All coaches need coaches. We especially need coaching helping to ensure that we are good at three things that will help you become a great hitter. Players and parents can be coaches best coach when the right questions are asked of us. Those questions center on:
  1. Focus
  2. Patience
  3. Communication

Focus
Focus is the center interest of any activity, and you can’t get it until you know everything that must be done. Coaches can always find stuff to do, but we can also be masters of wasting time. There are only seven things that my hitters are ever developing:

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

It takes 3,000 reps to build a habit, which means there are seven things to work on. That’s 21,000 reps.

Each part of the swing needs 1-2 simple drills to execute in order to develop a habit. There are no more than 3,000 reps required to develop your habit.

When coaches aren’t focused, they have their hitters taking swings at random, hoping that they get better under the overly used mantra, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

But you can coach your coach with this question: What parts of the swing are we focusing on this winter, and how many reps will it take to build the habit I need to meet your expectations this spring?

Patience
Patience is to wait without anger. As a coach, I find myself losing patience with my hitters when I want them to get better faster. My vision for their development must be met with patience or they will get frustrated and the development stops.

I also struggle with patience when I don’t trust my hitters are putting in the work to get good. There is no way a player will get 21,000 reps in my presence.

In order to regain my patience, I must trust my hitters adhere to the 75-20-5 Rule:

  • 75 percent of a hitter’s development must happen alone and outside of the presence of a coach, parent or anyone
  • 20 percent of a hitter’s development must happen in the presence of a coach
  • 5 percent of a hitter’s development must happen in games where he tests what’s being worked on at practice

Commitment and discipline are two keys to success that leads to patience:

  1. Commitment – making and keeping a promise to yourself
  2. Discipline – doing the things that need to be done especially when you don’t want to do them

Coach your coach with this question: What hitting drills should I be doing at home that will prepare me for an effective practice with you and how will you hold me accountable for doing the drills Coach?

Communication
Good communication is clear, concise and consistent. Good communication is often a challenge for us for three reasons:

  1. We often like to hear ourselves talk.
  2. We often initially talk too much to buy ourselves time to figure out what we’re talking about.
  3. We often don’t realize there are three major learning styles.

I firmly believe that there are three major learning styles for baseball, schooling, etc. They include: kinesthetic, visual and auditory. Here’s the breakdown that I also believe exists among players at the collegiate and professional levels:

  • 50 percent kinesthetic – Learn best by doing
  • 40 percent visual – Learn best by seeing
  • 10 percent auditory – Learn best by hearing

The most damage is done when coaches don’t understand all three of these learning styles. When a coach doesn’t understand all three, he defaults to communicate based on the way he learns.

Coach your coach with this question: What’s your dominate learning style and what do you assess that mine is?

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

__________________________________________________________________________________

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 11th Annual L.E.A.D. Celebrity Clinic at SunTrust Park featured (far left) Milwaukee Brewers’ scout Steve Smith, (middle) C.J. Stewart, UGA head baseball coach Scott Stricklin and UGA Assistant Coach Sean Kenny, along with some L.E.A.D. Ambassadors.

A habit is something that can be done repeatedly without thought. A habit can be broken down into three parts:

  1. A cue
  2. A routine
  3. A reward

Common reasons that hitters struggle to develop good hitting habits is as easy as solving A, B, C and D:

  • Attitude
  • Blameless
  • Commitment
  • Discipline

Attitude
Our attitude is simply the way we act. Nobody is perfect, so nobody will ever be able to act good all the time. Awareness allows you to check yourself when you’re having a bad attitude so that you can make the adjustment.

Without a good attitude, developing good hitting habits that will last is likened to trying to drive a car without gas.

Blameless
To be blameless is to be without guilt. Fortunately for baseball players, you only need to get a hit three times out of 10 at the collegiate and professional levels to be considered among the best. There are lots of mistakes to be made and learned from as a hitter in baseball.

The blameless hitters are the ones who struggle the most to develop good hitting habits because they are often blaming others and circumstances for their failure.

