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Over the past few years, I have been intentional about growing personally. This has led me to read a lot more in order to gain wisdom from those who are more successful and experienced in productivity and leadership. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is the most recent book I have read. It is a quick read that communicates its simple yet powerful message clearly. As an instructor, I could not help but to read about The Compound Effect through the lens of teaching students. Below, I will outline the concept of The Compound Effect and explain how it applies to hitters and their success.
Darren Hardy explains that success achieved through the compound effect is about making small, smart choices with consistency over time. He uses many examples to illustrate this but one of the best is the magic penny. Hardy poses the following question: “If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash this instant or a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose?” Most people think the answer is obviously the instant $3 million but they are mistaken. Early on in this scenario, you would appear crazy to take the penny since after 10 days, you would only have $5.12 compared to $3 million. With only 11 days remaining, the choice of the penny has resulted in $5,243. As we get closer and closer to the thirty-one day mark, you can really see the effect of consistency over time. On day 29, the value of the doubling penny is just behind at $2.7 million. At the end of the 31st day, the penny results in $10,737,418.24. This same principle of consistency over time is true in all areas of life, including hitting.
Many people who walk through our door or who show interest in our online program are looking to find a magic hitting drill or a quick fix to their hitting struggles. While we do see an immediate, dramatic improvement in the swings and results of our hitters, it is the consistent commitment to movement training that produces results that last. The initial improvement we see comes from large, gross motor movement changes that drastically increase the amount of force our hitters can produce in their turn. This is not achieved through hitting, but by training movement patterns. In fact, very few hitters have actually hit a ball during their first lesson with us. In this first phase, hitters have a relatively easy time finding the motivation to practice on their own because they are driven to earn the opportunity to hit. After this initial improvement, we begin focusing in more detail because the more broad movements have already developed. At this point, some players begin to feel the difficulty of breaking certain habits that are deeply ingrained and refuse to do the necessary work to reach their potential. If they use the compound effect and continue consistent, focused movement practice over time, steady but slow improvement will occur. I decided to use two students, one in-person client and one online client who demonstrate this principle.
Jake is an extremely hard worker who has been committed to the process from the start. Jake’s family has been incredible in their ability to support Jake, while making sure that Jake’s drive doesn’t take the fun out of the game. Here is Jake’s best swing (45 mph) from his swing evaluation video:
Jake came to us with some decent movements but needed help with his footwork, swing path, and power development. We quickly got to work and Jake truly took ownership of his development. He made this awesome notebook to help him develop a practice routine and stay after his craft:
While the hitting portion of the notebook above is detailed, it can all be completed in 20-25 minutes. The key to Jake’s success is that he actually does this routine regularly. It is this consistency that has allowed Jake to reap the benefits of the compound effect. Jake now hits the ball as hard as 65 mph and has learned to consistently hit doubles as well as a few home runs. Given that Jake is one of the smaller kids on his team, he realizes that he has to maximize the force his body can produce to outhit some of the bigger players. Below is a more recent video of Jake. The improvements in his footwork and explosiveness are clear.
As you can see from Dylan’s swing evaluation video below, he has always swung hard and tried to drive the ball. One of Dylan’s main training focus’ early on was learning to be more calm in his forward load as timing was difficult because he rushed forward. He also limited his hip turn by allowing his back foot to work towards the third base dugout instead of utilizing the natural width of his pelvis. Lastly, Dylan tended to push his hands down and forward which disallowed him from getting his barrel behind the ball optimally.
Dylan has been a tireless worker and has consistently sent video for over a year. This consistency has allowed us to continually improve Dylan’s swing and achieve a repeatability that provides great in-game results. I reached out to Steve, Dylan’s father, to ask for Dylan’s pre-hitting movement routine that Dylan employs. Below are screenshots of what he sent me as well as a brief video.
One of the best aspects of the video and screenshots you see above is that I have never written out these things for Dylan or Steve. We have talked about all of the concepts you see, but Dylan has developed a routine that makes the most sense for his specific swing. He is also learning to articulate what he hopes to do in his swing in his own words. This is taking true ownership of his swing. Like Jake, Dylan does not have to spend hours hitting baseballs to feel prepared to play. His routine is efficient and should not take more than twenty minutes. His disciplined practice habits allow him to enter competition feeling confident and able to react with his ingrained movement patterns. Below is a recent in-game swing from Dylan.
While the principle of the compound effect may seem obvious, it is under utilized. I recommend this book to anyone looking for practical ways to achieve success in any area of your life including athletics. I want to specifically thank Jake S., Dylan S. and their respective families for their hard work and demonstration of the compound effect.
Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor