Featured Stories – Collegiate Baseball Newspaper http://baseballnews.com Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:19:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.9 Husband Explains What Pitching Deception Is http://baseballnews.com/husband-explains-pitching-deception/ Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:57:02 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10161 “Hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing.” — Warren Spahn By PERRY HUSBAND Special To Collegiate Baseball PALMDALE, Calif. — When you boil baseball down to the core issue, hitting the ball hard is ground zero.  Hard contact is the key on both sides of the ball, hitting and pitching.  Pitchers are trying to […]

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“Hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing.”
— Warren Spahn

By PERRY HUSBAND
Special To Collegiate Baseball

PALMDALE, Calif. — When you boil baseball down to the core issue, hitting the ball hard is ground zero. 

Hard contact is the key on both sides of the ball, hitting and pitching. 

Pitchers are trying to avoid hard contact while hitters live for that moment of a perfectly hit baseball.

That’s where I began with all my research in the early 1990’s, and that’s where MLB baseball is finally heading toward now with the recent love affair with exit velocity and launch angle as the key hitting metrics. 

But what is the core reason why the hardest contact happens or not, in the case of pitchers?

I think if we could ask Warren Spahn what he meant by upsetting timing, his answer would be deception. 

How Hitters React
How can hitters cover all speeds that a pitcher can throw? How can hitters react quicker?

Even when hitters maximize their reaction time, the elite pitcher has up to 40 MPH of speed differentials they can throw, and hitters at their most elite reactionary level can only handle about 6-8 MPH of speed change. 

This is a key point.

Hitters can hit pitches with big speed differentials, but when pitch sequences are Effective Velocity (Ev) efficient (in an Ev Pitching Tunnel with 6 MPH between pitches) hard contact is greatly minimized.  

An Ev Tunnel is when two pitches, usually a fastball and an off speed pitch, start out in the same horizontal and vertical planes together for 20 feet. Then the spins and velocities of these pitches cause the balls to go different directions.

If the release point of the pitcher is identical with both pitches, and the ball flight is the same for the first 20 feet, it makes it extremely difficult on a hitter to square up a pitch.

This is one of the key elements of deception that we uncovered.  

Having to react to multiple speed pitches is a core element in hitting. 

Imagine Tiger Woods at the top of his backswing and suddenly, the ball was moved to a new location. 

This would force him to react and alter his swing to match the new ball location. 

Would his swing be as powerful? Would the contact be as solid? Would the ball flight be as accurate? 

No, no and no. 

Reacting in mid-swing is the key ingredient in hitting a baseball that is not present in golf, and as you might guess, causes huge issues in hitting a pitched ball at multiple speeds. 

Having spent over four years as a PGA assistant golf professional after my playing career ended, I learned what created power and consistent contact in the golf swing. 

Efficient mechanics of the swing is king in golf and it is also why the baseball world is full of 5 o’clock hitters.

Guys who rake in batting practice and struggle in games have mastered their body timing but failed at matching it to pitch timing. 

The true art in hitting is taking the efficient swing mechanic and applying that to the multiple speeds and visual tricks that pitchers are going to throw at you in the name of deception. 

Next Level Testing
I tested visual skills of hitters to find out what they could see and when they saw it. 

I found that hitters of all levels can see pitch direction (up/down/in/out) within 10 feet out of the pitchers hand.  

Most of the hitters could also see pitch spin from 16-30 feet after delivery. 

Seeing the spin helps identify the pitch type and therefore the speed of the pitch. 

If the hitter sees the dot of the slider spin, he knows the pitch is slower than the fastball and could theoretically adjust the timing and hit the ball at maximum exit velocity.

While it is true hitters can see spin, there was a weird delay with them calling out the pitch type they saw. 

This made me believe they really could not adjust to the timing of the pitch in real time. 

That hypothesis led to an experiment of over 12,000 at bats with amateur hitters to find out. 

To read more of this in-depth article on deception in pitching, purchase the Oct. 6, 2017 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.  

Perry Husband delves deeply into pitching deception as he explains EV Tunnels and why hitters are fooled.

He explains what MLB data showed of over 5 million pitches, the Rule of 50/20/20/10 and how softly hit outs and strikeouts happen,  how deception has helped teams win national championships in baseball and softball, old school deception and the reality of it when all factors are considered.

He also explains why pitcher Keith Foulke of the Red Sox was so successful during the 2004 World Series, why deception has many layers and a breakdown of Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge when it comes to pitching deception, plus much more.

Subscribers to Collegiate Baseball receive the 87-page e-book Secrets of Pitching for FREE!

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Dominguez Faced Brutal Childhood In Cuba http://baseballnews.com/dominguez-faced-brutal-childhood-cuba/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 17:10:30 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10155 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball PEORIA, Ill. — Bradley University Head Baseball Coach Elvis Dominguez is living proof that dire situations can ultimately lead to a wonderful life. Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, he witnessed how brutal the Fidel Castro Communist regime was when thousands had every possession taken away from them, including his loving […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

PEORIA, Ill. — Bradley University Head Baseball Coach Elvis Dominguez is living proof that dire situations can ultimately lead to a wonderful life.

Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, he witnessed how brutal the Fidel Castro Communist regime was when thousands had every possession taken away from them, including his loving dad Jose, mom Enoilda and brother Henry.  

Castro orchestrated the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in 1959. As a young boy, Elvis personally witnessed an execution.

“When I was four or five years old, I remember the Communists coming out and executing somebody just because they didn’t follow the doctrine of Communist rule,” said Dominguez.

“They made examples of people by doing this. They didn’t care who saw these acts take place, including young children.

