Loaded Questions

By Coach Ron Wolforth-

 

Coach Wolforth, what do YOU think of _______?

 

While the questions vary…the inferences are often similar.

 

What do we think of this drill?

What do we think of this device?

What do we think of this idea?

What do we think of this facility?

What do we think of this organization?

What do we think of this person?

 

These questions are quite often intentionally open ended and secretly call out for a critical or provocative response from me or the Ranch team. The baseball universe at large is just as susceptible as any other niche to gossip, innuendo, aspersion, vitriol, slight, smear or the classic smack talk.  Many of us really like a juicy story…a steamy drama… or a good ‘ol barn burner of an argument.  We love to see ‘our’ side really take it to the other side.  Back in the day, we laughed and cheered when our side won a debate point on a message board.  We were offended and lashed out when we felt the other side attacked our idea, our intent or our integrity.  Today those confrontations can now occur almost instantaneously on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Many years ago, I confess that I was often in lock step with the majority of the baseball universe.  I was quick to enter the fray.  Too often I threw my opinion around like it was a weapon.   My goal was to be victorious, to win the argument…to settle the score…to present our ideology with authority.  Anyone who disagreed with me or our philosophy was the enemy and the goal was to discredit their opinion.  I built alliances and coalitions to counter critics or rivals.

 

Today, almost 15 years later, I have long recognized the utter futileness and unproductiveness of that behavior.  I spent way too much of my precious time and energy on comparison and on responding to critique and criticism.  While it becomes important at times to challenge and debate ideas or concepts on their own merit, at the Texas Baseball Ranch® we intentionally stay away from allowing anything to become personal or derogatory.  You’ll never see us involved in a Twitter war for example.  It simply isn’t useful or productive.

 

Over the past 20+ years, many times I have found myself and/or our organizational thinking incorrect, mistaken, misinformed, misapplied and /or off course.  Yet our intent and desire to ‘get it right’ has always been honest, genuine and sincere. Therefore, when I see someone else with a different option or a contrary view point, we give them the same respect and space we would hope they give me/us.  The universe has proven itself countless times to be a big enough place to harmoniously hold multiple different perspectives…even diametrically opposing ones…at the same time. In truth, no matter how brilliant we THINK we are, sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes others have a better idea.  In short, no matter our skill or competence, sometimes we are going to be ahead…and sometimes we are going to be behind.

 

In 2016, we all witnessed a presidential election that in many ways was unprecedented in its diversion and acrimony. To this day, we are still dealing with its fallout.  While vigorous debate and lively discourse is as American as baseball itself, in my opinion we’ve crossed the Rubicon and both sides are entrenched and no longer interested in the truth but instead are committed to    maintaining and expanding their power and discrediting their opposition.

 

With regards to baseball and baseball information, the Ranch consortium and our staff have chosen to play a different game.  We do not covet information or crave credit.  We openly share concepts, credit and information, for it truly wasn’t completely ours to begin with.  We are all influenced, shaped and inspired by the works of others.

 

Let me use the wisdom of the ages to give you our foundational philosophy:

 

Colossians 3:12-3:14 MSG.  Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline.

 

Believe me when I tell you that while scripture like Colossians 3:12-14 may sound corny to the cynical and the skeptical among us, the wisdom and effectiveness of its message has proven itself to me many times over.  Ever since we decided at the Ranch to choose a different route, we have become far more efficient and effective. The reason is amazingly simple.  When ALL of our energies are dedicated to the daily incremental improvement of our philosophies and processes and we are not distracted by competitors, critics, detractors and backseat drivers…it is remarkable what can be accomplished.

 

So, let me give you two examples of how we address sincere and genuine questions and differences of opinion that arise on a regular basis.

 

Q.  What do we at the Ranch think of the towel drill?

A.  The Ranch does not believe in, utilize or endorse the towel drill. In our opinion, we believe the common use of the towel drill has multiple fatal flaws that make it a potentially detrimental and corruptive choice. Instead we utilize the Durathro™ sock which involves the actual throwing and releasing of a baseball.

 

Unlike many people who are very critical of the towel drill, we have had first-hand experience with using the drill.  We performed our own specialized variation of the towel drill from 1998-2002. When we first began to question the efficacy of the drill, we utilized high speed video (92fps) to compare the traditional towel drill with a pitch at game time.  We have also compared the Durathro™ sock with a game speed repetition off the mound. Those comparisons have lead us to the conclusion that the Durathro™ sock is a superior training option over the traditional towel drill.

 

While some in the ‘pro towel drill’ camp may point to some ancillary benefits to the towel drill, in our opinion, the potential for corruption and adapting inefficient patterns of both acceleration and deceleration overrides the potential benefits.  The biggest issue for us at the Ranch is that while the towel drill may be SIMILAR to pitching a baseball, the drill is sufficiently different in critical ways and those differences can corrupt a current movement pattern or lend itself to an unwanted adaptation. Furthermore, we believe any supplemental benefits to the towel drill can be easily replicated by the Durathro™ sock.

 

Q.  What do we at the Ranch think of long distance running for pitchers?

A.  The Ranch does not believe in, utilize or endorse long distance running for the conditioning of our elite baseball athletes. There is ample evidence to show that regular long distance running would be counterproductive and actually contraindicative in multiple performance markers such as muscle fiber type recruitment, range of motion/ mobility and is performed considerably outside of the energy system used in a baseball game (among many others).

 

However, there is also research that would suggest some types of moderate cardiovascular workouts are advantageous to the rate of recovery.  It is our current position at the Texas Baseball Ranch® that we can easily create, by other means outside of continuous long distance running, a level of fitness that would closely imitate the benefits of the standard cardiovascular workouts without the potential deleterious side effects of long distance running.

 

In both cases, our staff at the Texas Baseball Ranch® recognizes the possibility that some athletes have utilized the towel drill and/or long distance running with not only zero negative side effects or consequences but some athletes may even point to these drills and activities as beneficial or critical to their development.  While we would continue to make our point for, in our opinion, a more advantageous training option, we recognize and accept the fact that the previous scenario is indeed possible.

 

An individual’s mind, body and heart sometimes plays an even more prominent role in development than does the specific information or process.  We at TBR first and foremost honor the individual athlete, his preferences, his decisions and all of his nuances.  Our mission is to educate, lead and inspire each athlete.  It is not to command, demand or subjugate any individual to our specific processes.  We view that type of behavior as arrogant, elitist and condescending.  Our clients need to know that we are 100% committed to their personal ability to captain their own ship.  We walk with them in their journey of self-discovery and development. We assist where we can and refrain from interfering with self-discovery and self-introspection whenever possible.  

 

At the Texas Baseball Ranch®, we offer servant leadership and  hyper-personalized expertise and guidance vs. strict subjugation and compliance to some theoretical model. In our opinion, this is PRECISELY where humility becomes critically important.  This is the path we aspire to at the Texas Baseball Ranch®.

 

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Our Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp was a tremendous success.   You might have missed it but you don’t have to miss out on the information.
Eighteen incredible presentations all captured on DVD.  Get your own set by going to www.PitchingCoachesBootCamp.com.

“I have been coaching for 30+ years, attended and have presented at many clinics, this clinic is the single most informative personal development clinic I have ever attended!”Dave Lawn, Pitching Coach, Univeristy of Arizona

 

 

 

 

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