Sunday, February 22, 2009

Putting down expectations and theories on paper

When it comes to hitting, the SF Giants wrote the book. Literally.

During the offseason, hitting coach Carney Lansford (center with Bruce Bochy at left), working with the team's minor league hitting coaches, developed a 16-chapter "hitting manual" designed to "spell out their expectations for coaches, detail their core theories and make sure knowledge is spread consistently and evenly like black earth on a farm field."

The book, which is part of the franchise's overarching "Giants Way" program, is something many teams use, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who says the book helps ensure consistency throughout the organization.

"It's not so much a specific way to hit as much as making sure we're all doing things the same way from top to bottom: that we're teaching the same things, using the same terminology and using the same drills on every level. It's OK for a coach to have different ideas. We just want to make sure we aren't confusing the player."

Adds Lansford, who played in more than 1,800 Major League games with some 7,100 at-bats in 15 seasons:

"Some of the biggest things we can do are the simplest. If you wait till they get to the big leagues, it's too late. We've got guys in the major leagues who don't know how to hit the ball to right field."