What’s up champion? So, you are getting ready for your season, and it is an exciting time because you have some seriously great goals for what you hope to accomplish on the field. You are a junior in high school and last season you were on varsity as a sophomore. You even got the chance to start the last 3/4 of the season because the senior centerfielder who was taking your sought after position hurt his arm, probably because he didn’t have a championship routine, and so you got the chance to shine. You hit .368 for the year with 18 RBIs and even smashed two home runs, all in just 22 games or so. Those are pretty darn good numbers for a sophomore on varsity, definitely good enough to get on some college scout’s radar, and maybe, depending on the tools and leadership you showed throughout the season, you even got on some MLB scouts radar.
GOALS ON GOALS ON GOALS
Now…its go time. You are a junior and this is your year. This is the year that all the hard work, determination, focus, and visualization of success is going to pay off. You have lofty goals of dominating this year. You have tons of confidence and you know you are going to hit at least .450 with 30+ RBIs and 8+ home runs. That would be a heck of a year as a junior in any state at any school. Probably not first rounder numbers, but definitely good enough to likely start getting offers from Division 1 universities, who knows though? You just gotta control what you can control. So this is from the hitters perspective.
Now from the pitcher’s perspective. You are also a pitcher. You throw gas. You are a centerfielder but you also got the chance to take the rock for four starts because you showed your coach some solid polish from a 15 year old sophomore. It’s impressive how you command the fastball and even throw your off speed for a strike. You’re not throwing 90mph yet, but man you know how to get guys out, even as a sophomore. You finish the season with a 2.8 ERA, 34 strikeouts, 14 BBs, and 27 IP. Again, very very solid and well good enough to get on those who matter’s radar. Great work.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM…
You are a great player, and you work your butt off on the field. Good on you. Your coach likes you and has good things to say to anyone that asks. You are mid way through your junior year and you are accomplishing those goals. Every game you go out and pitch you are shutting down the opposition. You’re throwing a minimum of four innings per outing and normally you go at least six innings. You even threw a CG shutout already and we are only 2/3 of the way through the season. So whats the problem? Your GPA. Your stupid little GPA…
“IS HE A GRADE’S GUY?”
Remember, your coach likes you. You’re a good kid. But when the college coaches start calling every week because of the great season you are having, what do you think one of the first questions they are going to ask is? “Hey coach, is he a grades guys…or does he slack?” Unfortunately, your GPA is 2.6…and why is that? Is it because you’re not smart? Probably not. You’re smart enough to know your goals. You’re smart enough to know that pitcher is about to throw you an outside fastball on that 2-1 count because you saw him do it to the last three hitters in the same situation. You’re smart enough to know that this hitter is going to swing at the curveball in the dirt because he always chases when he is down in the count. If you execute, you got him.
So WHY THEN? Why aren’t you treating school like you do your baseball games? You aren’t trying to pitch 3 innings and give up 3 runs and 3 walks, and your sure as heck are not trying to go 1-4 with a single. You’re trying to pitch a CG shutout EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TAKE THE HILL. And you’re trying to go 4-4 with 2 doubles, a bomb, and 5 RBIs EVERY SINGLE GAME. Not that you are a stat rat, or need to be, you just want to do your job and help your team win, even if you don’t ball out every game, you are still making a 1000% effort to do everything you can to contribute to your squad and getting the W.
So WHY THEN?!! WHY AREN’T YOU TREATING SCHOOL LIKE THIS?! WHY?! Why aren’t you trying to throw a CG on your math test? Why aren’t you trying to go 4-4 on your science project. You’ll stay after practice and take 100 extra swings, but you won’t go ask the teacher how you can get your grade up to an A when you are at a 88.7%. WHY?!! THIS KILLS ME AS A COACH!! I literally die.
LET’S LOOK AT THE FLIP SIDE
Ok, ok. You’re not a bad kid. You’re a great kid. And your coach is going to keep talking well about you. But, there is this other guy on your team who does all the same things as you, not quite as good of numbers, but the same heart, same smarts, same grit, same work ethic…only difference is that he has a 4.2 GPA. Not straight A’s, but he is in 3 advanced classes because he wanted to challenge himself. Specifically, AP Math, AP Chemistry, and AP American History(this one is tough!). Sure, he doesn’t have quite as much time to play fortnite, in fact he’s actually never played it. When he rarely plays video games, he plays MLB the Show. He didn’t hit as many home runs as you, he had a little lower average, and a few less RBI’s, and he actually doesn’t throw as hard as you either, but the dude has it figured out in the classroom.
There has never been a time in his high school career that he has allowed himself not to ask the teacher what he can do to get up to a 90% in order to achieve that A grade at the end of the quarter or semester. This kid allots a little extra time to make sure that he studies enough to RAKE on his finals. He ain’t trying to go 1-4 on his final, he’s trying to go YA-YA and hit a walk off bomb and FINISH STRONG. When the college coach asks your coach about him, there isn’t the slightest hesitation in your coach’s response about the character, make-up, or ability of this guy. If that University of Oregon coach is calling, your coach says without an inkling of a pause that he is University of Oregon material. Your coach knows in his heart that the other kid is going to always balance his schedule, manage his time, do what he needs to do, and prioritize his things in order to represent himself like the champion he has shown himself to be over the last three years. He will undoubtedly add immense value to the U of O program without question. Sweet.
FIGURE IT OUT, MEAT.
Stop thinking its ok to just get by. Stop thinking it is ok to be mediocre in the classroom. BE EXCELLENT in all areas of your life that you invest your time and energy into. Remember, you are a good kid. You will still get into that solid D2 school in Oklahoma, and you will probably start. You might even get drafted. But WHAT THE HELL, KID? You’re better than that. You deserve more and your path deserves more. You are an amazing player. BE AN AMAZING STUDENT. Give EVERYTHING you’ve got. BE INTELLIGENT about BEING INTELLIGENT. Take on this champion mindset, and the sky is the limit. What can you do RIGHT NOW to start shifting into this mindset? MAKE YOURSELF, MAKE YOUR PATH. #GetMADE.
If you know a player that can benefit from reading this, please share. Thanks and please be great today. LET’S GO!