It's that time again. Spring Training is in full swing and that means the minor league systems are getting revved up and ready to roll. I'm back down in Jupiter, FL and participating in my fourth spring training with the St Louis Cardinals. It is very exciting to see the pitchers you had in the previous years turning themselves into productive players and perhaps future big leaguers. The start of the spring and new year of baseball has inspired to my first blog of the season!!
For this blog I wanted to be very quick and to the point. I wanted to share with all of you, what I think it takes for a young athlete to evolve and hopefully mold themselves into successful professional pitchers. So what I am going to do is create a list of things I feel are important and fundamental to the process: (in no particular order)
1. Belief...you must have an amazing amount of belief in yourself and not necessarily need physical proof of that at all times. There are going to be plenty of times in your career where things will not go well. Your belief must grow and stay true throughout.
2. Desire...you have to have an amazing amount of desire to want to be better, to want to be a big leaguer and not care about what anyone else thinks, says or does.
3. Evaluation...you must be able to evaluate your level of play in an honest manner. This doesn't mean you have to beat yourself up and say your no good. But you must be able to be honest in the fact that if you need to get better at something, you can't be in denial about it or not be able to recognize that you need to be better. Then once you realize what you need to get better at, you must be able to know if the work you are doing is worth a damn. There are a lot of guys here in this camp thinking they did a whole lot of good in the off season but really nothing has changed.
4. Focus...you must be able to understand what focus is and what it can do for you. If you are not able to understand and use focus to your advantage it will be very tough to have any sort of a lasting career.
5. Preparation...you must know how to prepare yourself MENTALLY and physically for what you are about to do. If there is no preparation to your work it will be a waste of time. Know what you are going to do and why you are going to do it in all situations.
6. Perspective...you must understand the word perspective and how powerful it is for you. What you perceive will eventually become your reality. Do your best to eventually make everything come from a perspective, a point of view, that will be beneficial to you.
7. Contrast...understand that contrast is shaping your future. It is giving you clarity to show you what you need to be better at and how to go about it. If you can take the contrast and perceive it as a good thing, as "showing you the way", then you can use it to fuel your desire and help inspire you to bigger and better things.
8. Stubborn...you must be stubborn enough to be your own man. Not stubborn enough to where you never listen or you are not open to information that could be helpful, but if there are things that you have done over the years that have made you the player you are now, you must be able to stick to your guns no matter who is in front of you asking you to change or do something different. If your gut is telling you that you are on the right track, then you probably are and shouldn't be persuaded by people who have no clue about how you feel inside.
9. Fun...you must have fun!! This process must be perceived as fun. No matter how tough it may seem at times or how many hours you will put into training or no matter how bad it may hurt at times you must look at it as fun. All the different emotions you will feel and all the different experiences you will have, do your best to see the bigger picture. Nothing matters, it is just the game of life. Have fun, smile and don't take it so seriously.
Alright, that is it for today. I am sure there are many more items to add to the list, but this is a pretty good start for now. I was just thinking of where I was and how there are so many guys here working on their dream and thought I would offer some guidance before you get to the same place. There are just too many athletes here who will not make it and it won't be because they weren't talented enough. It will be because they don't have an awareness of some of the things on the list above. So much easier to see these things being a coach and being on the outside looking in, but it is so true.
See you down the line!!!!