Imitation is Powerful

May 9, 2024
For the past 25+ years of doing baseball lessons and training I have run into some players on occasion that have defied what everyone thinks about getting better.

The truth is they were very good and had very few flaws, which is very unusual, and ironically they had zero instruction.   When I run across this, I always ask the key question because of course I'm curious.

My question...
If you had no instruction, how did you learn to hit or throw so well?
The answer is always the same.


Want to improve a players technique, mechanics, and movement patterns?
Imitate what the greatest players do a like!
See It .... Study it.... Then Do it....

Watch an MLB Player and study it in slow motion.

Watch it from multiple angles.

Watch it in slow motion and normal speed.

Copy it.  Emulate it. Look at pictures and video and be clear at what you're trying to accomplish.

Watch the video above on how even a baby imitates Rocky during training. Nobody taught this baby what to do.  It is 100% imitation.  No private lessons. It all starts by paying attention.  Imitation is a powerful way to learn. Watch someone who is really good... and imitate. Try to find a player who as similar trait as you.


We can learn a lot by watching. Younger brothers and sisters know this very well. We learn what to do, and what not to do from our older siblings. If they play sports and the younger player is around it a lot, you will often see improvement just by watching and copying the older players.  It's a huge advantage if you pay attention.

See them do it.  Watch them.  Copy them.

Words might be the worst way to coach, teach or learn.  If you want someone to do something better, step 1 is to show them how it should be done NOT tell them. Let them see it.  Let them experiment with copying or emulating what they see.  Go back and forth.

Visuals are powerful.  Imitation is Powerful.

I can't help also but notice players from other countries tend to imitate the heroes from their own country. Watch people imitate the Japanese style of pitching, or the Dominican style.  Younger players from these countries tend to look a lot like their heroes.   You are missing a HUGE opportunity to improve faster if you are skipping the importance of using visuals to imitate what you want to become.  Stare at what you want to become.   Get better by watching, then copying and emulating.

You might not be perfect, but it will likely look a lot better.  At Fastball USA we lead many sessions with students simply watching. With todays technology you can look up any swing or throwing motion, or fielding technique, and study it and try to emulate in seconds.   Watch them, and then watch yourself.   Repeat the process.


It was about 15 years ago when I realized that most flaws that I was correcting were the very things that players were being taught.   It was either poor instruction, or mis-applied instruction.   Some how the player became corrupted through bad habits by listening and trying to do what people told him to do.

In many cases the coaches need to let visuals lead the instruction, teach only in bullet points, and then get the heck out of the way.  Let them experiment.  Let them watch.  Let them imitate.  Have them pay attention to the results, and keep repeating watch, imitate, and learn.


Mike Ryan

Fastball USA

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