Healthy Skepticism

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Stop with the logical fallacies already!

In the baseball world there is a great deal of dogmatic thinking. The industry tends to go through cycles, almost in the same way fashion does.

A certain opinion or approach to teaching something (usually hitting) becomes popular and then everyone jumps on board and starts to propagate that dogma.

It is not to say that it is good or bad…but just that it is. This simply is what happens in the baseball world.

The basic philosophical question that Peter Thiel alludes to:

“What do people agree merely by convention, and what is the truth?”Peter Thiel

Photo Credit: Chris Madden Cartoons

Thiel then continues to elaborate:

“And this is always the fundamental distinction in a society, there is a consensus of things that people believe to be true and maybe the conventions are right, and maybe they’re not.”Peter Thiel

So these baseball-teaching dogmas are not necessarily correct or incorrect…and arguing what is and is not precisely accurate or correct is not the purpose of this piece.

Instead the point that I want to make is that we need to objectively attempt to deconstruct the different theories/approaches and make a judgment as to whether or not the current dogma is true.

Theil continues and states:

We never want to let convention be a shortcut for truth.

We always need to ask: “is this true?”
Peter Thiel


WE MUST not use convention, or general consensus as a source of validation.

Sadly, convention is used as one of the most trusted sources of confirmation.

This is a logical fallacy that the baseball world succumbs to way too much. It is the logical fallacy of the appeal to common belief. We know it today as groupthink.

  • “If many believe so, it is so”
  • “A lot of people believe X. Therefore, X must be true”

With the baseball world there is also a predominance of the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority.

  • “Because an authority said X, X therefore must be true.”
  • According to person 1, Y is true. Therefore, Y is true”

If we want to have the best chance of optimizing baseball training and helping players reach their potential, we must approach training methods with a scientific mind.

We must have a higher standard of evidence than:

  • “Well…former MLB player said X, therefore X must be true.”

We must have a higher standard of proof than:

  • “Well…almost every coach on the Internet says Y, therefore Y must be true.”

We have to stop using convention as a shortcut and start to be more scientific and objective about our approach to first understanding mechanics, and then teaching them.

I am not saying I have all of the answers, but I am saying that having a beginners mind is of paramount importance. Question assumptions, study, pay attention, think for yourself.

Look at what others are doing, but cultivate a healthy amount of skepticism when consuming it.

If everyone can do more of that, and participate in less groupthink…. we will raise the standards industry wide.


“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”Mark Twain

Cultivate skepticism and outside the box thinking and you will have a chance at a break through, or at least a valuable contribution.

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Want more? Check out these great additional readings: The Power of Habit

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