Sometimes you do not have a coach to put you through drills, or a team to practice with, or a teammate to play catch with. Sometimes you do not have a lot of room to work. Average players can find excuses everywhere. Great players make no excuses.
I recently saw one of our former players (2018 graduate) show up to our facility to workout. It was during a snowstorm. He was alone. And he had just finished an all day swim/dive meet.
I was so impressed with this player’s focus. He walked in, waved to me from across the facility and began his warm up. After a brief warmup he started hitting off the tee. He probably hit about 100 balls, performing various drills in different tee positions. He took his time between reps, thinking between each rep to make the small adjustments for the next swing. It was very clear that he had a vision for each swing…a plan and a specific destination for each ball he hit. It was also very clear that this was not his first time going through a baseball workout alone. After each bucket, he took his time picking up the balls in the cage. He was not just picking up baseballs, but was planning and visualizing his next set of swings.
When he was done hitting, he picked up his glove and started his throwing progression in the cage. Same type of vision and plan that he showed in his hitting session. Within each rep there was focus on footwork, release point, and athletic movement….it seemed as if he had a game situation in his head for every throw.
Lastly, he stepped out of the batting cage and found a wall. From about 10 feet away, he threw countless numbers of balls against the wall, working on every different type of short hop and ground ball simulation. He paid attention to fielding and glove positioning, setting his feet to throw, and taking the ball out of his glove consistently and quickly.
After finishing his solo wall ball session, he walked over to his equipment bag, packed up, and walked slowly out of the facility. On his way out, he looked over to me and said thank you. Those were the only words he spoke during the entire workout.
I was not entirely sure why he was thanking me. I should be thanking him for reminding me and everyone else who was at the facility that day what it takes to become a great player.
Great players love training and the process of improving. Even during bad weather, by themselves, and with limited resources. They especially enjoy putting in the work when there are countless excuses to skip the workout. Great players win games months before any games are played, sometimes by themselves, with no coaches or teammates around.
Great players make no excuses. They are getting better and learning how to win when others are not.
Thank you for reading,
— Brad Woodall