What’s the Goal Here? The First of 5 Crucial Questions Surrounding Any Activity

By Coach Ron Wolforth-


In 2003, Paul Nyman coined a definition that has become a centerpiece for us here at the Texas Baseball Ranch® for the past 17 years.


Nyman refers to it as the Bernstein Principle: “The body will organize itself based upon the ultimate goal of the activity.  It is derived from the works of the father of biomechanics, Nikolai Bernstein, a Soviet Neurophysiologist.


Seventeen years later it remains unassailable. ‘Bernstein’ has actually become a verb of sorts at the Ranch.  To ‘Bernstein’ something at the Texas Baseball Ranch® implies we have a very clear goal, and we are acting in full accordance with that goal and not letting anything interfere with our efforts to achieve it.  While the ‘ultimate’ goal of this specific exercise certainly can and often will change or evolve, our commitment to our current stated goal at this moment must be unwavering.  Distraction, diversion or interference must be kept to a minimum if we wish to grow and develop ahead of the rate of our competitive peer group.


But I think the Bernstein Principles application goes much further than just a throwing or hitting drill.


I find so many athletes and their parents confused, conflicted and/or bewildered regarding their personal development. They lack clarity and without clarity, you are hard pressed to find conviction.  And without conviction… one cannot find consistent, exceptional performance at the higher levels of competition.


But I personally believe the Bernstein Principle has merit way beyond the sports arena.


On a regular basis, I believe one should have a built in personal dialogue loop that in almost every important endeavor undertaken… frequently asks 5 basic questions…


#1. Whats the specific goal here? (Perhaps evenwhat is the ULTIMATE goal here?)

#2. Why is THIS goal so important to me?

#3. What are the specific obstacles in my way to achieving THIS goal?

#4. What are the dangers along this path to the achievement of THIS goal?

#5. Who or what resources do I need assistance from to achieve THIS goal?


For example:

Debating whether to try to develop a slider instead of a curveball? Ask the 5 questions!


Debating whether or not to take part in a velocity enhancement program? Ask the 5 questions!


Deciding on the specific strength/stability or mobility/ flexibility program and process to use. Ask the 5 questions!


Debating whether or not to transfer schools? Ask the 5 questions!


Debating whether or not to ask a girl out on a date? Ask the 5 questions!


Most athletes simply can’t answer those questions… clarity, self-actualization and self-awareness are too often lacking in their day to day world.


So… they get distracted. They drift off course. They get confused. They get angry. They get frustrated.  They get disheartened and disillusioned.


As famous mountain climber Alison Levine shared in a TED talk regarding the lessons she learned from climbing Mount Everest:

Fear is absolutely’ OKits normal.  It is complacency that will kill you.


In my opinion, it is the same with skill development.


Here’s to you developing the habitual inner dialogue of a high performer. Practice utilizing the 5 questions as often as you can in your daily life. I promise you that your productivity will increase.


 – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Important TBR Updates


  • Mark your calendar – our 21st Annual “Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp” is December 4-6 with bonus night on December 3rd.  The event will be hosted at The Texas Baseball Ranch in Montgomery, TX.  Details coming soon!


  • As a result of the smaller size of our boot camps due to the Corona virus, we have added an additional Elite Pitchers Boot Camp in October.  It is being held over the Columbus Day weekend October 10-12.  More information can be found at www. TexasBaseballRanch.com/events.


  • After numerous requests, we have added a Youth Pitchers Camp (ages 8-12 years) to our fall schedule.  It is being held October 17-18.  Over half of the spots have already been reserved so don’t delay in registering if you want to attend. For more information on this camp, please visit www.TexasBaseballRanch.com/events. 


  • Response to our “Ranch Remote” training option has been exciting. It’s a program for people that would still like to get access to, and ongoing instruction from, the TBR staff but prefer to avoid travel due to the virus. Click here to get more information on this NEW, hyper-personalized training option.  Space is limited in this program and we only have a few spots still left so if you’re interested, don’t delay.


Please call (936)588-6762 or email us: info@texasbaseballranch.com
for more details or to sign up for any of these options.

Previous post:

Next post: