Life Lesson #3: Work Hard

WORK HARD = Get Better

There are many quotes, clich?s and stereotypes associated with hard work. With my Dad being from the Midwest and growing up as a son of parents who had lived through the Great Depression, there was constant emphasis on hard work and many different ways that the message was communicated. However, this message was always told to me, as opposed to taught to me. As we strive to understand our bodies and the way we pitch, so we must also understand the lessons that our parents and coaches tell us. Taking the approach that I often do? What does working hard truly mean?

In my career, I’ve been lucky to play with many big league baseball players. There was a noticeable consistency shared amongst all of these players – Hard Work! However, this was not a cheesy clich? that they outwardly told others about. It wasn’t something that they even thought about. It was simply a way of life? something that had been programmed into their psyche over many years of working hard. They grew to learn that their performance was directly influenced by consistent hard work. In college, three of these players were my roommates at different times, and all have since made it to the Big Leagues.

Thomas Jacquez, a left-handed reliever now with the Chicago White Sox would rise at 9:00am every morning and go for a run. Whether it was pouring rain or scorching hot, Tom would roll out of bed for a morning jog.

Another roomie of mine, Eric Byrnes (outfielder for the Oakland A’s) follows his weight lifting schedule regardless of how crazy his baseball traveling gets. Recently, I visited Eric in Las Vegas as his Sacramento AAA squad was playing the Padres AAA squad. I was already asleep when their plane arrived close to three o’clock in the morning (following a night game in Sacramento earlier that evening). Yet Byrnes was the ONLY player to catch the 9 am bus over to the gym for his morning workout.

Finally, there was a little known player named Troy Glaus. Two years ago, Troy took his game to another level, hiring a personal trainer, which gave him no option to relax. He forced himself to work out 6 days a week in the off-season and responded by hitting 44 HR’s to lead the American League. This past season, Glaus was honored as the 2003 World Series MVP. Not a bad example of how hard work can truly pay off! Regardless of the situation, major league ballplayers make the time to get their work done. This same attitude was carried over to the classroom, where both Byrnes and Jacquez earned their college degrees. Eric passed on professional baseball after his junior season, choosing instead to return to college and complete his education. Thomas signed following his junior year, but returned to school each of the following three falls to earn his degree as well.

Your task this week is to utilize many of the lessons we’ve learned so far to GET BETTER! Listen as your assignments are given to you. Do your best to understand why you are being asked to do what you are going to do. Then, know that you can and will do a great job- have the confidence to visualize yourself performing well. Use both of these skills to teach yourself how to work hard. Realize the benefits of working hard, and then simply put your head down, and finish the task. For the next three days, your goal is to finish your homework before your parents can even ask you to do it. Make no mention of it, simply set up shop? and work hard to get your job done! GET BETTER!

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