The Case for In-Season Instruction

Written By: Chas Pippitt

Disclaimer:  This article is somewhat self-serving and biased as I am a private instruction coach...and Baseball Rebellion/Softball Rebellion is an instructional company...but there is a tremendous value in continuing lessons during the season to make sure your movements stay sharp and to maximize the return on the time and financial investment in a player's swing or pitching delivery.

The new year brings more than resolutions here at Baseball Rebellion HQ, it brings in tons of hitting/pitching evaluations and old & new clients fresh from basketball season cramming a few lessons in before tryouts.  Some of the kids have worked on their swings year round, others, won't even work on them now as they prepare to head to a bigger field for a school team.  Our clients range from novice players who need to improve fast in order to be able to continue to play baseball/softball at any level to some of the most dedicated, talented travel ball kids you will ever see.  Obviously, we give the same attention to all our clients, what truly determines their ability is how much attention and time they invest to their own plans for improvement.

Its mid-February here in North Carolina.  Many programs are days away from having their tryouts or are in the middle of them as I type.  We have seen the extreme influx of new clients not only due to the new facility but also due to the proximity of tryouts.  Once teams are selected, probably within a few days of Valentine's Day, the decision comes on whether to continue lessons during their seasons or stop and just practice/play with their teams.  Some kids, obviously, will not have made the team they are trying out for, and those kids have to decide if they want to double down and go for it next year or move on to another sport or activity altogether.

Assuming you made your team, you're going to have quite a schedule change!  Practice daily after school, games two times a week, bus rides, homework constraints...it gets hectic quick!  It's easy to see why some parents choose to just let their kids play with their teams and play their season out with the swing or delivery they brought to tryouts.  The other side of that coin, however, is continuing lessons and learning while you play.   The best way I can describe this:  Stopping lessons in-season is like stopping studying before exams.

Many of our students at Baseball Rebellion, and others across the country fail to see the value of continuing their baseball/softball education during the season.  Here are just a few examples that we've already helped clients with this season:

  • Trouble with the curve?  Film your in-game swings and show them to your instructor. Your instructor can SEE the actual movements on video and directly address HOW the athlete's movements broke down in game.
  • Velocity eating you up? Let's work on your over speed turns (with the Rebel's Rack)  so we can push your body to a new speed to get you back on time.
  • Unsure on bat length or weight? A "simulated" game at-bat or two can really shed some light on if you have the right equipment to make you as successful as possible.

There is also a TON of approach work we can do as instructors based on in-season results:

  • Seeing too many called strikes?  Attack earlier in the count and take the ability to change your at-bats away from the umpire.
  • Getting beat inside?  Let's do some work pulling the ball like inside tee work or side toss out in front of the hitter.
  • Hitters sitting on your changeup?  Learn to set up your pitches better by working through your attack plan with your pitching coach and learning the best locations for each of your pitches based on their break and speed.

It's amazing how much simply communicating with your instructor about your games (and ESPECIALLY showing you their swing/delivery video) will change the direction of your lessons and therefore your season.

There is a ton of value in 'just playing' and 'getting reps'.  We get it.  No one trains for baseball/softball just for the fun of training, you train to get better for the games.  Baseball and softball skill work is a constantly adapting and evolving movement group.  The game results/failures/successes should DETERMINE the direction of your continued work and training.  Game results and game video is the MOST VALUABLE information you can present to a qualified instructor and they can directly influence your results in an extremely positive way.  Sure, a lesson missed here or there is fine.  Dropping to every other week is fine as well!  Just consider keeping your instruction going during a season if you normally stop it, even if you pitch, because inside your season's results lies the exact info your instructor needs to make you a monster.

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Rebellion

Eric Tyler, Baseball Rebellion Hitting and Fielding Instructor

 

Interested in Lessons at Baseball Rebellion HQ in Durham, NC: Call 919-309-0040 or email Mark Miller at mark@baseballrebellion.com

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Chris McGinley

I recently had the opportunity to make the trip down to Baseball Rebellion from PA with my 9 yr old son. I can’t say enough how impressed I was with the facility and the staff. If Baseball Rebellion was within any reasonable driving distance, I’d have my son there every week. From hitting lessons with Chas “lats” Pippitt and J.K. to pitching lessons with Dave Shinskie we gained a wealth of baseball knowledge to continue working on improving his game. He’s been working on drills they provided to us every day (without complaining about it!) and progressing daily. I strongly… Read more »