Peoples Fascination With Words

Coach Wolforth’s weekly email to our Pitching Central Inner Circle members was one of those “make you think” topics so I asked him if I could share it on our Baseball Ranch blog post this week as well.

He obliged and you’ll find it below.

If you’d like more information on our Inner Circle, which has three different levels of membership (Gold, Gold+ and Platinum), with the Gold Level including our monthly newsletter – Pitching With Confidence, monthly audio and weekly email from Coach Wolforth, please email us (info@PitchingCentral.com) or call the office and visit with Samantha (936) 588-6762.

Peoples Fascination With Words

By Coach Ron Wolforth

Our culture is obviously obsessed with words. The ‘N’ word. The ‘F’ word.

Just recently I saw an interview with Charles Barkley who confidently proclaimed that the word ‘thug’ actually is the new ‘N’ word.  At first I laughed, then I realized he was making a mistake common to many people. Sir Charles believed HIS interpretation of other’s using the term ‘thug’ was both correct and universal. Of course it isn’t.

It reminded me of a comedy about a wise guy from Philadelphia who used the term,
‘Forgettaboutit’ for an amazing assortment of meanings. It just depended upon it’s placement and tonality for it’s true meaning.

In the field of education, the term ‘retarded’ has long been taboo, replaced by ‘learning impaired’ and then replaced by the terms ‘special needs’. Which, no doubt will eventually be replaced by another term after the last one is, in time, viewed as creating a ‘stigma’. And on and on it will go.

We believe the ‘word’ is the problem…or the solution.

In truth it will almost always be our personal interpretation of the word that creates the meaning.

Let me prove it too you.

If in passing I said you were:

arriéré or bête or lerdo or gafo or beknackt or ????? ….would you be offended?

Almost assuredly not. Why? Because you probably have no personal meaning for the word.

The word requires translation. It means ‘dumb’ or slow witted. NOW you can be offended.

A few years ago I listened to a audiotape from world renown surgeon Dr. Bernard Siegel and he told a story about 2 cancer patients who received the exact same diagnosis from him. One interpreted the diagnosis as far more severe than it was and actually died in weeks. The other interpreted the diagnosis as far less severe than it was and actually recovered quickly and was discharged within days. Exact same diagnosis, the exact same ‘word’ grouping and usage…completely different results.

Dr. Siegel’s point: It’s almost always not the diagnosis itself that was most important but instead it was the interpretation of what the diagnosis actually meant to that person personally that truly mattered.

Several years ago I read that whenever a very successful CEO initially encountered bad news he trained himself to have a response that was: ‘That’s actually good news’.

After saying the line…he actually went into mode of finding out what possibly could be ‘good’ about the news. And in fact he almost almost always found it.

Baseball is steeped with such words requiring interpretations

‘Pitching Absolutes’

‘Balance’

‘Scapular loading’

‘Drive line height’

‘Gloveside Block’

‘Forearm Fly out’

‘Forearm Bounce’

‘High cocked position’

‘Flying Open’

‘Rushing’

‘The Power triangle’

‘Momentum pitching’

‘Loading the Glutes’

‘Weighted Ball Work’

‘Long toss’

‘Flat ground work’

‘Pitching with your fastball’

‘Repeatable delivery’

‘Connection’

‘Late launch’

I would suggest to all of you that the words themselves are simply tools…and not the final answer.

I get this all the time. “I thought you were a ‘long toss’ guy… or a ‘weighted ball’ guy.”

My typical response is “I’m not exactly sure what that means. We use long toss. We utilize weighted balls. We use a great number of tools. The Ranch is not about a specific tool. The Ranch is an idea. The Ranch is a concept. We believe in the hyper-personalization of individual pitcher’s training protocols and are ever evolving to improve that end.’

I must confess that when people get all upset or argumentative regarding a certain word choice I usually yawn. It suggests to me that this person has a specific agenda or has a perceived advantage to become offended or a victim of the specific use of the word. Sometimes it’s warranted. Most times it is not.

I suggest the word…any word…is far, far, far less important than our interpretation of it.

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