|As Featured In:|
Master the King of All Exercises
Deadlifting Secrets 101
Everything you need to know about this complex exercise.
Free Video Training
Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better
Written on April 5, 2012 at 7:56 am, by Eric Cressey
Earlier this week, Cressey Performance athlete Ryan Flaherty was named to the Baltimore Orioles opening day roster for today. Ryan and I share a common trait in that we were both born and raised in Southern Maine, so we’ve had some good conversations about what it takes to compete on a national scale when you start out from what isn’t exactly known as a baseball capital of the world. When I heard the great news about Ryan, the logical first choice for reading about it was our hometown newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, in this article.
One of the things that stood out for me about this article was the quote about how Orioles manager Buck Showalter still got so excited to tell guys they made the big league roster – because, unfortunately, it’s a conversation he gets to have much less often than the “You’re cut” interaction.
Being successful – and, even moreso, world-class – is very difficult.
Only 3% of guys ever drafted into professional baseball ever make it to the big leagues. When you factor in free agent signings, it’s likely a 1 in 50 success rate. Taking it a step further, if you look at the 118 first-round draft picks between 2004 and 2007 who actually signed, only 84 (71%) of them ever made it to the big leagues. In other words, even if you are among the most coveted 30 prospects in all of the U.S. and Canada, you still have a long way to go, and a lot of time to fall flat on your face.
I hear it all the time from kids:
I want to make varsity.
I want to play in college.
I want to get drafted.
I want to make it to the big leagues.
While the goals are certainly incremental and far apart, the response needs to be the same: “It won’t be easy, and you need to be willing to work for it – not talk about it.”
Ryan was no exception. He was one of the best athletes – football, basketball, and baseball – in the history of the State of Maine. Then, he was a three-year standout at Vanderbilt, one of the best college baseball programs in the country, before being drafted in 2008. Three years of hard work in the minor leagues later, he’s getting his shot in “the show” today. Tim Collins was a great example from last year – and Tim had to work his butt off to keep his roster spot in the big leagues going in to 2012.
It would have been very easy to be one of the 98% who failed, though. There are thousands of ways in which kids go astray from their goals today, whether it’s due to apathy, poor coaching, overassertive parents, drug use, behavioral issues, or simply not being honest with themselves about how much they need to improve. And, it’s getting worse with every participation trophy that’s handed out, and every time that a parent races in to school to contest a grade on a report card.
In the former case, the rewards should be the excitement of competition, the outstanding feeling that comes from being part of a team, the physical activity that comes with participating, and the character development that comes from dedicating oneself to a goal and working toward improvements to make it a reality. What are we saying to a kid when he busts his butt and looks the coach in the eye every time they talk, yet we hand him the same participation trophy that we gave to the kid that shows up late to practice, refuses to pick up equipment, gets in the coach’s face, and dogs it through drills?
In the latter case, the parent has missed a valuable opportunity to teach a valuable, yet dwindling characteristic in today’s young kids: accountability. When parent could be teaching a kid that “you reap what you sow,” instead, he/she instead chooses to show that you can cut corners in life because there will always be someone around to clean up your mess. I’m all for standing up to your kids – but I think a lot of people today need to stand up TO their kids, too.
It isn’t just about showing up. It’s about genuinely caring about what you do, honestly evaluating where your abilities are, having a passion to become a better person and make the the world a better place, and acting accordingly – while being humble, punctual, diligent, and respectful.
Don’t get me wrong; we absolutely, positively need to encourage all kids, not just athletes – and overbearing parents absolutely crush kids’ confidence. However, there is a happy medium between the two; I think we do them a disservice when we aren’t realistic with them about what it actually takes to be successful. Only then can they appreciate the day-t0-day behaviors and practice they’ll need to be successful: the process for their ultimate destination.
Along these lines, over the years, I’ve had dozens of parents come up to me and say that one of the reasons they love Cressey Performance so much is that young athletes get to interact with and train alongside professional athletes so much. The hard work they see from the pro guys does a better job of demonstrating what level of commitment it takes to succeed better than anything a parent could ever put into words.
I love seeing college and professional athletes involved with clinics for younger athletes, as well as charitable endeavors. It doesn’t just help the kids and charities, but also the athletes themselves. It gives them not only a chance to give back and an opportunity to reflect on how far they’ve come and the hard work it took to get to where they are.
It’s important to not just discuss the drive and character it takes to succeed, but give kids visual examples of it. What better day than opening day, when dreams are coming true all over Major League Baseball? It’s a great starter to a conversation you ought to have with your kids and the players you coach; why not today?
Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
14 Responses to “Opening Day Musings: Are You Willing to Put in the Work?”
Leave a Reply
Learn the Exact Flexibility Exercises Used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw.