Best way to approach a coach?

My school competes in the Varsity “B” Conference. I’m currently the #1 starting pitcher. I’m doing a pretty specific weighted ball throwing and strength training program.

Recently, my coach has introduced the team to a “mandatory” 6 day a week throwing and conditioning routine which he is trying to force upon all 16 players on the roster (small school, I know). Basically, a lot of this stuff goes completely against my current training principles, for example he thinks long distance running and lifting light weights slow and controlled is the best way to get in shape for baseball. As far as throwing goes, he wants me to throw with the team 3 times a week, and do his specific bullpen routines twice a week…I don’t want to be a difficult player, and I don’t want to have to confront him, but the fact is, this is not what is going to prepare me for the season. All it’s going to do is cause my velocity gains to stagnate, and give him more of an opportunity to try to bang his balance point mumbo jumbo/ drills into my muscle memory.

I see few ways to approach this.

I want to avoid a direct confrontation.

I am willing to throw ONCE a week (Sunday) on his routine (the only practice he is legally allowed to have by school rules - up to 3 hours a week until the season starts).

I could as a last resort ask him if I could do my weighted ball routine in the gym with the team…problem is I need the radar gun/see through net/video camera/tripod set up and I have all of this already set up at my own place.

He’s also asking for us to do this from 6-8pm during the week

so my point of view is this:

I have two months to continue my weighted ball training uninterrupted: potential gains: 3-5 mph

attend my coach’s throwing routines and halt my current progress

How do I approach him? How can I do it respectfully?

How do I not come off as an arrogant know-it-all?

It’s complicated by the fact that he’s not even allowed to be holding these “mandatory” practices by school rules. The league also states that out of season coaches can’t hold more than 3 hours of practice per week.

I don’t agree with a lot of what he says. At the same time I have enormous respect for him and his devotion to the school program.

I am also somewhat dependent on him in my college process where he has a ton of connections to MLB players, trainers, college coaches, etc.

I know he’s just doing his best to prepare the team for a successful season. For every other player who doesn’t know any better, that’s fine. They wouldn’t be working out or throwing on their own anyway. But I’m stuck in an awkward position, and unsure how to escape.

It seems I’m forced to choose between myself and my baseball career, and my coach/team. I need help.


I don’t think there is any way to approach your coach without coming off as those things you stated.

Basically by telling your coach you want to do your own thing is saying “I’m above your program, and I am better then what you have set for us”

Our team had this problem 2 years ago with our pitching coach, and there were players who wanted to do their own thing and not our coaches program. And that’s even at the division I level.

What some of them did was the bare minimum with the pitching staff and then their own thing on the side.

Honestly though, you might be pissing off your teammates too by doing your own thing. It comes across as “I’m better than all of you which is why my situation is unique”

When you get to college you’re going to find most schools from DIII to DI use long distance running for their pitching staff, and slow and controlled lifting…

How about being honest? Tell him that you are knee deep in a program, show him what you are doing and ask if there is anyway to comprimise. If he says no it would seem to me that you’d be in the same situation you would if you just went ahead and quietly did it the way you mentioned. Tell him about the success you’ve had and tell him how you appreciate his program. If he sees that developmentally you’ll be getting the same amount of work and you are honest and respectful he may bend some.
The fact that you let him know you don’t think you are the Burger King and gonna have it your way and already have a working/improving plan may save the day. Andy had a similar situation, but it was his pre-game warm-up that differed from his coach and when the coach saw he had a plan and it was more comprehensive, it was ok…but all the other pitchers still did the same old tired one and were generally unprepared for the outing. Just keep always in mind, a high school coach has seen every “great” program to make things better and generally stick with what works for them, it is critical for them not to have the validity of their leadership impugned. All said and done…he says my way…be respectful and cheerfully embrace it because you are right, he has the keys to your future…not all of them but a far chunk.

Yeah i completely agree with jd. Honesty is the best policy. Yeah at me school we do a lot of running, a ton of distance.

At the risk of being repetitive…I’ll comment. I know this is important to you because you used your first name in the salutation. My son, also a Senior and #1 pitcher, and I just had this conversation not 2 hours ago. His head coach and his private pitching coach both want his time to prepare for the season. We both agreed that his committment is to the team and what is left over beyond that will go to the pitching coach.

Ben said,

So I’m sure you realize the team is looking to you for leadership.

Because you are an important part of the team, I don’t think he’ll be willing to make an exception to this.

I see possibly a chance for negotiation and compromise here if you can convince him you are committed to a program and you are convinced it is the best preparation for the season. He may relent a little because you are #1 and he must be relying on you to throw quality innings and win games.

I think you already know that this is not an option and really as politely as I can say it…smacks of primadonna…ism.

[quote]so my point of view is this:

I have two months to continue my weighted ball training uninterrupted: potential gains: 3-5 mph

attend my coach’s throwing routines and halt my current progress [/quote]

There is the third option…adjustment and compromise. When you get to college the coaches will have different ideas about training also. You will have to adjust and compromise.

I think your answer is right here. If you respect your coach and your team you will have a great season and you will become the true leader of the team. I will bet that minus the anticipated velocity gains you will still be a very effective pitcher. We are talking about “velocity gains” here and not arm health, right?

I realize I just picked a side of the fence to stand on…its the same advice I gave my kid. There may be more to it than I’ve understood so I reserve the right to back peddle but I don’t think I will.

Good Luck…I’ve enjoyed reading your posts because you are quite sound in your thoughts and judgement.

Well said, Dino. Very nice.

For me… cold hard cash works!

