Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Contentment versus Unsatisfied

Do you have a hunger to become better? Is there a drive within you that tells you to do whatever it takes? Are you determined to reach your goals? If so, are you ready to accept the hard work, sacrifices and commitment it takes? 

Or do you think these thoughts, but really, you just want to play. You could care less about working on your skill set more than you have to. You aren’t interested in staying after practice or coming in early. And you definitely aren’t waking up any earlier than you have to, even if rising earlier could afford you the chance to get an extra hour or so of practice or conditioning. 

I wrote an earlier article on the amount of baseball that consumes young players. This article isn’t geared toward the 10- or 12-year old. This is meant for the high school, college and even professional players. 

Baseball is competitive as you get older. While it is harder to be successful, there are also fewer opportunities. Players are filtered from countless youth leagues and teams to a few high schools and even less colleges. Are you prepared to reach your goal, whatever it may be?

But there is also something to be said about contentment. Some players, once they reach their goals, are content to just be part of the team, and that’s okay. But what if your goals are higher? Would you be satisfied simply to make a high school or college baseball team? Or do you want to actually see playing time and contribute on the field?

I am an assistant at a small Division III college and am writing this after the second day of conditioning for the 29 guys on our roster. Today, if I had to pick a bottom six as far as performance, there would be four seniors and two juniors. These players are expected to start and contribute, but apparently were content with their position on the roster. Because they had good spring and fall seasons, they felt they could come back out of shape. 

It’s disappointing to see all of the hard work that was put in during the fall semester wasted. Their actions show me that they didn’t do a whole lot over Christmas break and the return to school that followed. 

Will this be you? Are you willing to work hard only when somebody is watching? Do you only want to push yourself when you think there will be consequences? I never understand the mentality of only pushing yourself when more running is threatened. 

Can you push yourself? If you were in an empty gym, would you give 100 percent or are you likely to cut corners? An unsatisfied mindset is what drives people to their goals – whether or not that is athletics. 

Anything you invest in yourself will pay off. The hard work makes you a better player which allows you to contribute to our team. As your team wins, it is more gratifying have a hand in the victory. 

Think of those goals on the days that it’s difficult to go to the gym or take extra swings or work on mechanics. Think of how much better winning feels than coming up short. Think of how rewarding it is to play a role in a victory. 

The guys that came in out of shape showed me something. It showed a lack of commitment, focus, discipline and an overall complacent attitude toward the upcoming season. Apparently, another .500 season is a goal for them. 

But it isn’t for me. So my job as a coach is simple – to push them as hard as I can (they already proved they aren’t going to do it on their own) or find the younger guys who want their roles.

Don’t let this become you. Embrace the sacrifice required to become a better player. Never let anyone outwork you. Be willing to work hard to reach your goals. You won’t be disappointed.

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