One of the questions I get asked frequently is, what do I need to do to become a better player? This is a very general question that will have different answers from person to person. As you go up into the higher ranks of baseball from high school to college, from college to the professional ranks, this question becomes stronger. What I mean by that is as you go up the talent level also goes up, therefore, you have to continue to find ways to make yourself a better player in order to stand out.
Through studying the game, playing, and being around good players I have been able to pick up on some things that I think can help you separate yourself from the player next to you.
The following three things are what makes a good player into a great player. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make yourself the best player you can be? Listed below will show you how.
- Set Goals
- Surround Yourself with Positive People
- Continue to Learn
In order to set a goal, we first need to define what it is. A goal is something specific, measurable, and time sensitive.
Specific: Whenever you are setting a goal you never want to be vague with it. An example of a vague goal would be, "I want to strike a batter out." You can see that the goal is to strike a batter out, but who? When? How? The more specific you get with your goal the easier it will be to evaluate how you did.
Measurable: Having a measurable goal will give you the immediate feedback you need to show how you are doing. In order to see your progress you need to be able to evaluate it. If I want to squat a lot of weight, I need to have a number I am reaching for. If I want to throw hard, I need to have a velocity I am reaching for.
Time Sensitive: The last part of setting a goal is you need to have a set date of achieving it. Setting a goal that is specific and measurable, but without a time table will leave you saying, "I'll do it tomorrow or the next day." Setting a date will give you the motivation to push yourself to achieve your goal.
The last thing I want to touch on when setting goals is to write them down. Writing your goals down and putting them somewhere you will see them regularly, will remind you what you really want and to keep going.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
I cannot stress enough how important it is to surround yourself around people that will encourage you, motivate you, and push you to be the best you can be. As the saying goes, you become who you hang out with. If you want to be the best player you can be then you should spend time with players and people that are on the same mission as you or believe in your mission. I have seen players that have had amazing talent, but because they started hanging out with the wrong crowd, they started skipping practices, workouts, started getting involved in things they shouldn't have been doing, all because of hanging around the wrong type of people.
Wherever I was playing, I always gravitated towards the hardest workers on the team. What this did for me was motivated me to keep going on days I really didn't feel like it and it also allowed me to be a motivator for someone else. When you have those days where you don't feel like working out or you don't feel like doing those last 2 sprints because you're too tired, having someone there will give you that extra push to finish.
The people you spend most of your time with will either have a positive or negative effect on you. Choose your friends and the people you spend time with wisely, as they will have a bigger impact on you then you think.
Continue to Learn
With the unlimited resources online, coaches, friends, and teammates it would be foolish to not take advantage of these avenues to learn more. Every chance I get I pick people's brains and learn as much as I can from them. One thing I have learned is that there is always something you can learn whether it be good or bad. There have been numerous times where I've been watching a game and I have learned from someone's mistake. If you open your eyes you can learn something everyday just by watching.
With access to the internet you can have almost every question answered. If you are really dedicated to wanting to get better it is necessary to read, watch, ask, and surround yourself around people that will make you a better player.
In conclusion, there are more then these three things you can do to make yourself a better player, but these will get you started in the right direction. Seeking advice to become a better player is the first step. I want to encourage you to continue to find ways to make yourself a better player. The little things you do now will amount to bigger things later, in baseball and in life.
- Jared Gaynor