What Mentally Tough Baseball Players Do #6

#6 Mentally tough baseball players embrace coaching without being dependent on coaching.

Mentally tough baseball players embrace coaching without being dependent on coaching.  There is a fine line here.  Players who want to be as good as they can be (mentally tough players) understand their game always has room for growth.  They also understand that coaches are there to help with that growth.  One thing mentally tough baseball players are really good at is focusing on the message in what a coach says instead of the delivery.  I'm reminded of what has probably become the most popular tirade in amateur baseball circles.  The speech I'm talking about is Augie Garrido after a loss at Texas.  I'm going to refrain from posting it on the blog because of the amount of profanity, but you can easily find it on YouTube.  The mentally weak player sees the speech as, "Oh, poor us.  I can't believe Coach Garrido is talking to us that way."  What the mentally tough player does, however, is find the message in all of the F Bombs and yelling.  Coach Garrido cares about us and has pride in the way we play.  He ultimately takes responsibility for what we do as baseball players, and we don't want to let him down.  The proof is in the pudding.  At the bottom of the screen the graphic says Texas won the next ten games and the Big 12 Championship after the speech.

Mentally tough baseball players are not dependent on coaching though.  They are confident enough in their abilities and have prepared enough that they know themselves as players.  As a hitting guy, this is huge.  Being dependent on others for approval of how your swing is can be a powerless way to approach hitting.  Trust me...I'd know!  As a college player in particular, I was constantly looking for others to say what I could feel already in my swing.  After every single round I would want to know how my swing looked.  I have no doubt this had a lot to do with my inconsistencies as a hitter.

You should be your best swing coach.  I absolutely think there should be one or two coaches who know your swing and can help you when you are in need, but once a base has been built you are the one who is ultimately responsible for what a "good" swing is.  I'm reminded of one of my high school teammates Justin Helfer.  Justin and I were pre-game hitting partners our last couple of years and were both meticulous about what we wanted to do.  I'll never forget, after hearing me obsessing for the upteenth time about how my swing looked, Justin said, "You know what swing looks good?  The one that gets hits!"  Now the mental coach in me would love to alter that to, "The one that hits line drives," but I think we get the point.  Trust what you feel and see.  The ball doesn't lie.

Challenge yourself to find the happy medium between embracing coaching without being too dependent on coaching for your performance.  I'd love to hear some more real-life examples.  Send away.


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