Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are You Sure You Know Everything?


One of my good friends is a high school coach and he was telling me about a conversation he had with one of his players recently. The player is an upperclassman and had been one of his better players for the last couple of seasons. 

Not satisfied with his success – which is a good thing - the player and his father decided to seek private lessons. Again, I have no problems with a player or parent seeking the outside help of DVDs or lessons. With the restrictions some states have on high schools and the limited amount of time they can practice, if a parent isn’t comfortable with teaching the game, someone has to be consulted. 

Now, my friend was a pretty good NCAA Division II pitcher. He was an all-conference selection multiple times. He doesn’t claim to know everything, but is a wealth of knowledge for the kids he coaches. 

But practice didn’t start so smoothly this year.

He said this player that his team was relying on had a different attitude. The player didn’t want to do things the way the coaches wanted and showed a lack of respect. So they finally sat the player and his dad down for a meeting to address the issues and try to get everyone on the same page for the team’s sake. If all the other players had to follow a practice plan and a philosophy, this player was going to as well. 

Here’s the learning lesson. When the player was asked what the problem was, he said that he pretty much knows everything and he didn’t think that there was anything else that he could be taught to improve his game (I don’t have both sides of the story, but my friend has no reason to lie to me). He had learned everything there is to know about pitching and he is his best teacher because he knows his body better than anyone else. 

Think about this for a moment. A 17- or 18-year old kid knows everything about the game of baseball and there is nothing else he can learn. 

I understand that this isn’t ground breaking news. Many teenagers know it all. 

My response was simple and I will ask you to consider the same (or if you are a parent, share it with your child who may be giving you fits).

Why do Major League organizations employ hitting, pitching, infield and outfield coaches at not only the minor league level, but in the big leagues? If a professional making millions of dollars needs someone there watching them and pointing out their flaws, doesn’t a high-school or college player?

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