What is a habit? Why do you need it? How do you get it? How do you keep it?

  • Talent is what you do well.
  • A habit is something that you repeatedly do without thought.
  • A skill is something that you repeatedly do without thought under stress.

How much thought did it take for you to brush your teeth this morning? How much effort is required for you to blink your eyes? You are fortunate to have a habit of doing these things.

I️ know that there is a habit you’re longing to have. You dream of having a swing you can repeat in games without thought. My Major League clients can repeat their swing approach 70 percent of the time, as in 70 times out of 100 times that their bat moves back and forth to drive a pitch.

It takes 3,000 reps to develop a habit and there are seven parts to the swing.

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

That’s 21,000 reps required to develop a habit. Hope is a gift, but turning hope into reality is a journey.

What is a habit?
A habit is something you can repeatedly do well without thought.

Why do you need it?
You need good habits for hitting so that you can perform based on instincts that removes the stress of performance.

How do you get it?
You develop habits by being committed and disciplined with your practice. Commitment is defined as making and keeping a promise. Discipline is defined as doing things that need to be done even when you don’t want to do them.

How do you keep it?
You maintain habits by continuing to remain committed and disciplined with your drills.

Here’s a simple Skill Build Drill that you should do 3,000 times to develop a habit for your load.

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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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Jason Reese, founder & CEO House of Fitness

Editor’s Note: This weeks’ blog was written by Jason Reese, fitness/athletic trainer and a wellness industry expert founder and CEO of House of Fitness LLC.

What are the top three strength exercises that hitters need to execute this winter November-January to develop strength that will allow them to become an effective hitter?

When forming an off season strength program for a hitter, you must first build a solid foundation of strength and flexibility. To enhance your power potential, you must be flexible, especially through your hips, gluteal, hamstring and core.

Often tight hip flexors inhibit power potential by not allowing your hips to open up explosively during follow through.

Below are three key exercises and the active multiple muscle groups that are important to helping you develop strength, flexibility and bat speed in the off-season:

Squats
Strength & Flexibility

Muscle group activated: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, abs

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 8-10 repetition (In the off-season, you want to do max repetition: That’s continuously performing the exercise with a weight you can only do 8 to 10 times) 2 times week

Method: You want to center yourself on the bar, stand with your feet and shoulders width apart, drop into the squat with your head/chest pointed up and out, go down until your tights are parallel (this maximize the effect of the exercises by activating your hips, glutes, hamstring  and core all in one exercise). Once parallel you want to explode through your heels back to the standing position.

Link to the Exercise

Landmines Twist
Core Strength and Speed

Muscle Group Activated: Oblique & shoulders

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 15 to 20 repetitions – 3 times a week

Landmines target you obliques, which are crucial to good rotational power, and building proper bat speed and strength. The great thing about the landmine exercise for baseball players is that the motion is not fixed, which makes it easier on you shoulders.

Method: Place an Olympic bar into a landmine or against the corner of a wall to prevent the end from sliding around. Hold the bar at shoulder height with both hands and your arms extended. Assume an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Rotate your midsection and hips as you move the weight all the way down to the outside of your hip. Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise. Aggressively rotate the weight to the other side of your body. Repeat for a total of five reps to each side. Start with three sets. If you’re having trouble keeping your arms straight throughout the exercise, lighten the weight to maintain proper form.

Links to the exercise – Workout 1, Workout 2

Medicine Ball Rotational Throws
Core Flexibility & Hips

Muscle Groups Activated: Core and Hips

Sets/Reps: 4 sets – 12-15 repetition per side

The purpose of this exercise is to generate as much force as possible while going through the full motion of a baseball swing using a medicine ball. This quick and powerful motion will help you develop bat speed and more rotational force during your swing.

Method: Stand next to a wall holding a medicine ball in both hands in an athletic stance. Similar to a baseball swing, wind up by rotating the ball away from the wall. Explosively pivot your hips, midsection and shoulders to forcefully throw the ball against the wall. Pick up the ball and repeat.

Link to the exercise – Workout 1, Workout 2

_____________________________________________________________________________

Jason Reese is fitness/athletic trainer and a wellness industry expert with substantial experience in personal training, health and wellness mentoring and fitness assessment. Jason is currently the founder and CEO of House of Fitness LLC. Where he provides clients with strength and flexibility training and weighs management programs. His training philosophy is centered on motivating, empowering and challenging clients to reach their highest potential in overall wellness. As a former college athlete, Jason has always been passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and enjoys helping others reach their health and fitness goals. For more information, you can reach him at 706-302-0806 or reese.houseoffitness@gmail.com – Follow on Instagram: @Houseoffitnessllc

 

 

 

 

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Talent is things you do well. Habits are things you repeated do without thought. And skills are things you do well without thought under stress.

