Jake Arrieta, perfect technique, and a change in environment

The Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta is the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball right now. “Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters in a span of 11 regular-season starts and has gone 20-1 with an 0.86 earned-run average over a mind-numbing 24-start stretch.”

Prior to the Cubs, Arrieta was a disappointing pitcher with Baltimore. When he was acquired by the Cubs, players on the Cubs were disappointed and disgruntled. Nobody envisioned Arrieta becoming the most dominant starter in baseball.

What happened? He improved? Great coaching?

Before the deal, Arrieta and Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair weren’t on the same page. The Orioles were trying to get him to throw directly on line to the plate instead of his favored crossfire delivery. Their way felt uncomfortable to Arrieta.

When Arrieta was dealt to the Cubs, and sent to AAA Iowa, the Cubs’ staff allowed him to pitch how he  felt comfortable. They did not try to change his technique.

In addition to not messing around with his technique, the change in environment helped.

“A change of scenery is the biggest thing to start with, and being surrounded by quality human beings from day one at Triple-A Iowa,” Arrieta said of his improvement.

There are many factors in talent development. The environment plays a key role, as does the confidence that a player feels because he or she is comfortable with his or her technique rather than attempting to fit someone else’s model. There are some things that are performance limiters and should be corrected, but others are personal style that fit a player’s body, style, approach, and more and should be left alone. Expert coaches are very good at deciphering between that which should be left alone because of personal style and that which should be changed to improve performance.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice and Fake Fundamentals

Sharing is caring!

  • What Is A Playmaker?

    Who decided that a point guard has to be small? More importantly, what is a point guard? We expect a point guard to be a leader and have a high basketball I.Q. Why don’t we expect or challenge all players to develop this game awareness? Why rely on only one player? Read more →
  • The PBDL Concept

    English soccer academies wait until players are 11 to play full 11v11 soccer; in Italy, youth basketball players participate in skill-oriented clinics at 6-years-old, but start competitive games at 12. In the United States, kids play 5v5 full court games and compete for national championships when they are 8-years-old.

    Read more →

  • Starting A PBDL

    The PBDL emphasizes learning and development. Presently, players and parents have numerous recreation options - leagues based on fun and equal participation, typically for beginners - and numerous competitive opportunities - teams focused on strategy, game preparation and winning. There are few true development leagues - until now.

    Read more →