Boys by the millions dream of being paid to play baseball. In order to make that dream a reality, here are three P’s that you need:

  • Learn how to practice.
  • Learn how to play
  • Learn how to perform

Learn how to practice 
Learning how to practice has everything to do with your awareness when you do things wrong. You must learn how to make adjustments, recognize when you’ve done something right and be able to repeat the process.

You can get the best instruction in the world, but you’ll always get more reps away from your coach. With that said, if you can’t practice, you’ll never get paid to play, because you won’t be good enough.

In addition, it takes 3,000 reps to build a habit. As we have discussed, there are seven parts of the swing. That’s 21,000 reps. Mastering the ability to practice also requires that you be a committed and disciplined person. A commitment is simply a promise you make to yourself, while discipline is doing things you need to do even though you don’t want to do them.

The seven parts of the swing are:

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

Learn how to play
Learning how to play baseball is more than playing games. Learning involves practicing with your team, drills that you do at home and the private instruction you receive. Games should be nothing more than a test of what you have done to prepare for the game.

Most coaches don’t have a methodology of baseball development to start with. Without having a methodology in place, coaches are left to schedule a lot of practices and games knowing the “cream will rise to the top.”

Playing baseball as a hitter ultimately leads to getting lots of hits, driving in runs and scoring runs. Lots of people want to get a lot of hits, but won’t master the skills necessary to convert your “wants” to a reality.

Learn how to perform
Performing requires you to have skills. Unlike talent, skills are developed by training under stress. Hitting 500 baseballs every day improves your talent, but not your skills. Hit a target 50 percent of the time from 50 feet away using a tee and 500 baseballs, and then you can brag about your skills. Your skills will undoubtedly show up in your games.

Here are two of my favorite complaints I hear from hitters:

“I was hitting good in the cage but not in the game,” or “I’m hitting the ball hard in the games but it’s going right at people.”

The gold standard for collegiate and Major League Baseball remains that you get a hit 30 times out of 100 at-bats. You can strikeout 70 times in a row and get 30 hit, and you’ll still get paid to play.

You must be trained to perform, and practicing and training aren’t the same. These three S’s must be in place in order for you to claim that you are being trained:

Systematic – “What all are we doing?”
Sequential – “Are we doing it in the right order?”
Simple – “Can I do it?”

Having tools is cool but skills pays the bills.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

___________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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I’ve been training amateur and professional hitters for 20 years and more than 30,000 hours. The last five years have been the best of my career, because I no longer try to compete against other instructors.

My mindset change occurred when I recognized we all have unique gifts and talents that must be shared with the families that believe in our calling to be a coach. I’m only responsible for being the best to the clients that call me coach.

There are 10-15 professional baseball swing coaches in Georgia that I respect and learn from. I recently asked four of them my Super Seven questions:

  1.  What are three experiences that prepared you to become an elite hitting coach?
  2. What are three things that hitters should know how to do before they get their first hitting lesson with a coach?
  3. What are three must-have skills that hitters must have in order to compete at the college level?
  4. Who are the top three Major League Baseball hitters that should be studied by young hitters?
  5. What are the top three qualities that the most supportive baseball parents have?
  6. What are the top three things that you hope for the future of travel baseball?
  7. Top three words that describe you as a person?

Michael McCree

Michael McCree

1. What are three experiences that prepared you to become an elite hitting coach?

  1. My own playing days. I’ve used them to reflect on my experience with coaches and how the interactions could have been better.
  2. My early days as a hitting coach and learning step-by-step how to teach. I had to teach myself how to teach.
  3. Travel ball coaching – It gives me an outlook of just how much hitting lessons are needed.

