<p> </p> <div> </div> <div>Dear dslegg97,</div> <div> </div> <div>I wanted to thank you for sharing what was obviously an upsetting experience. How is your son doing now and where is he in his pitching career?</div> <div> </div> <div>I am amazed by reading these letters, that the suggestion of showing these coaches scientific literature/evidence from well respected research facilities does not seem to be influencing them to rethink their approach. </div> <div> </div> <div>In my own line of work, that’s one of the reasons why continuing education is so important. How can these coaches be so negative when all you are trying to do is enhance their understanding on a particular subject matter? If there was the slightest chance that a particular drill or technique could have negative consequences, wouldn’t you think they would want to investigate its merits a bit further? I simply cannot get my mind around the arrogance of it all!</div> <div> </div> <div>I guess it’s just like school in the sense that you’ve got good and even exceptional teachers and then you have the “others”. If a coach is open to reviewing the literature suggesting that a particular training technique has been shown to not transfer well then that’s a start. Irregardless of how he takes the information, you have done your job and at least he knows you have science backing up your position to abstain you child from one of these drills.</div> <div> </div> <div>In the end, we parents are entrusted with looking after the well being of our children and that deserves their respect. As such, we should feel free to share information with any coach about a drill or technique that science has now shown to be detrimental. If that information can be shared in a private or confidential way all the better. We must also take the time to educate our children on these matters because we will not always be there to protect them. We must teach our children to be respectful and diplomatic should they decide not to participate or just “fake it”. Most of all, we must teach them to continually work on perfecting their skills because pitchers who can win games by locating their pitches typically won’t get messed with. As coach Mills say’s ” let your fastball do the talking”.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p> </p>
<p>To those readers responding I would like to thank you for your input. However, for both myself and possibly other parents out there, moving your child to a different school district and/or approaching the coaching staff with a take it or leave it proposition regarding the playing of your child seems to omit any middle ground if any exists.</p> <div> </div> <div>I would like to revisit my earlier suggestion of parents being in a position to make available to the coaching staff the scientific literature supporting our position on matters like long toss, throwing weighted balls, etc. As mentioned, can we really assume they have the ability to keep up with all the data out there? Perhaps when shown the evidence that these activities have no merit or that they could be potentially harmful, they might rethink their actions? </div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps thats all we parents can do if other options seem unattractive or disrupting. I would appreciate any comments on providing scientific literature to coaches as a way of modifying their behavior. Has anyone tried this and if so what happened?</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div>
<p> </p> <div> </div> <div>In our community, kids entering 7th and 8th grade are given the chance to join their schools “modified” baseball team. It’s one level below Junior Varsity. And to those kids who play baseball, it’s obviously a big deal!</div> <div> </div> <div>One of the key themes of this discussion is trying to walk that fine line between doing what we know is right and not creating a chain of negative effects. I can give a perfect example with a conversation I had yesterday.</div> <div> </div> <div>For two years now, my son has played travel ball which ended in tournament play in Cooperstown. Imagine my surprise when my email to to reserve a tryout spot for this teams 2014 13U travel team was rejected. Rather than getting upset, I contacted the owner/coach of the training facility and requested a meeting to better understand why he could reject my son participating in a tryout? Without predigest, my son was a top shelf player on this team so this response surprised me very much. </div> <div> </div> <div>During our meeting last night, he raised the following concerns. While he acknowledged the exceptional talents of my son and all the work I have done with him, he felt that our path differed from theirs. What do I mean by that? I mean early on it was clear that with regards to say …batting, the coaches who where running the team taught more of a linear vs rotational approach. When I realized this, I spoke to him and he gave me assurances that this wouldn’t be a problem (me working with his batting skills vs them) but in reality it was. </div> <div> </div> <div>Why? Because my child didn’t participate in some of the teaching drills they wanted him to because it was contrary to his rotational approach. They also felt like they couldn’t make suggestions without worrying what I might think or feel. In a nutshell, he was different and I was coaching him not them! Now, I used a batting example here but it could have easily been pitching!</div> <div> </div> <div>This same theme of being different carried over into his warm up routine. The other kids would arrive at the facility and immediately start throwing or begin doing their static stretches. My son would arrive and go through a feet to finger tip dynamic warm up ending with his band exercises developed in the First Pitch Strike and Recovery Program. Coaches, parents, and even players noticed that and again, I think it made the coaching staff feel uncomfortable. And once again, my son was recognized as being different which was the very reason why this meeting was taking place.