Development

Are you creating a passive or aggressive environment?

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As a coach, one of my goals this season is to have the most AGGRESSIVE and FEARLESS team in the league. My coaching style encourages aggressiveness at all costs. Aggressive mistakes in my program are welcomed. Encouraged. Worshipped. Not ridiculed.

I think one of the biggest crimes in baseball is coaching the aggressiveness out of a player. I never want my players to play with the fear of making mistakes. If you play with fear, all of your mistakes become passive mistakes. They aren’t mistakes that are capable of being learned or improved upon, because you weren’t testing your ability to begin with.

Aggressive mistakes are easy to learn from. They often provide the player with immediate feedback without the need to be coached. And that’s ultimately what you want when developing players. You want them to eventually have the ability to coach themselves. To learn themselves. To be able to receive immediate feedback based on the outcomes of their mistakes.

So what happens when you coach aggressiveness out of players? What happens when you give players the “take” sign? Or give them the “red light” on the bases?

What happens when you tell your pitchers to not worry about throwing hard, just worry about throwing strikes?

What happens when you tell your defense to “just make sure of one out” in the infield?

Or “no dives” in the outfield?

The answer is quite simple. You cause players to play in fear. You cause them to be passive. You cause them to fear the mistake.

You’re coaching them to prevent mistakes, and not to learn from them.

That becomes a problem when you’re talking about the developmental process of young players.

When you give a hitter the take sign…why?

Because you think the pitcher is going to throw a ball?

Because you want the hitter to work the count?

Congratulations. You’ve just done all of the thinking FOR the player.

It becomes a mindless pitch. A mindless at-bat. A missed learning opportunity for the player.

All because you were focused on the end-result.

But you’d be surprised at how quickly players can learn from mistakes by just allowing them to make the mistake.

One of my favorite quotes is from Nick Saban. He says, “You want to know when you improve the most as a player? When you make a mistake!”

The learning opportunity is so much greater after making a mistake than at any other time.

Yet many of us as coaches rob players of that learning opportunity because we inadvertently coach them to be passive through the preventive style of coaching.

We create a passive culture of playing. A result-oriented culture. A culture where all mistakes are bad. A culture where any mistake might cost us a run, the game, the season!

We instill fear, and prevent freedom; instead of instilling freedom by preventing fear.

I get it. You want to win the game. I get it, the more mistakes you prevent, the better opportunity you have to win the game. We’re all competitors! I’m one of the most competitive people I know.

I want to win at everything!!!

But I also understand the process of winning is much more important than the win itself. And the process of developing better players and people is certainly much more important than any win.

Are my players getting better? Are they improving their physical and mental abilities? Are they learning? Are they giving effort? Are they playing with a sense of fearlessness? Are they encouraging teammates to be better? Are they competing every single pitch? Are they playing in a way that will translate to success at the level they aspire to play?

This is ultimately what I care about. At the end of the day, win or lose, if I can answer “yes” to each one of those questions, I’ve done my job.

The process of winning has been addressed.

The culture of winning has been created.

The standard of winning has been set.

When it’s all said and done, the win itself is much less important than the process of winning.

The win lasts one day.

The process of winning lasts forever…

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About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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