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How to Measure A Private Coach

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I recently aquired a new customer looking for help with his son's batting. He had been taking private lessons from the same instructor for over two years.

After watching the player take 5 swings, I could immediately see the the player completely straightening out the front arm and losing all ability to bring his hands to the ball.

After a quick adjustment, within 10 minutes, this kid was hitting the ball harder than his mom had seen him. After telling her husband later that night, he was so disbelieving he made a point of coming to the next lesson because he just didn't believe his son was hitting that well after just 1 lesson.

Needless to say, the dad was a little miffed that he'd been paying all this money to the other instructor and this instructor hadn't been able to see why the boy wasn't hitting so well.

Of course the customer and his son were happy, as was I. With tons of room for improvement, I won a new customer and the happy Dad and son now understand that not all instructors are equal.

So how do you measure a private coach? Here's 5 things to consider:

1. Qualifications and experience: This is the first thing I would look at. Hitting and pitching isn't always about biomechanics (which you can learn out of a book). True hitting and pitching coaches teach experiences, situations, disciplines, approaches. Where did this experience come from? Professional baseball? College baseball? How long have they taught for? Where have they coached at?

2. Coach or Teacher? Teaching and coaching are two different things in my book. A good private instructor isn't one who just throws good BP and makes little comments here and there, that's what a coach does. A private instructor should be constantly teaching, breaking down swings, at bats, pitch sequences, etc. Not just sit on a bucket and throw BP. My lessons have been known to break into a quick psychology exam or physics lesson.

3. Do they challenge your player? I've watched lessons where the instructor and player have such a great, fun relationship that the lesson turns into 2 pals playing pepper. A good instructor should keep lessons professional and disciplined so that the player also learns when it's time to work, and when it's time to play.

4. Do YOU understand? The instruction given should be understandable to both you and your player. I only see my customers once a week (or less often) so I expect parents to be able to interpret and reiterate my lessons throughout the week.

5. Is your son improving? Sometimes, players and instructors don't mesh. Maybe their style is difficult to understand or is not challenging enough. Whatever the reason, it may be time to look for a new tutor.

Use these guidelines in case you go looking to hire a professional instructor.

Hope this helps,

Coach Corral
 
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