To get a closer look at how habits on and off the field can impact young players, I’ve asked two of my friends – Quinterus Vancant, head varsity baseball coach at Booker T. Washington High School  and Dash O’Neil, head coach at Georgia Highlands College coach – to weigh in on my “Super 7 Questions.”

Here’s what they had to say:

Quinterus Vancant

1. How do you define the word habit?

It’s a routine that’s repeated so much that it tends to occur without the person even trying.

2. What are the top three character habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter en route to having a successful spring season?

Quinterus Vancant

I want my hitters to develop accountability, toughness and the ability to learn. Hitters must have the habit of accountability to understand that the work we put in as a team will not be enough. Hitters must be able to put the work in themselves to get better. Toughness is an important habit because hitters must understand that nothing comes easy. The habit of learning is highly needed. This winters hitters will learn about different points relating to their hitting.

3. What are the top three hitting habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter? 

I want them to work on balance, concentration and eyesight. A lot of things falls under concentration. Concentration can range from getting adequate enough rest the night before to blocking out distractions at the plate. Eyesight is a crucial habit to develop. A hitter must be able to see the ball and its thread clearly to be able to make a decision on where the ball will end up. Every great hitter has balance. Balance starts with your stance. Hitters must maintain their balance as they stride and swing to make solid contact.

4. What character habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

In high school it was accountability. I was passionate about the game. I loved the game. But when things didn’t go my way, I blamed everyone except myself. Looking back on it now I realized I could have taken responsibility and put it on myself. I could have used it as fuel to work harder. I never put in the work outside of practice and game experience.

5. What hitting habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

When I was in college I struggled with the habit of improving. I always felt like I had a good enough swing to be on the college level. I didn’t put in the work to improve different approaches to different pitches. I was trying to pull everything instead of taking certain outside pitches OPO.

6. What are the top three character habits that coaches must develop to be effective at teaching their hitters to develop good character and hitting habits?

As a coach I believe that a coach must develop honesty, leadership, and preparedness. As coaches your players must have trust in you and with that comes signs of honesty. Also coaches must be able to lead. Being prepared is a great habit to develop. You must be purposeful with everything you’re doing as a coach. In order to do that you must plan out everything.

7. Who was your favorite MLB hitter when you were in high school and why?

It was Derek Jeter. I loved his approach to game. With Jeter it wasn’t about power or hitting home runs. Every time he stepped up to the plate it was about what he could do at that moment to position his team to be successful. I pride myself in being just like him in high school. If I needed to move the runner over I made sure I did, whether it was a bunt or a line drive. I enjoyed watching him at the plate so much that I use to mimic my swing from his YouTube videos.

Dash O’Neil

Dash O’Neil 

1. How do you define the word habit?

It’s a behavior or attitude that becomes embedded in one’s daily routine. Habits can be formed deliberately or unintentionally. They can be good or bad. Once they’re bad, they’re difficult to break.

2. What are the top three character habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter en route to having a successful spring season?

For me, a good hitter has to develop a habit of focusing on his process, rather than simply looking at his results. I believe that successful hitting is a by-product of a quality process. So while we cannot expect to be perfect in our performance at the plate, we can certainly pursue a perfect process. In the winter, I ask my players to really evaluate their hitting process and to consider how their process relates to their performance.

I also ask them to make commitment a habit. While this relates to hitting in an obvious way, I try to stress to them the importance of commitment in all arenas. The winter is an opportunity for players to make a commitment to themselves to put in the work they need to improve. This is an opportunity to develop the idea that once you make a commitment, you must honor that commitment. I want players who do what they say they’re going to do and who aren’t afraid to give themselves to a commitment.

A third habit I’d like to see my hitters develop is getting excited to face a worthy opponent, rather than seeking the easy victory. The only way to become a champion is to get in the arena against champions and compete with them. Often, the greatest difference between two talented teams or players is the attitude toward competing with each other. I ask our players to seek out and get excited about facing the toughest competition they can find and talk about the old adage that “iron sharpens iron.” In the winter, I challenge players to confront their weaknesses and to find people to work with who will push them to their limits.

