Baseball Intelligence(B-IQ): October 2014(#38)

October 16, 2014

“For the Love of the Game and MORE..”
~Baseball is Life!~

Baseball is much like life and can at many junctures be considered a metaphor for actual life! The adage, “life is not fair, and neither is baseball” pretty much sums it all up. Moreover, the lessons of baseball are the lessons of life and vice versa. In each of these environs, it is imperative to have the passion to work hard and to accomplish one’s goals. The value in playing baseball or sport(s) in general, is to utilize the process of the game(s) and not in the results of the individual contests. FirstSwing and its umbrella organizations strive to teach the real value of sport(s) is in the important life lessons needed to become a solid productive citizen, loving spouse and caring parent…and, to achieve one’s goals and aspirations while at the same time being successful in each endeavor that one undertakes. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and the values and work ethic learned and developed as a youngster will provide an inventory of skill sets/mind sets that should empower an individual to great achievements! Take your passion and make it happen!! Everyone must find their own way but sport(s), especially baseball, will actually provide a “training ground” for decision-making, problem-solving, goal setting/achievement, teamwork, constraint, work ethic, etal…playing hard will lead to living hard. The sports environment teaches you how to deal with adversity, failure, prejudice, and most importantly success; each of these and more, provide the learning “tools” for both the present and future. Perfect practice makes perfect!

The “Prophet of the Sandlots”, Tony Lucadello, is one of the most underrated contributors to understanding the true value of baseball and “winning in life”. Tony was an unsuccessful ball player who became in many people’s opinion, the greatest baseball scout of all time. He signed hundreds of players of which 52 made it to the Bigs. His two most significant signees were Mike Schmidt and Fergie Jenkins(both in the HOF). Tony believed that every youngster should have a 4’x4’ wall in his yard or nearby, in order to practice the “fundies” of the game(same principle as having a basketball hoop available). He felt that baseball skills were eroded in his era(1930-80s), and youngsters needed access to a practice area that they could just throw the ball against and work on their skills sets. He developed the concept of the Lucadello Wall and the Lucadello Plan. These did become very popular in the Midwest and eventually MLB funded a video depicting his ideas and the Wall.

If one combines the essence of the Wall with what we know about learning, it makes sense to foster his Plan and encourage kids to be exposed to his teachings. It takes about 7-8 times for a person to see if they like doing something, 3500 repetitions to master a habit or skill set, and 10,000 hours to become great at it. Tony’s idea was to have this simple concrete wall(4’x4’) available for a youth to just go and use once a day or whenever it “called!” The long term thinking was that if a player invested the time of working on the Wall each day, eventually the hard work and perseverance could pay off with a college scholarship and even becoming a professional! Great goal…having fun to pay for future ones! Basically, the Wall creates opportunity, a stress free environment, and a place for passionate/energetic youngsters to go and develop the necessary skill sets needed to play the game; and at the same time, develop visualization skills, proper throwing mechanics, improve footwork, proper fielding position/framework, etc on a daily, weekly, or some type of regular basis….and of course, work ethic, etal!! Sometimes the hardest is found in the easiest!!! KWTP!

THINGS to do in October: EYE EXAM(duh!) You have had down time, now begin a regular baseball regimen!

  1. EYE EXAM NOW: FIRST of two eye exams. JUST DO IT!!!
  2. Sit down and write your goals for the off-season. This should include nutritional guidelines, a regular conditioning schedule, development of proper sleep patterns, and a viable, realistic throwing matrix.
  3. Jackie Robinson lettered in four sports at UCLA and baseball was his worst!!
  4. “Food for Thought”: BUILD a Wall and “climb to your dreams”!

Book of the Month: Who’s on Worst? Filip Bondy. A baseball compendium about the lousiest, “cheatiest”, goats, and other lower sorts of baseball history.

Movie of the Month: “Sandlot II”. Does not relive the zest or glee of the original but does have kids loving/playing the game without parental “interference”. “Smalls is still killing me!”

Rationalization #31. It’s not my responsibility. #32. Nobody got hurt!