Friday, May 16, 2008


We had a great practice this week, and we needed it (contrary to what some of the players think, we can’t get better by just playing games). We worked on some simple things (see your copy of Chapter 9 of Joe’s Baseball Playbook) and the players seemed to “get it.”

But why?

I’d say that practice allows us to focus. And here’s my random thoughts:

Focus defined - directed attention, a point of concentration, or a center of activity. In other words, it’s the focal point - the task, person, or event you place above all others for a specific time. For instance, being focused means looking past minor distractions so that you can see clearly the major issues at hand. It means putting on hold the little problems that come up in order to concentrate on solving bigger problems.

For players, the following equation is a simple way to think of focus:

Concentration + Intensity = Focus

We can focus on talking about the good accomplishments that we’re attaining (and we are), but it sure helps to have unexpected opportunities to apply them in a practice setting. There they can choose to either work at improving and get better, or they’ll slip back and get worse.

We want the players to focus on our two goals: first, "Play a little bit better every game (PLAY HARD)," and second, "Baseball will be fun for us (HAVE FUN)."

We have brief team meetings before or after each practice to recap what we want to accomplish. This week we asked the players to spend the ride home from practice thinking about what we worked on, in an attempt to make it happen more instinctively in game situations. That helps them to be as prepared as possible so that they can perform as well as possible.

If everyone understands (the individual’s role in) the team’s mission, goals, and expectations, then everyone can look in the same direction and see the same big picture. They must see it not only on paper but also in their minds so that they understand it. Ideally, it is also in their hearts!

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