Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hard Work leads to Success!

Often we see the result but not the work it took to get there. We see the highlight on SportsCenter but not the hours of practicing the routine plays that lead to that great play. Many athletes have tremendous God-given gifts, but they don't focus on the development of those gifts. Who are these individuals? You've never heard of them- and you never will. It's true in sports and it's true everywhere in life.
Hard work is the difference. Very hard work.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Life Lessons- Live Forever, Die Tomorrow

From John Wooden:
Early on I came to believe that you should learn as if you were going to live forever, and live as if you were going to die tomorrow. What does this mean? In the simplest way, I would explain it like this.
Always be learning, acquiring knowledge, and seeking wisdom with a sense that you are immortal and that you will need much knowledge and wisdom for that long journey ahead. Know that when you are through learning, you are through.
But I want to live life as if I were going to die tomorrow: with relish, immediacy, and the right priorities. I also will not waste even a minute.
Here is a video that contains some great life lessons. If you have 10 minutes it is definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Champions do not become champions on the field. They are merely recognized on the field. They become champions in their DAILY ROUTINE. Players do not really decide their future. They decide their HABITS- their HABITS decide their future.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Overcoming challenges- Always being ready!

Buster Olney, ESPN:
A baseball season began on March 31, and for the first time in his life, Joey Votto was not a part of it, immediately. He did not hit well in spring training, at a time when manager Dusty Baker was evaluating whether to install Votto as the full-time first baseman or split time between Votto and veteran Scott Hatteberg, and on Opening Day, it was Hatteberg who started.

Votto didn't start on April 3, either, or on April 5. Veteran players have learned how to cope with intermittent playing time, learned how to prepare. For Votto, who was accustomed to playing every day, this is new, and during the first few days of the season, he found himself drifting, uncertain of how to cope with a situation that was new to him. So he has developed a system: He pretends that he was starting every single game.

"I made a major point to get in and get all my video work done early," he said Friday. "I was really tempted to be lazy, but I kicked myself in the butt and [thought], stick to the same plan -- at least go into the game with the mindset that I was playing every day."

For example, on April 7, when the Reds were set to play the Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels, Votto reviewed videotape to get a sense of Hamels, of what he throws and how he uses his repertoire, and through his batting practice, he swung the bat with Hamels in mind. And that day, Votto started the game on the bench.

"I've always been told that I've got to keep a routine," said Votto. "I found I played my best when I had the same routine every day."

On those days when Votto hasn't started, the odds are, of course, that he is unlikely to get an at-bat against the opposing starting pitcher. He has switched to the bench-player thought process, which is built around preparation for at-bats against relievers. Votto likes to find a place in the dugout away from players who talk a lot, to give himself the best chance to focus on the game, to mentally prepare, to consider what situations might eventually develop for him -- a double-switch, a pinch-hit appearance against a particular right-handed reliever, that kind of thing. He will sometimes retreat to the clubhouse to watch the game on television, to observe the opposing starting pitcher from the center field camera angle, to get himself as prepared as possible for the moment that he's suddenly standing at the plate. "I've always been told -- especially by Dusty -- that you have to be ready to be aggressive from Pitch One that you see," says Votto.

And in recent days, Votto's work seems to be paying off. He started the last four games at first base, collecting 5 hits in 13 at-bats, with a couple of homers and seven RBI. Baker has complimented Votto's work ethic in his conversations with reporters, but hasn't said anything to Votto. "He really cares about the team [at large], and his No. 1 concern is with getting us a lot of swings," said Votto.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Controlling Your Emotions- You are a product of your thoughts!

Here are a couple good quotes from Royals pitcher Gil Meche. Meche struggled in his first 3 outings this year but made a strong comeback last night with a 6 inning victory over the Angels. Note how Meche talks about how he has had to do a better job of controlling his emotions to improve his performance. When you find yourself pitching "mad" it is important to take a few deep breaths and adjust yourself mentally.

"I needed this win. I've been pitching with a lot of anger for some reason, which is totally not me," Meche said after getting his first win of the year in the Kansas City Royals' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

"I've been getting really upset at little mistakes I've been making, like not making the put-away pitches when I need to. I just need to relax. I haven't been myself on the mound out there so far."

