Have you ever seen the Karate Kid? The movie is about a young boy who’s getting bullied at school. So, he reaches out the janitor at his apartment building who just happens to be a pretty tough guy.
The young man reaches out to the janitor and asks him if he would be willing to teach him karate in hopes of protecting himself. And the janitor agrees.
Right away, the young boy is ready to quit. He’s upset because the Karate master is asking him to perform very simple jobs, but require long hours. Naturally, the boy doesn’t understand and questions why he’s wasting his time with such simple tasks. Let’s face it, the kid signed up to fight not wax cars.
Why is the ‘all-knowing’ Karate master holding back? Why is he only giving the young boy 1-2 useless drills and not handing over the good stuff, loading him up with 5-6 ninja level drills?
Because the Karate master understands you must master the basics before moving forward. If you can’t master the simple movements, how are you going to manage more advanced movements?
And the same goes with pitchers and pitching instruction. As a pitching society, pitchers want more. They want the ‘good stuff’ but sadly, most are struggling with the basics. And if you’re familiar with pitching mechanics at any level, you understand that the slightest change results in MAJOR changes later in the delivery.
Last week I had the opportunity to work with a high school pitcher in a one-on-one setting for three days (3 hours each day). During our time together he hardly threw a baseball. Three days and hardly any throwing took place.
“Then what the heck did you do if you didn’t throw? Pitchers throw, and any changes need to be made by throwing a baseball, right?”
Nope. We worked on movement, mastering the basics, Karate Kid style.
I like to compare the pitching delivery to writing. The first thing a child learns in writing is how to write letters. These letters then can turn into words, the words can turn into sentences, and the sentences can turn into paragraphs. Could you imagine a paragraph being written without the ability to write letters?
Too often pitching instruction is like writing paragraphs without the ability to even write a letter.
Everyday we started with the basics, enforcing his ability to anchor the hammock. Wax on, wax off. And when I say we started each day with this, we spent more time anchoring than anything else. If he couldn’t anchor the hammock, there was no reason to move on to the rest of the delivery. He can’t write paragraphs without the ability to write letters.
The basic movement when learning to anchor is the hinge. We spent a lot of time anchoring the eyes and feet and controlling the middle through the hinge. As he continued mastering the movement, we were able to add variations to the movement in order to increase his awareness even more.
We worked on doing it right, then doing it wrong, then right again. The contrast between “right” and “wrong” is one of the easiest ways for the body to create feel and the more we did this throughout his training, the easier it was for him to consistently do the exercise “right”.
Once we were able to lay this foundational principle, we were able to build the delivery using the rest of the Core Velocity Principles. But it all started with learning how to write the individual letter, the wax on wax off approach.
Check out the differences between these two deliveries.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can make these same changes inside of your delivery, check out our remote training options or get in touch with me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.