It’s playoff time in professional baseball, some will say this is when the real work begins. Emotions are at an all-time high, every play has more pressure than the last. However, as Trevor Bauer said before his start in Game 1, “All the work is done.” For many it takes reaching the highest level before they can really see it in that light. But if you are on a relentless pursuit of anything, particularly baseball, you know the work just has to be done.
I had the privilege of seeing the work that professional pitchers put in last offseason. They have to lift, condition, and throw multiple times a week. These are guys at the highest level showing up and just putting in the work everyday. It is not always pretty, even guys with big-league time make throws that get knocked down by the net that hangs over our infield. But they keep showing up because they know if they don’t put in the work in December they won’t be at the level they need to be in August and the postseason.
This past offseason one of the professionals was coming off an injury, the first one of his career. He had his individualized plan and he was executing it six days a week. He had worked hard to make the changes we felt were necessary, throwing the ball where he wanted to, and was pain free. He went so far as to say it was the best he’d felt at that point in the offseason in his entire career. There was just one problem, he was throwing a flat 84. A guy who the season before had run it up to 96 was sitting in the mid-80s and the ball just wasn’t jumping out of his hand like it usually did. We made some minor changes to his weekly plan and I told him that there was nothing to worry about, that velocity takes time to come back particularly coming off an injury where there are more mental hurdles than physical in terms of cutting it loose.
“I don’t suck anymore!” were the first words out of his mouth after he threw a ball that was just different than any ball he’d thrown all offseason. We didn’t need to know the velocity because you could see the difference, the ball just jumped out of his hand. And then the next one jumped, and the next. Crisis averted, he’s back or at least the life on his fastball was. His next bullpen would be the real test. Two days later he was 88-90 mph (these guys pitch in front of thousands, they are usually a tick or two slower indoors). He got a job in the middle of February and went to minor league spring training ready to dominate. He was 90-93 in his first outing and ran it up to 96 in the playoffs in September. And, immediately following winning a co-championship in AA, he got the call everyone dreams of receiving - he wasn’t going home for the offseason yet, he was going to the big leagues.
It wasn’t easy everyday, he didn’t always want to train, but he was relentless. He didn’t get mad because he didn’t see results overnight, he had a goal and he didn’t stop until he reached it. You just have to keep showing up. There is no road map, but you have to have a plan. Yesterday should have no bearing on the work that you put in today. Some people will have it easier, some people may not even have to work that hard and you will feel like you can never catch up. That doesn’t mean you should stop - keep going until they are forced to catch up to you.
If you are ready to begin your relentless pursuit to become the best thrower you can be, sign up for Healthy Heat today.
- Wes McGuire