“Castro took everything away from my family when he came into power,” said Dominguez.

“I was born in 1963 which was right after Castro had taken over. My dad was an air traffic controller. As a kid, you had to make a choice. Either you were a communist and were abiding by it or you were not. Those who did not fall in line, everything was taken from them.

“My dad made a decision that our family wouldn’t stay in Cuba. He did not want to abide by their laws. By the time I turned five, my father was taken away from my mom, brother and me. Cuba was big into the sugar trade way back then.

“So they forced him to cut sugar cane alongside some great lawyers, engineers and doctors who also wanted to leave Cuba. It was like a work camp.

“For the next 3 1/2 to four years, I saw my dad once a month. And then he was only able to be with us for a couple of hours. As a kid, you celebrate Christmas in Cuba on January 6 which is called the Epiphany. I remember going up to a counter and having to choose one toy. That is all you were given, and that’s what you could play with for the next 12 months.

“It was the same way with food as it was rationed. How much you received depended on how many were in your family. You were given so many pounds of this and that. It was the same way with clothing. We were treated this way because we weren’t Communist.

“We had no normal communication on a telephone with friends and relatives. If you wanted to make a call, my mom or dad had to go down to a complex where a person listened as they made a call.

“You probably have heard that anything in Cuba that was sent out or shipped in was opened. That was so true. Everyone who was not a communist lived in fear all the time, and that’s what they wanted.

“One of the most vivid images I still have is placing bread under water to soften it up to be able to eat. Many times, that was all that was available to eat. Cuban bread when it is freshly made is like an Italian loaf. The outside is really hard and inside is softer. When you let it sit around for days and days, you can essentially bounce Cuban bread off the floor it is so hard.

“The only other option to make this bread eatable was to put a little oil on it and salt. We didn’t have much.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 6, 2017 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

Subscribers to Collegiate Baseball receive the 87-page e-book Secrets Of Pitching FREE! It is packed with a treasure trove of information.

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Riverdale Baptist Perfect Model For Success http://baseballnews.com/riverdale-baptist-perfect-model-success/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:27:21 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10151 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — One of the top high school baseball programs in the nation for decades has been Riverdale Baptist located in Upper Marlboro, Md. The Crusaders have won 20 or more games the past 32 years and posted 30 wins on 20 occasions since 1986. Last season, […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — One of the top high school baseball programs in the nation for decades has been Riverdale Baptist located in Upper Marlboro, Md.

The Crusaders have won 20 or more games the past 32 years and posted 30 wins on 20 occasions since 1986.

Last season, the team rolled to a 30-1 record and finished fourth in Collegiate Baseball’s national high school poll.

A dynamic coach named Terry Terrill was the skipper for 38 years until his son Ryan took over in 2015.

Terry’s record as a head coach was a remarkable 1,008-251 while Ryan is 95-11 in three seasons. This father and son duo has coached together for the past 12 seasons.

Riverdale Baptist has had 22 players drafted while hundreds have gone on to play in college.

The centerpiece of this program is one of the nation’s most electric running games year in and year out.

Over the past three seasons, the Crusaders have stolen 153 bases in 2017, 186 in 2016 and 180 in 2015 for a total of 519 over the past three seasons.

Riverdale Baptist has stolen an average of 173 bases during that span with just under five stolen bases per game.

Keep in mind they only play an average of 35 games a season which make these numbers even more astounding.

Terry said his system for many years has involved being aggressive on the base paths to put intense pressure on opponents.

“We work hard on reading pitchers and getting good jumps,” said Terry. “A batter who hits a single is always looking to take the extra base at second with any type of bobble.

“If a runner is on second, we work on reading balls in the dirt as he takes off toward third. We are ultra aggressive and take advantage of anything we can to advance runners.”

Once a week, baseball players work with Speed Training Coach Bernard Williams.

He is a former USA Olympic Gold Medalist as part of the 4 x 100 relay team during the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games.

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 6, 2017 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. It features in-depth information on Riverdale Baptist’s aggressive running approach, how their fast paced practices are done, why they are careful with criticism to players, different jumps runners work on and much more.

Every person who subscribes to Collegiate Baseball also receives FREE our newest e-book Secrets Of Pitching which is 87 pages filled with great information about pitching.

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John Scolinos Taught With Amazing Passion http://baseballnews.com/john-scolinos-taught-with-amazing-passion/ http://baseballnews.com/john-scolinos-taught-with-amazing-passion/#comments Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:12:59 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=2641 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball CLAREMONT, Calif. — I really miss John Scolinos. He was possibly the greatest human being ever involved in college baseball and passed away at the age of 91 in 2009.  He led Cal Poly Pomona to three national championships (1976, 1980 and 1983) in 30 years and retired in […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

CLAREMONT, Calif. — I really miss John Scolinos.

He was possibly the greatest human being ever involved in college baseball and passed away at the age of 91 in 2009. 

He led Cal Poly Pomona to three national championships (1976, 1980 and 1983) in 30 years and retired in 1991 as the winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

Scolinos was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Century by Collegiate Baseball for not only his coaching ability but the influence he had on thousands of baseball coaches across the nation and athletes who played for him.

Prior to becoming Pomona’s head coach, he spent 14 seasons at Pepperdine University where his teams went 376-213. His all-time record in 44 years of coaching was 1,198-949.

Scolinos’ overall record is highly misleading since his teams always played the best teams in Southern California and Arizona, including all the top NCAA Division I teams.

This giant in the profession influenced more coaches than possibly any skipper has in the history of the game with the way he broke down the game during clinic sessions — often in front of standing room only crowds at American Baseball Coaches Association conventions with audiences approaching 4,000.

