The 4 Levels of Our Strategic Advantage Baseball Process
Darrell and I are going to explain our framework of our individual baseball player development program that we use the Athletic Mission Baseball Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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One of the biggest questions that Darrell and Geoff get is, how do we get to the next level? Whether that be high school, college or pro ball. We need the way they explain this, so we create a framework. We call it Strategic Advantage Baseball Process and it consists of four level of what it takes to develop into a next level pitcher, or hitter. These are the same four levels, we teach players to self evaluate or self scout. We can't get to the next level until we understand where we are at.
Darrell, the pitching strategist, Geoff a hitting strategy and we define the four levels of the strategic advantage baseball process as competitive advantage, unique pitching and unique hitting skills, strategic advantage, and finally, game day execution. But Darrell, let's do an overview of these four levels of the strategic advantage baseball process. In the next upcoming week, we'll go deeper into each of these so that our readers get a better understanding the four levels that sound good.
Geoff, I think it's really about learning how to self evaluate or self scout, but also kind of given us the ability to kind of help these young players figure out where they're currently at. The way I look at it is, is when we talk about the four levels, we're talking about either Individual development level, individual skill level, how do we prepare for an opponent? and then how do we show up on game day. When we work through the competitive advantage, it's more about physical skills and measurables, where probably 99% of the baseball world is focused on right now is more around your athleticism, for pitchers is more like mechanics velocity.
And then we dig deeper into a little bit about practice habits, routines, the drills, techniques and tactics that's kind of out there in the baseball world today to kind of go through and help these players develop the individual skill set, or what I call the physical skill set. When we work through the other three levels, which is kind of where you and I play at is how do we take that athleticism and that current level of skill set and really develop unique either pitching skills or hitting skills.
And then that's what the way I frame it with my guys is kind of how we walk through the you part of it, your competitive advantages, athleticism, mechanics, velocity, and things that set you apart your work ethic. Then unique pitching skills is kind of the mastery piece of that. So it's called What if for the pitching side of it, it's really around pitch matching or do you throw pitches that are instinctive to your arm slot. We really focus on what I call movement matching, movement mapping, where we really understand how we throw our pitches by velocity and movement to a specific location. And then ultimately, the mastery of that, which is what pitching is, is how do we develop and master our pitches by velocity of movement and be able to execute those to a specific location on purpose. So once we got that piece down, and again, when I talk about mastery, I'm not talking about perfection, I'm talking about mastery, that means we can throw that pitch on purpose. That's the foundation that I found that that gives pitchers confidence to one that they believe they could throw that pitch in a real game, then to be able to throw that pitch in any situation and count.
Which leads us into level three, level four, which is strategic advantage, which is really what we call it Athletic Mission Strategic Advantage Mindset Process. It's how we develop clarity, understanding mastery, strategy and execution. And within that, five components of that, how do we read and study hitters or as a hitter, how do we read and study pitchers and literally put a game plan together. I think that's the missing piece for a lot of these young players that they're so focused on the competitive advantage and really kind of trying to develop about their unique pitching skills or unique hitting skills, that as coaches and and managers, we kind of just assumed that the strategic side of it's going to happen on game day. I think what we're finding for these guys to really start leveling up and playing against players that are as good or better than them, then this strategic advantage and their ability to create and develop a strategic advantage mindset is really been the key for us here at athletic mission to kind of help our guys differentiate themselves. I think it's been a pretty good success down here.
The feedback we're getting has been really positive as we finish up on game day is as, you and I always talk about that, at the end of the day, no matter what we teach, these guys are what we help these guys develop that if it don't play on the field, or if they don't work in a real baseball game, then we got some work to do, man, something's not working.
So it's not about the the tools and the tactics, unless it works on game day, because ultimately, everybody wants to be a baseball player, man, and they want to be pretty good at it.
I think that's kind of the the 10,000 foot overview of the strategic advantage baseball process that we use here at Athletic Mission. I'm looking forward to to breaking it down and going deeper as we start working through the next few shows.
