You need grit to compete at a high level in any sport, but baseball is a mental game so it’s imperative.
Grit – “courage and resolve; strength of character.”
I’ll start by saying this is (possibly) the most attractive uncoachable attribute in a baseball prospect to a scout.
In today’s age, every story is told by numbers, so check out how data analysts are trying to quantify grit…
What is grit on the baseball field?
It is a few things:
- The ability to compete unhindered by fear
- The ability to pick yourself up immediately after a strikeout or home run given up
- Showing you WANT to be on that field by competing and being involved in every pitch
- Goes beyond the game – the drive to work your tail off to compete to your absolute best ability the next time you’re out there
Compete Unhindered By Fear
A player scared of negative results will show in his play that he is scared. A well trained eye can see this easily. It’s a player who
- Rarely swings at first pitch strikes
- Never dives for balls in the outfield
- Aims the ball to first in the infield
- A scared pitcher goes from 0-2 to 2-2 or 3-2 too frequently
- Takes conservative swings
All of these things show too much thought of negative outcome.
“I don’t want to swing at the first pitch… what if I pop it up… that would be a terrible at bat.”
“If I dive for this ball and it gets by me, I won’t hear the end of it from coach.”
“If I throw another ball away coach will definitely move me to the outfield.”
You get the idea…
Don’t be afraid to take risks, in fact, don’t even think of them as risks. There is a time and a place not to dive or not to give a decent pitch to hit. That’s not all the time though. When the time is right, don’t be afraid to take that HUGE 3-1 hack, don’t be too afraid to make that SWEET diving play.
If you gave everything you had and came up short, at least you can look yourself in the mirror and say you did everything you could.
It’s a lot harder to look yourself in the mirror and wish you did more.
Pick Yourself Up
Not before the next game… before the next PITCH.
Lets look at the stats. On average, when a pitcher throws the first pitch for a strike, opponent’s batting average drops from the .300 – .350 range to the .100 – .150 range.
That’s in the MLB… where the players have no problem with confidence or grit.
If you ALLOW yourself to be mentally beat by a first pitch strike, your batting average after that first pitch is going to PLUMMET even farther.
Getting down 0-1 as a hitter or 1-0 as a pitcher is only the beginning of the story of the at bat. NOTHING has happened yet. If you allow one pitch to effect your next pitch or approach at the plate, you will be beat.
Who Gets Noticed?
The player who makes all the routine plays will eventually be noticed. But the player who puts himself and his pride on the line by making the tough plays gets noticed quicker. It shows scouts that you love the game of baseball and you’re not afraid of failure.
So go out there and have fun. Do not be afraid to fail and put everything on the line when you walk on that baseball field.