Following the last wrestling match – the bronze medal clinching match – of his career in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, Rulon Gardner abandoned his wrestling shoes in the center of the mat as a ceremonial farewell to his game. Gardner said,”To put them on the mat left on the mat as a wrestler.” In wrestling, it is traditional to do this after your final match as it pays homage to the wrestling gods.
Though the exact same heritage doesn’t hold true in baseball, there is a good deal to be learned out of this. There are various clichés and pre-game – as well as in-game – speeches that probably don’t resonate with gamers of all ages. But this one does. “Leave it out there”. Every single time you go on the field to play a practice or game, do it like it’s the last time you can get it done! Because not to sound gruesome or macabre, it might be! We tell this to our kids before each match, every tournament, and every scrimmage. We also stress that we play like we practice and we exercise like we play. To put it differently, go out there with a purpose, whether it’s a game or practice, have fun, because that’s what it’s all about, but have pleasure when playing hard. We stress that if each and every one of them can appear themselves in the mirror and feel that he did everything in his power to help the team win, then it was a success, no matter what the outcome. Work with MarCo Clay here.
Too often nowadays we read or listen to stories about cheating and other scandals that remind us that baseball, as a game, is not about having fun… at least for many people. The pressure to be the very best and to succeed at all costs also often outweighs the game’s intent as being a pleasure. From major leaguers and steroid usage to minor leaguers using different PEDs, to high school baseball players using shaved or illegal athletes, to little leaguers with coaches lying around kids’ ages, or with illegal players, there is a lot of emphases put on winning at all costs. But that is not how it’s supposed to be, nor is it true for the majority of players and coaches. These are the ones which do everything right, play hard, try their best, make that extra effort win or lose, walk away with the pride of knowing they did their very best. Visit Marco Clay | Sports & baseball clay products
You will find excellent beauty and pleasure in watching a sport played to its fullest, and watching an athlete give his all on every play. I recently watched Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians come in one out – actually one strike – of an extremely infrequent no-hitter. After Joey Butler singled over the next baseman Jason Kipnis with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the ninth inning, Carrasco could merely laugh. Perhaps it was just a”you gotta be kidding me” laugh, but he also knew the marginally challenged Kipnis gave it his all to make a leaping catch, and Carrasco definitely appreciated the effort. In his words,”He actually tried to get that ball,” said Carrasco. “I really appreciate that.” For his part, had Kipnis been a foot taller, he can have had an opportunity, but that is from his hands, and Carrasco knew that in that instance, his second baseman did whatever he could to preserve the no-hitter. He left it all on the market. Regrettably, he came up a bit short, but there was no lacking in effort.
It is also great to find this kind of work in youth baseball. Again, in the practice, coaches players and accentuate perform pitching drills, hitting drills and fielding drills, to find out, polish or enhance their skills and principles. Nonetheless, it’s the little things… the extra effort that leads to wins and championships. And we perform like we practice. Do the ideal things starting in practice. Go hard after grounders. The lineup for cuts. Pitch to a target or location. The company I coach for, along with the 14 and 15-year-old boys that play for it, recently won the Father’s Day Classic, and we did so beating a team that was much better than us at least ranked ahead of us, at the semi-final match. This is a team that beat us in pool play on Saturday, thus facing them on Sunday could have resulted in a letdown or absence of assurance. But our boys came out fired up, and not only did they make all the routine plays, but they left all the difficult ones, and largely because of an wonderful work. They made several diving plays, several running plays, took extra bases on pure hustle and determination, blocked hard balls behind the plate to prevent baserunners from advancing, and did everything in their power humanly possible to stay shut, stay in the match, and allow themselves to win in extra innings. It was the pure definition of leaving everything out there, and the looks in their faces after that win, and more so after winning the championship match against another very good team, was evident again that this type of boys left out it there. Essentially, they all unlaced their cleats and abandoned them12 pairs, right smack in the middle of the mound!