What Your Work Ethic Says About You

 In Education, Instruction, Stories

A Player, Parent, and Coach Perspective

By Garrett Gordon

What Motivates You?

As a player, ask yourself “why do I play baseball?”.  As a parent ask yourself “Why does my son play baseball?”. Do they play because you make them? Is their goal to someday play in the big leagues one day? Do they want to make one of the top travel teams in the area? Or do they just want to play once or twice a week because their friends do?  The bottom line, no matter what the goal of the player is, today we’re going to talk about taking ownership.

Find what motivates you and then plan your goals accordingly. If you don’t want to put in the extra time, then you’re not allowed to be upset about your poor performance, lack of playing time, or not making the top travel team. If your goal is to have fun, I can assure you that if you practice and get better that you will have more fun.

The Initial Work

Let’s say you’re trying to take your game to the next level by learning our movement progression, getting in-person lessons, online lessons, or maybe you’re just out on your own in the backyard trying to get better.  

I’ll take an example from our facility because that’s what I know: When hitters get introduced to the Rebel’s Rack at Baseball Rebellion there usually is slight hesitation. “How can a red bar teach me how to hit?”, I’m sure is the first thought that crosses their mind. But once they buy-in and learn the movement progression, something awesome happens. 

Immediately, hitters start hitting the ball better, and this makes them happy. Being the newest hitting instructor here I have seen this time and time again over the past 6 months. I have seen the drastic jumps in exit velocity and distance. This is really cool to see and gives me AND the hitter reassurance that what we teach is beneficial.

The Honeymoon Phase

The “honeymoon phase” always eventually wears off. Hitters think that because they have improved once by working on the movements, they will improve every time. Even if they don’t work as hard as they did in between the next few lessons as they did between the first two.

Something a little different at Baseball Rebellion is we give ‘homework’ to our hitters. Do 100 Rack Turns. Do 50 strides into a mirror at home. Usually, the first thing we ask as instructors when I client comes in for their lesson is: “have you been doing your turns/work at home?” Roughly 75% of the time the answer is “no” or the kid says “yes” and then the parent in the background is shaking their head “no”.

This is frustrating and makes us all here at Baseball/Softball Rebellion disappointed, and frankly, slightly annoyed. No, we don’t get mad nor take it personally but we do know that if you don’t practice your movements you will never be as good as you can be or want to be. You must take ownership of your practice

You Invest Your Money, But Do You Invest in Yourself?

The checklist goes like this: 

  • Do you have a Rebel’s Rack (or any other training product)? Yes
  • Do you get lessons either in person or online” Yes. 
  • Do you play on a team? Yes.

Ok, so you’ve committed to all those things to make yourself a better player and then still don’t take the time (even just 5 minutes per day) to practice on your own?  Your parents have invested money and time in you so that you can get better because YOU said you wanted to play on the top travel team or make all-stars. Quite frankly it is disrespectful to them when you don’t practice on your own. 

What you lack is dedication, and that’s not ok. But guess what? Now you can fix it! As a player at any age, you have to be real with how much time you dedicate to getting better.

3 Ways to Relate the Game to Life

The Classroom

Now this section has nothing to do with school but it has everything to do with the process of getting better.  Getting lessons, going to clinics or camps is the equivalent to a classroom. This is the time where you gain knowledge that needs to be remembered.  

 When you’re in a one on one lesson, you have to be fully present and be in that exact moment. 100% focus during the whole instruction time is key for your development.  You have to be willing to change and learn. If you’re not willing to do that, then your performance will suffer.

The Homework

Practicing on your own is the same thing as getting homework from your school teacher.  As instructors and coaches, we will give you things to work on! Now it’s your job to do it! Saying you forget what you need to work on is unacceptable. So stop making excuses and get that work done.

I know when I give a lesson, I can immediately tell if a kid has been practicing at home or not, and I immediately call them out.  This is the same thing a teacher would do if you didn’t do your homework. 

The Test

Lastly, the test is the games you play. If you don’t have your stride down and turn your body poorly, then guess what? You’re probably going to fail in the box. With baseball and softball, hitting is the most difficult part of the game. Those who are considered good get a hit around 1 every 3 at-bats, which leaves them with a batting average of .333.  That means they fail around 66% of the time.

In my 26 years of existence, I have never encountered any tasks, homework, test, project, or whatever where if you fail 66% of the time you’re still considered good. Therefore, when you don’t take the steps necessary to perform well in games don’t be mad when you keep failing! You lost that right when you didn’t pay attention in the classroom and failed to do your homework. Do you feel me?!?

How You Can Start Working TODAY!

Find Your Best Stride

When it comes to finding your best stride, there are movements your body has to do to create a solid turn.  The length of your stride is something that needs to be considered. Hitters will often shorten their stride without ever really noticing that they are doing them.  Therefore, you need to pay attention to what you are doing. The width of your stride is also something that can’t be neglected. If you feel off-balance when you stride and then turn, it could be because the width of your stride is too narrow.  Check out the video below for more information.

Find Your Best Turn

After making sure your stride is locked in, check to make sure your head and chest position are good.  Now it’s time to find your best turn, which should feel fast and effortless.  You should be able to maintain balance throughout the whole turn. I understand not every turn will be perfect but over time you can get it pretty close.  The more you repeat your best turn, the more often it will come out in games. Watch the video below on why you need to find your best turn.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article I hope you don’t feel like I am personally attacking anyone.  As an instructor, I want the best for any athlete I get to work with. I know from my own experience that if you put in the hard work and develop your skills, you can get pretty close to what you want.

Figure out what you want when it comes to playing baseball. If your goal is to make the top travel team or play in college and get a scholarship one day, then you better be working your tail off to get that. Take ownership of your career right now and you’ll be better off down the road.

You never want to look back and think “I could have done more”. I have had that same feeling and let me tell you what, it does not feel good.  But I didn’t know the things back then that I know now! So here I am urging YOU to get better, try a lot bit more, focus on what you need to fix, and this will make you better!

Questions about the Article?

Reach out to Garrett:  garrett@baseballrebellion.com 

Follow Garrett on Twitter: @Garrett__Gordon

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