How to avoid July’s lies

by Admin on July 18, 2018

ON OCCASION, WE ALL TELL LIES to ourselves so that we can remain hopeful about our future. July is the final month of the summer baseball season. Travel baseball teams of varying ages from all over the world are competing against one another to determine whose the best of the best.

There are several average players winning championships with above-average teams who are telling themselves three lies in July:

  1. I’m good.
  2. My game is good.
  3. My future is good.

Lie No. 1 — I’m good
My wife convicted me with these words once and I will never forget them. She said, “C.J., everywhere you go, there you are.” I was in a place of bad character. I was stuck on stupid and her words helped me to go from being stupid to struggle to success.

Stupidity is knowing the right thing to do and say, but not doing or saying it.

Saying to yourself, “I’m good,” may make you feel good, but you need to know how good you are to prepare for your future.

“I’m good” is about your character. It’s about your heart rather than your head and your hands.

Do your teammates describe you as a good person?

What is it about your character today that must be improved for a successful future?

Lie No. 2 — My game is good
Good isn’t good if its just based on a feeling. Being good is based on action. To become good at anything requires a large measure of self-confidence, self-discipline and self-awareness.

  • Self-Confidence — realistically knowing what you can do based on what you’ve done
  • Self-Discipline — doing things that need to done even when you don’t want to do it
  • Self-Awareness — knowing when you’re right and wrong so that you can repeat and adjust

Your future isn’t good for anything if you lack these three.

Lie No. 3 — My future is good
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

What do you want for your future as a baseball player? At age eight, I wanted to grow up to play professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs. They drafted me twice and I wore the Cubs pinstripes for two years.

My parents couldn’t afford batting lessons when I was a kid, so I had to prepare from my future by watching games. I developed my swing by hitting rocks with sticks and testing what I learned in the backyard in games with my team.

Your future is nothing but another dream if you aren’t assessed and lack access to progress.

The fall baseball season starts in August and ends in October. That’s 90-plus days to get your swing assessed by a professional swing coach. Your fall games should be reserved for you to try new things to determine what works and what doesn’t.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” — Thomas Jefferson

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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What should be in your coaching playbook

by Admin on July 11, 2018

Before the word coach was used in the context of sports, it was reserved strictly for transportation. There was a horse, a coachman and a coach. The coachman controlled the horse, and the coach was where the passengers rested and waited. A coach transported you to where you were supposed to be. Today in sports, coaches fail to get players to their destination because of the fear of accountability, among other things.

Good coaches must be able to hit pitches just like their players, and for their players and parents. In baseball, a pitch is a thrown ball. In everyday life, a pitch is an attempt to win approval of someone.

Fastballs
Most people are more familiar with FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) than SAQ’s (Should Ask Questions). SAQ’s deal with the why. This type of question goes deep quickly. Like a pitcher’s desire to get ahead of the count with a fastball right done the middle of the plate, coaches should be forced to hit fastballs as they relate to their responsibility to move players in the right direction.

“Coach, why should anybody follow you?”

Change up
The change up can be a deadly pitch that follows a good fastball. It comes at you linearly like a fastball, but its change of pace makes arrogant hitters go to their knees with their powerful, yet out of control swings.

“Coach, what percentage of players have you successfully led to their full potential as a player?”

Curveball
The Latin word for passion means suffering. If I had a dollar for every coach who said he was “passionate” about coaching, I’d be a millionaire.

“Coach, what are you suffering from or suffered from that positions you to be a trusted coach?”

Slider
Sliders look like fastballs until they take a late and sharp side-to-side break. For coaches, the ability to hit sliders is based on their ability to initiate uncomfortable conversations that players and parents don’t want to have. Oftentimes, the problem between coaches, players and parents is the players and parents.

Taking a pitch
Silence can not be misquoted, but coaches have an obligation to respond to questions in an authentic way.

Foul ball
“Fake it until you make it” is a mantra I lived by as a coach for the first 10 years of my 21-year career. I didn’t know how to coach and  I was hard pressed to find good coaching mentors. I knew what I wanted to become as a great coach, but I didn’t know how to get there so I faked it because I lacked humility. Today, I’m among the top professional swing coaches in America. I learned what I needed to do (50 percent from my players and 30 percent from my parents). The remaining 20 percent was acquired from books and other coaches. “Fake it until you make it” is an approach to take, but it’s a bad one. You’ll never get hits with it.

