Without question, the most important factor during this time is your MINDSET.
It’s easy to give in and talk yourself out of working because of a lack of tools or space.
Here are three realities:
1) We are ALL dealing with this.
2) We cannot change it.
3) We have TOTAL control of our response.
1. Reframe Your Mindset
We’re ALL ready for life to get back to normal, but THIS IS OUR REALITY.
Treat this time as an opportunity.
Take a step back and think of the alternative: there are thousands of people who wish they had the ability to go home. People who wish their main focus was on a sport.
Instead of saying, "I have to work out," shift your thinking: tell yourself, "I GET TO take action and set myself up for success". "I have the OPPORTUNITY to improve today."
The playing field is now even. Every athlete in the country is forced to work with what they have at home. While some have more than others, the majority of us have basic tools: a little space, a bat/balls, and the willingness to WORK!
Turn this into an advantage. Be relentless in your will to do more with limited resources than the competition.
2. What Are Your Expectations?
One of the first questions you must ask yourself is this: "What do I want? What do I truly expect from this game?"
The answer to this will vary among athletes. But if your answer is along the lines of "play college baseball," or "become a Major Leaguer," or "to be the best to ever do it", then your actions should follow suit.
As of the 2018/2019 school year, there were 482,740 high school baseball players in the U.S. (NCAA.org). Of those, 7.3% (36,011) have gone on to play NCAA baseball (this number is slightly higher when including NAIA and NJCAA programs).
Of those who are draft eligible, only 791 were drafted out of NCAA programs. Moral of the story? Competition is fierce.
Awareness is an essential part of planning. Know where you are, then determine where you want to BE.
Only then can you begin to train in a way that might allow you to fulfill your dreams.
3. Devise A Plan
Understanding your reality is important when developing a plan of attack. Given the current circumstances, this means identifying what you have to work with. Start by answering these questions:
What does my workspace look like? (Yard, garage, basement, driveway, etc.)
What tools do I have access to? (Baseballs, net, tee, mini balls, weights, bands, etc.)
Do I have a workout partner (Parent, sibling, etc.)
What obstacles are preventing me from taking action? (Laziness, lack of knowledge, etc.)
What do you consider a successful day?
Outline every resource at your disposal, then apply it to your plan.
Be SPECIFIC: determine what exactly you want to work on during a given day. Is today’s focus “speed” or “power”? Are you working on a specific skill, like hitting the outside pitch, or a broader skill like hand-eye coordination.
There has never been a better time for self-improvement. You have the time to try, change, and try again. Find what works for YOU.
What set of things must be done each day for you to maximize your time? Find your strategy, and commit to it every single day.
4. Write It Down
One of the best ways to ensure a task's completion is by writing it down. This keeps the goal(s) visible and clear.
I strongly urge athletes to use a physical notebook, as the act of writing helps imprint tasks/goals into your memory.
On the flip side, the advantage of using the notes app on your phone means that you have constant access to them.
Find the method that works best for you, and STICK TO IT.
When writing your goals, be specific. Choose actionable goals that can be measured and crossed off. Personally, my daily notes usually include 3 MAIN FOCUS POINTS to crush that day. Additionally, it includes small tasks to complete throughout the day. It may look something like this:
Complete 3 Training Sessions
Improve Quick Hands Challenge By 1 Rep
Drink 1 Gallon Of Water
Publish 1 blog post
Read 25 pages
Not only does writing down your goals keep you on track, but it provides a sense of accomplishment - a strategy employed by William H. McRaven, a Four-Star Admiral in the U.S. Navy and author of the book, Make Your Bed.
Visit the guys over at Always Grind (@alwaysgrind365). They provide notebooks devoted to athletic achievement. They’re available for hitters, pitchers, coaches, etc. Check ‘em out for some notebook inspiration!
5. Be Accountable
This is your career. NOBODY - not your parents, your coaches, or teammates - will care more about how it plays out than you. YOU are the one who must live with the result of your actions (or inaction).
Knowing where you are in relation to where you want to be is Step 1 of holding yourself accountable.
Step 2 requires the creation of a plan that puts you on the path to that ideal place. Setting goals and writing them down allow you to stay focus on the micro (the immediate future) so that you remain on course for the macro (the “big picture” goal).
At the end of each day, look back at the goals you wrote down. Did you complete all of them? If not, what stopped you?
As days pass, you’ll begin to accumulate a list of tasks and goals. You can look back at days + weeks and determine for yourself if you are truly doing everything in your power to remain committed to your process.