3. What are the top three hitting habits you’d like your hitters to develop this winter?

I really want guys to focus on swinging with intent, zone discipline and outer third control. Swinging with intent is something I don’t see very many young hitters doing. They get in the cage, take their hacks, and get out. When you ask them what they’re working on, they often either cannot tell you or they only have a very general idea such as “trying to hit the ball hard.”

I want hitters to have a very specific intent every single time they swing the bat. A good example would be “I’m looking for pitches in the outer third of my hitting zone, and I’m trying to hammer line drives into the opposite field gap.” To me, a swing without a specific purpose is a wasted rep.

Practicing zone discipline is another habit I think is critical. I want my hitters to make discipline a habit by practicing it every time they step in the box. Zone discipline, to me, means not only laying off pitches out of your zone, but also learning to attack pitches in the zone you’re targeting. Too often hitters have it ingrained in them that they have to swing at every pitch in the cage, which slows their understanding of the strike zone and their ability to really attack pitches they can hit hard. The winter is a fantastic time to develop this habit without sacrificing game performance.

The third habit I want is what I call “outer third control.” At the NJCAA level, and I believe at other levels of college and high school baseball, the majority of pitches thrown are intended to be on the outer part of the plate. But many young hitters prefer to hit pitches that are easier to reach on the inner part of the plate. I want my hitters to develop a habit of learning how to control the outer third of the plate. They can do this in several different ways, but they all must be able to handle pitches on the outer third if they want to be successful. In the winter I task them with mastering their process for dealing with these pitches, so that in the spring I can see their improvement.

4. What character habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

A character habit I really struggled to develop in my own career was self efficacy. I had plenty of confidence in my ability to perform, but early in my college career I really worried what other people thought of my abilities. Even when I was hitting well and being productive, I’d find myself seeking validation from others. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized the only person I had to prove anything to was myself.

5. What hitting habit did you struggle to develop as a high school and/or college hitter?

Looking back, I think I actually devolved as a high school hitter. Leading up to high school, I walked up to the plate just about every time trying to drive a ball into the opposite field gap. I was always an exceptional hitter. The problem was that I didn’t realize that my success was really a result of having a very specific approach. I didn’t even know what approach meant. Although I was still a very good high school hitter, I took several steps backward because I failed to nurture my habit of hitting with intent.

6. What are the top three character habits that coaches must develop to be effective at teaching their hitters to develop good character and hitting habits?

Humility, patience and accountability. Coaches must develop the habit of humility – both in terms of understanding they don’t have all the answers and that their role is to serve the needs of their players rather than the other way around.

A coach must also develop a habit of patience, because improvement takes time. Quick fixes in hitting rarely last for long. A good hitting coach will allow his hitters the time they need to develop and improve. Finally, accountability must become a habit for a good coach. Players will respect a coach who’s willing to practice what they preach and who holds them accountable for their actions.

7. Who was your favorite MLB hitter when you were in high school and why?

Lenny Dykstra was my guy. Not only did he have the coolest nickname (how can you not like “Nails?”), but he was a smaller guy just like me. He played with a chip on his shoulder and was fearless on the field. I loved his hard-nosed style and how he never seemed to back down from anyone. It didn’t hurt that the first time I watched a full MLB game, he hit a walk off home run in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS. He continued to be one of the best post season performers in MLB history.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

________________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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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Assurance, insurance and reassurance. These are three words – and philosophies – I instill into my young hitters.

  • Assurance is a promise made.
  • Insurance is compensation when the promise isn’t kept.
  • Reassurance is the removal of doubt.

Assurance
Baseball coaches can be revered as God’s by parents and coaches. But coaches often balk when it comes to making promises. Here are three promises that your baseball coach should make to you this winter (November-January) during training time:

  1. Promise he can evaluate the part(s) of your swing that need the most development
  2. Promise you will receive a specific minimum amount of reps this winter to develop those parts
  3. Promise to work with you on setting specific, realistic and measurable goals for the spring season based on the reps you receive at practice with him

Insurance
I’ll be the first to tell you that when I was a rookie coach I didn’t like to make promises to my players. I didn’t want to be held accountable by them.

If you can get your coach to make the three promises above, your insurance will be in writing. This is important because the stress of poor performance during games in the spring can cause coaches to get amnesia. All of a sudden, we’re punishing you for poor performances, when we were the ones who didn’t do a good job of preparing you.

Reassurance
As coaches, we must recognize that becoming a professional hitter is based on talent, habits and skills. Moving from one to another requires humility and discipline among many.

