Updated: Apr 5, 2022
Practice is over. As your teammates head home for the day, you put on your batting gloves, grab your bat, and head to the cage for some extra work. One of your teammates joins you and, together, you have a solid hitting session. Your teammates takes a couple light rounds full of low-effort swings, takes about five game-speed swings, then packs up his gear and heads home. But not you. Determined to outwork everyone, you stay in the cage, taking swing after swing.
Eventually, you begin to feel the fatigue set in. Ignoring your body's warning signals, you continue hitting. You notice that your performance is beginning to diminish with each swing, but you are determined to end your round on that one perfect swing that you have been trying to achieve the entire day.
While you struggle, your teammate, who just arrived at home, takes off his shoes, and begins preparing a nice dinner for himself. He makes a healthy plate that covers his protein, carb, fruit, and vegetable needs, and brings it over to the couch where he turns on a show that he's seen time and time again.
Meanwhile, you finally settle on a decent swing and call it quits. You have officially outworked everybody on your team that day, just like you have every day this week. Congratulations. Too tired to make food, you decide to go out to eat. At this point, most healthy options are closed, so you settle on some fast food.
Your teammate finishes his meal, puts his plate in the sink, grabs his bat and sits back down on the couch. After all, it's time to chill for the day.
Realizing you still haven't gotten your workout in today, you rush to the gym to get in a quick pump.
Your teammate realizes how late it is, so he turns off the television and heads to bed.
As your teammate goes to sleep, you finish your workout and head home for the day. Exhausted, you go to bed happy and sleep HARD, knowing that you worked as hard as you possibly could.
...So why is your teammate better than you?
It is not fair that you outwork him every day, yet you still fail to put up the same numbers. He outhits you in every game, hits above you in the order, and never has to worry about his spot in the lineup being in jeopardy. It's just not fair.
Or maybe it is...
See, while you were busy rushing all over town to get your work in, your buddy was just... sitting. Contemplating. Planning. It may not have seemed like he was working hard, but he was - just in a different way. While you may have indeed worked harder, he worked smarter. He knows what is required to have success in the game of baseball. While you were working on swinging, he was working on hitting, because he knows that a good hitter uses his mind, not his muscles.
While your buddy was on the couch, he had a bat in his hands. Why? Because he was visualizing. He was going through his day, remembering the good swings and replicating them in his mind, and remembering the bad swings and planning out what he can do to avoid them in the future. He spends his time picturing his future at bats in the next game, mentally preparing himself for what is to come. All the while, he is RESTING. He is letting his body recover from the day, allowing himself to come back the next day energized and ready to go.
When the next game rolls around, you continue your struggles at the plate, while he steps in the box ready and confident. After all, he's already been there 100's of times - in his head. You decide that the solution to your failures is more work. Meanwhile, he returns home, sits on the couch, bat in hand, and just relaxes.
Next time you hit the cage for some extra work, look around you. Who is working and who is just... there? Are you the type of person who works with a plan and calls it a day when they accomplish their goals, or are you the person who works endlessly and has nothing to show for it? Maybe you just need to take a step back, grab a bat, and watch some television.
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