A friend of mine is an outstanding technical hitting coach. I took lessons from him and got significantly better, primarily because his understanding of the swing is driven by reality and what successful pro players tend to do. He also understands the value of vision-based training, because a swing is just a swing – vision and approach make up the other half (or more) of a hitter’s ability to succeed in the box.
We were talking between sessions of hitting once, and this exchange came about:
“If you were 19 again and starting off in pro ball [he was a former 9th rounder who signed out of HS, played up to AAA], knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself to give yourself the best shot to make the big leagues – to be the best hitter you could be?” I asked
“I’d tell myself that I needed to hit 4 times per week at least on my own, and once with a coach using video. I’d drill vision constantly and have batting practice pitchers throw me breaking balls just to take them. I’d join a gym and lift, getting incredibly strong. I’d get on a speed training program so I could consistently run a 6.8 or better. And I’d get on a velocity throwing program like yours so I could have a plus arm from third base.”
“Got it. That makes sense. Do you tell your kids this?”
“Yes. I try to tell them how they can succeed based on my failures in the game.”
“All good coaches do. Now tell me, [coach name], say I’m a 16 year old very dedicated high school athlete who wants to play elite D1 baseball or pro ball. I have a little ability but I’m pretty raw. And I’m dedicated, truly – I’ll miss a session per month, maximum. I get a 3.2 GPA in school and I don’t get in trouble. I come to you, you tell me that story about what’s necessary to excel. And then I ask you this question:
That sounds great! Do you offer a program that encompasses all of that?
What’s your answer?”
“Hmm. I see your point.”
The hitting coach and I put dual programs together to get on the same path, but it never really materialized much since he moved away and got into the select/summer team world. We still keep in touch all the time, of course, and I still highly respect him.
But the exchange above is how I try to run Driveline Baseball. What do you need in your life to be the best pitcher you can be? That is what Driveline tries to offer, in whole. Otherwise, the parts have to be assembled haphazardly and undoubtedly I’ll disagree with some aspect of how you’re doing it, to which your response should be: “Then you do it if you know best!”
- Strength/speed training in our weight room containing 3 Olympic lifting platforms, specialized equipment, and our outside area to run and complete agilities
- Throwing programs ranging from long toss, weighted ball training, mechanical remapping using PlyoCare balls
- Technical benefits not found anywhere else – Trackman + Rapsodo spin rate analysis, Edgertronic high-speed video, 3d biomechanics lab filming
- Supplements to sustain growth for athletes – Vitamin D, EPA/DHA, Protein, Creatine
- Networking to get your verified videos out to college coaches nationwide
- An on-site physical therapist once per week
- Trainers certified in various soft tissue manipulation methods
- Elite recovery tools like Marc Pro / EMS, Normatech, Powerplay
There are a few things we need to get better at to build the complete pitcher, but we pride ourselves on constantly Being All Things. To me, it is hypocritical to expect our athletes’ best without giving them our best effort in return – sharpening the sword we have AND adding new blades to our arsenal, rather than passing them off to third party resources.
Can you Be All Things if you expect greatness? Your athletes may depend on it.