Life Lesson #1 – Passion for the game

Baseball is one of the most pure forms of sport played today. Search “baseball tips” in your search bar and you’ll find thousands of pages touting tips from all sorts of different coaches, volunteers, fans etc.

I can tell you that there is no “tried and true” method of training, no “silver bullet” that will ensure you of a college or even pro career. Not even body type or structure guarantees you an “IN” or “OUT”. I will tell you that the one common denominator in all top major leaguers is PASSION.

When you are passionate about what you do, it becomes a part of your life and more importantly your lifestyle. Some young athletes at these ages are huge fans of video games and most of their afternoons and evenings are spent doing homework then sitting down for some Call of Duty with their online buddies. It has become a part of their lifestyle. Running and jumping outside and playing baseball at the park has no longer become a normal part of young player’s activities.

Once those players find that passion for baseball, it overwhelms them. It assimilates into their daily lives. Equilibrium is reached between their many other activities they may be involved in, or other activities are soon discarded by the wayside. I played football, basketball, band, and was a decent skateboarder back in my day. As my passion for baseball grew larger, certain sports or activities soon fell away. My mother used to call me a baseball-holic. Stats, batting stances, autographs…I knew them all. I knew that I would be a pro ball player from Day 1.

Sometimes, a player’s “Passion switch” doesn’t flip on until he turns 10, 14, 12, 8. It’s all based on their experiences up until then, their parentage, their social interactions, their enjoyment of the game and competition.

I love watching players finally hitting their own personal “passion” switches. They begin to think strategically. They begin to learn the chess game of baseball, pitch by pitch. They ask questions, become self-analytical, begin their own workout regimens at home and begin to learn about eating healthier. On the field, players begin to become more aggressive, more assertive. They become leaders by example.

Passion will make you give that extra effort; to take that extra 100 ground balls or just 1 more bucket of balls in the cages. Passion will make you watch video of yourself over and over again until you look and feel just right. Passion will sit you in front of the TV and watch the greatest players in the world play, and then passion will put those dreams into your head, and never let them go.

Passion = the common denominator for any successful athlete.