Baseball is a big deal at our house.
I see a lot of coaches teaching the principle of charging the ball these days, but they seem to forget the point of taking the ball on the short hop.
He also spent a lot of time teaching us the individual techniques of hitting, all those little things like the proper stance – spending hours positioning us at the plate – and how the timing of shifting your weight from your back foot to your front foot so that your bat strikes the ball at the exact moment your weight shifts – allowing you to hit the ball hard with your weight rather than with your arms – and how to snap your wrists right at the point of contact to optimize your leverage and transferring twice the power of your weight into the ball. All these individual points of technique that when put together with keeping your eye on the ball and being able to tell a strike from a ball as it leaves the pitchers hand – add up into one beautiful swing that hits line drives over the infield and perhaps over the outfield every time.
That was my Dad. He knew baseball. He coached baseball. And he coached coaches how to teach these advanced fundamentals.
But nothing really clicked for me until I turned eleven – when my muscle and hand-eye coordination started to really allow me to apply these techniques. Until then, I never really felt like I had control – control of the ball as I threw it like my Dad taught me – control of the heavy bat as I tried to move it through the plane of the swing – control of my feet and my body as I went back for a long fly ball looking over my shoulder and watching it all the way into the webbing of my glove.