Commitment
Commitment is a promise that you make to yourself. There are seven parts to the swing and it takes 3,000 reps to build a habit. That’s 21,000 reps:

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

Discipline
To be disciplined is to do things you don’t want to, but need to do. It takes a lot of discipline to develop hitting habits. It also takes discipline to complain and blame when things aren’t going our way.

How do we combat these in order to develop good hitting habits? Using E, F, G, and H:

  • Energy – it’s more valuable than time
  • Focus – deliberate and unwavering attention to the task at hand
  • Grit – the relentless pursuit of purpose
  • Help – you can never get enough of it from the right people who are present for the right reasons

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

______________________________________________________________________________

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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Within the game of baseball, both Strength and Power play important roles in determining success, both at the plate and in the field of play. They often cross over one another within an athletic performance training program, yet have separate characteristics that define one another.

This article will help distinguish one from the other.

First of all, Power maybe defined as the ability to generate as much force as possible, and with the proper technique or form. It cannot be performed too slowly. The load (or resistance) must be heavy, but not to the point where the exercise (or movement) is compromised.

You must be able to repeat the exercise/movement more than once in a short time frame, effectively. It is lower resistance and higher, faster, more explosive repetitions. Power is going up to the plate and hitting the ball out of the park.

Power = Strength x Speed

Examples:

  • Swinging a baseball bat
  • A 2nd baseman diving one way to catch a line drive
  • Jumping up onto a box/platform
  • Throwing a medium weighted medicine ball
  • Track & field (javelin or discus throw)

Strength, on the other hand, is defined as the amount of force a muscle, or group of muscles, can exert against an external load. The tempo is slow, the load/resistance is heavy, repetitions are low, requires 80 percent or greater of an athlete’s one repetition maximum (1-5 repetitions) and needs more rest between sets (3 minutes or more).

Strength in baseball doesn’t mean you have develop big muscles, like in bodybuilding, for example. Strength is required in baseball to help your body survive a long season without breaking down (pulled or strained muscles), due to all of the continuous overuse certain muscles receive on a daily basis (example: rotator cuff from throwing, hamstrings from base running, abdominals/obliques from batting, etc).

Examples:

  • Weightlifting/powerlifting competitions (not for baseball players)
  • Squats
  • Bench presses
  • Deadlifts
  • Body weight plank holds (core exercise)
  • Body weight single leg squats (weighted vest resistance)

Also, see the Force-Velocity Curve:

Here are three exercises that will demonstrate both Power and Strength:

  1. Sample Exercise 1: Front SquatStrength
  2. Sample Exercise 2: Box JumpsPower
  3. Sample Exercise 3: Medicine Ball Squat TossesPower

To be a successful baseball player, both Power and Strength must be implemented into a strength and conditioning program. The game requires both. Injuries will be prevented, balls will be hit, runs will be scored, and careers will be defined. Know the difference and see what happens.

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

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Roger A. Scott, MS, CSCS, RSCC, is a former strength & conditioning coach for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets and Chicago White Sox organizations.  He currently is a Kineti-Flex coach for Flexogenix (Corrective Exercise/Strength & Conditioning Specialist) in Atlanta, and available for private consulting and training for both athletes and non-athletes. Roger has also been a frequent volunteer strength & conditioning coach for L.E.A.D. in Downtown Atlanta. He can be reached at roger.scott2626@gmail.com or at 404-803-0222.

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Good character habits are needed in order to become and remain a good hitter. Character is who you are and determines what you do, while habits are things that we repeatedly do.

“If you think that your Prius is a Hummer, you are going to get stuck. And if you think that your Hummer is a Prius, you are going to run out of gas.” – Keith Eigel

There are six character habits that all hitters must master in order to become an elite hitter and person of significance:

  1. Excellence – Meeting expectations
  2. Humility – Not thinking of yourself less, so that you can serve others more
  3. Integrity – Doing the right think, even when you can do the wrong thing
  4. Loyalty – Doing the right thing for the right reasons, even if they’re not popular
  5. Stewardship – Protector of your values and people
  6. Teamwork – Being your best within a group of people who are being their best for a specific purpose

With these values serving as your core, commitment and discipline will serve as the protective walls.

Commitment is making a promise to yourself to do something, and discipline is doing things you need to do, even when you don’t want to do them.

