Get Ready to Get Better

“It is a privilege to be in a position that allows you to mold the lives of players and have them simultaneously shape yours. Never take that role and those relationships for granted.” – Kainoa Correa

Before I get into what this blog is about, let’s start with what it isn’t about. If you’re interested in:

  • Being right and attacking those who you think are wrong
  • Driving agendas
  • Clinging to the comfort of tradition
  • Invalidating skin in the game 
  • Neglecting other perspectives
  • Launch angle swings
  • Lactic acid flush runs

then this place probably isn’t for you. If you’re interested in:

  • Bringing a fresh set of eyes to something you never considered
  • Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood
  • Asking questions and connecting using curiosity
  • Finding what matters 
  • Using data to influence – not dictate – your decisions 
  • Developing players using a holistic integrated approach

this place is definitely for you. 

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson 

This blog is dedicated to the coaches out there who are in the trenches every single day solving problems and finding ways to help players get better. It’s to recognize the pioneers who paved the way for all of us, inspire the ones just getting started, and to fuel the fire for those who aren’t satisfied with just knowing “enough.” We all made a decision at one point to turn a kid’s game into a career, but with that decision came great responsibility. How we handle that responsibility is going to impact our ability to pass the torch and continue to push this great game forward. Some like it, others love it, few live it. Coaching can’t just be something we like to do; it must be something we’re obsessed with.

While coaching is beautiful thing, this blog was not designed for feel good stories and cliches.  It was created to give you a real perspective of player development. Our journeys as coaches are going to contain highs and lows, we’re going to forget more than we remember, not every player that comes to us is going to get better, and we will come across information that challenges everything we’ve ever known. We’re going to have to give more than we receive, operate on limited budgets, navigate political environments, and make the most of situations that are not ideal. Coaching is a thankless profession that will challenge us and make us question why we even got started in the first place, but that is the ultimate privilege of being one. The destination is the disease – the reward is in the journey. 

The perfect time to get started is right now. 

Aug
30

Why No One Is Talking About One of Baseball’s Biggest Stories This Season

The other day I sat down and went back through some baseball from earlier in the day that featured a doubleheader between the Mariners and Padres. I was particularly interested in this series because Manny Machado – one of the anchors on my fantasy team – had left the yard on three different occasions between … Continue reading “Why No One Is Talking About One of Baseball’s Biggest Stories This Season”

Aug
18

What a Cajun and a Dream Can Teach Us About the Power of Belief

It’s February of 2017 and it’s been about a month since the conclusion of the 2016 college football season. Ed Orgeron has returned to his hometown of Larose, LA – a small town deep in the Louisiana bayou about an hour south of New Orleans – to speak at a local banquet. It’s just under … Continue reading “What a Cajun and a Dream Can Teach Us About the Power of Belief”

Aug
04

Robbie Ray’s Changes and Why Getting “Shorter” is NOT Always Better

Last year, Lucas Giolito had a dream season for the Chicago White Sox. After sputtering to a 10-13 record in 2018 and posting a 6.13 ERA in 173.1 IP, Giolito exploded in ’19 en route to his first All-Star appearance. He punched out 228 batters in 176.2 IP for a 11.62 K/9 – 5th in … Continue reading “Robbie Ray’s Changes and Why Getting “Shorter” is NOT Always Better”

Jul
24

What Happened to Matt Harvey in 2018?

It’s the evening of November 1, 2015 and the New York Mets are fighting for their lives in a do or die Game 5 against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. On the brink of elimination, Terry Collins turned to Matt Harvey – baseball’s feel good story winning NL Comeback Player of the … Continue reading “What Happened to Matt Harvey in 2018?”

