I am going to take this time to answer the most asked question I get.. “What do I NEED to do to get to the next level in the game of baseball.” Here’s the thing.. I can simply say for you to get to the next level you may need to develop another skill in the game, or get stronger, faster, improve fastball command, so on and so forth. But I usually answer that question with something that I, personally, believe will take care of it all. In any professional sport or lets just say job for that matter there is something we like to call “The process.” And no, i’m not talking about Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Center Joel Embiid. “The Process” is what you go through each and everyday to improve your craft. You can think of it being like a routine that you develop over the course of time that you can stick to for constant improvement of ones talent. Now my answer to the original question stated above is you have to develop an absolute admiration for this “Process”. I believe that you have to be in love with the process to really succeed.
Now what is the process you may ask? The process is essentially everything that you will go through, everything that you will be working for, and everything that you are doing to improve.. it’s literally all of it. Starting in the morning and ending at night. It’s what you do on your best days, it’s what you do on your worst days. It’s the process of constantly getting better or getting worse. It’s everything in between from the starting point to the end goal. It’s the muck in the middle that no one talks about or not highlighted. I like to think of my process as a routine in a way. How I start my mornings, what I feed into my mind that might give me an edge, how I can visualize certain things to potentially get me prepared, what I do in the weight room, how I utilize my time at the field practicing, what type of running will I do that day, what will I eat, how much sleep will I get, etc. As you see it’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of things all leading, hopefully, to you maximizing your potential.
Ok, lets break it down. As a baseball player you are going to (unless you are a select few in the world) fail more times than you succeed. That is just the nature of the beast. It is something nobody really talks about because you don’t want to think about failure but it’s just the reality. We play a game built around failure. In broader terms this game will punch you square in the nose and not feel bad at all about it. Trust me, I’ve dealt with this more times than I can count. But it is how you respond to that failure that makes you the type of ball player you are. Now when the failure does occur you need something to fall back on.. something that can be your “anchor” that constantly grounds you from not getting to low or too high for that matter. This is where “The Process” comes in. If you have an admiration for this process of you trying to maximize your ability then nothing else really matters other than that fact alone. You are on a vision quest to see just how good you can get. If you fail, so what.. you still love the game right? You still have a process/routine you can fall back on at all times. Take everything in stride and as a learning experience.
I would not be playing this game right now if I didn’t have an absolute love for The Process I can tell you that right now. I was drafted out of high school and I never really experienced failure growing up. As soon as I turned pro I got punched square in the nose on several occasions. I didn’t really know how to deal with it at the time because it had never happened to me. What I did know was that I loved the game and I love everything that went into it (process). I still to this day have such a love for the ins and outs of the process. For some reason I just love getting up before everyone and making sure I start my day with some mental exercises then go to the gym. I love doing visualization drills in the outfield while i’m shagging bp. I’m not trying to say that i’m the best or anything i’m just simply trying to encourage you to develop a strong relationship with your process. Now everyone’s is going to be different.. find what works for you then stick to that incorporating changes when necessary.
Talk to every baseball player in the big leagues right now and ask them why they play the game. I guarantee that 95% of them will say because they love it. They love the grind of it, they love the competition it brings, all of it. I believe for you to succeed at this game you have to be in love with it. It is too hard of a game to just kind of like it. It will beat you the heck up then that little passion you did have for it will fade quickly. But if you thoroughly enjoy it and have a passion for it then nothing is going to stop you from working your tail off each and everyday. And keep working my man.. keep putting in the work because good things happen to those who work hard. You may not see it right away but keep crushing the process and it will come!