Want to talk about playing under pressure? Look no further than the Negro Leagues. Started in 1920 by Rube Foster, manager of the Chicago American Giants, the league was the turning point for black baseball.
The league launched with eight teams: Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Kansas City Monarchs, Indianapolis ABCs and the St. Louis Giants.
The Negro Leagues were filled with skilled athletes—players who continually elevated their play and rose to the pressure of the day to develop their baseball acumen.
To help you be prepared for your baseball season, let’s unpack three words in the aforementioned sentences:
He who owns the definition owns the movement. Before my hitters can learn how to play baseball, they most learn how to participate and practice.
- Learn how to participate.
- Learn how to practice.
- Learn how to play.
Oftentimes, people mistake participation and playing baseball. Anyone who steps onto a baseball field is participating. But to play means you must have an understanding of the fundamentals of the game—things like rules, how to make adjustments and how to utilize the lessons you learn at your next practice.
Practice is where you learn how to be committed and disciplined. It is where you learn how to make adjustments when you are failing so that you can achieve success.
- Commitment — Making a promise to yourself for yourself
- Discipline — Doing the things that you need to do even when you don’t want to do it
- Adjustments — Doing something different
There is a difference between feeling pressure and stress. Feeling nervous and anxious is normal. The nervousness you feel is based on something you have done before there is pressure. That same feeling of nervousness is based on something you have not done before is stress.
In your next practice, try to do things that are difficult to do. If hitting off the tee has become easy, try hitting a quarter size target that is 40 feet away three out of every 10 times. That is more difficult to do than hitting a pitch.
Skills pay the bills. Developing skills is the result of practicing under pressure. February-April is the phase of development where I intentionally create an environment of pressure and stress in my Hitting Lab to prepare my hitters for competition.
Diamond Directors has been providing the blueprint of success for diamond sports athletes since 1998. Let us assess your swing in our next Hitting Combine.
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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