One Word That Can Transform Your Career Part 2: The Player's View

In the last blog we discussed the importance of the word "Why?" from a coaching perspective.  A couple of suggestions were to welcome the question from players you coach and to force yourself to ask the question of your methods.  "Why?" from a player reveals a search for understanding.  "Why?" as a coach challenges you to move towards the most effective way of coaching you can supply.  Part two of the "Why?" series focuses on the player's perspective.

Why are you successful?  If you cannot answer this, you are probably not as consistent as you are capable of being.  You are probably a player who leaves performance up to chance instead of taking control of your performance  Maybe you have an uneasy feeling going into each game of not knowing if you are going to play well or not.  Playing may be like taking part in a suspenseful movie where you aren't sure what is going to happen next.  There are certain phenomenons in the world that cannot be explained, but your performance should not be one of them.  If your answer is something like, " Because I'm good," or, "I just sucked today," then that isn't good enough.  Challenge yourself to purposely reflect on your "Why."  For example, what do I specifically do when I am hitting really well?  Am I attacking first pitch fastballs?  Am I getting into good hitter's counts?  Am I focused on just seeing the baseball and reacting?  Notice the word "I" in each one of those questions.  Force yourself to move past the uncontrollables like "the pitching was horrible" or "that pitcher was really good."  While both may be true, the focus of your reflection should be on what you specifically did or did not do.  Otherwise, you may as well not go up to the plate when you face a good pitcher.  Why even take your at-bats against bad pitching if you are not going to give yourself credit when you do well?

What is great about the reflection process too is that it provides your road map for practice.  Have you been getting out a lot on pitches away?  Well, then you know what to work on.  Being reflective can help prevent that helpless, "I don't know what I am doing wrong," feeling we all have had as a player.  It also can help prevent that helpless feeling from turning into panic mode.  I don't know about you, but I'd much rather make an adjustment like taking first pitch breaking balls than trying to make wholesale, mechanical changes.  I'm not saying mechanical changes are never necessary, but being reflective can help avoid going there when you do not need to.

"I got three hits today because I had my pregame meal of grilled burgers from Mom."  Guilty!  Looking back at it, I wasted a lot of time attributing successes and failures to variables that should not have played into my reflection.  Prevent yourself from doing the same by being rational in your reflection.  The first couple of times you reflect on your performance you may find it difficult.  Small sample sizes may not be eye-opening.  Like anything else, you have to be willing to commit to reflection to see the impact of it.  What you will find is the more consistently you reflect you will find patterns in your performance.  This reflection will become part of your preparation.  The more prepared you feel, the more confident you feel.  When you are confident as a player, you perform better.  Understanding your "why" and figuring out a way to make it happen more and more often will help you create more control in what you do between the lines.

Here is an example of an at-bat reflection we did on a summer team I coached a year ago.  While it isn't perfect, I think there are some strengths.  1. It forces you to reflect.  2. It gets you to think about specifics of at-bats. 3. It gets you to think about your plan for practice.  4. It gets you to think about your plan as a hitter.  Sample Hitter's Reflection

Do you use reflection to help you as a player?  How about as a coach?  If so, I would love to hear why.  I know I have a baseballcentric view on topics, but the concept can easily be translated to other sports.  Do you think this is stupid?  As long as you can tell me WHY, I want to hear that too.  Tweet to me @Coach_Ehrlich or email me at


  1. I think it's also a great idea to keep a journal so you can look back and figure out what you were thinking about and doing when you were at your best. It'll probably also be helpful if you can look back and see how you got out of a slump. It's also great if you have an "ah-ha!" moment and something clicks.


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