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Ground Rules: Take a Turn

The passing of Hall of Fame coach Ed Cheff brings to mind some great advice he gave many years ago. Coach Cheff said that one of the most neglected aspects of coaching is that coaches need to practice baseball skills themselves more often. 

He observed that while coaches hit buckets and buckets of ground balls and fly balls to their players and throw hours and hours of batting practice, most could be better at these skills.

The word “coach” is a verb, an action word. Good coaches know “Telling is not teaching.” Particularly to this generation, who are primarily visual and kinesthetic learners, if you are to teach it successfully, you must be able to demonstrate it. One of the many keys to Coach Cheff’s success was the number of fielding and throwing reps his players received daily. The difference was that Coach Cheff not only required that he and his assistant coaches throw and hit thousands of balls, but he also required them to be thrown and hit perfectly – varying the placement, spin, velocity, depth, etc., on every rep.

How many youth coaches do you see that can do this? How many youth batting practice pitchers do you see that throw various pitches in various zones consistently for strikes? Is it any wonder that hitters chase the high fastball with two strikes in games when that is what they see most in batting practice?

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