Now that I’m older, and have kids, I’m getting to journey back into some of my childhood pastimes, before I decided to become a full time magician and creator.
Growing up, we played sports. Particularly, America’s Pastime: Baseball.
As you may personally know, there is one sure fire way to get into performing magic…that is by sucking at sports! I was the tall awkward kid as a child...A baby giraffe with no coordination! While I still had fun, it made sports very challenging for me.
Close up magic found me because the skill was in the hands and in my control. Close up is a finesse “sport” if you will and the items are usually in your proximity and possession. In athletic games, after a ball leaves my hands, it gets messy quick! Perhaps some readers can relate.
But fortunately, to be a coach in American Baseball, you do not necessarily have to be good at the sport, you just have to understand it. Enjoying teaching (one of my passions) really helps, too. And I will tell you, understanding magic and performance has taught me everything I need to know about baseball…except BASEBALL! lol.
If you are following me here, the baseball game is more than just skill. It is also awareness. Say you are not the most skilled magician (yet). That’s okay! You can still be a great magician, you just need to have personal awareness of your abilities at this moment. Then, choose the tricks that work for you. Don’t over extend yourself
In baseball, you can rely on your team. A good teammate will support you and make you better. Hitting singles is great thing if you have a strong teammate to drive you home! The single base hit is still worth a run when another player's hit drives you around all the bases.
In coin magic, you can rely on your gimmicks as heavy hitters. Here is an example from our product line up: The Copeland Copper/Silver with IllusionEdge is a strong team player. There are dozens of ways to change the color of a coin. But this gimmick will give you the assist needed to perform an impossible, one handed color change at the right moment. Or even stronger, it can change the coin color in a spectator's hand!
So that is lesson one: Use your teammates. They will help you play "the game" better!
The next thing, along those lines, is lesson two: Trust your equipment.
Often times, young defensive players will move away from the hard hit baseball because they are afraid it will hit them. Ouch! They will reach their glove hand to the ball and at the same time move their body away from the ball...In results in what I call "banana pose." The young player bends their body around the flying ball in a curved shape like a banana, and the ball passes right under their head and over their feet missing the glove. The reaction keeps the young player from harm, but it never stops the ball!
The proper technique to stop a flying baseball is to step into the ball and trust that your glove will protect you. When I teach the young kids how to catch the baseball, I tell them their glove is like Captain America’s shield. Captain America stands behind his shield and knows it will protect him.
In magic, good tools will save you just the same. Take for example, The Money Goblet (which will be back in a few days .) You can trust this tool to reliably deliver coins exactly where and when you need them and it will keep you and your secrets, secret. There is no need to hide what you are doing or be afraid when you have good equipment you can trust to keep your show safe. That's the key, have props and tool that you can count on, like a trusty old glove...or a Vibranium Shield.* Good quality equipment pays for itself in performance!
Finally, I’ll let you in on my big secret: I work with some really great coaches. Lesson three is, Get Good Coaches.
I call myself the Team Manager because a lot of the coaching is done by the other dads out on the field. And they are great! I have a ton of responsibilities beyond coaching with parents and organizing schedules, plus energizing the kids to put on a “Great Show” each game. I am very dependent on all the amazing dads who come out and teach the kids baseball. Some of these dads played in Division 1 College teams. They devoted at least a decade more than me to the game. I never had that experience. So, why would I not use it? To the teams advantage? Good coaches are invaluable!
Too many people want to say they are “self taught.” How many times has a person watched hours of YouTube videos, emulated others, and then proclaimed to some talent show judges that they are “self made." That is an unfortunate misconception.
We all need coaches. And to be clear, valuing something [magic] doesn't make someone a good coach. You can value something and not have real experience or desire to better or the ability to teach. Choose coaches and teachers wisely.
I have had some great magician pour life giving knowledge into me. I don’t know anyone on stage in Vegas that got there (and stayed there) all on their own. I study, I listen, I learn. You should, too. Whether it is by a download video, a live lecture, or going that next step and getting some personal one on one help, get good coaches and see how fast you progress.
Interestingly enough, magic, particularly understanding and performing coin magic, taught me more about baseball than anything else I know about the game. But this isn’t a baseball blog so we don’t have time to share, “What can magic teach us about baseball!” Perhaps another time!
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*The Money Goblet is only available in Antique Brass and Chrome Silver. Vibranium TBD.