Most people that get my emails know that I have 3 kids, a 4 yr old boy and twin 1 year old daughters. They have taught me a ton about life and often times, can shed light into my coaching. Today I want to talk something cool my daughters have recently taught me that I think applies to my hitters.
As I have written about in the past, one of the biggest intangibles that my successful hitters have is the ability to fail and to trust the process. They buy into what we are working on and understand that there will be stumbles along the way. Some of my best hitters have had some of the worst training sessions I have seen since opening Elite Diamond Performance. Why? They are willing to try things out, understand that struggling is part of the learning process and trust that the end result is worth the failures.
So, how does this relate to my girls? My daughters are at a very cool stage where they are learning how to walk. While the mode of locomotion they still prefer is crawling, they have been testing the walking strategy for about 2 months now. They have spent the past year observing people walking, and are beginning to realize that in the long run, walking will be the best mode of transportation for them, just like each and every one of us does at some point in our infancy. So with that, they have been trying it out for a few months. Each day they get a little bit better. Not much, but ever so slightly. However, unless they land in the arms of someone at the other end, every attempt at this en-devour has ended in failure. They take a step or two or three and fall on their butt. Do they cry and give up? No. They don’t make a sound. They get right back up and try again.
Applications to hitters
Successful players are continually trying to get better
Babies realize that crawling gets them from point A to point B. So why do they want to continually try walking? They realize that it is the best method in the long run. Many hitters (especially hitters who have success at younger ages) are afraid to change anything. They may realize that there may be a better, more successful way to do things, but aren’t willing to try something and risk short term failures. Players who get complacent and aren’t willing to change, get left behind.
Take a hitter who swings down through the hitting zone. Many young hitters who have good hand eye coordination can have success in the early stages of the game with this approach.. However, try to find a high level hitter who has success with this approach. Swinging the bat on an upward path is a better way to hit long term (walking), but many hitters aren’t willing to change, want to stick to swinging down (crawling) and get left behind.
Successful hitters are persistent and willing to fail
I watch my girls fail continually at their attempt to walk but continue to have the determination to get back up and try again and again in hope that each time they can travel a little further than last time. All of the successful hitters that I have ever worked with are willing to fail because they understand that results usually are not instant and that the end result will be worth it. They are able to realize small improvements and take those away from a session instead of focusing on the struggles. Babies focus on the small successes, walking another step further, reaching mommy or daddy, not on the continual butt fall. Hitters who give up on something because it “doesn’t feel right” or they don’t see instant results rarely make very far in the game.
Every one of my players has gone through the same process that my daughters are going through right now. They are willing to continually try, most of the time unsuccessfully to try and achieve a better way to do things. The most successful hitters that I have every worked with continue this same approach when it comes to baseball. They know that achieving success in the long run is often taking a path that includes a good deal of struggling.