Ron Wolforth 2015-11-16 04:04:27
This summer while walking through a multi-field complex on my way to watch my son play, I passed a coach of a 10-year-old team who had all of his players circled up after a game and was barking at his players, admonishing them for their failure to “make adjustments” at the plate, on the field and on the mound. All their heads were down and they clearly knew they had disappointed their coach. It occurred to me that almost assuredly these young people had absolutely no idea what “adjustments” he was referring to; they simply knew they were not getting the results he was looking for, such as line drives, clean plays on defense and throwing strikes. Silly kids, who do they think they are anyway? Imagine the horror—not centering balls up as a hitter or as a defensive player, making misplays in the field and walking batters as a pitcher? OMG! Haven’t these little skulls full of mush ever watched a professional game? In professional games stuff like that would never…ah…hmm…well…all right…even multimillionaires SOMETIMES make mistakes but not like those 10-year-olds, I can tell you that! To which I respond: You and I apparently are not watching the same games. In last year’s Divisional playoffs and World Series I watched several plays that I would have been disappointed in my 10-year-old son had he made those plays. Baseball is a game of failure at every level. Some people obviously need a healthy dose of perspective. It took me back in time to my college career when my coach was exasperated with our hitters, who were hitting too many fly balls in the game. He demanded that our hitters learn to hit the “top half of the baseball.” Thankfully a courageous veteran player who was our best hitter spoke up and said, “Skip, truthfully, I have my hands full just hitting the ball period, let alone a certain ‘half’ of the baseball.” There is one thing that is certain: Critique is far easier to give than to receive. Everybody has an opinion but very few have a process. Former UCLA head basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Never expect or ask your athlete to perform something in a game which he has not yet mastered in practice under duress. If you do, it will be almost certain to fail.” Former Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne once said, “You must actually practice the adjustment. Good athletes adjust. Great athletes adjust quickly, seamlessly, almost unconsciously. Therefore if you believe adjustment is critically important to success, shouldn’t adjustment actually be practiced as well?” General Norman Schwarzkopf once said, “Adjustment and adaptation is the name of the game. The group who is better prepared to adapt, adjust and overcome will almost always be the victor. Therefore, it stands to reason that we must continually develop our ability to adapt and adjust on the fly, especially when the fertilizer is hitting the fan and the cost of hesitation or incompetence is dear.” Obviously, every single one of us has failed at one time to get a result we were hoping for, whether that be in athletics, business, personal finance, relationships and/or our physical body. The questions that beg to be asked are, What’s next? Now what? What exactly are we prepared to do about this result? And the all-too-common answer is “I don’t know.” I promise you almost everyone who was present at the 10-year-old game knew that the athletes in that circle did not achieve the results they were hoping for before the game began. As I said, critique is most often the easier part. The hard part is the adjusting. Far too many coaches, teachers, parents and business managers believe the critique is the hard part…that the critique is the genius or requires the talent. In truth, critique is often cheap. Identifying the flaws or shortcomings of others is not difficult. The genius is in unlocking the constraint or breaking through the limitation or charting a new, more productive course. What I have done is to dissect the concept of “adjustment” into seven different components. My suggestion is whenever you get a result you feel is unsatisfactory, view that result through the prism of these seven components and it will highlight what area(s) you need to be concerned with to help make your adjustments be more correct, more timely and more seamless. Pre-adjustment Due diligence, homework, scouting (Medicine/law/military/other sports) Exact preparation to the specific demands of the activity; practice EXACTLY what you need to be successful No surprises Fog of war. Plan A, B, C, etc., knowing you will need to adjust BEFORE the bullets start flying Accurate Thinking-It is exactly what it is Not bigger/worse/harder than it is Not smaller/better/ea sier than it is Emotionalize = Imprint, so be very careful what you emotionalize, not smaller/better/easier than it is Awareness Of Self Of Process Of Outcome Clarity Mental picture of desired goal The Bernstein Principle Vision of long-term future Perspective Keep failure in its proper place Highway driving Doctor in surgery Good old-fashion work, banging on your craft Building Neural Pathways Deliberate Practice: Practicing adjustment Deep Practice: Engrave/Imprint Mindset Persistence & Tenacity Comfortable being uncomfortable Uncommon view/definition of failure Eagerness to reach slightly past current ability/capability Next issue I’ll discuss each of these seven components in detail. For more information on Ron Wolforth and Texas Baseball Ranch, check out their interactive site at texasbaseballranch.com!
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