Today, I would like to introduce Matt Kata.
Matt played professionally for 14 seasons and parts of 5 in the Big Leagues.
He retired from the game this past year having left everything on the field.
I hate it for the fans in Texas, but I can’t lie, Baseball Think Tank just got a lot better!
Matt will bring a unique perspective to the site with his insight on professional baseball and his knowledge of infield play.
Today, Matt is going to share with you something that will instantly make you better, something that has to be done everyday, and it doesn’t require a baseball or a bat.
It’s one of the reasons, thousands of baseball players are talented enough to reach the Major League level, but only a handful ever make it.
I am very excited to be joining the team here at www.baseballthinktank.com. I was very blessed and fortunate to have such an amazing playing career filled with so many great moments between the lines.
The outstanding mentors and coaches I have had, starting with my parents, helped shape me into the person I am today.
The red carpet was never rolled out for me. During my playing career, I always relied on mastering the fundamentals of the game coupled with a relentless mindset. So it is very fitting that my first contribution to the site will take you guys into my mind.
A behind the scenes look through excerpts from my journals:
This entry is from the Fall of my freshman year at Vanderbilt University. The first thing I would do each season was write down my goals.
There are numerous studies showing that people who write down their goals are 9x more likely to follow through with them.
I came into the fall that year as a highly touted prospect(drafted by the Twins out of HS) and the starting shortstop job was really mine to lose. But I did not take that for granted. There were things I wanted and needed to improve upon.
Where did I start? I had a great mentor in high school who was a former AA shortstop, Ronnie Krause, and wanted to build upon the things that he taught me; most importantly to relax and be smooth.
I was a huge repetition guy. There were not a whole lot of guys who loved Spring Training days or Instructional League. I loved both! Repetition was key for me as it is with any ballplayer.
I always felt like I lacked a bit of range mostly to my backhand. It really was not until after my first professional season that I was taught a little adjustment that ended up making a HUGE difference! For those of you interested in defense, I will discuss this little/big thing in a future post.
Improving my range and getting better jumps was a goal. So that Fall, one of the ways I knew would help me accomplish this was to be a smarter infielder; i.e, what type of hitter a guy was and what he did his previous at-bats.
And lastly, I needed to take charge and emerge as the leader of my team. I always believed that the shortstop should be that guy. Being a freshman, I remember holding back a bit in that area. But as we finished up our Fall practices, I knew the team lacked some leadership and I needed to be a guy who stepped up.
I always finish up my goals with a reminder that results; Fielding %, BA, etc. are the result of taking care of the process (deep practice done daily).
If you haven’t already,
- Take a second and jot down 3 goals that you want to accomplish this spring.
- Afterwards,take a minute to write down what you are going to do on a daily basis in order to reach those goals.
Keep checking back as I continue to peel the layers back a bit into my mind as a ballplayer!
Jump over to Google + and let’s take this conversation further, I want to hear what you think.