This week on the PLAB blog - I wanted to share a reply to a question I was asked a little while back...
“Jason, what did you do during High School during the Off-Season?
Especially once you fully decided you wanted to play at the next level.”
I loved the question from my buddy Ian Gac, a former Pro teammate, and founder of Exploswing…
My answer to him - I wanted to share openly because I heavily believe more than just his organization needed to hear it.
“Hey Gac - so many young players say they 'want it' (to play at the next level)
and most THINK they’re working really really hard towards it.
They’ll look around and see they’re keeping up and doing what the other kids are doing.
* But nobody will rise to the top by doing what everybody else is doing. *
To be the top dog - they have to do more, do it better, and do it differently than the competition.
I could go on and on about the importance of off-season workouts - especially independent work!
Developing mechanics, strength, power, and speed during the off-season is essential to reaching the next level.
Yet, I look around at so many of the young athletes I mentor and mindset train now, and I see how much has changed over the last twenty years…
They ALL do a lot—in fact, they have to do a lot to JUST keep up as a good player.
But, the greatest question I ever learned to ask myself—a question that I know changed the course of my career...
(And it came to me at 15, the moment I truly committed myself to turn my boyhood dream of becoming a Major Leaguer into an actual goal)
WHAT COULD I DO THAT NOBODY ELSE IS WILLING TO DO??
I saw it clearly at that moment.
The fastest way for me to climb to the top—to rise above the competition for limited roster spots at the next level…
Was to go ALL OUT towards the tasks all the others slacked through or had never even thought of doing.
I’d walk into the training facilities and watch the other athletes and what they half-assed or avoided during their workouts…
Core exercises, lunges, sprints, squats, pull-ups, etc. - all the stuff that was too boring, too painful, or too exhausting…
And I began to put them FIRST in my routines - and became obsessed with improving them daily.
I went out and found the best hitter in my county - asked him how many swings he took a day...
Then made my routine a 100 on top of that.
When I'd walk to my school batting cages from the parking lot - I'd take the path over the agility dots painted on the asphalt for the football team workouts…
And would complete each footwork sequence before going to hit.
I’d leave parties and social dinners early - and would head to the track to run sprints, do push-ups and sit-ups before heading home for the night.
Before team workouts, practices, games - when the other players wanted to gossip about the day's events…
I’d close my eyes and visualize my perfect day, season or career.
WHAT COULD I DO THAT NOBODY ELSE IS WILLING TO DO?
Asking that question over and over - would lead me to continue discovering new answers that continued to develop my skills and athleticism - allowing me to climb that ladder to the next level...
Up to college, to the pros and through 5 different minor league levels - all the way to top when I reached the Major Leagues.
As the journey continued more were doing what I was doing - so I’d find more things that they weren’t even willing to do.
It would lead me to yoga, breathwork, vision training, and advanced recovery routines - to name a few.
So Gac, I know it may have not been the exact answer you were looking for, but I believe it’s an important one nonetheless…
And the last thing that comes to mind to share with your ballplayers is the quote that was in my locker from high school and college and sits in my office still to this today…
‘Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.’
Hope that helps, my brother.”
And I hope this finds its way to more Athletes who need to hear it, too.
Until next time,
Aim High and Swing Hard - LIKE A BEAST!!
- Jason Botts
Jason is an Advanced Mindset Trainer, Performance Strategist, and former Major League Baseball Player. When not playing catch or shooting hoops with his own two sons - Jason trains, mentors and coaches Athletes of ALL ages to Increase their Performance, Achieve their Goals and 'Live the Dream.'
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