Sharpen Your Axe

By: Flint Wallace



I was listening to Brian Cain’s Peak Performance Podcast, Separation Is in Preparation the other day. Brian opened talking about how the First President of the United States, George Washington, knew something about preparation. Mr. Washington once stated that if he had an hour to cut down a tree, he would spend the first 50 minutes sharpening his axe and the last 10 cutting down the tree. “Sharpening the axe” can mean different things to different people, but it is all about preparation. The preparation is what makes the difference, it is what separates you from someone else.



How you prepare is usually the single biggest factor in the outcome of how you perform. Preparation starts each and every day. What are you doing today to help you prepare for your next outing? Brian Cain goes on to talk about “reverse engineering” — begin with the end in mind. So with the season under way, or about to begin for most of you, start off working your weekly schedule from game time backwards. Plan how you are going to prepare the day of the game. Start with your warm-up routine before the game. Then what you will do prior to the game; this should include what you are going to eat, how you are going to prepare mentally, etc. Plan on what time you are going to wake up that morning, what you will eat for breakfast and lunch. Do not leave any stone unturned!



Then, plan how you will prepare the day before the game. What time will you go to sleep, when will you do your homework, and what will you eat for dinner? Then what will your practice look like that day? How will you warm-up, what type of throwing will you do and how much?



Then work the rest of your week backwards from there. Always include in as much detail as possible. Especially the key things, like what time you will go to bed each night and wake up each morning, your nutritional needs, your mental preparation (or what we like to call it here at the Ranch, “Your Mindset”), and of course your physical preparation; this should include your wake up/warm-up routine, your pre-throwing arm care, your throwing routine for that day, your strength and conditioning, your post-throwing arm care recovery. Write it down, and do your very best to stick to your plan.



Don’t look at the things on your plan as sacrifices, look at them as great decisions. You are not sacrificing by cutting out the junk food and fueling your body with the proper nutrition it needs, you are making a better decision. You are not making a sacrifice to go to bed at a certain time, you are making a fantastic decision to get your rest. The same thing goes for doing your homework when you have scheduled to do it, or doing whatever you need to do in your physical preparation, even if you do not feel like it. These are all outstanding preparation decisions, not sacrifices.



Even if you are not going to be starting the game, prepare like you are. Do not wait for your opportunity to happen before you try to prepare, be fully ready when your time does come. Throw each pitch in your mind with the pitcher that is out there. Recognize how he is successful or not against a certain hitter. So when your number is called, your preparation is what will help you succeed.



I highly recommend checking out this podcast. Just look up “Brian Cain’s Peak Performance Podcast, BC122: Separation Is in Preparation”. He gives several examples of athletes from a MMA fighter, to NFL quarterbacks, to a college relief pitcher who only threw 9 innings all season to pitching 4 scoreless innings in a NCAA Regional, extra innings game (from the 16th inning until the 20th). He uses these examples to paint the picture of how each person used “Preparation” to help them succeed. Or as our First President eluded to, how they sharpened their axe!




**Need some help sharpening your axe? Join us at one of our upcoming events! For information and to register, just go to


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