It is common for teenagers to think of baseball as boring, slow, and easy, while describing baseball. This is because they make assumptions based off of the rec leagues they may have participated in or because the game appears deliberate. However, as time matures in ones life, the game matures as well. Baseball has a reputation to be one of the most challenging sports of all time because it is a game of precision.
As a player myself I have grown up with a love and passion for the sport. Routinely, I would arrive home from school, go outside in in yard, and hit on my tee for hours. I would stay outside until i felt satisfied with my game, however, I would never be completely satisfied. In order to become the best, you must never accept failure or laziness. You must sacrifice the comforts that you enjoy in order to make it. The number one rule in making it to the net level, is to continue to work harder. No matter how many times you hit off the tee or throw a ball, there is always room for improvement. The moment you start to feel satisfied, is the moment you will stop putting in all the hours of work, and your game will turn into a disaster.
What makes baseball stand out more than most sports, is that no matter how hard you train, everything could turn into a disaster on the field. Hence why it is known as a sport of precision and mental toughness. You may be a superstar at hitting in your yard when you are alone without any pressure, but once you step on the field and all eyes are looking at you, it's a completely different game.
Something you must always store in your mind, is that no matter how hard you work, someone out there is working harder. I would always think to myself, I could be sitting at home playing video games or watching TV, however, while i'm doing that, someone else is swinging a bat off a tee and doing what I should be doing. Most people have been programed for a desire to stay in a state of comfort. Your body wants you to sit on the couch, snack on some food, and watch T.V, because this is a very comfortable relaxing place for your body to be in. However, the people that excel in the sports industry are mentally tough, and they are able to tell their body that in order for them to get better, they must work for it. Next time you are relaxing on the couch or in bed, challenge yourself to do something that you normally wouldn't do. Whether it is doing 20 pushups or going and swinging on a tee. Training your brain into overcoming the comfort state will rapidly increase your skill sets in the game.
Baseball is a sport of precision. If you’re about a centimeter off, everything could turn into a disaster. Most aspiring players start to play baseball at young ages, whether its tee ball or perhaps a rec league. They would play with friends and would think it was fun and pretty easy. However, as one matures and gets older, the game also matures. More rules are implemented, more advanced players start to play, and the game starts to get quicker. Around this time is usually when people start to quit the sport. This is where the mental toughness comes into play because if a player is starting over you, instead of getting upset about it and quitting, you must work harder to gain your starting position back. When this phase is occurring, it shows the difference between the athletes who have a chance to make it to the next level, and the ones who will not succeed.
One of the all time greatest baseball players, Yogi Berra, stated, “Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical.” This phrase is a phenomenon in the baseball world, it's a legacy and it is very true. As aforementioned, I could be in my yard for numerous hours every single day, but when I step on the field it could turn into a disaster. I could be thinking too much or I could be nervous. Some people may be thinking to themselves, that won't be me, I wouldnt let it get to my head. Well picture this:
You are at the plate and the winning run is on third. Championship game and you have two strikes against you. It is all down to you for the win, and you know that if you get this run in that the team would love you forever. You try to think what the pitcher is throwing because you know that he has an 87 mph fastball, along with a filthy 78 mph curve. It's hard to decide. You hear your team chanting. You hear the other team chanting. You hear the parents chanting. You hear the college scouts directly behind you. Everyone is watching you, all the eyes are on you. All of those hours in the yard are finally being put to the test. The pitchers leg lifts quickly, however, feeling like slow motion to me. The dove white ball leaves his hand and is making its way towards you. The seams spinning at such a fast rate, and by the time you try to swing the umpire screams “Strike 3 batter out.” All of those hours in the yard, all of the practices, all of the minutes working out in the gym are all put to the test here, and you fail. This current moment is not even the worst your emotions will get. Then comes the walk of shame as the whole crowd sighs. the other team sounded amplified because they were cheering so loud, and finally you make it back to your team's dugout where everyone is packing up and not acknowledging you. The amount of shame and guilt will carry on knowing that if you got a hit, your team would have won the championship. As upsetting and sad that this is, it's just baseball and it happens to every player at one point. Overcoming this, and proving that you are a better player in the next game, is how each athlete stands out.
Baseball is a game of failure. Hall of fame players would only get hits 3 out of 10 hits. Accepting failure and overcoming is the only way to make it past little league and prevail in baseball. Most people could probably throw a baseball, however, it's the people with the better attitude who greatly stand out that become the best players. If you were to be in this situation as aforementioned, what would you do? Would you get in you car and cry or go home and sit in your room and do nothing feeling ashamed? Or would you focus on what you did wrong and try to get better? Would u go home and go outside for another two hours on the tee and work on your weaknesses? For the players who go home and sit in their beds and just get upset at themselves will not succeed in the sport. No matter how much talent you think you may have, people will always have more. If you aspire to be one of the best, and make it into a college program, then you must change your mindset today. Instead of crying and going home and doing nothing to better your game, go home and look up videos on how to be better or on specific drills that you need to work on as a player. The internet is an amazing source when it comes to finding drills or helping improve your game, yet people don't use it. In order to make it past little league baseball, you must enhance your mentality and work past your discomforts.
Hall of Fame player Willie Mays once quoted,”In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated.” Being dedicated does not mean you go to your teams games and practices, just filing in the requirements for the team. Dedication means to be completely 100% locked into the sport at all times. That you are always thinking about baseball because you love it so much, and that makes you want to practice and get more work in than all the other players.
What type of athlete do you want to be? If you want to advance in the sports industry, and if you aspire to be an athlete, before you start working on the physical aspects, get your mental toughness perfect first.