Chasing The Wrong Rabbit

By Coach Ron Wolforth- 


Growing up in a small western Nebraska farm community, a maxim that was frequently used to describe a scenario in which we wasted our time, efforts and energy was “I chased the wrong rabbit.’


As many of you are ramping up for the season and making decisions on specific training emphases, I thought this week might be the perfect time to point out 3 very common mistakes people make and unfortunately end up wasting a great deal of their valuable time and energy.


#1. Chasing Perfect Mechanics

The common philosophical inferential leap made is… “If I can just get my mechanics ‘perfect’, then everything will be awesome. I will have no pain. I will throw harder. I will improve my command. I will have better secondary stuff. I will recover better. I will perform better.


My typical response:  While improving mechanical efficiency is often a worthy endeavor, especially if you are experiencing discomfort or issues with recovery, there is no such thing as ‘perfect mechanics’. If we chase the illusion of ‘perfect mechanics’ we will often spend too much of our time trying to enhance or improve something which at the end of the day will have very little impact upon our actual performance.


The way we organize ourselves to throw a baseball…aka…our ‘mechanics’…is an efficiency. It is not a yes or no answer. Furthermore, no one athlete is 100% efficient and no athlete is 0% efficient in their throwing abilities.


Therefore the question always becomes…is going from X% efficiency to a theoretical higher number worth the considerable cost of your time, focus and resources?


In other words, if an athlete has significant discomfort or has real issues with recovery, an emphasis on improving mechanical efficiency may be a very sound decision. However, if an athlete has little to no discomfort and recovers well, dedicating a great deal of time pouring over video and focusing on changing minuscule movement patterns, it is almost certainly a poor choice.


For example, if you have an average of 91 in History and a 68 in English, I don’t believe it is wise to spend most of your time attempting to take the 91 to a 98. Instead I believe most of us would counsel spending time shoring up your 68 in English.


Unfortunately I see it quite often, young men, especially young men who are analytical types, thinking they can improve everything by perfecting their delivery.


A vast majority of the time those efforts lead to frustration and disillusionment.


I urge you not to chase that rabbit.


#2. Chasing Safety

Over the past year our staff has been calling campers and their families prior to their arrival at the EPBC. The process has been very enlightening and exceptionally helpful.


One of the common concerns with parents is of the ‘safety’ of their athlete.


How can this possibly be a bad thing…or ‘the wrong rabbit’ you might ask?


Well, that question is a great one and very instructive.


We at the Texas Baseball Ranch® believe that we should replace ‘the desire for safety’ paradigm with ‘the desire for health, durability and consistency’ paradigm.


Many wonderful parents have bought into this very plastic and limiting belief that if we never throw a ball over 5oz; refrain from throwing a curveball until after puberty; limit our throwing workload to the prescribed amount by the ‘experts’; and take 3 months off each calendar year of throwing completely, THEN their young man will be SAFE.


Sorry, but this is simply untrue. Thousands of athletes have been injured and many have required surgical intervention and have followed those tenets to the letter.


Those four ‘rules’ are NOT the same as health, durability and consistency.


Let me be clear before I expand.


The decision to 1) only throw a game regulation weighted baseball; 2) refrain from throwing any type of breaking ball prior to 15 years of age; 3) never exceed the suggested pitch counts prescribed by the medical community; or 4) take 12 weeks completely off of throwing a baseball are NOT detrimental or pernicious in and of themselves. In fact I can easily make the case that in some individual athlete’s current situation, one or more of those suggestions may actually be good advice.


Where the problem arises is when the coach, parent or player is actually convinced these 4 rules are the essential elements that actually create health, durability and consistency.


They decidedly do not.


If everyone is honest and forthcoming, they would admit that simply following those 4 rules certainly doesn’t guarantee a pitcher’s health and durability.


When faced with this actuality, a common response to that obvious truth is, “Well, while that may be true Coach Wolforth, if you don’t follow those 4 rules, the number injuries would even be greater.”


That is such a straw man’s argument.


In truth, I firmly believe we should be trying to develop health and durability and not get fixated on chasing ‘safety’. Creating health, durability and consistency over the course of a long competitive season is a very deliberate and complex process.


‘Safety’ and ‘Health/Durability’ ‘sound’ like they are the same thing. They, of course, are very different. If we are concerned with high levels of performance during competition, we must also be very concerned with health and durability.


If, on the other hand, we put all of our emphasis on coveting ‘safety’, there is only one way those efforts progress and that is toward the slow and steady reduction and limitation of opportunities for stress or injury. As I have often stated, the only truly ‘safe’ pitch count is…zero.


I urge you not to chase the ‘safety’ rabbit. If your goal is to ascend in performance levels then turn your emphasis toward health, durability and consistency.


#3. Chasing Velocity

From my perspective, this specific rabbit is the most commonly chased by young pitchers around the USA and Canada.


The prevailing belief by many young pitchers is that IF I can just throw it ‘X’ miles per hour, THEN I will be guaranteed success.


If ONLY I can throw it X, I will dominate.


If ONLY I can throw it X, I will be unhittable.


If ONLY I can throw it X, I will be coveted by colleges & professional scouts.


So they go all in on velocity enhancement.


Arm health takes a back seat.


Command takes a back seat.


Movement, spin and deception take a back seat.


Recovery and consistency take a back seat.


The problem of course is that velocity is not a guarantee of anything.


Enhancing velocity is often a very valid and appropriate segment in a pitcher’s complete developmental plan. The operative word in that statement is ‘segment’. In other words, velocity enhancement is a part…a piece…a segment in the process.


Putting all your eggs in the velocity basket is almost never a great idea. While being an outlier in velocity at your particular competitive level may very well be an incredibly seductive notion, a solid ration of common sense and practical application is almost always imperative to success.


Finally, I urge you not to exclusively chase the ‘velo’ rabbit either. Such a decision will most often result in uneven or disappointing results.


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Important TBR Updates



  • Our February 19-21, 2022 (Sat-Mon) Elite Pitchers Boot Camp is sold out –  Call the office to be placed on our waitlist. (936) 588-6762


  • The Ranch staff will have one final winter event at the end of February in conjunction with the Minnesota Blizzard organization.  The players camp is sold out, however, spots are still available for the Coaches Clinic on Thursday, February 3rd. Details can be found at


  • Information and dates for our 3-Day Summer 2022 Elite Pitchers Bootcamps can be found on our website. Extended Stay Summer Program dates will be released in the next few weeks!

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