General Topics

Free flowing information about sports training, exercise equipment, and general topics of interest.

  1. Mimicking is the Key

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mimic as “to imitate closely.” Many people think of mimicking with a negative connotation. They think of somebody making fun of another person by impersonating them. But that is a very limited application of the word mimic. Mimicking is actually a great thing and is something we have all done innately since we were born. As a baby you learned to walk and talk by mimicking those around you. Think back to elementary school when you were being taught to write cursive. How did your teacher teach you to make those letters? I know in my class we were each handed small chalkboards and would copy the letter that the teacher wrote on the chalkboard at the front of class—which was essentially learning by mimicking. In fact, mimicking is one of the best and most effective ways to learn and we employ the method in all aspects of life. Continue reading →
  2. The Most Important Count in Baseball

    Pitchers and hitters alike are told from the time they start playing the game of the importance of the ball/strike count. Hitters are often told to work the count in order to make the pitcher labor and throw more pitches, while pitchers are often told to get ahead in the count or that they should focus on throwing a first pitch strike. Regardless of your position, all players are concerned with the count and this is rightfully so. But often, this becomes simply second-nature to baseball players. They know they want to get ahead in the count if they are a pitcher or be ready to swing away in certain hitter’s counts. But many athletes I talk to don’t actually realize WHY they are so focused on the count. Hitters know they desperately want to stay away from 0-2 and pitchers want nothing to do with 2-0 or 3-0, but they sometimes don’t stop to think about the reason why such counts are bad. Continue reading →
  3. Executing Pitches in the Strike Zone

    It’s no secret that as a pitcher you want to be able to consistently throw all of your pitches in the strike zone. If you can throw the ball in the zone then you will be able to throw pitches out of the strike zone when needed as well. But simply telling a pitcher, “Hey, you need to be able to throw all of your pitches in the strike zone” is great advice, but it doesn’t help the pitcher actually do it. Coach Ron Wolforth likes to equate phrases such as that with this life advice, “You should marry a pretty, rich girl.” Great advice, but how the heck do you do that? Continue reading →
  4. Effectively Using the Lower Half

    Nearly every pitcher that I have ever been around, whether it was while I was playing or throughout the years with Oates Specialties and the Texas Baseball Ranch, have wanted two things: to throw harder and stay healthy. Usually it is in that order and this post primarily addresses that first concern. Unfortunately, most pitchers will be forced to end their baseball careers at some point due to the fact that their velocity is not sufficient for the next level—or perhaps even their current level. This, understandably, creates the desire for pitchers to want to increase velocity and therefore causes them to ask this question: what can I do to increase the velocity of my fastball? Continue reading →
  5. Creating Movement on Pitches

    One of the most common pitching topics I have heard people discuss over the years is how a pitcher can get movement on his pitches. You have undoubtedly heard such conversations as well—whether it is at a pitching lesson/camp, while at a game, or even tuned in to an MLB game as the announcers discuss the pitcher on the screen. Anytime Greg Maddux was on the mound the conversation inevitably headed in the direction of movement. Most of you can visualize that incredible fastball Maddux would throw to left handers that started inside off the plate and would work its way back to the plate just in time to catch the inside corner. I was always amazed at that pitch. Continue reading →
  6. Proper Fielding Position for Pitchers

    It is critical for a pitcher to be in a good fielding position once he has released his pitch. In order to get into this proper fielding position a pitcher must end his delivery with his chest square to home plate, glove in front of his body, and his feet should be shoulder width apart in a good athletic stance. This is imperative so that the pitcher will be ready for any balls hit back at him. I would actually emphasize concentrating on how a pitcher finishes as much as anything else in the delivery so that as the pitcher is coming into foot strike and release he is focused on finishing the pitch in a good fielding position. A pitcher’s delivery should never cause him to rotate or spin so that his chest and/or hips are facing 1st base for right handers or 3rd base for left handers. Continue reading →
  7. Command (Self Evaluation) Throwing Drill

    This blog builds on some of the same themes that I discussed in my last post regarding self evaluation. Principally, that if you can’t accurately evaluate yourself and your performance then it is nearly impossible to truly improve your weaknesses. Put another way, if you don’t know where you are now, how do you know where you need to go. One of my favorite examples of this (stolen, like many of my examples, from Coach Ron Wolforth) is a map that you find in a mall or shopping center. What is the first thing you search for when looking at such a map? Most likely it is the big red dot that says “You are here.” You can have all the information regarding what store is here and there but if you don’t know where that is in relation to where you are standing it isn’t a very big help. Continue reading →
  8. The Importance of Self Evaluation

    Today’s post is about self evaluation, which is important to all of us—whether you are an athlete, a coach, a teacher, a lawyer, a businessperson, a friend, a parent, or in any other position. This topic is universal because every person instinctively analyzes their performance. It’s human nature. It’s necessary and usually required simply to function in the world. The problem with many of us is that we do not accurately evaluate ourselves. Most of us believe that we have done a great job, or at least a sufficient job at whatever past act, task, or performance we are evaluating. It then becomes a shock when we receive negative feedback from someone else on that act/task/performance. Whether it is a supervisor telling you that your memo was poorly written, a principal telling you that your teaching method is not satisfactory, or a coach discussing your mistakes/errors in the last game you played, we as human beings don’t like to receive this kind of feedback. Continue reading →
  9. When in Doubt Return to Athleticism

    I recently had a conversation with a buddy of mine about his golf swing. He was telling me that he needed to improve his game because he didn’t want to be embarrassed when playing with colleagues and potential bosses. He then launched into a diatribe about all of these instructional videos he had been watching on the Internet and how he was trying to work on these very specific aspects of his golf swing. But he told me that he feels like his swing has gotten worse since focusing on these instructional tips. After listening to him a saying came to mind: When in doubt, return to athleticism. Continue reading →
  10. New Exercises with the Short Length Large Diameter Rope and the Giant Flat Band

    Last week I discussed the exercises that were possible with just the Short Length Large Diameter Rope and the benefits that could be derived from those exercises. This week I am going to talk about the exercises, and benefits, that the Short Rope can have when used in conjunction with the Giant Flat Band Resistance Loop. Continue reading →