Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Take two aspirin and …

February 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching

One of the many challenges of being a teacher is dealing with the common question “I don’t get it.”  The challenge involves quickly coming up with another explanation, another analogy, a different phrase or set of words, etc. that the student can relate to in order to get them to understand the content.  Saying “Sorry, kid.  If you don’t get it, I can’t help you.  We’re moving on” doesn’t tend to produce positive feelings or results.

The same concept goes with doctors.  If, no matter what ailment you had, your doctor prescribed two aspirin, it would not take you many visits to determine that maybe this doctor isn’t the best available.

Although my two analogies make perfect sense to practically everyone, we coaches sometimes do the same thing with our players.  Here are two examples:

  • A coach who personally had success with a circle change-up only teaches a circle change to his pitchers.  Every adjustment involves mastering the circle change-up.
  • A coach who learned or only knows a linear or rotational style of hitting demands that all his hitters use that style.  Every “prescription” is based on the hitter becoming more linear or rotational depending on which one the coach has bought into.

I could go on with other examples but I think you get the point.  If you teach your players a particular way of doing something and the player basically says or his performance shows “I don’t get it” then an “Oh, well / keep trying it my way” response on your part just doesn’t cut it.

In the first example, not all players have the hand size to effectively throw a circle change-up.  If you coach pitchers, it is in your best interest to know many different ways to throw a change-up. Whether they worked for you or other pitchers is irrelevent.  It might work for the player.

In the second example, a linear or rotational style of hitting may be total BS in your view but it may actually help a struggling hitter if that style matches his strength, body type, bat speed, etc.  Again, you never know.  It may work.

As I’ve said before, absolutes in the game are pretty much non-existent.  No matter how weird or unpopular a stance, mechanic, grip, etc .is, you can always find somebody out their who is experiencing success with that very thing you reject.

Tomorrow’s post: A tip for infielders as the offseason winds down 

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