In order for you to be successful, regardless of your failures on the field, we must reassure you that you can improve.

That would require us to be honest and specific about why we picked you to be on our team in the first place. Coaches also have to assess your weaknesses and give you what need during practice in the winter (November-January) to be successful in the spring. Space to improve by way of failure is equally as important.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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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Feel. Fail. Fake. Fair. These are four, four letter words starting with the letter “F” that I want to focus on for this blog.

Here, I want to show you four questions that baseball players should answer this fall to help themselves, their parents and their coaches understand where they are mentally. Why? Because context is more important and must precede content.

Context – my “why”
Content – the “what”

The questions are:

  • How does playing baseball make me feel?
  • Why won’t I fail as a baseball player?
  • Am I fake?
  • Is baseball fair?

Feel

As a child, I thought I loved baseball. As I got older and actually achieved my dream of playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs, I realized that I didn’t love it. I didn’t have the work ethic and passion necessary to continue to get good at baseball. I wanted the money and fame, but I wasn’t willing to grind.

How does playing baseball make you feel?

Fail
There is success and there is failure. I believe that making adjustments sits right between. Too many people run from failure by not even trying.

Why won’t you fail as a baseball player?

Fake
“Fake it until you make it.” This sentiment is real for a lot of people. Hundreds of thousands of boys dream of playing in the Major Leagues some day. And if you don’t believe them, they will breath fire. Being fake is acting more than you really are as a person and player. It can be a detriment to others. Why act like a Major Leaguer if you don’t put in the work like one.

Are you fake?

Fair
In response to being fake is the claim that baseball isn’t fair when things don’t go your way. Life isn’t fair and neither is baseball.

  • Strive for success.
  • Do your best.
  • Failure can be a test.

Is baseball fair?

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

____________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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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In November, my hitters will focus on building habits and strength.

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.”

One of the best things I’ve done as a professional hitting coach is to be specific about “when” we do the “what.” Coaches will argue for hours over what drills to do and how to do them, never mentioning when to do them and for how long.

Here are my Phases of Development for my hitters:

I’ve had coaches ask me if I was concerned about sharing my secrets. My response has always been no. I’m not concerned, because a treasure map means nothing if you don’t have the commitment and discipline to go get the treasure. That’s for another blog though, so let me get focused here.

From August through October, my hitters focused on trying new things to determine what doesn’t work and what does work. If that’s uncomfortable, I don’t care, because a part of becoming the best at anything in life is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

There are seven parts of the swing and it takes 3,000 reps per part to build a habit.

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

That’s 21,000 total reps to build a habit.

Other vital habits that serve as the glue for swing development are commitment, discipline and the ability to make adjustments. Making an adjustment is simply doing something different after you fail. This can lead to success. Simple to understand, yet difficult to do, because of a lack of commitment and discipline needs to be developed before learning how to hit.

What competing commitments do you have that prevent you from becoming a great hitter? If discipline was like gasoline, how much do you have in your tank right now? What parts of the swing do you need to build a habit for?

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today. Also, check out our digital magazine, Changing the Game. 

________________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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 baseball habits are a “must-have” in order to reach your full potential? It’s a question I believe you must be able to answer. To set you in the right direction, here are mine. I call them the Five A’s:

  1. Attitude
  2. Awareness
  3. Adjustments
  4. Aptitude
  5. Athleticism

It is often said that 90 percent of baseball is mental. I believe it. Because I lacked most of these things as a player, I failed to reach my full potential. By the grace of God, today I’m unapologetically one of the top professional hitting coaches in America. I thank being able to fully embrace those five aforementioned attributes.

And there’s more. Below are the Five F’s that I’ve suffered from and still fight against. Do any of them apply to you as a coach, parent or player?

No. 1 – Feeble
Feeble people lack strength of character and are often empowered by other feeble people. Why? Because misery loves company. A single great character trait that feeble people should develop is humility, which I define as thinking of yourself less and others more. Your life calling might not be becoming the best baseball player in the world, so be okay with that and find other ways to make a difference.

No 2 – Fearful
F.E.A.R. can be used as an acronym: False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. Fear ushers in “fake-ness.”

No. 3 – Fake
We all know what being fake is. We often act fake to buy us time until we become successful. There’s an old saying, “Fake it until you make it.” At least be honest with yourself and admit you aren’t yet what you dream of being.

