What Motivates You? | Page 3 | The Mental Game | TopVelocity Baseball Forum
July 14, 2011
I think you answered the question as well as anyone could. And the best part was the “I am going to keep on trying”. That's a coach and a competitor talking. Love it.
I more or less made peace with this issue earlier in my coaching career. It used to really bother me that my players didn't seem to have the same level of competitiveness as I did. When I played I absolutely lived to beat you – and if I couldn't beat you, I wanted to fight you. That probably wasn't a normal personality even in my day. But, it's even rarer in today's players – who I believe are more outwardly passive for a lot of cultural reasons.
After much frustration with my players, I put some serious thought into it and decided this: Being a true competitor is not about how you act – it's about what you do. Players have different personalities and most of them aren't as demonstrably competitive as the kind of guys who usually go into coaching but everyone can be a competitor. The way I decided to help my players learn to compete was to introduce them to the concepts of team first, and playing this pitch, right now, with 100% focus and 100% effort. If you can do that from the first pitch to the last pitch – you're a competitor no matter what your personality type is.
Do I connect with every player? Absolutely not. Any coach who says he does is lying or clueless. But, I find that if I can get a core group of a team to buy in, it spreads to the rest of the team. There's nothing more fun than to coach a team (or a pitcher) who fights on every pitch. And it all starts on the mound – which is why I love coaching pitching.
So, I don't know if you can teach competitiveness either. But, you can help players find it if they have it, and show them how to focus it. And I'm going to keep on trying, too.
Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)
August 28, 2011
April 27, 2008
August 28, 2011
July 28, 2011
My best memory from Moneyball is the comparison between Billy Bean and Lenny Dykstra (I think). Bean was the greatest prospect many scouts had ever seen; however, when he got to the big leagues and began to struggle he had no experience dealing with adversity. His pro playing career was short and unimpressive. Lenny Dykstra did not have near the same ability, but because he had struggled earlier in his career, and learned to deal with adversity, he was able to adjust and had a pretty good career (until he became an investment advisor — but that's a different story!)
I remind my kids about this story often, and tell them that when they're struggling and then overcome the problems and succeed they are in a better place than those kids who never struggle. Persistence is the secret to all success. JR
August 28, 2011
October 28, 2019
I think it’s a fact of life that only a very small percentage of people are high achievers or even have the desire to be. I have a successful career outside of baseball and I work with (and fortunately compete against) very few people who are doing much more than going through the motions. I think it’s an observable phenomenon that it’s not human nature to seek excellence – let alone pay the price to achieve it. Everyone who has coached baseball has been faced with the challenge of coaching players who aren’t nearly as interested in the game as we are, or giving lessons to kids who are obviously only there because their parents want them to be. But, that fact of human nature gives a tremendous advantage to those who are competitive and know what it takes to succeed. And that’s why coaching is such a great avenue to make a difference in the lives of our players.
June 24, 2020
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