Preparation is the key to success. This is certainly not a new mantra, but it’s one that has stood the test of time.
“I will prepare, and some day my chance will come,” – Abraham Lincoln.
The reason that elite performers (athletes and other humans, alike) take preparation so seriously is because they never know when their opportunity will arise. However, when that moment does present itself, they will be ready to capitalize, because they have been continuously preparing for it.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” – Benjamin Franklin.
So, what does preparation look like for an elite baseball player?
Practicing skill work, improving mobility and strengthening your entire body should be included in your physical routine. Sleep/recovery and nutrition are also important but often overlooked especially among youth athletes.
However, I want to look at the mental side of preparation. Most dedicated athletes can cover the physical part of the process but have no clue where to start their mental development.
From my experience, the number one goal of preparation is to find a consistent routine that works for you and is at least somewhat enjoyable.
Everyone’s routine will be slightly different, but it should start right when you get out of bed. This will eliminate wasting your time scrolling through social media in the morning.
A morning routine could include waking up, making your bed, brushing your teeth/showering, eating a nutritious breakfast and planning a productive day.
I’m not saying you need to have an ultra-strict schedule with no room for flexibility or downtime. But, your routine should at least have a few non-negotiables that you want to accomplish for that day.
I’ve found that the more stringent my schedule is, the more I’m likely to get accomplished.
The exciting part of having a routine is that you get to make it your own. Be creative and experiment to find out what works for you.
If you cement your routine on the first day of starting it and are unwilling to adjust, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Try different activities at different times to see when they best fit your schedule.
Creating a routine that you enjoy is extremely important. No one became outstanding by doing something they hated.
Of course, there could be some parts of your day that aren’t the most favorable but don’t revolve your day around them.
Let’s say you despise mobility work, but you love weightlifting. Maybe you could reward yourself by lifting weights only after you’ve accomplished your mobility routine. Or, you could complete your mobility work after lifting weights. Just find what works best for you individually!
Individual routines could include working out, throwing/hitting, eating, sleeping, watching inspirational videos and even showering. Routines can help you stay organized and focused while also eliminating or reducing undesirable or unhealthy habits.
Find joy in the little things and reward yourself often.
Having a clear purpose can also aid in establishing routines.
I think of purpose as the helm of a massive ship. Your ship can move with the right size engine or be propelled by the wind, but without the helm to steer, the ship will not go in the direction that you desire.
Similarly, you can do anything you want in a day, but without purpose, your actions will not be directed towards your main goals.
I suggest having a daily purpose and an overall purpose in life.
Your daily purpose can be established in the morning as you plan your day or review your goals. This is your reason for getting out of bed and can help you ensure that your actions are beneficial towards your daily purpose.
This doesn’t have to be something astronomical like solving world hunger or figuring out what women are thinking. Your daily purpose could be as simple as going on a hike to connect with nature, simply moving your body during a working or relaxing and recovering. Find a daily purpose and crush your goals.
It’s also beneficial to have an overall purpose, or your reason for being on Earth. We have all been put here to help and love others, so hopefully that’s part of your big picture purpose. If it’s not, it might be time to reevaluate your aspirations.
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people, so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant
If one of the main goals in your life is to play baseball at an elite level, then find out why. Unless you’re in the MLB, you’re not playing baseball to be financially stable or support your family.
Find your inner purpose for playing the game. This could include representing yourself and your family in a positive manner, increasing your love and knowledge for the game, coaching the youth or just giving it your all every single inning to show respect to a higher power.
I suggest you find your purpose for playing this game, and you’ll be surprised at the positive impact it has on your training, your commitment to the game and your overall life. I’m not saying that discovering your purpose will automatically make you throw 95 or hit 400-foot home runs, but it certainly won’t hurt.
Image courtesy: https://www.quora.com/Is-it-weird-to-shoot-hoops-alone