Finding the inspiration to try new things

August through October is the designated time of year that my hitters commit and discipline themselves to try new things to determine what works and what doesn’t.

There is a long list of reasons people aren’t willing to try new things. Here are three that are top of mind for me:

  1. They don’t know how to try it.
  2. They believe they tried it, and it didn’t work for them.
  3. They believe it won’t work, so it is not worth trying.

Coaching is more than a title. It is a calling to convict and lead people. People can only become the best of themselves when we try new things.

I love this time of year as a coach because I am trying new things to better myself as well.

In this season of my life, I am reading books written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to receive the inspiration I need to try new things with courage.

Trying new things teaches me the importance of:

  • Setting stretch goals
  • Scrutinizing my thinking
  • Seeking support from others

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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.

Finding what works to get the job done

The fall baseball season is right around the corner—the time that my hitters focus on trying new things to determine what works and what doesn’t.

Many people believe athleticism is something you have to be born with. I believe it can be taught. Anyone who participates in a sport is an athlete. Those athletes who have an ability to critically think at a high level about how to execute physically can be considered to be athletic.

It requires athleticism to figure out how to get a hit against a pitcher who throws a pitch of any type you’ve never seen before.

Athleticism allows you to perform at high levels even when you don’t have a brand new bat,
a private hitting coach and you are not playing on the top travel baseball team.

I remember when I was a kid living in Atlanta in the ’80s. I would watch Chicago Cubs games in the daytime in the summer and practice hitting in my grandparents backyard being Gary “The Sarge” Matthews at Wrigley Field by hitting rocks with a stick.

I never asked anyone for a bat and a ball because the sticks and the rocks got the job done for me.

I was drafted twice by the Chicago Cubs and “Sarge” was one of my hitting coaches when I played in the Minors.

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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.

 

Why you must do more than just look the part

Amit Kalantri once said, “Schooling doesn’t assure employment but skill does.”

At age 14, I was 6 feet and about 175 pounds. I was really fast, had a good arm and above average bat speed.

I was sure I would become a Major Leaguer because everybody told me how much talent I had. But I had to find out the hard way that talent is the floor and skill is the ceiling.

Talent is doing things well, while a habit is doing things well repeatedly without thought. Skills are doing things well without thought while under stress.

As I attend Travel Baseball tournaments this summer, I see a lot of talented players who look the part. But the sign of any adversity causes them to be paralyzed at the plate.

The best way to convert talent to a habit is getting tens of thousands of reps.

There are seven parts of the swing and it takes 3,000 reps to build a habit:

  1. Stance/Load
  2. Timing
  3. Tempo
  4. Tracking
  5. Approach
  6. Contact
  7. Extension/Finish

That’s 21,000 reps.

Habits are built with a lot of practice. Skills are developed when you practice under pressure. I refer to this as training. Practicing and training are not the same thing.

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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.

 

Tilling, planting and harvesting the seeds you sow

Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

May through July are the months my hitters focus on maintaining skills. These months are harvesting time. Before you can reap a harvest, you must first till the ground, plant the seeds and nurture the crops for weeds.

The calendar year starts in August and ends in July. This is the time we try new things to determine what doesn’t work and what does work.

November-January is when we build strength and habits based on what works.

February-April is the conversion phase converting habits to skills.

How do you define skills?

Talent is doing things well. A habit is doing things well repeatedly without thought. Skills are doing things well without thought while under stress.

If you are not playing under cruise control this summer, you need to reevaluate your development strategy so that you can experience the joy of reaping what you sow.

To help keep your skills sharp, we have introduced a new type of Skill Build—our Virtual Skill Build—where I can help you develop hitting skills anytime, anywhere using anything.

Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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.

Do you have a plan for fear?

Maybe’s are used to indicate uncertainty or possibility. It is not a winning strategy. I have to remind myself of that regularly, especially when I am fearful of doing something.

Chanakya once said, “As soon as the fear approaches, attack and destroy it.” Courage is the belief that you can get things done when you are fearful. I remember the fear I felt during all of my first at-bats in baseball—from Little League with the Cascade Youth Organization (CYO) Braves to the pros with the Cubs.

It was when I would respond with courage that I experienced success.

Courage does not remove fear. It simply tells you how to respond.

How do you respond to fear?

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today. Also, check out our Digital Magazine.

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.