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  • Dealing With Problem Coaches

    GC's problems with his coach got me thinking about how to deal with this situation.

    I have a reader who is having a similar, but bigger, problem. His son is hitting well and appears to have a nice, high-level swing based on the stills I have seen...












    The problem is that his coaches preach...

    1. Level swing.
    2. Squish the bug.

    ...and other things and are trying to get him to change his swing so that it fits their conception of what a good swing looks like. Again, this is despite the fact that the kid is hitting well and has not hit nearly as well when he tries to follow the advice of his coaches.

    What would you have someone do if they are in this position?

    My default advice is to tell the coach what he wants to hear but swing the way you know how. Hopefully the coach won't be able to tell the difference.

    Does this work?

    Does it work to try to get the coach to change his beliefs? That doesn't seem like a high-probability strategy to me.

    It just drives me crazy to think that kids are having their swings ruined by ill-informed coaches.
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

    I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

  • #2
    Chris, I'm going to give you some advise. And possibly an attitude adjustment, just like the one I had to make.

    The coach is doing his best to be successful. As coaches, we need to feel accomplishment. We need to know that our hard work and planning has paid off, both for our atheletes, and our "Program", be it high school, or any other program.......

    Here's how my daughter and I handle this situation.

    Me and my daughter have taken the attitude that we need to help him, dispite his short-comings regarding hitting.

    So, we are working as hard as we can (hitting outside the venue) to give him that success and feeling of accomplishment. AS AN ANNOMOUS GIFT.

    IE, he gets the present (a good hitter), and doesn't know where it's coming from. He thinks it's him. THAT'S PART OF OUR GIFT..........

    It's childish to boast "who gave that great gift" to the receiver. So, in the spirit of "gift giving", wrap it up, and give it to him, and allow him to enjoy it..........

    Thats my best advise in this situation........

    Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
    GC's problems with his coach got me thinking about how to deal with this situation.

    I have a reader who is having a similar, but bigger, problem. His son is hitting well and appears to have a nice, high-level swing based on the stills I have seen...












    The problem is that his coaches preach...

    1. Level swing.
    2. Squish the bug.

    ...and other things and are trying to get him to change his swing so that it fits their conception of what a good swing looks like. Again, this is despite the fact that the kid is hitting well and has not hit nearly as well when he tries to follow the advice of his coaches.

    What would you have someone do if they are in this position?

    My default advice is to tell the coach what he wants to hear but swing the way you know how. Hopefully the coach won't be able to tell the difference.

    Does this work?

    Does it work to try to get the coach to change his beliefs? That doesn't seem like a high-probability strategy to me.

    It just drives me crazy to think that kids are having their swings ruined by ill-informed coaches.
    Last edited by BoardMember; 03-19-2008, 08:21 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BoardMember View Post
      Me and my daughter have taken the attitude that we need to help him, dispite his short-comings regarding hitting.

      So, we are working as hard as we can (hitting outside the venue) to give him that success and feeling of accomplishment. AS AN ANNOMOUS GIFT.

      IE, he gets the present (a good hitter), and doesn't know where it's coming from. He thinks it's him. THAT'S PART OF OUR GIFT..........
      I agree that this approach works if the coach tells you to do something...

      1. But doesn't check to see if you are actually doing it.
      2. Is simply happy with the results.

      But what do you do if the coach tells you to do something (stupid) and then checks to make sure you are actually doing that (stupid) thing?

      The coach of the guy I am working with looks at videos and stills and, when he sees a player tilting over the plate (which we know is good), gets all over him and tells him that he needs to level out his swing.

      In other words, what do you do with a coach who insists on fixing something that clearly isn't broken because he thinks that your swing won't scale (when in truth it's his ideas that won't scale).

      If he does look at video of his players, it might help to show him video of pros doing things like tilting over the plate.
      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

      I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

      Comment


      • #4
        Unless this coach is giving mandatory private lessons, he can't be spending that much individual time with 15 players at practice. Use the "smile and nod" approach during the "check periods" and stay the course.

