For about ten years we have worked with athletes to prepare them for the “next” level of play. When we started providing these services we felt (and still do) that there was/is often both a huge “lack” of correct information and an equally huge amount of “misinformation” about what was REQUIRED for success at the next level; physically and even more so mentally and emotionally.
Our job; to coin a phrase is/was to “give the players what they NEED in order to get them what they WANT” as an athlete ... which is succes at that next level.
Over the ten years we began to work increasingly with more and more professional players; both in tryout camps and eventually one on one; offering instruction and counseling on mechanical, conditioning, and psychological issues that would eliminate anything that was “interfering” with their pursuit and simultaneously to offer bits of information that would elevate their performance and opportunities to get signed.
DISCLAIMER: I am speaking in very broad “generalizations” here. This is not directed negatively at any group or single individual but hopefully will work more as a “guideline” for players and their families to be aware of so, having offered that “disclaimer”, let me state that …
… in general professionals are much more fun to work with; not just because their level of expertise stretches oneself as a coach or instructional professional but because they are incredibly eager and willing to LEARN; to get “better”; the Japanese term “kaizen”; the constant quest for improvement. Go to virtually ANY minor league game in any league; affiliate or independent and you are going to see some very good baseball players; players who will make you scratch your head.
“That guy threw 97; why isn’t he in the major leagues?”
We have found that some (not all) high school players and to a lesser degree some college players lack that drive to constantly get better. For whatever reason, they are “arrogant”.
Now, let me be VERY clear. I like arrogance. A lot. I remember; early in my teaching/coaching career I worked with a young man who had pitched in the Minnesota Twins organization. I was struck and impressed by his attitude. He mentioned to me that “… when someone got a hit off me, I would say to myself, “How the hell did THAT happen.”
Great great great. I love it but … that arrogance that confidence has to be EDGED with humility and earned.
Tim Flannery, who played for the Padres, had a great saying: “There are two kinds of players in baseball: those who have been humbled and those who are about to be humbled. Baseball is a tough sport. It can chew you up and spit you out.”
Many times superior players at the lower levels are just that … “superior” at that level. Unfortunately they grow out of that specific level of competition into the “next” level where they are now competing against a level which includes ALL superior players.
Some have never failed. Some, unfortunately, don’t know how … to fail.
We ONLY work one on one with players. We don't do teams. Friends who own academies, however, tell me that some players drop out of their workouts as they get older; drop out of their lesson and workout programs; adopt a kind of "I've got this" attitude. "I'm good. I'm done. I don't need that stuff anymore."
On the other hand, the minor leagues have been set upside down and upon their collective heads. Over 40 teams have been eliminated. The draft has been reduced. All of sudden there are players looking for jobs. A LOT of players looking for jobs.
In this arena it is not necessarily the biggest or strongest who wins those jobs… and the “hungriest” certainly have an advantage.
BE hungry. STAY hungry!!!
Randy Johnson (Yeah, the scarey lefty guy) ... said that it took him six years in the big leagues to find a repeatable delivery.
Two years ago we were privileged to work with a young man who actually led the nation DI in hitting for three weeks in his sophomore year.
He wanted to play professionally and when we sat down with him and looked at his swing we informed him that, in order to get drafted; to “get on the radar” with major league clubs he had to completely overhaul and change his swing.
Remember this was, at that moment in time, the best hitter in the country.
Did he react/respond with anger; indignation? Did we get a good old “F__ you! I’m the MAN!!! I KNOW what I'm doing. I'm leading the g____m nation in hitting for God's sake!!!"
No. What we got was a player who worked his butt off; changed his swing, got on several clubs radar, got drafted, and led his “short season A” team in hitting.
Arrogance and aggression … spiced with a heavy “pinch” of humility.