2. What are three things that hitters should know how to do before they get their first hitting lesson with a coach?

  1. How to listen
  2. Being able to accept constructive criticism
  3. Having the ability to be uncomfortable, and still continue to persevere and try the new concepts that are being taught

3. What are three must-have skills that hitters must have in order to compete at the college level?

  1. Be aware of situational hitting
  2. Have the ability to adjust
  3. Have a short memory (“Skillful amnesia”)

4. Who are the top three Major League Baseball hitters that should be studied by young hitters?

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Buster Posey (Currently the highest batting average in the MLB as of 6/28/17)
  3. Aaron Judge (First year player leading AL in all offensive statistical categories as of 6/28/17)

5. What are the top three qualities that the most supportive baseball parents have?

  1. The ability to enjoy the experience without attachment to outcome. Whether your kid goes 0-4 or 4-4 in a game, you should be grateful and thankful for the opportunity to watch a healthy child play the sport he loves.
  2. The ability to allow their player to make mistakes. Everyone is entitled to their path in life. We must understand that some player’s paths involve ups and downs. In order for players to truly trust their parents at the deepest level, they have to know that they’re allowed to be human, which sometimes results in them making mistakes.
  3. Having the ability to know when to challenge and when to chill. In other words, having the balance between giving discipline and encouragement.

6. What are the top three things that you hope for the future of travel baseball?

  1. That it doesn’t result in more kids getting burned out
  2. “Daddy Ball” gets phased out sooner rather than later
  3. Quality instruction is being given so that kids will have a shot at playing the game the right way

7. Top three words that describe you as a person?

  1. Different
  2. Introspective
  3. Observant

Chance Beam

Chance Beam

1. What are three experiences that prepared you to become an elite hitting coach?

Failure and not being incredibly gifted. There were not three events, it was an every season grind. I laugh now and honestly say I was never the most talented player on any roster I was ever on – from Little League to the Minor Leagues. But I stayed the course. I enjoyed the work. Many times, it was frustrating not getting the results I felt I deserved. I learned a valuable life lesson in my early days in college. I didn’t deserve anything. I could work for it or watch my dream fade away. In looking back, I’m the proudest of the many nights I spent in quite rooms hitting off of a tee. That time has now given me the perspective to see barrel path, hand path and leverage in a whole new light.

2. What are three things that hitters should know how to do before they get their first hitting lesson with a coach?

  1. Enjoy hitting
  2. Have a bat
  3. Have a lot of passion

3. What are three must-have skills that hitters must have in order to compete at the college level?

Hit the ball where it’s pitched … period

4. Who are the top three Major League Baseball hitters that should be studied by young hitters?

  1. Manny Ramirez
  2. Ted Williams
  3. Robinson Cano

5. What are the top three qualities that the most supportive baseball parents have?

  1. Provide opportunity for their players to grow
  2. Allow their players to fail
  3. Encourage failure as part of the process

6. What are the top three things that you hope for the future of travel baseball?

  1. Players passion for the game does not fade
  2. Ways are found to protect pitchers from being hit by batted balls/head injuries
  3. MLB players reach out to communities to help reintroduce baseball to many youth players who no longer see baseball as cool

7. Top three words that describe you as a person?

  1. Accountability
  2. Responsibility
  3. Integrity

Kory Warren

Kory Warren

1. What are three experiences that prepared you to become an elite hitting coach?

The main thing that helped me to become an elite level hitting coach was being around great hitters. Just listening to those elite hitters at the high school, collegiate and professional levels allowed me to absorb, interpret and adapt their approaches to form my own.

I was also very fortunate to have other elite hitting coaches from which to learn. I had the opportunity to have some excellent coaches around and nearby, when I first began instructing, and I would ask them to explain and detail the approach and exercises their players worked on each day.

I also credit my past experiences in other sports for helping me get to where I am. Whether, coaching or playing those other sports, it helped me to develop an appreciation for exactly how hard hitting really is and learn how patient I have to be when teaching it.

2. What are three things that hitters should know how to do before they get their first hitting lesson with a coach?

  1. The first thing a hitter must do before he takes his first lesson is understand the difference between feedback and criticism. The only real difference between is how the player hears it. It is my job to help identify the problem areas of a swing. If the player hears only the critique and not the encouragement or correction, we will never get anywhere working together.
  2. A player should have a desire to learn and improve before he takes a lesson. It is sometimes difficult for a hitter who thinks he is already really good to hear what he is doing wrong or what he needs to improve upon. A player has to come in open to hear the message.
  3. Lastly, a player should be able accept failure without getting discouraged. We will do hundreds and hundreds of repetitions in our drills and we will take hundreds and hundreds of swings and I guarantee that the player will fail hundreds of times during the training. They have to learn from the failure and move on to the pitch.

