Quit Chasing Perfection

By Jonathan Massey – 


When I started training at the Texas Baseball Ranch®, I was 15 years old and throwing a whopping 68mph. I graduated high school 3 years later, throwing 80-83mph, and went on to play in college. Now, most people would say, “That’s great, you did really well!”.


I would disagree with those people.


I would say that I vastly underachieved, I could have and should have thrown harder.


Why do I feel like that? Because hindsight being 20/20, I fell victim to one of the biggest human flaws we have—we, as humans, always tend to gravitate to the things we are already good at and stay away from the things that we are not good at.  I’m strong so I’m going to go to the weight room and get stronger. I’m fast so I’m going to go to the track to work on getting faster. What was I good at? Working on and training mechanical efficiencies. So, what did I do a lot? That’s right, drill work and things I thought would help my mechanics get better. What did I stay away from? Well, since I didn’t throw very hard, the radar gun.


I’m not saying that working mechanical inefficiencies didn’t help or that it shouldn’t be done, but I wasn’t just working on becoming more efficient, I was chasing “perfect” mechanics. I really believed that if I could just get my mechanics right, that would be key to getting me into the upper 80s/low 90s. I worked on my mechanical efficiency at the expense of working on the things I needed to work on.


Here we have Hall of Fame pitcher, Don Drysdale, with an extreme Crossing of The Acromial Line and an extreme Inverted W.


By our definition, Don Drysdale was incredibly mechanically inefficient, yet if 16-year-old Don Drysdale walked into the facility today, there isn’t one thing I would change.




Because the very definition of “Hall of Fame” means he was really, really good (velocity, command, and secondary stuff all ranked above average) for a long time (no problem with pain or recovery).


At the end of the day, those are the only things that really matter.


  1. Pain – having little to no arm pain even after a heavy workload day.
  2. Recovery – having no issue returning to full strength quickly.
  3. Velocity – being 2-5mph above your peer group.
  4. Command – having the ability to command your pitches 10% better than your peer group.
  5. Secondary Stuff – having secondary pitches that are 10% better than your peer group.

I’ll even add this caveat: Once you accomplish the top 2 on this list, pain and recovery, mechanical efficiency work shouldn’t come at the expense of a good velocity, command, or secondary stuff enhancement program.


Learn from my mistakes. I underachieved in high school because I thought mechanical efficiency was the key to success—if I could just perfect my delivery then my velocity would just magically come. Don’t chase perfection, chase having an exceptional, durable, healthy, electric arm.


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