Not all posts need to be long and drawn out and this one won't be. I've had the pleasure of being around great baseball players my whole life. I've played with and against quite a few guys who have made it to The Show and with many more that have played some level of professional baseball.
There is one major factor that stands out between the guys who made it past high school baseball and those who didn't.
They know how to turn the competitive button on and off!
There are two types of players, the guys who are super competitive and are trying to make it as far as they can and the guys who are just having fun. The guys who make it the furthest know how to do both.
Just being competitive without having fun is the quickest way to end up hating baseball and quitting with a sour taste in your mouth. For the longest time I was that type of player. Trying so hard all the time to get where I wanted to go that I forgot to have fun. Since starting my professional career overseas I've learned how to have fun and stay competitive and it's really helped me not only enjoy baseball but play better. It's easy to get too caught up in trying to make it and pretty soon all that pressure makes it difficult to relax and be a baseball player! You can work hard and get better and not make baseball the only thing in your life. It's actually a pretty sad life if baseball is all you have. It's a great sport but it isn't life!
Then you have the other side of the coin, the guys that only want to have fun. I've known quite a few guys that were incredible athletes and the game was easy for them, probably too easy. They didn't work hard or discipline themselves and that was their downfall. Baseball is fun but if you want to go somewhere in the game you have to be disciplined and sometimes that means not having fun. Sometimes it's not fun to go to the gym when you want to go to a movie, go fishing, or hang out with friends. But if you learn to prioritize your time you can do all of that and still get your work in. I'm sure you've heard this quote, "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard". And it's true... at some point in your baseball career you'll get to a level where everyone is good and you aren't as special as you thought. If you refuse to work hard, you'll lose your spot to a less talented, harder working player.
Learn to find the balance between being a competitor and just having fun! Compete and have fun! At the end of the day baseball is just a game, it's a tool that can take you to some awesome places but don't make it the only thing in your life.
If there's one person you should mimic in the sport of baseball it's Francisco Lindor aka Mr. Smiles! That guy has so much fun, but has clearly put in the time to be arguably the best short stop in the game!