As athletes we have a tendency to forget just how precious life is. We spend our time striving for better performance, looking for ways to improve, and aiming to obtain the college scholarship or to get drafted. We tend to forget just how lucky and blessed we are to have the opportunity to get up each day, live our life, and play this great game. It’s only when life slaps us in the face that we take the time out to reflect on the things for which we are grateful and maybe take a moment to stop striving and simply enjoy the gift of playing.
Unfortunately this past weekend life reminded me just how fragile it can be. In the early morning hours of Saturday September 24th 2011 my
client of the past four years, Rudy Ledesma, was killed when he fell asleep while driving back to his dorm at Cal Baptist University in Riverside, Ca. Continue reading
Currently I’m reading an excellent book by for Chess Champion and current Tai Chi World Champion Josh Waitzkin called The Art of Learning. For those of you in your mid 30’s or older you might remember Josh as the focus of the book and then movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. In the Book Mr. Waitzkin discusses principles that have allowed him to reach elite levels of mastery in two completely different disciplines.
Growing up there were 3 men that had a major impact on my life and who I have become as a man. Of course my Father and Grandfather are at the top of this list but surprisingly a man I never met isn’t far behind. I became a Tony Gwynn fan pretty early in life. I don’t really remember exactly when and I don’t really know how it came about. As probably the only Padre fan in Orange County, Ca I’m sure it was because he was the best player on my favorite team. I had no idea the impact he would eventually have on my life.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Baseball, baseball coaching, baseball coaching philosophy, Baseball hitting, Baseball Hitting Instruction, baseball mental game, baseball swing, coaching hitters, mental skills for a hitter, Ryan Dambach, Ryan Dambach Hitting, San Diego Padres, Tony Gwynn
Probably one of the most powerful tools I discovered didn’t occur to me until the very end of my playing career. Not really having mentors, so to speak, my career was very trial and error. It was me spending time alone trying to figure out how I was going to maximize my abilities as an athlete. As such many of the Aha moments that I had didn’t come until the very end of my career or in many cases came years after my career ended. What I didn’t realize was how the work I was putting in was going to have such a profound influence on my daily life.
My last season as a baseball player came in the Texas town of Laredo. I was there, playing in a brand new league, for a brand new team, at probably the lowest level of professional baseball. For me however, it didn’t matter. I was as excited as I would have been if I had been playing in Yankee Stadium.
Ugh! Situational Hitting!!! It’s the one aspect of hitting that most coaches work on more than anything and I have to say it destroys swings like you wouldn’t believe. Now don’t get me wrong I completely understand that winning teams are able to successfully hit and execute in the different situations that present themselves. Unfortunately, more often than not, it causes athletes to alter their mechanics, change their focus at the plate, and ultimately develop inconsistencies in performance.
Posted in Hitting Approach
Tagged Baseball, baseball coaching, baseball coaching philosophy, Baseball hitting, Baseball Hitting Instruction, baseball mental game, baseball swing, coaching hitters, deliberate practice, Hitting Instruction, Hitting Lessons, Ryan Dambach Hitting, sports psychology, transferring your swing to a game
Through out my playing and post-playing career I think I’ve tried just about everything from a strength training perspective to try to improve as an athlete. Everything from heavy lifting, olympic lifts, and “core” or “functional” training, to speed and agility training, ploy-metrics, kettlebells, yoga, and I’m probably forgetting a thing or two. Mostly my experiences have been rather consistent. I was, for the most part, a freak in the weightroom. I was willing to push myself harder than anyone I trained with and was rewarded with pretty good strength and a lean body composition, but unfortunately I never really saw those results translate onto the field.
Yesterday I was reading an article about a minor league player who I’m familiar with. This player had an outstanding amateur career at both the high school and college level and was able to parlay that success into becoming a first round draft pick. Unfortunately, he hasn’t as of yet lived up to the expectations that people anticipated when he was coming out of college. Even though his work ethic and level of commitment to his craft is second to none he still hasn’t been able to shed some of the early season struggles that seem to some what derail his seasons.
In the article he was being asked about his slow starts to which he replied, “I just try to go out to the field every day and stay positive.” Immediately I thought and posted on my Facebook page, “It’s not about being positive, it’s about being present.”
One of the greatest things about baseball is how much is going on during a game at any given time. Player positioning, pitch selection, the battle between the pitcher and hitter, the relationship between the pitcher and catcher, are all things that occur during a game that are sometimes called “The game within the game”. These situations and countless others are examples of the “games” that must be won to allow the team to maximize it’s performance on a grander scale. The team who successfully wins these little games within the larger construct of “The Game” is the team who is most likely to win.
In my opinion however the most important game that the athlete needs to win to allow them to both maximize their own performance and to give their team the best opportunity to win is the game between himself/herself and their own mind. In order for an athlete to maximize their potential on the field they need to be able to eliminate the physical, mental, and emotional resistance that inhibits performance. From a mental and emotional standpoint an athlete’s ability to be completely present during the game is what will allow them to stay in a resistant free state.