So often I find young guys that are struggling too concerned with their results and when they're succeeding... too concerned with their results. Successful results can happen by getting lucky, but consistently successful results happen with a good process (or approach).
For this blog I'm going to use the example of bunting because I think it really illustrates my point.
Bunting is pretty simple, especially a sacrifice bunt. You touch the ball with the bat and put it into fair territory, yet even in the big leagues you don't see very many guys that are decent at a sacrifice bunt. I know they are amazing hitters and I would much rather have those guys swing and do some damage at the plate, but don't get side tracked.
We've worked on bunting the last few weeks with the high school team I coach and thankfully it has very much improved. But we've had to battle results focused guys to get them to become process focused. What do I mean by that?
There are specific things you can do with bunting to become more consistent and make it much easier to get good results. You can get up in the box to increase the amount of fair territory, you get in on the plate so you don't have to reach, you set your bat on the angle you want the ball to go, you keep your eyes behind the barrel and you don't jab at the ball. That, is the process, committing to that process and do all those things will typically result in a quality sacrifice bunt. What we saw happening a lot was guys not doing those things and if they got a decent bunt down would say, "well I got it down right"... yes, but the process you took to get that bunt down is not repeatable and therefore partly luck that you succeeded. The focus on results becomes a negative because the process is not repeatable and not something that we can get better at over time.
If you read our last article Mental Disconnect we talked a bit about how practice doesn't make you better, but perfect practice will. Perfect practice means we have a process and we are focused, disciplined, and consistent in following that process.
If this is true, than how we practice is so much more important than just practicing. If you have a little success here and rather at random and think you're doing good, you are going to have a really hard time once you start struggling. And you will struggle at some point, that's just how baseball works. The best way you can get out of that struggle or avoid long struggles is to be consistent with your process (practice/approach).
Just because you get a bunt down, or get a base hit, or strike a guy out, or throw out a runner at second doesn't mean what you're doing is what you should continue to do.
Examine your process and determine if it's something you should keep doing; this means, even if you are struggling but you believe what you are practicing is eventually going to make you better, you stick with it. Don't just change your process because you struggle a little bit. Don't be a results focused player; sometimes our process is perfect but we aren't getting good results. Stay disciplined and continue with it when you know what you're doing is going to pay off.
Next week we're going to talk about when you should change your process. How long should you continue struggling before you determine your process isn't leading towards good results.
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