Areas of Development

By: Coach Flint Wallace


In my opinion, there are several aspects to development.  I am going to talk about the three main general areas, or ways, I believe that a player can use to develop.  I also believe that most players miss or don’t work at one of these areas enough.

All three areas are important to the overall development, and all three should have an emphasis at different times.

I label the three areas as practice, playing, and training.

I believe practice is what the majority of players, and often coaches, think is the key to development.  I believe practice, whether team basis, on your own, or lessons is honing or enhancing your current skill set. In a team setting, it is also where a player can learn how to handle different situations and responsibilities on different types of plays.  But often times, it never increases my ability level, it just helps my current skill set become more refined.

So there is a need for practice.  And, at certain times of the year, practice should be the emphasis.

Then there is the school of thought that playing is the key to development.  If I just play more, I will automatically become a better player.  I view games like taking a test at school.  

Let’s take math for an example… Your current knowledge, or skill set, is Algebra 1, but if your teacher gives you a test based on Calculus, then it really doesn’t matter how well you know Algebra 1, you will have an extremely overwhelming experience with that Calculus test.  And, until you gain the knowledge or skill set for Calculus, you will almost always fail that test.

There are some aspects of playing that are absolutely needed for development, just like taking a test is needed for development.  I suggest using games to see where you need to either hone skills or where you need to improve your ability.

That brings me to the last area of development, Training.  To me, this is the one area most often neglected or not truly understood.  This area has to do with your ability.  Most believe this is strength and conditioning stuff.  While that is part of training, and has its place, it’s not the area I am referring to.  I am talking about your ability to throw harder, enhance the spin on your pitches, swing the bat faster, increase your range, etc.  That is often the part of development that is missed.

There are definitely times of the year where training to increase your baseball ability should be the emphasis.  But often times, the other two areas, practice and playing, drown out training.  To push yourself past your current ability level, you must do things that will stimulate that growth, and that you can measure.  The majority of the time, this means you must do something different than what you have been doing.

For a pitcher, this may mean that you need to create a different movement pattern in your delivery, to clean up some disconnections.  Or you may need a different throwing plan to help increase health, velocity, and endurance.  Maybe you need to improve the spin, shape, and break of your breaking ball or change up.  If command is the issue, you probably need to do something other than just throw a bullpen once or twice a week.

Naturally, for a position player/hitter, this would be working on arm strength (the one tool I believe most everyone can improve), bat speed, handling more velocity, improving reads and range on balls hits, etc.

The point is, the concept of development is multi-faceted.  I believe too often the training aspect gets chalked up to lifting weights and running, especially at earlier ages, and just practicing and playing, which both have major roles, become the only two areas of development.  Then we see players whose ability levels, which are what usually get evaluated by coaches, recruiters, and scouts, lag behind what is needed to play at the next level.

So spend as much time (or ever more if your ability level is not where you want it) training your baseball ability, as you do just practicing and playing.  Because all three areas are important, but the training area often gets neglected.

Until next time…Keep Getting After It!


If you would like to know exactly how you should go about the training aspect of development. Come to one of our Elite Pitcher’s Boot  Camps this summer to get a hyper-personalized plan to not only help you enhance your skill level, but also to help you improve your ability level as well. Information is available at and click on the Events tab.

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