Thursday, August 14, 2008

Be Who You Are Supposed To Be

RT Staff Note: One of the more gracious guys in the game of baseball is a man named Jim Giles of There used to be pretty decent band in the 70's called the JGiles to us oldsters, his name stands out. We have used his articles before in our blog, and this next piece really hits home for us and others in our circle of baseball goons. Enjoy!

Athletics and Life are simply making the most of the moments between the beginning and the end. In your life, these are very easy points to determine, your birth and your death; in the Athletes life it can be more difficult to determine. Sure, you could say it is merely the beginning of your career (little league, jr league) and the ultimate end whether it be high school, college or the professional ranks. How we live this athletic life can be a wonderfully rewarding experience or it can be a very traumatic one.

How do you go about making the most of these moments? I believe the easiest way to have success in your Life or your Athletic Life is simply to BE WHO YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

At the beginning of this journey, all players have potential. Your goal at the end of the journey is to NOT be one of those players that HAD potential and never quite lived up to it or used it to its’ greatest ability. You have to find the way to perform each and every day to be the player you are supposed to be. To do this you have to challenge yourself continually every day. You can never live in the present on performances in the past. Conversely, you have to quit thinking of what you could be and just BE IT – Be the player you are supposed to be. For everyone this is different. You have to find a way to perform to YOUR greatest ability and thus fulfill your potential.

A difficult aspect of this is to not judge yourself based on the barometer of others. You can not base your life on pleasing the expectations of others. This is a sure fire way to fail. Sure your coaches, parents, teachers, etc. will have expectations. These expectations are an important part of your development and can be a component of the basis for your expectations of yourself. Ultimately though, YOU have to make the decision of what YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

You have to find who you are and commit to it. Determine what your goals should be and then go about striving to reach them every day. A key aspect is also to COMMIT TO THE PROCESS, NOT THE PATH. The path you take quite often will change based on circumstances and achievement. The only way you can fail in this endeavor is not by failing to achieve a goal, but failing to commit to the process. If you reach a goal, you need to immediately raise the bar and push the next goal higher. If your current path to achieve a goal is not producing the expected results, you need to determine if the path must be adjusted.

In determining who you are supposed to be, you must BE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE! You can not fake this in life. You have to find who you are at the very core of your being and determine a path to use this as a strength. You have to truly believe and find commitment in the YOU that this represents. As an athlete, if you are not a RAH RAH type of player, you can not force yourself to be that. Any attempt will come off to those you are trying to pump up, as fake, because it will not be who you can commit to being. If you are quiet and lead by example, then DO IT.

That is the essence of who you are and you need to use this to your advantage.
What does this all mean for an athlete? If you are a Pitcher and you don’t have a 90+ mph fastball, then it makes no sense trying to blow the ball by everyone. Use what you have, hit spots, change speeds, force ground balls and GET OUTS. If you are a line drive type hitter with average power, stepping up to the plate and trying to jack home runs is not going to produce positive results.

If you have been blessed with plus running speed, put the ball in play and make the defense throw you out. Pressure them and see what happens. As a Leader on the team, if you’re not a RAH RAH guy, then lead by example. Be the first one out to practice, last one to leave, run on and off the field hustling everywhere you go regardless of the score or situation, etc. If you are the RAH RAH guy, use it in the right situations and pick up those players around you.

Coaches often make a huge mistake in not understanding who their players really are and try to make them into something they are not. They can make their star player a Captain and then expect him to stand up and lead as a RAH RAH type player. If he is not this at his very core, he will never be successful as the leader they want him to be. He will also not be successful as the Leader that the team needs him to be. As Coaches we have to find the strength of each of our players and develop their roles along these strengths.

Communicating this with the Player is extremely important as well. Pete Carroll was quoted as saying “I just live out what I truly believe and everything takes care of itself from there”. The commitment and identification of what you truly believe is the key ingredient in your ability to BE WHO YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. And being who you are supposed to be will help you be a success in Life both inside and outside of athletics.

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