On the hitting side is going to be pretty similar in the sense that they're the four level that we're talking about, in the the individual development, the individual skill development, the unique skills, how we prepare for an opponent, and then lastly, show up on game day. Darrell, like you mentioned earlier, the competitive advantage, it more about the physical skills, those more about the athleticism, the practice habits, the routine, the mechanics, and then it's also about the measurable so the exit velocity, launch angle, time to contact, whatever you choose to use spin, whatever you choose to use. It's all classified as a competitive advantage. This is where the industry as a whole tend to focus on the most. It's important, and we do all of this here at Athletic Mission. But the next three levels is where we tend to focus on and it's where we tend to want to have the conversation with with parents, players and coaches. So we're taking a player individual skills, and we're developing their own unique hitting skill and what they are good at, and what they want to master. Darrell has something called pitch matching. I have something that I call swing matching. Basically, we're trying to make sure that we have a swing for the type of hitter that you are and understanding where you're at. There too many guys don't know what kind of hitter they are. And therefore they are working on the wrong stuff and going in the wrong direction. So what we do and through our assessment process and through our conversation, it we really try to get hitters to understand where they're at, and what kind of hitter that they are.
And then next I have what I call command hitting and this is where we understand how to execute situational hitting, and being able to execute it in a real game with a high practice situation, and being able to do it on purpose. Yes. Now, remember, Darrell talked about the the mastery. When we talk about mastery, we're not talking about perfection, we're talking about being able to execute a master skill, when you want on purpose is the word he used. And this is where the hitter, the pitcher gained confidence because they believe they can execute in a real game in any count and situation. Yes. Now, it's taken us up to level three, which is the strategic advantage mindset, which is how we develop the clarity, understanding mastery, strategy and execution. And within that, how we read and study pictures, so that we can develop a game plan. And you know, man, we Darrell, and I've been at the edge quite some time. And we believe that this is the missing link for a lot of players who are trapped in the level one competitive advantage. And just showing up on game day, assuming that the strategic side more show up. But what guide the finding in finding the strategic advantage mindset This is the key when we start talking about basically pitchers who are just as good, if not better than.
Lastly, we have the game day execution. And like Darrell said, we this is an area that we both focused on, because everything that we do in practice needs to show up on game day. Yes. So yeah, Darrell, we talked about this all the time. I believe this is the 'what next' answer, because, as an industry, we are so focused on the competitive advantage.
There a ton of guys doing great stuff, but there's a lot of really good players looking for that 'What's next' and that's the part that you and I are trying to provide solution for, which again, is the mastery of unique skills, and then taking what you do, and going and competing again, guide. They're just as good if not better than you. And you know, what players want to have this conversation? And could could, especially when they realized that there's more to it than just the velocity, active velocity, and etc. I'm excited to go deeper into this in the next couple of weeks as well.
When we can kind of expand the conversation, because I think what happens is, once we move past physical skill set, everybody thinks it's all mental. And what we've done here is kind of say, Okay, yeah, there's a mental piece of it minimal. The way we frame it is your thoughts. And then the truth is, is how do we take those thoughts and turn them into actions. And for us, the ability to do both, is strategic. And so we've kind of redefined the mental side of pitching or the mental side of hitting, and said, Hey, man, there is a conversation about your thoughts and what you're thinking. And that's important. We're not trying to downplay that. But but the rest of baseball is not just about how you think it's not physical and mental, there really is that unique combination that that did create strategy.
Being able to go execute a strategy and then make those competent adjustments in the middle of the game is not just about the mental side of it, it's really the strategic side of it, right. And so I think, as we kind of open that door to kind of get out of the taboo mental side, because the mental side has kind of been this kind of woowoo positive thinking kind of focus on, you know, the the internal things that you could control. But I think what happens with strategy is now all of a sudden, we take our individual skill set, and start matching it up against our opponent as a whole, and then each individual kid or pitcher that we're going to be battling. And then now all of a sudden, it takes on almost a different mindset with these players. And the guys that we've had that had a lot of success with this, have taken that strategic advantage mindset, and really dug deeper into how do I really prepare before the game. So they know they can play with supreme confidence during the game. And and that's kind of where you see all the data analytics and everything moving the game to. But we haven't really taught these young players how to have the mindset to use that data, and that it really feel individualized and personalized. And I think that's what we're trying to do here that so far as man has been fun with our group and and looking forward to having discussion at a at a higher level or with more coaches down the road.
