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Brett Berghammer: Keys To Success

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

As a ball player, you hear coaches tell you, “Make the adjustment” starting from a young age. Making the adjustment means changing your game, your swing, your stance, your mindset and, in some cases, fielding. In brief, your entire baseball career is an adjustment. Going from little league to professional, take a minute and think to yourself: how do you make an adjustment? Why do you make the adjustment? What works for you? How does your body work around the bases? You see all these guys trying to do exactly what others do - trying to imitate others without really understanding that player's swing. They cannot be successful because that player is unique. They understand what works for them, and they don’t try to be anyone else. Their swing is their creation. You can take bits and pieces and apply it to your own game, but, in the end, there is only one game: yours. What makes you unique from everyone else?

Of course, hitting is the most important aspect of the game. Hitting leads to runs, runs leads to’s simple: if you can’t hit you don’t play. I, myself was very fortunate to have a short but sweet career up until I was done with college. To me, making the adjustment was easy. How, you may ask?  It is because I listened to my peers and applied their knowledge to my game. If it wasn't working for me I’d keep asking for different opinions, because no one can swing the bat for me. I can only take what I know and hope it produces. It’s okay to ask for help and take advice from others, but only if you’re applying their knowledge to your game the right way. In other words, how can you make it work for you without going out of your comfort zone? This is the important part to take away: NEVER go outside your comfort zone. Just look at it as an upgrade - new and improved.

Back in college, Zane and I were hitting on a Sunday afternoon (hitting cage bombs like savages). He was an All-American third baseman. He hit over .330 and put up no less than 10 homeruns in both years he played.  He was raking in the preseason games during our senior year. As we were doing our tee work, I noticed he was doing something different in his swing. I asked why, and his response was, “I want to look more athletic at the plate.” Now why would you change your swing when the swing you have now is producing personal career-high numbers. To me that’s not making an adjustment. That’s a personal accessory - meaning making yourself more appealing then bettering yourself. 

The Right Time

There is always a time and place to make these tweaks, and that is your time in the cage. If you ever find yourself needing to change something during the game while you’re competing, don’t. You’re better off sticking to what you know in the moment then changing something you’re not familiar with. Otherwise you’re just setting yourself up to fail. If you go 0-4 and you don’t feel like it’s necessary to make any adjustments, then go with your gut because I guarantee the next game you’re going to go 3-4 with 3 RBIs. It’s baseball. It’s a game of failure. It’s a game of constancy. Trust the process at a young age and lear from your mistakes.

Mental Adjustment 

This is the single, most important trait you can have in yourself - controlling the emotions, and controlling the energy. play without fear, but always respect your opponent because this game gives players like myself so much. It deserves all the love in the world and it needs to be played right. Always be in the mindset that no one is better then you on the field - not your opponents, not your teammates. But don’t be bigger than the game. However, know what you’re capable of and show them why you belong on the field. Live in the moments that call for a hero. Imagine yourself driving in the winning run. Imagine that feeling. It’s the kind of thought process that brings you success in the game - not just the numbers, but the key moments you create. Do this and coaches will want to sign you, but be humble and let your teammates and fans speak for you. All you have to do is play the game you love and show them why you play. So many things go through the mind at any given point in baseball, but the best mindset is a happy mindset. For me I just wanted to be on a ball field. That feeling I get when I walked onto a field at the crack of dawn before everyone else got there - that moment of silence before going to war - is what motivated me. Just being apart of something so pure is what made me happy.

It’s the mental adjustment that matters the most, now can you handle the pressure? Can you handle bottom of the ninth? The tying and winning runs are on with 2 outs and it’s up to you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What is your plan? What are you going to do? The first thing that comes to your mind better be, “I’m winning this game for us.” Even if you give it your best effort and don't deliver, remember that anyone could be in those situations. But every opportunity is a gift treat, so it like one. The moment you doubt yourself, you are already letting yourself down. 

Natural Ability

All you have when you first begin your career is your natural ability. Your body just responds to what you experience. Every player is different in their own way. Some are natural athletes and some are natural learners. Everyone has to develop different parts of their game. It's not about the talents we are given when we first start out, but what we do with these talents that matters. You can have all the talent in the world and still fail at this game. Natural ability only counts when you develop it. After all, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Work with what you have, develop your talent, and trust your ability.

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