This is the third installment of the “Why I Failed” series by Travis Smith, former college baseball player at Assumption College.
The vast majority of baseball players never get the opportunity to play professional baseball. We’ve all seen the statistics. At each level of baseball, there are fewer players than at the last. A good amount of people make their high school team. Fewer make their college team. A minuscule amount make the jump to the next level, and sign a contract to play professional baseball.
The players that are good enough to play professional baseball are the exceptions. They heard these same statistics during their careers, and they were probably intimidated by them. So how did they earn the right to sign that contract, how did they become the exception to the rule?
The day they were drafted was not the first time they were the exception. College baseball is littered with failure, and it manifests itself long before draft day. At every team lift, a couple players fail. At every practice, a couple players fail. Every morning at breakfast time, almost every player fails.
There are more rules than simply “Most players don’t get drafted.” Here’s a list I put together of other rules I found to be true in my time playing college baseball:
- Most players are horrible at fueling their bodies.
- Most players don’t get nearly enough sleep.
- Most players have no idea what they’re doing in the weight room.
- Most players don’t train or practice at 100%.
If you want to get drafted, and be the exception to that rule, you need to be the exception to every single one of the above rules as well. There is no reason to believe that you can be average at every step of the way through the process, and then be the “chosen one” when draft day comes.
Of course, there are freaks out there that never work out and eat terribly and get drafted. I’m going out on a pretty sturdy limb here and telling you you’re not one of them.
With the exception of the powerhouse division one programs, the majority of college programs are lucky to have one player drafted a year. For division two and three programs, they are lucky to have one player drafted every five years.
How often do you think the players that get drafted aren’t the hardest working players on their teams? I would think the percentage is absurdly low; the hardest working players are usually the best players, and the best players get drafted.
Your teammates are going to roll out of bed ten minutes before class and skip breakfast. Be the exception: get up an hour earlier, make a good breakfast, and fuel your day.
Your teammates are going to stay up until 2 AM playing video games and grab six hours of sleep. Be the exception: go to bed at midnight and get your eight hours.
Your teammates are going to do back and bicep workouts three days a week. Be the exception: find a plan, stick to it, and focus on functional strength. Would you rather look good at the beach, or be a professional baseball player with no time for the beach?
Your teammates are going to do six reps when the lift demands eight, and perform working sets at 65% 1RM when the lift demands 85%. Be the exception: stick to the plan and leave everything you have in the squat rack.
The players that can be the exception to the smaller, more monotonous rules are the ones that go on to be the exception to the big rule. Don’t slack through the process and expect to come out on top in the end.