Effort & Focus

Two things an athlete can always give, regardless the circumstances; effort and focus. I tell my Titans that it doesn’t matter whether the game is 1 to nothing or 100 to nothing, you can still give effort and focus. “Winners never quit and quitters never win” (Vince Lombardi). It’s a great life lesson that will serve my athletes well. 

Importantly, I expect the same in practice. I expect effort and focus. Furthermore, I expect effort and focus in between practices — when I don’t see my athletes — when the greatest strides are made in terms of proper mechanics. Should I expect less? If so, it’s time to hang it up as an instructor and coach. 

I also preach that it’s important to instill a love and passion for the game. This is true but love and passion start with effort and focus. In other words, it’s my demands of effort and focus and my expectations of hard work and commitment that lead to a love and passion, not the other way around. Come spring time, just watch a Titan square up and fastball and drive it to the fence, or witness a Titan make an amazing defensive play or observe a Titan pitcher strike out a batter with the winning run on third base and you will also see a fire ignited. 

Effort and focus. Love and passion. Give me effort and focus and we’ll have the best time ever on this wonderful journey!

Overcoming Fear

We often talk to our young ball player about "fear". In the realm of sports, fear is one human emotion that is not compatible with optimal performance; fear creates anxiety and anxiety is considered a form of paralysis. It's not that it is a physical paralysis but a mental one, where, in baseball terms, a player is unable to perform at an optimal level. 

The athletes that overcome their fear (or demonstrate fearlessness) are the ones that excel in competition. It's only natural to have fear, and this is what we communicate to our athletes. However, we work with them to face their fear which is the first step in overcoming it. 

Dr. Travis Bradberry, in his recent article Overcoming These Challenges Will Make You More Successful (Published on January 5, 2017) explains fear this way:

Fear. Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination. Danger is real. It’s the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus. Fear is a choice. Successful people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head. They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears.

Don’t ever hold back in life just because you feel scared. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you…  The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

For the young, aspiring athletes under our Titans baseball program, we will continue to discuss fear and we will keep pushing these kids to face their fears head on. Most importantly, we’ll continue to impart to them that they are not alone in their struggle to overcome — we are in this struggle together.