Angels Baseball


Actions vs Words

"Don't just tell me. Show me."

I often start a camp or clinic asking the kids something along the lines of “Who wants to get better” or “Who wants to start for their team this Spring”.  I know most, if not everyone will shoot their hand up.  You do get some who are hesitant to raise their hand, and are likely only doing so because everyone else is raising their hand.  Right away, you know this latter group is simply there because their parents made them attend.  It’s likely they didn’t even know they were coming when they woke up in the morning!  But, that is a small group.  The vast majority will puff out their chest and raise their hand high.

And then I follow their response with “Good, now it is my expectation that you will all work hard.  It is my expectation that you will all give yourself, and me, your best effort every week.  It is my expectation that you will be laser focused on every word that comes out of my mouth.  And it is my expectation that you will work at home on the drills we do each session.”  I then pause and stare at them and immediately sense some of them saying to themselves….CRAP!

I know very few, if any, REALLY want IT.  They say it, but they don’t want to do the work to get it.  They want the results without putting in the effort.  But unfortunately, that is not possible.  And even worse, I see it all too often in young kids these days.  They talk; but they don’t act.

In David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me, he talks about this issue.  He says that most people set their goals while sitting in a warm house on a comfortable couch.  So it is easy to dream great dreams.  Goals are rarely, if ever, set while suffering.  Why?  Because when we are struggling with something we find it hard to see ourselves achieving anything.  When we are sitting on a comfortable couch, or laying in bed, it’s easy to see ourselves doing anything.  

Throughout the six or seven week camp, I oftentimes revisit that initial question I posed to the kids.  I bring it up when I see effort has waned.  I bring it up when I see focus being lost.  I bring it up when I they admittedly tell me they are not doing drills at home.  I bring it up to remind them of what THEY said.  Not their parents.  Not me.  It was them that told me what they wanted.  And I am simply giving them a reminder.  

The truth of the matter is that most of the kids that said they want to get better, or said they want to start likely don’t mean it themselves; or they don’t want it for themselves.  It is likely they think that is what they want.  It’s ok to not want to start.  There’s nothing wrong with that mindset.  Most probably just want to play, or be a part of the team with their friends.  And again, there is nothing wrong with that mindset.  And when I remind the kids of their initial ‘goals’, I do tell them it’s ok not to want to be great, or start.  It doesn’t make them a bad person.  I’d rather them admit to themselves their true goals or true intentions rather then try and act as if they want something.  And, if they don’t want it today, it is very possible they could want it a year (or two or three) down the road.  For today, just stay in the game.

The lesson I try to teach the kids is do not get in the habit of saying one thing; but acting a different way.  And with kids, it is very likely that what they are saying is not what they truly want.  It is being projected onto them by a parent, coach, teacher, or even a friend.  They are made to believe that they should want something.  And when their actions don’t match the words, they definitely will not get the results.  And when the results don’t come, they believe they are not good enough.  It is not that they are not good enough, it’s just that they didn’t want it enough, and that is ok.  But the problem I fear is that when they do want something, will they go for it?  Or will their past results in ‘going for it’ influence the effort they put into what they want?