Baseball Training a Super-Athlete Revisited: Learn the Secrets to Trashing YOUR Body for the Greater Good!
What's the secret to elite baseball training? Do you have to win the "gene lottery" to make it to the higher levels?
Like my old Fresno State baseball Coach Bob Bennett always says,
"Practice doesn't make perfect. 'Perfect' practice does."
(This article is 1,899 words, and about 7.5 minutes to read)
The accountability of a hitting mentor makes all the difference in the world. You see, the perfect practice formula for successis:
Super-Technique + Work Ethic = Success at the plate
What if you could go somewhere to kill both critical baseball training pieces in one shot?
Both a hitting "mentor" and an "accountability" partner.
The following will be a life saver to some and an awakening for others. Remember, it's never too late, and all those desires:
Wanting what's best for your kid,
Having those bragging rights at work or games,
Knowing your kid's hard work is finally paying off,
Craving a sense of significance and making a difference on a team.
Take it from me, unfortunately for most, baseball training frustrations outweigh the fruits of our labor:
Investing money into the wrong swing mentor and/or hitting aids,
Seeing results come slowly and slumps keep dragging on,
Feeling like your son/daughter isn't adding value to the team because either they're NOT playing or NOT performing,
Player doesn't listen to Mom or Dad anymore on what's the best baseball training for their soul (NEWS FLASH!! You could be Albert Pujols and they'd still not listen),
Tired of NO accountability. Who's keeping your young hitter on task when you can't
Believe me, these desires and frustrations are felt all the way around the world, with every parent or coach, at every level. We'll talk about a few things you can do to cut down on those mind melting moments, so please read on...
We're going to dig into some interesting research findings easily applied to baseball training, formed from smarter people than myself, on how to create muscle memory, and look at the inner workings of how even some of the most mediocre athletes get to the top.
This happens more than you know. Not all elite athletes inherit those skills.
The good news is, there is a proven pattern of success and most don't have to possess all the points mentioned below...
Here are a couple melting pot factoids about How to Architect a Super-Athlete from the brilliant blood, sweat, and tears research of K. Anders Ericsson in his article "The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance," published in 2006, AND Geoff Colvin's book, "Talent is Overrated."
Most of the following info is either summarized or quoted:
You DO NOT have to come from an elite baseball lineage
Deliberate practice means working on technique, seeking constant critical feedback and focusing ruthlessly on improving weaknesses. "It feels like you're constantly stretching yourself into an uncomfortable area beyond what you can quite do," says Ericsson
The 10-Year Rule - research shows even the most talented individual requires a decade of committed practice before reaching world-class level
Watch this video about bullet point 2 above (pay particularly close attention from minutes 2:04-2:53)...
Crazy huh?! There should be a warning sign to this Constant Maximum Effort thing. I can see it now...may cause "feeling like you need to go to the toilet, feel like you need to throw up, legs are burning, can't walk, sometimes you black out."
Piggy-backing on this idea, I was watching an old episode of 90210, in this one Brandon Walsh was dating an Olympic Figure Skater...she ended up dumping him because she was so consumed with her training. If anyone knows the show, Brandon is a pretty good hockey player, and in the same episode, asked his father why he never pushed him into training for the National Olympic team...his Dad responded saying the National Coach talked to his father in the past about that very thing, and the Coach told Brandon's Jim Walsh, "Do you want a son, or an Olympic athlete?"
Pretty powerful stuff, huh? If that's our baseball training intent, then great, you know what it takes after watching the above video. Constant Maximum Effort is why only a SUPER-tiny fraction of Little Leaguers are able to tough it out and make it to the Big Leagues. No normal person wants to put their bodythrough what they do everyday.
A couple other of Ericsson's findings suggest 4 main Super-Athlete triggers (using the sport of Tennis in Russia as an example):
Driven Parents - Russian parents living in the harshest Russian conditions,
Early Starts - start young and specialize early, and do NOT do much else,
Powerful Consistent Mentors - Russian Tennis coaches have as much respect as University Professors...their specialty is in bio-mechanics, and
Cultural Toughness - "As poets have pointed out, the intrinsic hardiness of the Russian woman is legendary. Historically, this might have something to do with the hardships of life under Communism and the loss of 11 million soldiers in World War II. Whatever the cause, the immediate effect is a tangible mental toughness and a work ethic second to none." Their translation for for the verb "to play" Tennis, means "to struggle."
