Recently a college pitcher said that gaining 4-miles per hour would take her to an entirely different level. As we worked through several progressions and she completed each skill, I asked her to write down how much she felt that each improvement would add to her speed.
She was seeing instant results from adjustments in synchronization and dynamic movement patterns. She felt the first one was easily two miles per hour, the second one would add another mile per hour, and on it went. In the end the total was 8-miles per hour from just 5 simple adjustments.
Then I turned to a group of Instructors who came to the event and asked them to raise their hands if they felt she would gain the added speed. Not one person raised a hand. Were they being negative? Not at all. Each was cheering for her because we liked her a lot. The concern: Will she attack each of those vital areas with the enthusiasm and confidence she demonstrated on that day? Will she do it day after day? Will she discipline herself to examine each movement and hammer it until each consistently gives her the promised result, never being distracted from the purpose or never becoming complacent? Will the main thing continue to be the main thing?
Not so long ago a kid came with the same type of question. In that lesson I pushed her through the same system. Two days later she sent me a video with the radar screen in view and she was up 7-miles per hour. I could not wait to see her again, but a couple of weeks later she had lost most of that. Why? Once the mission was accomplished she was happy, so she shifted focus to movement pitches, hitting locations, and other things of concern. She let the magic slip away. The other areas were important, but just because the magic happened once does not mean that it will be permanent until you make it permanent.
Several times lately I have helped a student achieve things that she did not believe were possible. At the end, we sat down with her notebook and I went through the exact steps I wanted her to take in practice every single day. They were baby steps, numbered one through four, with specific ways to assure that she was getting maximum result from every step. The next lesson arrives and the improvement is often disappointing. I ask if she is following the progression we established. She looks blank, pulls out the notebook and says something like, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.”
On the flip side, every single week one kid will blow us away. As I stand there stunned, she does not understand why it is such a big deal. “I just did what you told me to do.”
Kids who know me have heard me say this a hundred times. “I can give you the keys to the kingdom, but it is up to you to walk up to the door, open the lock, and walk through it.” Magic does not happen. Magic is manufactured with a lot of dedication, sweat, and a determination that I will leave practice, each and every day, measurably 1% better than the day before.