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Coach Trying To Change Mechanics?

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"My HS son's baseball team has a new coach for this year. he is also the coach of a high profile summer program so he is known in the baseball community here. his qualifications for the job appear to be ok. he played college ball for a good program and played on a world champion Legion team from the area. his dad played professional ball for the Cubs and Yankees so he has been around ball a lot. here is the problem. my son is a pitcher and he has been working all winter getting stronger with weights and putting in a lot of time working on pitching mechanics. he has been working with a pitching coach who is very good and he has made some really big improvements. his velocity is up a lot over last summer and his breaking balls are working very well and his strike ratio is much improved. a lot of this is due to his improved strength but 

another factor that is very big is a change he has made in his delivery. he worked very hard to develop it and the pay off has been well worth the time he has spent. his pitching coach and others who have seen him throw expect good things from him this season. life is good right now as far as his pitching is conderned. now his new coach steps into the picture. he watched my son throw basically for the first time at practice this week and has told my son he wants him to change his delivery. he wants him to change his wind-up and change his stride and do something different with his leg kick on release.he also wants him to stop working with his pitching coach so he can only pitch during practice with the HS. my son , not wanting to make it appear to this coach that he isn't listening and isn't coachable tried to make the changes he said he wants him to do. the result was a drop in his velocity and less control of pitch location along with what he described as a tightening in his elbow. needless to say i was beside myself with what the coach is trying to do. what was worked on so hard during the winter and had made such a big difference is trying to be torn down by the guy. he was a catcher his entire playing time so while he is used to catching pitchers he doesn't have any experience pitching. another pitcher on the team who is an underclassman has been taking pitching lessons from an ex-professional pitcher and before he started to throw for this coach he was told to forget everything he was told about pitching and only listen to him. not sure if this guy is on an ego trip or what but the problem is that he is the coach and my son is afraid that if he doesn't do what the guy wants his playing time will be affected . the other problem is that my son has been selected to play on the summer program that he also coaches so it can be a problem there too. son is at the age where it is time to start getting noticed if he performs well enough and the changes that coach is wanting to make will only hurt how well he pitches. how do you approach this situation in a way where it won't cause problems with my son or the coach. at this point i feel that something has to be done but i'm not sure how to handle this. if anybody else has been through something like this your input would be appreciated or if you have any ideas on this subject please share them."


CC:  Have you yourself personally spoken with this coach yet? I would advise you speak with the coach immediately. This is not your son's problem to deal with at this point.

The way to approach this situation is to ask the coach for his time and politely explain that you don't feel that it's in your son's best interest to question his coaches. However, you have been spending good money working with a private coach that has made vast improvements in your son's control, velocity and mechanics. Your son has become confused and although he's trying to work through the new mechanics, he is uncomfortable and is showing a drop in both velocity and control, not to mention tenderness in his elbow. You would love to hear his feedback and opinion of your son's mechanics and the REASON for why this coach feels he NEEDS to change (not WANTS). A good coach will explain these reasons to anybody...not just dictate and demand.

At the end of the conversation, ask the coach if he can continue with his original mechanics that he has worked hard to improve (not to mention your $$$), and if he shows poor outings or performances against hitters on a consistent basis, that he will be open to suggestion then, but only at that time.

Kids and parents need reasons too. It is important for coaches to try and explain the changes they would like to see happen and why those changes may be necessary. If a player hears those reasons and there is some merit behind it, then the player will be able to see the coaches side to it and either be able to agree/disagree with those reasons accordingly. If the player agrees, then he/she would be more open to suggestion and willing to improve. Reasons are everything.

My opinion with some coaches that come from "high profile" programs is that these coaches usually recruit only the top level players and therefore don't have to TEACH the game as much as COACH the game. Big difference. When it comes time to TEACH, they usually try and make robots out of everybody.

I wouldn't let your son work this one out on his own. Its your money you've been spending...he needs to tell you WHY HE THINKS YOU"RE NOT SPENDING YOUR MONEY PROPERLY, WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE, AND HOW HIS MECHANICS WILL FIX THEM. This could all be done with a very diplomatic approach and if he is adamant about HIS way or the HIGHWAY, then we can address this later.

I'm sorry this is happening to your son...you're not the first, or last. Keep us posted.

Hope this helps,

Coach Corral
TeachingBetterBaseball.com

Last Updated ( Tuesday, March 31 2009 16:11 )