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I have been fascinated by the thread started by dPeyton on "bad coaching" and hitting. Surely, there is a lot of discussion about hitting, different approaches, right and wrong, don't listen to him, listen to him, he knows but cannot explain and a number of similar comments.
Boy, it can make your head spin.

But, with all that said, we readily recognize those we call a "student of the game."
I see many agree Jeter is one of them.
Many posters have agreed Eckstein is one of them. Joe Torre, Teri Francona, and Jim Leyland surely must be "them."

But, outside of MLB, who are they?
It would seem to me a student of the game would be one to play it well.
A student of the game would also be one who can teach and coach it well.
Am I wrong?

What/who is a student of the game?
How do you know if they can teach it well?
How do you know if they coach it well?
Do you have to be a student of the game to play it well, teach it well, coach it well?
Do some play it well/excel who are not students of the game?
Can you coach/teach it well if you are not a student of the game?

What is a student of the game, who are they and how do you know when you find one, and find one who isn't?

'You don't have to be a great player to play in the major leagues, you've got to be a good one every day.'

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Admittedly, I am biased to Eckstein, I had lunch with his agent this past week. To me, Eckstein is one of the very rare few who are beyond student of the game, he IS the living, breathing epitome of the game. After all, the guy literally willed himself to college and pro ball.

Ok, I generally think students of the game are the kids/players who a) watch inordinate amounts of baseball b) watch not just to spectate, but watch to know why things happen and when, what pitches are thrown on which counts and have a grasp of when to bunt, hit/run, as well as, teh fundamentals of technical plays etc. etc.

Also, good students of the game aren't neccessarily great players. I'd like to think I'm one that fits that category. You can study and understand the game and npt be very good. When you combine a great student with a good/great player your getting in pretty rare territory, although most catchers and some pitchers have some of these tendencies. These are the guys who can make the plays instincutally and also know the exact fundamentals of the play and why everyone did what they did.

I think there are plenty of guys who play well who arent students of the game, they just have the god-given repetition re-enforced instincts.

I think there are plenty of students of the game who wouldn't neccarisarily be good teachers or coaches...that takes good communication skills. They exist, but I dont think the two go hand-in-hand automatically.

I do think if your going to teach and coach WELL, you have to be a student of the game. But just cause your a student doesn't automatically mean you will teach and coach well. Make sense?
Coaching in my eyes is a trifecta of skills.

1. You're student of the game description- a person who understands the x's and o's

2. Motivator - this is your teacher. Can he communicate his ideas in a way that makes the player receptive and pliable. (there are techniques depending on level)

3. This is the most elusive one...talent evaluator. You have to have an eye for not only talent, but then understand (more student of the game stuff here), how those skill sets are needed, in what situations do they flourish, and how does the players total picture mesh with the needs of the team. I.e. You don't need a shortstop that hits .350 but is error prone if your lineup hits .350 without him...but you would need him if your lineup hits .250.
I noticed something interesting from my son. He started catching full time last year when he was a freshman in HS.(prior to that he played a lot of MI)

I started to notice watching games on TV with him that he was picking up on some very fine points that I wasn't looking for.

I think this why so many MLB managers and coaches in general are catchers.
A true student of the game is someone who truly wants to know everything there is to know and at the same time realizes he will never know anywhere near enough to be satisfied. You can't be a student of the game if you are satisfied with your present knowledge. Learning never stops.

I am a proud student of the game! Always will be!

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