Baseball, DAN, Rick Wolf discussed on Sports Edge
Your host, Rick wolf. Well, it's it's hard to believe what with all the slow that I encountered this morning and the winds out of the north. But yeah, we're on the doorstep of a brand new baseball season in just a few weeks. But you know, to me springtime, and yeah, we'll have sunshine and nice temperatures. I'm sure in the next week or so, but the springtime is always a start of a new hopes and dreams and the start of the baseball season in particular, always brings a great and wonderful promise. And on today's show. I want to tell you about a new book that was just published by Dan, gray, the owner and founder of pro swing baseball and softball trading center up and Malcolm disco and in porchester, let's face it. Baseball by far, the most difficult and most complicated and most frustrating sport for young kids to learn and to play and Dan's new book, the youth base. Spall bible the guy to coaching and enjoying youth baseball. He goes through all the basics and fundamentals of how to teach the game. Now, Dan graze a proud native of the Bronx. He graduated from the Bronx high school science went on to Binghamton university. He was drafted by the dodgers in the seventh round played in the dodgers organization for as a catcher for a number of years. And as you loyal listeners of the show know Dan's, but on the sports edged several times in the past. And I welcome him back this morning, Dan. How are you doing? Good morning, Rick. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. And I greatly. Appreciate you putting me on the first show after the time. I was just going to apologize. He said, oh I booked in for this daylight saving show. Friends. It is in fact, eight oh seven daylight savings time. But yes, I on daylight saving Sunday and also an a snowstorm. So thank you for early. I hope you do have several cups of coffee sitting by you anytime. I really enjoy speaking and talking baseball with you. Well, that's nice to hear Now, Dan, I have to tell you this the first question I have to ask you and friends if you've never met, Dan, gray, you should know this. He's a big big guy is the essence of a strong catcher. But then you're writing in the book that which I did know in high school were a middle infielder until you senior year is that correct? Yeah. I I really was more of a shortstop second baseman. And and it's you know, I don't know if your listeners know, I was the same thing. I think he was drafted as a second baseman by the Yankees and engine verdict to a catcher. But I remember my high school coach telling me if you wanna play in college. And again, this is going back many years wreck as we're getting older, but my high school coach I to me if you wanna play in college, you'd have to be a left handed pitcher or catcher, and considering you so righty the first ones out, so you might as well get behind the plate in and have a better chance of making a roster and at that point you have ever considered being a catcher before. Well, what I what I enjoy very quickly was the mental aspect of the game within the game on on trying to figure out how to get hitters out or try to bring the most out of the pitching staff so to me that right away as soon as I put together on that was the most enjoyable part to me I've heard that before I've never I never caught an baseball game. But I know a lot of catchers, obviously, especially the catches a go on. I like Joe Girardi who was obviously so impressed with your book did give you a wonderful wonderful endorsement, but a lot of catchers say they'd like that mental side because they feel like they're in control of all the players on the field. So I I understand for somebody who's cerebral like yourself, it's a very appealing position. Well, it's I mean, it's kinda tough to like physical side fit. Right. I mean, you're you're coming up and down. Are you going down to block you're taking south tips constantly? So you're you know, I remember one of my catching instructor telling me when you have a long minor league season, which you you've gone through personally yourself. It's really the catcher the firsthand games. We feel hundred percent after that you're gonna be you're gonna be nicked up and you're going to be bruised and you're gonna be sore for there for the remainder of the season. Well, let's talk about this book. And obviously this is the culmination of all your years now, you should open up. A pro swing baseball and softball back in two thousand two I believe and you and your staff of work with literally. Thousands of aspiring ball players over the years. What is your opinion? What's the most difficult? Skill to teach. Is it hitting is a pitching fielding? Wh what do you think in all the years you've been doing this? What's the most difficult? Skill to teach the kids these days. Oh, I think by far RIC it's heading. I I don't think there's a question when you have a reactionary function on a ball moving. And you're not sure what the speed is. Or what the location is going to be? And and he's you know, regardless of the distance, you know, ninety nine point nine nine nine nine percent of the population loses the ball about five or seven feet out in front of him. Which most people don't understand because your eyes are not, you know, quick enough to make that adjustment to see the ball to the barrel on. But although that's the way we, you know, we we kind of try to teach you know, it's the most different to me. It's the most difficult aspect of the game. And it's in my opinion, the most difficult thing to do in sports. And I I actually agree with that. And I think a lot of athletes from other sports was out on oh, it's much more difficult, for example to learn how to ice skate or a high escape backwards in hockey, or it's more difficult to learn how to shoot a three ball and basketball. But clearly the phrase you used there the reactive aspect and baseball. And of course, the concomitant sense that if you're in a slump and things aren't going your way. It just sort of snowballs. And it's so difficult to sort of keep yourself from panicking. Is you see your batting average go down and down. It's it is really something. I mean, barchi Amati once said the game was designed to disappoint you. And I think those words were right on target. Well, it's it listen you, and