There are seven parts to the swing. Remember, it takes 3,000 reps per part to build a habit. That’s 21,000 reps to build a habit:

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

If you are committed to having discipline, here’s a simple Skill Build Drill you can do now to build a habit for Contact, Extension and Finish all in one drill.

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

_____________________________________________________________________________

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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What is a habit? Why do you need it? How do you get it? How do you keep it?

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

How much thought did it take for you to brush your teeth this morning? How much effort is required for you to blink your eyes? You are fortunate to have a habit of doing these things.

I️ know that there is a habit you’re longing to have. You dream of having a swing you can repeat in games without thought. My Major League clients can repeat their swing approach 70 percent of the time, as in 70 times out of 100 times that their bat moves back and forth to drive a pitch.

It takes 3,000 reps to develop a habit and there are seven parts to the swing.

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

That’s 21,000 reps required to develop a habit. Hope is a gift, but turning hope into reality is a journey.

What is a habit?
A habit is something you can repeatedly do well without thought.

Why do you need it?
You need good habits for hitting so that you can perform based on instincts that removes the stress of performance.

How do you get it?
You develop habits by being committed and disciplined with your practice. Commitment is defined as making and keeping a promise. Discipline is defined as doing things that need to be done even when you don’t want to do them.

How do you keep it?
You maintain habits by continuing to remain committed and disciplined with your drills.

Here’s a simple Skill Build Drill that you should do 3,000 times to develop a habit for your load.

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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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Jason Reese, founder & CEO House of Fitness

Editor’s Note: This weeks’ blog was written by Jason Reese, fitness/athletic trainer and a wellness industry expert founder and CEO of House of Fitness LLC.

What are the top three strength exercises that hitters need to execute this winter November-January to develop strength that will allow them to become an effective hitter?

When forming an off season strength program for a hitter, you must first build a solid foundation of strength and flexibility. To enhance your power potential, you must be flexible, especially through your hips, gluteal, hamstring and core.

Often tight hip flexors inhibit power potential by not allowing your hips to open up explosively during follow through.

Below are three key exercises and the active multiple muscle groups that are important to helping you develop strength, flexibility and bat speed in the off-season:

Squats
Strength & Flexibility

Muscle group activated: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, abs

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 8-10 repetition (In the off-season, you want to do max repetition: That’s continuously performing the exercise with a weight you can only do 8 to 10 times) 2 times week

Method: You want to center yourself on the bar, stand with your feet and shoulders width apart, drop into the squat with your head/chest pointed up and out, go down until your tights are parallel (this maximize the effect of the exercises by activating your hips, glutes, hamstring  and core all in one exercise). Once parallel you want to explode through your heels back to the standing position.

Link to the Exercise

Landmines Twist
Core Strength and Speed

Muscle Group Activated: Oblique & shoulders

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 15 to 20 repetitions – 3 times a week

Landmines target you obliques, which are crucial to good rotational power, and building proper bat speed and strength. The great thing about the landmine exercise for baseball players is that the motion is not fixed, which makes it easier on you shoulders.

Method: Place an Olympic bar into a landmine or against the corner of a wall to prevent the end from sliding around. Hold the bar at shoulder height with both hands and your arms extended. Assume an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Rotate your midsection and hips as you move the weight all the way down to the outside of your hip. Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise. Aggressively rotate the weight to the other side of your body. Repeat for a total of five reps to each side. Start with three sets. If you’re having trouble keeping your arms straight throughout the exercise, lighten the weight to maintain proper form.

Links to the exercise – Workout 1, Workout 2

Medicine Ball Rotational Throws
Core Flexibility & Hips

Muscle Groups Activated: Core and Hips

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 12-15 repetition per side

The purpose of this exercise is to generate as much force as possible while going through the full motion of a baseball swing using a medicine ball. This quick and powerful motion will help you develop bat speed and more rotational force during your swing.

Method: Stand next to a wall holding a medicine ball in both hands in an athletic stance. Similar to a baseball swing, wind up by rotating the ball away from the wall. Explosively pivot your hips, midsection and shoulders to forcefully throw the ball against the wall. Pick up the ball and repeat.

