Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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May 14, 2020  

Alon Leichman- MiLB Pitching Coach, Seattle Mariners

May 14, 2020
Today we're talking with Alon Leichman, Milb pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners. Alon has an interesting background, being born and raised in Israel and then playing college baseball in the States. So we talk about his journey to the Mariners, which includes volunteer coaching in Cape Cod during his first summer after playing. What he learned as a bullpen coach in the World Baseball Classic, coaching with Jerry Weinstein. And we also dig into how we can get to better know our players and why that is vital to everything we do as coaches.
Hoops Whisperer
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

Alon Leichman: MiLB Pitching Coach (Seattle Mariners)

  • Surround yourself with good people. 
  • Relationships with your players are the first part of success. 
  • Get to know your staff the same way you get to know your players. 
  • This creates whole team trust. 
  • Pick the brains of the members of your staff, friends, and others. 
  • This time is a great opportunity to learn. 
  • You are either learning and growing or you are getting passed up. 
  • Take a step back and appreciate what you have during these circumstances. 
  • Have gratitude for all the blessings you are given. 
  • Spend time with the players and be yourself. 
  • Be your authentic self so that the players will trust you. 
  • When coaching players they are ELL’s don’t be afraid to mess up with Spanish. 
  • This allows the ELL athlete to be vulnerable and trust you as well
  • One of the biggest problems players have is overthinking. 
  • Have a strong enough relationship to allow players to come to you to talk about it. 
  • The sooner you recognize this the quicker the problem will be fixed. 
  • Reassure them they it’s okay to struggle and they we are all in this together. 
  • You want to get them out o an athletic mindset and not struggle with over thinking. 
  • The more we can use external cues and give the players a goal the better chance the athlete will self organize and accomplish the goal. 
  • The more we think about our mechanics the more the mechanics will break down. 
  • Without data, we must use an educated guess to help the player. 
  • When you see video: see if the delivery is fluid. 
  • When at foot strike, is the arm in a good position?
  • Is the elbow and shoulder level? 
  • Deficiencies: body limitations. 
  • Talk to strength coaches and have them help you find out these deficiencies. 
  • The arm recoil isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 
  • For some players it is natural to do this. 
  • It’s natural with some hard throwers. 
  • Recoiling is a natural deceleration for the throwing arm. 
  • Take the strengths of the player and give data based off of the technology of what you have. 
  • The data can show you where you’re at with accomplishing your goal. 
  • Individual plans and goals provide clarity for the player on what to do to dominate their role. 
  • “Process over results.”
  • Individualized plans provide buy in for the player. 
  • If you don’t know the player and the his strengths the. You won’t be able to help develop the player the best way possible.
  • Involve the player when making decisions on their goals. 
  • Don’t change without asking the player’s side first. 
  • Give evidence as to why you want to make a change. 
  • Learn to listen but don’t switch super fast. 
  • You have to know how to tell evidence to your players. 
  • “It’s not the content that you speak, it’s the way you speak it to the player.” 
  • You want to be engaged with your guys. 
  • Example: one way to be engaged is to throw with the pitchers every day. 
  • Throw different pitches with each guy.
  • Have your catchers try out different stances in bullpens.