        As we all know, "team coaches" aren't really responsible for individual success for the most part.......

        You could send him annotated clips asking if this is the approach he's looking for, just to get him to see what you've advocating. If he says no to the first one, do another of a different hitter, and ask "you mean like this?".

        If he sees enough of them, he's liable to start some discovery of his own......

        Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
        I agree that this approach works if the coach tells you to do something...

        1. But doesn't check to see if you are actually doing it.
        2. Is simply happy with the results.

        But what do you do if the coach tells you to do something (stupid) and then checks to make sure you are actually doing that (stupid) thing?

        The coach of the guy I am working with looks at videos and stills and, when he sees a player tilting over the plate (which we know is good), gets all over him and tells him that he needs to level out his swing.

        In other words, what do you do with a coach who insists on fixing something that clearly isn't broken because he thinks that your swing won't scale (when in truth it's his ideas that won't scale).

        If he does look at video of his players, it might help to show him video of pros doing things like tilting over the plate.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bm
          If he sees enough of them, he's liable to start some discovery of his own......
          Yes,,,he is very likely to start to see things.

          Happened with the High School baseball coach where my daughter goes.

          I sent him about 3 different clips to show him what I was working on with one of his players'. Seemed to make sense to him.
          Got permission to come out and video the team.
          Not to prove anything just to send them to him.

          He was taking BP and I filmed him. He can hit.
          Sent him the clip.
          What he did (in his swing) and what he was telling them to do were pretty far apart.
          His instruction (cues) have changed.

          I encourage you or anyone to get as involved as you can.
          Obviously, there are times where it just won't be well received.

          My approach was in the vein of trying to help.
          "I said, I'll shoot some video and e-mail the clips to you, if you'd like."
          As Bm said, "like a gift"....only this one wasn't anonymous.
          Last edited by LClifton; 03-19-2008, 09:40 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Chris,

            As a coach, I worry that parents and kids think I am wrong when I teach them rotational hitting concepts and instead prefer level swings/squish the bug type actions. I know it's not terribly related, but it gives you some perspective on parents in general.
            Owner of Driveline Baseball - Seattle, WA

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LClifton View Post
              Yes,,,he is very likely to start to see things.

              Happened with the High School baseball coach where my daughter goes.

              I sent him about 3 different clips to show him what I was working on with one of his players'. Seemed to make sense to him.
              Got permission to come out and video the team.
              Not to prove anything just to send them to him.

              He was taking BP and I filmed him. He can hit.
              Sent him the clip.
              What he did (in his swing) and what he was telling them to do were pretty far apart.
              His instruction (cues) have changed.

              I encourage you or anyone to get as involved as you can.
              Obviously, there are times where it just won't be well received.

              My approach was in the vein of trying to help.
              "I said, I'll shoot some video and e-mail the clips to you, if you'd like."
              As Bm said, "like a gift"....only this one wasn't anonymous.
              Well done. An impressive success story.

              Comment


              • #8
                I typed about a half a page response to this but it would not serve any positive purpose. Besides, I'm crabby today. Some things to think about:
                • What really happens in practice!
                • Is the individual "coachable?"
                • What do we know about the coaches in all of these scenerios? Are they as dumb as at least one poster in another thread has indicated?
                • Does, being a "teacher" mean you can't coach?
                • Are the various players involved defensive liabilities?
                • Do some mistake "hustle" for work? In other words, I've coached a lot of guys that "hustled" when the coaches were watching. When they thought that the coaches weren't watching, they were lazy. How about my adage, "Groups of 3 get away from me!" I've always taught that if you are standing in a group, you are not working.
                • What are the intangiables we aren't hearing about? Rolling the eyes? Looking away when coached? Remember, affect screams!


                Loren, I do admire your story! To me you made your point, provided a service to the team, and helped everyone including the coach.

