By: Samantha Parrish
“As individuals, we often attribute the success of others to luck or circumstances and make excuses for our own failures and the failures of our team. We blame our own poor performance on bad luck, circumstances beyond our control, or poorly performing subordinates (teammates) – anyone but ourselves. Total responsibility for failure is a difficult thing to accept, and taking ownership when things go wrong requires extraordinary humility and courage. But doing just that is an absolute necessity to learning, growing as a leader, and improving a team’s performance.”
It is very hard to accurately assess your own performance, especially in a team sport like baseball. It is easy to think, “if only he had caught that fly ball we’d have been out of the inning”, “if my catcher had blocked better that ball wouldn’t have gone by”, “the ump had a small strike zone, he wasn’t giving me anything”- the list goes on and on. The quote above is not just for a leader, it is applicable for anyone that is a part of a team. Often if you reflect on your own performance, you can find room for improvement- How often did you hit your spots? Did you mix up your catcher? Did you allow yourself to get flustered by an error that affected the next batter you faced? Think of this as the baseball equivalent to “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
There are many uncontrollable variables in baseball… there are 8 other players on the field, umpires and coaches, and not to mention the other team. You could spend significant time after the game directing the blame at all of them and how the mistakes they made affected the outcome. At the end of all that though, you will be no better a pitcher than you were in the beginning. You’ve heard Coach say at the Ranch, “Control what you can control.” All you can control is your performance, your effort and your attitude.
Evaluating what you need to improve on can be uncomfortable. No one likes to address his or her shortcomings, but once you know what you need to work on, then you can come up with a plan of attack. People are often surprised to hear that we have pitchers spend up to 10 weeks training with us in the summer instead of playing summer ball. These are players that have addressed what they need to improve on and are acting on it. Some pitchers need innings, some need to recover better between starts, some need a few mph, others need help with command, and some need to better develop their secondary pitches. As you can imagine, a few of those are not going to necessarily be developed playing summer ball, so players dedicate their summer to improving a certain area by focusing all of their attention on it with us at the Ranch.
Don’t shy away from a critical self-assessment because it is uncomfortable. To get to where you want to go, you have to first know where you are. We are here to help you come up with a plan of attack to reach your goals, whatever they are. We are here when you need us.
**If you think that a summer focused on development is what you need to improve I encourage you to look into our Summer Program. We have different durations of stay to help fit your schedule. Go to http://www.texasbaseballranch.com/events/tbr-summer-program/