Let’s say you’re driving your car in the far right lane at a busy intersection and you run out of gas. There’s a gas station entrance immediately to your right. What would you do?
- Leave the car at the spot that you ran out of gas until a tow truck comes?
- Put the car in neutral so that it can coast backward to a gas station you passed two blocks away?
- Put the car in neutral so that you and a couple of good samaritans can push it into the gas station that’s 100 yards away?
Failure is a lack of success. To note, most hitters fail before they get started because success hasn’t been defined. In the previous scenario, getting gas in your car as soon as possible is success.
It’s ironic that hitters would go to a game expecting to get a hit, but are struggling with their timing. It takes 3,000 reps to develop a habit. I’ve given you a great timing drill, so that after one week of committed practice you’ve totaled 500 reps. Your problem is that you’re expecting to get a hit. The solution is to focus on being on time. If you strikeout in three consecutive at bats, but you’re on time each time, you’ve failed forward.
Try this exercise to understand how to become successful through failure:
- Get your Tanner Tee, 10 balls and set up a target on the ground or elevated 30 feet away
- Take 10 swings
- Track the results
- Success – hitting the target
- Failure – missing the target
- Failing Backward – missing the target outside of 2 feet 6-plus times
- Failing Forward – missing the target inside of 2 feet consecutively 6-plus times
Failure leads to failing forward and failing forward leads to success. In baseball, you must get a hit (success) 30 out of 100 at bats. The successful ones still are big failures.
Elite hitters don’t mind failing for these three reasons:
1. They have great awareness
When you aren’t educated enough about the what, when and how of hitting, you won’t be physically or mentally aware of when you’re failing.
- Stance/Load – The what to do
- Timing – The when to do it
- Tempo – The how to do it
2. They make quick adjustments
Making adjustments simply means doing something different to achieve success. A ground ball is different than a fly ball and ground balls leads to line drives (success).
3. They trust their athleticism
Premium athletes don’t have to know all of the fundamentals in order to achieve success. With enough reps, you can teach a monkey to hit a baseball.
Failure isn’t final because of forward failing.
Remember: Intelligence trumps 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 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.