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June 26, 2022

Coaching Coaches: Approaching the Age of Wisdom 

Strength in Numbers #51

There are times in our lives when we feel old, times when we feel young, and magical moments when we feel wise. 

I believe wisdom comes from taking your good, bad, and uglies and giving this insight to someone else so that they do not make the same mistakes, create a clearer path, and set the recipient of your wisdom up for success at a faster rate. 

For those of you who have coached coaches in your life, coaches who were once your players, you will feel this exact feeling I get every time I speak with Ryan Clark, a pitcher who came to the Angels organization from the Braves when I was with the team.  

Ryan is still playing and is the Founder of Ripple Baseball, where he is integrating data-based approaches to develop the future athletes of tomorrow. I do not doubt that he is building his wisdom and will provide greater advantages to his athletes than what he had because of his shortcomings, successes, and curiosities.

BUILD WISDOM THROUGH “WHY” ATHLETES

Ryan was an interesting athlete. He is highly athletic and has all the raw materials to throw steam.  

I admire Ryan’s intense desire to outlearn his competition, and I am sure this type of playing mentality is building up his coaching knowledge and foothold in Columbus, Ohio.  

I remember doing our SAQ Program together on one occasion (Speed, Agility, Quickness), as I trained alongside him. I do this from time to time to build a stronger relationship with players and to bring about more empathy in working with athletes.  

You will go through the paces with the athlete, and on some level, they will see you as an equal. I am not one to carry a stopwatch, but I carry a clipboard every session to make notes and document what athletes share during training.  

Ryan Clark, former professional pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels

The “Why” seekers are my favorite athletes as you must be on your toes, and they will build your wisdom for you. If you don’t have an answer, which was the case for most conversations with Ryan, I was eager to find out and report back to him.  

When Ryan was in AAA, our coaching relationship changed as I went from teacher to student. His level of competition had long surpassed mine, and I needed to understand more about his approach, his aspirations, and the things he had to overcome in reaching the last stage before the Big Show.  

I really appreciated his competitive journey, as it came with speed bumps and unfinished roads, yet he found his way and became something unique in an accomplished player-coach.

EDUCATION IS BUY-IN 

He always has had a great process. He takes care of his body, makes good decisions away from the game, and is in tune with his body (he knows when to hit the gas and other times when to tap the brakes.)  

One such topic is dynamometry—joint-specific force testing for elite performance. Ryan was exposed to dynamometry in testing his joint-specific strength with the Angels, and it was important to him to keep his strength optimized and individualized. 

Fast-forward, Ryan is using our product and monitoring his athletes with the same care we had taken with him and propagating knowledge along the way. He has learned that he is not the hero, as many coaches try to be, but rather an experienced guide in making his players the hero to save the day.  

Honestly, most athletes with the Angels did not enjoy testing their arm strength until they were fully educated on the topic.  

One of the big reasons was that the technology was intimidating, coach-led, inconvenient at times during the day, and overly technical. Given these pain points, our company is the opposite: easy to use, player-led, can be done anywhere, any time in under 6 min, and simple to understand.  

Above all, I love what we are accomplishing with ArmCare.com.  

We are becoming more educationally driven, less tech-driven, not trying to imitate anyone else, not feeling threatened by anything, and focused on providing as many resources as possible to our community and the game.

Check out our certification course, and stay tuned for other mini-courses about to be released!  

We are teaching people how to use the data and why it matters, and you can see many of our applied nuggets with Jordan’s ArmCare Insider editions.  

BE WISE….INDIVIDUALIZE

What makes Ryan wise is his ability to ask others to assist his athletes when he cannot provide enough information for them.  

He is also a profound self-evaluator and realistic. He has tried many things to enhance his performance across pitch design, diet, training, and many other elements that make him the successful athlete and coach he is today.

He preaches to his athletes that they need to know themselves, reflect on how they feel, and acknowledge what the data is indicating for them in making each athlete better. But, most importantly, he takes a strong approach to individualized player development, which is the wisest thing anyone can do.

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