Chris Welch, General Manager, RBI Baseball Academy
Whether you are a 9 year old baseball player looking to make his summer “A” team, a 14 year Major League Baseball Veteran looking to get that final BIG contract, or anywhere in the middle (and that’s a lot of middle ground) you need to make sure you are constantly keeping your eye on the biggest aspect of the game that can often get overlooked – Improvement.
Far too often, baseball players place questions like, “What team will I make?”, “What college will I play for?”, “What scouts are watching me?”, and “What contacts should I make to help get me where I want to go?” ahead of what is really important – Improvement.
No, I’m certainly not saying that off the field questions such as the ones I mentioned aren’t important. Setting goals and figuring out what you have to do to reach those goals is immensely important, but far too often players are worried about the wrong details that are going to get them to achieve their goals. Without constant improvement, reaching that “next level” will often times lead to failure.
My comparison for this would be a high school student spending countless days and hours stressing out which college he will attend. This person will spend hours and hours researching schools, researching tuition costs, filling out applications, interviewing, making on campus visits, etc. Yes, all of this is super important and is certainly necessary but what happens if that student simply stopped learning and assumed their knowledge would carry them through 4 years of college? The answer is simple, they would fail.
I see it all the time with youth baseball players and high school players. They spend all the time in the world focusing on getting to the next level but don’t spend the time improving their ability so when they reach their next step, they can succeed. What good is it to be on the “A” team if you’re not going to work hard to improve your ability each year to make sure you’re on the “A” team the next year and the year after that. What good is it to get to that ACC program’s scholarship money if you aren’t going to be able to perform at that level when you get there on the field or in the classroom?
Fortunately, something else I see all the time here are the players that ARE willing to improve and put the work in to make sure they constantly succeed. We have players here that just signed their letters of national intent to go to programs like Boston College, Vanderbilt, and Bryant (to name just a few) and are still working as hard as ever in the classroom, in the gym, and in our cages. These players know the importance of not just getting there, they understand the importance of staying there. They understand the importance of not just being happy to be there, but the importance of being an impact player there. They want to be someone that will help that team WIN. What do they need to be that person? Improvement.
So if you are a youth baseball player or, more importantly, the parent of a youth baseball player, never forget to keep your priorities with improving as a player. Yes, you are going to have to work through a lot of distractions and deal with a lot of nonsense along the way… but don’t let that waiver you from becoming the best possible player you can. In the end, you can reach your goals but not only just reach them… exceed them.
If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and always remember to practice perfectly!