It’s the Time Between Lessons That Really Counts
Guest post by Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog
As most of you who have been around for a while know, I am a private instructor in addition to being a team coach and administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum. It’s something I love doing – I must, because for most of the off-season I’m doing it nearly every day of the week for hours at a time.
As such, I’m certainly an advocate of taking lessons for various skills – particularly hitting and pitching. A good instructor can really help shorten the learning process, and keep players from making a lot of dead-end decisions regarding technique.
Yet I always have one thing I stress to every new student and her parents: It’s not the time you spend with me that’s important. It’s really the time you spend between visits to me that makes the difference.
Sure, I wish I could offer some miracle cure to players – a simple laying on of the hands, so to speak, that would instantly convey the skills they want to acquire. But honestly, if I could do that I’d be charging $1,000 per lesson, maybe more. And there would be a line a mile long to get a little of that “healing action.”
That’s not the way it works, though. Instead, learning skills in softball takes time and effort. Lots of both. But I find that when players put in the time on their own, their overall progress is much faster than those who show up once a week not having touched a ball or bat since the previous week’s lesson.
The same, of course, applies to who your instructor is. Just because you’re going to so-and-so, the famous ex-player or well-known coach, doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get your money’s worth out of it. If you don’t put in the work, it really doesn’t matter who you go to. Because I have yet to find anyone who offers the miracle cure.
Kids, in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. We instructors can usually tell if you’ve been working during the week. Those who do tend to pick up where they left off. Those who don’t tend to have to take a couple of steps back each lesson before starting to creep forward again. We’re always delighted to see a student who has actually worked at getting better too.
If the only work you put in is during lessons, the odds are you’re wasting your time, the instructor’s time, and your parents’ money. The real learning happens when you apply the lessons you’ve learned on your own – trying things, thinking them through and making each instruction a part of your “natural” way of doing things.
The more you work on your own, the faster you’ll get better. It’s like one of those math graphs. You have time on one axis, and improvement on the other. The more time you put in, the faster you’ll improve. The less time you put in, the more time it will take to achieve the same level of competence.
So go to your lessons, and absorb all you can under the watchful, helpful eye of your instructor. But just remember that going to lessons isn’t enough. It’s the work you put in between those lessons that will really deliver the value.
Anyway, that’s the way I see it.
photo credit: aqualung on flickr