The game of baseball is one of individual skill sets that must unify with nine players at a time. It is a team game and each player/individual MUST do things that will sacrifice personal gain for team success. It is a nine inning game that tests the mettle, work ethic, integrity, and skill of all the participants. It is unlike the other two major sports of basketball and football in that you may not give the ball to the star or have the star bat when most needed…the team must follow rigid rules as to who can bat when and who can pitch. As a result, every player MUST work hard to hone their skills in order to help the team win the game and be successful in the long run. It is the ultimate team game.
The following list of nine MUSTS are not in any particular order but MUST be addressed in order to be properly prepared to play the game. There are thousands of aspects and parts to the game, but these nine MUSTS will empower players to be prepared and provide the team with the very best opportunity to win!
- The Proper Bat: Each player needs to find the correct bat. Young players try to emulate their friends and want the “coolest” bat; this the “kiss of death” and forces many to quit the game. The bat MUST be manageable as it is a tool. Each player MUST find a bat that is not too heavy and that creates a short, quick stroke. Almost all youngsters use bats that are too heavy and flounder at the plate.
- The Glove: As with the bat, most players(and their parents) opt for a large “cool” looking glove. The big and heavy glove impedes the player from fielding and throwing effectively. A young player MUST find a glove that is pliable and fits their hand snugly. It is recommended that young players use 9 ½” gloves; catchers and first basemen use mitts so this is not applicable to them. The glove MUST be broken in as most new ones are too stiff and ineffective.
- The Diet: Players MUST eat the proper foods and stay away from “junk” at the ball park. It is a recommended to eat “five(5) colors” at each and every meal; balanced and nutritious should be the rules. Proper hydration and the elimination of soda pop, coffee, energy drinks, and sugary drinks will energize the player and enhance focus and visual acuity.
- The Work “Off the Diamond”: Players MUST condition and work out each and every day. With the absence of PE in the schools it is absolutely a MUST to condition on your own. Taking a few minutes each day(twice a day is better) a player should skip rope, do pushups and sit ups, run, stretch, and play other sports. It is recommended that youngsters play 2-3 other sports in the off season as it will increase their flexibility, keep them in focus, and improve their overall athletic skill.
- The Proper Work Ethic and Attitude: Young athletes must be conditioned and trained to work together and unite for a common goal/mission. Their focus MUST be on a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and perseverance. Players MUST work through the tough times and unite to help each other succeed in both their individual and team endeavors.
- The Simple MUSTS of the game: In all aspects it is a MUST to keep it simple and focus on the fundamental mechanics of each skill set. Hitting a ball proficiently requires the right tools(see #1) and a short, quick swing to the ball. Throwing/pitching success hinges on an over-the-top motion with a release point in front of the eyes. On defense, one MUST go to the ball on every play with a preconceived plan of attack!! YBON!
- Develop a Strong Personal Credo: Each and every player MUST commit to working on their individual skill sets as well as being a viable asset for the team. It is a team game!! Playing with integrity, working hard, never quitting, doing one’s best, not whining or making excuses, and pursuing excellence are not just a MUST but essential for team success. KWTP!
- Stay in YOUR Lane: Each player MUST be responsible and accountable for their job and not worry or concern themselves with the other players’ role(s). Stay focused on the ball and getting your team to its destination. KTS!
- It is up to YOU: Player’s MUST do the work and prepare for each practice, game, and baseball team activity every day. YOU MUST do the work, YOU MUST correct your deficiencies, and YOU MUST do your best to be an important part of the team in any way you can. It is an ALL-IN proposition and only YOU MUST do it! WNM!!
Baseball and being on a team is simple but YOU MUST commit to the task(s). It is important to have fun and enjoy the experience, but it a MUST that you work hard to achieve your goals…just as in life, YOU MUST do it!