Some time ago one of my baseball coaches referred to velocity development as a giant equation. In this equation, we needed to positively affect as many parts of the variable as possible in order to ensure the greatest chance for success. It is impossible to compute your chances of success if you follow all of these steps, there is just no way to tell. But with certainty I can tell you that if you do none of these things your chances of attaining success are almost zero. This way of looking at development was huge for me as a player. And I have taken the same approach as a coach when working with our athletes.
Specifically, for my pitching career my development took many forms. Such as: long toss, mobility work, flexibility work, strength development, pitching mechanics, weighted balls, recovery methods, pitch sequencing work, spin work, video work, hydration, nutrition, mental development, and biomechanics/ motor development research. All of this helped me to be the best pitcher that I could be. It was not just one thing, it was the culmination of all the work that went into each discipline. I would often get the question, “If I long toss will I throw like you?” And my answer was always, “It’s never one thing.” We as humans always look for the simplest most direct answer, we are always trying to be the most efficient being possible. But, player development is never that linear. We are such complex beings that attacking an athlete’s development is multifaceted. The best chances of us getting the results that we seek is to go about it in many different directions.
No one asked me to do any of this. I could have just been like most pitchers and went to my one pitching lesson per week and hoped to get better as a result. But instead, I took my development and career in my own hands and did what it took in my situation to get it done. My ultimate goal was to always play pro baseball. With this being a feat in itself, I could not do the norm and expect to get to my goal. This goal is definitely not of the norm, this called for going above and beyond what was asked of every other baseball player. Applying myself to this goal meant doing research on certain topics so I could better understand and apply them to my own situation. Without a firm base of knowledge, it is very easy to be swayed off the path I was trying to take.
This goal and dream that I had meant me going out of my way to visit and seek out the professionals that are the best in their field. Whether it meant seeking out Eric Cressey and Mike Reinold in Massachusetts, Ron Wolforth in Texas, Jim Wagner in Santa Clarita, or Kyle Boddy in Washington. All of this was necessary to ensure me giving myself the best chance to succeed. If you truly want something bad enough you will do whatever is necessary in order to get it. If you fall short of that, then the only explanation is that you really didn’t want it as bad as you thought or said you did. In society, today we hear this all too often. We all want something, but doing the work necessary is the true separator. The proof is in the work. Specifically, in baseball, we expect to see immediate results and if it is not immediate with think we are not making any tangible strides and we often give up or lose hope.
This past week I heard a quote by Aubrey Marcus of Onnit regarding athletic success and development. Marcus described athletic based success as a marathon, if you ran the best 5 miles of your life you still cannot see the end of the marathon and this is a shitty feeling to have. It is that trust that you must be ok with in knowing that you are on the right path to success even though you cannot see the end immediately. He also went on to say if you need immediate success and results in order for you to believe in the process then your approach and process is paper thin and will crumble under the sight of any obstacles which are undeniably going to happen along the way.
Driving to East Texas with my best friend in a mini-van with no power steering and a blown-out tire was something that we thought was necessary in order to grow as players. Or driving 4 days a week to Santa Clarity valley in a car with no air conditioning in 100+ degree weather to get our workouts in with our pitching coach. Or saving up the money as a college student to spend a week in Boston Massachusetts to see our strength coach and baseball physical therapist. No one asked us to do this. But, we found it imperative for our development and careers. As hard as all of this was looking back on it now, I would do it all over again the exact same way.
A lot of what we are seeing today is the people that are the most successful in their respective fields are the ones that take the step forward and do what is necessary to attain their goals. There is nothing that is stopping them from getting their work done. Less sleep, waking up earlier, prioritizing time, and committing are some of the things that separate the best from the rest.
-Start with the foundation in mind.
Chapman Baseball Compound
Chapman Baseball Compound is a 3,000 square foot facility where we specialize in baseball development specifically in the areas of: hitting, pitching, catching, and mental training.