As we enter the last few weeks of the off-season, many of you are spending time with your kids taking a few extra swings, working on fielding, throwing, catching, etc.
Depending on your situation, maybe you aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for since last season. Maybe you just can’t seem to get that swing where you want it. Maybe your son just isn’t as comfortable as you would like fielding ground balls.
It’s okay! Relax! It may sound counterproductive, but quit focusing on the results.
Focus on the result when your kid is a high school junior at a college showcase.
Or focus on the result when your kid is in college and has a legitimate shot at playing professional baseball.
Quit focusing on the results of your 6 year old, 8 year old, or 10 year old athlete.
Nick Saban is one of the most successful college football coaches in history. He has almost 250 career wins, 12 SEC Western Division titles, 8 SEC championships, and 6 national championships.
All that winning, yet what he focuses on is not the result.
“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”
Except for a tiny percentage of freakishly advanced athletes, having a primary focus on the results will lead to frustration, disappointment, and burnout.
You (They) Can Control the Process
There are so many factors that go into success based on results in sports, most of which we cannot control.
We can’t control what opposing pitcher we face. We can’t control how well our teammates play. We can’t control the calls an umpire makes, or the weather, or the playing surface, or the..…you get the picture.
Our kids need to learn that. And they need to learn what they can control.
They can control the process of preparing for the game. They can control making sure their swing is ready for the next pitch. They can control their mental approach when they practice and play.
They can also control the small steps in the process that lead to improvement.
As a parent and coach, please make sure you are teaching them to focus on this process, not the end result. Once they learn to focus on the process, I promise you’ll start to see the results.
As Adults, This is True for Ourselves Too
Simply put, we are coaching and raising kids. Kids.
We can’t control which kid shows up to practice tonight. We can’t control the day they had at school, or the situation they are dealing with at home.
But we can control our approach to them, and we can control our reaction to them when things don’t go as we (or they) would like.
Recognizing this will not only help you be a more effective coach and parent, but they will learn from you by example.
Nothing Happens Overnight
There is no shortage of scientific evidence that shows how hard it is to change a habit, especially muscle memory.
Expecting drastic change quickly is unrealistic. Instead, celebrate small wins and build off of them.
I use my son often as an example, so here’s another one.
He’s gotten into this funk where he doesn’t load very well off live pitching. Tee work looks great, but he has a quick short move to the pitcher when facing a live pitch. As you can imagine, this causes all kinds of other issues.
As we’ve been working through it, I’ve made it clear not to worry about anything else except that load. And I especially don’t care about the result of the hit.
For now, as long as we get a good load, I don’t care if he hits a pop up, 42 hopper, or swings and misses. Just get the load right. We’ll celebrate that, and then work on the rest later!
One step at a time. Just make sure today was better than yesterday!
All of This is True for Life, not Just Baseball
What are we really doing here?
(Hint: It’s not raising professionally athletes)
While it would be wonderful if all of our kids end up professional athletes, we know that’s just not going to happen.
All of the above carries over into life too.
You child can’t control how their teacher grades, nor will they be able to control how their boss treats them when they grow up and get a real job.
If we teach them now to focus on what they can control and focus on the process, they’ll be better baseball players, but more importantly, they’ll be better adults and human beings!
Master the process, and the results will come!
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