In sports, we often think the challenge is shifting from bad to good. The player starts as bad, then through effort they improve and become good. Far too often, it is this acceptance of good that prevents players from becoming great. And why is good accepted? Because good is good enough until… until it is too late. If you are good, you have something to loose.
What happens if you ruin good in your pursuit of great?
I recently heard a quote that really applies here and I think you’ll love it. “Everybody’s willing to bet the farm when the farm isn’t worth anything.”
I was in Texas last week for a course and was able to attend a Round Rock Express game. At the game, a big lefty named Ronald Guzman was the most hyped player for the Express. The 6’5″, 205 lb first baseman was batting third and was hitting a flush .345. Guzman is the Rangers’ #4 prospect, so he was somebody I was interested in seeing.
Watching him live, I thought he had some good stuff going in terms of angles. He sets the bat to a strong and has a ton of leverage being so tall. But overall, I felt the swing was two moves. Set the angle, then swing. It has some rhythm, but not as much as possible. Not what you see with the all-time great hitters.
The initial sequencing of his swing show how he is setting his barrel angle and bringing the hands back while his hips and shoulders are still closed. Not the end of the world, but usually this sets up a swing where the hands come forward with the shoulders too much.
In this isolated clip, you can get a feel for that two part swing. Kind of lifting the hands, then swinging.
Today, a friend sent me an article on Guzman talking about his recent success. In the article, they were discussing Guzmnan’s power and there were some interesting quotes. “I try to put the barrel [of the bat] on the baseball. For me, it hasn’t really been hard to stay that way. I keep it simple as I can… I’m using my hands more, which has been my focus for the longest time.”
(Here is a link: Guzman goes deep twice for Express)
We see quotes like this often. Keep it simple, use the hands, don’t try to do too much. I have a high appreciation for the message hear, but it makes me worried. In the clip above, I really tried to isolate the hands coming forward with the shoulders. This is the type of movement you’ll see with a “try to use my hands” approach.
My fear for a player like Guzman is that he’s trying to play it safe. He’s trying to be good, not great. I think there’s a mindset required for greatness. It can feel like a risk. It can be scary. Guzman is big enough that he’ll run into power, but the quickness component is more critical for his success at the big league level.
What is your choice?