On the other hand, I think a statement that you made is at the crossroads of your baseball career - college or otherwise, and that is:
“Basically, a lot of this stuff goes completely against my current training principles, …”

Let’s take a better look at things the way they sit right now. You’re high school age, so for about the last eight years - give or take a few years, you’ve had the opportunity to make your own decisions and come and go as you pleased to some extent. Your accumulated baseball talent and how you got there is subject to even fewer years, and your skills enhancement to this point has gotten even less attention, time wise.

Now for your coaches - I’d say they have a few more years of experience and a repurtation to go along with it. No - yes. Do they have a reputation of building talent, or do they have the reputation of building nothing.

Your own “training place” I assume was built becacuse you couldn’t get that kind of quality - quanity any place else.(?) Yes- no. If that’s the case, these people that are coaching now must have just entered the picture and are trying to get a lot of people going that haven’t been going like you have. Yes- no?

Some programs are a stretch when it comes to resources and talent that really hasn’t keep pace with conditioning and skill enhancement. You on the other hand seem to be a dedicated one in your group (knowing nothing else than what I’ve read above.) Perhaps your coaches want to tap on that dedication in a leadership role and/or an example for others to learn from " as your doing your thing" right next to everybody else.

And there in may be an opportunity for you that you might have overlooked. Unless your coaches are “control guys”, this could be a great chance for you to take a leadership role and be the rotation’s mainstay and “head bullpen dog”. See if you can take on a semi-coaching role with your club - bring that work ethic to the attention of your coaches and dig in yourself with using THERE EQUIPMENT, using THERE GYM, using everything that THEY HAVE. Perhaps, just perhaps, you might find an assistant coaching spot on your player’s resume. Not too shabby if you can pull that off.

I wish you the very best in your baseball experience.

Coach B.

I’m not sure what the reputation is, as the coach was new last year. I can say he didn’t develop any of the 6 or 7 aspiring pitchers on our team last year i.e. no increases in velocity and none of them have really reached the level where we can put them in a game and hope for them to be able to throw strikes, and at 75 mph or more.

pitcher practices consist of balance point drills, etc. Most players are capable of throwing 70-80 mph but his drills push them down to about 60-70 mph in game.

it was built as a place to perform my SETPRO training, yes. And yes, most players have not been training this offseason and now the coach is trying to get everyone going again.

I’m the only All-Conference player on the team and other juniors were made team captains over me. I’m pretty sure they don’t see a leadership role for me.

I do what I can to advise other players when they appear to be giving an extra effort and the coach is not around. For example in the weightroom I’ll explain certain concepts or technique when I think a player needs help. I don’t do this around the coach because our philosophy differs so much and he would think I was trying to undermine his authority

unfortunately my coach is a “Control guy.” I’m not gonna go around explaining rotation or neural recruitment/weighted balls or tempo around a guy who is at the same time telling them to move slowly, circle up arm action and come to a balance point (who am I to say such things!!?)[/quote] :twisted:

in the end I will talk with him. He knows I’m working hard, he just thinks I should be working hard on what he decides I should be. I’ve tried explaining some of my training concepts before but I think it’s too technical/scientific and he shuts down and thinks I’m challenging him.

I guess I will figure out a compromise. I’m throwing 5x a week. 3 hard sessions two short light sessions. Maybe It can be scheduled so for the next 6 weeks before the season starts, the team workouts coincide with my light sessions.

We will see

unfortunately my coach is a “Control guy.”

Well, I guess that say’s it all. It sounds as if " it’s my way or the highway."

I’m the only All-Conference player on the team and other juniors were made team captains over me. I’m pretty sure they don’t see a leadership role for me.

I’ve had coaches with sons that have been to the park during the years and I and others have shown them a few things, and some of these guys were outstanding … but… they too were subject to somewhat of the same experience that you mentioned. And just out of “what’s up with that?” I’ve gone to a few of their games and low and behold the kid*s were right. So, I wish I had a remark for your situation, but I don’t. I’m sure anything that I’d suggest would ring pretty hollow at this point.

Coach B.

I talked to my coach

I subtly explained a couple of the keys behind the training I’m doing. Namely, I told him about radar feedback and how I had seen the most progress when I had this. I asked him if when I throw with the team twice a week, I could throw to a catcher and use that to work on my control. I think he will allow me to video tape these control bullpens at 75% intensity.

I still need to be careful to not throw too much. Here’s what we decided:

BWBK 3x/week with 2x/week doing light intensity bullpen at 75%.

I think I can make this work. It will be probably about 200 light throws/week more than I initially would have had, so I’ll cut back a little on the BWBK sessions, and make sure I’m holding a little in at the team sessions.

What helped to convince my coach was when I casually mentioned Derek Johnson being a Nyman disciple. My coach had seen Johnson speak at a coaches conference (big surprise to me), and he was also convinced by the fact that I could give him a concrete number on the progress i’ve been making. When I told him I had hit 85 mph I think he backed off a little bit.

Thanks all for the help. It looks like it will turn out well if I keep a close monitor on my arm and dont hurt it.

LankyLefty said,

[quote]I still need to be careful to not throw too much. Here’s what we decided:

BWBK 3x/week with 2x/week doing light intensity bullpen at 75%. [/quote]

That’s definitely a nice compromise and give credit to your coach for hearing you out.

I’m sure you’ve read some of Leo Mazzone’s theories on throwing reduced intensity bullpens instead of taking days off. You’ve already established that 3-4 week foundation right?

Good luck with your preseason.

Thanks Dino,

yes, next week is the 4th week of throwing since the elbow injury. I threw a handful of pitches at 100% last week with no issues.

I was surprised, but extremely pleased with the way my coach responded. Let’s hope all goes well.

thanks again,


Honesty and respect are two great traits to apply to any conversation in life. How easy are you making his choices for team leadership. I’m very proud of how you dealt with this. Really good job Lanky.