3. What are three must-have skills that hitters must have in order to compete at the college level?

  1. To compete at the collegiate level, a hitter must be able to make in-bat and pitch-to-pitch adjustments. A hitter can make mistakes. It happens. Hitting is hard, but a hitter must be able to adjust to the speed or movement within three pitches.
  2. A collegiate hitter must also be able to quickly see and identify pitches. A hitter who can’t identify the pitch type will rarely have his bat on the correct path to the ball. The hitter should also be able to recall pitch movement and pitch sequencing from previous at bats.
  3. College players have to love the grind. The college season from NAIA to Division I is really non stop. Balancing classes and other responsibilities is hard enough, but mix in a full baseball schedule and the task can be daunting. A college player likes the challenge.

4. Who are the top three Major League Baseball hitters that should be studied by young hitters?

  1. Daniel Murphy
  2. Miguel Cabrera
  3. Bryce Harper

5. What are the top three qualities that the most supportive baseball parents have?

  1. The quality of good baseball parents is that they are committed. They will do whatever it takes, drive all over, wait all day, but they will be with their son or daughter at every game.
  2. Good parents are also patient. They’re patient with their player whether they’re batting .700 or going through a rough spot. Yelling or getting onto the player while on the field is my job. No player needs to get chewed out by his coach, only to know it’s going to happen again at home.
  3. Also, great baseball parents are their child’s biggest fan. Win or lose, good game or bad, the player needs to know he has his parents’ support. A single word of encouragement from mom or dad will go a really long way after a poor performance.

6. What are the top three things that you hope for the future of travel baseball?

I am actually a pretty big fan of the current travel ball system. The one issue I have is that’s becoming far too expensive. I don’t put the blame in the cost on the teams or coaches, rather, I place the fault with the companies that run the tournaments. Perfect Game and Triple Crown put on excellent tournaments, but the extreme costs, coupled with the massive size of these tournaments, make it extremely difficult for teams to keep their costs down.

7. Top three words that describe you as a person?

  1. Honest
  2. Loyal
  3. Extremely competitive

Casey Smith

Casey Smith

1. What are three experiences that prepared you to become an elite hitting coach?

Playing college baseball, Professional baseball and then instructing/coaching for 12 years. The combination of those experiences along with absorbing knowledge from all the great players and coaches I’ve come in contact with have allowed me to be the coach I am today.

2. What are three things that hitters should know how to do before they get their first hitting lesson with a coach?

  1. How to get in a proper stance
  2. Have the ability to make contact
  3. Have enough focus to be able to listen and take instruction for 30 minutes to one hour

3. What are three must-have skills that hitters must have in order to compete at the college level?

  1. Good pitch recognition
  2. Good timing
  3. The ability to make adjustments

4. Who are the top three Major League Baseball hitters that should be studied by young hitters?

  1. Gary Sanchez
  2. Buster Posey
  3. Carlos Correa

5. What are the top three qualities that the most supportive baseball parents have?

  1. The ability to allow the player to fail and teach them how to deal with it
  2. The ability to instill great work ethic
  3. Patience

6. What are the top three things that you hope for the future of travel baseball?

  1. Better understanding of arm care for pitchers
  2. More of a focus of fundamental development at younger ages
  3. Less year-round demands for younger than 12 and under so the players can play other sports

7. Top three words that describe you as a person?

  1. Optimistic
  2. Motivated
  3. Genuine

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

____________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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There are times in life when what you do on the front end affects the outcome on the backend. As you begin to tryout for new fall baseball teams and get selected, here are three questions you should ask your fall baseball coach before accepting a spot on his team:

  1. Why did you select me?
  2. What can you guarantee me?
  3. What do you see as my full potential in baseball?

Parents and players definitely are cringing at the thought of asking a new coach these three questions after being selected on a new team. Some of the same parents and players also will be upset near the middle and end of the fall season if their expectations aren’t met.

