Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Listening to too many people

May 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Hitting

There was a very good article on ESPN’s website where David Ortiz was commenting about Albert Pujols’ current slump.  Ortiz was comparing Albert’s slump with those of Ortiz’ over

Good friends: Pujols and Ortiz

the past couple years and how difficult they can be.  There are a lot of good tips in the article for young players when they hit that inevitable slump.  This post will deal with one of those tips.

Ortiz mentioned that when players get into a slump there are lots of well intentioned people who come out of the woodwork to offer advice.  Some are coaches.  Some are parents.  Some are your fellow teammates.  All feel bad and want to help as much as they can.  Unfortunately, getting bombarded with advice from all angles can just add to the problem because now the player not only has to deal with his own little voice inside his head but now has to deal with and process all the new voices offering advice.

Dealing with all this “help” can be overwhelming for even the best, most experienced players in the game.  For young kids, they have an added dilemma … politeness.  Kids are taught to be respectful and listen to the advice of older people.  When coaches say “try this” or “do that,” young kids are going to listen and most likely do what they are told especially if who is doing the talking is an experienced baseball person.

As a player, one of the things that took me a while to figure out was when to politely listen and do what advice was offered and when to just politely listen.  There is a difference.  To “just politely listen” does not mean doing what the person is telling you to do.  It becomes a delicate balance of diplomacy between you and the person offering advice.  If you just shut the person down and blow them off you come across as arrogant and not receptive to new ideas from people trying to help.  On the other hand, listening to everyone and trying each new idea can scramble up a player’s mind (and mechanics!) so bad he won’t know which way is up or down.

As Ortiz said in the article, at some point the player usually gets to the point where he stops listening and just goes back to the basics:  a clear head, see the ball – hit the ball, and having fun.

It’s not easy but it’s good advice for all ages.

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