I’ve always been a guy that likes to work out alone.
When I was a player, I loved to lift weights on my own. (Mind you, when I needed a spot in a particular exercise, I found one. But for the most part, I was pretty much like Clubber Lang, or Mr. T. for the movie trivia-impaired, in Rocky III.)
When I was working on my game, aside from my BP-throwing, fungo-hitting, bullpen-catching Dad, I didn’t work out with with too many other people (or anyone else for that matter), unless I was at a team practice.
For the most part, it was the best way I knew to get my work in. I had no distractions. I got to listen to the music I wanted. I took as many swings as I needed. Nobody could interfere with MY work outs.
But today, I got the chance to catch up with one of my hitters, whom I haven’t been able to see “live” in quite a while, (800 miles will usually do that.) and changed my thoughts on solo training a little bit.
He works very hard and never uses the excuse that he has nobody to work out with him. He frequently hits with a few other hitters, sure. But if they’re not around, he’ll still get something done on his own.
Well, like I said, I haven’t seen him in a while, and I jumped at the opportunity to see what been going on with his swing.
I’ll spare you the details, but he mentioned that things didn’t “feel right.” I took a look at what he was working with, and after a few minutes of him swinging, and my keen observations, my hitter said:
“You’ve seen me for just a few minutes, and you’ve already nailed what was wrong!”
Keep in mind, the “flaws” weren’t huge, glaring, slump-making flaws. He’s had a great deal of success as a hitter – even with those “unknown flaws” slowly creeping into his swing. But they were things that I never saw him do… especially when I saw him swing the bat as well as he possibly could.
For me, I learned a lesson that day. Those flaws are THE reason why it’s always good to have a second pair of eyes keeping watch for those annoying, silent-but-deadly bad habits, or just to make sure things are working as planned.
They shouldn’t be any random set of eye balls… unless you as a hitter fills them in on what you want them to look out for.
The best set of eyes knows you as a hitter, knows your swing, the things you try to maintain in your swing, and especially the things you try to keep from sneaking into your swing.
But if absolutely nobody is around…
That’s what mirrors are for. (I always picture Kevin Costner in Bull Durham looking at his reflection in a storefront window.)
That’s what video cameras are for. (This particular hitter sends me clips of his swing every so often.)
Utilize whatever makes sure you don’t let something unwanted become a part of a swing you work so hard to maintain.
As an instructor, I know that these habits don’t always need a long period of time to develop. I’d work with a hitter one week, then the very next week they’d be doing something different. You’d be surprised what can pop up in just six or seven days!
Fortunately for them, they had a second set of eyes that could point it out, and stamp it out before it became a problem.