And after almost every presentation, he would be given a standing ovation from the crowd.

Here are some of those priceless lessons coaches learned from Scolinos through the years that Collegiate Baseball has collected.

“On days when nothing goes right, I call them ‘jock games,’ ” said Scolinos.

“That’s when all the defense does is throw their jocks out there, the hitters get faked out of their jocks, and the pitchers get their jocks knocked off.

“If a team gets in a jock contest, they don’t have a chance.”

About the type of ball players there are in the game:

“There are a lot of puppy dogs and hot dogs with a few bull dogs scattered among the group. We want the bulldogs.”

Possibly the greatest moment I have of Coach Scolinos was as at the 1990 American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in New Orleans where he gave a clinic in front of thousands of coaches discussing the finer points of hitting. He sternly told coaches in attendance they should never allow players to have their heads in their jocks.

To demonstrate the point, he quickly pulled a jock strap over his forehead. Every coach in attendance howled with laughter. But Coach Scolinos made his point.

This legendary skipper has always been a fascinating person to study at baseball clinics. Most coaches over the age of 50 have a set system for teaching all aspects of baseball and rarely change. But every clinic I ever saw Coach Scolinos at, he was always sitting in the first row gleaning information from hundreds of clinicians over the years. Even at the age of 72 during the 1990 convention in New Orleans, he was learning from others in the game.

Years ago, I interviewed former Cal. Poly Pomona assistant coach Steve Osaki who explained in detail Scolinos’ other legendary clinic sessions.

“At clinics, he was well known for giving his talk on handshakes to demonstrate fielding mistakes,” said Osaki.

“The first one was the halitosis handshake. Coach Scolinos and another coach would each shake hands but turn their heads away to demonstrate how a fielder turns his head away from the ball. The next one was the political handshake. Coach Scolinos would walk up to another coach on stage and extend his hand.

“Just prior to a handshake taking place between the two, Coach Scolinos would slip his hand back and flip his glove.

“The third demonstration was the mafia handshake. Two people were shoulder to shoulder embracing each other in a handshake as Coach Scolinos says, ‘Let’s make a deal.’

“Then comes the Japanese handshake. Two people walk up and bow to each other signifying the player who lets the ball roll through his legs.

“The final one was the best way to field called the American handshake. You look your opponent right in the eye with arms not locked and shake.”

To read more of this story, purchase the May 17, 2013 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

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What Makes Great Performers? http://baseballnews.com/what-makes-great-performers/ Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:28:27 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=2366 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball FAIRFIELD, Conn. — What separates world-class performers from everybody else? It is a question that many have asked for centuries, but not understood until now. Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large of Fortune magazine, spent nearly two years researching this question. He wrote a remarkable book called Talent Is […]

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Geoff ColvinBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — What separates world-class performers from everybody else?

It is a question that many have asked for centuries, but not understood until now. Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large of Fortune magazine, spent nearly two years researching this question. He wrote a remarkable book called Talent Is Overrated and is the hot book to read now by coaches in amateur and pro baseball.

According to Colvin, the short answer to being a world-class performer is practicing in a precision manner on a regular basis for 10,000 hours. But the subject is obviously much more complex than that.

“What separates world-class performers from everybody else is a deep question,” said Colvin.

“The simple answer is the thousands of hours these people spend with deliberate practice. But the question underneath that is why do they put in those thousands of hours when most people don’t? And why do they push themselves so they reach this level?

“But there is more to it than that. Two different people could put in the same amount of hours, and one person could just go through the motions while the other person could be intensely focused on it at all times. The second person would get much better results.

“So again, why do some people work so hard and with the requisite intensity? That is a much more difficult question. What I have come to believe in many fields, and sports is definitely one of them, is that training starts early in life, and the role of the parent is extremely important.

“At the same time, I have found that every great performer has a moment when motivation becomes internalized. The performer is no longer practicing hard because his parents are making him do it. It becomes his own quest and own pursuit. When that happens, it typically isn’t a goal that is driving him. It is because there is something in the activity itself that he finds rewarding.

“Wherever that comes from is what really separates world-class performers from everybody else. Research has been conducted by a number of people that suggests 10,000 hours of practice done in a precision manner is the magic number. And there is separate research, but related, that shows 10 years is generally necessary. These figures apply pretty well across most disciplines. That is why it is so striking whether you are talking about baseball, playing the cello, the violin or chess, in addition to a number of other disciplines.

“This information suggests that it takes a lot more work than most people realize to be a top performer. They simply aren’t born that way. Consider that 10,000 hours is an enormous amount of time. Twenty  hours of deliberate practice a week is a lot by any standard. But you would have to do that for 10 years every week all year long for that amount of time. It’s a huge amount of work.”

Undisciplined Practice
Colvin said there is a tremendous amount of undisciplined practice taking place all across the world in different disciplines.

“It is the most common thing in every sport or activity. People tend to do what they can already do and just do that over and over because it is rewarding and feels good. You get to see some pleasant results. Those people don’t get much better. The best are always focused on what they can’t do well. And there is research on this. If you look at figure skaters, the mediocre ones spend time practicing jumps that they can already do quite well.

“The best ones spend most of their time practicing jumps that they really can’t do yet. They are constantly pushing the envelope. It is the same in baseball. Ball players must try to hone their skills so they are better in the areas which need improvement. This is also why good coaches are so valuable in any pursuit. Even if it isn’t sports, a good coach is extremely valuable. A good coach will assess where the kid is at that moment in his development.

“Based on the coach’s own experience, he will decide what that pitcher or hitter must develop next. What is it that he can’t quite do that he needs to be able to do? He must repeat this over and over again until he can do it. If it is a certain pitch he can’t throw well or locating it properly in a certain location in the strike zone, the pitcher must grow constantly in his quest to get better.

“It sounds obvious, but it is also obvious why most players don’t do it. When you first try it, you will fail. Mistakes will be made, it will feel uncomfortable, and it won’t feel good. So most players avoid pushing themselves. They are fine with what they do. But it is obvious to me that good coaches will force the players to reach new skill levels by working on their deficiencies. These coaches will also provide lots of feedback on how it’s going.

“It is also important to point out that nobody can work hard on their discipline for a tremendous length of time straight. It’s not only because of the physical constraints. There are mental constraints involved, and coaches must understand this. A player must focus very hard on learning or improving a skill. After a certain amount of time, whether that is 30 minutes or longer, you need a rest. Then you can come back to it. The mental exhaustion is at least as important as the physical exhaustion.”

Colvin said in Talent Is Overrated that researchers looked at violinists at the Music Academy of West Berlin to find out whether there was any data that showed why some students excelled and others didn’t. They studied biographical data about every conceivable subject involving all violinists, whether it be the age they started, teachers, competitions entered and other information.

At the age of 18, three distinct groups surfaced. The most accomplished group had accumulated 7,410 hours of lifetime practice on average compared to the less talented second group which compiled 5,301 hours and 3,420 for the even less talented third group.

The 10,000 hour practice rule seemed to be in full effect with the data compiled and 10 year rule as well.

“What applies to the violinists applies very well to baseball. Both of those are activities that people start as kids. When you reach the age of 18, if you haven’t accumulated as many hours as another player, it becomes very difficult to catch up. At that point, the best players are adding to their total amount of hours at a fairly impressive rate and are getting a lot of help. If you are trying to keep up and trying to do more than they are doing in order to catch up, it becomes almost impossible.

“So the early training of an athlete turns out to be very important.”

Starting Young Essential
Colvin was asked if disciplined practice is vital at a young age or consistency of disciplined practice throughout one’s life.

“Having disciplined practice is important during a person’s life. But there are two reasons to believe that it is particularly important in the early years as a pitcher. Disciplined practice will alter your brain. Researchers call this brain plasticity. It can happen at any age even if you are an adult. At one time, researchers didn’t believe adults could have their brains altered in this fashion. But in fact, it is possible.

“However, it happens much more easily when you are young. That function will take over a larger part of your brain if you focus on it early in life. And that will last the rest of your life. It essentially changes the way your brain is wired. That is one reason why.

“The second reason is the pitcher’s ability to get the arm back much further than the ordinary person can get it back. There is research that shows if you do this early in life before your bones are fully calcified, you can get it way back there and continue to get it way back even after you mature fully. However, if you haven’t done that before your bones are fully calcified, then you will never be able to do it. You will lose the ability to get the arm as far back as possible.”

Colvin was asked how a young athlete can be trained by a parent so that youngster will have a passion to play the sport and not wash out at a young age.

It was pointed out to him that many times, well meaning parents live through their kids and force the kids to practice too hard or punish their kids for failing to excel in different sports. In time, the young athlete quits playing because he can’t cope with the pressure the parent puts on him or the constant abuse.

On the other side, Tiger Woods had an exceptional father, Earl, who passed on the love he had for golf through his son with demanding, focused practices. But both had a great time doing it. And Tiger Woods has been the standard as the world’s greatest golfer for years because of this early, focused training.

 “You’ve really put your finger on one of the key issues here. In fact, I had several paragraphs in my book Talent Is Overrated about how vital the development is between parents and the child.

“The preeminent researcher on the subject, Anders Ericsson of Florida State University, feels that the passion of a young person develops rather than emerging suddenly. A youngster’s childhood may be especially important in how the drive’s development gets started.

“Anders Ericcson goes so far as to say, ‘The research frontier is parenting. Push children too hard, and they respond with anger. You have to develop an independent individual who has chosen to be involved in this activity. It’s how you as a parent can make individuals feel free to reach these levels and aware that this is going to be a long process.’

“Getting a kid to understand and go through demanding practices at an early age is necessary. But you don’t want the kid becoming angry and resentful. In a way, this is what it’s all about. Obviously Earl Woods was able to do this successfully with Tiger Woods. Yet, we have all seen examples where an overbearing parent tries to force his kid to practice hard, and ultimately the kid reaches a certain age and rebels.

“He abandons the whole thing in anger and resentment, and it turns into a terrible situation. What you are asking is undoubtedly one of the most important questions. But unfortunately, there is no research available in this area that really explains how to do it right as a parent.”

Human Experiment
Colvin was asked to explain the story he discussed in his book about Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian educational psychologist, who believed that great performers are made, not born.

In the 1960s, Polgar felt he understood the process so well that he could prove it with a live experiment with his children as they grew up. He wrote a book about how to do it called Bring Up Genius! (English translation).

To start the experiment, as incredible as this sounds, he publicly announced that he was looking for a woman to marry him so his wife could have children in the quest to help help him with the experiment. He ultimately found a schoolteacher in the Ukraine named Klara.

According to the book, the Polgars soon had a daughter named Susan. When she turned four, he began the process of making her a Grand Master in the game of chess.

At that point, the two parents devoted their lives to teaching Susan chess along with their two other daughters who were born later named Sophia and Judit. All three were home schooled, and the parents quit their jobs to work with the kids.

The schooling consisted largely of time consuming chess instruction every day. Incredibly, the family accumulated 10,000 chess books, and a filing system of index cards which cataloged the important areas of each book. It was a massive undertaking before computers became common.

When Susan was 17, she became the first woman to qualify for the Men’s World Championship. She wasn’t allowed to compete because she wasn’t a male. At the age of 21, she became the first woman ever to be named a grand master, the highest rank in chess.

Her sister Judit became a grand master at 15, the youngest person of either sex to do this. The middle sister, Sophia, never attained the grand master rank because she was the least committed of the three. But she did reach the rank of sixth in the world.

None of the three ever became world champion.

“This story vividly shows what deliberate practice can achieve,” said Colvin.

“The father, Laszlo Polgar, was not a chess master. He knew the game and was a serious player. But he was just average. He was still able to coach his daughters to be top-notch chess players and did it by learning about the game down in-depth.

“The time he brought up his daughters was pre-internet. They had a 10,000 book library that was strictly about chess. He also created a huge filing system where you could look up any position on the chess board and see what various great players had done.

“Today, that is almost trivial on the internet. But when he did it, it was an enormous piece of work. That’s what he was able to do which enabled his daughters to be great in chess, plus of course, requiring his daughters to spend hours and hours each day on chess.

“It shows you that you don’t have to be a great performer to teach others to be great.”

Jerry Rice Workouts
Colvin was asked to explain the remarkable work ethic of Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League who mainly played for the San Francisco 49ers.

He is the all-time leader in every major statistical category for wide receivers and was an All-Pro 10 times in 20 NFL seasons. He also won three Super Bowl Rings with the 49ers. 

In Talent Is Overrated, Colvin explains Rice would sprint to the end zone after each reception during team practices when others would stop and go back to the huddle.

His off-season workouts were legendary. He worked out six days a week conducted entirely on his own. Mornings were devoted to cardiovascular work, running a hilly five mile trail. He then would reportedly run ten 40-meter wind sprints up the steepest part. In the afternoons, he did strenuous weight training.

“Jerry Rice was not the fastest wide receiver around,” said Colvin.

“By NFL standards, he didn’t have the speed necessary to be a great receiver. He would clearly be a good one, but he wasn’t fast enough. He somehow devised a training program that focused precisely on what he needed to do to be a great receiver.

“There is a larger lesson here. In any job on a baseball team, it is valuable to stop and think what the specific skills and strengths are needed to be great at that position. And then figure out what will build those specific skills and strengths.

“Jerry Rice knew that he had to run his patterns very precisely every single time so the quarterback knew exactly where to throw the ball.

“He knew he had to jump high to get balls that were thrown in this area to beat out defenders. He knew he had to develop tremendous hand strength to hold on to the ball when defenders tried to strip it away.

“Jerry Rice knew he had to have explosive power so he could come off the line faster. And finally, he had to have endurance so that at the end of the game when the defender was exhausted, he wasn’t.

“So he devised these workout routines focusing exactly on those specific skills to a degree that is incredible. It made him the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL by a mile… not a little bit…but by a mile.”

Colvin had some final thoughts on this complex subject.

“One point I would like to emphasize is that I hope people will accept this message, because it will really effect how they lead their lives and raise their kids. If you truly don’t believe that this type of practice will make you better and believe it takes a special gift that you either have or don’t, then you probably are giving up any chance of being extremely good.

“But if you do believe that deliberate practice will work, then you do have a chance.

“It is just tragic that people give up any chance of being great because they don’t think they can do it. The message here is yes, you can do it. You can always get much better than you thought.”

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Tony Robichaux Explains Secrets Of Pitching http://baseballnews.com/tony-robichaux-explains-his-secrets-of-pitching/ Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:46:59 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=7249 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball LAFAYETTE, La. — One of the greatest pitching coaches in the game is Tony Robichaux, head baseball coach at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Under this marvelous teacher (1,037-669-1 record in 29 seasons as a college head coach) his pitching staffs have finished first or second in the Sun Belt […]

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Robichaux- Tony Mug 4CBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LAFAYETTE, La. — One of the greatest pitching coaches in the game is Tony Robichaux, head baseball coach at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Under this marvelous teacher (1,037-669-1 record in 29 seasons as a college head coach) his pitching staffs have finished first or second in the Sun Belt Conference 13 of the past 16 years in fewest walks per game.

In addition, his staffs have led the Sun Belt Conference in lowest ERA 11 of the last 16 seasons.

Another amazing stat is that seven former players are now NCAA Division I coaches.

Entering last season, he faced a massive rebuilding job with his pitching staff as his Friday, Saturday and Sunday starters were all true freshmen. If that wasn’t enough, his closer was a true freshman as well. They struggled through the first half of the season and then were outstanding the rest of the way.

His pitching system is all encompassing. Every fall pitchers spend 20-25 hours in the classroom learning how to get batters out, how to manage games when everything is hitting the fan and how to develop 10 different pitches which destroy the timing of hitters.

“When pitchers first come in our program, we don’t worry too much about mechanics,” said Robichaux.

“First, we want to work on them mentally. We believe that the muscle in between the ears is the most important in the pitching system.

“Our pitchers and catchers spend 20-25 hours in the classroom with us, and pitchers don’t shag balls in the outfield in practice during the fall. They are in the classroom. We not only want to recruit high end pitchers. But once they get in school, they must learn the art and science of pitching. It is absolutely vital.

“Our pitchers can’t throw all the time because of the potential of sore arms. But they can keep working mentally in the classroom when they are not throwing physically.”

Robichaux was asked what topics are covered in his pitching classes.

