Making the transition from practice to prowess

As winter turns to spring, the focus of my hitters shifts from merely practicing habits to refining and applying their skills under pressure. This is a crucial period where talent and habitual execution meet the true test of performance.

  • Talent is your natural aptitude, what you do well naturally.
  • Habits are what you do well repeatedly without conscious thought.
  • Skills are what you do well repeatedly without thought, especially under stress.

This transformation from habits to skills is essential for any athlete aiming to excel not just in practice but in competitive, high-pressure environments.

Case Study: Tripp’s Journey in the Hitting Lab
In a recent two-hour Hitting Lab Assessment, I worked with Tripp, a talented 13-year-old seventh grader from The Westminster School in Atlanta. The assessment is meticulously designed to cover multiple aspects:

  • Learning Styles Determination: Understanding how Tripp learns best to tailor our coaching methods.
  • S.M.A.R.T. Goal Mapping: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals to ensure clear pathways for success.
  • Swing Map Breakdown: Analyzing the components of Tripp’s swing.
  • Swing Evaluation: Observing Tripp’s swing under pressure to see how he adapts.
  • Skill Build Drills: Specific exercises designed to convert habits into skills.

While Tripp demonstrated intelligence and an impressive swing, we noticed that his ability to make quick adjustments needs improvement. The good news is that learning how to make these adjustments can be taught, and it’s something I specialize in.

I often emphasize to my trainees: “Practice plus pressure equals training.” It’s about adding the element of pressure to practice because pressure is a privilege. It is this pressure that turns routine actions into automatic responses under game conditions. Training in this manner builds skills that are critical not only in baseball but in life. Skills, indeed, pay the bills.

Remember, the transformation from habit to skill is the journey from practice to prowess.

Tripp’s ambition stretches far; he aspires to play for Vanderbilt and eventually, the Atlanta Braves. In partnership with Coach Tre Hampton, a dedicated LEAD Center For Youth Coach, we are committed to guiding Tripp toward these lofty goals. Our focus remains steadfast on nurturing his abilities, ensuring that his transition from performing well in practice to excelling under game-day stress is seamless.

The period from February to April is not just a time for training—it’s a time for transformation. For hitters like Tripp, it’s when potential is crafted into prowess that can stand the rigors of real-world challenges. As we continue to push the boundaries of what our athletes can achieve, we look forward to seeing their growth from talented individuals to skilled performers who thrive under pressure. Remember, the transformation from habit to skill is the journey from practice to prowess.

Stay tuned for more updates on Tripp’s progress and insights into how we’re developing the next generation of Major League players and citizens. Follow our journey and join us in shaping the future of baseball.