Last week the DJIA and the S&P 500 took a BIG TIME HIT into “correction” territory losing close to 10% of value. Looking at my retirement account during the recent downturn of the market had me noticing the similarity in offensive statistics and it reminded me of 2 important lessons I know to be true about offensive stats and that I have been taught are true about the market.
Rule 1: You can’t let the “dips” force you to make a rash decision
Financial planners say that if a person is in the market for the long term than they have to be comfortable with the volatility of the market and they have to “weather” the dips to make long term gains. If investors withdraw money when the market is down, they will never experience the bounce back that is sure to happen. A solid financial planner is does not always pick investments because of the investments price tag, a good financial planner should be selecting investment because the investment shows strong “technicals” that the price tag may not accurately reflect. A well diversified portfolio and sound investing strategy coupled with a disciplined approach will help investment accounts survive the economic turmoil and turn long term profits!
The same is true for individual hitters and for team offensive plans. Dry spells DON’T LAST FOREVER, and hitters / teams will come out just as strong as ever if they don't abandon their plan in the midst of the dry spell. This is where statistics become a danger to a hitter and a danger to coaches. A HITTER SHOULD NOT MAKE MECHANICAL ADJUSTMENTS JUST BECAUSE NUMBERS ARE DOWN, just as a coach should not stray from his or her hitting plan just because the team’s stats are not quite what they want them to be! This is especially true at the start of the season where stats are more volatile. Over the long term, statistics and markets always RETURN TO THE MEAN!
Making a swing / mechanical change or total change in hitting philosophy during a statistic dip is the equivalent of withdrawing money from the market just because the market has hit a rough stretch. If a hitter has designed a swing that is based on sound principles and a coach has created a hitting plan that they believe will lead their team to success, then they should not allow the NUMBERS to influence them to abandon their principles. What these investors, individual hitters, and coaches should do instead is focus on the parts of the portfolio, swing, or team plan that needs the most attention and then reallocate or perform drills or reps to strengthen the underperforming part of the swing or team hitting approach.
Rule 2: Set and Understand your long term goals
Financial planners help investors set long term goals and pick the proper products to reach the goal. So too should it be for individual hitters and for coaching staffs. Coaches and hitters should discuss appropriate and realistic long term goals for the season and create a plan to reach those individual goals. Coaches should design team goals which they believe their team can achieve and then they should shepherd the team on the path to those team goals.
For the individual hitter, coaches and hitters should agree on what an attainable individual goal should be prior to the 1st at bat of the season. Goal setting should absolutely be done absent the doubt of perceived underperformance, thus the reason that it needs to happen before the start of the season. This goal setting helps a player realize their statistical value and this goal setting helps hitters to be less susceptible to their doubts in the midst of a dry spell as the hitter can focus on their goals during tough times rather than focus on their perceived failure. During the goal setting process, the volatility of the season should be discussed and a hitter’s response to the volatility should also be discussed and agreed upon as to how it will be handled.
The same is true of the coaching staff. Coaches should come together to discuss long term offensive performance of the team and discuss how the coaching staff will EVALUATE the success of the team and discuss how the coaches will handle poor games or even poor weeks. Proper planning for the season can help to give the coaching staff confidence in their decisions during times of turmoil and can help coaching staffs from abandoning a plan when the team may be on the precipice of a breakthrough!
Just as every investor will face ups and downs in the market, every hitter and coaching staff will face adversity, but if the hitter and coaching staff realize that they have a sound plan and sound goals, then they will be better positioned to survive the inevitable rough stretches.
Everyone is an expert when a player or team is perceived to be underperforming! So much information will fly in from so many sources during poor performance that it's essential for hitters and coach identify the “technicals” that they will evaluate.
Case in point: The other day I had one of my players who started the season in a 1-14 rough stretch come up to me and ask “Coach what should I do differently with my swing?” Much to his surprise my answer was “NOTHING”.
This player, although 1-14, had smoked a ball to the wall earlier in the week that the CF made one of the best plays I have ever seen, lined out 6 other times, and had drawn 5 walks. I reminded the player about why he chose to swing the way he did and then we both agreed he could improve upon his pitch selection in different counts. Since that discussion last week, he r has smoked 2 HRs and driven in 8 runs.
With both hitting and investing rough stretches should be EXPECTED. Plan properly, set goals, and believe in the hard work put into your preparation and remember, Mental Toughness = STICKING TO YOUR PLAN AND PROCESS NO MATTER WHAT, so be sure to have an amazing and well thought out plan!
About the author: Coach Turco is a 6 time state champion hitting coach who coaches a nationally recognized high school program in Marietta, Ga. Coach Turco publishes the blog “Championship Hitting” (www.championshiphitting.com) and posts work samples on twitter @championhitter