Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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August 15, 2019  

Dave Turgeon- Coordinator of Instruction, Pittsburgh Pirates

August 15, 2019





During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Dave Turgeon, Coordinator of Instruction for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This thorough and expansive discussion covered training and transfer, techniques Dave learned while playing in different countries, his “Training the 15 Seconds” concept, how to hit the breaking ball, and the debate between block training and random training. Dave Turgeon also talks about the importance of training players to be adaptable and competitive. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Dave Turgeon get involved in baseball?   
  • Are there any things that come to mind from the different countries he played in? 
  • What does Dave mean by training and transfer? 
  • What are the things that Dave Turgeon has changed to improve baseball drills? 
  • What is ‘Training the 15 Seconds?
  • How does Dave Turgeon train for fundamental play? 
  • Dave explains to deliberate practice and what he means by ‘Respect the Rep?’
  • Is block practice relevant? 
  • How can players hit the breaking ball better? 
  • Which ways does Dave Turgeon integrate competition into practice? 
  • Baseball players have to be competitive and adaptable problem solvers. 
  • What is something creative that Dave Turgeon has tried lately with his players?  
  • Keep searching for the truth. 
  • Is there something that Dave has learned lately that has him really excited?  
  • What is something that Dave believes that other coaches may disagree with?  
  • Is there anything about his training that would stand out to people? 
  • What are some of Dave Turgeon’s favorite books and resources that have benefited his coaching? 


3 Key Points:

  1. Body control directly correlates to ball control in the zone. 
  2. The difference between block training and random training is practicing movements versus practicing how to think and move at the same time. 
  3. Learning and skill acquisition need to be put at a premium and made part of competition during practice. 


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Through the art of show, a little bit of tell and mostly do, it’s an amazing equation for acquiring skill to help you perform better.” – Dave Turgeon (10:54)
  • “Your best pitches thrown with conviction have a really good chance of having success.” – Dave Turgeon (11:52)
  • “Wherever you are playing, you have to learn to assimilate into that culture to win at that game, not at the one that you play. You have to figure, ‘How are they trying to beat me.” – Dave Turgeon (12:38)
  • “The player resides in the man.” – Dave Turgeon (17:32)
  • “It is not about feeling good as it is about performing because acquiring skills is not a feel-good exercise. It is hard, it is slow, messy, and it takes a while.” – Dave Turgeon (18:11)
  • “You’ve got 12-15 seconds between pitches. The average major league game is about 2 hours and 55 minutes. There are about 75 minutes off in between pitch time. There are about 13-15 minutes of total action.” – Dave Turgeon (30:22)
  • “There is some value to a block blend. But for me, the higher you go, the lower the blend of block and the more there is to the challenge variability and randomness.” – Dave Turgeon (52:46)
  • “Number one, we’ve got to hit off the fastball to be able to adjust to hit the hanger. That’s the game. That’s the game from where you are at to the big leagues.” – Dave Turgeon (59:44)

Resources Mentioned: