June 1, 2016
By: Gabriel Rios
We start with talent because to be brutally honest there are no substitutes for talent. Talent is something you have or you don’t have. It’s almost impossible to fake talent for any length of time and the teams with the most talent are the teams with the best shot at coming out ahead long term. Talent is interesting though because talent alone flounders and likely will never result in long term success. Talent must work hard, talent must have confidence and talent must have heart and mental toughness to be successful. Talent is one component on the tree of success but it’s also the one component that relies most on the other components. Talent is the foundation, the roots but talent will not reach it’s full potential without work ethic, confidence and heart.
We have a motto here at Got’Em Baseball and that motto is “Confidence is King” We believe that confidence beats talent 9 out of 10 times when talent isn’t confident. We all know baseball is a mental game. A game where hitters who fail 70% of the time are considered all-stars. A game where a pitcher who has confidence in his ability to hit spots but lacks velocity is as effective if not more effective than a guy who can run it up in the upper 90s but relies strictly on velocity. The biggest difference between those that are good and those that are great is the ability to compartmentalize success and failure as well as approach all areas of the game with an aire of true unbridled confidence.
Heart & Hustle
We have another saying here at Got’Em Baseball and that is “Heart & Hustle always looks good and never costs a dime.” Heart and hustle is the bow that ties the total player package together. Having talent is good, talent and Confidence is better, but the best is when you have a player or team that displays all four components. Heart means never give up, never give in and love the moment regardless what that moment is. Hustle means outworking your opponent, beating him to the spot, making sure when you leave the field everyone knows and can say that player or team hustles hard. These two components are key for the success of an individual but they are also equally important as it pertains to a teams success.
When Talent, Confidence, Heart & Hustle Collide
When the athletic stars align you run into a case where talent, confidence, heart & hustle collide. When that happens a good athlete becomes great and a team becomes nearly unstoppable. It’s a rare combination but this combo is what separates memorable and unforgettable.
The Ultimate Combo in an Athlete
This combo and total package is rare but it’s easy to spot. You can tell when an athlete has this combo by their actions and demeanor. These athletes have what would defined these days as swag. I’m not talking look good in their uniform swag, I’m talking about real swag. These players look confident in every element of their being. From stepping off the bus, fielding balls in between innings or their presence in the on deck circle. It’s hard to describe but it’s clear as day when you see it. These are the guys that dig into the box while offering up an intense death stare in the direction of the pitcher. These guys get on the mound work quick and attack on every pitch. They never waste pitches because they understand there is no point and every ball they throw is an out ball.
How can one become this type of player? If it was easy then everyone would be this type of player. It’s not easy because first you need talent. Real talent. Then a player must truly understand and buy into the “control what I can control mentality’ that means they stay in the moment and they focus on execution not results. They are able to compartmentalize their failures and build on their successes. They believe their ability and preparation will be enough to come out on top. Now comes the heart & hustle component. Players need to be mentally tough and fully believe in the mindset of they are never out of it. These guys know getting knocked down means they get an opportunity to get back up and attempt to get one step closer to their goal. These players will outwork, out hustle and always refuse to be beat in the fine nuances of the game and life. These players understand their hustle and heart are the engine that drive their talent and fuel their confidence.
The Ultimate Combo in a Team
This combo is deadly in team sports. When these combos collide you get teams that even with less talent can overcome the greatest of obstacles. When I think of this combo I think about the De La Salle Football Teams in the 90s. Yes these guys had talent but during this time their talent wasn’t that much greater than their opponents. The biggest factor in their success was they had confidence in their ability and their teammates. They had heart that can not be measured with numbers and they always outworked teams in the off-season and out hustled teams on the grid iron. This deadly combo resulted in a National record of consecutive wins.
This Playoff Season
Watching this High School playoff season I see this combo with the Castro Valley Team and learned Manteca High also struck gold by displaying the qualities of this combo. Manteca used this combo to earn their CIF DIII Championship. Manteca was talented but they weren’t the most talented team. What they were though was a team that was confident, had heart and out worked their opponents on their way to the championship.
Castro Valley is the other team that is displaying this combo. During the season these guys were average at best. Many teams would fall victim to believing they are in fact a middle of the road team. Not CV. The entire season win or lose Castro Valley truly believed they were as good as anyone. The Castro Valley team is talented and has numerous players that have played in National Championships and won. That history helped fuel their confident beliefs. Many of these players had mediocre seasons but they never wavered in their belief that this pitch, this at bat, this game is independent of the other pitches, other at bats and other games. Their ability to compartmentalize their failures is a major reason they have gone on the run they are on. Castro Valley is a #14 seed and shouldn’t be playing Saturday in the NCS DI Championship against De La Salle but they are. Why? Simple. Talent, Confidence, Heart & Hustle collided at what you are seeing is a result of that rare combination.