Statement of Purpose (Hardball Academy’s Training Programs)
After being involved with baseball for over 25 years at all levels, it has become clear to me that there is a great need for pro, top high school, college baseball players, and lower level players to get a much higher level of instruction and training than what is available to them today. Most players need much more DETAIL and serious troubleshooting to reach their full potential. This takes much more time than what most pro, college, high school, and lower level coaches have. Taking a weekly private lesson sometimes is not the answer either. The serious player is left in a tough situation with no one to turn to….even though this is when a baseball career is at the most crucial stage.
Problems or Weakness with Pitching/Hitting (Baseball Training Today):
- The lack of high quality in the “professional” information and instruction. Much of baseball is still in the “stone age”. This is true for all levels of the game. There is an “old school” vs. “new school” approach to information and instruction. “New school” ideas are still very limited in availability to the general baseball public because of baseball “tradition”. However, many concepts of both schools work well, but both have flaws. It is important for pitchers/hitters to get a little of both with emphasis on what works for them.
- Pitching & Hitting training should require much more detail. Take a look at coaching and training in other sports in relation to baseball training. Golfers for example put in tons of hours working on the detail of their swing timing and rhythm because golf is so much of a “precision game”. Well isn’t pitching and hitting as much of a “precision game”. Yet traditionally pitchers don’t work as hard or as smart as it requires to be successful. Golfers also spend hours on neuromuscular “brain training” which is a key for all athletes to have consistency. There are all kinds of tools out there for players to help athletes physically but seldom do you see the real tools for conditioning the mind/body connection. Also take a look at heavy recovery sports like gymnastics, swimming, cross country, etc. Those coaches have very strict nutrition guidelines because of the high demand of recovery. Doesn’t pitching require serious recover as well?
- Most baseball training has no means of official validation or science behind the information being given. Even though many of the “old school” ideas have been proven to be fictitious or erroneous, these methods are still being taught at all levels. Pitchers/hitters can spend a lot of time and money getting bad information that can actually hurt them. Just because a private instructor has had some experience playing the game doesn’t mean he should be teaching the game for a living, or worse, as a part time income. Up to date coaching certifications are basically still non-existent.
- Books or videos alone can’t put together the exact plan that makes sense for what individuals really need. There are too many genetic traits that must be considered. Mechanical “troubleshooting” requires a trained eye (video analysis) to work on trial and error with experimentation. The pitcher/hitter should “feel” the adjustments work and see the results. Coaches can’t feel what a pitcher (hitter) is doing. Both Player and coach must work together to understand the process. Many times a good coach must throw away the rule book on a pitcher (hitter). Something that works for one may not work for another. There are too many coaches that try and “clone” players. “Styles” are created to sell books and videos…..styles of hitting/pitching fail players…….players should have their own “style” with sound principals that allow for athleticism, rhythm, tempo, body control, postural efficiency, dynamic balance, etc.
- Not enough emphasis and detail on what athletes do on their own time, between meetings (training sessions). Without this results are limited and slow. All Hardball Players are given detailed planning with, charts, reading material, nutritional logs, lessons, etc. so development continues though self coaching. Likewise, Hardball Academy has an outstanding goal setting program that allows athletes to monitor and track their progress.
- The lack of personal touch, inspiration and motivation. Coaches need to be a psychologist. The need to understand the importance of making their players believe, then get them to condition mental habits and create more mental toughness. Coaches can have knowledge but unless they have influence, results will be limited
- Not enough emphasis on “usable” pitcher/hitter specific strength and conditioning. Pitchers/Hitters must use a smart variation of sport specific and cross specific training. Our functional fitness program emphasizes joint stability, connective tissue durability, and pitcher-specific movements that work balance, coordination, body control and athleticism.