Many people may not know this about me but before I began powerlifting and pretty much doing any sort of serious strength training at all, I was thoroughly wrapped up in playing baseball. I was out there on the baseball diamond once I was old enough to sign up for T-Ball. My favorite time of the year was when the snow began to melt, you could smell spring returning in the air, and you knew baseball season was right around the corner. I would count down the days until the first practice like a kid counting down days until christmas. My dad and I would go outside in the snow and throw the ball around to get my arm ready for the new season ahead
I would continue to play baseball all through my childhood into my adulthood. Unfortunately after high school baseball my plans took a different turn and I didn't have the time or freedom to attempt to play through the rigors of any college program. It is still something that bothers me in the back of my mind today, and every time baseball season rolls around I get that itch again. My first year without baseball I was completely torn and felt like I had nothing to train for. Part of what kicked off my journey in strength training and losing a lot of weight was my drive to play college ball and have a good senior season. Unfortunately I began getting serious about my training and nutrition too late
It is still one of my biggest regrets to date that I didn't catch on to training and nutrition earlier in life. Any athlete can relate that your window of opportunity to play the sport you love is so small and closes so quickly. Few continue playing into college years and only the select elite continue playing beyond that. Even those 4 extra years of college ball would have meant the world to me looking back. This post isn't about my past, but rather some things I'd like to share with younger athletes. This is the same advice I give to any young athlete I see, as to see they do not make the same mistakes I made
Enjoy and Cherish the Time You Have
Your playing time in your selected sport will be over in a blink of an eye. You will soon be looking back wondering where all the time went and will soon sound like an old man, retelling old ball stories and pumping them up to make you sound like you were more amazing than you were. Trust me, I know... I'm there now. Just like when your parents tell you to enjoy being young, I'm telling you to enjoy being out there with your teammates, your brothers, your family. Sports teach you amazing life lessons. Cherish every moment you're out there getting a chance to play your sport, treat every moment like it could be your last
Listen To Your Coach
Your coach isn't making a living off teaching you the sport. Chances are your coach does it because they used to play themselves, they love the game, want to see you succeed in the game, and really enjoy what they do, not to mention they likely know a thing or two believe it or not. A good coach is like a father and a mentor. Thinking back on all my baseball seasons since I was just a kid I NEVER forget the great coaches I had. For as long as I live I will always have those memories and gratitude to give to my coaches. They teach you more than just the game, they teach you how to become a great man or woman
Make a Choice
Is this something you want to get great at or are you just playing because you like having fun with your friends? There is no right or wrong answer but it is a decision everyone needs to make or time will make the decision for you. If you have hopes of playing your sport well beyond your high school years you need to make some sacrifices and really dedicate yourself to your craft. This includes practicing outside of practice and doing the things I'm about to mention next...
Take Strength Training Serious
This is my number one biggest regret. I waited too long to apply this advice. This is the first thing I tell the athletes I work with in the weight room, to take what happens in the gym serious. Strength training is what makes a good athlete great and a great athlete elite. There's no way around it, you will never become the greatest athlete you can be and go as far as you potentially could unless you train and train hard. The first step is just showing up and putting in the work. I want more athletes to understand that the training DOES make a difference in your play, I've seen it on numerous occasions. Players with potential extending their playing careers because of their training habits
Take Nutrition Serious
Before games in High School I would sit down to a school lunch of some of the oiliest pizza you could imagine, extra french fries, and cookies to top it off. I'd be lying if I told you looking back I didn't feel like shit. My stomach was unsettled and I was never in an optimal state to perform, but as a kid you don't know better you just go out there and play. It makes a HUGE difference what you put into your body. Sports nutrition is a huge field and high end college sports programs have chefs just for their sports teams and food all planned out. Programs nowadays pretty much tell you what you're going to be eating. If you're a young kid and want to instantly enhance your performance on the field, sit down to a packed lunch of chicken breast, brown rice, green beans, and a big ole container of water and tell me how much better you feel going into the game
The what if's haunt me all the time. If only I started training earlier, if only I ate better, if only I sought out coaches and training facilities, if only this if only that. What could I have done? How far might I have gotten? It only haunts me because I know I could have given it more than I did. If I knew I did everything in my power to become a better athlete I would not have these regrets, but I do. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did. I want young athletes coming up in their sport to be knowledgeable on how to perform better and have a great playing experience. Listen to this simple advice I gave you today and make the choice. If you are content just playing the game and having fun that's great! Thats the beauty of sports. However if you have serious hopes of continuing on as I did, start making your improvement your business. The only person saying you can't is yourself. Why not you?