Link to the exercise – Workout 1, Workout 2

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Jason Reese is fitness/athletic trainer and a wellness industry expert with substantial experience in personal training, health and wellness mentoring and fitness assessment. Jason is currently the founder and CEO of House of Fitness LLC. Where he provides clients with strength and flexibility training and weighs management programs. His training philosophy is centered on motivating, empowering and challenging clients to reach their highest potential in overall wellness. As a former college athlete, Jason has always been passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and enjoys helping others reach their health and fitness goals. For more information, you can reach him at 706-302-0806 or reese.houseoffitness@gmail.com – Follow on Instagram: @Houseoffitnessllc

 

 

 

 

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Talent is things you do well. Habits are things you repeated do without thought. And skills are things you do well without thought under stress.

To get a closer look at how habits on and off the field can impact young players, I’ve asked two of my friends – Quinterus Vancant, head varsity baseball coach at Booker T. Washington High School  and Dash O’Neil, head coach at Georgia Highlands College coach – to weigh in on my “Super 7 Questions.”

Here’s what they had to say:

Quinterus Vancant

1. How do you define the word habit?

It’s a routine that’s repeated so much that it tends to occur without the person even trying.

2. What are the top three character habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter en route to having a successful spring season?

Quinterus Vancant

I want my hitters to develop accountability, toughness and the ability to learn. Hitters must have the habit of accountability to understand that the work we put in as a team will not be enough. Hitters must be able to put the work in themselves to get better. Toughness is an important habit because hitters must understand that nothing comes easy. The habit of learning is highly needed. This winters hitters will learn about different points relating to their hitting.

3. What are the top three hitting habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter? 

I want them to work on balance, concentration and eyesight. A lot of things falls under concentration. Concentration can range from getting adequate enough rest the night before to blocking out distractions at the plate. Eyesight is a crucial habit to develop. A hitter must be able to see the ball and its thread clearly to be able to make a decision on where the ball will end up. Every great hitter has balance. Balance starts with your stance. Hitters must maintain their balance as they stride and swing to make solid contact.

4. What character habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

In high school it was accountability. I was passionate about the game. I loved the game. But when things didn’t go my way, I blamed everyone except myself. Looking back on it now I realized I could have taken responsibility and put it on myself. I could have used it as fuel to work harder. I never put in the work outside of practice and game experience.

5. What hitting habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

When I was in college I struggled with the habit of improving. I always felt like I had a good enough swing to be on the college level. I didn’t put in the work to improve different approaches to different pitches. I was trying to pull everything instead of taking certain outside pitches OPO.

6. What are the top three character habits that coaches must develop to be effective at teaching their hitters to develop good character and hitting habits?

As a coach I believe that a coach must develop honesty, leadership, and preparedness. As coaches your players must have trust in you and with that comes signs of honesty. Also coaches must be able to lead. Being prepared is a great habit to develop. You must be purposeful with everything you’re doing as a coach. In order to do that you must plan out everything.

7. Who was your favorite MLB hitter when you were in high school and why?

It was Derek Jeter. I loved his approach to game. With Jeter it wasn’t about power or hitting home runs. Every time he stepped up to the plate it was about what he could do at that moment to position his team to be successful. I pride myself in being just like him in high school. If I needed to move the runner over I made sure I did, whether it was a bunt or a line drive. I enjoyed watching him at the plate so much that I use to mimic my swing from his YouTube videos.

Dash O’Neil

Dash O’Neil 

1. How do you define the word habit?

It’s a behavior or attitude that becomes embedded in one’s daily routine. Habits can be formed deliberately or unintentionally. They can be good or bad. Once they’re bad, they’re difficult to break.

2. What are the top three character habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter en route to having a successful spring season?

For me, a good hitter has to develop a habit of focusing on his process, rather than simply looking at his results. I believe that successful hitting is a by-product of a quality process. So while we cannot expect to be perfect in our performance at the plate, we can certainly pursue a perfect process. In the winter, I ask my players to really evaluate their hitting process and to consider how their process relates to their performance.