“One big thing we cover is how to manage a baseball game. All great pitchers are able to manage games when things go south. If you watch a baseball game, two things typically happen. One team scores more runs in one inning than the other team has scored throughout the ball game. The second thing is that the winning team has put together 3 or more runs in one inning.

“We break the game down into three mini games. Innings 1-3 is game one, innings 4-6 is game two and innings 7-9 is game three. You have to win two out of three of those games. If you do, most of the time you will win. That is where game management comes in. For instance, if a batter hits a leadoff triple against one of our pitchers, we’d love to stop him from scoring, but the odds are with no outs, he will get in.

“So instead of trying to stop him from scoring, we will trade the run for an out in that situation to clear the bases. Then we stay away from the 3-run inning. Our whole teach is to stay away from the 3-run inning. If we can do that, then our team will be in the ball game.

“How many times have you seen pitchers give up a triple and then try to stop the runner from scoring as he presses? Before you know it, he has loaded the bases with no outs. That leads to the 3-run inning. Once we trade the run for the out with the bases now clear, we move on from there.”

Robichaux said another chapter his pitchers work on in class is how a hitter hits.

“We reverse teach. We want them to understand how a hitter hits mechanically and mentally. I tell our pitchers all the time that if a guy is going to hunt deer, he studies the habits of a deer. If he goes duck hunting, he studies the habits of ducks as well. It should be no different when we hunt hitters.”

To read more of this in-depth article on Tony Robichaux’s incredible pitching system, purchase the Oct. 2, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Coach Robichaux delves into why it is vital to teach pitchers how hitters hit, the value of linear path pitches that Greg Maddux exploited during his Hall of Fame career, the process of calling games, studying hitters, why the colored plate with lanes is a vital tool, what great pitchers do, why every pitcher should develop 10 different pitches, utilizing string strike zones, plastic batters, formulating a velocity improvement plan, competitive bullpens, long distance running, charting pitches and more.

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Power Of Mind Exploited By Cats’ Johnson http://baseballnews.com/power-mind-exploited-wildcats-johnson/ Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:58:38 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=8670 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball TUCSON, Ariz. — Conquering mental demons in baseball is just as important as being physically skilled. University of Arizona Head Coach Jay Johnson is one of the top coaches in the nation at molding his players into mental razors. In his first season as skipper of the Wildcats, he […]

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jay-johnson-arizona-2016-cwsBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — Conquering mental demons in baseball is just as important as being physically skilled.

University of Arizona Head Coach Jay Johnson is one of the top coaches in the nation at molding his players into mental razors.

In his first season as skipper of the Wildcats, he led them to a second place finish at the 2016 College World Series as Arizona finished with a 49-24 overall record and wins in 17 of their last 21 games.

The previous two years as Head Coach at Nevada, Johnson guided the Wolf Pack to a 72-42 record.

In 2015, Nevada posted a 41-15 record and captured the school’s first-ever Mountain West title.

Before his stint at Nevada, Johnson was the associate head coach at the University of San Diego from 2006-13. He was part of Torero teams that made six NCAA post-season trips and captured four West Coast Conference titles.

Previously, he coached at Point Loma Nazarene, serving as an assistant from 2002-04. He then took over the program as the head coach in 2005 and led the Sea Lions to a 37-16 record.

At every stop in his coaching career, his players have been students of the mental game and excelled.

“I have had two superb mentors during my coaching career,” said Johnson.

“My first was Scott Sarver at Point Loma Nazarene and the second was Rich Hill at the University of San Diego. Both made the mental game a priority.

“I learned early in my coaching career how to get players ‘minds right’ for lack of a better term so they could achieve more peak performances.

“You hear all the time about baseball being 90 percent mental. If that’s so, why don’t we try to train the mind better? At Point Loma Nazarene, San Diego, Nevada and now Arizona, we have made mental training a high priority.”

Johnson said there is a an overall program-wide approach that his players will not focus on what they will accomplish. Instead, they focus on how they will do it.

“Essentially, it is process over result. The mindset we try to instill is getting one percent better each day. Then over time, you will have a compound effect of having a much better player and team.

“As far as mind discipline, we train through a lot of reading and relaxation. Our players do a ton of visualization, seeing themselves execute skills in their mind before they actually go out on the field.

“Our players perform a very simple 3-5 minute routine prior to leaving from the hotel on a road trip or in our own locker room prior to a home game that does a couple of things. No. 1, it allows each player to flip a switch. It allows them to put their personal life behind them which includes school, family, girlfriends, etc. They now flip the switch to being a baseball player.

To read more of this in-depth article on the mental game, purchase the Oct. 1, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

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Stanford’s Mark Marquess Giant In Coaching http://baseballnews.com/stanfords-marquess-giant-coaching/ Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:09:05 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=8659 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford’s Mark Marquess, one of the top coaches in the history of college baseball, will be hanging up his cleats following the 2017 season. It will be his 41st baseball season as head coach of the Cardinal. This giant in the profession led Stanford to two […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford’s Mark Marquess, one of the top coaches in the history of college baseball, will be hanging up his cleats following the 2017 season.

It will be his 41st baseball season as head coach of the Cardinal. This giant in the profession led Stanford to two national titles in 1987-88.

A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Marquess will open the 2017 season as the nation’s second-winningest active head coach with a career record of 1,585-862-7.

A three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Marquess has also guided the Cardinal to 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, 14 College World Series berths, six NCAA Super Regional crowns and 12 Pac-10 regular-season championships.

A culture of winning baseball has been successfully developed under Marquess with 38 of his 40 teams finishing at .500 or better.

