“There’s nothing sadder than wasted talent.”

In case you don’t recognize it, that’s a line from A Bronx Tale. And in part, I agree with it. But I might change it around a little to “wasted potential…”

Too many young athletes don’t realize the true potential they have inside them… They think you’re either GIFTED or you’re just doomed to mediocrity.

They don’t realize that the guys they see on TV put in thousands of hours of work to get where they are… It took drive, desire, sacrifice…

“Talent” helps, but it’ll only take you so far. You want to be your best? You’ve gotta work at it. Earn it.

And you know what the real problem is sometimes, I think…

Fear of failure.

What if you put in the work, give it everything you’ve got, and you still come up short? I get it…

But that, my friends, is NOT failing.

No, that pretty much describes every great successful person, at one time or another, who’s ever walked the planet.

You can look yourself in the mirror after something like that. And you’re better for it.

No… real failure is slumping your shoulders and turning away with your tail between your legs, being too afraid to go after what you really want…

Only to look back years later thinking, “If I’d only tried…”

Okay, now I want to share with you what got me thinking about this.

Last night after bath time, we got the kids in their PJ’s, put them in the car and took them out for a drive to look at all the Christmas lights around town.

They were so excited.

“Magical!” My little girl would say, as we passed a particularly pretty display,

Christmas songs were playing on the radio and the kids sang along with Rudolph and Frosty….

And then came one of my favorites.

The Little Drummer Boy

They didn’t know that one… And as I listened to the words, I felt my eyes get a little misty…

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

I might be a little sentimental, but that get’s me fired up. My older brother was always partial to that song growing up.

“That little drummer boy was tough!” he’d say. And he was right.

See, here he was, just a little boy… A poor boy. He had no gift to bring…

But that didn’t stop him. He showed up anyway…

He played his drum for him.

He played his BEST for him.

He let out the greatness he had inside him.

What will you do with your gift?

Don’t be afraid to see how good you can be.

Okay, that’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Coach Phil

PS – In the next few days I’m going to be announcing a special one-time giveaway with over $850 in prizes – keep an eye out for details on how to get in on it.

PPS – If you missed the email about the upcoming Ballistic Pitching Bootcamp, shoot me an email for details – only 3 spots left.

As you know, I’m a big proponent of using video.

It’s a great tool for helping pitchers gain a deeper understanding of their pitching motion – where they’re leaking power, where they can unlock some added velocity.

I mean the pitching motion happens so fast – one of the fastest movements in all of sports (and pitchers aren’t athletes?)

Plus, it’s tough (impossible?) for a pitcher to ever really KNOW what he’s doing until he actually SEES it for himself.

That said, there are ALL KINDS of ways I see people go wrong with video… Sadly, I’ve been guilty of many of these in the past, myself. So if you recognize some of these in yourself, fear not – it’s not too late.

Anyway, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a sampling of my top motion analysis blunders.

Here we go…

1) Doing side by side with a pro and assuming EVERY single part of the pitcher’s motion must match

1a – Doing side by side analysis vs. a model who’s BAD fit for that pitcher

2) Paying (way) too much attention to the throwing arm (e.g., “get the elbow up!”)

3) Putting too much emphasis on stride length (it matters, but a lot of factors go into stride length, many of them unique to the individual – just lengthening the stride can backfire)

4) Focusing only on specific positions in the pitching motion (the fact there’s the word “motion” in there should tell you something)

5) Only going slowly – frame by frame by frame (ignores a KEY ingredient for velocity and efficiency)

6) Obsessing over things that just don’t matter (or at least matter very little)

7) Overwhelming the pitcher with 1,000 different flaws and “musts,” making him tight, insecure and anxious (instead of instilling confidence – highlight the positives!)

Okay, I could probably rattle off 100 others, but you get the idea…

Video can be a great tool… and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s why I’m so excited about my upcoming program – The Motion Mapping Method.

It’s closed to new members for now – you can go here to get on the waiting list:

http://motionmappingmethod.com

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Phil

PS – Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to discover the hidden areas where you can unlock more power and efficiency. The Ballistic Pitching Blueprint still comes with a free motion analysis to get you started.

