Re: The Pro Example
> I don't beleive that we should be using professional baseball players as models for our teaching methods. Here are my reasons.
> Pros are the most gifted athelets in the game. They are the biggest, strongest and quickest people playing the game. They are in the 99% percentile in reflexes and have instincts for the game. They can do things most people can't do no matter how much they practice.
> They master the basics of the swing. And make no mistake they master them. Then, they start to adjust the swing to compensate for personel quirks and in some cases physical particulars.
> For example, for some reason a player is fast with his swing and pulls the ball foul. To compenstate he holds the bat over his head with his hands near his ears. This adds to the time it takes to get the bat into a launch position and "cures" his fast bat. Most people could never do this. But with the strength and speed a pro can.
> Another example, a player finds that the eye nearest the pitchers may be weak or have some problem. So, the player pulls his front foot back a foot or a foot and a half back to allow himself a full face, both eyes, look at the pitch. Again becuse of strength and quickness he can do it.
> Neither of these players would teach someone else to do the things they do. They can get away with using mechanics that are not the best.
> The pros are not the best models. The ones I know would not even make good teachers.
> Joe A.
Agreements:"The ones [pros] I know would not even make good teachers." Probably true, many do not necessarily understand why what they do works. Most top level performers are concerned with performing, not teaching skills to beginners. You are right here for many pros.
Question: "They can do things most people can't do no matter how much they practice." Can you give examples? They may hit harder or farther, they may hit faster pitches, they may successfully hit against the best pitchers. But these are degrees. What 'things' are you referring to??
Comments: Your examples are interesting.
1- A player starts with an open stance because their 'back' eye is dominant. Are you suggesting that this be avoided with a younger player? That a less accomplished player cannot benefit from this adjustment? I don't agree. Why not use this if it works. This is not something only the most gifted athletes can do IMO.
2- "for some reason a player is fast with his swing and pulls the ball foul. To compenstate he holds the bat over his head with his hands near his ears. This adds to the time it takes to get the bat into a launch position and "cures" his fast bat."
Sorry, Joe, bad analysis here. Players don't 'cure' their fast bats. They use these techniques to quicken their bats. Fact is, you can swing faster from a moving head start than from a still start. That is what this technique is about.
I do agree that you cannot emulate pros blindly. You must understand the core fundamental mechanics and emulate those. Then you must understand the adjustments the pros make. Some of these adjustments can be used for particular hitters at lower levels.
I have taken the opposite approach from you. When I see pros doing something unusual, I try to figure out how they are benefitting from it. If I can figure this out, sometimes I can steal it and use it too, sometimes not.
The odd bat preparations of Sheffield, Bonds, Everett, etc. turn out to be not weird but instead add power. My 9 year old has added 10-20 feet to his longest hits using the essence of this technique.
So, Joe, my advice to you - learn and understand the fundamentals. We have 300 or so of the best hitters in the world on TV all summer. Learn from them. But it is what they do in common that is core fundmentals. Then analyze their differences and see what the best of the best do to be better.
Sound good mechanics are essentially the same at every level of play. Why not start and stick with the final product. Other routes could lock a player into habits and foundations that will limit them later and make progress much harder later.
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