Dad, What Does Your Crystal Ball Say?

Your son’s baseball outcome has everything to do with his self-motivation

If you could see 5, 10, even 20 years into the future at what your children have become, would you dare to look? If you have a son who wants to play at the highest level of baseball, would you take a peek to see if he fulfills his dream?

Scary thought isn’t it? 

I want to say this from the outset: There are plenty of talented players that haven’t made it; plenty who are respectful and admirable human beings; plenty with parents who wanted the best for their child and raised them with the idea that good character is the most important quality a person can have.

However, let’s presume your son makes it. He has done his time in the minor leagues and is called up to the ‘show’. With all things being equal, presuming he has the athletic skill and the power to be there, what’s gotten him there and helped him stay there, in the glamorous world of major league baseball?

First and foremost, your athlete needs self-motivation. Let me repeat that: self-motivation.

Not many have it. All those making some grade have talent. Some have awesome talent. You can try to motivate all you like, try to inspire all you like, try dangling any carrot you like, but if that motivation is not captured for oneself…good luck. Self-motivation is the driving force.

Self-motivation will be the catalyst for bouncing back after failure—and your son will sleep with failure more nights than he sleeps with success.

How does he deal with failure/setbacks now? How do YOU deal with failure/setbacks? Not his, but yours?

Our athletes love the game and sometimes can’t understand our frustration when they don’t perform to what we expect of them. They live with our excuses and our finger pointing, all stemming from our own deep frustration and regret of failing to achieve ‘the dream’ ourselves. Tough truth to deal with.

Self-motivation will be a vehicle for their determination through the hard grind—and the hard grind will be your child’s middle name. There are nicer terms for it: ‘tenacity’ being one …. maybe ‘struggle’ … definitely ‘true-grit’. 

It’s a tough job being a parent, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Here’s why it is so tough:

We are being watched 24 hours a day. A lot of your child’s characteristics are learned from you. They learn very little from you verbally; they learn from your example.

They watch you. They sense everything. They love you. They follow you. They want to be loved by you and desire your attention. They see how we react to setbacks, good times and frustrations; how we love and respond to love; what’s important to us and what’s not.

The one thing we can’t give them is passion. That is something magical that athletes capture inside themselves. Something triggered within them. 

I have no idea how well my own son will perform in the future. However, I can remember what triggered him to pursue baseball as his sport over everything else. He said at the age of eight, he was hearing from other players and adults that he was really good. He believed what they said, and this fueled him to want to get better at the game.

I asked my son a recently—he is now 13 playing in the Junior League—how parents could help their children play better? Without hesitation, he said, “It’s best to leave my game and skills up to the coaches. Dad, you need to help me with the mental side of the game—the mental side to life. That’s your job now.”

This is no small task.

I don’t want to know what the crystal ball holds. Would I put the same effort, time and money into my son playing this game if I knew the outcome already?

Let go of the outcomes, they take care of themselves. Your son has an outcome in mind. With self-motivation, he will be willing to run through walls to live that outcome.

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