The other day I went to pick up my 3 year old son (Jake) from his pre-school. When I arrived the kids were still playing outside, but since I was a bit early, I hung out from a distance and was able to watch them all play for a little while. I rarely get to see Jake interact with the other kids at school.
Jake just turned 3 years old…and he is a bit behind the other kids physically. There is nothing wrong with him, but he had some ear issues early on that caused a delay in speech, motor skills, etc…
Everything is Ok with him now, but we have to play catch up with him so he can develop on a normal schedule.
He runs a bit funny…has some minor balance issues…doesn’t throw and kick as well as he should…and is a bit spooked to try new things.
I am not, in the least worried about him…Not-At-All. He will catch up and he will be better than normal.
But, it’s going to be one piece at a time.
In order for your son to really develop and get to the highest level that he can…that his potential allows, he will need to do it “One Piece At A Time.”
I see way too many coaches and parents trying to build a player’s skill set in huge bunches. Trying to get bat speed, throwing velocity, running speed, strength, power, etc… All done in one Summer, or worse, in a month of “training.”
It doesn’t work that way. Let me say that one more time… IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
Good intentions…I know, but good intentions don’t always get things done properly.
Let me explain:
You cannot develop bat speed properly unless you have the necessary strength, hip mobility, hand-eye-coordination, etc… However, there are plenty of parents and coaches that spend countless hours working on bat speed, day after day, without understanding that they are just spinning their wheels, and getting nowhere.
I work with baseball players every day of the year. I help develop them. But when I do, I do it piece by piece. If a guy doesn’t have the strength, mobility, flexibility, etc… to do a simple squat, then we don’t squat until we take care of those things, piece by piece.
When I work with my son Jake, we work on very small things. It would be futile to try to get him to do advance motor skills when he cannot even balance properly. It would be silly to try to get him to try something he is not ready to try, until we develop small, and necessary abilities.
Coaches do this all of the time. They force baseball players to practice aspects of their game that they really don’t have the physically capability to master. The player and the coach get frustrated and there is no real progress. Not good.
It is essential to understand the basic motor skills that it takes to play the game of baseball and then work on each skill.
If your son is struggling on parts of his game, try to break down the individual aspects of each skill or movement. Once you do that, you can better understand the pieces that need to be worked on in order to progress.
The worse part of this practice is that it ultimately can lead to injuries. Forcing movements and continually working on things that the player is not ready to work on can lead to compensation patterns and that can lead to injuries.
The next time your son seems to be struggling with a movement or baseball skill, take a step back and really try to break down the movement and then, you can start to find a way to work on the pieces (one at a time) to get him to develop the right way.
This will lead to a much better player in the long run.