In case you missed Part 1, read it now, I’ll wait.
Of the 4 seasons, Spring is far and away my favorite. For one reason and one reason only: BASEBALL!
Everything starts new and fresh in the spring. All of the hard work during the fall and winter gets its chance now to blossom on the field during the spring. This is where all the fun starts! Let the games begin!
I read an interesting article that talked about the term “game face”. The article basically went on to talk about how the term “game face” should be changed to “practice face”. I love this thought.
Practice is the time where you are:
Game time is when you:
- Trust, and let it happen.
So as we dive into my notebook once again and look at my goals for my freshman year at Vanderbilt, the first thing I wrote down was:
Have Fun – that’s why it’s a game.
I mentioned before how fortunate I was to have some unbelievable mentors and coaches in my life who taught me a ton about the game of baseball.
One coach, though, stands out amongst all of them for me and his name was Chuck Rozanski. He taught me a lot about the game. But most importantly, he taught everyone he coached how to have fun while still playing 110% all out and respecting the game at the same time.
This by far was one of the biggest reasons that I played the game of baseball for as long as I did and at the highest level.
The first 3 pages of my season goals that year were almost like a pep talk with myself; a reflection on the off-season and how I got to that point in time. There was the reminder to believe in yourself and your abilities. To trust in all of that hard work, sweat, and tears put in during the off-season. And no matter what, get back up and try again.
We had a talented team my freshman year. Glen Davis, our first baseman, would go on to be a first-round draft pick that June. It was important for me to remind myself during that year to play within myself. Play MY game and do the little things. That was my role on the team. This was important because I was used to being “The Man” on every team I was on up to that point.
The second page talks about controlling my emotions. I remind myself to take in the good and let the bad just go out the other ear. It was always important to me to stay and play at an even keel. Not too high…and not too low. Or as my dad used to always say, “Steady Eddie!”.
I make a note to myself to “impress yourself FIRST and foremost.
Not the coaches. Not the scouts. Just yourself.” I made this note because my senior year in high school I let all of the fanfare of the draft and all of the talk around town about rounds and money get in my way. And my play suffered a bit. I didn’t have as much fun playing my senior year. I faked it!
But deep down, I let all the “what ifs” control me and I didn’t have much fun.
I throw in a quote my dad used to always tell me:
“Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars!”
I butchered it a bit in my journal but I got the point. Again, I think this quote was a great follow up and reminder to just let it all happen, control the things that I can control, and have fun!
I end the “pep talk” section with again another reminder to myself of how I got to that point in my career. There is absolutely no substitute for hard work and I knew this. I knew I had to outwork my opponents and do things on my own to get better. I knew this was very important and that is why I wrote it down.
And lastly, I remind myself to be grateful for this opportunity that I had and to thank God each day for the talents that he has given me.
My fundamental goals as a hitter didn’t differ too much from my goals in the fall. My goal was to be a line drive, gap to gap hitter 2 hole hitter who could handle the bat and move runners over and set the table for the big dogs behind me. I knew how important being able to be a great bunter was. Not only because I would be moving runners over and such but because it was a great weapon to have, especially when I wasn’t feeling so great at the plate. There is nothing like a personality knock!! And sometimes a bunt base hit was that one knock that made me 1-3 or even 1-4 but prevented me from going crazy!
At shortstop, I wanted to continue to develop my range and I knew once we got into the season and playing SEC games that it would be critical to study hitters and counts so that I could position accordingly which would benefit my range.
I always signed off when I finished my goals. Here, it was just a conclusion that all the hits, RBI, and home runs will come if I accomplish these goals. If I went out and gave 110%, worked hard, and hustled – then everything would be all right! One last reminder: Have fun and I signed my name…not how I would on a check or papers, but how I would on a ball or a card or a pic.
I did this because I believed that I would one day be a Major League Baseball player!
How’s your journal coming along? Don’t tell me your not keeping one, make sure you share with me:
- What do you feel should be included in your journal.
- How often do you keep up with your journal?
- How has it helped you?
Here’s what I want you to do…
Jump over to Google + and let’s take this conversation further, I want to hear what you think.