                I guess some coaches are dumb enough to tell a kid to do this or that, have the kid acknowledge and then have them still do their own gig. For all of the advice on ignoring the coach, I'd warn that some coaches operate under the adage "Attention to Detail is EVERYTHING." If so, they will instantly notice and the young lad will get a chance to do the pine time. Before anyone thinks me the hypocrite, yes, I've told my girl to be so good that no one will want to change her. However, I've also told her that I don't write out the starting lineup and if her coach told her to bake cookies, she'd better warm up the oven if she wants to play.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a sticky problem. Assuming no other problems with the kid and assuming the coach IS teaching goofy things about swinging a bat, what then? It IS a sticky problem. Haven't seen or heard of it being handled any better than LC did. Usuallly doesn't work out that well. DD was forced to whack down on the ball with one of those double tees every day in college practice. Spent individual time away from practice to undo it. Honestly, my gut is, the number of coaches with your understanding of the swing is vastly outweighed by those on the other end of the bell curve but that's just based on my experience. IME, knowing what you are doing when coaching hitting is THE biggest area where an advantage can be gained on the competition. ULL being a case in point.
                  Last edited by Mark H; 03-19-2008, 02:57 PM. Reason: addition

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mark, I can't argue those points!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had this problem last year ... coaches will believe they are right no matter what and want credit lots of times for what you do. I would say just tell him you are working on it blah blah blah but do it the way we all know is correct. The problem is either one the coach is unwilling to change his teachings or two doesn't know the swing has changed. The first is no fun but coaches who are willing to change will be the best in the long run. Most coaches don't pay too close attention especially if you say you are working on it.
                      “If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” - Ted Williams
                      "Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit." - Hank Aaron

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LClifton View Post
                        He was taking BP and I filmed him. He can hit.
                        Sent him the clip.
                        What he did (in his swing) and what he was telling them to do were pretty far apart.
                        His instruction (cues) have changed.
                        Does anyone have any clips that they found particularly enlightening when it comes to communicating the truth about swinging level and squishing the bug?

                        Here are some tilt stills that I have collected and that helped to open my eyes...

                        - Tilt Pics

                        This one of Edmonds is one of my current favorites...



                        I remember that this pic gave me an aha moment...



                        This Adam Dunn clip is also a classic...



                        When it comes to squishing the bug, here are some photos that opened my eyes...

                        - Squishing The Bug

                        Does it make sense to direct the coach to these pages?

                        Do you find them to be persuasive?
                        Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                        I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by korp View Post
                          Most coaches don't pay too close attention especially if you say you are working on it.
                          I think this is probably true maybe 80 to 90 percent of the time.

                          That probably makes the say "Yes sir" but do your own thing strategy the place to start.

                          I guess I am afraid of trying to educate coaches (who haven't expressed doubts about their ideas), because I have seen it fail so many times
                          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                          I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Try a curve. Work up a good conversation with him, a joke, then a small complement, then Tell him that,
                            "I've worked many years on my son's swing. Laid some cash for private lessons( even if this is untrue ). Do you think that my son could benefit from some EXTRA hitting lesson?"

                            Maybe the coach will pick up the hint, or at least now you have a private coach that says, Dont squish the bug and dont level out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LAball View Post
                              Maybe the coach will pick up the hint, or at least now you have a private coach that says, Dont squish the bug and dont level out.
                              Interesting idea.

                              I know it works with me sometimes.

                              I have some kids on my son's team who have private instructors who teach the level swing and extension at the point of contact. I tend to leave the kids alone because I don't want to confuse them or shake their confidence. I just hope that they don't do what they are taught.

                              I still haven't figured out how to tell a parent that their expensive private hitting (or pitching) instructor doesn't know what he's talking about.

                              The only time I am not afraid to intervene is when a pitching instructor tells a kid to do something that is dangerous.
                              Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                              I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                              Comment

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