Finding good instruction

First time posting, but I've been lurking a while. It's been a very valuable learning experience.

Our 2022 is a decent infielder and hitter. He can pitch well for his age but that's not going to be his ultimate position. He wants to start concentrating on fine-tuning and improving his skills and he would benefit from some higher-level instruction. Unfortunately, we live in an area where baseball is often an afterthought sport and I know of no local players who take outside instruction.

Here's my question: How do we find quality private instruction? We're probably going to have to go to a metro area about 60 miles from us and we have no word-of-mouth opinions to go on. What should we look for, what questions should we ask?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

Original Post

Ask players from the nearest travel organizations and colleges who they work with individually and who they might know about.  If you can't connect that route and you have to use a commercial training facility, most have profiles of their instructors on a website.  Look at their background as it compares to the skill set you are wanting to work on.  From there, you can contact those instructors and ask further questions if needed. 

The most variance with types of instruction comes in the way of hitting and pitching mechanics.  Since it sounds like he isn't going to focus on pitching, you will want to direct questions to general hitting philosophy.  Just ask the instructor what his primary mechanic direction/focus and philosophy is with hitters.  See how it matches up with your son's direction.

Jangles posted:

We are in Ohio.

I'm NOT asking for individual recommendations - I would just like some general "what to look for" and "what questions should we ask" advice.

Based on this response it appears you just want to know what qualities or teaching method to look for as opposed to a specific instructor or how to find one.  This may be a little unconventional with the majority but it seemed to work with my son and his success.  He tried 3 different instructors and the last (current) one was the best fit for him (12 plus years).   Note:  my son is a position player thus this may be skewed towards that and not a pitcher, but same principles.

I truly believe just by being a great athlete with baseball talent and ability can only take you so far.  You have to be a student of the game, to understand and learn the game better than others.  This in combination with talent and physical ability will give you a better chance of standing out.  His instructor used to spend a minimum 10 minutes talking to my son, seeing where his thoughts were, asking him situational baseball questions and scenarios, strategies, etc (this started at 9 years old).

An instructor who works with the kid to tweak his mechanics based on what is comfortable for the kid's body and strength.  As the kid matures and grows his strike zone changes, he gets stronger and bigger thus mechanics change.

An instructor who listens to the kid.  When my son suggested things, if it made sense he would let him try it.  At the end of the trial period they would discuss the results.  A few times on his own son realized his suggestion didn't produce desirable results.  Few time a week later son forgot his suggestion from prior week and went back to old way.  Every now and then something works, and if it somehow got his bat on a better swing path, or arm slot for pitching then that was emphasized.  What this ultimately did years later was create a unique baseball bond between student and instructor where an open line of communication was easier.  No longer was it instructor "telling" student what must be done, it was discussion and end result.  Son felt he had more control over his learning and abilities since a joint decision.

Sorry this is a little long and boring.  PM me if you want more details. 

Jangles:

do you live near a College? You may desire to meet with the Coaches and learn the answers to your questions. The majority of players teach themselves thru books, films, U tube. They are constantly learning from game to game. Take notes, ask questions. How did I make an out.

Years ago at our Area Code tryout in Houston I met Ralph Garr, former MLB Batting Champion and now Braves scout. Ralph, I said "who was your hitting instructor?" Ralph said Henry Aaron!!!! What did Henry tell you? "Figure it out for yourself Ralph"

The rest is history. Every year, we travel to Australia with former MLB players as coaches. It is a two year "clinic". 

Bob

 

 

Start in and work out.  Meaning your local youth coaches and baseball organization, take that information and work out to other coaches, ultimately ending with the local HS coach.  Get that information and go to everyone's best friend...Google and see what you get.

Before you meet and greet decide with your son what exactly it is you want to accomplish.  Things such as arm strength, IF velo, glove work, hitting exit velo, overall better contact with the ball, etc.  With that in mind ask the instructor how he teaches kids your sons age these items.  If what they say checks out with your research (which is absolutely required and what your doing here) and lastly your gut tells you it's right...then give it a shot and see if there is any improvement and decide to move on from there.

Trust In Him posted:
Jangles posted:

We are in Ohio.

I'm NOT asking for individual recommendations - I would just like some general "what to look for" and "what questions should we ask" advice.

Based on this response it appears you just want to know what qualities or teaching method to look for as opposed to a specific instructor or how to find one.  This may be a little unconventional with the majority but it seemed to work with my son and his success.  He tried 3 different instructors and the last (current) one was the best fit for him (12 plus years).   Note:  my son is a position player thus this may be skewed towards that and not a pitcher, but same principles.

I truly believe just by being a great athlete with baseball talent and ability can only take you so far.  You have to be a student of the game, to understand and learn the game better than others.  This in combination with talent and physical ability will give you a better chance of standing out.  His instructor used to spend a minimum 10 minutes talking to my son, seeing where his thoughts were, asking him situational baseball questions and scenarios, strategies, etc (this started at 9 years old).

An instructor who works with the kid to tweak his mechanics based on what is comfortable for the kid's body and strength.  As the kid matures and grows his strike zone changes, he gets stronger and bigger thus mechanics change.

An instructor who listens to the kid.  When my son suggested things, if it made sense he would let him try it.  At the end of the trial period they would discuss the results.  A few times on his own son realized his suggestion didn't produce desirable results.  Few time a week later son forgot his suggestion from prior week and went back to old way.  Every now and then something works, and if it somehow got his bat on a better swing path, or arm slot for pitching then that was emphasized.  What this ultimately did years later was create a unique baseball bond between student and instructor where an open line of communication was easier.  No longer was it instructor "telling" student what must be done, it was discussion and end result.  Son felt he had more control over his learning and abilities since a joint decision.

Sorry this is a little long and boring.  PM me if you want more details. 

The coach who worked best with my son was sort of the flip of this—he’d offer two or three ways of throwing a fastball or a change up—try this. Don’t like it? Okay, try this. Better? How about this?

the tweaks didn’t come from my son, the coach knew there wasn’t one right way of doing things. There was one right way for my son and the coach’s job was to sort through all the possible “right ways”to find the one that worked best. 

Reaching out to some of college coaches could help direct you to good training facilities who'll likely have a few good instructors.  The volunteer AC's for the colleges will also run camps and teach at a local facility (typically below HS level to avoid NCAA conflicts), but they were likely good players where ever they attended college.  I found a former Vandy SS this way who taught advance fielding techniques (gem of a find).

Also, if you sort through this link, you'll see the 2018 committments from Ohio listing the teams they play with. Contact a few of those teams that might be near you and ask about training facilities and instructors they might recommend.  

https://www.fieldlevel.com/vie...ents/baseball/all/oh

My preference is contacting the college coaches...You can do this yourself, not your kid.

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