Jul
24

What We Miss with Pictures & Connecting by Communicating

What we miss when we focus on still shots “If someone hands you a picture and shows you a picture and says “here’s their stance,” “here’s their negative move,” “here’s contact,” – If you give them any advice on what they’re doing wrong, you are taking such a gamble because you have no idea how … Continue reading “What We Miss with Pictures & Connecting by Communicating”

Jul
24

Frequency & Making the Risk the Reward

When the Risk becomes the Reward: What we all can learn about skill acquisition from skateboarders “Rarely is it a question of talent or technique at those levels, it’s just one of belief.” – Rodney Mullen, former professional skateboarder I was able to catch up with Lantz Wheeler earlier this week and pick his brain on … Continue reading “Frequency & Making the Risk the Reward”

Jul
24

Rethinking Movement Assessments & The Mobility Myth

Reverse Engineering from the Skill Assessments are something I’ve been interested in for a while because of the role they play in designing individualized training programs. Being able to individualize is a critical skill as a coach because your players are akin to snowflakes; not one is ever going to be the same. Being able … Continue reading “Rethinking Movement Assessments & The Mobility Myth”

Jul
24

Why you should keep an eye on this elite MLB arm & What Happened to Tyler Kolek?

Mike Soroka was a nice free agent addition to my fantasy baseball team last year – and it’s because his shit is nasty. He’ll slice and dice you with 95 mph sinkers, upper 80s sliders, and does it with pinpoint precision – only walking 2.5 batters per nine while striking out 7.3 en route to … Continue reading “Why you should keep an eye on this elite MLB arm & What Happened to Tyler Kolek?”

Jul
24

The Case Against Pitch Design & Learning from Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Case against Pitch Design Pitch design is something that has gained a lot of traction recently – and rightfully so. Seeing exactly how the ball comes out of your hand helps significantly accelerate the learning curve for a new pitch by enhancing awareness and understanding for how to create a desired movement profile. Pitchers … Continue reading “The Case Against Pitch Design & Learning from Neil deGrasse Tyson”

Jul
24

Feeding the Mistake & Finding the Source

Exaggerate the problem to solve the problem “Feeding the mistake” is an effective strategy coaches can use when trying to build a new movement pattern. The goal of feeding the mistake is to force athletes into the patterns they want to avoid so they can create feel for a newer and better pattern. By exaggerating … Continue reading “Feeding the Mistake & Finding the Source”

Jul
24

Adaptations are NOT Limitations & Rethinking “Rolling your Wrists”

Athletes are going to acquire specific adaptations over time that are beneficial to success in their respective sport. These adaptations depend on the task required and the environment in which it is accomplished. For example, kids who spend a lot of time throwing when they’re younger will acquire retroversion in their throwing shoulder to allow … Continue reading “Adaptations are NOT Limitations & Rethinking “Rolling your Wrists””

Jul
24

Sequencing vs. Efficiency & The Brakes

Sequencing vs. Efficiency I picked up on this from a conversation with Will when talking about the idea of efficiency. When it comes to movement, efficiency is what we’re trying to create. Serge Gracovetsky talked about the importance of efficiency in his 1988 book The Spinal Engine suggesting that as a biological system, we strive … Continue reading “Sequencing vs. Efficiency & The Brakes”

Jul
17

The Curious Case of Marcell Ozuna

The following article is a joint piece where I am joined by Ben Reed to describe Marcell Ozuna’s recent struggles and inability to secure a multi-year contract in free agency. Ben is currently a student-athlete on the varsity baseball team at Oberlin College and is aspiring to work in advanced scouting or baseball operations in Major League Baseball. … Continue reading “The Curious Case of Marcell Ozuna”

Jun
14

Bigger than Baseball

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That … Continue reading “Bigger than Baseball”

Jun
02

Protected: Trout vs. Harper – What would happen if Harper walked into 108?

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

May
25

Trout vs. Harper – What makes Trout so good?

“It can be said that the ecological niche occupied by a species supplies the species with the energy it needs for its survival. In that case, the fittest can be defined as those members of a population that make the most economical use of the energy sources available in their ecological niche. It is our … Continue reading “Trout vs. Harper – What makes Trout so good?”

