November 2013 - Tip of the Month

"What went right is just as important as what went wrong." 

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You're behind the plate in the most important game of your life. The winning run is on second base and there are two outs in the inning. With two strikes on the batter, knowing they will chase the next pitch out of the zone, we call for a change-up down and away from the batter.

The pitch is thrown and the ball promptly heads for the dirt. The batter lays off and somehow we fail to get our body completely behind the ball. The ball deflects off to our side and the runner at second base takes off for third. We get to the ball quickly and unleash a rocket....right over our third baseman's head into left field. Run scores. Game over.

How many of you catchers have experienced a situation like this? I know I have. It's a terrible feeling, knowing that the last play of a game you lost was a mistake that you made. Gut-wrenching feeling.

Despite the unfortunate series of events that transpired that day, it's important to realize that while noting your mistakes is important, it's just as important to understand what you did right. Only then will you be able to properly fix the actually problem to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

A couple weeks back I had an 11 year-old student in from outside the area. One of the hardest workers I've met. This kid wants it badly. However, one of his greatest strengths is one of his biggest weaknesses. He is incredibly intelligent, very analytical and understands way more about mechanical processes than a catcher his age probably should. Because of this, it is very easy for him to understand when something is wrong during any given drill. He's always thinking. But very often, he dismisses what it was that he actually did right. So much so that it can occasionally prevent him from making the right adjustment.

If I asked him what went wrong, he would outline every single flaw in the last rep. And he'd be right most of the time. However, if I asked him what he did right, I'd get a blank look on his face. The assumption being that if anything was wrong, everything was. But that's not how it works. All too often this student would then try to make too many adjustments, when a just a small one would do the trick.

When something goes wrong, in a game or a training environment, make sure to point out to yourself what went right. That way, you can pinpoint the actual problem and make the adjustment before the next unfortunate game situation arrises.

Thanks for reading this month's Tip of the Month!