My dream of playing professional baseball began when I was 8. It was 1984 and the Chicago Cubs had just won the NL East. While at my grandparent’s house that summer, I watched the Cubs play lots of games. It was hot outside, and my grandad would watch the games while drinking Coca-Cola with the air conditioner blasting relief from a fitted window unit.
At the end of every game, I’d go outside and react to what I saw by using a stick for a bat, rocks for baseballs and the neighbor’s fence as the home run boundary.
It never crossed my mind that I needed my dad to practice with me to reach the Majors; nor did I ever pray to God for a private baseball coach.
My aunties saw my passion and commitment to baseball and encouraged my parents to register me at Cascade Youth Organization in Southwest Atlanta. It was the same community where Henry Aaron lived. In fact, I saw Mr. Aaron at several of our opening day ceremonies.
With the connections and support of the late T.J. Wilson, I landed my first professional workout with the Cubs in 1990. I was 14.
Believe it or not, the Perfect Game tournament did not exist in 1990. The scouting process was really hardcore You had to have loads of talent for a scout to come watch you play. If you sucked, they told you so right to your face.
I ended up being drafted in 1994 and 1996 by the Cubs, where I ended up playing in the Minors for two years. I had a ton of talent, but lacked the habits and skills to have a promising career in the Majors—the place I dreamed of while practicing in my grandparent’s backyard.
Talent is what you do well. Habits are what you do well repeatedly without thought. Skills are what you do well repeatedly without thought while under stress.
It’s May and Travel Baseball is in full swing. It’s also time to ask yourself three simple questions:
- Do you dream of being a professional baseball player?
- What habits do you have that you believe will help make your dream come true?
- What must happen for your habits to be converted to skills?
To help keep your skills sharp, we have introduced a new type of Skill Build—our Virtual Skill Build—where I can help you develop hitting skills anytime, anywhere using anything. Check it out.
Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.
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 associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 22 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 a track record of success that can work for you.