In my opinion, asking these questions isn’t an example of arrogance. On the contrary, they signal you want assurance considering you’re investing time and money into the team.

1. Why did you select me?

My wife Kelli of 20 years is beautiful. I didn’t marry her solely because of her beauty. Kelli is a focused woman who wants to become the best version of herself. She wants the same for me.

Some coaches will pick players because of their athleticism, physical appearance, strength, etc. That isn’t enough, considering it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to develop a skill, according to Malcolm Gladwell.

A coach who is responsible for the development of your child must use words like development, habits, values, standards and accountability.

When I ask a coach why he selected my son to play on his team, this is what a coach can and should say to me to get me excited because of the love and care I have for my child:

“Thank you for asking. I selected your son because I believe development can be measured. I will make sure he’s assessed in the beginning and end of the fall season, proving to you his development beyond his batting average. I will help him develop habits that will convert his current talent to skills in the future beyond playing for my team. We are a team that’s governed by core values. Each parent, player and coach will be held accountable for meeting and/or not meeting those standards.”

A coach who is responsible for the development of your child must use words like development, habits, values, standards and accountability.

2. What can you guarantee me?

If a coach can clearly explain to you why he selected you, he should also be able to guarantee you a specific minimum amount of at bats.

It can be stressful wondering if you’ll get playing time. The only way to develop is by getting opportunities to fail and make adjustments.

On average, a fall season is 15 to 30 games. That’s 45 to 90 at-bats if you get three per game. Trust me when I tell you that a coach who understands development should have no problem guaranteeing you a minimum amount of at bats.

A minimum number is a decision. The “let me think about it” answer needs to result in a decision within three days, or it becomes a no for me, especially considering I must guarantee to pay fees and work the concession stand during games.

3. What do you see as my full potential in baseball?

This is an important question, because affirmation leads to hope. It is a great feeling to have a coach believe in your current ability and have him speak to you about what your future can be.

Coaches who can’t see into the future may downplay this question by saying it’s best to focus on the here and now. But we don’t have that mindset when it comes to our travel program. As travel ball coaches, we’re always looking into the future in order to remain relevant and solvent.

Your full potential, according to your coach, may be high school baseball and that’s it. It may be college and it might be the pros. Unfortunately, it’s taboo for coaches to talk about the pros to young players, mainly because the success rate isn’t high.

On the contrary, I believe the success rate of Major Leaguers is low because coaches can’t see that far, and thus can’t communicate it to their players. It’s also difficult for us to discipline ourselves to a development experience that allows players to fail, because we have to win to remain relevant and solvent.

Ask your new fall baseball coach these three questions to determine if what I’m saying is the truth or a lie.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

____________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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The highest quality of thinking can’t emerge without learning. And learning can’t happen without making mistakes. What mistakes are you not allowed to make on your baseball team?

As we know, baseball is the ultimate game of failure. That statement has been said so much that it often times doesn’t have an impact anymore.

It is, in fact, a true statement.

Coaches unintentionally can create an environment that stunts learning for our players because of our own ignorance. I’m raising my hand high to this statement, because I was the king of “faking it until I made it.”

These were my three mantras as a young, inexperienced and developing coach:

Scream and Dream – This is when you scream at kids the things to do at the plate knowing full well you haven’t really prepared them for success.

Hit and Get – This is when you give kids tons of reps and expect them to get a hit every at bat simply because they had tons of reps.

Hope and Cope – This is when your hope for success for your players is stronger than your baseball coaching acumen and you lean on the “we’ll get em next time” philosophy to cope with the failure.

One of the best things a good or even bad coach can do that will allow your players to develop is to simply allow them to make mistakes until they fully develop to our coaching acumen.

  • Ask
  • Capture
  • Remind

We should ask our players before the game what’s the one thing thing they need to work on in the game that could lead to a base hit. Don’t tell them a thing. Simply ask the question, trusting that because you selected them to play on your team they’ll commit to executing that one thing.

Capture
Practice prepares you for games and games prepare you for the next practice. The game is the testing ground, so why are you barking instruction to kids during the game. Instead of barking, capture the most important things they must work in with regards to hitting. And as a coach, if your practice time won’t allow you to give your hitters the thousands of reps they need to develop a habit, enlist their private hitting coach if they have one. Between practice with you and a private hitting coach, your hitters will be headed in the right development direction.

