Every year, 32 Major League Baseball teams come together for Spring Training. During Spring Training, major and minor league baseball players from every team spend almost two months practicing and playing exhibition games against one another.
None of which count for anything.
This means that before a single stat is counted (and you know baseball people LOVE stats), Major Leaguers have already fielded 10,000 ground balls and pop flies. They’ve taken hundreds of at-bats and run the bases a hundred more times.
In baseball, if you’re successful three out of every ten chances, you’re a Hall of Famer. That’s it. Three out of every ten.
Having played baseball for over 25 years, up through the collegiate level and semi-pro ball, I’m fully aware of how incredibly difficult it is to be successful three out of every ten times at bat.
You don’t show up and hit a 92 mile-per-hour fastball for a double in the right-center gap.
You have to practice. A lot.
This is why, in 1889, the Philadelphia Phillies traveled to Florida for two weeks of what became the first Spring Training (similar to what we currently think of as Spring Training).
They knew stepping into the regular season without practice reps… check that, without hundreds of practice reps, meant early regular season results would be very poor.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
You don’t go to one spring training for one year and then stop going for the rest of your baseball career. Every year, no matter how many years you’ve been a professional baseball player, it’s expected that you travel to Florida (or now Arizona) to practice your craft.
You take a thousand ground balls in practice to field one ground ball in a regular season game.
This is the lesson we learn from Spring Training.
We don’t perfect our craft by WANTING to be good.
And if we practice for long enough, if we take enough swings in the cage and field enough ground balls, we might, maybe, be considered great at what we do.
But if you’re not practicing the thing… if you’re not putting in the work, success three out of every ten opportunities will never be possible.
For Major League Baseball players, practice isn’t something they do; it’s a lifestyle.
So, my question for you today is…
Do you make practicing what YOU do a lifestyle?