Practice and drill is often viewed as boring and repetitive. Many players look upon practice as something to be tolerated until the next game. Yes, taking batting practice against lollipop pitches meant to be crushed Home Run Derby-style is fun – until the coach requests situational hitting, e.g. hit to the opposite field in order to advance a runner, or loft a fly ball because a runner is on third, or hit blazing fastballs from a shortened-pitching distance interspersed with a random mix of change-ups. Ask him to focus and develop his craft, and many a young batter rebels. If it’s not “fun,” he doesn’t like it and he looks upon the task with disdain. Too often, this same batter crumbles under pressure in an actual game. How much fun is that?
A great hitter moves past the concept of requiring fun, or having to enjoy. A great hitter is able to take a broad view of any situation and ascertain that rigorous drills and specific situational practices are beneficial and necessary in order to improve performance during a game. The fun comes, albeit it’s delayed gratification, in the payoff of a superior-quality game performance. A great hitter understands.
“Practice as if you’ve never won. Perform as if you’ve never lost. And make sure you leave it all out there on the field, because it will be over sooner than you think,” said Adam Revelette, former college pitcher with the respective Kentucky and Dayton baseball teams. Learn to equate “challenging” and “difficult” as synonymous with “fun,” and you’ve made a start. Each time you walk onto the diamond, prove that you are great. Begin with your next practice!