The Farm System
FARM SYSTEM OVERVIEW GUIDE
Baseball is a very technically skilled game therefore it takes hard work, focus, good information, a lot of good reps and time to work on individualized skills so each player can contribute to team play and improve their baseball situational IQ. Growing up I had the opportunity to study kung fu along with other martial art disciplines therefore we have adopted the kung fu belt system for better understanding of your baseball journey to becoming a Baseball Master.
To better understand the system, we must understand the term kung fu –or gongfu. This term is not limited to martial arts. It translates to “a high level of skill achieved over time with effort,” which means anything achieved with a lot of hard work could be considered kung fu, but the term has become widely associated with Chinese martial arts, but now we will be using it to become a kung fu baseball master.
Here at “The Farm” we award each player with an appropriate color “P” pin to go on the hat for the associated skill level or degree of proficiency the player has achieved.
“The Farm System” will allow each player to achieve skills needed to play the game at any level. The pin order is divided into 4 stages, each divided in degrees for a clear understanding of skills and associated gameplay for proper development and the greatest return on sweat equity to master the game.
It usually takes 4 to 5 years to clear all nine degrees to get to the black “P”, and though students are bound to pass on the knowledge, the black “P” is the main requirement to officially become a coach here at “The Farm.”
These first four degrees are all about the fundamental footwork, and body movements. Every color symbolizes something more than just the student’s rank, usually abstract concepts that do not require any athletic skills or abilities you just have to practice doing them every day all day, especially when training here at the farm to excel at every level.
Reflects the new player/student’s innocence and symbolizes the start of something new, like a blank canvas. The white is not even considered to be part of the novice stage. Developments in skill and personal growth start to show with the yellow “P." It is celebrated as the first step into a path of wisdom, discipline – and looking cool. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Yellow, Gold, Orange "P"
Curiosity The yellow marks the start of the student in the novice stage, and it’s followed by the gold. The yellow color symbolizes the first rays of sunshine at the dawn of a brand new - day. It captures the player/ student’s first displays of their newly acquired skills. More importantly, it represents a desire to learn more accompanied by many questions. A yellow “P” might have committed the basics to memory in a relatively short time, so they must dedicate a lot of time smoothing out the rough edges of their form. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Energy and Enthusiasm At this stage, players/students have already crossed the threshold between curiosity into genuine interest, which is represented in a darker shade of yellow generally accepted as “gold.” While still fundamental, attention is shifted from the foundation of the taolu (form) to Sanda (combat/field) moves. This stage is often used as a transitional rank in which players/students have proven themselves proficient with the fundamentals but may still need to work on the introductory set of moves that comes with the orange “P." Completion: 4-6 Months.
Determination - The orange belt symbolizes determination; something players/students will need to put up with a more demanding practice of everything learned thus far. Players/students with an orange “P” have been refining their skills for a while now, and so, their moves are cleaner and more fluid. Training becomes a little more challenging as novices enter the intermediate stage with the green “P." At this point, intermediate players/students might start working within specific position skills vs. general skills. More instruction on pitching and catcher positions. Players/students even take a novice under their wing. After all, players/students who take their career in baseball seriously are expected to become instructors at some point, whether at the farm or local community base programs to support your community. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Green, Blue, Purple "P"
Growth - Green, is the color of growth and development. Like the seed that sprouts into a plant, the student has also grown from the foundation laid in the first few degrees as a novice. Depending on the specific position you chose, this rank qualifies the player/student to start training in higher-level position-specific tasks/skills. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Control - The blue is a symbol of serenity and patience. Donning this “P” means the student is ready for more training focused on control and learning how to slow the game down and process game speed strategies, and routine plays. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Strength - The purple captures the sky at dusk just before a new day the same way players/students enter the last stage of intermediate training before moving on to the advanced degrees. Players/students at this level have grown more and more confident, and it shows not only in their prowess on the field and their ambition to compete. The fundamentals are internalized and refined. Players/students are now ready to move into more complex techniques and concepts. We leave basic training behind and embrace more demanding drills, more powerful and precise moves to take all skills to another level to adapt to the increasing speed of the game. Being at this level requires a good understanding of the basic skills, position specific, field play, baseball strategy IQ, assesses all game opportunities and responds accordingly. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Brown, Red, Black "P"
Mastery - The brown symbolizes the stability of the ground and reflects the players/student’s firm grasp of his abilities and discipline for playing the game. Plays on the big field for preparation for high school play. Completion: 4-6 Months.
Leadership - The red is a symbol of leadership that students get to wear as they pass on their knowledge to other players/students of their own. Red also embodies energy and courage as each player enters the final preparations for freshman year at high school tryouts. Completion: 4-6 Months.
The black is a token of expertise that player/students earn after 4-5 years of dedication and practice. Make no mistake, though; this is not the end of the road. You might’ve earned the mastery and authority to become a black “P”, but there still are many ranks to achieve moving through high school as a JV and Varsity player, in addition to any goals of playing in college.
A black “P” means you’re an expert. Still, to rise to the ranks of “Master,” there are 8 more levels that you must achieve through hard work, mostly: scholarly contributions to the game through coaching and travel ball, mastery of philosophical theories, and physical training (taolu -form and sanda- combat/field). The black “P” is not just a symbol of expertise and maturity; it’s also the key to specialized knowledge with every rank you earn. Black “P” players/students are eligible to take on students of their own. They’re also encouraged to master other specific positions as a coach and continue their contributions to advance to the rank of “Grandmaster." Completion: 4-6 Months.