Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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April 12, 2020  

Darin Everson- Hitting Coordinator, Colorado Rockies.

April 12, 2020
 
Today we’re joined by Darin Everson. Hitting coordinator for the Colorado rockies. On the show, we talk about all things hitting. Including swing prep, game planning, communication and so much more
 
Twitter
@eversonbaseball
 
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

Ahead of the Curve Live Podcast: Darin Everson (Hitting Coordinator: Colorado Rockies)

    • Communication is a huge aspect to have to unlock potential for the athlete. 
  • You need to ask the right type of questions. 
  • You need to find out what motivates the player. 
  • What worries them. 
  • Find out what makes them nervous. 
    • Ask indirect questions to find out these parts of the player. 
  • Have journal books to remember key facts about a player in order to help the player improve. 
    • You want to be an outlet for the player to have in order to get out their concerns and to learn about life from you. 
    • Find out about who your players are. 
  • Open-ended question example: What are you thinking? What is your goal? 
  • This helps the athlete be where their feet are at. 
    • Make the conversation authentic with the player in order to help the player the best. 
  • If you can get the players to talk about themselves you generally get a good idea of who that player is as a person. 
  • A fun question to ask is about food. 
    • You need to learn how your players learn best. 
    • This will help you fill up their toolbox. 
  • Backwards planning is important. 
  • Allows for you to know what the goal is with what you are doing. 
  • “The moment I became a better teacher, is when I became a better coach.”
  • If you love and care about your players, the baseball aspect will take care of itself.
  • The collaboration piece is important to have with staff. Have individual meetings and then whole group meetings. 
  • Get everyone’s ideas on paper and then combine the best of each. 
  • Collect as much objective information and facts to help the player realize why they need to make a change. 
  • It is hard to dispute the facts. 
  • The goal of a coach is to have the player become their own best coach. 
    • Start with explaining why, and then tell them to try a small adjustment. 
    • The player may hate it but take notes on what happens. 
    • Use your phone to record a note or a video. 
  • As coaches be the guard rails to keep the player on the correct path on their journey to reaching their potential and improvement. 
    • Players need to be able to trust the changes that have been made.
    • Can they take it over from BP to the game? 
    • As a coach you need to ask yourself is it a constraint drill or a swing prep drill?
    • A swing prep drill works on a specific feel of the swing for the hitter to feel. 
  • Example: Ask the player for five minutes to use a heavy bat at an angle to try to find a feel. 
    • If the player doesn’t have swing prep, then it will be hard for the player to take over what was learned if he cannot feel the changes. 
  • The feelings that the player gets will help the player create cues to remember when he is competing in the box. 
  • Swing prep is different for every player. 
  • Sometimes the players use PVC pipe to feel different things. 
  • Other examples: Different tee drills, Heavy Bat, Underweight bat. 
  • The tee can help the player find proper posture and find the proper areas of contact. 
    • The player will need to find specific drills that they can go to that will help the player prepare for the game. 
  • These drills have to help the player feel his swing and to feel good because he can understand his body. 
  • The player doesn’t have to have a ton of swing prep drills, less is more. 
    • Once the player has finished the swing prep, go onto a different objective in Batting Practice. 
    • After the Swing prep part of the practice, go into decision training in hitting drills. 
  • By the time the game starts you want your players to have their cleats in the ground and competing. 
  • Decision Drills: The Coach Says in, out, or take. The player listens and will react to what the coach says.  
    • The player can do this off of a tee or by coach/player pitch. 
    • Anytime you can shorten a screen is great. 
    • The ball jumps on the player. 
    • Throw BP at an angle. 
    • Doing all of this forces the players to adjust during the decision making BP. 
  • Have counts during this time. To force the player to think. 
  • During decision making BP, ask your players questions. 
  • Questions such as what was going through your mind? What was your goal? What were you feeling? 
    • This helps the hitter to understand what he likes and what he doesn’t like. 
    • It helps the player take borderline pitches, even when it is a strike. 
    • Decision-making BP creates awareness. 
    • The player must have an approach for different situations in a game. 
  • Example: Johnny, this pitcher pitches the ball high. Do you like high pitches? No. Okay, where do you like to hit a pitch? Low. What will you do? I will look for a low pitch. 
    • The player must have a plan or approach for every pitcher that he faces. 
  • The hitter needs to focus on what pitches the hitter likes and in what part of the strike zone. 
  • This allows for the hitter to drive the ball. 
  • If a hitter is facing a pitcher who is his opposite, then the hitter needs to focus on adjusting to having success. 
  • Example: If I am facing a pitcher who is throwing in the 90’s and I am used to hitting 78, then I need to choke up and try to hit the ball on a line to center-right field. 
    • For players who are English Language Learners, try to learn their language. 
  • Players will appreciate this effort. 
  • Talk to bilingual players in order to help you in the effort to have clear communication with different players. 
  • Use language programs in order to learn different languages. 
  • Keep a journal on words that you have learned. 
  • Luckily most of our players are visual learners. 
  • Show the player the move or through video. 
  • Have another coach with you in order to help you and the athlete understand as best as possible. 
  • Try to learn about the athlete’s culture as well. 
  • Are you moving in the batter’s box athletic?
  • Can you do this movement in different environments such as off of a machine, tee, etc?
    • This prevents cookie-cutting to happen. 
  • Players need to learn the awareness of the spin of a pitch and understanding the trajectory of the pitch during Batting Practice. 
    • Use machines that is as game-like as possible. 
    • You don’t want the task to be too overwhelming or unrealistic. 
  • Machines are useful in order to for your hitters to see game-like spin and velocity. 
  • If there is any tool that will help the player build confidence, use it. 
    • You want your guys to have all of the confidence in the world when it is game time. 
  • You want your hitters to create as much energy with the body that you have and transferring it to and through the baseball. 
  • You want to hit the middle of the baseball. 
  • This allows for solid contact. 
  • Find out how the player is creating their energy and transferring their energy. 
  • Can the player then see how the energy is transferring to contact with the baseball?
  • You can measure through exit velocity. 
    • Check in with your players regularly during and after the pandemic. 
    • During this time players can tinker to try different things with the swing. 
    • One of the biggest differences between the best of the best and average players is maturity. 
    • You need to ask yourself as the coach, how can I help this player right now?
    • Give them objectives. 
  • “It is not about the quantity, it is about the quality of what you are doing.”
  • The player needs to realize what will prepare the player for the game. 
  • “Don’t ever forget how good you are.”
    • Have the players watch highlights of themselves and to visualize success. 
  • Make hitting as simple as possible. 
  • Don’t talk about mechanics.
  • Talk more about feels. 
  • Talk more about pitch recognition, approach, and plan. 
  • When a player is in a slump, see if there are any mechanical changes? See how well his process is going? See how well the player’s mental outlook is. 
  • The player needs to realize how good he is and what he can do. 
  • Sometimes players need a few days off to get a mental break because this game is hard. 
  • “Can you carry your confidence?”
  • That is the challenge when things are 
  • Don’t chase hits, chase feels that will allow you to feel good and have success in the box.