Friday, May 22, 2009

Donnie Watson wants to save baseball's youth

I just read this open letter to baseball parents, and then called Donnie Watson to learn more.

Holy crap. I have been part and parcel of a system that's killing careers, often before they even blossom.

I'm reprinting it here. Share this with someone you know or care about in baseball or softball.

An Open Letter to Baseball Parents...
You're a baseball parent, so I know this will be of interest to you, and the timing is crucial so please take a moment to read this message. If you don't have the time, bookmark this page-- come back to it later - it's that important.

Dear Baseball Parent,

My name is Donnie Watson. Because of a surge of interest from clients and staff I will be working in DFW this summer and coaching an 18U team. My passion is working with kids and involving their parents and coaches in the process of questioning and overcoming the traditional methods used to develop athletes in our sport.

Why this is important
Having experienced every level of baseball's evolution in Texas since the early 70's, I have an information set that will cause you to rethink the traditional choices available to teach and develop your baseball playing athlete.

There's a lot of info, and it is next to impossible to keep it short and sweet, but I'll try to keep it simple.

Simply put, baseball is broken, and the environment encountered by many of today's young athletes is full of information, people and issues that not only inhibit athletic development but also make it more difficult for these athletes to develop as leaders on and off the field.

Some of these issues include:

1. Misinformation about effective and safe pitching/throwing mechanics based on years of unchallenged theory and opinion
2. Dramatic increases in the number of avoidable arm, shoulder and lower back injuries as a direct result of improper mechanics, overuse and a lack of functional strength
3. Unhealthy competition environments where the result of the game becomes more important than how the game is played and where leadership examples set on the field and in the stands stand in stark contrast to the ideals we hope our young athletes copy
4. Missed opportunities to teach life lessons about nutrition, in the context of athletic development, where young athletes will find the information relevant to their performance
5. Cavalier attempts to address and eradicate the use of steroids and the just as frightening and important: the misuse of legal nutritional supplements in all sports
6. The lack of strength and flexibility to support the specific useable strength requirements of the overhead/rotational sport athlete, the workload cycles pitchers and position players incur throughout the year and the general disregard and disconnect the traditional power-based programs have shown to accept any responsibility for their part in the injury/surgery epidemic in our sport
7. General confusion about the recruiting process and how to compete for college scholarships and/or professional money.

I bet you didn't know how broken things could be, but you're a parent so I'm guessing you suspected something was wrong with the very systems we've relied on, and trusted.

Confusing Activity with Progress
You spend a lot of money and I know the outcome you hope to orchestrate. But for all the games we log each year in high school, summer and fall, not to mention all the lessons, camps and clinics we attend in the course of a year, I have yet to find a baseball player of any age that can tell me:

Based on science, the mechanics of a safe and efficient throwing delivery,
1. The functional strength requirements to duplicate a repetitive motion without getting hurt,
2. The nutritional factors needed to ensure optimal performance during a year of prepare, compete and repair cycles and,
3. The mental/emotional competencies he must master as the pool of talent and strategic execution improves to stay competitive.

It sounds like a lot to learn, but taken step-by-step, the boys that embrace it are the ones that stay healthy and surge ahead of their peers. As a parent you need to know these answers too.

Just for this summer, I want you to join me in the health and performance debate! We develop leaders on and off the field and build better baseball players because they want to take responsibility for their own development.

The Bottom Line?
The most important period of your son's performance cycle is about to begin.

90% of skill development happens from the last day of his spring season until the first day of the next spring. I will be doing a couple of Performance Symposium classes in the next couple weeks, at the Ben Hogan Center in Fort Worth, Texas and at the Top Prospects Academy (TPA) in Euless, Texas, to explain the information and format. I want to personally invite you and your son to attend.

I also want to speak with you directly to explain how the big picture relates to you, your athlete, his pursuit of high-performance and the attention that comes with it. Please reply directly to this email with the best time and telephone number to reach you.

You can also call me anytime @ 214.704.8017 if you want to chat sooner.


Donnie Watson
The Complete Athlete

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Phone: 214.704.8017

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