Don't let #1 above give the excuse to play "Daddy-Ball" or drag a kid into something they don't want to do. The words "driven" parents, Ericsson, et al. also refers to as "enthusiastic family support," in his collaboration article "Making of an Expert," in the Harvard Business Review 2007, which were talking points adding to Colvin's book.
Regarding #2 above, most of you will not have started your kidinto baseball training at age 2-3 like most Chinese start gymnastics or Russians begin tennis, but this doesn't mean there isn't any hope.
Retired Canadian Big Leaguer Larry Walker was a hockey player into college (I believe) and decided one day to pick up baseball, in which he was a natural, spending 17 years in the MLB with a career super-OPS of .965!
I think #3 above is the X-factor because you can have points 1,2, and 4 checked off above, but without the "right" direction of a baseball training mentor, then they're going to be a bust.
More on a solution to #3 in a bit...
Being Culturally Tough just means how much hunger or passion you have to succeed. We see a lot of Dominicans in the Pro and Major League levels...conditions are harsh over there. One of their most famous sayings is, "If you don't swing, you'll never get off the island."
There are also a couple baseball training articles on Swing Smarter.com based on Josh Waitzken's book, "The Art of Learning" that have some really good information I suggest you read if you haven't already. Josh is the kid the movie Finding Bobby Fischer was based on.
Here's another interesting thought we can apply to baseball training...
The famed writer Malcolm Gladwell talked in his book "Outliers," about time of birth during the year plays an important role in player maturity. When I was younger, kids with birthdays from July 15th and later were 1 year ahead (older) than those enrolling in school with birthdays before that date. And since baseball is a Spring sport, my birthday fell on Aug 15th, so I was a whole year older than my other teammates.
A couple more intriguing baseball training findings you can put to use right away...
This comes from one of my favorite bloggers Jonathan Fields, the Career Renegade, who's blog is one of the top 100,000 in the world (ranked 57,657 on Alexa.com), and it caters to entrepreneurs, but the principals can be applied to baseball training as well...
Fields suggests that "stepping away," "building space," or "taking a break" from competition increases efficiency in problem-solving and mental recovery. His steps (quoted) for learning success, again, can be applied to baseball training:
Step 1 – Define the challenge/problem
Step 2 – Work like crazy to find a solution
Step 3 – Build in space. Make a deliberate practice of stepping away, completely away and giving your brain and biology the opportunity to deliver unwitting greatness into your lap. Or, if you’re able, set aside a true Circle Day or half-day (or hour, whatever is practical with your job/life), commit to it for 90-days, and watch what unfolds.
For those Bible faithful, God called this the Sabbath, "Rest" Day. Josh Waitzken also talks about this same concept in his book mentioned above.
I tell my baseball training swing students, I was continually fine tuning my swing, every waking moment...I was thinking about it, and physically working on it. If there came a day where I was super frustrated with my mechanics, then I'd take a day off -- no thinking about hitting. Amazingly, every time I did that, an idea would pop into my pea-sized brain that would help me get out of a slump.
The main point I want to drive home about baseball training and its affect on muscle memory is inheritance isn't as huge a driving factor in creating a SUPER-athlete as we once thought.
Again, to revisit the Success equation:
Super-Technique + Work Ethic = Success at the plate
There is NO substitute for work ethic, you either put the work in, or you don't. The latter will most definitely get you nowhere. I survived in baseball as high as I did because of SUPER work ethic, looking back, my technique was atrocious.
However, if you have the right direction in a baseball training swing mentor, and do the work required, then you increase the time on the invisible play clock over your head.
What's the solution?
I promised you an end to this journey...do you want someone to hold you accountable to progress an elite baseball swing? What about a hitting mentor with an UBER-success record?
Chas Pippitt, of the Swing Smarter sponsored, Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog is the place to go for premium interactive online hitting lessons...and I'll tell ya', he's a tried and true baseball training wizard.
I wished to have had the guy when I could start my 10-Year Mastery clock sooner. The best part is the accountability factor. Once you finish you Rebellion Evaluation and sign up fora Membership Lesson Package, you can't do another lesson until you fix what was wrong in the first lesson. Chas makes sure you're progressing...
How many repetitions does it take to change a muscle pattern?
3,000 to unwind a bad habit, and 300 to set it straight. This comes from Paul Chek of the Chek Institute, he's "the man" when it comes to elite athletic training.
I hope this baseball training article helped to answer some questions and shed some light on the "What does it take?" phenomena.