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

If you’re a life long learner who has a burning passion for coaching and isn’t satisfied with just knowing enough, you’re in the right place. 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
  • Using curiosity and logic to figure out what matters
  • Finding value in different perspectives
  • 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 wasn’t designed for feel good stories or cliches, either.  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. 

May
19

Week Nine: 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 “Week Nine: Why one of baseball’s generational athletes has lived up to the hype – and the other has not”

May
11

Week Eight: 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 “Week Eight: A Tale of Dynamic Adjustability – Bear Bryant’s wishbone and Gerrit Cole’s heater”

May
04

Week Seven: Why it took a 2013 deadline deal to resurrect 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 “Week Seven: Why it took a 2013 deadline deal to resurrect the dying career of Jake Arrieta”

Apr
28

Week Six – The paradox of symmetry, the problem with pictures, and the why behind Matt Harvey’s 2018 resurgence

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 “Week Six – The paradox of symmetry, the problem with pictures, and the why behind Matt Harvey’s 2018 resurgence”

Apr
20

Week Five – Rethinking assessments, the mobility myth, and why falling behind can actually 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 “Week Five – Rethinking assessments, the mobility myth, and why falling behind can actually get you ahead”

Apr
13

Week Four – The Pitfalls of Separation, Research, and Forcing Movement Solutions

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 “Week Four – The Pitfalls of Separation, Research, and Forcing Movement Solutions”

Apr
05

Week Three – Finding the Source, Common Ground, and 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 “Week Three – Finding the Source, Common Ground, and Sprinting is… Rotational?”

Mar
28

Week Two – Diving into what makes elite athletes elite

The Two Biggest Constraints As a coach, the two biggest constraints you’re going to have to work around are a hard wired Central Nervous System (CNS) and a preconceived notion on how a task should be completed. Our nervous system controls human movement by creating pathways that guide how a movement should be executed. Repetition … Continue reading “Week Two – Diving into 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”

Jan
20

Building a Confident Self-Image

How we think about ourselves is a powerful predictor for the type of people that we will become. This is known as our self-image: The stories we construct about ourselves and our abilities. While they may just appear as fictional stories, science shows they actually mirror what our future will look like. American psychologist William … Continue reading “Building a Confident Self-Image”

Jan
20

Rethinking Success – Building a Process Oriented Athlete

Goal setting is incredibly important for athletes who strive to get the best out of their abilities. It’s a way to push the limits of what you can do, monitor progress, and receive satisfaction when you achieve things you set out to do. Regardless of how big or small these goals are, we’re going to … Continue reading “Rethinking Success – Building a Process Oriented Athlete”

Jan
19

Summer Camp Recap – Ground Balls

Something we did every single day with our campers – both young and older – was catch ground balls. Being able to defend your position is a crucial skill as a player. Because of this, we place a heavy emphasis on the defensive portion of the game throughout our summer camps. If you can field … Continue reading “Summer Camp Recap – Ground Balls”

Jan
19

Summer Camp Recap – Teaching Catch Play

One of the areas we put a premium on at summer camp was mastering the basic fundamentals of catch and throw. Every single play on defense requires a catch and throw – whether it’s the pitcher throwing to the catcher, the shortstop throwing to the first baseman, or the outfielder throwing to the relay man. … Continue reading “Summer Camp Recap – Teaching Catch Play”

Jan
19

Building Your Most Important Asset: The Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, has done decades of research diving into the core of human motivation. Through her work, she has discovered that there are two different types of mindsets in people: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Both have a significant impact on how people view challenges, grow, and ultimately … Continue reading “Building Your Most Important Asset: The Growth Mindset”

Jan
19

Deliberate Practice

“There is no secret recipe. Everyone is looking for the number one thing, but it’s simply hard work. It literally takes hours and hours and hours of repetition. Just showing up every day and being consistent.” – A.J. Pollock, MLB All-Star I love this quote from Pollock because it is spot on in so many … Continue reading “Deliberate Practice”

Jan
19

How to Find the Right Information

We live in an age where there is an abundance of information that is more accessible than ever before. This is a great asset when it comes to making quality information more available to larger crowds. Great information drives better engagement, development, and results as it empowers coaches and athletes to take on more effective … Continue reading “How to Find the Right Information”