Friday, September 16, 2011

Begin With The End In Mind

RT Staff Note: Several months ago we came across an article posted on Norcal's web site. Although this is an older article, Norcal is constantly updating their web-site with new information and educational materials to better their players year round. They aren't the only team doing this, but there certainly should be more teams staying in-touch during the off-season. We encourage all youth teams to be as pro-active in posting new articles and information on their web sites all year...not just during the season. This article is from Doug Gardner of ThinkSport and he has given us permission via e-mail to re-run this article here on RT. Enjoy!

Begin with the End in Mind:
Reflections from 2007 to Create Focus for 2008

By Dr. Doug Gardner - ThinkSport

The end of the year is a great time to take a look back and think about the many things that happened to you during 2007 both academically and in terms of baseball.

Think back to January 1st of last year...How much have you grown up since then? Did you set any goals or New Year’s Resolutions last year? Did you meet these goals and your own personal expectations?

Transport yourself to one year from now...Where do you see yourself? Where do you want to be? What have you learned from this past year that you can apply in your work in 2008? What do you want to have accomplished one year from now?

The beginning of the calendar year is the perfect time to take a step back and reflect upon where you have been and utilize this information to better the path you will take in reaching your short-term and long-term goals.

No matter how talented of a baseball player you are, you can always get better and improve. Few athletes actually take the time to assess, critique and formulate improvement strategies in an objective, honest and constructive manner.

Most athletes spend their assessment time being too harsh on themselves when mistakes are made, performance is poor and when games are lost. When things go well, athletes often do not think too much as to why they are having the success they are having. People believe that thinking too much about their successes will lead to negative outcomes in the future.

This either-or syndrome often interferes with our ability to assess our preparation and performance objectively and rationally. If I do well? Great! Keep it going and don’t ask questions. If I do poorly? Well, open the flood gates and berate yourself.

To be objective, an athlete must create a standardized and systematic way to assess themselves. I suggest that athletes categorize their preparation and performance into three distinct areas:

• Physical - Cardiovascular fitness, strength/core training, diet & nutrition, injury prevention.

• Fundamental - Aspects related to the development of the many physical skills specifically related to the sport(s) you participate in.

• Mental - Focus, intensity, purpose, trust, strategy formulation, adversity and coping skills, decision-making capabilities.

Let us try a short exercise...

When answering the following questions, be as specific and detailed as possible in relation to the physical, fundamental and mental aspects of your preparation and performance.

1. What aspects of your performance were you pleased with last year?
2. What aspects of your performance were you NOT pleased with last year?
3. Did you prepare to the best of your abilities, on a day-to-day basis?
4. How can your commitment and preparation improve?
5. How have you matured as a person and as an athlete over the past twelve months?
6. What can you do right now to start working and improving areas of weakness?

Remember, this is not a test. Nobody else will see your answers and only you will know if you are truly being honest and objective with yourself. Please e-mail me with your critique of yourself and your performance if you would like some feedback.

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