Pitching coach Mike Maddux is known to make his pitchers track every pitch, swing, hit or miss on an intricate score card. “It’s a learning tool, man.”
In spite of the huge use of technology in sports of late, one pitching coach of the Washington Nationals still swears by a traditional paper and pencil approach.
“Specifically, pitching coach Mike Maddux is known to make his next game starting pitcher track every pitch, swing, hit or miss on an intricate score card,” writes Mary Anne Hansan in Two Sides NA.
“Why make your pitchers use a pen and paper? Because it forces the player to study the opposing team before he has to face them. And writing it down with pen and paper has a way of focusing the mind,” Hansan adds.
“It’s a learning tool, man,” Maddux told the Washington Post. “You can see tendencies on hitters just by writing it down. Because if you write stuff down, you retain it better. It’s more of a learning tool than anything. I think the guys, once they see it, they go, ‘Oh man, yeah, look at this.’ All of sudden you get guys paying more attention to what’s going on pitch by pitch.”
Surely all of this information could be captured digitally (and probably is), but the physical act of writing is what helps boost retention. Plus, seeing the results on paper advances abstract thinking and helps us recognize and understand patterns.
We wonder if Coach Maddux has read the research that shows digital is dumbing us down; probably not. But he clearly sees the results of the good old-fashioned pencil on paper approach.
We’ll be watching the pitching staff closely the next time the Indians are on (#1 in the American League Central BTW). Play ball!