Herm Edwards, the former NFL player, head coach, and current analyst for ESPN, is usually best known for giving one of the more famous sound bites of the past decade when he was coaching the New York Jets:
Coach Edwards has never been one lacking in passion and energy. In those moments where something provokes him and he gets fired up, he tends to tell it exactly how it is. A few weeks ago Coach Edwards was on a sports radio show and delivered 90 seconds of audio gold. He was asked to respond about a player who made the comment stating that football is about commitment. Take a listen to the clip below:
(Note: Before you judge the decorum around the TV, this is not my house. It was simply the best clip I could find on YouTube!)
Honestly, there is so many truth bombs in this clip that it would be well worth watching this clip again a time or twelve. What I want to focus on for the remainder of this post is the question Coach Edwards poses right in the beginning of the clip...
"Are you interested or are you committed?"
Our off-season (which we will refer to as the on-season) training program gets underway here officially in two weeks. Over the course of the next few months, it will become pretty clear which guys show up and are interested vs. the guys who show up and are committed.
One of the biggest misconceptions athletes tend to have is that they fall prey to thinking that by simply showing up it means they are committed. Showing up doesn't mean you are committed. It means you're interested! Showing up is what is required, the minimum. The way you go about your training each and every day you do show up - the focus level, the effort level, and the attitude you bring - is what demonstrates whether or not you are committed. And it's not just the days you show up that ultimately determine if you truly are committed. What are you doing the other days of the week? How committed are you about your work in the classroom? How committed are you about your work in the weight room?
Commitment is a daily choice. It takes discipline and is a lifestyle. And the reality is that being committed to something isn't easy. Being interested on the other hand is easy, and it is why the majority of players fall into this category. Like Coach Edwards said there is nothing better than earning the trust of your teammates because they know that you are committed.
So, which one describes you? If you aren't sure whether you are interested or committed, use these questions to help you gauge where you are.
What have you done in the past week to improve yourself as a baseball player and an athlete? Write everything down on paper and evaluate yourself. Keep in mind you can improve without swinging a bat or throwing a ball or going to a gym. And yes, playing a fall sport would definitely count!
What have you done since the end of the summer baseball season? More specifically (especially for the HS guys) what have you done to get stronger and faster? Have you been getting after it in the weight room?
Between this past August and mid-March, there is 32 weeks (if my math is correct), and 11 of those weeks have already come and gone. Did you take advantage of the first third of your development window or not? Could you have done more than what you did?
The whole key is to be honest with yourself as you evaluate. If you were committed, put in the work, and made strides in improving over these last 11 weeks, great! Do it again in these upcoming weeks. If not, it's time to go to work! Don't waste another day.
Take some time this week and give some thought to how you want these next few months of the "on-season" to go. What do you want to accomplish? Set some goals and have them in a place where you see them every single day so you are constantly reminded of them.
Like Coach Edwards said, you commit first. It doesn't require talent to be committed. Take the risk, be all-in. Be the guy that inspires others to shift from interested to committed. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? I guess you'll find out.