Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The business of private instruction

October 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Off-Season

You're awesome kid!

Private instruction in baseball has exploded over the past 20 years. In a ten mile radius of my home, around 10 different sites have popped up that cater in some way to private baseball instruction. When you add various AAU teams and fall-ball programs, the amount of instruction available to players who want to improve is massive. The good news is that if players want to improve, there are now places and people that will try to direct that passion to improve their skills.

More choices for consumers are generally a good thing. More choices = more competition for custumers and their money. More competition = better service and prices. “The customer is always right” guides a lot of these benefits for consumers.

In any business, the ultimate goal is to get you to come back again with your money. To do that, they have to give you what you want. The problem resides in the difference between a “want” and a “need.” A private instructor, because he wants you to keep coming back, is more likely to tell you what you “want” to hear as opposed to what you may “need” to hear. A traditional coach is more likely to tell you what you “need” to hear instead of what you “want” to hear because no money is being exchanged. An analogy is food. A restaurant is going to give you what you “want” – soft drinks, fatty foods, large portions, and desserts. Your mother is going to focus more attention on the food you “need” – vegetables, milk, and fruit.

When going to a private instructor, you have to understand this dynamic. A friend of mine lamented by saying “some players have their parents pay top dollar because they want to be stroked and told how great they are. ” I think there is truth in that statement.

By no means am I saying that private instructors all lie, cheat, and steal. I have a number of close friends who are great instructors who are not afraid of telling players and their parents the truth. You just have to understand that there may arise some conflict between your coach and your instructor since they may not have the same goals in mind.

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