There once was a father who spent dozens of hours and several months during the off-season helping his son swing a bat, and hit a ball, to the best of the son’s ability. The son had a unique style – but it was comfortable and successful. It was his natural stance and his preferred swing and he gave it no thought, he just hit. And hit well.
Then came the first practice of the new season. A well-meaning coach held rigid and intractable beliefs about stance and swing and mechanics. He lectured the son and told the son how to stand and demonstrated how to swing, before he ever saw the young man with a bat in hand. The coach believed every player should fit into a particular style box and he was determined to enforce this rigid concept. The son was eager to please and was trained to obey his coach, so he complied.
Needless to say, the young man failed to hit. He was uncomfortable and uncertain and his mind was filled with confused, swirling thoughts. He tried to bat like the coach and forgot who he was. He forgot he was a hitter, and he became an imitator.
Don’t fall into this trap. Let every batter be an individual. No doubt, there are certain universal keys to success as a hitter. Allow these to evolve into, and coalesce within, the particular style of the hitter. Recall the famous I Love Lucy TV show golf lesson episode, when a well-meaning instructor (her husband) tied Lucille Ball into a proverbial knot with his detailed instructions.
Observe first, then teach. Let each hitter be himself, first and foremost. Then, and only then, make adjustments. Never lose sight of the individual – he is always more important than the conventional.
From October 2010, http://raisingahitter.wordpress.com