Did you know that it takes 21,000 hitting reps to build a habit? And another 21,000 to convert the habit to a skill and another 21,000 to maintain to skill.

  1. Stance/Load x 3,000 reps
  2. Timing x 3,000
  3. Tempo x 3,000
  4. Tracking x 3,000
  5. Approach x 3,000
  6. Contact x 3,000
  7. Extension/Finish x 3,000

Remind
Remind your hitters that development is a journey, not a sprint. Be to them what you had or wish you had as a baseball coach when you were their age. Great hitters can be developed just like fighter jet pilots, brain surgeons and coaches can.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

_____________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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Hope without action is a dream. Add action to your hope and you have faith.

How does this quote make you feel? “We have met the enemy and it is ourselves.”

By the millions, baseball players of all ages are hopeful they’ll sign a college baseball scholarship and/or get drafted by their favorite Major League Baseball team. Many young players will hit the batting cages for hours, several days a week.

But they must remember – there are seven parts to the swing. It takes 3,000 reps to build a habit. That’s 21,000 reps to build a habit and another 21,000 to convert the habit to a skill. And you must add another 21,000, to maintain the habit. Here’s the formula:

  • Stance/Load x 3,000
  • Timing x 3,000
  • Tempo x 3,000
  • Tracking x 3,000
  • Approach x 3,000
  • Contact x 3,000
  • Extension/Finish x 3,000

The summer is the Maintenance Phase (May-July) for my hitters. It requires 21,000 reps.

If you want to gauge the ROI of your investment, there are ways to do it. For example, if you want to see who’s winning, you look at the scoreboard.

Do you have a scoreboard to track the reps you’re taking this summer?

From my experience as an amateur and professional baseball player, and as a professional coach scout, I’ve discovered that a lack of skills under stress forces players to complain, blame and/or feel shame.

Developing a skill requires action, because hoping for it isn’t enough.

Here’s my challenge to you: be honest with yourself about the hitting skills you have. If you need my help beyond this blog, schedule a 90-minute Onsite Hitting Lab Assessment so that we can ensure you’re progressing on the right track.

Remember: Intelligence trumps being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

___________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

 

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Watching your child compete in a sport feels like a sport to me. My daughters, ages 16 and 10, play tennis and are pretty good. I thought that baseball required grit, until I experienced their training and competition schedule.

A typical tennis match is 90 minutes or so. Before the match, I ask my daughters for the one thing they’re focusing on. And then before that first serve, I start my stopwatch for 30 minutes.

I watch without interruption for 30 minutes, and then step away for 15 minutes, before coming back for the remainder of the match.

I don’t say much, because I don’t know much about tennis. However, I do know a lot about baseball development.

If I had a son, I’d do three things on game day:

  1. Ask
  2. Capture
  3. Remind

Ask
Prior to the start of the game, I’d ask him to make one guarantee for today’s game. The guarantee would be something within his control based on his training, but also one that makes him stretch.

  1. Dad, I guarantee I’ll be on time with my load 50 percent of the time today.
  2. I guarantee I won’t strike out looking.
  3. I guarantee I’ll hit the ball hard at least once today.

These guarantees ultimately can lead to getting hits. I’d offer an award for him meeting the guarantee expectation.

This is beneficial, because going into a game focused on getting hits when you aren’t prepared only causes unnecessary stress. It’s about like being disappointed you can’t fly an airplane if you haven’t met the criteria to do so.

Did you know that it takes 21,000 hitting reps to build a habit, and another 21,000 to convert the habit to a skill and another 21,000 to maintain to skill?

  • Stance/Load x 3,000 reps
  • Timing x 3,000
  • Tempo x 3,000
  • Tracking x 3,000
  • Approach x 3,000
  • Contact x 3,000
  • Extension/Finish x 3,000

Capture
If I had a son playing baseball, I’d have to focus on a task during the game or else I would find myself complaining and blaming.

