Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

The problem with private instruction

July 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Coaching

When I talk to kids who work with a private instructor, a common theme tends to emerge.  Before I get into it, take a look at the following video.  Afterwards, I’ll explain why I’m using the analogy shown and how it applies to private instruction.

The analogy of the rocks shows us that in life, you have to be mindful of your priorities.  Pay too much attention to the minor distractions that are all around us and you will not have time (room) for the big important stuff in your life.  Take care of the big stuff first and then fill in the rest with whatever distractions you choose.

Unfortunately, much of the private instruction world seems to focus a lot of attention on the small distractions instead of the big important stuff.  It comes out in things like the following:

  • A pitcher can tell you how to throw eight different pitches with varying grips but cannot throw even ONE consistently for a strike.
  • A hitter can tell you why the linear approach to hitting is better suited for him but cannot get his weight to his back leg to save his life.
  • A pitcher will explain why he throws his slider to righties and curve ball to lefties but still rushes to home plate on every pitch.
  • A hitter will brag about his latest ball-exit-speed off the bat but never gets into an athletic position at contact.
  • A hitter will use words like “bat drag” and “the power-V” but has no ability to lay down a good bunt.

It’s unfortunate but the core basic fundamentals of the game are not seen as very sexy.  People just are not willing to pay top dollar to hear a coach repeat “stay back, don’t rush” over and over.  They want the video analysis that breaks down their mechanics at 20 frames a second.  They want to see the numbers on a radar gun.  Don’t get me wrong.  Both of these things are useful tools.  They can also fool people into shelling out a lot of money for things their child is not developmentally ready for.  

If a young player has not mastered the major foundational parts to the game, all the fine-tuning, high gimmick stuff will not amount to anything.

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