The Development Process
What is the best way to teach baseball is a pretty good question?
By observation we can see that there are a variety of ways to go about this, and we can also see that many travel teams and coaches and instructors use a very similar format.
Hitting Instructors use a 30 or 60 minute format and flip balls or hit off a t and give verbal instruction on what to do.
Pitching instructors take you to the bullpen or an indoor simulated mound and you throw to a catcher or a target practicing different mechanics and pitch grips.
Team practices are 2 hours long and consists of the usual stretching, running, batting practice, ground balls and some situations selected for the practice.
There appears to be a common thread that implies if we give them enough reps and instruction along the way, the player will get better. The good news is he will get better from those reps, practices and instruction.
The bad news is he will never reach his genetic potential using this very standard but accepted way of teaching baseball, then this recipe does not create college scholarship players.
That’s correct. This approach to teaching baseball is sort of Ok, and will prepare you for competition from teams who are using the same approach… But it is not the best way to ensure that we develop into an elite level player.
You will require considerably more than these training paradigms offer.
If you want to become a very good high school player or play in college you are going to need a lot of different types of training and how that training is taught will be the key to your success.
Helping a player to reach his genetic potential is much more complicated and requires a variety of teaching approaches because every player learns differently and at a different pace.
Teaching requires a teaching plan. It requires student assessments, written material, interactive lesson plans, progress charts, benchmarks, tests, and a variety of teaching tools.
It requires a long term strategy and short term strategies. It requires an expert understanding of the subject matter and certifications on how to teach.
Providing anything less, dooms our students to mediocrity which will never be rewarded with a scholarship or money.
At Top 10 we have a much more comprehensive approach and it shows when our players compete.
Just as a mechanic has multiple tool boxes filled with various tools, a professional coach / teacher needs a lot of teaching tools and methods at his disposal.
Every player is uniquely different so different approaches will be required at different times.
First we need to identify what level of skill the player has in every single area of the tool or skill being evaluated and what is the desired level.
Now we need to determine how best to assess what knowledge and skills and strategies the learner currently possesses and what gaps there are in the knowledge base and how best to move forward with the teaching process.
At this stage of the process we ‘Know the Demands’ and we ‘Know our Learners’. The final stage is to write the Personal Enhancement Program that best fits the needs of that player and integrating his plan into a teaching plan. You can then consider what teaching and learning activities will support the learning outcomes and when is an appropriate time and context for them.
Yes, Teaching is an art and Baseball is a science and blending them together for the sole benefit to the player is our mission.
Here are just a few of the things we do differently when we teach baseball.
We use Long Term Athletic Development and Periodization as our macro and micro models.
We use science based information to decide on what, how and when to teach.
We are process oriented as opposed to being results oriented.
We do anatomical assessments and document each players strength, skill and baseball metrics before we start his custom training program.
Every player receives a custom program.
We use a written long range and short range Personal Enhancement Program plan for every player.
We integrate players from different ages as it accelerates development possibly faster than any other factor.
We use a variety of visual and audio aids ranging from photos, to diagrams, to slo-mo videos, to lectures, to demonstrations by more experienced players as every player learns in a different manner.
In deference to the wide range of tools and methods available, we avoid the typical team practice that you have all done hundreds of times as that base is covered more or less.
We focus on foundation and athletic skills first, tool development second before we focus on game skills and situations.
We use the 4 phases of learning as our progressive model of building myelin based muscle memory.
We avoid industry based pitch count systems as none of them are science based or even close to measuring arm stress loads properly.
We avoid radar gun comparisons until players can drive a car to protect their arms and their future.
We avoid player to player comparisons for many different developmental reasons.
As experienced evaluators of talent we do not pay or or believe or follow the media hype and rankings that Perfect Game and the rest of the industry manufactures to separate you from your money.
After reading dozens of science based medical reports on long toss we wait on long toss until a persons’ growth plates are closed and at least 85% mechanically efficient in his kinematic sequence and has undergone sufficient preparation.
I am ready