Money has been a driving factor in year-round play and “elite” travel teams where winning is placed at the highest importance. Many teams are marketing “developmental programs” where they play 5 plus showcase events through the course of a season. Though these programs are marketed as developmental, player development rarely the focus for these teams.
One of the simplest, yet most effective training aids for any baseball pitcher is a radar gun. At one point in time, I was actually against having youth baseball pitchers use a radar gun too often and focus on velocity, but I actually think that there are a few great benefits. And with recent advances in technology of radar guns, people can easily get an affordable pocket-size radar run, like the Pocket Radar, to use at home. One of the key differentiators I see between amateur and professional baseball pitchers is often just intent. What I mean is, our pro ball pitchers tend to throw with much more intent than our younger pitchers. Sure, this could be that pro ball pitchers are older, bigger, and stronger. But intent isn’t just an output of mass and strength. It’s also an output of intensity, which is something many youth need to learn. Even in our sports performance programs at Champion, our early focus with people new to training is developing intent when training. So while I don’t necessarily want our amateur baseball pitchers focusing solely on velocity, I still think there are a bunch of great uses of a radar gun during training. Here are my top 3 ways baseball pitchers can use a radar gun to enhance performance.
There are many mental factors that can hinder an athlete’s performance. A major one is the fear of negative outcomes on the field—giving up hits and runs, striking out in big situations, and suffering ridicule, embarrassment, and playing time consequences. Mentally removing oneself from attachment and fear of these consequences can improve performance, and this can be done, in part, by visualizing negative outcomes.
Sports provide tremendous opportunities for young men and women to grow socially, learning to face challenges, and develop discipline in pursuit of commons goals. To specialize early means to miss out on opportunities for personal growth that are not available through the narrow lens of just one sport.