I both know what your game of failure. Right. You're more times than you're going to succeed. And one of the best pieces of advice that I ever got. From my coaches is listen, you're you're you're going to fail a lot more than you're going to succeed in what you do with those failures is really going to dictate, you know, your your mechanics will put you in a slump, but your mind will keep you there. And so it's a matter of being able to learn something, whether it's mechanically from your mindset or from the pattern after pictures, presenting to you to try to get you out. It's it's your job to learn something from that when you're not successful. And then let it go. And you know, I try to tell all my hitters that. It's it's it's very similar to a cornerback in football. You have to have a short memory. You learn something from it. You move on. On because as you know, when you try to mentally stacks those at batch, and it snowballs on you, then then it's the the definition of a a slump, but I learned a lot obviously from your book secrets of sports psychology revealed shameless plug for the host, thanks. You know, it's it's there is a mental aspect of the game. That's that's a whole different element that, you know, your book, and and things that I've learned over the years in and try to instill into my players. It's that's a very very difficult aspect to keep the confidence to be able to believe in the mechanics entrust what you've been doing. It's it's a it's a very complex process. And it's it's that's why to me it's the hardest thing to do consistently. Well, let me ask you this, Dan because obviously. You and I know each other for many years, and I know you tend to be an old school kind of baseball guy. Which of course, I am as well. But the game has changed, and I'm wondering from the fact that you work with of the young kids high school kids who are obviously coming up to the ranks the game has changed and things that we used to take for granted. Whether it's learning how to bunt or to steal bases. Or or getting kids understand hit? The ball words pitch as opposed to try to always pull the ball. These things we used to work on routinely. But now the game is changed. I know in your book, you go into great detail about teaching kids how to bunt and how to take a lead, and so and so forth. But how is that? How was the game? And it's changing with analytics how has that influenced you at all in terms of new staff with teaching kids today how to play baseball? We'll just how Rick. I mean, it's it's changed the teaching style. And that's why you know, you know, as well as I do from pro ball, there's a trickle down effect to college and then back down. Into high school and so on and so forth. So the the teaching component of what coaches are doing. Now. There's no emphasis on that part of the game. Whether it's a hit and run or adding productive outs or or bunting. It's just not taught anymore, and quite frankly, it's not it's not glamorized you and I are not getting on sportscenter. If we set up the winning run by putting down a successful sack, but we're not we're not gonna make sportscenter. I quick interesting story wreck I had a major current major league player who is in my society a couple of months ago during during the off season, and he said to me that many of his teammates. Now this is in the big leagues. Now, many of his teammates will come back to the dugout with a man on third and hit a fly ball that that's a sacked fly that scores a run, and they'll they'll be quite annoyed. And and some of them will get a talking to by the by the hitting coach based on the fact that it's not helping their oh PS. And and what does that translate into not helping your OPSEC's a major factor in your next contract in in compiling numbers to kind of be able to negotiate better contracts. So that's unfortunately, in many ways for me, that's one of the ways the game has has kind of changed for the worse. You know, that's a big element. You know, when when you and I used to do that many years ago, you would be praised when you came into the dugout for making sure that that that run got in. And you scored a run for your team doesn't really work that way anymore. I remember was my years coaching with the Indians. And how much is going back to the nineties. You know, how much they stressed a situational hitting a man on third base for less than two outs. And how essential was either to get a sacked fly or put the ball on the play these days, of course, kids? Well, strikeout is the same as groundout or as same as a pop ups. What's the difference? And as it sort of makes my my jaw drop as to how. Gotten to this point. But that's the mentality that any baseball instructor these days any coach has to understand and cope with. I don't think there's any question about that you and I live in in Yankee and met country. Right. But you know to me when people talk to me about what happened this past year in in the major league baseball season. The reason Red Sox won the World Series as they had the the the most complete hitter's a a number of them in their lineup. They had they were the most complete hitters that really played the game. It wasn't just about power numbers. It was about to strike hitting approach. It was about getting guys over when you needed to. It was about getting guys in when you need to with productive outs. So when when people talk to me about that it was it was listened. They were they were built. Yes with all those Adelaide ex and with launch angle and ball exit philosophy and all of that stuff in mind. But there was still an element that connected into the old school type of play that, you know, it was it was okay. To you know, a able to take a pitch and and hit it to the right side of the field. And and and move a guy over or, you know, potentially get yourself a hit to the opposite field drive a running. So to me, that's the reason they won the World Series. I think everybody, you know, I agree with that as well. At the Red Sox, obviously had those guys as you describe much better and more more well rounded as hitters and getting on base. Hey, my guest this morning as Dan gray. Pro swing baseball and softball training center up in Westchester county. Got a new book out, which I heartily endorse. It's called the youth. Baseball bible. Let me take a break..