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The Value of Outworking your Competition

“I wish I was as good as…”


How many times have you caught yourself having similar thoughts?


All athletes have comparison thoughts that pop up in their minds at some time.


You may look at a teammate and wish you could throw as hard… Or wish you could hit with power like one of your teammates… Or wish you could steal bases as easy as another player.


Comparison does little to improve your performance on the field.  Comparison may motivate you for a short period of time, but eventually comparing yourself to others will hurt your confidence and your performance on the field.


If you adopt the bad habit of comparing yourself to others, you will always feel “less than” or “not good enough”.


The reality is you may not be able to out-talent some baseball or softball players, but you can outwork those players.  Your level of play is ultimately a result of your mindset.


You can choose between two mindsets:


  • Fixed Mindset – Baseball and softball players with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their skills, abilities, and talents are set.  A player with a fixed mindset believes that he has a certain level of talent and it is something he just must accept.  A fixed mindset sets limits on performance.  Players who see talent as the sole cause of performance will rarely seek out opportunities to improve.


  • Growth Mindset – Players with a growth mindset believe they can improve skills and their abilities through hard work, focus and dedication.  A player with a growth mindset is more apt to stay motivated through the ups and downs in a season and persist through adversity.  Baseball and softball players with a growth mindset search for ways to improve their game technically, physically, and mentally.


With a growth mindset, even though you may not have the arm strength of a teammate, you can outwork that pitcher and develop better command of your pitches or expand your arsenal of pitches.


With a growth mindset, even though you may not have the power of another hitter on your team, you can work on your ability to hit to all fields and improve your batting average.


With a growth mindset, even though you may not be as fast as a player on your team, you can improve your quickness and become a smarter situational baserunner. 


Not only does outworking other players help your physical game but, more importantly, outworking the competition gives you a decisive mental advantage.


A growth mindset helped pitcher Mike Fiers have his best season statistically in 2019 for the Oakland A’s with a 15-4 record and a 3.90 ERA. 


Soon after the 2019 season ended, Fiers started intense training to prepare for the next season with his college teammate and Army Ranger Mike Dobre.  Fiers’ mindset is to outwork other players to give himself a distinct mental advantage over his competition.


FIERS: “[Dobre] used to get me up early in the morning. We used to do our beach runs at 5 a.m. It goes a lot to mental toughness, things of that sort. That’s when we were in college. It changes your mind on a lot of things. A lot of people like to stay in their bed, get your sleep and stay warm, but just getting up and training I think it sets you apart and sets that mental stage.”


Always remember that hard work can beat out talent if you are willing to put in the effort and focus.


Mental Edge Tip:

 

Adopt the ONE MORE Mindset - Each practice and training session challenge yourself.  Try to do one more rep, one more sprint with all-out effort, one additional batting cage session or one more mental skill session.

 

Hard work will get you to greater heights than if you solely relied on talent.

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