I also ask them to make commitment a habit. While this relates to hitting in an obvious way, I try to stress to them the importance of commitment in all arenas. The winter is an opportunity for players to make a commitment to themselves to put in the work they need to improve. This is an opportunity to develop the idea that once you make a commitment, you must honor that commitment. I want players who do what they say they’re going to do and who aren’t afraid to give themselves to a commitment.

A third habit I’d like to see my hitters develop is getting excited to face a worthy opponent, rather than seeking the easy victory. The only way to become a champion is to get in the arena against champions and compete with them. Often, the greatest difference between two talented teams or players is the attitude toward competing with each other. I ask our players to seek out and get excited about facing the toughest competition they can find and talk about the old adage that “iron sharpens iron.” In the winter, I challenge players to confront their weaknesses and to find people to work with who will push them to their limits.

3. What are the top three hitting habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter?

I really want guys to focus on swinging with intent, zone discipline and outer third control. Swinging with intent is something I don’t see very many young hitters doing. They get in the cage, take their hacks, and get out. When you ask them what they’re working on, they often either cannot tell you or they only have a very general idea such as “trying to hit the ball hard.”

I want hitters to have a very specific intent every single time they swing the bat. A good example would be “I’m looking for pitches in the outer third of my hitting zone, and I’m trying to hammer line drives into the opposite field gap.” To me, a swing without a specific purpose is a wasted rep.

Practicing zone discipline is another habit I think is critical. I want my hitters to make discipline a habit by practicing it every time they step in the box. Zone discipline, to me, means not only laying off pitches out of your zone, but also learning to attack pitches in the zone you’re targeting. Too often hitters have it ingrained in them that they have to swing at every pitch in the cage, which slows their understanding of the strike zone and their ability to really attack pitches they can hit hard. The winter is a fantastic time to develop this habit without sacrificing game performance.

The third habit I want is what I call “outer third control.” At the NJCAA level, and I believe at other levels of college and high school baseball, the majority of pitches thrown are intended to be on the outer part of the plate. But many young hitters prefer to hit pitches that are easier to reach on the inner part of the plate. I want my hitters to develop a habit of learning how to control the outer third of the plate. They can do this in several different ways, but they all must be able to handle pitches on the outer third if they want to be successful. In the winter I task them with mastering their process for dealing with these pitches, so that in the spring I can see their improvement.

4. What character habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

A character habit I really struggled to develop in my own career was self efficacy. I had plenty of confidence in my ability to perform, but early in my college career I really worried what other people thought of my abilities. Even when I was hitting well and being productive, I’d find myself seeking validation from others. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized the only person I had to prove anything to was myself.

5. What hitting habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

Looking back, I think I actually devolved as a high school hitter. Leading up to high school, I walked up to the plate just about every time trying to drive a ball into the opposite field gap. I was always an exceptional hitter. The problem was that I didn’t realize that my success was really a result of having a very specific approach. I didn’t even know what approach meant. Although I was still a very good high school hitter, I took several steps backward because I failed to nurture my habit of hitting with intent.

6. What are the top three character habits that coaches must develop to be effective at teaching their hitters to develop good character and hitting habits?

Humility, patience and accountability. Coaches must develop the habit of humility – both in terms of understanding they don’t have all the answers and that their role is to serve the needs of their players rather than the other way around.

A coach must also develop a habit of patience, because improvement takes time. Quick fixes in hitting rarely last for long. A good hitting coach will allow his hitters the time they need to develop and improve. Finally, accountability must become a habit for a good coach. Players will respect a coach who’s willing to practice what they preach and who holds them accountable for their actions.

7. Who was your favorite MLB hitter when you were in high school and why?

Lenny Dykstra was my guy. Not only did he have the coolest nickname (how can you not like “Nails?”), but he was a smaller guy just like me. He played with a chip on his shoulder and was fearless on the field. I loved his hard-nosed style and how he never seemed to back down from anyone. It didn’t hurt that the first time I watched a full MLB game, he hit a walk off home run in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS. He continued to be one of the best post season performers in MLB history.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

________________________________________________________________________________

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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Assurance, insurance and reassurance. These are three words – and philosophies – I instill into my young hitters.

