Burn the boats!
Some seniors in college know for sure that pro ball is in their future. Some know that pro ball is definitely not going to be an option. This post is for players who are stuck in between.
Some of you who know your military history may know what “burn the boats!” means. If not, “burn the boats!” refers to the strategy that commanders used after landing on the shores of an enemy. After the boats landed and the soldiers hit the beach, the commander would order the wooden boats to be burned. That sent a very strong message to his army that there is only two options – win or die. Leaving the boats there would provide another “out” in case things didn’t go well. If the boats are still there, the soldiers know in the back of their heads that they can always retreat. Burning the boats eliminates that thought. Win or die. There are no other options to fall back on.
With one exception, every career path one chooses can begin at any time. A 30 year old can wake up one day and decide that they want to become a lawyer. A 50 year old can wake up and set off on a path to become an accountant or a teacher. The exception is a career as a professional athlete. There is a very small window for that path. It must be done while you are young. Nobody wakes up at age 30 and successfully decides to become an MLB player from scratch.
Right now, there are many anxious college seniors who are beginning to wonder what the future holds for their baseball careers. They are wrapping up their degrees but also are contemplating the possibility of pro ball. This can be a stressful time. “Do I try my hand at baseball or do I get a real job?”
There is nothing wrong with getting a real job. However, there are many players out there who have enough talent to have a shot at pro ball. They also really want to play pro ball. The problem is that knowing in the back of their mind that there is an “out” can get in the way of their focus on pro ball. It prevents them from giving pro ball their 100% attention and focus. For those, my suggestion is to “burn the boats!“
Listen up, seniors. The next several months will largely determine your baseball career’s fate. If you want pro ball bad enough then get after it! “Burn the boats” and give it all you’ve got. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Go for it! I guarantee that if you don’t, you will wish you had.
Let me be perfectly clear. I am not suggesting that anyone disregard their school work or degree. You will regret that even more if you do. “Burn the boats!” when you are in the classroom to get the most out of your studies. Do the same with your game.
“Hold on, Coach. Doesn’t pursuing a degree give you an “out” if baseball doesn’t work?” Yes, it does. But in your mind there needs to be no other option. This may sound impossible but the mind is capable of compartmentalizing in this way.
I knew pro baseball was going to be in my future. Every cell in my body knew it and worked towards it everyday. I also knew that baseball would not last forever. That’s where the hard work in the classroom came in. My college degree would help me after baseball was finished. For me, teaching right out of college was never an option in my mind. I burned those boats very early on. My degree was for later in my life. Pro baseball was for right now.
How bad do you want pro ball? I don’t know nor do I care what your answer is. You just need to decide right now.