Some people come to me and say, “Ronnie, can you explain to my son/daughter how hard you had to work to play at Canisius?”
My first response to them is that you can’t quantify work ethic. You can’t put a number on how many swings you have to take in a day to be good. You can’t lift a certain number of reps to get strong. It’s all about your heart and what you have inside of your body that makes you want to get there. If you walk into a cage and take 10 good swings and leave, that might be all you needed that day. If you take 10 bad swings and are mature enough to say, “It wasn’t my day today” — that might be all you had that day. You can’t put a number on how many swings to take.
I get asked this question all the time — What should we be doing at home to make them better? — Here’s my simplest answer: Help them love the game. I don’t need that kid in the basement every day doing 300 push-ups and 600 crunches. Yes, that will definitely help, but to some kids, it’s punishment. Help them love push-ups, help them love whiffle ball and hitting. When they are young, make it a game for them and allow them to enjoy the game.
We, including myself, get so caught up in making sure these kids get better, that we sometimes forget about why we play the game in the first place.
All college athletes work extremely hard to get where they are. They push and grind and take their bodies to limits that some people can’t imagine just to get on the field. Those same athletes wouldn’t put their bodies through that pain if they didn’t love every second of it.
At the end of the day, the college baseball/softball player’s day is as follows:
6am Team Lift7:30-8am Breakfast8am-12pm Class / Lunch12pm-1pm Athletic Training Room for Rehab or Warm-up1pm-2pm Early Work (Ground balls, fly balls, double play feeds, receiving drills, pitching mechanics, tee work, etc)2pm-4:30pm Team Practice4:30pm-5pm Break5pm-6:30pm Team/Optional Workout6:30pm-7:30pm Dinner7:30pm-11pm (or later) Homework / Study Hall / Exam Prep / Extra Baseball/Softball Training
I give all of you this information not to make you feel bad for anyone. We all asked for this. We all wanted to have that schedule. Here’s the difference: There are some of you that look at that schedule and say, “That’s way too hard. There’s no way it’s that hard. I can do it, but it wouldn’t be fun.” On the other hand, there are some of you saying, “Let’s
It is very hard to have that schedule every single day if you don’t love it. For all of the parents and players out there that want their kids to make it to the “Next Level” — Help them love the game so that when they get to the competitive baseball world, they still love it.
I had a conversation with a couple very talented high school and college players last week and I took a couple things out of it.
- You have to surround yourself with people better than you and people that are going to push you to your limits even on days where you might not want to be pushed that far.
- You have to LOVE THE GRIND. There are days when you are going to wake up and feel like you just can’t do it that day. You have to push your body to make it happen anyway. Believe me, I bet there are days where our parents don’t want to go to work, but they do it to provide and support. If you really love the game, you will fight through that soreness and get quality work in.
- It’s more than just hitting and throwing — Every single day, you have to: work out, hit, throw, field, take care of your arm, warm-up, cool down, do sprint work, do explosive training drills, ladder drills and foot speed work. It’s not just about how you hit the baseball/softball — it’s everything else.
- You must have a good work ethic in the classroom. People who have a good work ethic display
that inevery setting. They do it when they eat, when they work out, when they study, when they hit, field, throw, etc. Work ethic is a trait that you display at all times.
If you want to make it as far as you can, work hard and love what you do. It’s a lot easier said than done, I know.