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Re: Theory vs Reality

Posted by: Major Dan (markj89@charter.net) on Mon Mar 19 18:49:00 2001

So I drop in to see what's being said about my site on this message board (some good, some bad) but then find myself in the midst of this debate between Charley Lau and Jack Mankin and, it seems, everyone else under the sun.
> I first heard from, exchanged notes with, and eventually included some of Jack's early thinking on WebBall - how long is it now, Jack, 3 years ago? And since then I have been in email/phone correspondance with Charley. Plus as some may know, WebBall also has other hitting pages by other contributors. (That's not a pitch for WebBall, just a background perspective on what I'm about to say.)
> Here goes...
> THROW AWAY THE COOKIE CUTTERS and let's get real.
> Ballplayers are as different in phyiological make-up as the coaches who teach them are in mental make-up. There frankly is no one way to analyze / correct / teach / learn that fits all. Some coaches and players will appreciate Jack's analytical approach. Others will benefit as much, or more, or just differently, from how Charley teaches.
> (And as a side note I agree with Charley, can we all please get past this Jr. stuff? Charley Sr. deserves our respect and appreciation as a groundbreaker in hitting instruction. But so does the next generation. Charley has more than advanced his father's teachings, he has proven its worth and also proven that his new approach is equally valuable with a whole new generation of hitters including some household names.)
> I get 'ask the coach' questions all the time at WebBall - and sometimes I might suggest something out of the Charley approach, or the Jack theories, or Wilkinson, or even my own original thoughts (yes I have them) - and when I hear back that something worked, then I know that the real key to good coaching is understanding the player's problem and fixing it - not trying to fit the hitter into a predetermined mold.
> So please everyone, tone down the rhetoric and get rid of the cookie cutters. Let Jack and Charley and the rest do what they do best which is work from their strengths and let us as coaches put our kids ahead of the debate on what may be right or wrong. Think about each hitter as an individual and teach in a way that helps that player change for the better. And remember before you get hung up on the arcane issues that there are still coaches out there - and players as well - who think the solution to their hitting problems is to get the back elbow up. Sad but true.

Richard -
I don't know you, but your post is confusing to me.
Is your point that Charley and Jack are experts and everyone else who posts here is only interested in a cookie cutter approach?
What does "let us as coaches put our kids ahead of the debate on what may be right or wrong" mean? Teach the kids first and figure things out later? 'right and wrong' are not the terms I'm thinking in - too moral, judgemental, etc. Maybe correct vs. incorrect or usable vs. not usable. Certainly vague vs. clear. Other polarities come up like arrogant and condescending vs. reasoned dialog and exchange of opinions.
Are you an apologist for 'experts with attitudes' or are you making some other point? I agree that an instructor can apply too rigid a hitting style to all students - cookie cutter. I have also seen too many instructors with no core theory, no underlying concepts who teach a little of this, a little of that. They call it being flexible or teaching to the individual. That can be the best of all worlds, or a muddled, ineffective exercise. Seems to me you have to be a master teacher to get beyond teaching a style AND effectively create great hitters. But I haven't noticed any experts lately who advocate teaching something different to every hitter.

"my new book Lau's Laws on Hitting". Once the stride is complete the head should stabilize and serve as an axis for rotation. It's only $21.95 at your favorite bookstore and I believe strongly that it explains the true dynamics of hitting. No more arguments or grey areas."

"Instead of perpetuating the problem, why dont you simplify it by saying your front leg should firm up at contact which keeps you from being to linear and too rotational?"

"It seems to me that they're many different attempts at trying to explain the swing properly and the goal is for a universal understanding and to simplify things."

In your opinion, are these three pearls of wisdom, or cookie cutter formulae?


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