New Years marks a fresh beginning for all of us, representing a time where we can get things in order mentally, physically, spiritually and in many other ways.
Of course for baseball people, New Years represents a clean slate in preparations for another spring in the sunshine. Coaches assure themselves that this will be “the year;” players vow to get stronger and work harder than they ever have before; even parents promise that they will watch the game from an objective perspective. Good luck with all of that, by the way.
It (almost) goes without saying that most New Year’s resolutions are much easier said than done.
However if coaches, players and their parents are to truly enjoy everything that our pastime has to offer, then it’s important to put yourself in the right mindset before the first pitch is ever thrown. John Wooden put it best: “When opportunity knocks, it’s too late to prepare.”
Here are a few resolutions that players, parents, and coaches alike can make:
1. Enjoy the moment. Every former player remembers when they took their cleats off for the last time. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t fortunate enough to decide for ourselves when that’s going to be. Because of that, don’t allow yourself to take for granted one day that you get to play the game.
Even parents and coaches can hold themselves accountable for this. Stop and smell the roses. Take a step back and a deep breath. Enjoy the moment, because if you don’t, it might as well be your last.
2. Remember that baseball is hard. It’s okay to prepare for success, but it can be very damaging to demand it, especially if you equate success to wins and losses (which most people do). Accept that there’s a lot in sports that is left to chance. If you’re satisfied with the work you put in and the way you go about things, you should be satisfied with the result, win or lose. Thousands of moms out there just ask their babies to “do their best,” and guess what? Mama’s always right!
3. Remember that baseball is a game. It’s not life or death. By its very definition, a ‘game’ is “a form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.” Baseball is a game, and games are meant to be played.
This resolution will be tested if the moment gets too big, but should you ever really allow that to happen anyway (see no. 1)?
Need some inspiration to stick to these resolutions? Read The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson, summarized below:
Once there was a boy… who listened to an old man. And, thus, he began to learn about The Precious Present. “It is a present because it is a gift,” the contented man explained. “And it is precious because anyone who receives such a present is happy forever.” “Wow!” the little boy exclaimed. “I hope someone gives me The Precious Present.” After many frustrating years, the man grew tired of looking for the Precious Present, until it hit him: the present has nothing to do with wishing… when you have the present you will be perfectly content to be where you are.