Being Coached Vs Being Trained

I was asked recently if there was a difference between coaching a pitcher and training a pitcher.

The answer to that question is yes, there is a difference, a big difference.

Being coached as a pitcher has to do with what’s to be done after you get the ball in your hands.
Being trained as a pitcher as to do with what’s to be done before getting the ball in your hands.

Most amateur baseball deals with coaching, not training. At the college level however, this experience can take a dramatic turn. Training itineraries, both speculative and operative, can be a tough act to follow for those without discipline and dedication. It can be a rude awakening for some.

The main focus however is not so much the stress and pressure to perform, the higher you go, but to know what to do and how to deal with all the situations that encompass highly competitive play. These situations are just as much off the field happenstance as they are on the field.

Basically, a coaching staff is looking for more competency out of you at the higher levels. Ideally, your self control, game knowledge, self awareness, and skills command leaves less to others steering you and more to you steering yourself.

So, if you plan on being that type of performer that accepts this environment, start looking for training not just coaching, and here’s just one example of why: when you take the mound at all levels of this game, you’ll be holding 60%-70% of the defensive effort in your hand. In a “pure coaching” environment, you have all that responsibility - but none of the authority to use your judgement and skills to take hold of those percentages. When you’re in a training environment, your accepting the knowledge and the what-for-ever to use that knowledge to take full responsibility of those percentages. In short, less and less of the game plan actually comes from the bench and more and more comes from you.

It does take a bit getting use to.

Coach B.

How right you are, Coach B.! There is indeed a humongous difference. I have seen a lot of pitchers, or wanna-be pitchers, who really have to go back to the basics, to square one, and learn the fundamentals, the basics. Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of this in the major leagues—“pitchers” who have to be sent down to rookie league or even instructional league to learn how to pitch, rather than just throw. And some of them, unfortunately, never catch on—either they don’t want to listen because they think they know it all, or else they were at the corner bar when the good Lord distributed the brains!
Believe me, nothing beats good solid instruction. And even if one does know the basics, the fundamentals, there are things that have to be learned. I remember how when I started out, I was pretty good, won a lot of games and saved others, but when I met Ed Lopat I realized there was much more I needed to know, and he was ready and willing to take me in hand, show me things, refine my pitches and teach me a lot of advanced stuff he felt I needed to know. I liked and respected him, and I listened to him. And I became a better pitcher as a result.
Look what happened with Whitey Ford. He was good—very good—but he was a thrower who thought he knew it all, and it took Lopat to convince him that such was not the case. Eventually Ford listened to him, and he learned, and he became a top pitcher. :slight_smile: 8)