“The enemy of the best is the good. If you’re always settling with the good, you’ll never be the best.” Jerry Rice
Ok. So you played a ton of games this season. That’s cool. You’re mentally and physically spent. I get it. You are probably even a bit banged up and maybe even injured. Alrighty then..
So what? These are simply truths for the athlete that lays it all out on the line, shows up everyday ready to play, hurt or not. It is a truth for the player every baseball manager drools to have 9 of out on the field.
I personally love to observe how these guys get the job done and how they go about their business on and off the field. Many times they are they guy that’s been looked past their entire career. It’s seemingly always the guy who doesn’t have many physical tools or smooth natural ability. It’s the little things they do right. The things that are simply a choice to be good at or not.
What keeps guys like this in the game for so long is their ability to turn off the pain switch, turn off the tired switch and just grind out whatever it takes to be ready every night…for every damn game. It’s truly a pleasure to watch the wheels turn inside these players’ heads. I can see the pain inside their eyes, but they will never dare express it. I know for certain it will take a mack truck running over them to see their name on the disabled list.
As I’ve played long seasons, and had the honor to call men like this my teammate, I’ve also seen a correlation in how they approach their offseason compared with the season.
The player who is a true grinder finishes out the season broken, beaten up, and sometimes a bit injured, but healthy in the eyes of his team. He has shown up and used whatever fuel he had to give on that particular day. He will be dying inside for the offseason to come, but NOT to rest and put his feet up on the couch. Rather, he see’s this time as an immediate opportunity to get to work on becoming healthy through proper training.
The work never ends for guys like this. It only changes. It takes a different form. The grinder never stops hustling.
On the flipside, far to many players have only thin skin. A ball off the foot, and they are out for 2 weeks. A broken fingernail, and they can’t swing a bat. A few rough outings, and all of a sudden their shoulder hurts out of the blue. And then when it comes time for the offseason, they feel the need to take a month off.
For these players, the work never began in the first place. They are just soft, simply put. Soft in season, soft offseason. Simple as that.
The grinder has a plan for his offseason before it even begins. He can’t wait to get to work, and fix the things that wore him out during the season. The things that wore him out, but didn’t kill him. I absolutely love having conversations with these players, because they already are looking forward to going out the following spring and kicking ass and showcasing the countless hours of work they put in during the winter. They have a plan. An aggressive one.
The softie wants to take off because they think doing nothing will “heal them.” They want to party and vacation for awhile. For them, awhile turns into a month, two months. By then the grinder has already logged some serious work. He hasn’t yet hit full throttle, but he has healed through smart training, eating, and resting properly. Let me tell you something…..Let this stick with you….
As soon as you put on a jersey, the people who make decisions are already looking for your replacement. They are figuring out who’s going to fill your shoes when you don’t quite cut it.
Are you going to be the player who finishes his season and stays content with resting for a couple months once its over? Or are you going to take the lesson of the grinder? As soon as that hourglass turns over, and your offseason begins, you best have a plan, a direction, and you better get moving sooner than you think you should. Here are 2 things to remember as you begin the grind this winter.
1. Your idea of rest is overrated- Taking completely off with no training activity isn’t resting, its only being lazy. Take the first month to get some of your mobility back, gain some strength and get back into working shape. Construct an awesome diet to optimize your hormones. Get on a regular sleep schedule, and do your resting once you get out of the gym feeling refreshed and one step closer to the guy you want to be in the spring.
2. You aren’t working as hard as you think. If you start training smart early in the offseason, you will be amazed at the things you will be capable of around January. If you let these precious first month to months go by because you are “resting”, you’ll never find out what real progress feels like.
So, get on it. Someone out there is working hard while you are horsing around, resting…….resting for what? Remember they are looking for your replacement. Don’t let it happen. Get to work.