People always are asking how to be a better screenprinter. Today let’s talk some philosophy with our inspiration coming from power hitter J.D. Martinez who just signed a 110 million dollar contract with the Red Sox, 71 year old hitting instructor Craig Wallenbrock, and Martin Luther King Jr.
How do you make your printing better? Most want the easy answer of the magic white ink, the “s” thread for mesh, the screen at 60 newtons, the new DTS unit, the newest press, the right color sep program, or the hiring or training of just the right person to run your press/shop/screen room…whatever.
Printing is a system and everything has to work together and it might be all those things or it might be none of them.
J.D. Martinez started as an average major league baseball player (which means pretty damn good,) with some success but pitchers got on to the weaknesses in his swing and he sunk to being a marginal major league player. At that point he went to the hitting guru Craig Wallenbrock who works out of Southern California.
We’ll let Craig take it from here, as reported by Alex Speier in today’s Boston Globe newpaper:
“J.D. Martinez is in many ways a freak. ‘Brave soul’ would be a better way to put it.
He had made it to the big leagues. He had big league time. But he was willing, rather than trying to stay there with what he was doing, to try to get better.
Rather than taking a piecemeal approach, Martinez was open to a fundamental overhaul of everything he was doing with his hitting mechanics. With Wallenbrock and Van Scoyoc, he essentially entered a hitting sweat lodge that inspired a vision of his future.
“I sit down and look at film with guys and compare them with the best hitters in the game,” said Wallenbrock. “We look at the stride. We break things down into the particular. They kid me about it, they call me ‘Mr. 4-to-5.’ ”
That is a reference to the traditional 2-to-8 scouting scale in which a 5 represents an average player or skill, a 4 is below average, a 6 is All-Star caliber, and 7’s and 8’s are elite talents with MVP and Hall of Fame skill sets.
“If we put a number 4 on your abilities, and you want to get paid more, you want to advance, you want to move yourself up to a 5, what do you do to go up from 4 to 5? The answer everybody gives is 1,” said Wallenbrock. “I say, ‘That’s the problem.’
“1 is made up of an infinite number of fractions, and each one of those fractions has a whole world or whole universe of knowledge into itself. What you have to do is find out what fractions of 1 you’re off on — it’s usually multiple fractions — and just start working to clear up those little fractions.
“Pretty soon, you get so intrigued by the process of each tiny little thing — maybe your grip, maybe a change in your weight distribution when you start your stride, where you hold your hands, where you stand at the plate — any of these little things start making a difference. It doesn’t make you a whole hitter but it makes you a little bit better.
“The process of 4-to-5 becomes so intriguing that at some point, you don’t care if you get to 5, because you’re enjoying the journey so much to get there. And then you wake up and discover you didn’t reach 5, you went past it. You weren’t even aware of it, and you’re now a 6.”
How to you become an elite screenprinter? Be a “brave soul” and clear up those fractions, work on one today.