Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
Alright, I’m guilty of watching Cops.
I’m also guilty of using cues to teach in the past.
I can honestly say, I do my best to stay away from both these days.
Why? Keep reading to find out.
Cues are like eye-witnesses, their account of what happened will differ based upon whom you ask.
It’s just like in Cops when they interview the guy on the sidewalk that was “minding his own business” and just happened to stumble upon a domestic dispute.
Then they interview the little old lady next door, curlers in hair, little dogs yapping, and she gives her account of what happened.
Surprise, surprise, they’re totally different.
So, what’s the cop’s options?
Bless his heart, he’s really confused now.
What if he had a video camera and could see it for himself, describing in his own words what he sees happening?
Do you think his account of what he saw happening, would allow him to make an informed decision and eliminate some of the confusion?
So, today’s your lucky day, we’ve caught the crime on camera and you’re going to make an informed decision based on what you see. After you see it, you can then describe it in your own words and I guarantee it’s going to make more sense to YOU and eliminate some of the confusion. Why? Because……
Cues will only work, when they’re YOUR cues.
Let’s start with two very common cues you’re going to hear around the ball park and discuss some of the problems that arise if we used them for everyone.
We have already discussed one cue that I absolutely HATE in a previous article! In case you missed it, you can find it here. I’m not a detective but I’m betting that most established this cue based on “still” photos rather than actual videos.
Cue #1: Get your arm into the “L” position. What you have to remember is…….
It’s never about where your arm “gets to”, it’s more about “how” it got there.
The goal for arm action is to get from point A (taking the ball out of the glove) to point B (release point) as quickly as possible without a pause or interruption.
Here are some problems that could arise from using this cue:
The cue of getting the arm into the “L” position reduces velocity and causes a host of other problems. Here are two ways it reduces velocity: Read the entire article here to see what other problems it causes.
- It eliminates deception by showing the ball to the hitter much earlier than needed. Anytime you show the ball earlier, you will give the hitter more time to react. Thus, making the pitch look slower.
- The pitcher focuses more on the getting to the “L” rather than getting to the release point as quickly as possible.
In case you missed it, here is what I’m talking about. Do you see MLB pitchers focus on getting to the “L”?
Do you see the “L” positioning of the arm?
Do you see it here?
Do you see my point? If it weren’t for the video, you may have sent an innocent bystander to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Cue #2: “Stay Tall”
“If you stay tall, you’re going to get more downward action on the plane of the pitch. It will keep the ball low.”
We all know that we want to be able to locate the ball down in the zone, but does the cue “Stay tall” allow this to happen for you?
What about drop and drive, does this mean every pitch will end up high?
I’m going to allow you to make this decision based on the video of two Hall of Famers, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver. What would be your cues? Some describe Nolan’s delivery as “Tall and Fall” while others describe Tom Seaver’s as “drop and drive.”
- What would be your cues for both?
- How different are they?
Personally, I probably wouldn’t use either cue. Here’s why these cues wouldn’t work for ME:
- Staying tall encourages the pitcher to keep the back leg stiff to remain taller.
- The back leg/hip is helpful in projecting the center portion of our body forward. (Watch how Seaver and Nolan Ryan create an angle by getting their hips in front of their shoulders.) When we aren’t active with the back hip and leg, we reduce the stride speed. By reducing the stride speed, we don’t force the arm to move faster.
- Drop and drive wouldn’t work for me either because I could see pitchers focusing on dropping and not moving the hips forward.
- However, drop and drive makes more sense to me than “standing tall”!
- It’s really quite simple.
Force the hips to move faster and you will force the arm to move faster, it’s like peer pressure. The arm wants to hang out with the hips and if the hips are moving faster, the arm is forced to move faster.
Some of the other issues that accompany a stiff back leg are:
- Opening the hips from the front versus the back. Read this article and you will see why this is a major problem.
- It reduces your chances for creating separation. Separation is the rubber-band effect that helps you throw the ball faster. Read this article and learn why it’s so important.
The problem with cues is that they make work for some people but not everyone.
A key to developing players is allowing them to create their own cues.
If not, cues can really muddy the water and cause confusion for the player. Try this:
Get your players or kids in the room and give them a cue to follow.
- Ask them how they interpret the cue, what does it mean to them?
- Have them write it down.
- Ask each individual to demonstrate how the cue can be utilized in a drill or in the delivery.
- Have them write it down.
- How many of the players came up with the exact same cue to describe what they felt, saw or perceived to be happening in the drill or movement.
- How many used different cues than what you would have used?
I’m betting that most will be totally different and no two players will describe it exactly the same.
What does that tell you? It tells me that a cue will only work when it’s established by the individual.
Allow your players to be the eye-witness, the detective and the judge.
It will eliminate confusion, frustration and give them a sense of ownership in their development.
What cues have you heard? Which cues work for you? Which ones don’t?
Here’s what I want you to do…
Jump over to Google + and let’s take this conversation further, I want to hear what you think.