Training Observations From An American Public Park

Wandering through a Californian public park today I couldn’t help but notice the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in how it seemed American high school aged athletes practice. I came across a baseball diamond and a teenager named Deon hitting baseballs with his mother. Typical teenage athlete/parent practice scenario? Not quite.

1. Deon was directing practice. Goal oriented practice. Deliberate practice. He knew what he wanted and he was challenging himself to execute it. It was his practice.

2. Deon’s voice was the only voice you could hear. I actually had to strike up a conversation with his Mum just to get her to say something and even then she said “I’m just out here getting some sun”.

3. Less talk more action. They had a massive bucket of balls and Deon had 10+ attempts between any adjustments. He seemed to be a kinesthetic learner and he was letting the outcomes provide feedback.

4. Deon was good. An all-state, all-star athlete. Not that he mentioned it or his Mum bragged about it. He said to me he had a lot of improving to do. I noticed he had a few stars on his helmet and bag that someone else told me were all-state patches.

5. He was having fun. Even though he was focused on the tasks he still took time to fire a throw right at me while I was taking this video of him. The video below cuts right before he starts laughing at me for flinching!

US Baseball Practice movie

6. Deon practiced all positions and scenarios. Even though he was a short stop, he pitched a little and practiced in the outfield. The chances of him playing these positions was slim but he liked to test his skills and be prepared.

David Hodge gained an appreciation for the coaching intracacies of baseball during his 11 years in the USA. Follow him on twitter @CoachDavidHodge

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