  • Assurance is a promise made.
  • Insurance is compensation when the promise isn’t kept.
  • Reassurance is the removal of doubt.

Assurance
Baseball coaches can be revered as God’s by parents and coaches. But coaches often balk when it comes to making promises. Here are three promises that your baseball coach should make to you this winter (November-January) during training time:

  1. Promise he can evaluate the part(s) of your swing that need the most development
  2. Promise you will receive a specific minimum amount of reps this winter to develop those parts
  3. Promise to work with you on setting specific, realistic and measurable goals for the spring season based on the reps you receive at practice with him

Insurance
I’ll be the first to tell you that when I was a rookie coach I didn’t like to make promises to my players. I didn’t want to be held accountable by them.

If you can get your coach to make the three promises above, your insurance will be in writing. This is important because the stress of poor performance during games in the spring can cause coaches to get amnesia. All of a sudden, we’re punishing you for poor performances, when we were the ones who didn’t do a good job of preparing you.

Reassurance
As coaches, we must recognize that becoming a professional hitter is based on talent, habits and skills. Moving from one to another requires humility and discipline among many.

In order for you to be successful, regardless of your failures on the field, we must reassure you that you can improve.

That would require us to be honest and specific about why we picked you to be on our team in the first place. Coaches also have to assess your weaknesses and give you what need during practice in the winter (November-January) to be successful in the spring. Space to improve by way of failure is equally as important.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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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Feel. Fail. Fake. Fair. These are four, four letter words starting with the letter “F” that I want to focus on for this blog.

Here, I want to show you four questions that baseball players should answer this fall to help themselves, their parents and their coaches understand where they are mentally. Why? Because context is more important and must precede content.

Context – my “why”
Content – the “what”

The questions are:

  • How does playing baseball make me feel?
  • Why won’t I fail as a baseball player?
  • Am I fake?
  • Is baseball fair?

Feel

As a child, I thought I loved baseball. As I got older and actually achieved my dream of playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs, I realized that I didn’t love it. I didn’t have the work ethic and passion necessary to continue to get good at baseball. I wanted the money and fame, but I wasn’t willing to grind.

How does playing baseball make you feel?

Fail
There is success and there is failure. I believe that making adjustments sits right between. Too many people run from failure by not even trying.

Why won’t you fail as a baseball player?

Fake
“Fake it until you make it.” This sentiment is real for a lot of people. Hundreds of thousands of boys dream of playing in the Major Leagues some day. And if you don’t believe them, they will breath fire. Being fake is acting more than you really are as a person and player. It can be a detriment to others. Why act like a Major Leaguer if you don’t put in the work like one.

Are you fake?

Fair
In response to being fake is the claim that baseball isn’t fair when things don’t go your way. Life isn’t fair and neither is baseball.

  • Strive for success.
  • Do your best.
  • Failure can be a test.

Is baseball fair?

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

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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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In November, my hitters will focus on building habits and strength.

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.”

One of the best things I’ve done as a professional hitting coach is to be specific about “when” we do the “what.” Coaches will argue for hours over what drills to do and how to do them, never mentioning when to do them and for how long.

Here are my Phases of Development for my hitters:

I’ve had coaches ask me if I was concerned about sharing my secrets. My response has always been no. I’m not concerned, because a treasure map means nothing if you don’t have the commitment and discipline to go get the treasure. That’s for another blog though, so let me get focused here.

From August through October, my hitters focused on trying new things to determine what doesn’t work and what does work. If that’s uncomfortable, I don’t care, because a part of becoming the best at anything in life is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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

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

That’s 21,000 total reps to build a habit.

Other vital habits that serve as the glue for swing development are commitment, discipline and the ability to make adjustments. Making an adjustment is simply doing something different after you fail. This can lead to success. Simple to understand, yet difficult to do, because of a lack of commitment and discipline needs to be developed before learning how to hit.

What competing commitments do you have that prevent you from becoming a great hitter? If discipline was like gasoline, how much do you have in your tank right now? What parts of the swing do you need to build a habit for?

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our digital magazine, Changing the Game. 

________________________________________________________________________________

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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