May
19

Why one of baseball’s generational athletes has lived up to the hype – and the other has not

If I think about what it means to be a “generational athlete,” some of the words that come to my mind include: Game changer Excellence  Cold-blooded Intense Clutch Timeless Rare Pioneer Precise Graceful Here’s what that list would look like if I were to eliminate all of those words except for one: Game changer Generational … Continue reading “Why one of baseball’s generational athletes has lived up to the hype – and the other has not”

May
11

A Tale of Dynamic Adjustability – Bear Bryant’s wishbone and Gerrit Cole’s heater

“The only constant in life is change.” – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher It’s the summer of 1971 and Bear Bryant has called all of his Alabama football staff together for a meeting. They were less than three months away from their opener against USC – a team that beat them by 21 last year. It was … Continue reading “A Tale of Dynamic Adjustability – Bear Bryant’s wishbone and Gerrit Cole’s heater”

May
04

How a 2013 deadline deal resurrected the dying career of Jake Arrieta

The date is August 30, 2015. The Cubs are holding on to a 2-0 lead against the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth and Jake Arrieta is on the cusp of his first ever no-hitter. Chase Utley – potential future Hall of Famer – is at the plate fighting to keep hopes alive for … Continue reading “How a 2013 deadline deal resurrected the dying career of Jake Arrieta”

Apr
28

The Paradox of Symmetry & Problem with Education

Thought for the Week: “Silent and listen share the same letters.” – Fred Corral, Missouri pitching coach  What does it mean to be symmetrical in an asymmetrical sport? Building symmetrical baseball athletes is kind of a paradox when you think about it; we’re trying to build balance when our skill largely forces us to be … Continue reading “The Paradox of Symmetry & Problem with Education”

Apr
20

The Rules of Everything & Why Falling Behind Can Get You Ahead

Thought for the Week: The Rules of Everything – by Steve Magness The Hype Cycle: When an idea is new or gains popularity, it follows a cycle of initial overemphasis before eventually leveling off into its rightful place Research is only as good as its measurement We overemphasize the importance of what we can measure … Continue reading “The Rules of Everything & Why Falling Behind Can Get You Ahead”

Apr
13

The Pitfalls of Separation & Relying on Research

Thought for the Week: Parallax: “The effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions.”  Why teaching “Separation” can do more harm than good  Separation is something Eugene talks about all the time when it comes to pitching and hitting – but not for the reasons you’d think. … Continue reading “The Pitfalls of Separation & Relying on Research”

Apr
05

Finding Common Ground & Sprinting is… Rotational?

Thought for the Week: We’ve all been dealt some pretty crappy groceries over the past month. How can we use these groceries to make a five star meal?  Finding Common Ground Back at the ABCA in January, Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin spoke about the importance of staying centered. From winning national championships to experiencing … Continue reading “Finding Common Ground & Sprinting is… Rotational?”

Mar
28

What Makes Elite Athletes Elite?

I was in a discussion with Eugene and I asked him what he thinks separates elite athletes from everyone else. His response: The brakes. The best athletes in the world are able to stop better than anyone else. NFL running backs and NBA point guards need an elite set of brakes to make quick cuts, … Continue reading “What Makes Elite Athletes Elite?”

Mar
22

Week 1 at 108 Performance

I’m going to document my thoughts on a weekly basis throughout the course of my internship at 108 Performance. Below are my thoughts from week one, the on boarding process, and some helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way. Five Tools The first thing that really stood out to me after my first appearance … Continue reading “Week 1 at 108 Performance”

Mar
11

The Process of Unlocking World Class Instincts

It’s the evening of October 13, 2001 and the New York Yankees are on the road playing the Oakland Athletics in game three of the American League Division Series. The Yankees have fallen behind in the series two games to none and are on the brink of elimination. Mike Mussina is in his seventh inning … Continue reading “The Process of Unlocking World Class Instincts”

Feb
24

Resource Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

I recently read and reread Ben Horowitz’s book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business when there are no easy answers. It’s probably the best business book I’ve ever read as it reveals the excruciating realities of running an organization and strategies for dealing with difficult decisions. Throughout the book, I was able … Continue reading “Resource Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things”

