Sometimes it’s a simple one. Maybe it’s you in your first year of kid pitch making a simple throw from SS to 1st to get the out. Maybe it’s your first backhand at third. Maybe it’s your first hit on a bigger field.
As you develop… there will be more. Turning double plays becomes a big deal. Stealing 3rd from 2nd because you mastered the pitcher’s mechanics not only gets you in scoring position, it pumps up your confidence a notch.
As you go through your young baseball career, you should be praised for every single moment out there just as much as you are given instruction and criticism for an error or misplay. That’s a fact. Why? Because that’s part of the growth process in baseball.
Could you imagine if your coach only ripped you for making mistakes and never guiding you through the game? It would make for pretty bad coaching and a pretty lonely resume. Take each moment and embrace them. Accept and feel the praise you receive. And, yes, balance them with those instructional moments too. No matter how big or small of a deal they are, they will help you grow as a ballplayer. And if you fail, remember it, learn from it and practice to get better.
A friend of mine asked me what was the moment for me when I realized my baseball dream was real. I told him…”I was in high school. It was the day I was able to make a running catch in deep center field and still get the ball to third on a laser, so the runner couldn’t advance from second base.”
We eventually held them and we won that game. But it was my moment, because by then, while there was cheering and praise, I didn’t hear any of it. I was in the zone. The zone where you hear nothing… not even yourself… and you let your body and baseball IQ do the work.
That, my friends is when you realize you have a dream. But without the moments and stepping stones along the way… that will never happen.
Embrace the whole baseball experience. Grow into the ballplayer you want to be… and find your zone. That’s when you know the dream is real.