7 things you need now to get ready for spring
Close your eyes. Even as winter draws nears, you can still smell the fresh cut grass in the air. For the true player, baseball is never far away. I love this time of year. It’s when I get to take all those development pieces in my clients’ off-season puzzle box and transform them into building blocks for the journey ahead.
As you start building your foundation for the upcoming season, here are seven things you can focus on right now to ensure that success is at hand.
1. S.M.A.R.T. – Setting a goal with a performance coach
Specific. Measureable. Achievable. Relevant. Time Frame. These are your S.M.A.R.T. goals for spring.
* What is the SPECIFIC goal you want to achieve?
* Is it MEASURABLE? How will you MEASURE it?
* Is it ACHIEVABLE?
* Is it RELEVANT to the big picture?
* What is your TIME FRAME?
Review these goals with a professional swing instructor and performance coach. Set your game plan. See it. Do it. Believe it.
2. Start a healthy diet
You know the old saying, “You are what you eat.” Embrace that message. A healthy body means everything. It will give you the energy to mentally process on fundamentals such as your swing. Put your boots to the ground and get it done. Remember, eating right requires sacrifice. It’s impossible to achieve your goals without a healthy diet.
3. Cardio, Cardio, Cardio
It takes a minimum of 3,000 reps to develop good hitting habits. Not just 3,000 reps – 3,000 fundamentally sound reps. To do that this correctly, you have to be in shape. Period. So what are you waiting for – lace up those running shoes and hit the road. If you don’t start putting in your roadwork now, you’re not going to be ready for spring.
4. The Yoga Way
A well-tuned swing is organized chaos. That’s where flexibility enters into the picture. Flexibility ensures that your body is functional. Get into your Yoga groove, which is a great way to train your body to prevent injuries that may occur from doing all those aforementioned reps.
5. Hit the weight room
Bat speed. Power. Strength. Stamina. It all comes together in the weight room. For example, I really notice an increase in bat speed and power production when my clients are working out steadily.
Remember: Muscles are like rubber bands. If they aren’t flexible, they will break.
6. Train with a professional swing coach
Now that your body is ready for performance, it’s time to attack the Hitting Lab. There are six major parts of your swing that must be developed: Stance, Load, Approach, Contact and Extension. Each of these parts must be carefully built for high performance and treated individually. For example, right now, Jason Heyward and I are spending 10 days specifically on the load before we even make contact with a ball.
7. Live pitching for timing and tempo
With spring just around the corner, it’s time to get in some live BP from a coach and/or pitcher on the mound. While the six parts of your swing are in place, your timing and tempo must support your swing mechanics.
Remember: Timing is when we swing; tempo is how we swing.
In all the years I have been doing this, I have found that “failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” Diamond Directors clients are successful because I have spent 13 years honing my methodology, patent pending development process and S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Now it’s up to you. You have the access to success. All you have to do is formulate your plan. Sacrifice and patience is the glue that will hold your swing together for a successful 2012.
If you’re up to the challenge: Click here to upload your swings for me to evaluate.
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.