I think winter is the perfect time to write about private baseball lessons a little bit because a lot of players are getting them this time of year. I would like to start by saying that Baseball Brains coaches give a lot of private lessons, year round. So then we think they're awesome right? Not necessarily.
I just want to quickly give you guys a few pieces of advice if you're considering (or getting) private lessons.
First, don't sign up for a lot of them at one time. Some instructors get you to sign up for months worth of lessons, and we recommend against doing this for a lot of reasons.
The first is that you should work with a coach and develop a relationship with him for awhile before you make financial commitments to them. You need to be sure they're there for YOUR benefit, and not just for the check.
How much are they giving you for free? Real coaches, those interested in teaching and making kids better, will give you a tremendous amount of help without charging you a premium. If they're trying to get you to spend $500 the first time you see them, go somewhere else.
Another reason not to commit to an instructor long term is that they get lazy. I've seen this happen quite often, and it's perfectly congruent with human nature. You pay them up front, and then for the next three months you go in and work with the instructor. You may find that their attention drifts to other kids who are more active in the money department.
Good coaches are busy, and they have a lot of kids that want their time. Keep your expectations (and your checks) fresh in his mind so he doesn't take you for granted. Make them earn your money, and make them work hard for it.
One final note on this really quick; you might not need that many lessons. Let the instructor form a plan AFTER he sees you and works with you. Go over this plan with the instructor and see if it makes sense.
You can also send us a video analysis if you got one, and we'll do a second opinion on it for $20. This can be a great tool to use to make sure you're stepping into something that will truly make you better. Just send us the video and we'll get started.
Some instructors will say they recommend ten lessons, but have no reason at all why (besides their wallet!). Look it over and make sure that the lessons will be productive. Even if you don't fully understand all the things the coach wants to work on, you should consider whether it makes sense to follow his plan.
We aren't against lessons, there are a lot of great coaches out there who are willing to help you out, and they should be contacted frequently by people who want to get better. Their time is limited and we have no issue with those coaches making money doing lessons. Baseball coaches at most levels make dirt for cash, and lessons can be something that keeps them in the profession (and help them justify coaching to their wives).
I simply want you to be sure that you're getting your moneys worth, and that the coach is leading you down the proper roads. We look out for players around here!
By the way, more money doesn't always mean better. We often find that the best coaching you can get is from guys who don't have a ton of clients and don't charge a thousand dollars an hour. The key to improvement is receiving PERSONALIZED and INDIVIDUAL advice. No two players are the same, so be sure that what you're signing up for is for YOU.
Sometimes coaches with a ton of clients will just put them all on an identical program to make it easier for himself. That's not what most players need, so be careful.
You can get a video analysis from us here, or join Baseball Brains here and we can certainly help you out as well. Our All-Star membership is designed to be a personalized coaching companion to any player or coach, year round, on demand.
I'll write more on this subject (much more) in the future, I think it's very important. I'll give you some clues on how to make sure the coach you're working with is any good next time, trust me when I say that some of them aren't.
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