Monthly Archives: May, 2016

Deja Vu All Over Again, and Again

Blog post from 7 years ago now.  The italics are only addition.

Selling the Easy Way To …

Since the days of snake oil salesmen, people have been trying to sell the “easy way out” potions and formulas to a willing audience. It is human nature to look for the easy way out, the easy weight loss diet, the easy way to get in shape, the easy way to make money, the easy way to find a mate, the easy way to do about anything ….

This now includes the easy way to play baseball at the next level.

The Gamers program is built around Hard Work and Passion. These are the cornerstones of our pyramid of success. Along with Commitment and Loyalty.  We practice a lot, work hard and have high expectations on and off the field. We depend on each other to succeed.  

In our opinion it is the right way to do things, regardless of how talented players may be. Even the most talented players need to work hard — because being talented in St. Louis does not translate into being talented and successful at the next level.

There is “no easy way out” in the Gamers program. This is our image and reputation in the youth baseball market, and it is true.

But, there is a lot of snake oil being sold in youth sports these days.  These salesmen target talented baseball players and sell them a magic potion that looks like this:

“Come play with us. We don’t practice as much, have nicer coaches, don’t work as hard and have lower expectations. Don’t believe the BS about Hard Work and Passion. We reduce un-needed coaching and instruction and practice.  No sweat, no tears. Fun all around”

This is almost comical. Get better, by working less. Snake oil potions, combined with some multi-level Amway marketing.  

How do you tell if it’s snake oil?  Pretty easy, just listen to what is being said.  Things that are meaningful in life are not supposed to be easy.  It should be difficult.  You don’t “enjoy the journey” on cruise control,  by not being 100% engaged and overcoming challenges.   IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE CHALLENGING!

Some parents and players fall for the sales pitch. Like the magic weight loss, hair growth and smart pills from frontier days. Sounds great for parents — a lot less driving around and fewer practices, maybe even lower cost.  Sounds great to players, sit by the pool and relax all summer while becoming an elite athlete.

Don’t believe the snake oil salesmen. You cannot lose weight unless you eat less and/or burn more calories. Sorry Dorothy, but the Wizard is just a man hiding behind a curtain.

There is no easy way out if you want to be an elite baseball player. Especially, here in the Midwest, where the baseball season is too short and you do not get nearly enough reps by just playing. If you are extremely talented, you may get to the next level on raw talent alone. But, you will not succeed at the next level unless you understand Hard Work and Passion.

There is no easy way out if you are pursuing excellence and competing against yourself to be the best you can be. It takes hard work, a lot of practice, challenging coaches, high expectations and a lot of dedication. It takes commitment, it takes two-way relationships. That is the magic formula. There is no easy way out.

Or, I have great deal where you can work from home 3 hours a day and earn $100k …

Re-post: WINNING THE 0.50 SECONDS!

Baseball action happens in 4 second intervals. This is the time it takes for an athlete to run 90 feet — so it is a fundamental design element of the game since it was created.

A groundball to the infielders must be fielded, thrown and caught in 4.0 seconds — which is the time it takes the runner to get down the line.

A well hit ball in the air to the outfield will travel in the air about 4 seconds, longer if it is high pop-up. An outfielder has 2 x 4.0 seconds to throw a guy out going from 1st to third — 4 seconds to catch the ball and 4 seconds to throw it 220 feet to a tag out.

So, where does that 4.0 seconds go?  Well, it takes an athlete at least 0.3 seconds the visually see, process information and fire muscles.  So, that leaves just 3.7 seconds to make the play.

Watch a young fielder and this is what you see … After the initial 0.3 sec reaction time, the fielder takes an additional 0.5 seconds before reacting because he either was not really ready to react OR he is unsure of himself and wants to see the ball more before reacting.  When he does this, he usually straightens up and visually pauses. So, that is 0.5 seconds of lost time.

Then fundamentals come in to play — as an infielder, he will be inefficient to the ball, taking 1-2 extra steps and giving up time.  As an outfielder, he will drift to the ball, instead of running full speed to a spot to make the catch.  So, time and  fielding range is reduced proportionally.

The impact of the lost time is significant.  The charts below show the relationship between lost time and fielding range.  This is a battle over time.  There is at least 0.5 seconds in play between doing it right and doing it wrong.  The challenge is to win that 0.5 seconds.  To do that:

– You need to be ready to react, immediately.  This means that as the ball enters the hitting zone, your muscles are ready to fire explosively, like a sprinter.

– You need to anticipate the ball off the bat, reading bat angle, and ball angle even BEFORE contact.  Really advanced fielders do this.  Repetitions are the way to learn this.

– You need to trust yourself.  Your first instinct will be right 95% of the time, don’t waste 0.5 seconds trying to be right 100% of the time.  It is not worth it.

– You need to be smart — pitch count, what pitch is coming, hitter tendencies, etc..  all of that information can make you really good at “guessing”

– Relax and breathe… in pressure, tense game situations, your breathing becomes shallow and your muscles tense up.  Tense muscles with low oxygen cannot react.

Win the 0.5 seconds and your range and fielding success will go up immediately.

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