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Steps to Success

I asked 3 athletes I train: a former D2 athlete, a current D1, and a current Pro, what their thoughts on success are, from their experiences. Here were their insights:

1. Your path, not theirs (former D2 athlete)

Perhaps the greatest mistake kids make is thinking that mimicking their much more talented peers is what’s going to get them there, according to Tyler. “There was a kid in my class in high school that was throwing low 90’s as a freshman”, says Tyler. “Committed to a top D1, as a freshman. So I said to myself, well surely he’s got it figured out, he’s doing things right. I’m going to do exactly what he does. So he didn’t lift at all, so I didn’t lift. He was thin, so I got thin. He started doing physical therapy workouts, so I started doing physical therapy workouts. He’d throw a bullpen, I’d throw a bullpen. He’d run poles, I’d run poles. 3 years of this goes by. Physical therapy, not getting “bulky”, I was thin, throwing bullpens and running poles. And I didn’t gain a single mph in those 3 years. 3 YEARS. Ironically, neither did he. The difference was he was still 91 mph and going D1, and I’m 76 mph. 76. Zero college offers or interest, at ANY level. Now the reason he was so good was he had crazy layback [external rotation], which is pure genetics. Talent. But I didn’t know that at the time. I just thought, well correlation must equal causation. And I got nowhere. As you know, that’s when I came in and was like “help” [laughs]. So you know, had to take a gap year and get my velo up. And you pushed me HARD. But I worked and I got to 88 and the video of that was enough to get me a scholarship to Division 2. And that was the best experience of my life, I had so much fun getting to play college ball. So with success I’d tell kids stop comparing yourself to the talent. There’s a 99% chance you’re not the talent. You can’t waste time. Find what actually works.”

2. Coachability (current D1 athlete)

Another big factor is the athlete accepting where they’re actually at, and growing from there. Ego can suffocate, says Jarrod. “I remember when [current athlete] came in for his first workout, his assessment”, says Jarrod. “And you were talking to him and his Mom, and they left, and you said to me “that kid’s going to be an absolute stud”. And I was like what? Like this 130 lb super scrawny kid who just sucked, like you asked him about his current mph and he said he was topping 74. Like run and gun, 74, and he’s a sophomore already. I’m like that kid? That kid that was just in here? And you were so confident you were like “Definitely”. And I really thought you were messing with me, so I was like “Ok why”. And you said “Because he’s humble. Every high school kid lies about their velocity, but he said he’s 74, and that means he’s actually telling the truth. So he knows he sucks. So he’s going to be coachable, from his training to his nutrition, he’s going to soak everything up. He’s going to blow up.” And I remember [another athlete] was hanging out too and he was like “ok” like sarcastic but you were right. He blew up. 2 years later, [he’s] 92 mph, Area Codes MVP, committed to [top D1]. So I think about that with success, you’ve got to be humble. Accept where you’re at, and get better from there.”

3. Endurance (current pro pitcher)

As the levels go up, endurance is a key factor, according to Erich. “Endurance is the first word that comes to mind when I begin to reflect on the 7 years it’s taken to reach AA from my senior year of HS. Baseball is a sort of game that will punish those who get high on the highs and plunge low with the lows into despair. The latter generates an apathy for the game which in turn leads to lack of discipline in preparation for the game. I’ve seen it at all levels. They’ll make the appearance that they’ve lost interest in the game, but is it more true that their pride has lost the will to endure having its nose rubbed into the dirt? The good news is that you don’t need to be the most talented to get in the game. The talented have to ride the same highs and lows, but will they be able to withstand the long haul? If the game is a means to an end, so be it, but beware of the temptations that will aim to take away the means, the moment you start to get a taste of what you desire. Though if you desire to discover and unveil the extent of what God has allowed you to become, baseball can be a pretty special tool”

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