Baseball Magazine

Level of Mastery

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

I’ve always felt that if a player will be expected to do something in a game then it’s up to me as a coach to make sure he does it in practice.  In reality though, that’s still not enough.  On top of that, I need to make

The goal of practice is mastery

The goal of practice is mastery

sure he masters it in practice.

During times of stress (ex. games) the body will naturally revert to the level of training that has been mastered.

Let’s say a hitter is working on keeping his front side closed in order to stay on the ball longer and use all fields.  For the past couple practices he does drill work during BP and works privately with a coach after practice to fix the problem.  Soon after, the player comes to the plate for real with the bases loaded and the game on the line.  What are the chances that he will unintentionally revert back to his habit of opening his front side too soon?  A psychologist would say … “pretty darn high.”  

Since the player has only “mastered” the bad habit of pulling out too soon, that’s what his body will return to during times of stress until he masters something else – hopefully the preferred technique.

This is why players and coaches at every level have to be very firm and consistent about making themselves or their players focus on doing everything correctly.  Slack off or go through the motions often enough and your body will begin to master the wrong mechanics or techniques making it unlikely that they will be able to “flip the switch” and do it correctly once the game starts.

Tomorrow’s VIDEO post: Tag plays and collisions at home plate

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