If you opened this email hoping that I was going to complain about umpires, you’re going to be disappointed. In fact, complaining about anything that is not under our control is pretty pointless in general and is also one of my biggest pet peeves when talking to players, coaches, and parents.
A problem isn’t a problem if you can do something about it. Either make an adjustment or rise above it. Period. Often times, we get caught up complaining about something that we can’t control and end up overlooking all of the things that we can and should be working on.
Here are a few examples…
“This ump stinks”-He’s calling a strike 6 inches off the plate. This happens all the time! So instead of allowing yourself to get rung up on this pitch, what can you do? Be more aggressive early in the count and get on top of the plate. Make an adjustment.
“This field is awful”-Well, first off, it’s awful for both team. Attack the baseball. Body it up if you need to. Bad hoops happen the most when we’re playing passively. If you did everything you could and still get an awful hoop, shake it off. That’s not on you.
“It’s so hot out”-Get a goodnight’s sleep. Make sure you hydrated and ate well the day before and the day off. Bring a cold towel and water to the game. The team that wins under tough conditions come prepared and enjoy the challenge, instead of letting it be the reason they don’t play well. If you were in the pool the all day and didn’t eat, why should you expect to be prepared to battle the heat? Prioritize the game.
It’s really simple…elite players hold themselves accountable for “failure”. Everyone else will find an excuse…whether it’s the umpire, the field conditions, the weather, etc.
Do you think all of these elite MLB players coming out of Latin America (they eventually will be YOUR competition) are playing on beautifully manicured fields, with perfect umpiring, in 70 degree weather with a slight breeze? Not a chance. They just love the game and are obsessed with getting better.
Excuses will end your career. Challenge yourself with consistent accountability. How you deal with any and all of these things can either add or subtract years to your career. It’s your call. Be obsessed.
Director of Teams
Maplezone Sports Institute