To do something new is to do something you have never done before. For example, at one time, the game of baseball did not exist. I am one of the many who is glad it was invented. As we examine the importance of trying new things, especially in baseball, there are three important questions you can ask yourself:
- Why is it important to try new things?
- In baseball, when should you try new things?
- How do you know if the new things you are trying are working?
No. 1 — Why is it important to try new things?
Trying new things can help you determine what works and what doesn’t. I remember when Kyle Lewis came into my Hitting Lab for an Assessment in 2014. He was a sophomore at Mercer University. He hit using a high leg load. He already had lots of bat speed, possessed a high level of aptitude and using the high leg technique enabled him to produce lots of power if he was consistent with his timing and tempo.
In the only two sessions I had with him, we focused on when he should get loaded (timing) and how he should get loaded (tempo).
No. 2 — In baseball, when should you try new things?
Baseball is a year-round sport at the amateur level, so the best time to try new things is in the fall. Coaches say fall is the time for their hitters to develop. So they must prove it by allowing it to happen.
Development is the process of developing. There is a process to producing a bat that must be followed. There are steps to making your favorite meal. In order to have a process for hitter development, there are steps to follow. I believe that Step No. 1 (above) should be that hitters are allowed to try new things in the fall without being penalized when they fail. Failure leads to success when you make adjustments. Making an adjustment simply means you are committed to doing something different from what caused you to fail.
Hitting with a high leg load can produce lots of power in your games when you are on time and on tempo. As Diamond Directors’ clients know, it takes 3,000 reps to properly assess a habit, 3,000 to build a habit, another 3,000 to convert that habit to a skill and another 3,000 to maintain it. Rememeber, there are seven parts to the swing, including:
No. 3 — How do you know if the new things you are trying are working?
You know when you achieve success. I have been coaching hitters professionally and successfully for 22 years. Here is what I have carefully discovered as a process of success for my hitters:
- They get to a good loaded position – 90% of the time
- They are on time – 90% of the time
- They are on tempo – 90% of the time
- They successful track pitches – 80% of the time
- They repeat their approach – 70% of the time
- They hit the ball hard – 50% of the time
Using hits as a success goal is too shallow of a barometer and does not take into account everything involved to get hits repeatedly.
This fall, try new things to see what works and what doesn’t. You know you are succeeding if you start hitting the ball hard 50% of the time.
To help keep your skills sharp, we have introduced a new type of Skill Build—our Virtual Skill Build, where I can help you develop hitting skills anytime, anywhere using anything. Check it out.
Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.
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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 associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 22 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.