Three strikes and you’re out. That’s the mantra many of us think of when we think about the game of baseball. But what about taking a more positive approach – It only takes one swing of the bat to hit a home run.
The intentions with of my blog has never wavered. My goal is to change the paradigm of players, parents and coaches from playing a bunch of games until the hitter figures out how to hit, to a more efficient use of time that allows him to reach his goals as an elite hitter.
Where do elite hitters perform? They perform on the collegiate and professional levels. Most parents would agree that it’s a good idea to receive a college education. Most players would agree that playing at the professional level is their dream job.
I’ve done both, and both have prepared me to become a devout husband, father, baseball educator and community philanthropist.
The world needs significant people. That’s why I am proud to help develop them through baseball.
I’m going to serve up four pitches. I guarantee that one will be hit a long way out of the park. The other three will send my players back to the dugout and, ultimately, run them out of the game with nothing to show for it other than receipts from hotels, gas, food, sports drinks, bats, cleats, etc.
Children are children, and sometimes, part of being a child means that you can run away from things that make you feel uncomfortable or require little commitment.
This immaturity comes in varying ages. Truth be told, if I look at this on a baseball scale, there are many immature hitters at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. They won’t stay long, but they are there.
We mature through knowledge, experience and humility. So, here are the three pitches that run immature hitters out of the game. The “pitch” style that I’m referring to is the form of persuasion that gets someone to do something. These are pitches that a lot of coaches make to hitters – pitches I believe are strikeout pitches.
Pitch No. 1 – Motivation: How can I motivate you to become an elite hitter?
Immature hitters love motivation and coaches love to motivate. So all should be well, right? Wrong.
Motivation can only be accomplished when it is done for the player, by the player. On the other hand, players can be inspired by others. Motivation and inspiration aren’t the same. Motivation is internal, while inspiration is external.
I enjoy inspiring my clients. They must receive inspiration so that they can accomplish the task. There are tons of other activities that you can participate in that don’t require much skill and allow you to feel good about yourself.
I would inspire a timid five year old hitter whose at the plate for the first time to stand in the box to overcome his fear. The conversation would not be about getting a hit. Overcoming fear leads to confidence to swing the bat, and then we can talk about getting a hit. But first things first.
Being elite demands that you be skilled. Dentist are skilled. Pilots are skilled. The cook at your favorite restaurant is skilled. What skills do you have as a hitter? What skills would somebody compensate you for?
There’s nothing wrong with playing baseball for recreation. That’s why I play golf. I play with used clubs. I don’t pay for instruction. My family doesn’t depend on me to go out there and win. Truthfully, I have no desire to be even a decent golfer.
If you want to become an elite hitter, stop looking for your coach to motivate you to success.
Pitch No. 2 – Entertainment: Since I can’t teach you anything, I will entertain you.
Entertainment is fun. But baseball is a complex and demanding sport. The work ethic involved with becoming elite intimidates some kids and their parents.
Everybody wants to be a Major Leaguer, but they don’t want to put forth the effort like a Major Leaguer. They don’t want to give up their social lives.
Immature players say they want to be elite, but they really love being entertained by their coaches and parents. The coaches who are the best entertainers are the ones who coach teams that are not good enough to win many games or have superior talent and win all of their games.
There is nothing wrong with winning or losing. The problem with winning is when you don’t work for it. The problem with losing is when you blame others. You begin to develop a sense of entitlement when you win, and host pity parties when you lose.
The cold hard truth is that somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.
When you play on a bad team you hear things like, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll get ’em next time.” The superior teams hear, “Let’s beat this team quick, they don’t deserve to be on the same field with us.”
Are you truly becoming a better hitter in these environments?
Don’t become part of a great team (and get lost in the shuffle) just because you want to win tournaments. Challenge yourself to become elite. Spend your year developing your skills.
Adopt the 20-20-60 Rule
- 20 percent of the teams that you compete against should have lesser talent than you have. This will remind you of where you were and how much you have developed as a player. It also will challenge your mental skills.
- 20 percent of the teams you compete against should have equal talent than yours. This will give you a true sense of your physical skill level.
- 60 percent of the teams you compete against should have greater talent than yours. This will humble you and let you know how much more development is required.
Go to the movies for entertainment, not your baseball games.
Pitch No. 3 – Manipulated: How can I get my players to perform?
What if you were referred to by your coach as a tool? Would you be offended? Tools are used to build and fix things.
When I began my coaching career at the world-renowned East Cobb Baseball complex, I was looking to build my self worth. I wanted to be successful and feel significant. We won a lot of championships and I felt significant.
But I had to win by manipulating my players. I cussed at them. I intimidated them. I tricked them so that we could win championships. Guess what, it worked. I have the rings to prove it.
The sad thing is that their parents allowed it to happen.
There is a short season for foolish behavior, and mine ran out after five years. I felt significant, but I was not significant.
People want to belong to something great, but they lack the self confidence to do so. They don’t care about being manipulated, especially if they are pre-teen and teenage boys.
When the only tool in coaches toolbox is a hammer, and you are a nail, you get hammered.
Your Next At Bat
Pitch No. 1 – Education: Let’s win and do it again.
My life changed when I became an educator of baseball, when I focused on using the game to develop significant people.
It is exhausting to try and inspire people who aren’t internally motivated. At some point, coaches see themselves as party clowns on the field, rather than coaches. You run out of ways to manipulate people.
Education is the home run pitch, but people don’t want to use it because it causes them to do something. My definition of education is learning what you need to learn, to do what you need to do.
What do you want to do with your life through baseball? You say you want to become an elite hitter. What are your sources of education? What websites, blogs or eMagazines do you read to increase your education of hitting? Do you spend more time listening to music or becoming educated about hitting?
Major League Baseball needs more fans than players. My career as a coach came together when I developed an understand of learning and listening styles.
- I developed a methodology for the development of hitters. Ever hitter, regardless of his skill level, starts at the same place with the end in mind. He understands what’s next before we get there.
- I developed a process that supports the methodology.
- I developed a swing map that allows me to break the swing down into parts, so that we could sequentially build it while knowing where to start when the swing is broken.
- I developed simple drills that build and repair the swing.
- I developed an assessment to determine who can serve.
People often don’t like education because it requires commitment and focus. I’m an industry leader, and I am here to educate hitters who seek education.
The shear length of this blog has caused some hitters, coaches and parents to move on to something else.
But that’s okay, because as I said, Major League Baseball needs more fans than players.
If it’s home runs you want, join the revolution.
For more information, visit www.diamonddirectors.com today.
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.