He got positive results against Los Angeles, going six innings and holding its powerful lineup to two runs and six hits.

"Hopefully, I can relax now and enjoy pitching like I did last year and not worry about all the little things I do that might be mistakes," Meche said after running his career record against the Angels to 7-2.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Passion, Hard Work, Intensity

Matt Tolbert of the Minnesota Twins was a long shot to make the big league club going into Spring Training but he has caught on with the Twins and been quite successful with the big league club so far this season. Here is a great article on how his passion and hard work (he was seen practicing stealing bases in a convenience store parking lot) have lead to his overachieving play. I credit Coach Cooley for pointing me toward this one, and yes I still think the Twins will finish 5th in the AL Central even with this guy.

Where Pitching Confidence Comes From

Here's a great article on the mental side of pitching: "It's just seeing what you want and letting your body take over and do it." This guy doesn't light the gun up, but instead relies on a "deep conviction and confidence in all his pitches." I thought that "conviction in your pitches" was interesting and effective terminology. You got to believe in your stuff! If you do believe in your stuff it is amazing what you can achieve no matter what your arm strength.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Have a plan!

To play the game one pitch at a time, it's important to have a plan on each pitch. If you know what you are up there to do, the chances of "giving away" the at bat decrease and the chances of having a quality at bat increase.
When determining you plan for an at bat, always remember that HITTING IS DIFFICULT. When you realize something is difficult the best thing you can do is SIMPLIFY IT. In hitting, that means the primary focus of your plan is to hit the ball. Listen to these great hitters talk about what they were trying to do at the plate:

  • Pete Rose (4,256 hits): "See the ball, hit the ball. That's it. If you get more complicated than that you're making it more difficult than it needs to be."

  • Stan Musial (.331 over 22 seasons): "My idea of hitting was get the fat part of the bat on the ball and hitting the ball where it was pitched."

  • Billy Williams (Hall of Famer): "I just watched it come in, took a good swing at it, and tried to hit it with the fat of the bat."


It was smart of these hitters to simplify hitting, but it was brilliant of them to keep it simple for as long as they did. Get into the habit of asking yourself before each at bat: what am I going to do at the plate? You plan may be as simple as "hit the ball" or "hit it up the middle" or "stay back."

Whatever your plan , the main point is to know what you are trying to do at the plate and COMMIT to that play. Hitters often go the plate not knowing what they are trying to do, or trying to do something they are not cable of doing (such as pulling the ball out of the park). In other words, they either have no idea or a bad idea.

From:Heads up Baseball

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


A champion is someone who plays his heart out every day,
They don't look for excuses or try to find the easier way.
When the going gets tough they don't give in,
They will do everything in their power just to get that win.

A champion doesn't quit even when they are so tired they can barely stand,
When a teammate is down they never hesitate to give them a hand.
When the odds try to knock them down to the ground,
A negative attitude is nowhere to be found.

A champion never puts others down to lift themselves higher,
They pull themselves together when the game comes to the wire.
When the coach is on your case for making a bad play,
You listen to him, respect him and try to do it the right way.

A champion is mentally tough and strives for the best,
They won't stop until they get there, not even to rest.
They never complain even when the refs make a terrible call,
They extend a hand to help, even when an opponent stumbles and fall.

A champion never tries to bring glory to his name,
He says instead, "Without the team effort it wouldn't have been the same."
They are the guys whose dedication is beyond belief,
They are the ones still running when their muscles ache for relief.

A champion is something that can be created only by you,
You can give up and quit and never make it through.
Or you can finish the task that you've begun,
And enjoy your moment of glory in the sun.

These are the moments that you will remember,
Play like a true champion and do not surrender!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's your hitting routine?

What's your hitting routine? That is a good question for you as a hitter. Each hitter should have a routine (just like a free throw shooter) to help them focus and produce a quality at bat each time at the plate. I challenge you to think about your hitting routine and think about what you could do in terms of a hitting routine to make yourself a more focused, better hitter.