Recently a new student came into the facility who had never had a lesson. She and her father went out in the yard and looked for comfortable and natural ways to pitch.
I was impressed with this 14-year-old and in the next few minutes I identified three problems in her form. Her father said those issues were things that people on the internet said would make her better.
We changed those three things and unleashed a beast. The kid not only threw incredibly faster and developed uncanny accuracy, but she learned so fast that I decided to challenge her further. She quickly learned a changeup and curve. I have never, ever, tried to do so many things in the first lesson, but this kid stayed right with me. The reason was simple. This father and daughter had always looked for a smooth and natural way to pitch, focusing on body awareness. This made it so easy for me to remove the three barriers to performance and begin enhancing the movements.
The father felt badly that he taken these ideas from the internet and that he had put them into her motion, even when she insisted that they did not feel natural. Fortunately, no damage was done in this case. She easily adjusted to the corrections. We were all very happy.
The internet is a valuable tool but, just as in conversation, some of the people doing the most talking have the least to contribute. You cannot check their resume’ and you cannot verify their qualifications.
Always consider your sources. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that is the best way to do it. If so, football kickers would still kick “straight on”, and baseball players would still swing two bats in the on-deck circle. Athletes would still take salt tablets to prevent dehydration, do static stretching, use weighted bats, use weighted softballs, and we would still have girls doing heavy bench press. Every day we read about revolutionary ideas that change the way athletes perform in every sport. We currently have over 120 students pitching D1, or who have accepted scholarships to D1 schools, many at the very top levels. A lot of people would be impressed, but that’s not good enough for us. Things change fast and we want to constantly be on the leading edge.
Just because something is new, however, doesn’t mean it is great. The majority of new ideas fall by the wayside or they are refined into better methods.
Strike a balance. Do your homework. Ask tough questions. Challenge everything. Be open to new ideas. Make very wise choices for your player because you cannot go back and do it over again. Finally, when you go to the internet for advice, just remember that those doing most of the talking often have the least to contribute, people who are great at their job rarely have time to dispense a lot of free advice, and it is important to independently verify their resume’ before making decisions which affect your player.