FELT goals for baseball success
Baseball is quite possibly the most confidence and esteem crushing sport in existence. No other sports punishes players for doing everything right. A batter perfectly approaches a tough slider down and away and smokes a line drive to the opposite field gap. Since the shift was on, the outfielder takes two steps and catches the ball. The batter jogs back to the dugout with a big fat 0 for 1 and a few points knocked off his average. Like Steve Springer – performance coach for the Blue Jays – likes to say, “You know you beat him and the pitcher knows you beat him. Heck, even the pitcher’s mom in the stands knows you beat him.” And you’re still 0 for 1.
This is why it is extremely important for players to correctly define success. The normal way – batting average, home runs, etc. – is largely ineffective and leads to many problems with how players think during and between games. It’s also why many little kids move away from baseball and search for easier activities that are not so physically and mentally challenging.
A baseball season is a marathon with many ups and downs. Defining success correctly can allow you to have many more “wins” along the way to offset the normal adversity found in baseball. This is where the acronym F.E.L.T. comes into play. (I’m pretty proud of myself for coming up with this one all by myself!)
The acronym FELT stands for – Fun, Effort, Learn, and Try.
Fun – Any definition of success better include a healthy dose of fun. If it isn’t fun, baseball will very quickly turn into drudgery. The game is just too difficult to do all the work needed and not have fun in the process. If the game is losing its fun, figure out a way to make it fun again. Sometimes a good coach will do this for you. If not, do it yourself. Figure out a way to bring back the fun.
Effort – Your effort is totally under your control. If you gave it your best then it’s a win no matter what the score says or how many hits you got.
Learn – If you finish a practice or game and realize that you learned something new about baseball or yourself then it’s a win. This is the secret to how ultra-successful people think. They turn adversity into victories. In their minds there is no failure. There are only opportunities to learn something new.
Try – Try something new everyday. This one is connected to the previous letter (Learn). Trying something new everyday allows you to grow as a person and a player by pushing yourself to achieve more. Too many players are more interested in the comfort of only doing things they know how to do. Try something new. You’ll probably screw it up the first time but that’s ok because you are learning and pushing yourself to be better. It also prevents boredom (see Fun above).
Walk away from practice or a game with the belief that you had fun, you gave it all you had, you learned something, and you tried something new and the score or the number of hits you had no longer seem like a big deal.
Do that everyday and you’ll develop a whole new outlook on the game and your place within it.