Bayou Blog: Challenge Yourself
“Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game.”
- Ted Williams
Ted Williams is remembered for his famous declaration, “All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street folks will say, ‘There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived.” Six batting titles, a career .482 OBP (best of all time), and a career .634 Slugging Percentage (second to only Babe Ruth) proves that he accomplished his goal.
In his book “The Science of Hitting”, a must read for hitters at any level, Williams disproves the belief that great hitting cannot be taught. An avid believer in player development and simple dedication to honing one's craft, Williams proves that elite players are made not born.
Challenging yourself and becoming obsessed with the process are absolute necessities on the road to success. Whether you start from nothing or are already at the top, reaching your potential takes hard work.Learning how to challenge yourself is a skill, not a simple motto and more often than not, the skills we need to work on the most are the ones that are hardest to train. A slow kid might not like running and weak one might not like lifting. These weaknesses shouldn’t be sulked about but rather be markers that guide us to work harder on the road to achieving peak athletic potential.
Getting better at a skill is simple, just do it more. If your can’t run a 6.6 60yrd dash, start by running 60s on a daily basis. If you can’t do 50 pushups, start your day by doing as many as you can and watch your numbers steadily increase. Speed, strength, arm speed and explosiveness are all controlled by your physical make-up (muscle, mobility, flexibility) meaning that every aspect of athletics can be trained and improved.
Simply performing each task consistently will help build the physicality required to perform at a higher level. Once you establish comfort in your training routines for each athletic tool, MAKE THEM MORE DIFFICULT. Finding ways to adapt your training routine to constantly challenge yourself will help you consistently improve. (Ex. After a few weeks of consistently running sprints; add resistance or weight. (Ex. heavier clothing, ankle weights, banded running, power sleds, parachute running, uphill or downhill running.)
Often times we stop training far before we are actually pushing our limits. Our bodies are naturally designed to slow down or stop when we begin to feel tired or sore. Being able to push past these barriers can help you bust through ceilings that you have stalled under. To change the type of athlete that you currently are, you must become comfortable pushing your limits. A great sign of growth is soreness. Soreness does not mean injury, rather it’s a sign that your body is building more muscle and becoming stronger. If something makes you sore, let yourself recover then do it again and again until you find you need more of a challenge. The obsession with this process will feed itself.
Ted Williams did not accept that you are born with talent and he developed himself into the greatest hitter of all time using a methodical, scientific approach.
If you want to be quick, get quick, if you want to be strong, get strong, if you want to throw hard, throw hard. Once you start striving to constantly challenge yourself, you begin to see growth and you’ll start to achieve all of the goals you have set for yourself. Practice and training aren’t supposed to be easy, it is the work you put in that makes the games (and winning) more fun. You trust what you bring to the field because you have no doubt you are ready to outperform and out work whoever you are up against. Take pride in that process and continually push yourself, love the soreness, the sweat, the scars, and maximize your athletic potential.