My Diamond Directors’ clients have the option of capturing their sons and daughters swings using the Dartfish Express app. They’re able to upload the swings to my private Diamond Directors TV channel, which allows me to make audio and written analysis.

Stat sheets and verbal game summaries are good. As a Master Level Hitting Coach, I want to see video, because the red Dartfish eye doesn’t lie. Click here if you would like to join me in my Online Hitting Lab.

Remind
At the end of the game, when the time is right, I’d remind my son to personally commit to his promise.

To avoid the crazy expectation of getting a hit and trying to change his swing during every at bat, I’d challenge him to commit to one way of hitting for sets of 10 at bats, regardless of the outcome.

So, if a coach, or even me as a parent wants him to try something different, he can respectfully decline until the 10 at bats are complete. Be all in for 10 at bats.

Ask. Capture. Remind. This undoubtedly, truly can allow parents to be effective teammates for their children, many of whom already feel the pressure of performance in baseball.

What are one to three things you’d do to keep under control as a parent at your child’s baseball/softball games?

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

____________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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I can just about enjoy a 20-ounce Dasani bottled water anytime of the year, and especially in the summer time in Hotlanta.

May through July is the “Maintenance Phase” for my Diamond Directors’ hitters. We’re maintaining the skills they developed February through April. Here is their mantra:

  • Talent is what you do well.
  • A habit is what you do well repeatedly without thought.
  • A skill is what you do well repeatedly without thought under stress.

If you can’t hit well repeatedly without thought under stress, you don’t have a skill. Many people confuse talent for a skill because they don’t know the definition for either. Bat speed is a talent and driving off-speed pitches from MLB Draft prospect pitchers in the presence of 200-plus scouts requires skill.

Of course, you can get lucky every now and then. There’s luck and then there’s skills.

Imagine a 20-ounce Dasani water bottle being used to trap your skills with the water being your skills.

  • How much of the water bottle would be filled?
  • Besides your batting average, how do you know if you even have hitting skills?
  • What hitting drills do you do and how often do you do them to develop a skill?

I maintain the skills of my hitters May through July by screwing the green top on the Dasani water bottle. Because if I don’t, the skills will spill out.

Here’s one of my favorite Skill Build Drills.

  • How does your coach help you develop your hitting skills?
  • What time of year does he focus on developing your skills?
  • How and when does he focus on maintaining your skills?

There are seven parts to the swing. Remember, it takes 3,000 reps to build a habit. That’s 21,000 reps to build a habit. Another 21,000 is required to convert the habit to a skill. And another 21,000 is needed to maintain the skill.

  1. Stance/Load x 3,000 reps
  2. Timing x 3,000
  3. Tempo x 3,000
  4. Tracking x 3,000
  5. Approach x 3,000
  6. Contact x 3,000
  7. Extension/Finish x 3,000

“We have met the enemy and it is ourselves.”

How does this quote make you feel?

The summer is all about maintaining skills. This is what the rest of the year looks like every year. There is no off-season for training or complaining.

  • August-October (Assessment) x 21,000 reps
  • November-January (Build Habits) x 21,000
  • February-April (Convert Habits to Skills) x 21,000
  • May-July (Maintain Skills) x 21,000

Remember: Intelligence trumps being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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A slump is a prolonged fall in performance and being in a hitting slump sucks. Imagine that a hitting slump was a 500-pound boulder that you had to push to the baseball field everyday. Heavy, right?

Now imagine you had a large wrecking ball that could be used to bust that boulder.

The wrecking ball is discipline, and hitters by the millions lack it. Discipline is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t want to do it. It requires discipline to complain and blame when things aren’t going your way.

But it also requires discipline to get the thousands of reps required to build a habit, convert the habit to a skill, and then maintain the skill so that at least you have a good attitude when you’re slumping at the plate.

How much time are you willing to give to train to get more hits?

There are seven parts to the swing. And, as we know, it takes 3,000 reps to build a habit. That’s 21,000 reps to build a habit. Another 21,000 is required to convert the habit to a skill. And then another 21,000 to maintain the skill.

