When I first moved to Florida in 1993, I met a few good dudes at church who invited me to join them for a round of golf. During physical therapy school, I had become an avid golfer (before kids #2 and 3), so I was happy to go.
Somewhere around the 7th tee, I had my first experience with a real live Florida alligator.
As I stepped up for my drive, I noticed some movement on the bank of the creek adjacent to the tee box. Upon further observation, I was surprised to see about a 5 ft long gator laying in the sun.
He was just sitting there… watching us…
At first, I looked around to see what the others 3 guys were going to do.
If they had noticed, they sure didn’t show it.
I looked at the gator again… then at my new buddies.
As a general rule, any time I am in close proximity to a creature that could potentially eat me, I tend to get a little nervous. So I decided to speak up.
“Um… guys…” I said. “Does anyone notice that giant alligator over there?”
“Oh… yeah.” They replied. “Welcome to Florida.”
I paused and waited for more…
And I got…
So I asked what I thought was a pretty legitimate question.
“Uhhh… Just wondering… if he decides to attack us, what’s the plan?”
“The plan?” They responded.
“Yeah… I mean if he comes at us, what are we going to do?”
I was hoping one of them would tell me he had a shotgun stashed in his golf back, or a pistol somewhere hidden in the cart.”
But apparently my Hope was not their Plan.
Here’s what they said next:
“He probably won’t come at us. They usually just lay there and watch. But if he does attack, the best thing is to run. But make sure you run in a zig-zag pattern or in a circle. They’re really fast in a straight line, but they’re not good at turning.”
“Wait… What? That’s the plan? THAT’S the plan?”
As you might imagine, I was not pleased with the plan.”
I’ve always said, “Hope is not a plan.” But a bad plan—the wrong plan—is just as bad as no plan at all.
It has been my experience that most pitchers want to work hard.
But many of them have no plan at all, or they have a really bad plan.
They’re stuck in a one-size-fits-all program.
You know the type... Everybody does the same throwing program, the same weight training program, the same return to throwing protocol, the same… whatever.
One-size-fits-all programs exist for one reason.
They’re easy on the coach or the instructor.
But the trouble with the one-size-fits-all approach is that it will typically yield bell curve results.
For 20% of the participants, the plan will fit them perfectly. They’ll respond with meteoric improvement, and we will celebrate them as exceptionally hard workers who really “bought in” to the program.
Then there will be 60% who will work just as hard, but because the plan doesn’t quite match their specific needs they’ll see little or no progress.
And unfortunately there will be 20% that will be absolutely allergic to the plan. These students will either regress or (even worse) become injured.
The 80% for whom the program doesn’t work will be cast aside as lazy, unmotivated, or incapable and will leave feeling inadequate.
The fact is, with the right plan, everyone can get better.
Human tissue does not have free will. It cannot decide not to participate. It must respond to the stresses we place on it.
If the athlete is executing the prescribed plan, and he’s not getting positive results, then it’s not the athlete’s fault. The plan is simply wrong!
And at that point it’s up to us to change the plan.
And if you’re going to be able to craft an effective plan for every single athlete, you MUST be able to conduct a thorough, meticulous, multidimensional assessment.
The assessment is the key.
While anectodally, the assessment seems logical as a starting point for reducing the risk of injury, the real reason for the assessment is to allow us to individualize the training plan.
So I have a question for you?
How’s your training plan?
Did it start with a “thorough, meticulous, multidimensional assessment?”
If you’re not executing a well-crafted individualized training plan, you might be nothing more than gator bait.
The dates for our Summer Elite Pitchers Bootcamps have been released, and the clock is ticking for you to claim your early registration discount.