Darrell and Geoff are in the trenches every single day. So we pay attention to what's going on in real life and on the internet and all this stuff. And they're they're the ton of buzzwords out there. And that's real, but but the question has to be, how do you take them and develop a process that can be used in a real baseball game. I think we have to first get an idea of where they're at, and then take them to the next step of mastery of the unique skill, then the strategic advantage mindset, and then eventually the game day execution.
Absolutely. And I think that's a piece where as coaches and instructors that we got to we with Strategic Advantage Baseball, that's what we're trying to do is develop those tools. That is more around self assessment or self scouting, I call it so that they have an idea themselves where they're at. And again, it don't have to be perfect. It just needs to be the the piece that's moving them through these four levels. Because at the end of the day, if you want to play at elite level in college or elite level at the pro ball, then you're gonna have to master these four levels. You can't get stuck in competitive advantage because a competitive advantage your physical skill set is only an advantage against players. It's not as good as you right once they started. Having a strategy and they figure you out, then guess what you can throw 94-95-96. Man, they, they turn on that the big leagues every day, right. So that's not a competitive advantage anymore. So now we got to be able to take our skill set, and really develop a strategy for each hitter or each pitcher that we're going to be facing. And that's kind of where I see the game going. And it's cool. It's always been that way, just now that we got more data and information than ever. And sometimes I think we firehose these kids with data and information. And then we're frustrated because they don't respond, or they don't take it and use it the way we think they ought to. And I think that's why we have a lot of coaches calling pitches. Now, I think that's why we see a lot of parts of the game, because maybe we haven't had that intersect of how we communicate, really, how you use your individual skill set and create a strategy with it and then go executed under extreme pressure and a real baseball game.
Yeah. And again, I want to I want to bring this up, because it's important that we understand this, like you said, we got all of this information. And we assume that guy will grasp them, and figure out how they can use it to gain a strategic advantage. But But man, they need a they need a process. They need a framework, absolutely. So that they can understand how to use it. When they are in a real game. Is it going to be perfect? No. But that baseball and baseball, the game of adjustments, pitch by pitch. And it's fun walking guys through this. And it's fun when they start to really, really kind of start, you can see that they really started to understand Oh,
Absolutely. And that's why I tell guys, man, I don't believe baseball's a game of failure. I think it just feels like a failure when you don't have any strategy. Right? When you don't have a strategic advantage when you don't know how to make that next competent adjustment, then it can make him feel like a failure. So again, I don't like calling baseball game of failure. I think baseball's baseball, I think, now our ability to create a strategy or make an adjustment is based on what we do. And so as coaches, how we develop players, and individually helps them understand that concept and grasp that it's more than the mental side. It's more than what you see. It's literally how do we tie that piece together? How do we take our physical toolset and our thoughts and what we understand a belief about ourselves, and then what we learn about the opponent, what we study about the opponent and turn it into a strategic advantage, man. So I think it's cool, man, we've had some great conversations with our guys here. And and I think it's going to be a neat conversation to have here. As we continue to grow out this strategic advantage baseball conversation, man,
I agree. And again, the four level the individual player development, our competitive advantage, unique hitting and pitching skills, strategic advantage, and Game Day execution. These are the things that we're going to go a little more in depth on over the next four podcasts. So this is what we wanted to kind of highlight today with kind of the overview for the very first episode, our framework for individual player development. And that's all I got. Do you got anything else you want to add as we wrap this up?
Now, Geoff, I think that touches on it. I'm excited to have this conversation with coaches and players man I know we get a lot of feedback here in Tulsa and then, you know, across the board on social media about you know, literally how do you guys teach a process? Or how do you guys really break that down? And and how do you manage that, honestly, how do you take the time and how do you figure out when to do it and how to incorporate it in into a practice and so that will be something that will definitely dig deeper into, and and really is, you know, I'm looking forward to having this conversation, man, I think it's gonna be fun, and I'm looking forward to the feedback.
Likewise, I got we'll catch y'all next week.
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