  • Stance/Load x 3,000 reps
  • Timing x 3,000
  • Tempo x 3,000
  • Tracking x 3,000
  • Approach x 3,000
  • Contact x 3,000
  • Extension/Finish x 3,000

“We have met the enemy and it is ourselves.”

How does this quote make you feel?

The summer is all about maintaining skills, and this is what the rest of the year looks like every year. There is no off-season for training or complaining.

  • August – October (Assessment) x 21,000 reps
  • November – January (Build Habits) x 21,000
  • February – April (Convert Habits to Skills) x 21,000
  • May – July (Maintain Skills) x 21,000

Remember: Intelligence trumps being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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C.J. Stewart began hitting with Andrew McCutchen at age 13.

Instinct is more important than intelligence. Instincts is a way of thinking in response to something and great baseball players have great instincts. Unfortunately, thinking isn’t a given for many of us.

My expertise is developing hitters, so that’s the focus of this blog with respect to the need for instincts.

There are seven parts to the swing and it takes 3,000 reps per part to build a habit. It takes another 3,000 reps per seven parts to convert the habit to a skill.

  • Stance/Load x 3,000 reps
  • Timing x 3,000 reps
  • Tempo x 3,000 reps
  • Tracking x 3,000 reps
  • Approach x 3,000 reps
  • Contact x 3,000 reps
  • Extension/Finish x 3,000 reps

Do the math. That’s 21,000 reps to build a habit and another 21,000 reps to convert a habit to a skill. That’s 42,000 reps.

Learning what you need to learn about hitting is easy if you’re a good listener and athletic. If you have commitment and can make adjustments, you’ll be able to put what you know to action.

Before we can get to the need for instincts you got to know something and be able to do it. This is what intelligence is. Instincts is more important than intelligence – like having a brain is more important to living than having a foot.

  • Intelligence + Instincts = Action
  • Intelligence – Instincts = Luck

Some people may say that instincts can’t be taught, but I disagree. It can be taught by first recognizing you don’t have it, and then forcing you to do things that require it.

Ever feel someone coming up behind you? You don’t see them, but you feel them. Ever look for a fastball, and then “stay back” on an off-speed pitch with great tempo, as if it was a fastball? That’s instinct.

If you can’t stay back on an off-speed pitch like you do with a fastball, you might not have good instincts. How do you get there by instinct? You develop your timing, tempo and tracking.

Build Habits

Convert to Skill

Tennis Ball Drill x 3,000 reps

Remember: Intelligence trumps being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

BIO
C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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As a coach, fall baseball (August-October) is the best time of the year. Why? Because it’s the beginning of a new baseball development season. Remember the quarterly breakdown of our training sessions:

  • August – October (Assessment)
  • November – January (Build)
  • February – April (Convert)
  • May – July (Maintenance)

And while fall is all about trying new stuff to determine what doesn’t work and what does work, summer quarter (August-October) is where you start maintaining.

Like you, my hitters always want to hit for a higher average and produce more power. In the fall, they commit to trying new things with their stance and load that will improve their timing, tempo and tracking. This ultimately will allow them hit for a higher average and produce more power.

So, what do we need to do now this summer to prepare for the fall?

  • Be quiet
  • Be patient
  • Be committed

Even if you don’t have the world’s greatest coach, he will say something that helps you realize what you need to focus on to rebuild your swing. Listen more to your parents and teammates, too. Listening leads to learning, and learning leads to earning.

You want to earn a college baseball scholarship and professional baseball contract, right?

Patience means to wait without anger. I know you hear your coaches, parents and teammates tell you to be patient all the time. And I’m sure it annoys you most of the time when you hear it. The key is to wait without anger.

Also, remember, it takes 21,000 reps to build a habit and another 21,000 reps to convert a habit to a skill (see, “4 Drills You Can Use to Build Habits and Skills – Are you ready?”). There would be no need to be angry if you’ve put in the work.

If you haven’t, you will lack patience.

Commitment requires you to first count the cost. It’s going to take at least 42,000 reps annually before you can expect the results you dream about. Above all, my clients crave structure from me. I can get into the weeds with the best coaches teaching the content of hitting.

But, remember, context (why you want to be great) must come before content.

Remember: Intelligence trumps being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

__________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

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