Thursday, August 27, 2015

You Won't Be Great Unless You Have This

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Being accountable means you take P.R.I.D.E. Personal Responsibility In Daily Excellence.

The best hitters create their own accountability. Average hitters float in and out of focus. They don't follow through.

Many student-athletes go to most of their classes, but not all. They eat two good meals, then they crush an entire pizza. They lift hard for an hour but don't drink a protein shake afterwards.

Hitters who aren't accountable leave balls lying in the corner of the cages. What's the big deal?

Here's the big deal: how we do anything is how we do everything. 

Following through is important. It is important to FINISH.

Accountability is a covenant with yourself.

Great hitters are great learners because they are great listeners. Great listeners are focused on something greater than themselves. They also have great expectations based solely upon controlling what they can control. They dominate controllables. They relinquish uncontrollable thoughts from their mind.

Being accountable means a hitter takes P.R.I.D.E. Personal Responsibility In Daily Excellence.

Great hitters compete on a different level of self-expectation. They take pride in their competitiveness, relentlessness and toughness. Think about it. Are you a great hitter?

Think about the great hitters you have known. There are lots of average hitters out there. There are a good number of good hitters. What are the great hitters doing to be so accountable?

They plan.

They take notes.

They watch video.

They turn in assignments before they are due, or at the latest, when they are due. Every hitter can develop accountability.

Start today. Make your bed. Start the day with excellence. We all know you're just going to get back in bed tonight, and that no one will see your bed. No one else will care if you don't make your bed.

YOU should care. Set the tone for your day. Be willing to do the small, menial tasks that create energy, attract discipline and inspire your inner thoughts.

Do it. Do it right. Do it right now.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hitters: Do Less, Do More.

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Hitters: do less. Not less work. Keep working hard.

Do less thinking in the box. Think outside the box, then get back in, breathe and attack.

Swing with less effort. When you maximize separation, you lift your butt off, and you have early rhythm in your swing, you don't have to swing with so much effort. Try 90% effort in your swing.

Watch less TV. Watch less Netflix. Drink less soda. Curse less.

Don't be the guy who cries at the end of the season. You either busted your tail and earned what you got, or you didn't. We all have to work hard just for the opportunity to succeed.

Now do more.

Read more. Invest in your hitting approach! Read books on the mental game, hitting approaches and self-improvement. Change your attitude about books and you can become a life-long LEARNER !

Here are 3 can't miss books:

9 Innings of Hitting by Troy Silva

The Mental Conditioning Manual by Brian Cain

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Hit more. I mean hit. Not swing. Get someone to throw to you. Have them throw hard. Have them throw breaking balls. Go to the batting cages and get in the "FAST" cage. Take your own bat. Be that guy.

Don't be average. Average sucks.

Watch more YouTube. Did you know you can learn how to fix a flat tire or tie a bow tie on YouTube? Did you know you can watch endless videos on hitting approaches, hitting mechanics, hitting drills, interviews with big league players and managers with priceless soundbites on their experiences? FREE.

I know you know this. So do it!

It's the START that STOPS most people!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Swinging vs. Hitting

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Too many hitters work on their swing, but not on hitting. What's the difference?

Swinging is mechanical. Most hitters work on their swing in the cages. They think about their mechanical flaw, take fifteen swings in a round, and aim to put in reps. The velocity . This is swinging. This is preparing to have a better swing. Your swing will follow your approach.

Hitting is not just in the game.  Hitting is not just in the game.

Hitting is when you prepare mentally for your next pitch. You are engaged in competition, in battle. You are relaxed...but fighting like mad. Hitting happens when front toss or live thrown pitches have a velocity that becomes stressful. Stressful velocity means you cannot simple see the ball and hit the ball. You need a plan. What am I on time for? What will I take. Creating this type of an approach/energy combination...this is what hitting in practice should look like.

Hitting in the game provides stressful opportunities and challenges in which to compete and learn. During practice, every hitter should provide more of those game-on-the-line opportunities in their mind's eye.

Smart preparation gives a hitter confidence. Confidence under pressure allows that hitter to see the ball better, and for his muscles to be relaxed enough to be quick and fluid.

Cage hitting, front toss, soft toss, tee work: these are all enhanced with competitive breathing, game-like routines and pace. Take your time. Visualize your pitcher, his uniform, his mechanics and his release.

Work on hitting as much as you work on your swing. You know you won't be able to think about your swing in game. If you have prepared to compete, your swing will take care of itself.

Great hitters can create that competitive energy required in game, during their pregame or preseason routine.

College and high school hitters should emulate much of what a big leaguer does, but they must prepare differently in relation to the types of repetitions they take.

Their is a time to work on the swing, and their is a time to work on hitting. Try splitting up your reps 50/50 this week, and you may find that you are more physically and mentally prepared. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mental ABs, Continued: Practice

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First, a note from my first blog on mental ABs: A mental at-bat is a simulation, a visualization of an actual at-bat, and may include any number of real or imagined stimuli: bat in hand or imagined, uniform on or street clothes, in the dugout during a game or in your living room on a Tuesday night.

Mental ABs use the power of imagery, visualization and the mind's eye, to enhance confidence and emulate the experience gained of having a live at-bat. The power in this practice is in the power of imagery. In relation to confidence from experiences, the mind cannot separate what is real experience from what is imagined.

At Lee University, our lineup card has our game lineup on the left, and our "Mental ABs" lineup on the right. Non-starting hitters practice and go through their in the hole, on deck and pre-AB routines just as they would live in the game.

If a hitter is a part-time player and only gets four at-bats this week, he does not have but four opportunities for focused thought, approach planning and adjustment making. If that same hitter got 16 mental ABs from the four games he in which he did not play, he now has 20 at bats of experience.

Cold outside? Hitting facility closed? Got to the field earlier than anyone else? Tired of studying for your business finance test? GET YOUR MENTAL ABs IN.

Moving forward: Swinging and hitting are two different things. We must be prepared to swing on every pitch, with a plan of what we are attacking, and what we are taking. With enough practice, memorization of spin patters, velocity recognition, release point recognition and pitch planes/tunnels can all become reactionary/subconscious. Til then, work on the skill of recognition.

Practice makes PERMANENT. Here are some examples of what to visualize:

Aroldis Chapman

Masahiro Tanaka

Stephen Strasburg

Gerrit Cole

Zack Wheeler

Jeff Ibarra (Former Lee Flame)

College RHP with high take-away

College RHP 75-78 with slow off-speed

College LHP, stiff delivery, over the top release, 12-6 CB

Mike Minor, LHP, while in minor leagues

Mark Buehrle, LHP, Blue Jays

Tyrell Jenkins RHP, vs. SS Addison Russell