Feb
16

How playing has impacted my coaching career

Playing and coaching baseball are two different things. There is overlap in how the game is learned and processed, but being a good coach is totally different than being a good player. As a player, you only have to understand one language and style – your own. As a coach, you can’t just rely on … Continue reading “How playing has impacted my coaching career”

Feb
03

Coach the Human Being First

“Our job is to make change, connect with people, interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them and more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause, is a waste.” – … Continue reading “Coach the Human Being First”

Jan
27

24 Myths that are Making your Pitchers WORSE: Part 2

See part one of this series here.  In this article, we’ll dive into items 12-24 on what you should NOT be doing if you want to develop high level pitchers.   Weighted Baseballs are More Stressful on the Arm For starters, if you’re in the anti-weighted baseball group make sure your son does not pick up … Continue reading “24 Myths that are Making your Pitchers WORSE: Part 2”

Jan
20

24 Myths that are Making your Pitchers Worse: Part 1

I was recently able to have an interactive discussion with baseball coaches and players from the south central PA area. The discussion was centered around developing the complete pitcher by eliminating common training myths and misconceptions. The discussion also featured a presentation from Monica Johnson, PT, DPT, of Phoenix Rehabilitation who gave tips from the … Continue reading “24 Myths that are Making your Pitchers Worse: Part 1”

Jan
20

What I Learned from the ABCA 2020

The 2020 ABCA Convention was held in Nashville, TN. Throughout the weekend, thousands of coaches gathered to learn, teach, and share ideas to prepare for the upcoming season. Below are some of my thoughts from the experience, reoccurring themes, ideas that resonated, and tips you can take home to your teams and players. Themes  Tech … Continue reading “What I Learned from the ABCA 2020”

Jan
20

Common Hitting Flaws: Steep Path to the Ball

A common flaw we see with a lot of hitters is a very steep approach to contact where the hands go directly to the ball. Since we know the average pitch comes in at a roughly negative 6-10 degree angle, hitters need to match this plane for optimal contact with a slightly uphill swing. This … Continue reading “Common Hitting Flaws: Steep Path to the Ball”

Jan
20

Summer Camp Recap – Teaching the Warm Up

This past summer, I had the pleasure of working our annual summer camp as lead instructor for our younger camp. I was also able to get on the field with our older group towards the end of camp and during our extended summer camp. Being on the field every day for the past seven weeks … Continue reading “Summer Camp Recap – Teaching the Warm Up”

Jan
20

Common Hitting Flaws: Creating a Better Move to the Ball

A common mistake we see with a lot of our hitters is how they attempt to load after their move out of balance. This move is crucial to the rotary sequence and the movements that occur later up the chain. An inefficient linear move is going to put athletes in a poor position to really … Continue reading “Common Hitting Flaws: Creating a Better Move to the Ball”

Jan
20

Thoughts from Fielding Discussion

Our fielding roundtable discussion was built around the theme of mastering catch and throw. If you cannot execute the basics of catch and throw from your position, you will not play this game at a high level. Carmen talked about how one of the first things college coaches ask him when talking about prospective student … Continue reading “Thoughts from Fielding Discussion”

Jan
20

Thoughts from Hitting Discussion

Hitting a baseball is arguably the hardest feat to do in all of sports – and teaching it is even tougher. At our most recent baseball roundtable discussion, we tackled the subject of hitting and dissected it from several different angles. With everything we have to offer, there is still quite a lot we don’t … Continue reading “Thoughts from Hitting Discussion”

Jan
20

Thoughts from Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar

I was able to recently attend the Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar September 21-22. It was the first time I was able to make it up to their location in Massachusetts. Being someone who has followed their work for quite a while, it was a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with the staff, network … Continue reading “Thoughts from Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar”

Jan
20

Blocked vs. Variable Practice Style – Which is Best?

Blocked and variable practice are two main practice styles coaches can use to design the layout of their practices. Both styles have a distinct mold which ultimately influences how athletes learn skills, retain them, and refine them with practice. While research tends to favor variable practice for long term skill acquisition, both styles of practice … Continue reading “Blocked vs. Variable Practice Style – Which is Best?”

Jan
20

The War of the Strike Zone

In the game of football, the line of scrimmage is the ultimate battleground throughout the course of a game. The goal of the offense is to prevent the defense from penetrating the line of scrimmage in order to open up running lanes and protect the quarterback so he can have more time to throw. The … Continue reading “The War of the Strike Zone”

Jan
20

Pitching with Two Strikes – Why “Waste Pitches are Working Against You

Pitching with two strikes is something I feel is misunderstood. Given what we know about two strike hitting (see blog post on two strike hitting), pitching with two strikes is a pitcher’s dream. The odds hitters go back to the dugout with two strikes are upwards of 80%. They’re more susceptible to swinging and chasing … Continue reading “Pitching with Two Strikes – Why “Waste Pitches are Working Against You”

Jan
20

Hitting with Two Strikes

Hitting is hard. Hitting with two strikes is really hard. Based on data from the 2017 MLB season, MLB hitters batted .177 in two strike counts (0-2: 0.152, 1-2: 0.159, 2-2: .181, 3-2: .216). If we remove the 3-2 neutral count, hitters batted .164 with two strikes.   To put this into perspective, let’s look … Continue reading “Hitting with Two Strikes”

Jan
20

The Quick Fix Myth

In today’s consumer culture, we are drowned in advertising for products and services that are guaranteed to give you the life you’ve always dreamed of almost instantly.  Want more money?  Just buy this program and you’ll be drowning in financial success!  Want a better body? Take this pill once a day and you’re on the … Continue reading “The Quick Fix Myth”

Jan
20

Compete!

To review our mental game series, we have covered a variety of concepts which include learning how to breathe, designing an approach, controlling the controllables, creating routines, and developing a release.  While this doesn’t summarize it all, it’s a great start to helping your kids develop the game between the ears.  All that’s left at … Continue reading “Compete!”

Jan
20

Controlling the Controllables

An important concept you need to teach your players is understanding how to manage the controllables.  In baseball and in life, there are always going to be things we can and cannot control. The key is to understand where we choose to invest our energy and where we choose to let go. We’ll never be able … Continue reading “Controlling the Controllables”

Jan
20

The Power of Visualization

There is a strong connection between the physical and mental game of baseball. One cannot practice the mental game without working on the physical game – they are forever intertwined. Just the way your thoughts can influence specific movement patterns,the images in your mind are a great indication of what your future performances will look … Continue reading “The Power of Visualization”

Jan
20

Utilizing Positive Self-Talk

Your body and mind work together like a well-oiled machine to keep you safe when faced with life’s challenges. Whether it’s sharpening your focus or using adrenaline to give you the strength you don’t normally have, the mind will protect you at all costs to ensure your survival. If utilized correctly, your mind can take … Continue reading “Utilizing Positive Self-Talk”

Jan
20

The Importance of Routines

Next up in our mental game series is the idea of routines.  Routines are consistent habits that players use to get themselves in a frame of mind where they’re physically and mentally ready to compete.  These include what you do before, during, and after competition.  Some routines change and evolve over time, while others remain … Continue reading “The Importance of Routines”

Jan
20

Just Breathe!

As discussed before, I think most people would agree the mental game in baseball is a crucial skill to help players succeed at high levels of competition.  Due to the long season, the time between action, and a multitude of other factors, players of all abilities are vulnerable to poor thinking patterns which can erode a … Continue reading “Just Breathe!”

Jan
20

How to Build a Better Approach with Steve Springer

I attended the 2019 ABCA Convention in Dallas, TX from January 3-6 (It is a wonderful event and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in coaching!). At the convention I was able to listen to Steve Springer speak about hitting.  Springer enjoyed a 14-year career in professional baseball amassing 1,592 hits in … Continue reading “How to Build a Better Approach with Steve Springer”