</div> <div> </div> <div>Thankfully, my son understands what we are doing and why. He realizes that starting to warm up by throwing a ball is improper and he gets the fact that we warm up the body to throw and not the other way around. He understands that his routine mirrors that of the MLB players and that one day, his warm up technique will be the norm and not the other way around.</div> <div> </div> <div>I could give other examples but basically my son was being rejected from trying out for the 2014 travel team because they felt they could not work with my son due to the fact that we had these “special” programs in effect. He admitted that he felt we were just on a different path. </div> <div> </div> <div>As for pitching instruction, all I can say here is that this facility had multiple professional pitching instructors and none of them video taped their lessons! So imagine me, a father, video taping my son’s pitching mechanics after the formal team practice was over and the looks I received. We were different and that made them uncomfortable. And what do people do when they feel uncomfortable especially coaches? Readers, if this situation can happen here it can happen anywhere.</div> <div> </div> <div>The bottom line was this coach applauded my efforts but felt that I was way to hands on! Both himself and others on the coaching staff felt uncomfortable making suggestions even though they knew full well they could. Just for the record, my son and I were always polite and respectful and he even acknowledged that fact! </div> <div> </div> <div>For those reading, we truly had a nice conversation and everything ended well. But he passed along what he said was some parting words of wisdom. He expressed most if not all baseball coaches don’t want parents meddling in their affairs. And if you do so, no matter how well your intentions, you could potentially effect your son’s participation on the team. Opinions formed on the part of the coaching staff at the modified level could easily be carried into both the JV and Varsity levels as well so beware.</div> <div> </div> <div>Nobody wants their child to be looked upon unfavorably especially when they are doing everything right!And that is just what happened above and nobody said “boo” to me on the part of the coaching staff until my son was invited NOT to participate in this facilities 2014 13U travel team tryouts. </div> <div> </div> <div>So, let us all take this seriously and have a thoughtful discussion on this matter for the sake of these wonderful and talented ballplayers we are raising!</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div>
<p> </p> <div>Earlier, I suggested that when a coach engages in teaching drills or activities which we know is potentially harmful, perhaps we could request a meeting and provide the coach with the literature supporting our position. I’m not suggesting getting into some long debate because as we all know, that could be potentially detrimental. If this coach then continues with the behavior at least you know it was not out of ignorance.</div> <div> </div> <div>Has anyone tried this approach and if so what type of reaction did you get? After all, we cannot expect them to be up on the literature the way Coach Mills is. Doesn’t this seem like the most logical approach? Maybe they would appreciate it and reconsider their methods and or philosophy? Or am I just dreaming?</div> <div> </div> <div>Your thoughts please!</div>
<div>So, let us then have a discussion about the proper way to handle the following situation. Your 13 year old child just moved up to his schools modified baseball team. After practice one evening he informs you at the dinner table that Coach Smith had all the pitchers practicing the towel drill. He then expressed that tomorrow, they would all be throwing with weighted balls to better strengthen their arms. </div> <div> </div> <div> I cannot tell you how many people have counseled me to tread lightly here because coaches in positions such as these don’t like parents meddling in their affairs. The logical side of me would schedule a meeting with him and present the scientific data that backs up the fact that these drills and techniques have no benefit and could potentially be harmful. </div> <div> </div> <div>But readers, this is the grey line everyone is counseling me about! Is Coach Smith going to change his ways? Probably not. Is he going to be annoyed that he has again inherited one of “those” parents and in some manner modify your child’s participation on the team? Possibly yes, and your son would be devastated if he felt the coach was modifying his play because of something you did no mater how well intentioned. And seeing this, you would probably get upset and just get further and further into more hot water.</div> <div> </div> <div> I understand the strategy previously mentioned that if your son is has exceptional skills that the coach wants on his team, it gives you a certain degree of bargaining on how he is handled. But, there is nothing in the play book that says that the coach needs to play along. And it is my opinion that if you screw up your child’s chances to play on his school baseball team you will never hear the end of it no matter how good your intentions!</div> <div> </div> <div> So please, let us have a robust discussion on this because we all need to to have some sort of basic strategy for dealing with this! </div> <div> </div>
<p>Yes, this is his typical routine prior to any throwing be it a game or practice session. I supplemented Tom House’s part of the program only because the First Strike program lacked a cardio portion as well as a program for the lower body. Unfortunately, he cannot always be guaranteed to pitch off a mound so some flat ground pitching does occur.</p> <p>Thanks for your interest. I welcome any further insights you may have on this topic.</p> <p>John</p>
Thanks Dick! I will post a video ASAP.