Not every player is ready for advanced philosophies. Yet, not every player will benefit from the standard one-size-fits-all techniques. Thus stands the paradox of coaching. Watch Coach Don Wakamatsu share some wisdom on the subject of evaluating body movement in the Coaches Forum. Or skim the footnotes for a 2-minute read.
Abandoning the One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Coach Don Wakamatsu is no stranger to assessing and nurturing talent. With 35+ years of professional baseball experience from ASU Captain, MLB catcher for 7 organizations over a decade, Minor League Coordinator for the Angels, Manager for the Mariners, Bench Coach for the Royals in back-to-back World Series runs '14-15, to current Bench Coach for the Texas Rangers—Wakamatsu knows what works and doesn't work with young athletic development.
In our interview with Wakamatsu, we covered a vast number of subjects including:
- 45:05 Paying attention to players' learning styles, the reason for playing, and relationship
- 46:59 Empowering coaches: education, letting go of egos, playing for something more
- 50:20 Ingredients to going to World Series - investing in the mind as much as the physical
Easy on the Adjustments
The player who's seen 2-3,000 at bats can handle micro-adjustments in their swing, whereas a less experienced hitter might not be ready for too many ideas. As bodily awareness and coordination increase, so can the specificity of alignment, technique, and application.
Takeaway: Consider the athlete's level of physical comprehension as you offer technical adjustments.
One-Size-Fits-All Baseball Techniques
The more we learn about the body, the better we can utilize individual natural movement potential. Body movement assessment including flexion and mobility, should be considered when offering technical notes or philosophies to best serve the athlete.
While developing talent in Japan, Wakamatsu picked up on how one organization assesses players based on body type:
A - Player: Forward, Fluid [Examples: Ichiro Suzuki, Rafael Furcall]
B - Player: Backside, Squater [Examples: Hideki Matsui, Brian Dozier]
Takeaway: Is this style of hitting matching the way this player's body moves?
Be sure to check out the rest of the interview with Coach Don Wakamatsu for practical thoughts on how to handle tough losses as a team.