Grit (n.) - courage and resolve; strength of character
If you've never heard of Tom Bilyeu, check him out. He's the co-founder of Quest Nutrition, host of Impact Theory podcast, and serial motivator.
One of Tom's Instagram posts lit a fire under me and is responsible for the motivation behind this post.
Being a successful athlete - or a successful anything, for that matter - requires GRIT.
It must be part of who you are. Grit is the willingness to do what others won't. It's delaying what you want NOW for what you want MOST.
To be gritty is to FIND A WAY.
Especially during a time like this, we're forced to do things we've never done; to train with limited resources or completely by ourselves.
Now more than ever, those on the path to success are digging DEEP and finding ways to get better - no questions asked.
1. Understand Your "WHY"
Before dedicating time to your craft, understand WHY you do this.
What is the driving force behind your commitment? WHY are you choosing to do this? After all, it's your time - don't you want to want to choose how you spend it?
Your level of commitment is a choice. And YOU get to make that decision.
For some, it's an external motivation. Maybe you lost a loved one who enjoyed watching you play. Maybe you want to be able to buy your mom a house.
For others, external motivation is everything. Maybe you were cut from a team because you were too small or too slow. Maybe you simply weren't "good enough".
Is it the thrill of victory or the loathing of defeat? Maybe you're In love with the game. Or maybe - you live for the opportunity to COMPETE.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are awesome examples of people who were in love with what they did. Here’s a quick video of Kobe speaking on the importance of this: Kobe Bryant "Love What You Do"
Identify your WHY. Write it down. Look at it EVERY DAY. Remember why you’ve chosen this path. It’s why you get up for 5 AM lifts. It’s why you work through that last sprint when your legs are shot.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
2. Know The Role Of Pain & Failure
Whatever path you choose, adversity will take place. It can come in many forms: as an athlete, you can sustain an injury. In your career, you'll be faced with learning curves. Relationships will test your true character.
We 're faced with adversity on a daily basis. It happens in small doses, like when you lose the keys and you REALLY need to be somewhere and you swear you set them on the table and you looked everywhere but they're absolutely gone forever - that's adversity.
When a global pandemic causes a seismic shift - that is adversity. If you love what you do (and especially if you don’t), you will inevitably experience pain and failure.
Physical pain - stemming from endless sprints and 5 AM tire-flipping.
Mental pain - the early mornings. Late nights. Bus trips. Balancing time between your duties as a student, an athlete, and a social life.
Emotional pain - from the highs and lows of competition. You will WIN and you will LOSE. To be consistent, know how to react to both.
You'll experience failure in the form of losing - which is never fun. You'll experience personal failures during slumps, by getting cut from a team, or by being beat out for a starting spot.
Understand that this is all part of the process. When committing to your passion, the exhilarating highs come with debilitating lows. Love what you do, and you’ll find a way to fight through it.
3. FULL Send
Whether you're committing to a sport, a career, or a relationship, being FULLY invested means sacrifice. You will be required to forfeit short-term happiness for long-term gains.
You will "miss out" on other things: parties, concerts, video games, vacations - the list will be long. Remember your "WHY".
You may find yourself doing things that others question or laugh at. Friends will try to lure you away from your grind. Remember your 'WHY".
This is what self-awareness and full commitment look like.
It’s the small acts like writing down your goals, pushing through that extra lap, or turning down a party for a late-night BP session.
Without question, there will be days when you need a break - and those are necessary. But for the big picture: this is about taking small, daily actions that develop into lifelong habits.
4. Know That You Can Learn
Mastering a craft is a never-ending process. It requires ongoing learning as you adapt to changing times.
Throughout your career, you will likely play for countless coaches. From little league, to travel ball, to school ball, and beyond, you'll experience many coaches with differing approaches.
These coaches will expect different things. Some environments will be very supportive, giving you instant feedback and specific things to work on.
Others will require you to serve as your own coach - a highly valuable trait for ballplayers. The one constant throughout your career is you: YOU are the one taking part in every swing, sprint, and workout. YOU know when you feel best.
Evaluate your training, BP sessions, study habits, and every single aspect of your game. When you become aware of what you're doing, you can begin to tailor it to what works.
Be willing to absorb information - even if you disagree with it on the surface. Take that information and apply it in a way that benefits you. You'll be surprised at how often "bad" information can lead to enhanced perceptions.
Accumulate as much knowledge as possible and become well-versed in your craft.
The less time a coach has to spend on educating you, the more time can be spent elsewhere.
5. Recognizes Weaknesses + Improve Them
Being an athlete requires many different things: strength, speed, endurance, hand-eye coordination, and mental fortitude - just to name a few.
Inevitably, some areas of your game are stronger than others. For example: Gary Sanchez came up as a “hitting catcher”. He was viewed as a hitter who just so happened to be a catcher.
Instead of becoming complacent with his ability to hit the long ball (he’s hit more home runs in a season than ANY catcher in Yankees history), he’s striving to become a better all-around athlete.
YOU have areas of your game that are weaker than others. Identify them. Work to improve them.
While doing so...remember to continue HIGHLIGHTING your strengths! If you’re a speed guy, be the fastest. If you’re defense-first, be an absolute lockdown defender.
Know your game, and never stop pushing forward.
6. REPEAT OVER AND OVER
This is a commitment by you, and you only. This can’t be someone else’s dream that you’re attempting to fulfill.
Identify your WHY and devote your energy to it.
This is a process...a lifestyle. Not a touch-and-go, half-ass approach.
There’s no guarantee that you “make it”. But what is guaranteed? Full commitment gives you a much better chance than the alternative.
If you want this - if you LOVE this - do everything in your power, every single day, to make it happen.