Giving Up to Go Up

I recently read a great post on Personal Growth titled “13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want to be Successful” (December 26, 2016).  In reading the article, I could immediately see the benefit giving up these things would have for an aspiring baseball player. I know that many out there have made their New Years Resolutions (and hopefully have not broken them already!); but there’s always time to add to that list.  Below, I have outlined several of the things listed in the original post that I feel young athletes need to give up if they aspire to reach the next level; whether it’s a starting spot on a high school team; a college scholarship; or even beyond!  Once you’re finished reading this post, please do navigate to Personal Growth to read the original article.

“Give Up on Unhealthy Lifestyle”

Anyone that has ever managed to sustain a healthy diet over a period of time (say minimum 90 days) can appreciate this one.  When you fuel your body with the right foods, you will see the benefits, both physically and mentally.  Pair a proper diet with hydration and sufficient sleep and the benefits will be magnified.  When you step on the field, you don’t want to fail because you don’t feel your best.  Your energy, stamina and overall general health are all things that you can control.  So, make a conscious effort this season to take care of your body.  Get the proper number of hours of sleep.  Put healthy food into your body.  Stay hydrated.  And you’ll give yourself the opportunity to succeed.

“Give Up on Playing Small”

When I speak with High School Players, I usually ask them about their goals for the season.  I usually hear one of two answers.  The first is that they generally don’t have goals.  Or, they’ll state goals that really don’t challenge them.  Prior to a season, a coach should do two things with regards to goals.  First, sit the team down and set team goals.  Second, meet with players individually and set individual goals.  In either case, set your sights high; but within reason.  The goals should be achievable, but should challenge the team and players.  Write the goals down and constantly keep them in focus.  The idea is to use the goals to drive the players in practices and in games.  Help the players understand that even though the goals may be high, that they can still be achieved.

“Give Up Your Excuses”

When running a camp/clinic, or giving a lesson, I always try to give players exercises that they can do them by themselves; with equipment they already have at home or that is low in cost.  For example, catchers can work on their footwork with tape and a cone (see our Drill Library for more details).  The reason is so that they can’t give any excuse as to why they can’t work on what I just taught them.  Players need to take more accountability in their success or failures.  Listen to any self-help guru and they all say the same thing.  You can’t control what happens to you, only how to react to the situation.  Stop making excuses as to why you failed and figure out a way to deal with the roadblock.

“Give Up the Fixed Mindset”

Our number 1 Recommended Read is “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  It’s a truly remarkable book that should be read by everyone.  In it, Dweck encourages the development of the Growth Mindset, where individuals believe that they can improve their current state through sustained effort over a period of time.  Individuals that posses the fixed mindset believe that skill sets are fixed and cannot be improved.  We need to teach our players to believe that their talent they posses today is just that…talent that they posses today.  Many times we see players posses little ability only to rise to the top a year or so later.  Why?  Because they know that they can improve with the proper work ethic and the right coaching.

“Give Up Believing In The Magic Bullet”

In many cases, what a player needs to fix, or learn, is not a quick fix.  It takes time for good habits to develop.  And they will only develop if the player commits themselves to performing the skill the proper way consistently over a period of time.  Practicing a new skill once a week won’t cut it.  And this is where we begin to lose players.  They want the success but they don’t want to put in the effort to implement the change.  And since they don’t put in the effort, they continue to struggle.  And when struggles continue, they end up quitting.  When working with players, keep reminding them of the fact that it’s not an overnight fix.  But, we don’t want them to be completely discouraged.  Find ways in which they can achieve small milestones on the way to their end goal.  Achieving small milestones on their way to a larger goal can help them maintain the path.

“Give Up the Toxic People”

Warren Buffet once said, ” It’s better to hang out with people better than you.  Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”  If your goal is to play at the next level (which could be High School Varsity, College, or even get drafted), you need to associate yourself with players that share your same aspirations.  You will push them and they will push you.  Surrounding yourself with players that don’t challenge you could cause your progress to slow; and possibly even come to a halt.  Some kids find it hard to surround themselves with players of equal or greater ability as they may begin to doubt their skills and whether they belong.  They’ll then begin to shy away from the competition which will lead to a halt in progress.  If your intention is truly to play at a higher level, you really need to be around those that share that goal.

Whether you’re a coach, parent or player, take a few minutes to let the above ideas soak in.  Then decide on where changes need to be made.  Some require a change to how you think and what you believe.  Others require a physical change.  In either case, it’s your decision.  Start today with developing the habits that will give you the opportunity for success.  And don’t expect results overnight.  Remember…it’s a journey!