Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Do simple better

February 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Coaching

One of Joe Maddon’s many great sayings is “Do Simple Better.

Spring Training has begun for pitchers and catchers and do you know what drills they are all doing?

Answer: The same ones they did last year.  And the year before that one.  And the year before that.

Do the basic fundamentals better and you will win.  Period.  It takes a lot of work but it’s not rocket science.



4 Responses to “Do simple better”
  1. Drew Stegon says:

    Could not agree more. So many coaches today are trying to create crazy drills that do little more than be crazy. Just get back to “simple” with a simple hands drill (Ron Washington, Evan Longoria), throwing and catching (amazing how many kids today can not do this simple task), and regular ground ball work with forehand and backhand.

    It is not rocket science — its baseball.

  2. Leo Torres says:

    I am looking for sound advice. There is too much information out there and I am confused. I am very depressed as my son (a pitcher) is a week removed from injuring his rotator cuff. He may also have nerve damage, Thorasic Outlet Syndrome and Scapular Dyskinesis. Hopefully no surgery needed. He is 13 years old. He also tore a growth plate in his elbow at nine years old. He may never play baseball again but most RN’s I work with and other (optimistic) medical people suggest he will be able to after recovery/rehab.
    We live in Florida so the year round baseball is an issue I know. He plays on one of the top teams in the country.
    After his growth plate injury he did not throw for three months and also had physical therapy. He then went on a three month throwing program and eventually started pitching again at ten years old. He has been pitching since. I grew up playing football and basketball so I knew nothing about baseball when he started. Looking back I have failed my son with not only lack of guidance and information but also misinformation. I feel I have let him down and that is why I am very concerned for his safety should he be able to pitch again. I want my son to pitch as safely as possible.
    My son is not a natural athlete. Unlike 9 of 10 players on any team he has been on he is not slim, wiry, high metabolism, fast, etc. He is bigger (5’11” 180lbs) and lacks baseball knowledge. He just doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe baseball like other kids his age. He doesn’t exercise. And is a typical teenager with his head staring at I-phone, tv, laptop, etc. 4 hours a day. Two things he could always do though was hit the ball farther than most and throw harder and accurately than most.
    I know the major cause of his injuries is that he uses his arm too much. He does not use his legs/hip enough. I think his upper body mechanics are ok but he throws too hard (75+) for not using his lower half. I am becoming an expert on arm injuries and I know that his lack of core/leg strength, poor posture also contributed to his injury.
    Assuming he can pitch again in six months or so. Who is a good pitcher’s mechanics to emulate? Whose videos give great advice for back leg extension, shoulder/hip separation, etc. and the 100 other things to do to pitch safely? I am overwhelmed with information. When I get confident about one guys video which stresses about proper “pitching arm lateral rotation at the stride foot plant….” Another video will warn that too much pitching arm lateral rotation at the stride foot plant….” could lead to injury. You know what I mean.
    My son will have to grow up and realize if he wants to be an athlete he has to start working out, pitch with his lower half, improve poster, put down the phone etc. But he is only 13 so I hurt when I consider making him an athlete at the cost of just being a kid. I know I sound like I am whiny but I am just depressed for my son’s health and wellbeing.
    My name is Leo and my son is Max. thank you for any advice.

  3. Hi Leo –
    Thank you for your comments.
    You have certainly addressed a myriad of youth baseball related issues in your comment, and I will try to reply to many as I can. I am no doctor, so it certainly is tough for me to comment specifically on the correlation between mechanics and the exact diagnoses your son has received over the years. But yes, you are correct that good mechanics place as little workload on the arm as possible, and instead diffuse the load, balance, and explosion out through the rest of the body, with core and legs being vital to that process. And I completely understand what you are saying about hearing x, y, z about mechanics one day, and then hearing that those same things are bad the next day. If you load 10 videos of 10 different MLB pitchers, you will probably see 10 very different deliveries that when you scrutinize them only differ even more. I think it is a lot easier to duplicate swinging mechanics than it is pitching mechanics because there are just so many variables. I was just watching the MLB network yesterday and a Dodgers pitcher was talking about his arm swing and said that he just learned that he had to let his arm swing through naturally, in whatever felt the least forced, as long as his hand was on top of the ball. He said whenever he tried to change that it just felt too unnatural. That says a lot. I do believe the more natural, fluid, and simple the delivery is, the more the whole body is in play, and the fewer injuries will result. Trying to duplicate someone’s mechanics is tough.

    I think a lot of the other things you said have much more bearing your Max’s ability to continue to play baseball. Every year he gets older, he will have to want it more and more. Other kids, particularly in your part of the country, will only continue to get bigger stronger, and better, and you’re right – 4 hours on the iphone is not going to make Max stronger or more athletic. When in little league, bigger, stronger kids can always just hit farther and throw harder, because they out-size other kids. But that all changes around the ages of 13-15. At this age MAX needs to love baseball and want to put the time in, not YOU. And whether or not he does, either decision is OK! There is no reason to feel as though you failed your son. He is at the age where he and only he can decide if he wants to be serious about playing baseball if his health allows it. If he does not, that’s ok. There are a million other things he can do. Whether it be at 8 or 38, the game catches up with all of us and we shouldn’t look for some magical mechanical adjustment to solve that.

    If Max is not working out his whole body and spending a lot time just being generally athletic, 1 million surgeries or rehabs on his arm will not solve the problem, especially the older he gets.

    Your comments sound like they have a lot less to do with baseball than they do with lifestyle. Max needs to find something productive he is really interested in – and it may not be baseball. The iphone, social media world is a tough one in which to raise kids for sure. But the solutions to the problem probably lie on some other parenting blog!

    Coach Kevin Manero
    Guest Contributor – Baseball By The Yard

    • Leo Torres says:

      Thank you Kevin. Understood about self motivation. He has time on his side I guess. I have to remember he is only 13. To be sure Max does not play baseball for me. Fyi, I have never forced Max to go outside and play catch, run or swing the bat or take grounders. He has always been the one to initiate activity. Maybe that is part of the problem. And most videos he stares at on his I-phone are baseball videos. I’m just trying to look at glass half full I guess. I get motivated by stories about how Nolan Ryan never pitched until HS and also a local hero Doug Weachter who never pitched until HS but had a six year MLB career. Of course those two are physical specimens. On paper my son is very projectable. He is 5’11” 175 at 13. I am 6’3″ 220 so he should have the stature to be successful. These next 12-24 months will foretell his athletic future. I want him to excel athletically not just for baseball but for his long term health and enthusiasm to get outside and mow the lawn or rake leaves of help with the housework. No matter what I am extremely proud od him and I juat never want to see him hurt again. I will take your words to heart and I thank you for your response. Leo.

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