I sat in the stands and watched a 17-year-old boy walk onto a mound, not to face down a batter, but radar guns held by hundreds of university and pro scouts.
There were several hundred boys there too. Every one wore cleats, pants, jerseys and hats positioned so the flat brim was at their eyebrows. They all carried a glove. They all wore a number. They all were about the same height and build. They all played the game since they were 4 years old. They all had talent. They were high school all-stars. They all had the same dreams….to be a stand out.
But then, on THAT field, they weren’t standouts. They found that somehow they had become average. Ordinary. The average had been raised and to be singled out and noticed, even to be above-average, they suddenly had to be…extra-ordinary.
This is when the details count. The fine details. It’s when the elements that separate one from another come down to “extras” that propel one athlete out in front of the others.
So, finding those elements that will give an athlete the edge and maximizing them will become critical to competing as a high-performance, state, national or world-class athlete….or even one who wants to make the travel team!
An athlete must start with raw materials. They will either have the natural factors or they won’t. They must maximize what they have, but no amount of coaching or training can produce or alter certain natural attributes.
• Physical: natural athletic ability and body build that is best suited for a particular sport.
• Mental: the passion and will to compete at a high performance level in a specific sport.
Details that an athlete can maximize (future posts to come on each of these):
• Core Motivation: determining sustainable goals revolving around mastery and character of a high-performance athlete over outcome goals.
• Prioritizing: determining what’s most important and resolving to making choices of how time is spent accordingly.
• Level of coaching/coachability: having the best, knowledgable coach, allowing them to coach, and working to do what they say
• Work ethic: training with 100% commitment
• Mental game: training the mind to handle high-demand training and competition, strategy etc.
• Recovery: being wise about nutrition, recovery methods, rest.
• Emotional support: surrounding self with others who support and encourage you, share the same aspirations.
And, yes, the 17 year old boy…was my boy.