Two of my favorite and “go-to” mental guys in the baseball world are Dr. Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson. I’ve mentioned them before – and I’d highly recommend that you read their book, Heads-Up Baseball 2.0.
You can also go here to learn more about them and their other content.
Their latest article has to do with a great hitting lesson that they were a part of – and here’s the link to the complete post. I’d invite you to check it out in full.
The Anatomy of a Great Hitting Lesson
Here are a few key highlights:
Yesterday I, witnessed what I considered to be an outstanding hitting lesson. I’ll take a few moments now to explain what made it so powerful. The bottom line: The player came in feeling frustrated, a bit lost, and out of sync with himself. He left feeling excited, renewed, re-connected with what makes him good, and highly confident.
Before the first swing was taken, the coach took the time to connect and listen to the player. “What’s been going on?” “How have you been feeling?” “WHAT have you been feeling?” Questions like that… and then he took the time to hear the player’s responses, and ask follow up questions.
This put the player at ease, made him feel respected, and gave the coach essential information. The dialogue made it less likely that the coach would pile additional thoughts on top of what the player was already thinking.
Here’s the secret sauce to the whole thing: The player likes, respects, and trusts the coach. Contributors to this are all of the elements listed above that address how the coach relates to the player, plus the coach is a “learner” who is open-minded and always looking to get better (as opposed to a “knower” who has all the answers.
“It’s the relationship, stupid” is a worthy mantra for coaching. Not a buddy, like “lets catch a movie after the lesson,” but a respectful, adult-to-adult relationship. As Joe Maddon said: “With a great relationships, anything is possible. With poor relationships, almost nothing is.”