How-To Become Elite in YOUR Craft and The BR ‘Talent Code’

Written By: Chas Pippitt

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, some about business, some about baseball, but the book that has really caught my interest right now is "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle.

Basically, “The Talent Code” is about how people become elite in their craft.  It talks about how skill-based tasks from math, to hitting a baseball, to making a foul shot are all 'formed' in the brain the same way.

The interesting part about this book is it very much re-affirms what we at BR already believe to be true about how we practice and our plans and goals while we're practicing.  At BR we want to push our minds and bodies to the limit when we practice.  That 'struggle', the book states, is what builds our ability to swing a bat faster, to recognize a pitch sooner, to decide to swing later.  And the 'talent' we're building is almost like a living thing, if you feed it and use it, it grows stronger, but if you do not, it erodes and eventually dies.

Understanding Failure is a Necessary Evil

What can we do in our workouts/practices to understand failure and how to deal with it? It is important to know that there are techniques and ways to combat negative feelings or ideas.  So often, we see kids of all ages see failure as a personal letdown to themselves, their parents, and their coaches. Time and time again students will mis-hit a ball and immediately look at mom or dad looking for that approval.  Sometimes the look will come to us, the instructor.  Placing these personal feelings of disappointment in a young players mind can, I believe, can really set up a negative environment and very little room for growth.  There is a better way!

The inability to recognize failure and understanding the correct way of dealing with it can forever alter a player.  I coached a High school player a few years ago.  He was our starting third baseman and our number 2 on the mound.  Big kid, 6’2 with room to fill out. Live arm and used his body well to hit. Probably hit anywhere from 3-5 in our lineup everyday.  A good player who was being highly recruited by mid-major Division 1 schools in NC. Mentally he was a disaster.  His entire game rested on his first at bat.  Got a hit, great the rest of the game. Struck out, you should just go a head and sit him down.

Three times, I had college coaches call me about this kid and each time I had to tell them he was a head case.  He could not handle failure and because of this, nobody would give him a chance.  I know for a fact that he is no longer playing.  Once they saw him and his regular outburst, it was over.  Then they tell another coach, and so on. His lack of mental strength and inability to recognize failure in the moment, cost him a college scholarship.

Chas's thoughts on this...


Difficult Practice Makes Perfect

I am asked these questions all the time:

Why do your kids swing wood?

Why do you almost always use a low tee?

Why don’t you do one hand drills?

Why don’t you use many ‘training aids’ like the Insider Bat?

The reason is we want our training to be difficult!  We want to 'feel' the failure that only a wood bat can provide when we hit one off the end, or off the handle.  I want BR trained hitters to practice hitting 'pitcher's pitches' like at the knees and low and away over and over and over.  Those are both the most common locations that pitchers try to throw towards and the most difficult to hit.  One-hand drills almost always isolate the arms (which makes no sense) and many training aids teach and enhance flaws, like pushing the knob forward (Insider Bat).

Frequently, I do evaluations in which the hitter is struggling and the mom or dad will ask me to raise the tee.  I always decline, but I also always ask why they want me to raise the tee.  Inevitably, it's some variation of they want their kid to do better in their evaluation, because they think that's what I'm looking for when I make a decision to accept or decline an applicant.  In reality, most of what I'm looking for is the ability to communicate, a competitive attitude and then athletic attributes.  Rarely does a kid 'get in' to our program simply because he or she is 'good' in their eval.  Failure and pain are the only reasons people really change their habits, but what is failure?

Redefining Failure for Success: Try, Fail, Learn, Adjust, Repeat

I think it is vital to a coach, parent, and player to redefine failure.  Usually within the first few lessons, this same idea always comes up.  We will put the low tee in position and begin letting the student hit.  Most of the time we can expect the tee to get smashed sending it flipping down the cage.  Must have been bad right?  Only if you define failure as hitting the ball.  I will ask the student, “What was your goal/goals during the swing?”.  If those goals were accomplished, then progress was made.  Until the mind is free of “hitting the ball = success”, the student will struggle to ‘feel’ the failure Chas is talking about.

