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It takes Time, Patience and Perseverance with Planned Goals
by Kory DeHaan, Worldwide Baseball Prospects Mentor
Hitting Coach, Pittsburgh Pirates


Hi there my name is Kory DeHaan, I am a Hitting Coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates Organization. As a dad of young girls who love gymnastics, Im amazed at how much time they put into their practice. I was a season-to-season sports participant when I was a kid, so when I see my girls practice 12-15 hours a week for the whole year, it makes me wonder if it is too much.
As a professional baseball coach, I am constantly searching for new ways to reach the hearts and minds of these young athletes. A thought-provoking book that has helped me understand what some of the top professionals and athletes do is called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Coyle put together an extensive research study where he learned and developed common themes about hot beds of where the top athletes and musicians were being instructed. One of the first points he talks about was the "10,000 hour rule". In general, the rule states that almost all the top professional athletes, musicians, and successful people had invested a minimum of 10,000 hours into their practice or craft. With some simple math, it looks like if you wanted to be at the top of your profession in 10 years, you would need to average almost 20 hours a week practicing your skill.
Relating that number back to my daughters hours of practice, it looks as if they can reach the cusp of their full potential of their talents when they are about to reach college. Barring serious injuries along the way, this will put them in good position to gain a scholarship to college where they can set themselves up for a prosperous future in a career that will hopefully utilize their passions. Do I try and push them into practicing this much if they are unwilling? I do not. If they enjoy and love the sport and the practice time of working hard to get better, I want to do my best to fully support them in their pursuit. I want them to be happy and love what they are doing and if they ever come to crossroads about doing something different, we can address the positives and negatives of those choices at that time. I want to instill in them a long-term focus that they will be gymnasts for their entire lives. When they have this kind of mindset, according to Coyle, results are much better and skill grows and develops at a faster rate. If there is only a temporary mind-set towards playing just that season, or until your friends quit, then the commitment level is not where it needs to be when choices to skip practice for other things come up.
Because I was from a small Midwest town, I had more opportunity to compete in variety of sports. Did this hurt me in the long run? No. However, It did set me back in my rate of growth and development in the specific sport I eventually choose to make a professional career out of, baseball.

When young athletes do decide to make the decision of what they want to pursue full time, look to see what opportunities are available to help with a balanced year round practice. When I see players grow and develop in their skills, it mainly comes from their planned work and preparation they put in during the off-season. There are great people and options to look into to help with setting up a yearly schedule on how to get in the extra practice, where ever you live. If you want to be the best, you need to think and train like the best. Create smarter goals and push yourself every day focusing on what you can control. You will never regret it!The excitement of a new season that is just around the corner is keeping everyone motivated to practice and get ready. Off season workouts and perseverance in the gym will get its chance to showcase itself once practice and the season is underway.

But what happens once the season is complete? What happens if the season went really poorly, or really well? Are the results feeding your motivation for competing at a higher level or is the final statistics (which are in the past) frustrating you towards contemplating quitting? For those of you that have a long term goal of being a part of a sport like baseball that you love to play and watch, the daily practice and exercising to improve and keep your body as healthy as possible will override most choices that can be destructive to achieving your goals. These are called performance based goals. Is it easy to stay focused on your goals and not let the world convince you to take the easy way out? No. That is why you need to have a plan set in place before the season ends, and you need to have quality people like your Parents, Guidance Counselor and Mentors like Worldwide Baseball Prospects, who are looking out for your best interests, surrounding you.

Keep in mind that as an up and coming high school student-athlete you have a broad range of skills in a variety of categories to learn on and off the field that will make up your total college product.When you start your plan take a look at all the things that are in your control. Then assess your strengths and weaknesses. Now over a 1 year phase we will want to make up smarter performance based goals, 2 - 3 months apart that will lead you to the 1 year outcome goal.Different topics may include but are not limited to: Personal Attitude, Communication skills, Academic grades and attendance, Baseball Specific skills, Diet, Strength, etc.

Here are your SMARTER performance based goals, you customize it specifically to your needs.
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timely
Ethical
Reasonable

Worldwide Baseball Prospects (WBP) is a successful coaching and mentoring organization. We assist High School Baseball Student-Athletes, from freshmen to seniors and their families to reach their short and long term goals in the development and college baseball recruiting process through our comprehensive program, The WBP High School to College Baseball Recruiting Program. Players enrolled in our program receive personalized coaching and mentorship with the College Baseball Recruiting Process, develop a plan of action, guidance with the development process, strength, nutrition, academics, financial aid and motivation, as it relates to them and their needs.