By Jim Bain
The leaders of Society, whoever they are, have taken upon themselves to deem stereotyping people as an absolute sin performed by illiterate people.
I, however, have found some forms of stereotyping to not only be a compliment to the target, but worn as a badge of courage and accomplishment by the person.
So where am I going with this? I simply wish to draw attention to the fact a Jock (stereotype) can learn a tremendous amount of valuable information from a nerd (another stereotype) which will help him excel in his sport.
Let’s use a baseball player attempting to ask the coach how to become a better hitter. There are standard answers, which are tried and true methods which will help the player immensely. Such as;
1. Learn to identify the pitcher’s release point, the point where the ball begins to leave the pitcher’s hand, is located.
(a.) Most pitchers are taught to have repetitive mechanics when pitching, meaning the same release point, same arm speed, same landing spot and etc.
(b.) Knowing when and where the ball will be released will offer the batter the Greatest amount of time to see the ball approaching, which allows more time to identify the type, location and speed of the ball, which makes it easier to hit.
2. Learn to pick up the spin or rotation of the baseball’s seams.
(a.) Air friction produced by the raised seams of a baseball and the way the ball is held and released by the pitcher, is what produces the movement of the ball.
(b.) Different pitches will rotate in their own specific way, meaning a curveball will spin the same way every time, and if you see that rotation you will identify what type of pitch it is, making it easier to hit.
*** Although this is an effective method of pitch identification, very few players, even professional ball players, can actually see the seam rotation of an approaching baseball. It’s logical to assume the seams of a baseball traveling 98 mph, would become a blur and totally unidentifiable as to which way the seams were rotating. ***
3. Learn to find a nerd and learn from them.
Wait a minute… back up. Did you really read what I said? How can a nerd possibly teach a jock how to hit?
Let’s exam a Chess player, who proudly displays the nerd badge, because in this sport it represents cunning, intelligence, strategy and forethought.
A great chess player does not become that by running wind sprints or lifting weights, because although good physical conditioning is beneficial to everyone, it’s not paramount to becoming an elite chess player.
However, a fine tuned brain is essential, but not always for the reason you may think. Sure reasoning, setting strategy, anticipation is the job of the brain, but that requires thinking. Thinking is the brain’s lifting weights preparation for the game.
Memory, is the real key to becoming an elite chess player. It is estimated a very good to great chess player has memorized between 45,000 – 55,000 chess moves. This is the reason, even if the time allotted to make a move, is cut in half or more, the great players remain great and above good players.
It has little to do with thinking and planning, but utilizing memory. The great player will recognize a particular situation and all the resulting actions the situation will create, thus offering the best counter move.
Tying this all together, memory can be as effective for a baseball hitter as a chess player. If a pitcher starts every batter out with a curveball, be expecting a curve ball on the first pitch. If this pitcher struck you out three times the previous game by pitching you inside, expect to be busted inside.
Hitters and chess players have a lot in common, and both must expect the unexpected. But as a benchmark, the hitter learning to memorize situations the way chess players do, will become a much better hitter.