What I want to see in my facility and in the online lessons that I do, is the struggle.  The "rage to master" (another phrase from the book) is paramount in becoming great.  "The rage to master" is the willingness to try a task, fail, learn, adjust, and then repeat.  We do this at Baseball Rebellion on a daily basis.  Our willingness to fail as instructors by creating drills that may or may not work and then applying them immediately in lessons, allows us to be the best for our athletes and our bosses (you, the parent).

Short term, it may 'waste' 10 minutes of a lesson if a drill isn't as well thought out as it could have been.  But even then, the idea we're trying to get across created the 'struggle' we're looking for in the player.

Long term, these trial by fire drills, ideas, or verbals, can cut months of wasted time out of a player's progress if we, as instructors, have created something of value.  Reaching past the normal and safe limits of practice is paramount to our teaching theories.

Taking a Movement to Max Effort

Many times in a lesson I have asked a student to turn so hard that they fall down.  Yes, fall down.  For years players have been taught safe, timid, do what it takes NOT to strike out swings.  Chas and I want our students to reach past what they think is an aggressive swing.  Find your max out in a movement. Failing to hit the ball may open up the individuals mental and physical potential.  Once this moment happens, you can really see a student come out of their shell and begin to make serious progress.

I do not like taking emotions out of the swing.  We tell guys all the time to be violent and explosive with moves. This energy has to be used at the right time and with the correct movements.  We say all the time patience is power.  Use the adrenalin in your body to unleash the hip turn with explosive power.  Let the ball get deeper and turn faster.  Find out what your body can really produce and it may shock you!

Deliberate Repetition is the Mother of Mastered Skill

It is commonly talked about that 'mastery' of any skill takes 10,000 hours of study.  But that is not correct.  It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate, hyper-focused, intensely critical, driven study to become a master.  By doing this type of work, we have set ourselves apart as instructors, but we can only do so much for each student that comes in to the building or signs up for online lessons.

What we provide at BR is the chance to make more of your 10,000 hours truly deliberate, hyper-focused and super productive.  We can, for those who let us, get you closer to your 10,000 hours with less wasted time.  Think about it:  we all know that 'perfect practice makes perfect' right?  Our high school coaches, parents, teachers all said that to us at one point I would imagine, but if you don't have a great plan for your practice time, then what is your practice time really worth?  And how much failure are you causing yourself by not locking in and examining your methods and ideas?

What is YOUR Ultimate Outcome and Why?

We can set appropriate goals for the individual during daily workouts.  Hitting every ball on the nose and smashing the ball around the cage should not be the measurement of our training success.  This allows a chance for failure to show up and frustration to set in.  Setting goals such as excellent vision in a round of 10 front toss is better than trying to mash a full bucket.  When you set goals that are challenging but achievable, you set yourself up for success and real progress is made.  Lessening the chances for failure and frustration.

As group, we have had players enter the facility and enter what I call “marathon hitting” workouts.  They pump coins in machines, hit 4 buckets of ball, and then front toss for another hour.  Zero attention to detail with no real goals or thoughts. We have personally had to tell may kids to “work smart, not hard”. Identify your symptoms, fix the movement.   Now they spend more time in front of a mirror and going through real movement patterns.  Slowly, but surely these players have shortened their time in the building and have had much more efficient workouts.

With the last sort of practical application side of this article, I will leave with the idea of remembering where you came from.  Time and time again we have players walk through our doors with broken swing and movement patterns. They work hard for weeks and see dramatic increases of power and consistency.  Stay optimistic when you have times of doubt and frustration.  Remember where you were before and reflect on your progress. Understand that anything worth having takes time and patience to achieve.  Take one day at a time and try to get a little better each day of work.  Don’t lose sight of the work you have put in and feel good about the progress you have made in that time.  It will make you appreciate all those hours of blood, sweat, and tears.

Make YOUR Mark...

I'm going to end this with a few questions and I really am looking for DOZENS of reader responses, so comment freely and don't be afraid to write a long, multi paragraph response, as I will be reading them all.  You can answer one of these or even think of your own questions (write them at the beginning of your response) and then answer them with JK at our next webinar, response by response.

