“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”
Above is a fantastic quote that applies to not only sports, but life in general. Class, Pride, and Character are more important than any athletic talent in the world.
Something that I always preach is to exemplify class and good character. Some might say I’m the “Preacher Boy” as well as the Bleacher Boy! 😉 Always respect the umpires and coaches no matter what. An ump may call a strike that skips to home and a ball that was surely down the pipe. That skipping strike was called a strike, so the umpire is correct, not the batter barking back. If there is a problem, it’s the coaches job to deal with it. Take that called strike back to the dugout with a head held high, respecting the call. Let’s face it, we all get mad at awful calls, but the call is the call, and that margin of error is part of the game. Go back next time and succeed! When errors or strikeouts occur, never slam any equipment or throw a temper tantrum – trust me, you look like an idiot. These mistakes happen to the best of us…even Mike Trout! Stay up, keep a positive attitude, after all, baseball is a game of failure. If other players are melting down, support them, don’t push them down. If someone is getting crap from his own teammates about a mistake he already feels bad for, how is he supposed to recover for the next one? Not all players agree with the decisions of the coach either – which is fine, but never talk back or bad mouth your coach or the opposing team’s coach. It is completely reasonable to voice an honest concern or question about the team in the appropriate place and time with respect – but NEVER during the game. If your team is getting pounded, don’t take the frustration out on your opponents in any way, other than winning. Yes, they may be crazy waving cowbells and blowing fog horns after everything (trust me I’ve been through this), but if someone barks at that team, it makes them no better. Don’t give away the game by showing the other team that they have gotten in your head. Also, please DON’T be that cowbell team! Have pride in success, but don’t shove it down their throats. Like the great Vince Lombardi once said, “Act like you’ve been there before.”
If these three qualities are shown, respect will be earned. Abiding by these three principles will allow winning to take care of itself.
Always remember, when you are playing you are not only representing yourself and your team or school, but also your family and what they stand for.
“Be humble enough to be coachable, But be confident enough to dominate your position.”
Above is a philosophy that I strive to apply to myself and challenge others to be open to this concept. “Be humble enough to be coachable,” means that you are not perfect. You need to accept your flaws. Once you understand that you aren’t perfect, you can be open to constructive criticism. First, you must throw your ego out the door! Next, let someone help and improve your game. I don’t care who you are, this applies to players from little league to the pros. Coaches will be able to actually coach you and help you, and ultimately your team. It will not only help you improve your game, but demonstrates character to your coaches and others. We all know “that one kid/player!” Before a practice even starts, you can often tell who the difficult diva, uncoachable kids are, especially when the coach is talking. They aren’t making eye contact. Usually they roll their eyes, and make some wise crack comment, thinking that none of this coaching/guidance applies to them, because they are so awesome. They drag their feet if they don’t get to play “their” position . They usually never stick around to help clean up after practice and scream “unfair” when not selected for an All Star team – because after all, they are so awesome….. Well this behavior shows lack of good character. When a coach coaches you, you have to understand that it is not an insult to you personally, as so many take it. No matter how good you are, there is always some way to improve, whether its your swing, your fielding, your speed, or your IQ – there’s always room for improvement. I have seen time and time again teammates of mine with a boatload of natural talent, but they aren’t coachable. The natural gift is there, but they will never reach their potential. They seem to peak by high school and then when they enter a “big pond” of competition, they become a “small fish” and don’t excel. Being coachable takes practice, start early and show your coach respect for their help and knowledge. If you are not the most talented one on the team, but have good character, practice hard, and listen to coaching, it will show. Coaches will view you more positively and take you more seriously than the “stud” with poor character. So check your ego at the door, let your coach help you, and be a good team mate.
“But be confident enough to dominate your position.” Once you are out in the field, have confidence in your abilities. It means to be able to tell yourself, “I can and will do this!” It’s the time when you need to put faith in your training and skills without thinking you are above others. If you are not confident at your position, it shows, and success may elude you. Baseball is a mental game. Being confident, not cocky, can give you a little edge over the competition. When you think that you are better then everyone and then that error is made, mentally, you come crashing down since you think you are so great and are not supposed to make mistakes. Or….you blame others. Coaches and scouts are very aware of, and appreciate the player that recovers after an error rather than crumbles. That player is humble, confident, and makes corrections. As I wrote in a previous article, baseball is a game of failure and the mental side is crucial, it applies here as well. Click HERE to read that article. Once you believe, you will achieve…Do I get points for that corny cliché? It truly applies.
Remember, lose the ego to have others help you improve, but have confidence in yourself when the opportunities on the field come!
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