The real measure of an instructor

Had some time on a cold, snowy day to ponder an issue that perplexes many parents of fastpitch players — how to choose a private instructor.

One tried and true thing many people do is look at the top players in their area and assume that whoever coached those players up can do the same for their kid. Maybe that’s true. But it’s no guarantee.

In my mind, the real measure isn’t the coach’s top students — the kids just dripping with athleticism who blow everyone away. It’s the ones with average ability/athleticism who become successful that you ought to look at. Here’s why.

The outstanding athletes will probably be successful no matter who their instructor is. Sure, some instructors will take them farther than others, but the raw material has to be there first. As they say in the computer world, garbage in/garbage out.

The average ability players, though, test the instructor’s ability to take those student to the limit of what they can do. Which means there’s a far greater likelihood that that instructor will be able to do the same for your player, especially early in her career.

When you see a player who isn’t tremendously gifted standing out on the field, that’s a kid who has been coached up. That’s the instructor you’ll want to seek out. And if your player does have that little something extra, odds are the same magic will work for her too. Only a little better.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on January 21, 2012, in Coaching, Instruction. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I would heartily second all that and add, again, always compare everything anyone tells you about swinging a bat, pitching a ball or over hand throwing, to lots of slow motion video of the best in the world. Let that be part of your culling process on instructors as well. Here’s a few. http://imageeventcom/siggy;jsessionid=z4dzc32jf6.camel_s

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  2. Good point, Mark. I find it to be especially true with pitching. People teach a lot of crazy stuff, even former players who were successful pitchers. Comparing what you’re hearing to what the best players in the world do can tell you whether the instructor is teaching the techniques that provide the highest likelihood of success. If the instructor was a successful player, see if you can find any video of him/her playing to see if what he/she did as a player lines up with what he/she is teaching. You’d be surprised how many don’t. Even the big names. You may never want/need to teach the techniques yourself. But the more you know about what they should look like, the better position you’ll be in to make an informed decision. Video makes that possible.

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