Strikeout
Arrogance, intolerance, complaining and blaming is what coaches do to strikeout. These four negative traits often rear themselves out of ignorance and shame. The good news is that the solution is humility, which I define as not thinking less than yourself, but thinking more of others.

Base hit
Coaches getting base hits is about being convicted. Coaches, you don’t know everything and you probably weren’t the best player. Oftentimes, saying you don’t have an answer, even when you have the correct one, empowers your players to connect with you. It starts with the conviction. There is no connection without conviction.

Home run
Making and delivering upon promises and guarantees as a coach is hitting a home run.

  1. I promise I’ll have an agenda for every hitting session.
  2. I guarantee that if you train with me for at least 10, one-hour sessions, your batting average will increase by 10 points.
  3. I promise to meet with your parents and coaches once, every other week, to advocate on your behalf so that you can develop and maintain peace of mind that leads to development of hitting habits and skills.
  4. I guarantee I’ll have you evaluated by your dream college coach within the first 12-months of our training relationship.

Pickoff
Talent is what you do well. A habit is what you do well repeatedly with thought. A skill is what you do well repeatedly without thought while under stress. There are a lot of talented coaches who experience success because of their charisma. They’ve made it to first base with a base hit because they connect with their players. But possessing charisma and connectivity without good habits will get you picked off every time.

Caught stealing
Travel baseball and private hitting coaches steal money from their players and clients when they don’t know what they’re talking about. Knowing what you’re talking about requires studying and being equipped. Coaches get caught stealing when parents and/or players are empowered to ask those “should ask questions.” These type of questions are deep and fast, and focus on the “why” before the “what.” Coaches can’t know everything, but there are several things we should know.

Win
Coaches want to help their players and parents win. Coaches win when they can hit fastballs, change ups and curveballs to get lots of base hits and home runs.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.

 

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3 levels for equipping yourself with the right strategy

July 4, 2018

Practicing and training are not the same. The next level up from training is equipping. Equipping goes beyond training. Following are the three levels you must climb to get to where you need to be in your baseball development journey. Level 1 — Practicing Practice is the preparation for performance. There are three S’s that […]

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Why it’s important for your kids to get the right development

June 27, 2018

This is my 21st year serving as professional baseball swing coach. That’s a lot of hours invested in to helping young players get to where they want to go. It takes 10,000 hours to develop a skill, so, if you do the math, you’ll see that I have amassed more than 40,000 hours of training […]

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Reaping your harvest

June 20, 2018

For my Diamond Directors clients, August invites the “New Year” of development. August-November are the assessment months, where we try new things to determine what works and what doesn’t, while fall baseball is the best time to make it happen. So, why are we discussing fall baseball in June? For starters, because I know your swing […]

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How to eat, drink and sleep baseball

June 13, 2018

Protein serves many functions in our bodies including: they are the major structural component of a cell, they are used for growth and repair of body tissues, they produce hemoglobin, enzymes and hormones. Energy also can be produced from protein. Protein is the building block for muscles. Not having enough protein in your diet can […]

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The 3 ‘must haves’ you need to succeed

June 6, 2018

I was blessed to be drafted twice by the Chicago Cubs (in 1994 and 1996). It was my childhood dream to become a “Cubbie” while watching them play day games on WGN. The 2018 MLB Draft, held this past Monday and Tuesday, was a showcase for the more than 1,000 young men from all of […]

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How to see your goals till the end

May 30, 2018

There’s not a day that passes when dreams aren’t being dreamed and complaints aren’t being communicated. As a coach, my job is to move people from a state of becoming to one of being. The challenge is that a lot of people want change but won’t change. Before the word coach was used in sports, […]

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Why you’re not getting hits this month (and how to change that)

May 23, 2018

It’s May, so let me give you three reasons you may be struggling to get lots of hits this month. As we know, there are seven parts to the swing and it takes 3,000 reps per part to main a skill. That’s 21,000 reps. Stance/Load Timing Tempo Tracking Approach Contact Extension/Finish All seven of these […]

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Understanding travel ball’s love/hate relationship

May 16, 2018

What frustrates you the most about Travel Baseball? When it comes to frustration, I truly believe when you get to that point, solutions emerge. I started coaching at East Cobb in the late ’90s. The Atlanta Braves were dominating and there was a boom of private baseball instruction. I had no idea how to coach and […]

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