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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

This is not theory, fact or anything in between. It’s merely musing for a rainy day. But it’s something we see a lot and I wonder if it doesn’t affect the kids in some negative way? Like father like son? Like coach like player? Maybe it’s one of the reasons players from families whose father is a professional baseball player might have an advantage.

It is good throwing and hitting mechanics. It’s doing things the right way. It’s moving like a baseball player when on a baseball field. It’s especially good throwing mechanics. We see so many fathers and youth coaches who have poor throwing mechanics. And we can’t help but think that it must affect how their kids throw. “Been playing catch with my dad since I was 4 years old.” What if dad throws with poor mechanics? What if his fingers come under the ball; what if he throws sidearm with a less than optimum elbow position? What if he casts the ball? What if his hand comes next to his ear when he throws a baseball? I can’t help but think that it must affect how their kids throw.
Baseball is the one major sport where you can’t slide by with less than optimum mechanics. In football, if you can run and hit you can play. In basketball you can have an unorthodox shooting style and still be effective. But in baseball peculiar and unusual is not rewarded. In fact, it will drive you away from the game; maybe not in LL but certainly at a higher level.

So what is the point of all this? Learn how to do it right. Learn it before you teach it. Dads, practice correct throwing mechanics. At the very least check yourself in front of a mirror or get videotaped. Your son may be aping you and you may not realize it. “Monkey see, monkey do.”

I am reminded of a story by a coach who was to teach a group of youngsters how to turn the double play. Well, since he hadn’t done it in years he decided to practice in the parking lot before he went onto the field. There he was, practicing his double play footwork on the asphalt, by himself when a cop walked up. (I’m sure he looked very peculiar.) After quite a bit of explaining he convinced the policeman he wasn’t crazy and he went on to teach the skill.

Our advice is to take some extra time and learn to do it right.

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