During his tenure, the Cardinal captured 12 conference titles and finished either first or second a total of 23 times (including Southern Division finishes) while most recently winning back-to-back championships in 2003-04.

The Cardinal has also achieved at a high level in the classroom under Marquess.

In seven of the last 10 years, the baseball program has produced a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), and in no year has the GSR been less than 93 percent.

Additionally, of the 57 former student-athletes who have reached the majors under his leadership, 49 earned their degrees.

Stanford’s success under Marquess has paid dividends at the next level as well. His players are normally very visible on the radar screens of professional baseball scouts.

Over 200 Cardinal players have been chosen in the draft since 1977, including 25 first round or compensation picks since Jack McDowell in 1987.

Marquess has also been a well-known coach on the international level. In 1988, he won International Coach of the Year honors after leading the United States to a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

Marquess’ success as a coach can be traced to his days as a player. A three-year starter at first base for Stanford (1967-69), he earned All-America first-team honors in 1967 and garnered second-team All-America recognition in 1968.

Collegiate Baseball caught up with Marquess and asked him an assortment of questions about what allowed him to be such a successful coach in one of the most challenging conferences in the nation.

Marquess said that the longer you coach, the greater the appreciation for what you are doing in coaching student-athletes.

“The most important thing I have learned is that we (coaches) are teachers first and foremost,” said Marquess.

“As a young coach, you evaluate yourself on winning and losing, how many players go on to professional baseball or make the Big Leagues.

“The number of players who have made it to the Big Leagues is incredibly small. What is it. . .two percent of the players who come through? It is typically a very small number.

“Even more important for our athletes are lifetime skills that we as coaches can give them. You can’t overemphasize how much learning teamwork, working hard, hustling, dedication, being on time and things of this nature are to your players.

“The longer you coach, the greater you realize this. The guy who was a backup player or wasn’t drafted and comes back 15-20 years later to tell you what great experiences they had in your program and what an important foundation for life you gave them really hits home.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 1, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

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ASU Lands Nation’s No. 1 Recruiting Class http://baseballnews.com/asu-lands-nations-no-1-recruiting-class/ http://baseballnews.com/asu-lands-nations-no-1-recruiting-class/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:55:05 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=8627 SUN DEVILS BRING IN 8 DRAFTED PLAYERS TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona State landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball’s annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes. It marks the Sun Devils’ fourth national recruiting title. ASU also captured recruiting championships in 2008, 1995 and 1983. This is the […]

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SUN DEVILS BRING IN 8 DRAFTED PLAYERS

asu-2016-logoTUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona State landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball’s annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.

It marks the Sun Devils’ fourth national recruiting title. ASU also captured recruiting championships in 2008, 1995 and 1983.

This is the 34th straight year Collegiate Baseball has evaluated NCAA Division I recruiting classes.

Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school, but then signed a pro contract after being drafted, do not count in the overall evaluation.

Only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in as points are awarded to drafted players and the round they are chosen, All-Americans, All-State selections and All-Conference picks.

Collegiate Baseball also gives points for Conference Players of The Year, State Players of The Year and National Players of The Year.

ASU landed eight drafted players among the 20 the Sun Devils brought in this fall. Another three would have been drafted, but they turned down substantial financial overtures from professional organizations prior to the draft.

It is the most amount of draft picks an NCAA Division I team has landed since Florida brought in eight drafted players in 2013. It is the first time in seven years that a team from the Southeastern Conference has not captured the title.

The class features 15 freshmen, four junior college transfers and one 4-year college transfer.

“It really is a superb class,” said ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith.

“In our original recruiting class heading into the Draft last June, we expected to lose three players. When we lost six to pro signings, we suddenly had a lot of work to do.

“Historically, I don’t go after junior college players very often. Fortunately we recovered and signed some quality junior college transfers in RHP Jake Godfrey (N.W. Florida St. who was previously drafted in the 21st round in 2014), INF Taylor Lane (N.W. Florida St. who was drafted in the 40th round) and INF Jackson Willeford (Cypress C.C., 12th round pick in 2012).”

Godfrey was initially part of LSU’s 2014 recruiting class and posted a 7-1 record his freshman year in 2015 for the Tigers as the No. 3 starter in the rotation. He struck out 39 in 54 2/3 innings but also walked 33. In December of 2015, he transferred to N.W. Florida St. before moving to ASU this fall.

“We also had three other players who would have been drafted last June, but they turned down significant monetary pro offers in RHP Zane Strand (Hamilton H.S., AZ), RHP Alec Marsh (Ronald Reagan H.S., Milwaukee, WI), and OF Tre Turner, a duel sport football and baseball player from New Orleans (Holy Cross H.S.).”

Another significant addition to the recruiting class was SS Nick Ramos from the University of Indiana.

“Nick was a part of our Indiana team that made the 2013 College World Series. He graduated last year and transferred to Arizona State where he will be immediately eligible next season as a graduate student.”

Another intriguing player is catcher Lyle Lin from JSerra Catholic H.S. (San Juan Capistrano, CA).

“Lyle is originally from Taipei, Taiwan (and was drafted in the 16th round by Seattle),” said Smith.

“He was the first player from Taiwan ever to be drafted in our Major League Free Agent Draft last June. After he finished high school last spring, he went home to Taiwan and was treated as a hero after being drafted. We are thrilled he is with us this fall.”

A complete rundown on the top 20 recruiting classes is featured in the Oct. 1, 2016 issue of Collegiate Baseball. To purchase a copy or subscribe, CLICK HERE.

