Coaches Journal – It Takes What It Takes

I want to give some context before I start this blog. This company has trained well over 2,000 baseball players (at the time of this blog being written) from High School up to the Big Leagues. Over the course of the last 8 years, a large number of those players were trained in some aspect by me. Considering I didn’t start hiring employees until 2021. So I have personally had the opportunity to coach and build a relationship with a large number of baseball players of various ages and skill sets. During that time as their coach (and back in the day, their training partner when I used to train side by side with them on the floor) we have discussed in detail their struggles with baseball and development in general. Many of these athletes have told me stories and things about themselves that nobody else knows. Not their mother, their father, their brother or sisters, their best friends, nobody but me. If you’re a coach, you know that sometimes you can be a counselor, best friend, mentor and a father figure all in one to some of the guys you work with. It’s one of the reasons why I believe coaching is such a significant position of leadership and influence. Since 2018 (as far back as we could track) we have over 300+ college baseball commits, over 130+ 90 mph HS pitcher breakthroughs, and 25 pro contracts to date. Keep in mind I was coaching and training guys for free back in 2015 and started picking up more and more athletes through 2016-2017. So these numbers are on the lighter end. I know other companies skew their numbers to make themselves look better, we don’t.

 

Now that you have context, I think you’ll understand where I am coming from.

 

A player must believe in the system. If they lack belief in what they are doing to improve themselves, they will always have 1 foot out the door. They won’t be open to change. They also won’t be prepared to fail when they start to develop new skills.

 

Prepared to fail?

 

That’s right. Prepared to fail. It’s part of the process. Failure should be welcomed. It should be expected. Whenever an athlete begins to train for new skills in hopes of increasing their performance. It’s important to know that their current skill set and current performance will be decreased, momentarily. During that decrease, they must welcome it. They must know that it’s part of the process and that it would be unreasonable and unrealistic for them to do well as they begin to develop these new skills.

 

Why?

 

Well let’s take a different look at this. Let’s say it’s the first day you ever went to the gym and hit the weights. You do nothing but bench press and core work all day. On day 2, do you expect to have abs and be barrel chested? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Parents of baseball players who are reading this, don’t you agree that would be absurd? To expect immediate results after 1 day of training?

 

Of course it would be. You probably chuckled a little bit when you read that last paragraph. Yet many of you expect your son/daughter to go take one hitting lesson or pitching lesson and immediately produce results that weekend. Why is that?

 

Every person on this earth has an inner circle or group of people whom they allow to influence them. I’ve seen athletes who have amazing inner circles see great success. I’ve seen athletes fail miserably because their inner circles were trash.

 

What is an inner circle?

 

In my opinion, an inner circle is filled with people whom you allow to have influence in your day to day life. These are the closest people to you. They are constantly around you. They are the people who will either build you up or tear you down. There is no-inbetween.

 

Your parents, your coaches, your teammates, and your best friends. These are the people who may love you, they may think they have your best interests at heart. But oftentimes, they are the people who negatively influence you and can even push their insecurities onto you.

 

A quality coach, leader and mentor will strive to improve you. But they will not get in the way of you failing forward. They will let you fail. They will expect it to happen. They will also encourage you to go through it. Because they know it’s a vital part of the process for you to go from the current player you are, to the player you strive to become.

 

Sometimes, you can remove the individual completely from your day to day life. So called friends who impact your life negatively are easy to remove. Parents and coaches on the other hand are a different story. I am not encouraging you to remove them from your life. On the contrary I am encouraging you to improve your relationship with them by not placing as much value on their opinions of your training decisions when it comes to your baseball career.

 

To get the absolute most out of yourself and even get a sniff of your true potential, you need to believe in what you’re doing. With your training, with your skills work, with every drill, every rep, etc… Improving yourself takes time, discipline and significant effort that most are uncomfortable putting in. Most athletes never reach their full potential. Most athletes allow outside noise to influence their training decisions and behaviors. Most athletes are so worried about what other people think of them, that they allow themselves to be controlled by other people’s opinions of them. 

 

Our best athletes who have had the biggest transformations and best results are the athletes who go ALL IN on themselves. Meaning they do not allow other coaches, their parents, their teammates or friends to influence them negatively. When failure inevitably comes knocking on the door, they don’t listen to the little negative comments accompanying it.

 

You know the ones I am talking about.

 

“Maybe that swing isn’t for you”

“I think if you are paying for training you should be throwing harder by now”

“Those strikeouts are probably from the drills you have been doing”

“You won’t become a real pitcher by increasing your velo”

“You will never throw strikes working on stuff like that”

“Velocity doesn’t matter”

“You should just hit EOS with us, it’s way cheaper than paying for training”

“Why are you working so hard on that stuff”

“You shouldn’t be striking out as much, we hired a hitting coach for a reason”

“I pay your coaches to work with you on X,Y,Z are they not doing that?”

“Another strike out today”

“It must be your coaches fault, we will talk to him and see if we can make an adjustment so your better next game”

 

I have a few hundred more in the tank but I think you get the point. Those comments and others like them are just a negative influence if you allow them to soak in. They can change your behavior and how you perceive the very training decisions you made to improve yourself. They can distort your next training session. Your next throwing session. Your next hitting session. They can make you second guess your investment, your process and even worse, yourself. They can be the main reason why you have 1 foot in and 1 foot out. Allowing those comments and ones like them to have real estate in your mind could be the reason why those drills are not working, why your not progressing, why you haven’t actually made the change.

 

Regardless if you choose to hire a mentor, coach or company to help guide you in your baseball career. Or if you have just done your due diligence by researching methods, systems, drills, etc… and started implementing them to better your game. Once you make a decision, go ALL IN and silence any outside distractions that may come against that decision.

 

For most, I recommend hiring a mentor, coach or company. That process can expedite your growth significantly. Granted, financially it will be an investment. But the opportunity cost is well worth it.

 

What is opportunity cost?

Definition: The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

 

Choosing to run your own baseball development without the years of experience someone else can offer could be detrimental to your own career. What could take you 4 years to figure out, may take you 4 months with hired help from qualified coaches. For most, the knowledge and information you will receive from hired help could be the difference between making it and not making it. In my opinion, it would be unreasonable to think that you would have the information to better yourself. But let’s say you really research. You really dive in and try your absolute best to run your own baseball development. That is GREAT. But it take a significant amount of time to trial and error yourself to figure it out. Thus it will always be a slower process than hiring outside help who has years of experience working with athletes just like you and getting them to where you strive to be. For most of us, that time isn’t worth it. Athletes have limited time to improve themselves and keep up with competition. Time is of the essence and the most valuable asset you have. You must use it wisely.

 

I will leave you with this. If you’re stuck in your development process right now, constantly second guessing yourself and not where you want to be. Go ALL IN. Silence the outside noise. Clean up your inner circle and most importantly, be patient and believe in your process. You will fail. You will suck sometimes. You will be up and down with the results on the field. But that’s not important. The process to improve yourself is what’s important. It takes what it takes and most are not willing to endure.

Aj Arroyo

Aj Arroyo

Founder of OPP
Director of Player Development

You May Also Like