Setting your sights on success in the new year

In the world of baseball, success isn’t merely a product of talent; it’s a culmination of talent, habit,  and skills meticulously crafted through dedication and repetition. Let’s dissect these components and explore the journey from raw ability to refined expertise.

Talent is the foundation. It’s the innate ability; the gift that sets you apart. But talent alone is not enough; it’s the starting point. In the realm of baseball, it could be the natural swing or an instinct for timing. Recognize your talents, embrace them, but understand they’re just the seeds waiting to sprout.

From November through January, baseball hitters engage in a ritual of repetition, building habits through tens of thousands of reps. Habits are what you do well repeatedly without conscious thought. Whether it’s perfecting the stance, mastering timing or honing the approach, each repetition contributes to the formation of habits.

February through April marks the transition from habits to skills. Training introduces positive stress or eustress, replicating the pressure of a game. Skills are the culmination of doing things well repeatedly without conscious thought, even under stress. It’s the refined execution of a perfect swing in the bottom of the ninth with the game on the line.

Reflecting on the journey, there is a profound irony in the compensation of skilled players. In the past, they had to wait until reaching the Major Leagues to get paid. Now, high school and college players in Georgia can earn from their name, image and likeness. A stark contrast to my own experience as a 14-year-old cutting grass and washing cars to afford the latest Michael Jordan shoes and Cross Colours Hip Hop gear.

Breaking down the swing into seven parts—Stance/Load, Timing, Tempo, Tracking, Approach, Contact, and Extension/Finish—reveals the intricacies. It takes 3,000 reps per part to build a habit, totaling 21,000 reps. Another 21,000 reps are then invested to transform that habit into a refined skill.

Lack of commitment and discipline is the Achilles’ heel. On and off the field, skill demands unwavering dedication. It’s the commitment to those 42,000 reps, the discipline to persevere through setbacks and the resilience to evolve into a skilled player.

In the end, the journey from talent to skill is a process, not an event. Embrace your talents, cultivate habits with diligence and elevate them into skills through intentional training. It’s not just about swinging a bat; it’s about mastering the art with a commitment that transcends talent and transforms habits into skills, both on and off the field.

Hitters, gear up for a transformative challenge.

In the days left this month, dive into my decade-old bat control drill. Aim for 500-1,000 reps to solidify those habits.

February to May – Take It Up a Notch

Ramp it up to 1,000 reps monthly. Challenge yourself to hit between the cones with your eyes closed, aiming for a 70% success rate.

Document your progress, share the highs and lows. Let the community witness your evolution from habit to skill.

The ball is in your court. Are you up for the challenge? Swing for the fences and let’s master this together.

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today.

If you found this inspiring and thought-provoking, or if you have any questions, comments or concerns, add me on Discord and let’s go deeper.

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 22 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and a track record of success that can work for you.