I Know What You Did Last Summer

By: Coach Ron Wolforth


Obviously my title is a play on the 1997 horror movie by the same name.

Every year we all have dates on the calendar that call out for personal reflection.

For example, on or around January 1 of each year, most of us reflect on our past year and make goals for the next one.

Thanksgiving each year gives us a chance to contemplate our many Blessings and remind ourselves of how fortunate we truly are.

For Christians, Christmas and Easter are powerful dates of reconnecting with our Faith.

In baseball, the transition from Spring and school affiliated baseball to the Summer and playing on our summer teams affords us a natural segue to do the same thing with regards to our ‘baseball life’.

Unfortunately…just like New Years, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, so often we just roll through these moments much like a hamster on a wheel and follow the herd, never really stopping and reflecting on what just happened and where precisely we would prefer to be going.


Typically beginning in earnest in March and continuing through May, we at the Ranch are inundated by questions from parents regarding planning for their high school or college athlete.

Should he play this summer?

Should he go to 5-6 showcases- he needs to get noticed- time is running out?

Should he take the summer off and just be a young man and have fun?

Should he train?

Should he mix training with playing, vacationing, and showcasing?

For a vast majority of people who are not running on the treadmill of competitive athletics and can step back and take a clear eyed look at the situation….the answer is obvious.

The answer is always: The right choice just depends…

It depends on your performance over the previous 12 months.

It depends on your workload over the previous 12 months.

It depends on your current physical and mental state.

It depends on your goals for next year.

It depends on your ultimate goals for the sport.

It depends upon your financial resources.

It depends on your desire and passion.

So often parents, players and even many coaches are just too close to the situation and have a difficult time separating emotion with the merits of all the options.

Many are frozen by indecision, fearful of making the wrong choice.

Many others don’t reflect at all, they simply do what the vast majority of their peers do.

Jill & I have witnessed this dynamic unfold over the past 15 years time and time again.

Many times, Jill & my decisions regarding our children, Samantha and Garrett, have confounded our children’s teammates, parents and coaches. Yet never have we tried to be intentionally provocative with our actions, nor have we blamed others for our choosing a specific path. In fact, we have ardently avoided playing any form of the blame game.

We’ve always maintained that all of us should reflect into the questions I posed earlier and make the most informed decisions we could and then go forward in Faith.

In my over 20 years of doing this, I see 4 places where people get side tracked.

#1. Misunderstanding the difference between playing/performing and training/ development. There is a huge difference between playing games and developing skills and abilities.

Certainly there is some carryover between the two, but they are far from one in the same.

Simply playing in games does not mean you are therefore developing your skills and abilities.

Likewise training and development doesn’t necessarily mean that your game time performance will be enhanced.

Some people will read the previous two sentences and immediately nod in agreement…yet the very next instant they will blur the lines and consider them synonymous.

This, in my opinion is a horrible mistake.

Case in point. I have watched 2 fantastic baseball position players this year that almost certainly will go play in very prestigious leagues this summer but have one huge, glaring weakness…their arms. They are phenomenal offensive players but their arms are far, far below professional caliber.

For these two, playing in games this summer will, in my opinion, almost certainly have very little long term positive impact on their ability to play at the next level.  This summer they could choose to dedicate themselves to significantly improve their glaring weakness and literally change their career trajectory. Will that occur in either case? I’m almost certain it will not.

But why?

Four primary reasons.

  1. We ALL tend to gravitate to what we are good at and avoid our weakness.
  2. For a vast majority of the baseball population, when in doubt, simply play in more games…’you’ll probably figure it out with more games’.
  3. Most people have had an underwhelming experience with most training applications: Big promises followed by really lackluster and even occasionally a negative result. Training processes for the most part really stink and I don’t want to waste my time.
  4. The thought of…I am what I am…some people have good arms…some people just don’t.  I just so happen to not have a good arm. I can hit. So, I’ll take that and go from there.

So they will go to their summer leagues and HOPE what they do well will be enough. Sound like a great plan to you?

So they will go to their summer leagues and HOPE what they do well will be enough. Sound like a great plan to you?

#2. They want to dabble at things…cover all the bases…stay really busy with lots and lots of activity…and unfortunately they are in affect simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I refer to it as akin to ‘not having a major’ in college. I’m just going to take some classes. Spread my efforts around and hope something magical happens.

This is the “Jack of all trades, master of none of them’, syndrome.


It is the difference between activity and productivity. It is the difference between bustle and output.

#3. Simply following the herd…the majority…doing what everybody else is doing. Everybody I know is doing X…so that’s good enough for me.

#4. Simply do what you’ve always done.

Regardless of my results, regardless if my situation or circumstances changed, regardless of my short term and long term goals…I’m simply going to do what I’ve ALWAYS done. It feels comfortable.

So What Do I Suggest?

ALWAYS, ALWAYS…Be the Captain of your ship. Own your life, your performance, your behavior, your decisions and your direction. Really take time several times a year to step back and assess your personal situation. No one on the planet knows you and your goals better than you do. Look over and consider ALL the variables that I already mentioned. Find experts who can help you with important facts you may not be privy to. Create your own a dream team that is dedicated in helping you chart your own course to excellence based on everything you know. Then move forward with strength and Faith.

Don’t be fearful of being different or an outlier. Life is short and fleeting, don’t waste it. It is my belief that our Creator expects us to ‘run our race to win’ …In essence, to do our very best. He clearly doesn’t expect us to be perfect or to not make mistakes.

As far as these variables:

Should he play this summer? Should he go to showcases? Should he take the summer off and just be a young man and have fun? Should he train? Should he mix training with playing, vacationing, and showcasing?

I can make a compelling case for and against each of these based on individual scenarios.

There are no perfect pathways.  What is the best choice this year may be the worst choice next year. What works best for most of your teammates may be the worst possible choice for you that you can make.

One thing is certain…At the end of this summer everyone will arrive back with your school team in the Fall.

And when someone asks you what you did this summer…it will be you that decides if it’s a horror story sequel or a success.

Here’s hoping for the latter.


Are you up for something different this summer?  Are you ready to captain your own ship and be part of an exciting experience?   If so, join us at one of our Elite Pitchers 3-Day Boot Camps or come for an extended stay this summer.  Information is available at www.TexasBaseballRanch.com and click on the Events tab.

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