It was the height of frustration.

So we got our Christmas tree up this weekend… And while it was fun watching the kids’ excitement yesterday as we decorated, the night before… not so much.

Debacle, I think is the right word.

See, we always put the tree up and get the lights on the night before after the kids are in bed (tough enough getting that thing in the stand and strooning it with lights without their curious minds and fingers getting in the mix).

Anyway, you’d think we’d have a system down by now. But alas, we managed to make the simple complicated.

After debating back and forth, up and down, about the best way to strategically string the lights around the tree – where each piece had to end up, where we would connect the next strand, etc. – we opted for what was clearly the most dizzyingly complicated approach imaginable.

We worked our way through the middle of the tree up to the top with the first strand of lights.

Then we wound our way back down from the top. Started out okay…

But sure enough, we get to the bottom and we run out of lights. Ah, but no worries, we grab an extension cord!

Problem solved… Plug it in and – Ta-Da!

Hey, wait a minute… where’d all our lights go?

Turns out, we’d buried them too deep in the tree, leaving most of them completely hidden. We made three full strands of lights somehow look only one.

Well done, huh…

My wife and I just stared at each other in disbelief (and exasperation)…

After several failed attempts to fiddle with the lights, reposition them and somehow salvage all our hard work, we came to the hard realization.

It was time to undo all our hard work, rip the lights off (being careful not to lose too many pine needles in the process)…

And start again from scratch.

(In the end, we had a good laugh about it, at least… but I hope we remember this for next year).

Anyway, as usual, my mind is always making connections to pitching…

And the whole mess immediately made me think of a well known John Wooden quote:

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

Doesn’t matter how hard you work if you don’t take the time to set up your program well. Just doing a bunch of drills you found on youtube or going to a once a week pitching lesson doesn’t cut it.

Are you sure you’re actually developing good movement patterns? What’s the price of putting in all that time and effort only to find out that your beautiful Christmas tree became a cluttered mess?

So you don’t want to get ahead of the game… Heck, with some of my guys, we’re really focusing on two key drills right now to develop proper sequencing.

Until they can get those movements down – and I mean really get them RIGHT- it doesn’t make sense to start stacking more power on top of it.

One of those drills is a pitcher-specific variation of Med Ball Slams. They’re tremendous for helping a pitcher learn the feel for momentum and using his entire body.

That said, in my experience, 9 out of 10 pitchers won’t do them right when they first start out.

And if you just do them the way you see some fitness guy doing them on youtube, you won’t be doing them the way I show you in the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint – and you’ll be missing out on the number one benefit of this drill (and possibly reinforcing bad habits),

It’s why you want to assess, get in front of a mirror, use video, check your feet…

A little final aside:

Once we got all those decorations up, it was priceless seeing my son’s reaction. My little guy just got right up next to it with a big smile on his face… he walked around to look at it from every angle.

“I DO like my tree!” He said with a smile.

Big hug. Smiles all around.

Do it right NOW… or do it over LATER. Your choice.

Until next time…

Work hard. Work SMART. Get Better.

Coach Phil

PS – With the holidays approaching, budgets can get tight… So I’ve decided to split up the payments for the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint, so you can get started on the right foot today for just $47.

Got an interesting call the other day from a baseball dad way out in California.

He was interested in my new program (motionmappingmethod.com) and basically wanted to see if it was a good fit for him and his son.

Anyway, it turns out this dad is a 3D animator… Which I think is pretty cool. When I was a kid, being a cartoonist or animator was basically my dream job. Either that or pro ballplayer… pretty standard, right? No? Oh well, whatever.

Back to my point.

So we’re talking about motion analysis, how most kids don’t know how to really use their lower half, and I was floored by what he said next…

“In 3D animation, the hips are everything.”

I would have never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense.

You’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of the hips… leading with the hips, loading the hips, etc. And here was a guy who basically studies (and recreates) movement for a living saying the hips were everything.

It’s why I always stress how your foundation is so important as a pitcher.

And It really all starts with your feet…

Your feet are your connection to the ground. That’s how you get your center (your hips) moving powerfully down the mound.

It’s why the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint (http://ballisticpitching.com/blueprint-bp) starts with a whole system of drills for developing stability and balance… building up to how you transition from your back foot to your front foot…

And then it’s about learning to use your hips and trunk to transfer that power from your lower half.

Anyway just thought that was interesting… So the next time you watch Shrek, look for those hips.

So in my last email about learning by “copying” the pros, I left some things unsaid…

Over the weekend I had a chance to catch up with a fellow baseball coach. He’d spent some time in the minors, AA and AAA (even played with my brother for a bit).

Anyway, here’s the point. His kids are getting to little league age, and he had some concerns about the way his boys were learning to pitch.

“Things are a lot different from when you and I learned how to play…”

I knew what he meant… See, like me, he learned how to play as a kid (largely) by watching big leaguers and trying to mirror them… Borrow a little of this, a little of that. Make it your own.

We didn’t spend countless hours practicing positions or repeating drills that made little or no sense.

It’s funny, I stumbled upon a scene from The Bad News Bears not long ago (classic from the 70’s for any of you poor souls who came along too late to appreciate it)… and the pitchers I saw looked a lot different from what I often see nowadays.

They were fluid, smooth, natural… not stiff, slow, mechanical the way so many kids are these days. Hmm… before the rise of the “pitching mechanics by positions” craze… Interesting.

Anyway, a key point going back to how we used to learn pitching… Sure there was some instruction, some addressing the fundamentals…

But when it comes to developing good athletic movements, one of the best ways to learn is simply watching the way world class performers do it.

And if you have a coach who REALLY understands it and can show you the key things to look for… well, that’s how you can accelerate the learning process big time.

Now as much as I may long for those simpler times (man, am I getting old), there are some definite advantages today’s young pitchers have…

Things I would have given my left [arm] for growing up.

One of them is easy access to video. If I were growing up today I would have sat on MLB.com and YouTube for hours on end watching clips of big league pitchers…

Trying to DECODE their secrets…

(I’ve done this since… doesn’t do me much good now – but good for my pitchers)

And another big advantage is how easy it is to TAKE your own video. Practically everyone nowadays is walking around with their own personal camcorder right in their pocket (thank you, Mr. Jobs).

Personally, I don’t think I ever saw myself pitch on video until I was a senior in high school (maybe a junior)…

GOOD in that I avoided some of the big motion analysis traps… BAD in that I missed out on recognizing some fundamental bad habits that ultimately led me down a very tough road…

And that leads me back to why pitchers DON’T make progress…

It goes back to how they learned to pitch… There is something seriously wrong with the way many young pitchers are learning “good pitching mechanics.”

See, you can’t build on a flawed system… Sometimes you’ve got to rip out the operating system, give it an upgrade… and get to the root of the problem.

Now I’m not suggesting everything you see big league pitchers do is worth copying (that Joba Chamberlin madman beard, for example).

But when you really know what to look for, good things happen…

  • Hours of frustration saved…
  • Personal empowerment boosted…
  • Progress accelerated

I’m going to be sharing more on this in the days and weeks ahead. In fact, I’m going to open up early access to a new program I’ve got in the works.

It’s still in development (and it won’t be cheap when it comes out)…

Go here to get on the waiting list: http://motionmappingmethod.com

MMM_Mac_Cover
Okay, that’s all for now.

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Phil

PS – For now, the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint still comes with a free motion analysis

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