4 thoughts on "How-To Become Elite in YOUR Craft and The BR ‘Talent Code’"

  1. Ben Brink says:

    Why do you read
    I have been searching and searching for someone that teaches what I believe in. I’ve found it at BHR. It’s nice to know I have company. It’s important that someone else agrees with what I am teaching.

    What do you get out of it?
    I become a better teacher and implement training aids and drills that I believe with help my students. I want my students and three sons to receive the best knowledge and instruction available.

    Has BHR changed what you think about hitting/practice/baseball?
    BHR has reaffirmed and validated my beliefs. I have started using the Rebel Rack in lessons and plan on using the DD next week.

    How can you make your practice more valuable and useful?
    I try to reach all students through “See it, Hear it, Feel it”. The training aids and drills are a great tool for the kinesthetic “Feel it”.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  2. David K says:

    Why do you read

    Because I know how much pure belief and vision is driving this content. The information adds depth to the concepts being taught here and reinforce with the drills that my son practices as Chas’ BHR student.

    Every (seriously, every) practice and clinic he attends, he deals with conflicting information, within his league, team, district, summer, fall, etc.

    This information flies in the face of convention, yet makes far more sense than the mainstream theories. Without it, I would have difficulty reconciling countless, unclear instruction to my son as to why HBR it’s different and more effective.

    What do you get out of it?


    Has BHR changed what you think about hitting/practice/baseball?


    If so, how? If not, why not?

    We’ve introduced a new level of Passion. A critical component also discussed in the talent code – and like all pioneers, the architects of the BHR have it (can’t hardly contain it). BHR, combined with the mentoring styled custom video and personal feedback has had a contagious effect on us, inspiring drive. Staying on task in this type of environment becomes easy.

    How can you make your practice more valuable and useful?

    From a parent’s perspective, helping out a 10 year old, I can only work on making it more fun and rewarding. Critical to making it more useful is providing an environment of encouragement, supervision, participation, and getting a good understanding of the BHR’s objectives in order to answer the “Why” questions you are going to get, especially after team practice and other clinics.

    With the BHR system, the student gets to see his own results progress and receive powerful feedback as well as new challenges from the BHR team. You’ll get to witness a dynamic buildup, which translates into exponentially better practices. Your child, like mine, will want to continuously feel to good about mastering the required movements, with each one having very subtle characteristics to them which require repetition and analysis.

  3. Andy says:

    Why do you read What do you get out of it?
    BHR does not regurgitate the same old hitting mechanics. It is innovative without all the bells and whitles, keeps it simple and real. Really teaches you to feel and apply the movements that you see from the best hitters. No quick fixes, but gets you on the best pathway quickly, but have to put the time and effort into it. To say it another way, learning the movements with
    vision being worked into the over all plan.

    Has BHR changed what you think about hitting/practice/baseball?
    Yes, but being a coach I constantly get friction from other coaches and parents who has been bombarded with conventional widsom. I now know and believe the swing power is not from the arms. Teach more process of the vision componets.
    Using hips and momentum correctly.

    How to make practice more useful? Simply need more knowledge to cover all the different weaknesses my hitters might have. Don’t have a clear blue print that puts all the knowledge I have gained from BHR. Also, how do you coach a group of players? Need more tips on teaching 4 deep and vision.

  4. Caleb D says:

    Why do I read?
    I read because I love baseball and I love helping players improve their skills and achieve their highest potential. I want to have the most up to date information to teach my players. BHR has given me a lot of great information to pass on to my players and broken down the swing to actual game technique as apposed to teaching them same old information and hope their athletic ability ignores what is being taught to them and develop a great prolevel swing.
    BHR has reinforced some of my beliefs on hitting, practice, and baseball in general but has also changed some of my thoughts on all these items. The biggest change in my teaching/hitting philosophy is “knob to the ball” I used to preach that to all my players but now I realized I was robbing them of power and potential.
    More valuable?
    My practices are more oriented towards game skills and not “fillers.” I also look to challenge myself to create more drills to teach and reinforce the ideas of hitting with your hips and not with your hands.
    My question is, how do you teach momentum to your students to avoid getting a lunging forward with upper body and what are some drills that and key phrases you use to reinforce the hip rotation and avoidance of upper body swing?

    Keep working hard BHR!

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