No. 4 – Forsaken
To be forsaken is to be abandoned or let go. This often happens to players because they and their parents refuse to be honest about who they are. This includes (character) and what they can do (competence). Not being honest about these things causes you to seek coaches who will tell you what you want to hear (con). The players who don’t quit playing baseball at age 13 will often be forsaken at age 18 when the scholarship and/or MLB Draft status they dreamed of doesn’t happen.

No. 5 – Foolish
A fool lacks good judgement. He cannot be trusted. Fools know what to do and choose not to do it.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

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

____________________________________________________________________________

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, CJ 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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The hitters that spend most of season complaining and blaming are the ones who haven’t been trained to perform.

Training and practicing aren’t the same. Training requires four S’s to be ever-present, while practicing prepares you for training. Both need to lead to performance. If you aren’t being trained to perform, you’re being trained to complain and blame.

  • Practice
  • Training
  • Performance

Anybody can shoot a gun, and can even get good enough to do it from long distances. But Navy Seals can do it in rainy weather, without food and without failure in warfare.

  • Practicing – Building habits
  • Systematic – What are we doing
  • Sequential – When are we doing it
  • Simple – How do I do it
  • Training – Converting habits to skills
  • Specific – Why am I doing it
  • Performance – Let’s Do It

The hitters that spend most of season complaining and blaming are the ones who haven’t been trained to perform.

Without volunteer coaches, Major League Baseball wouldn’t even exist. Jason Heyward and Mike Trout haven’t always been Major Leaguers. They benefited from lots of practice time with their youth coaches. They were able to build habits.

Guys like J-Hey and Mike Trout intentionally go to the next level as a skilled hitter when they train with a skilled coach. The difference between practicing and training is the specifics.

Major League pitchers can repeat their delivery and command pitches at least 70 percent of the time. So, guess how many times a MLB hitter has to repeat his swing in order to compete?

You guessed correctly – 70 percent of the time. That’s a specific skill that must be developed facing varying pitching types, speeds and locations.

It starts with good habits. There are seven parts of the swing:

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

The game is the place to perform testing what you’ve worked on in practice and training. It’s called P.T.P.:

  • Practice
  • Training
  • Performance

Your performance will tell us what to work on during your next practice or training session. So, rather than complaining and blaming this fall, spend your time and energy practicing.

  • Coach, what are all the parts of the swing?
  • Which part(s) do I need to improve the most?
  • This winter, how many reps will it take for me to develop a habit?
  • This spring, what specific skills do I need to develop so that I can perform at a high level?

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, CJ 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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Mendez Elder is a former All-American at Savannah State University and currently a coach for the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors.

Instincts simply are the ability to get things done without thought. And coaches coach it out of players everyday.

Instincts can come by way of knowledge and experience. Experience is so key, because failure leads to success when the bridge is the ability to make adjustments.

I have a premise about baseball that can and should be argued. Here’s how it goes:

“Baseball ain’t that hard. It gets hard for players when we as coaches talk too much, do too little and believe too much.”

Baseball ain’t like flying an airplane, performing open heart surgery or rebuilding the engine of a car. Coaches, I know it stings, but we aren’t as important as we claim to be.

Here are three ways we can coach instincts out of our players:

No. 1 – Talking too much
Talking and teaching aren’t the same thing. Teaching requires a consideration of what the end goal is, because what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done. Coaches like to talk, and often are uncomfortable with being held accountable for doing what we say we can and will do.

Teaching demands we lay out all of the stuff to learn and put it in the proper sequence to be learned. Our rambling is like gambling – success is based on luck.

No. 2 – Doing too little
Even when coaches are able to effectively teach, we often hurt our players by doing too little. Ignorance is bliss until it isn’t.

I teach that there are seven parts of the swing in sequence, and that it takes 3,000 reps per part to develop a habit:

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

That’s 21,000 reps. Do all of your favorite drills coach – just get the right amount done at the right time, so that you aren’t doing too little.

No. 3 – Believing too much
Belief is a powerful thing when it’s supported by teaching and doing enough.

I work out four days per week, eat healthy five days per week and get at least eight hours of sleep six days per week. Therefore, I believe I can live a long life, barring God deciding otherwise. My belief is based on my actions.

Coaches say:.

  • “I believe that we are going to hit well this season.”
  • “I believe that we are going to win the national championship.”
  • “I believe that our players are on the right development track.”

Coaches, parents and players, what actions are you making that supports your beliefs about the upcoming baseball season?

