For our organization, the beginning of November signals the official start of our year. Before our off-season gets rolling, it is important to take some time to identify what our core values are and what exactly each one means.
Core Values - Simply put, core values are the beliefs a person or organization holds to be most important. These values help us form an identity and guide the daily decisions we make on and off the field. Core values are non-negotiable!
With this is mind, here are our Core Values...
C.ommitment - A commitment has been made on your end to play for the Chargers this year, but the commitment we are talking about here doesn’t necessarily have to do with a player contract. It has to do more with making a personal commitment to yourself to be the best player you can be. First and foremost, this commitment is for your own good but also make this commitment for your teammates. If you are in high school, make this commitment because you have pride in playing for your school. Your teammates are counting on you to pull your own weight. They are counting on you to give your best effort every single day whether it’s in the weightroom, on the field, or in the classroom. How much better you become as a player before next spring/summer is largely dependent on the work you put in over the next 5 months. Make a commitment to get better every day! Commit to the process and learn to love the training and practice sessions as much as you do playing games. If you do, then you have a chance to make some great strides in your personal development as a player.
“Be all in, all the time.” - Unknown
H.eart - While a number of cliches could be used here, the reality is that too many players today just go through the motions, whether it be in their training or games. How can this be? The missing ingredient often times is heart. Without a heart, there is no life. On the diamond, without heart there is no passion. Nobody can force passion on you. It must come from within and you are the one responsible for bringing it every day. At the end of the day, remember why you play baseball in the first place...because it is fun and you enjoy it! This should shine through every time you get a chance to play this great game.
“Wherever you are, be all there!” - Jim Elliot
A.ttitude - Attitude is one of the most important aspects of being a great player. There is no excuse for a bad attitude at any point, or at any time. Why? Because it is one of only three things you have the power to control in this game (effort & actions to be a great teammate being the other two!). Have you ever seen a player with a good attitude have bad body language? I haven’t either. Body language is a direct reflection of your attitude. In baseball and in life, it is a question of “when” not “if” adversity will strike. How will you respond? What kind of attitude will you have? Remember, attitude is a choice and no one gets to decide what your attitude is except for you!
“Get To” vs. “Have To” - Brian Cain
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” - Winston Churchill
R.espect - Earning the respect of your teammates and coaches is one of the most rewarding things you can do as an athlete. Typically, respect is earned over time by doing the right things on a consistent basis. While earning respect is a great thing, it is even more important to demonstrate respect as well. All Chargers players are expected to...
Respect the game by giving your best effort all the time.
Respect your coaches regardless of if you agree or disagree with the decisions they make
Respect your teammates because they are your brothers.
Respect the umpires and the calls they make
Respect your parents because they are your parents!
The reality is that you represent the Chargers, your teammates, your school, and your family. Showing respect for others in turn brings respect to everyone you represent and are associated with, too.
“Do to others what you would have them do to you.” - The Golden Rule
G.rateful - It is easy in the society we live in today to get caught up in focusing more on what we don’t have rather than being content with what we do have. We want our players to constantly be grateful for each of these five things:
Grateful to God for giving talent, skill, and the ability to compete and play this game
Grateful for the opportunity to be a Charger
Grateful for those who played in this program before them and shaped it into what it is today
Grateful for their parents who make many sacrifices so they can have this opportunity
Grateful for the opportunity to create lifelong relationships with their teammates
“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” - Unknown
E.nergy - When you enter the dugout, do people get excited that you’re there or do they roll their eyes? Understand positive energy is contagious. We want players who make everyone else around them better simply by being present. Play this game like your “hair is lit on fire.” Be fired up with enthusiasm every day. Be the guy that everyone wants to play with because of the energy you bring to the park on a daily basis. Let your passion and love for this game shine through! Be an “energy giver” and not an “energy vampire.”
“No Energy Vampires Allowed” - Jon Gordon
R.elentless - There are two ways in which we want our players to be relentless. First, we want our players to be relentless in their pursuit of excellence as a player, student, and person. Excellence cannot be achieved if you are only relentless in pursuing it as an athlete. Excellence is a lifestyle, a habit and it does not happen overnight. Players must embrace the challenge of pursuing excellence and fight to be one step closer to achieving it at the end of each day.
Second, we want our teams to have a relentless competitive spirit. Regardless of what the scoreboard says when the game is done, we want the opposing team walking away exhausted mentally and physically because of the way we play the game. Chargers teams keep the pressure coming and never quit. We play against the game not the opponent or the scoreboard.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi
S.ervant Leader - We want each of our players to be leaders but more specifically, servant leaders. Servant leaders have a serve first mentality which is significantly different from a lead first mentality. Entitlement is rampant in youth sports today. There are plenty of “me” guys and very few “we” guys. “Me” guys don’t cut it in our organization. We want players who check their ego at the door and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders are not born, they are made. Everyone is capable of being a servant leader. It just takes a willingness to shift the focus to the needs of our teammates first before our own.
“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”
- Harold Geneen
While each core value has it's own separate paragraph or two, understand these seven things are all connected with each other. It is hard to do one without the other. In a sense it is exactly like the game of baseball which is an individual sport played within a team concept. We want these core values to be a common goal all of our players can rally around and share. The sum total of these seven pieces create the foundation of our identity and our culture. There must be buy-in on the part of all coaches, players, and parents in order to make these core values a priority. We must be intentional and hold each other accountable to the standards that have been set. If we do, it will be an incredible year!