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
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.
If you’ve read any of my other posts then you know how important it is for hitters to be completely present during their at-bats. Anxieties over the future or frustrations of the past take hitters out of the present moment and create the resistance that prevents them from performing at their highest capacity. In my previous posts I’ve always recommended meditation as an amazing tool to help us not only develop our ability to become present but also as a means to sustain that presence over a period of time.
Posted in Mental Skills for Hitting
Tagged Baseball, baseball coaching, baseball coaching philosophy, Baseball hitting, Baseball Hitting Instruction, baseball mental game, baseball swing, building a hitter's confidence, coaching baseball, coaching hitters, deliberate practice, Hitting Instruction, Hitting Lessons, Hitting Philosophies, increasing a hitter's performance, mental skills, mental skills for a hitter, Peak Performance For Hitters, Ryan Dambach, Ryan Dambach Hitting, sports psychology
With the calendar changing to 2013 it signifies that the spring season is right around the corner. It’s time to break out the bats and balls and shake off the rust. Typically players try to pick up right where they left off the previous season not realizing how that might hinder not only their ability to prepare for the upcoming season but also to develop long term.
The best piece of advice I can give is to not be afraid to take things slow. The absolute worst thing a player can do is take an extended period of time off and then try to jump right in hitting live pitched balls or even balls off of a pitching machine. If competition is 6-8 weeks away then a player doesn’t need to see pitched balls for any more than say 1-2 weeks if the rest of their development program is set up properly. With it being the first week in January here are my recommendations for an 8 week hitting program to be ready for games starting in early March.
One of the most powerful tools I give to my hitters to help them remain present during their at-bats and to help them avoid the confidence yo-yo that comes along with getting hits or making outs is to have them break their at-bats down into the smallest pieces possible. Typically, hitters already do this in that they break the game down into a collection of at-bats. After a game they’ll tell you that they went 1 for 3 or 0 for 4 or whatever. Unfortunately this doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead of looking at a game as a collection of at-bats (which it is) it’s helpful for hitters to take it a step farther. What I mean is games are a collection of at-bats and at-bats are a collection of individual pitches and so games are nothing more than a collection of pitches.