Here are five things players can do to prevent coaches from coaching instincts out of them:

  1. Have a good attitude
  2. Be aware of your failure
  3. Make adjustments
  4. Demonstrate aptitude (ability to learn and apply)
  5. When all else fails, be athletic

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, CJ 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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Why do parents tolerate bad coaches? It’s a question I have been asked a lot over the years. If you’re looking for an answer you can remember (and relate to), here’s why:

S – Scared to challenge coaches
T – It’s taboo to talk to coaches
O – Open-mindedness to a fault
P – Problematic for the coach

My response to why I believe parents tolerate bad coaches is based on my experience as a bad coach. I’ve been coaching professionally as a baseball swing coach for 20 years with more than 30,000 hours of instruction under my belt. In my younger coaching days, I was three things: arrogant, ignorant and intolerant. It’s amazing I was able to make a living for all three of those negative qualities.

In the end, I was able to survive as a coach because I believe parents were afraid to challenge me as a coach. It’s taboo to talk to coaches. They were open-minded to a fault and it can be problematic.

Scared
Some parents are simply scared to speak to travel baseball coaches. Parents want the best for their children, and baseball parents specifically want their sons to become the best baseball players. Being the best at baseball provides self-confidence, recognition and, ultimately, a baseball scholarship or being drafted to a professional team.

Travel baseball coaches are held in high regard because we’re considered as the gate keepers for access to college baseball coaches and professional scouts. Many parents are afraid to confront bad travel ball coaches because they feel their son will lose out on opportunities if they aren’t on their “good side.”

When good parents are afraid of bad travel ball coaches, they hurt their sons mentally and emotionally. Thus, it becomes an inside job for the parents.

Taboo
Playing baseball and coaching aren’t the same. Just because a coach was a good player in his day doesn’t mean he can coach. When you visit your doctor, do you expect to receive a diagnosis and treatment? Well, the word coach forces the same demands as a doctor. A coach should be able to diagnose and treat problems.

I played Division I and professional baseball, and became a professional baseball coach because of the money. I tried to avoid going back to college. I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to help kids achieve their goals. I also didn’t know any coaches in the industry who had a method of development to support the kind-hearted comments that were made like, “I want kids to be the best that they can be” or “I coach because I love the kids.”

That all sounds good, but players and parents hire coaches for an outcome. By making the act of talking to coaches taboo, we don’t have to talk to the parents and reveal our ignorance. Why? It’s taboo.

Open-mindedness
Open-mindedness is all about being receptive to new ideas, and that’s cool, until it ain’t cool. Parents want their kids to be resilient, and often times depend on coaches to lead the way on this. Parents know their children won”t always have teachers, peers and, in the future, employers that will always have their sons best interest at heart. So, tolerating a bad coach now can prepare them for bad relationships in the future.

Toleration of a bad coach because of open-mindedness can cause a loss of peace of mind in the future.

Problematic
Coaching for some of us is the one place we can be king. And we take advantage of this privilege in a negative sense. For most travel baseball coaches, coaching is a volunteer-based position, which for many, come after a full day at work. We grew up playing baseball, but there are three things that hinder us from being the best version of ourselves as a baseball coach:

  1. We never reached our full potential as a baseball player and we are bitter.
  2. We are working at a job that we don’t like that doesn’t pay well.
  3. We invest more in learning the latest baseball drills rather than personal development.

These three things rear their ugly self when we show up to the field and unknowing bully kids. This was me 15 to 20 years ago.

Why did I change? It was because I eventually faced off with a parent who said “enough was enough” with respect to me disrespecting them and their son. They were about to become a problem for me.

Parents often times tolerate bad coaching because they don’t want to be a problem for the coach. When parents become a problem, his days of coaching are near the end.

Conscious parents realize that some coaches simply don’t know how to coach, but want to learn. Some are under the pressure to win games to validate themselves and their program, and some are just bad influences on kids.

It’s a feeling of being stuck when you don’t know why your son’s coach acts the way he does. Being stuck limits you with regards to what you feel you can say or do to him. Oftentimes, you feel sorry for him and are afraid for him because you know you can choose to be a problem for him.

Bad coaches shouldn’t be tolerated for you son’s sake. Rather than tolerating a bad coach, act:

A – Attention
C – Confront
T – Talking

Pay attention to coaches with respect to how they treat their players. You know what to look for.

Confront coaches in a manner that encourages them to talk to you. Treat them the way you want to be treated.

Now that you have the coach talking to you, be a good listener. He may share problems he’s having that you can help him solve.

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, CJ 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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