False Impluses When Coaching Pitchers


#1

Coaching amateur pitchers that have the talent to go beyond recreational baseball has many challenges. Some of those challenges can go below the radar of the coach’s control. The most obvious being once the trainee leaves the coaching environment and returns to his normal, every day habits. Things like diet and nutrition management, proper sleep management, workout conditioning and so on are just some of things left to the self-disciple of the individual. Considering the heretofore mentioned with the amateur’s immaturity, living conditions, social and ethnic persuasions only complicates the coaching process.

There is however one aspect of control not mentioned above that often gives a false impulse to observing, grading and evaluating amateur pitchers. That false impulse has to do with the resiliency of a youthful body, and that body’s ability to shift loads of stress proportionally to other parts of the body.

Here’s how this works. An amateur of say, 16 years of age, who can deliver a pitch at 85 miles per hour, may seem very gifted, athletically. In fact, game after game, an impressive track record starts to emerge and reputations are initiated.

However, in the short run, a pitching coach must be alter to the amateur’s impulse to push himself harder and harder and possibly imprint a signature of incorrect muscle memory, that’ll be almost impossible to break later on. Youthful muscles and the personal will and determination to endure, regardless of the short run consequences, is a false impulse that a physically gifted and endowed amateur athlete must be monitored for.

Some amateurs can be rather inventive hiding these false impulses. And since every body type and physique has different characteristics and reasons for posture performance, avoid stamping every amateur with a one-size-fits-all during the training process.

Repetitive Imprint Analysis
One of the best methods of reviewing an amateur pitcher is with repetitive imprint analysis. Simply put, this is where pitch after pitch is photographed or videoed then paused in segments for still motion, and placed side by side looking for any variances in the correct progression. Without fail, as the amateur goes through his routine(s), subtle changes in his stride, pelvic positioning, torso movement or lack thereof, shoulder positioning, and even head and release attitudes will highlight reasons for a discussion.
I’ve found this method very useful in discussing sprains and muscle issues from prior appearances that went unnoticed heretofore. Another benefit and less direct, are picking up missing workouts schedules and even evading diet and sleep management directives – pictures can be very telling. Sloppy performances during scheduled practice sessions can be very awkward to explain when nothing else points to a lack of self-discipline. Very awkward.


#2

Ever watch the movie “Bull Durham”? There’s one scene where the manager just lit into his players. He yelled at them, “You were lollygagging down the first-base line. You were lollygagging from first to second. You were lollygagging all the way to the dugout. Do you know what you are? YOU’RE LOLLYGAGGERS!” I had to laugh as I thought about that scene, and then I realized that this is exactly what you’re up against. Those players you speak of who are falling down on the job, who slouch and fail to give it their best effort—they are lollygaggers!
And there’s something in that little book I have, “Shakespeare on Baseball”, from Hamlet, Act III scene 1, in which an uptight manager really socks it to his too-loose team: “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God’s creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on’t; it hath made me mad!” Now if that isn’t lollygagging, I don’t know what is. :x


#3

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This paragraph above was the main thrust of my posting. In my opinion, based on my experiences, some pitchers are a dumb as a fence post. These guys just don’t get it. I mean, in the off season you’d think that taking care of the only body they’re issued would be thee major effort in their life for playing this game. As far as the professional is concerned, their ability to make a living, by the way, has a very, very narrow focal point for anything else in the market of jobs on the horizon.

I’ve had pitchers who have gone snowmobiling and have gotten clotheslined by barbed wire, ran over, slammed into trees and stumps, gone through bone chilling ice into lakes, and I even had a guy who while running his snowmobile up a trailer ramp, gave the vehicle too much throttle then ended up going right up the trailer and through the back window of his Chevy Suburban. Then I had a bright light decided to impress his girl friend that he could Hi-Ho-Silver and go horseback riding. Doesn’t he walk around to the back of a Clydesdale and slap this monster on the rump, which in turn he gets kicked right in the cojones, sent about 50 feet for a ground rule double! I had another genius take up sky diving - SKY DIVING… are you kidding me. On his solo jump he drifts into a farm yard and smack dap on top of female sow (pig) while the sow is nursing a line of piglets. By the time people got him away from that sow he looked like part of compose heap. I had another ace that went hunting with some friends in Montana. The guy never shouldered even a slingshot, but here he was with a group that’s at a firing range and they meet a man who collects military firearms and this man has a 20mm Anti-Tank Rifle. Doesn’t my man speak up and says “oh, I gotta try this.” When he touches the thing off, it just about rips his shoulder off. Months later he’s back with us and tossing baseballs like he’s taking shots on the three point line of a basketball court.

Pitching coaches always without fail use a point of reference when monitoring their charges. Always. When something isn’t there, that was before, there’s a reason(s). What never ceased to amaze me was sitting back and listening to those reasons.