I don't care how successful you have been or are as a ballplayer.
It might be when you're not being successful.
It might be when you are.
At some point, someone is going to come along and (try to) change your swing, your throwing or pitching mechanics, or some other aspect of your game.
The rationale may vary. They might not give you an excuse. They just don't teach hitting, pitching, or fielding that way. They might have an excuse, a common one being, "I know that's working for you now, but it won't at the next level."
Regardless of why they happen, moments like these are often the ones on which a season or a career can turn.
I know from repeated experience -- experiences that I recount in my Lessons Learned -- this happens all the time, even if it rarely makes sense.
The Most Important Question
How can you keep someone -- often but not always a well-intentioned but mis-informed coach -- from ruining your swing, your arm action, or some other aspect of your game?
Ask them this question.
Can you show me a consistently successful player who regularly does that?
Here's the rationale behind that question.
There always have been and always be flavors of the month. Players who have a great game, week, month, or sometimes even season but who never do anything again because of some fatal flaw in their mechanics. As a result, I don't get interested in, and start studying...
- Hitters until they have been around for 3 to 5 years.
- Pitchers until they have been around for 5 to 10 years.
Anybody can find one clip to back up any theory of hitting or pitching, no matter how crazy and/or absurd.
When it comes to formulating a theory of hitting or pitching, what's important is what consistently successful players repeatedly do, not what some guy did once.
And probably got lucky.
In My Experience with Andres Torres, I explain how I helped him resurrect his career by understanding what Albert Pujols did.
In The Problem with Hitting, I tell the story of a hitter who didn't ask that question and who is now out of affiliated baseball as a result.
Thus my Cameras and iPad
I'm easy to find at games.
I'm the guy with the cameras around his neck and the iPad in my hands.
Because I'm trying to get the point across to my players that they should come to expect coaches to make their point with video; video of them and consistently successful pitchers and hitters.
That's also how I got my start; by putting together my flipbooks first for my use and then for the use of my players.