 

I was talking to a high school coach recently who had this to say.

[h5]“Seems like for a lot of people, the curveball is just this big mystery.”[/h5]

And based on the emails I get, I had to agree with him. So let’s mix it up today and do a little curveball Q&A.

First question…

Q: At what age should a pitcher start throwing curveballs? And what about using it in games vs. just playing around with it at home?

Me: This is always a tough one because there’s really no one right answer. I know that sounds like a copout, but it be the truth.

It all depends on the pitcher and where he’s at in his development. Does he have a solid delivery, does he already have a good fastball… If he’s got those two things, I’m okay showing him the right way to throw a curveball.

Now that might mean waiting until he’s 15 or 16, or he might be ready at 11 or 12… There are stories Barry Zito started working on his when he was seven – now I don’t recommend doing that, but it’s just food for thought.

Bottom line…

Most kids are gonna mess around with it on their own anyway, so I’m okay showing them the right way so they don’t develop bad habits (they die hard).

That said, Rule #1 is ALWAYS develop your fastball first and foremost.

As far as the second part of that question. The curveball is a great pitch – and one of the best things about it that once the hitter has it in the back of his mind, you don’t NEED to throw it that much in the game. Clayton Kershaw only throws his about 13% of the time.

Next…

Q: Does throwing curveballs increase the risk of injury?

Me: There’s definitely a lot of fear associated with kid throwing curveballs. And I get that. As a coach or parent, the last thing you want is do something get your pitcher hurt.

But news flash – PITCHING is bad for your arm.

Throwing itself is actually a pretty natural movement… throwing at MAX-effort again and again? Not so much. It’s a violent act and it’s always going to put stress on your throwing arm.

What’s needed is less pitching in games at a young age.

Less pitching with fatigue.

More emphasis on arm care and preparing the pitcher to handle the unavoidable stress that comes with the territory if you want to pursue the joy of achieving greatness on the mound.

Actually, in studies, the fastball has been shown to put the most stress on your elbow, and multiple studies have shown no direct link between curveballs and greater injury risk…

Now I’m NOT saying throwing curveball is 100% safe. It’s not. And neither is throwing any other pitch.

And the guys who would tell you all you have to do is develop “safe” pitching mechanics and you’ll never get hurt are full of it. My 2 cents…

Next question.

Q: Should you chop down to throw a good curveball?

Me: Short answer, NO. There is something to the idea of having that feel of getting down over the top of the ball. But in my experience when guys think about “chopping down” it can lead to one of two problems.

They drop their elbow…

Or they lock out the elbow, potentially slamming bone on bone.

The way I like to teach guys, you can still throw this pitch with good arm speed and hand speed (key tip there), creating the right rotation and bite without ever resorting to “chopping down.”

Q: I have a lower arm-slot, like low 3/4. I’ve been told I should learn a slider instead of a curve because I won’t be able to get on top of it and I’ll just end up with a loopy curve that doesn’t drop. Any suggestions?

Me: I get this one a LOT. And there’s no doubt if you have a naturally higher arm slot, a big downward breaking curveball is going to come easier to you. But unless you’re a true sidearmer, don’t buy into to the idea that this pitch is out of your reach.

One of the big advantages to a curveball is that it’s a lot slower than a slider. It keeps the hitter off-balance… It’s why Madison Bumgarner mixed in a sub-70 MPH breaking ball during the World Series (and call it what you want, a sub 70 MPH CB when your FB is 94 is a curveball).

Or look at Max Scherzer. He added a curveball to his repertoire because he needed something to keep lefties guessing… worked for him, despite what could only be described as a low 3/4 arm slot.

Bottom line, you don’t need to have a high arm slot to throw a good curveball. Can it make it easier? Sure.

Necessary. No sir.

Okay, that’s enough Curveball Q&A for today.

Anything I missed?

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

PS – In addition to going over all of this in detail, including exactly how to perfect and use this pitch to attack hitters, you’ll find a 30 minute Q&A Video inside the Curveball Mastery System, where I directly answer questions from Curveball Mastery members.

Here’s that link: http://curveballmastery.com/system

 

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