The majority of athletes I work with have goals of earning a scholarship to play at the highest level in college. It goes without saying that every youth and high school baseball I work with wants to play at their dream Division 1 level college. If you ask them what their dream division 1 college is, most of them will tell you Vanderbilt, Tennessee, TCU, Texas, Florida, etc. Unfortunately, for most of them, this is not realistic or attainable if they’re far behind in their athletic and skill development. The good news is, we can take them from their current athletic performance abilities to another level of the course of time.
This would entail their full investment in the process, meaning they must be willing to invest their time, energy, effort, and other resources, along with making sacrifices to get the next level. In addition to being invested on the strength and condition aspect, they need to develop themselves comprehensively and improve their skill set, nutrition, supplementation, sleep, recovery, mentality, and numerous other factors that will play a role in their long-term success. The question always becomes, what is holding them back from not achieving their goals and earning that scholarship they want to play at their dream college?
It requires a comprehensive approach and long-term approach from multiple coaches of different backgrounds and the expertise, knowledge, and skill sets they can offer athletes and their development. In addition to the coach showing up and working hard every day to push the athlete to another level, the athlete must demonstrate the same level of commitment and hard work to make the dream become a reality.
I’ve worked with a myriad of athletes of all different shapes and sizes. I’ve seen numerous athletes perform incredible feats on the playing field, in the weight room, and achieve incredible results because they were fully invested in themselves and the process it took to get the desired end-goal.
I’ve seen a freshman in high school go from throwing under 50 MPH to throwing 80+MPH in span of four years and earn a college scholarship. I’ve seen another high school baseball player go from a 60 MPH exit velocity to hitting 110+ MPH and earning a college scholarship at the division 1 level. I’ve seen another high school baseball players lose nearly 50 pounds of unwanted body weight, gain back a solid 25 pounds only to become leaner, stronger, bigger, and faster.
I can go on all day with examples of youth, high school, and college athletes take their current physical, athletic performance, and skill set and take it to another level. All these athletes have been held back by something that was limiting their potential to perform at higher levels. The key is discovering what the limiting factors are, building a comprehensive plan, and executing the plan with consistency, commitment, and hard work.
Earning a college scholarship to play at the highest level is no easy path. It requires a mentality that you will do whatever it takes to get there. There will be numerous roadblocks, setbacks, and obstacles you will have to learn how to deal with in a constructive manner. If you can step into it and overcome the adversity by being resilient, you only come out stronger and more capable on the other side. Often, this is the greatest limiting factor I see in athletes time and time again. Their mentality is the only thing that is truly holding them back.
I’m a firm believer that a big part of an athlete’s success during the season is built in the off-season. Addressing important performance pillars like strength and conditioning, nutrition, sleep, supplementation, recovery, and the list goes on for miles and miles. That doesn’t mean that just because the season begins, we put these things behind us. They become just as important, we just need to make minor tweaks and adjustments to ensure athletes are staying on top of their health and performance.
We come back around to asking the question, “what is holding athletes back from not achieving their goals?” It starts by having a hard and honest conversation with them looking at the various performance pillars we touched on above. What is the physical limitation we need to address? Are they getting enough quality sleep at night? Are they getting in enough calories, protein, carbs, and fats to support their performance and health goals? What is their mentality and is it limiting them from moving closer to their goals? Where are they lacking in recovery if they’re constantly in pain, injured, or broken down.
Once we have these conversations, we can determine the proper route to address the limiting factors involved. It starts by asking the right questions, getting on the same page as the athlete, and holding them accountable to standards we set in place for each other as coach and athlete. No matter where you are in your athletic and skill development, there is always another level you can achieve if you’re willing to be honest about where you are and demonstrate the patience, willingness, commitment, and hard work it takes to achieving the dream.