Attitude + Effort
As we mentioned in the Think the Game article, there is much more to being a competitive baseball player than physical skills. Even the best hitters and pitchers in the world go through slumps or rough stretches. If you want to play at the college level, two things that can never slump are your attitude and effort. You have complete control over bringing a positive attitude and your best effort to the field every single day, and college coaches will quickly pass over players who don’t. By now can probably see how all of the core areas work together. Attitude and effort are closely tied to both skill development and your ability to think the game on a higher level. Think of attitude and effort as the energy supply that allows you to improve your physical and mental skills. If you don’t bring a full energy supply every day, you won’t maximize your potential. Since attitude and effort impact every other core area, let’s explore some of the ways you can show college coaches that your attitude and effort are college-ready.
Covering All the Bases
First Base: Development as Growth Mindset
What if we told you that with the right attitude, you would never lose again? Sounds pretty good, right? Well, never losing is possible with the right perspective, or mindset. What we are talking about is adopting the single most important attitude trait you can have if you want to be successful in anything—a growth mindset. Growth mindset, a term coined by psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, refers to a person’s belief that their intelligence and skills are something that can be developed or grown through effort and experience. In other words, someone with a growth mindset believes that they have the power to improve and grow. As a developing baseball player, this mindset is key to getting better and succeeding at the college level. If you can develop a mindset that looks at perceived failures (errors, strikeouts, losses) as opportunities to learn and grow, you eliminate “losing.” You are either winning (having success/achieving a positive result) or learning information that will help you be better next time. If you adopt a growth mindset, you will continue to get better no matter what happens along the way. Baseball can be a frustrating game, but if you remember that failure is temporary and your greatest tool for growth, the sky is the limit. This article describes 10 ways that a growth mindset will help you be the best player you can be!
Second Base: 100% Hustle, 100% of the Time
There is never any excuse for giving less than 100% on the field. Hustling and giving 100% effort is a minimum requirement of playing college baseball. To take advantage of every mistake by your opponent and give your team the best opportunity to win the game, you have to give it everything you can and play the game the right way every single play. One of the beautiful things about baseball is that you never know what play or what little detail might make the difference in the game. It’s only by focusing on every pitch and giving it your all that you can perform to the best of your ability and give your team the best chance to win.
Third Base: Let Your Passion For the Game Show
You started playing baseball because it was fun and you had a passion for the game. Just because there is a scoreboard and better competition doesn’t mean that the game should be any less fun. Even at the college level, when the game is about to start, the umpire yells out “Play ball!” He yells “play” because at the end of the day, it’s a game we play because it’s fun, competitive, and a great way to learn some of life’s most important lessons. In college, you will spend much of your free time on the baseball field. College coaches want to see that you have the passion to play the game every day at a high level. Let your passion and love for the game show in everything you do on the diamond through your attitude and effort!
Home Plate: Always Compete
New York Yankees legendary catcher Yogi Berra became famous for his baseball skills, but he’s also known for some of his funny sayings. One of his most well-known quotes is, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” In baseball, anything is possible until the final out is recorded. College coaches want players with a never-say-die attitude. As a player, you can separate yourself if you never give up or give in and always compete. Attitude and effort are the foundation of being a competitive player and competing means trying your hardest, even when things aren’t going well or the odds are stacked against you. Coaches want players who stay focused and positive when the team is down by 5 runs late in the game. You never know, more than one team has scored 6 runs in the 9th inning! Achieving starts with believing and if you believe in your ability, bring your best attitude and effort every day, and never stop competing, good things will happen.
Now that you have read the entire Preparing to Play College Baseball mini-series, you have plenty of things to work on to help you get ready for college baseball. Your senior year may seem a long way off, but by improving in the four core areas and getting a little bit better each day, you’ll put yourself in excellent position to be eligible to play at the college level. Fortunately, we have two websites devoted to helping players like you make it to the college level. If you need information on any topic relating to playing at the college level of navigating the college baseball recruiting process, visit us on www.KeepPlayingBaseball.org. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by email here or through our Twitter page here. Keep Playing Baseball is here to support you at every step of your journey to college baseball!