Like most guys my age and younger, I grew up playing baseball in the age of new information. With countless different baseball instructors, Instagram hitting and pitching pages, and self-proclaimed "gurus" imposing outlandish techniques on the baseball community, it's hard to decipher between what really matters and what is just a bunch of nonsense.
As if these modern styles of coaching weren't enough, there has been constant blowback from the old-school ways of the game. Nowadays, this is commonly referred to as the "feel versus real" debate. What should a coach teach? Should he teach a feeling to get a certain desired result, or should he teach the desired result and let the player find his own feeling?
As much as I would like to think I have always played the game intelligently, I must admit I was basically bread to be a baseball headcase.
In other words, it often felt like all of these different guys were telling me a bunch of different things all at the same time.
Having multiple people in your face claiming to have all the answers can be overwhelming for a kid of any age. With a world filled with so much information, how are we supposed to know what to pay attention to and what to ignore?
What Really Matters
Information in its own right is not inherently bad. Even bad information can be useful when you try it out and it doesn't seem to click. The trick is knowing WHEN to use this information. Using our brains is good. It makes for deep thinking and creates a more thorough understanding of different subjects.
But it takes time.
Therefore, we must know when this information can work to our benefit. Situations such as:
- cage time
- at home
- before and after games
are all appropriate times to reflect on our previous actions and focus on how we can better them in the future.
The biggest problem among ball players, however, is taking this rational way of thought into the game with us. We want to think through hitting a fastball where we only have about 3/10 of a second to react to begin with. We want to rob ourselves of power and presence on the mound by being consumed by mechanical thoughts in our own heads. When baseball is a game of rhythm and timing, we cannot afford to disrupt those key ingredients. Even having one thought out of place can shave off one of those few tenths of a second that we so desperately need. If you catch yourself thinking while trying to perform in a game, you're done.
For the longest time, I thought at the plate for so long that I didn't know there was an alternative way to hit. However, I happened upon the answer to my problems (the place I got this answer from is a story for a later article).
Presence. In other words, being present in the moment. Presence is something that is extremely difficult to achieve in all facets of life given the world we live in today. Face it, we live in a distract