I had to say ‘’ hold it guys, what the heck are you talking about??” In one case, I unintentionally used a phrase that was totally 180 degrees from the point I wanted to get across. Had I not spotted one of my charges with a look of skepticism on his face, I would have done those pitchers no justice at all.
Another thing that you might have to deal with on your club that may go unnoticed is a wide age disparity among the coaching staff. This environment has the potential for a host of counterproductive agendas. I wish I could suggest a way around some of these environments but it’s very difficult to do so when these conditions are the only-game-in-town. Addressing a web site like this one is one approach – but this media and all the best intentions of its participants has its limitations..
There are two sides to this topic – them and you. For example, U.C.L.A. and Stanford University each have outstanding baseball programs. In addition, each has an outstanding commitment with respect to resources – human and otherwise. Berry Elementary School in small town USA is an excellent school with a very nice playground – swing sets and everything. They also field a baseball team that competes in the 12U.
I know my example is a bit extreme, but it drives home a point – you’d expect an institution like Stanford University to be equipped with the best … and thus attract the best. On the other hand, Berry Elementary is in no way at the level of Stanford University – but.. Berry matches its playing environment just as well as Stanford. That includes talent – player and coaches alike.
If your one of the lucky ones that has a resource pool like that of Stanford – human and otherwise, take advantage of it.. big time. If on the other hand, you’re like the rest of us you’ll be dealing with the “Berry Elementary” of this world and the Coaching History of the people involved with it.
On this site there are competitive levels that are captioned in the lower section of the main web page, preempted by a host of helpful topics. Based on the subjects and range of topics the age and level of competition varies greatly. This same environment is a real time “classroom” where you actually live and experience day-to-day. So, where you are and where the contributors to this web site are – of course, different. Some of the video sent here is very good with respect to clarity and observing the surface that you’re performing on, and so forth. Adding to that video is your questions and your follow up. What is not shown is the level of competition that you’re at, the conditions that you’re performing under, your overall attention to health issues – rest/diet/exercise…etc. In addition, what’s not shown is your actual game performance with respect to how many innings/pitches/days rest since your last performance…etc. Also missing are coaching sessions – live time, instructional performances – before and after, Corrective action(s) and why…etc.
A common mistake that I’ve found with young players that have very good ability is that they tend to bite off more than they can chew. For example, a 14 year old may look and have the outward appearance of being a lot more talented than other 14 year olds.. … so during a summer league his parents place him in a 17U level where every player is 16 and 17 years of age. Can he handle it? By the looks of things, yes. But the learning curve is literally nonexistent because it’s all the kid can do to keep his head above water. What follows is a crash course in pitching which loads a youngster with knowledge that’ll never be time tested – hit the ground running is more like it. And then comes a host of terms and terminology that goes far beyond the youngsters interest level and attention span, not to mention comprehension.
I had a pitcher once call me “old school”… your “old school coach.” Really? When I asked him to explain that remark with some sort of detail to the instruction --- he couldn’t. What he did do was to pickup a phrase I used then proceeded to close his mind to everything else. Unfortunately, his inertia grew more as the tryout process went on.
There is no coach that has every answer to every training scenario. It’s a give and take situation. You’ve got to be part of the coaching process yourself by “giving” feedback to your coach(s) and asking them to actually show you by doing—then explain why/how come/what for… etc. Any person that gives you ..”just do it!” does not deserve the title much less the respect of being called “coach”. On the other hand --- if you fight it every inch of the way, you’ve got to sit down and talk with someone, and be honest of why and how-come.