2016 NCAA Div. I Recruiting
Results By Collegiate Baseball

  1. Arizona St
  2. Mississippi
  3. North Carolina
  4. Arizona
  5. Auburn
  6. Florida
  7. Louisiana St.
  8. Texas Christian
  9. U.C. Santa Barbara
  10. Washington
  1. Vanderbilt
  2. Clemson
  3. Oregon
  4. Miami, Fla.
  5. Florida St.
  6. UCLA
  7. Louisville
  8. Texas
  9. San Diego
  10. Mississippi St.
  1. Cal. St. Fullerton
  2. South Carolina
  3. N.C. State
  4. Houston
  5. Georgia
  6. Arkansas
  7. Dallas Baptist
  8. Indiana
  9. Michigan
  10. Oklahoma St.
  1. Virginia
  2. Texas A&M
  3. New Mexico St.
  4. Rice
  5. Nevada
  6. Georgia Tech.
  7. Hawaii
  8. Stanford
  9. Tennessee
  10. Southern California

Other Top Recruiting Classes: Missouri St., Iowa, Coastal Carolina, Oregon St., South Alabama, Texas Tech., San Diego St., Duke, California, U.C. Irvine, Cal. St. Northridge, East Carolina, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic, Alabama, Cal Poly, Winthrop, Utah, Georgia St., Baylor, Minnesota, Missouri, Central Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida International, Wichita St., Fresno St., South Florida, Pepperdine, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, Kent St., Western Michigan, Long Beach St., Oklahoma, Central Michigan, Michigan St., Stetson, Washington St., Texas St., Nebraska, Creighton, College of Charleston, Sam Houston St., Ball St., Louisiana-Lafayette, Notre Dame, Florida Gulf Coast, Illinois St., Southern Mississippi, Kansas, Penn State, Illinois, Tulane, Stony Brook, New Mexico, Troy, Bowling Green, Richmond, N.C. Wilmington, Gonzaga, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Purdue, Wake Forest, Maryland, St. Louis, High Point, Ohio St.

Source: Collegiate Baseball

 

Previous NCAA Div. I
Recruiting Champions
By Collegiate Baseball

2015: Florida
2014: Louisiana St.
2013: Florida
2012: Vanderbilt
2011: South Carolina
2010: Louisiana St.
2009: Florida
2008: Arizona St.
2007: Louisiana St.
2006: South Carolina
2005: South Carolina
2004: Louisiana St.
2003: North Carolina
          South Carolina
2002: Georgia Tech.
2001: Southern California
2000: Cal. St. Fullerton
1999: Southern California
1998: Georgia Tech.
1997: UCLA
1996: Texas A&M
1995: Arizona St.
1994: Mississippi St.
1993: Miami (Fla.)
1992: Florida St.
1991: Miami (Fla.)
1990: Arizona
1989: Florida St.
1988: Miami (Fla.)
1987: Stanford
1986: Stanford
1985: Hawaii
1984: Florida St.
1983: Arizona St.

Source: Collegiate Baseball

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Was Arizona’s Dugout Dancing Appropriate? http://baseballnews.com/was-arizonas-dugout-dancing-appropriate-at-cws/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 21:54:30 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=8563 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball OMAHA, Neb. — What is the best way to get baseball players to relax in high stress situations like the College World Series? Over the past 70 years of this event, many unique and strange rituals have taken place in dugouts. Perhaps the most creative and entertaining was what […]

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Arizona Water DanceBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

OMAHA, Neb. — What is the best way to get baseball players to relax in high stress situations like the College World Series?

Over the past 70 years of this event, many unique and strange rituals have taken place in dugouts.

Perhaps the most creative and entertaining was what transpired at this year’s CWS.

Arizona’s reserves performed a type of ritualistic water dance usually in the fourth inning when special music was cued up in the press box just before the Wildcats were ready to hit.

Five or six players would start jumping up and down which would morph into players squeezing the life out of water bottles which shot water straight in the air and fell onto the dance group.

Their hands would  gyrate up and down to the beat of the music as they screamed for joy.

Watching the big smiles on the faces of the starters who were about to bat was a revelation since they were obviously focusing on what they were planning on doing in their next at bat during the most important games of the year.

This dance always broke the tension and relaxed these players instead of being focused robots who may or may not perform under extreme pressure.

As we saw Arizona hitters perform time and time again, we wondered if this technique, which had never been done before in the history of the College World Series, was something coaches should embrace in their programs during the season. The Wildcats had the most hits (63) in the College World Series and most runs scored (32). Time and again, Arizona hitters came through in the clutch as they finished second at the College World Series.

This amazing group of reserves also cheered loudly when Arizona did anything well and always squeezed water bottles as columns of water shot into the air. It was water world Wildcat style. They also adopted a Spiderman figurine for good luck in the dugout and sported rally mustaches.

While there are a number of old school coaches who obviously cringed when they saw the antics of Arizona players dancing in the dugout, we started thinking about whether similar techniques have been used by teams during the 70-year history of the College World Series. While not to this extreme, the answer is a resounding yes.

“My first reaction is that it was pure genius what Arizona players did,” said Tom Hanson, author of the best selling book Heads-Up Baseball: Playing The Game One Pitch At A Time with Ken Ravizza.

“All you have to do is look at the results they had.

“However, my first question with such antics is whether it is negative toward the other team or disrespectful and a form of taunting or ragging their opponents. If so, I would be against it. If it was all about their players, then it was great.

“The question is what works for an individual and a team? The challenge for every team is to play to a high level of performance with freedom and without interference. The formula for this success is performance equals potential minus interference.”

To read more of this article or subscribe purchase the July 15, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

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