Baseball Magazine

Every Play is a Rough Draft

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Remember in school when the teacher would require you to write a rough draft of an essay or research paper before handing in the final product?  Students generally hate that extra work but there is a lot of value in that process.  Sitting on what you’ve written and coming back to it occasionally gives a person new insights into wording something differently and also allows them to catch mistakes they often miss the first time.  This is basically the process of how I do all my posts for this blog.  I do the extra work in order to make what I write the best I think it can be.  Hopefully you are enjoying what the finished product turns out to be.
Every play is a rough draftIn baseball, however, players don’t have the luxury of this process.  A player does not have the ability to say, “Oops.  Sorry coach.  I missed that play in the last inning with the game on the line.  Let me go back and correct it.”  Every play happens in “real-time” which means whatever happens is the final product.  Good or bad, there is no going back.  The game moves forward.  It’s true in every sport.  Millionaire actors get as many takes as necessary to get a scene in a movie right.  Millionaire athletes get one take.  That's it.
The significance of this is that many players, coaches, and parents treat mistakes that occur in games as if the player had the ability to go through the corrective process.  On an essay handed in, a teacher can be critical because the student may have had many chances to go back to correct mistakes but chose not to.  Players do not get that opportunity.  Although repetitions in practice  can go a long way to iron out mistakes in mechanics and thinking, every game situation is really a rough draft.  Runners on base, the count, the score, the inning, the weather, the bounces, the playing surface, how fast the ball is traveling, who is pitching, and who the umpires are all provide variables that can change and make every play slightly different.  If that’s the case, it is impossible for players to fully prepare for what comes at them during a game.  All they can do is try to learn as much as they can from mistakes and try to minimize the chances of them happening again.
Coaches and players should do everything in their power to address as many scenarios as possible in practice but they can never get through all of them.  It’s just the nature of baseball.  If we look at mistakes by young players this way, we might lighten up a little and remember just how difficult the game really is.

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