Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Why the less talented player starts over you

May 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching

Go to any bar in America and you are bound to come across someone who played high school baseball.   If the guy was not a starter, the #1 reason given will be “because the coach hated me.”  Now go to any coaches convention and survey all the coaches to see what their reasons were for

Yes, the more talented kids do sit the bench on occasion

Yes, the more talented kids do sit the bench on occasion

playing one kid over another.  I would bet that not a single answer will be “I hated the kid.

I have come across many coaches in my day and I’ve never met one that did not want to win every game.  Not one.  To say, “I don’t play because the coach hates me” often implies that the coach knows you are the better player but still didn’t play you because he would rather lose then to give you more innings.

First of all, get over yourself.  Second, I have personally disliked a few players’ personalities in my day but that by itself would never cause me to take them out of the line-up.  If their discipline and academic record was clean and they were the best fit to help the team win, they played.  Period.

So why then do some less talented players start over more talented ones?  The answer usually comes down to one word.  Consistency.  Here’s what I mean….

Let’s say during three rounds of batting practice Player A (the more talented kid) does this on a regular basis:

  • Round 1 (5 pitches):  foul ball, home run, swing and miss, foul ball, line drive
  • Round 2 (5 pitches):  foul ball, miss, home run, line drive, miss
  • Round 3 (2 pitches): miss, line drive to the fence

Let’s also say that Player B (the less talented kid) does this on a regular basis:

  • Round 1:  Ground ball, hard ground ball, hard ground ball, ground ball, line drive
  • Round 2: Pop-up, ground ball, ground ball, hard ground ball, weak ground ball
  • Round 3: Line drive, ground ball

Even though Player A shows more talent (the ability to drive the ball with power), Player B is more consistent when it comes to putting the ball in play.  The main point is this …

Player A may be more talented but with Player B I know exactly what I’m getting when he is in the line-up – a guy who puts the ball in play.  When Player A starts, which kid is going to show up?  The kid who drives the ball or the kid who fouls off and misses good pitches?

Of course, this all applies to pitchers and other defensive players as well.  One shortstop may make incredible diving plays in the hole but miss two or three routine grounders right at him.  Another shortstop may not have nearly the range or the arm strength but makes virtually every routine play.  The consistent, less-talented kid probably will get more starts (everything on offense being equal) because of his consistency.

If you are not getting the starts you think you deserve and you also think you are more talented, it’s likely not a result of being hated by the coach.  Often it’s just a lack of consistency.

Tomorrow’s post: Running at a runner

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