JDfromfla has a quote on the bottom of all his postings that has such merit to it, that it can be sometimes passed over as just that … a quote and nothing more. And that’s unfortunate. And here it is:
“A pitcher doesn’t learn anything when everything goes exactly right” Greg Maddux
So many youngsters that could have made it over and above their static level of talent… did not because they didn’t take what they did on the practice field … on to … the playing field. And this is primarily due to a lack of confidence and not willing to take risk of failing AT THAT MOMENT.
Case in point – I had a very talented player who was absolutely dynamic during bullpen sessions and other practice times. But get him on the bump and expect the same… not gonna happen. We’d sit and review every 16MM, every notebook entry, every body posture … and so on, but to no avail. In fact, his picture was on the cover of a league magazine once with the caption of … “prospect of the month.” It’s just a shame it wasn’t taken on the field instead of the bullpen.
I had another player, when I was coaching 16-18 ball years ago, who had the power to hit anywhere in the universe… man was he good. The only problem was he would bat zero when using wood. His learing to hit his way to the professional game was stopped dead in its tracks because of this low level of skill. In fact, I put two bats with identical size and weight in his hands… while he was blind folded and asked to which was which. He couldn’t tell. But, get him up to the plate with wood – zero. Our problem finally came to a head when I asked him to level with me. His entire approach was that of winning … not learning. He could win with a metal bat… but he couldn’t learn with wood. And at 6’ 8" with all the other tools to make it this sport… he forced himself in a corner just for the experience of the moment … not the future.
The point to be made here is this — when you practice your trying to teach and retain certain ability(s) that work in real time (game time). The problem is … some of you start off nervous, unsure of your self, and you reach back into your old style and habits and fail to practice what you’ve learned. By the way this is common. And it’s all too common for the majority of up and coming pitchers in youth ball.
BUT!!! For those of you willing to fail during live time (game time) by working on your skill level and applying what you’ve learned, you’ll only improve your chances of going on to bigger and better things.
There’s a saying that I use all the time when coaching— USE OR LOSE IT. And in that regard, no one who has any reasonability in this sport expects you to take the field and perform 100%. Nobody! So don’t expect it from yourself.
Use 10-12 ball to prepare you for 12-14 ball. Use summer ball to prepare you for fall ball. Use fall ball to prepare you for off-season skills study. Use off-season skills study to prepare you for high school pre-season and so forth. Every day of your playing career should a page in a notebook.
Make notes, take snap-shots, record video… keep at IT to the game and USE IT. Your learning time… each and every time will get better and better.
Failure and uncertainty is along the path of your growth as a pitcher. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.