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.
- 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. 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.
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.