I have a problem everyone. I have a softball obsession. It’s generally a sports obsession, but softball comes in on top. I suspect if you found your way to my site today, you’ve got at least a softball hobby, if not something that borders on an obsession yourself.
I read a story last week on ESPN about Ichiro Suzuki, and it got me thinking about what it takes to be great at this game. All of the greatest players in any sport have a talent that others don’t have. They also work harder than anyone else too. Look at the legends of any sport and there’s a crazy story about why they are so good.
Kobe Bryant has these stories, the obsession with being the best, of knowing that nobody will work harder. The drive, to be the best, everyday, in practice, in games, pickup games, the playoffs, the offseason, anytime, any place. Tiger Woods (despite what you may think of him personally) has these stories. Now, look at Tiger Woods, returning from a back fusion surgery that nobody in golf has ever done before. This is comeback #4 now, and that’s after a broken leg, torn achilles, and a torn ACL. The constant practice, for every situation, everyday.
From Golf Digest:
OK, let’s recap. This used to be a typical day for Tiger:
— Run 4 miles (Possibly in combat boots)
— Lifting weights in the gym
— Hit golf balls for 2-3 hours
— Play a round of golf
— Practice short game
— Run 4 more miles (Again, possibly in combat boots)
— Play basketball or tennis
These stories, all of them have something in common. They all involve players at the top level of their respective game. Record holders, Hall of Famers, legends of their time. It’s that crazy, leaning towards insane drive that you can’t teach. That desire to want to better, to never let anyone do it better than you. Those stories about players practicing until hands bleed, or their bodies can’t move, those are real. The honing of skills to the point where your body is actually incapable of doing the skill wrong. Sure, that repetition, that monotonous practice, it’s boring, and difficult.
I know for me personally, I have this passion for coaching. I’m constantly on the lookout for more things to improve myself, other coaches, players, and teams. If you are on the lookout for more information, ask questions. Talk to other players, other coaches, experienced people in the game. It doesn’t hurt to sit on your computer and look for videos, and articles to read about little areas of the game you are working on. Seek out the information to get better if you have that passion for the game.
That passion for softball, it should be driving you to want to work hard, want to practice and be boring at it. That passion, that obsession, that’s what drives a future Hall of Famer like Ichiro to hit hundreds of balls, in the middle of Japanese winter, at 44 years old, with nothing to prove to anyone. So I ask, what’s your excuse for not going to practice today?