How many times have you thought about the next generation of leaders for your organization? How do you create an organization where you develop everyone on your team? I asked a professional baseball coach and scout to share his insights into what it takes to be extraordinary at what you do.
Baseball season starts this week and I caught up with a friend of mine who works with college and professional athletes to take their game to the next level. As we talked, I was struck by how many similarities there are between how baseball teams develop their talent and how serving leaders develop their organizations. I know many of my readers played sports in college and several went on to be professional athletes. I asked one of my friends who coaches and scouts at the college and professional level to share what he sees in his role and how he helps his players go to the next level. I think you’ll see similar challenges to those we face as we work to assemble our winning teams. I’d love to hear what you think and what you got out of Chris Check’s guest blog. And now . . . here’s Chris.
So you’ve been to a showcase and you showed your skills in front of numerous college coaches and scouts. Most athletes come out of the process slightly disappointed because they believe they didn’t do as well as they could have performed. The sixty yard dash was a bit slow; throws across the diamond or from the outfield could have been better; swings in the cage could have been more consistent; fastball pitch velocity and rotations on off-speed rotations could have been better. Believe it or not you probably showed pretty close to what your present skill level allows you to perform consistently. The athlete needs to use this information in a positive way. The good news is that it can always change for the better, but it is up to you to improve those results. The key is development, continued development.
Coaches/Scouts have graded out players, creating a list of names. Those players are measured according to their own individual criteria dependent on specific wants and needs for their program/organization. The common theme for both coaches and scouts is projectability through development. Can this player develop with our assistance into one who can help the program in a year? Professionally, can the player develop in a reasonable amount of time to produce on the major league level?
College as well as professional rosters are full of players who took many different routes to get to their present position. A typical roster of a college team at the World Series in Omaha will probably consist of many athletes who received scholarships as freshmen. If you take a closer look though, it will not take long to find a good amount of junior college transfers and walk-on players. These players for various reasons took a less conventional route in pursuing their goals. The variety of personal success stories runs the gamut, with various reasons they are not four-year scholarship players. Some players started to mature physically later than most as far as size and speed and some may have started to mature mentally (will be addressed in-depth in a another writing) at a different time. There are players who excelled at other sports who are now focusing on baseball, as well as those who are getting a better grasp on their goals outside of baseball which makes studying a more logical way to spend time complementing the on-field experience.
Professional rosters include high school players, junior college players, undrafted free agents, independent league players and foreign players. I am sure I missed some other avenues. All these players faced certain bumps along the way but continued to develop and mature physically and mentally. This development must continue for those who plan to continue and excel in this game.
I emphasized these facts because it becomes a choice now for young athletes whose plans and dreams in the game of baseball go beyond high school. The choice to adopt a positive attitude of continued improvement physically and mentally, which I believe will allow you to realize what you can control in this process and what you cannot control. Things you cannot control are what others think of you, the weather, bad hops, opponents making a great play of your line drive in the gap, umpires calls, etc. You can control how you respond to these circumstances with respect to your goals. You can control your effort in your everyday workouts and habits. You can control how you treat other people and yourself. Responding with consistent focused effort and attitude helps develop confidence and courage to welcome new challenges.
Seek out people and information that can help you improve. Decide what type of player/person you would like to become, and then become that person starting now. Develop a new workout regime, throwing or hitting program, or become more diligent with your present program. All are progress in a positive direction. Watch those who operate at a high level, whether it is in the classroom, on the field or in life. Study how they perform and then put in the time. Time plus Work will provide you with momentum in the right direction. If you keep moving in the right direction eventually your number will be chosen to perform. Be prepared.