Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Be Number One on Your Baseball Team

By Jim Bain

It was recently suggested to me that I write an article on "How to be number one on your baseball team." My first thought on the request was "What an odd question," and initially dismissed the idea as quite silly. However, the question, and more possibly the motive for such a question, continued to gnaw at me until I decided to take a crack at answering the question.

Since it wasn't specified, the first issue I had to isolate was "number one at what?" The number one pitcher, hitter, fielder, cheerleader, or what? This was quite a cumbersome and rather confusing task, as I could write page after page of instructions and advise on any one of a 100 subjects related to a baseball team.

Thank God for computers and the delete key, because I nearly wore mine out writing and rewriting ideas which would pop into my head, meander around and eventually lead to a dead end. This simple little article was quickly becoming a monumental task, one which at the time, I was failing miserably at.

The problem with answering how to become number one on your baseball team is, there is no One answer, but rather a combination of many skills and talents both physical and emotional involved.

Baseball is an Individual game, played in a team environment. Confused? For example, you, the individual, wants to succeed at getting a base hit. By succeeding as an individual and getting the base hit, you drive home the winning run, which makes the team successful.

In my opinion, this unique mixture of achievement and goals results in the only answer possible for becoming number one on the team... Don't try to become number one, is the only way to become number one. I've confused you again. Allow me to explain.

Being the number one player on a team, any team, can not be something accomplished by learning any certain skills. Sure, you can develop into the Ace pitcher on the team and be voted to the All-Star team, but that doesn't make you number one on the team. Neither does being the clean up hitter, who has achieved remarkable numbers at home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage, still not considered the number one player.
Again in my humble opinion, I believe the following two things about players:

1. There is the player who strives as an individual to succeed, and by doing so the team succeeds...

2. There is the player who strives to succeed in order for the team to succeed.

What's the difference?

1.The #2 player is happy about grounding out to the second baseman, because he moved a runner to third base.

2. As the second baseman, he makes a fantastic fielding play which starts a game ending double play and high fives the shortstop for making a strong throw to first base.

3. He hits a walk off home run, but seeks out the timid 9th place hitter who walked in front of him allowing a winning home run instead of a game tying home run.

How can you tell the difference between the two types of players, both great team mates? You normally can't, because the difference is in the heart of the player and that produces an aura of its own, which produces a number one player on the team.

My advise on how to become the number one player on the team... work your guts out practicing and play with your heart.

Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on running youth baseball drill on his exciting info packed website:

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