In my experience as a private instructor, I have found that many young athletes lack the ability to be coachable. Not only is this important for an athlete's career but in life itself. "Coachability" is being able to take what is being taught from your instructor or coach and applying it to yourself. It is having a mindset that there is always room for growth physically and mentally.
Athletes must understand that they have to be able to accept constructive criticism. This creates an environment for success. Being coachable is a tool that can be applied to anyone who is willing to listen, learn, and apply new ways to help them unlock their full potential as a hitter.
Natural talent ability will only take you so far before you or your players begin to plateau or becomes outmatched by their competitors.
When it comes to learning a new drill or gaining a better understanding of what you are working on, you have to be able to focus. I think many athletes don't realize how important this is. In a training session, you don't want to waste any reps. This is where you have to understand the difference between a “hitter” and “swinger”.
A hitter is constantly trying to apply the information being taught from their instructor and is aware of doing something wrong without constantly having to be reminded. Hitters who are locked in making eye contact with the instructor, truly getting in the present moment.
A swinger is a player who is up at that plate just taking hacks and is clearly not attempting to focus. Simply they may not care enough on what is being taught. The mind and body connection is a real thing. Controlling how you focus and what you are trying to focus on is how you learn new tasks. Through deliberate practice is the only way you will become the hitter you want to be. Here is a video below of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with a friendly reminder to always focus.
When something is wrong with your swing there comes a time where you simply have to fix it. Whether it is simply learning how to stride in your rack progression or keeping your hands high throughout your swing. Instructors can do tons of different drills to help you with your problems.
Taking ownership of your mistakes is the key to becoming a better hitter. We as instructors understand that age, strength, coordination and overall athletic ability may inhibit you from executing the drill or movement. But at the end of the day, it is on the athlete to make adjustments in order to keep progressing. Check the video below to see my dude Julius B. execute what we were working on!
Often times, when I am doing a lesson sometimes things, can get a little emotional. What I mean by that is sometimes kids cannot handle failing time and time again. Athletes may cry, get pissed off and upset because of the frustration of not doing well.
As a player, I went through this as well. An athlete's ability to keep their composure is something that can’t be stressed enough. In a training setting, you have to understand that failure is ok. Therefore staying in the present moment and not getting worked up is key to having success.
As a result, this creates a positive environment allowing hitters to actually focus on what they need to work on. Constantly reacting negatively when things don’t go your way is very “Toddler-Esque”. Instead of wasting energy on your reaction put that energy into action and get better.
Athletes who are coachable have an understanding that when learning a new skill will take time. That is why it is so important to be deliberate and consistent with your practice. The only way being patient will work is if you are consistently working on what you need to do to become better. Therefore if your coach or instructor is trying to teach you something new understand that over time it will all come together.
When your coach or instructor commends you for being coachable, just know that you are on the right path. Taking the initial step to surround yourself with those who can help you is crucial for improvement.
Many athletes think they have to do it on your own. I did this in my career and as I look back it is something I regret. With the content, we put out the in-person lessons and online lessons there is no excuse to not get better. Without a doubt, athletes need to come to the realization that there is always room for improvement. Only then you will find yourself performing better than the season before.