Next Saturday (Dec. 4th), we officially start our 4th year of winter workouts in the Gamers program. We are continually tweaking details of the program, to make the training more effective and to make it better and better every year. So, there are a few changes in store for this winter.
- The baseball skills and fundamentals taught are based on what is successful at the highest level of baseball.
- All age groups, from 12u to 18u, are taught the same skills and fundamentals.
- The 3 1/2 hours on Saturday and 2 1/2 hour rep sessions are quick paced, intense workouts.
- The coaching and instruction is the best available, and there is a lot of it. Four Gamers directors (Whiteside, Cooper, Pregon and Gallion) and 3 lead instructors (Beckmann, Wheeler, Rosen) lead Saturday practices. This is in addition to 4 team coaches at each age group.
- Performance training is built into the program, because you must first be a good athlete before you can become a good baseball player.
- The Gamers life lesson program is weaved throughout the 12 weeks of winter workouts.
- Attend every session on Saturdays and rep sessions. If they need to miss a time slot, they make it up by attending another time slot on Saturdays or another team’s rep session.
- Show up properly hydrated and fueled, with a healthy snack to eat on Saturdays before the Hammerbodies session.
- Listen and apply instruction, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
- Work hard and stay focused, even if a coach is not watching.
- Are engaged and energetic during the workout — we love high energy players who want to get better.
- Show up on time, with the proper workout uniform and looking like a Gamer.
Sometimes I hear comments or get impressions from some parents or players that the Gamers program is “too hard” — that the expectations are too high, the time commitment too much, or the requirements too demanding. The statements sound something like this:
“_____ just wants to have fun playing baseball, the Gamers practice too much”
There is a lot commonality in all these statements.
First, the word “just” comes up time after time. This can sometimes be an honest word. For example, when a player has made a tradeoff between a lower priority thing (baseball) and a higher priority thing (another sport?), and baseball is “just” not that important to him any more.
Or, sometimes “just” can be a very dangerous word that establishes artificial limits on effort and commitment, like “Little Johnny just doesn’t want to work that hard”.Very few people in life are successful by “just” doing something. Success requires extraordinary effort, commitment and passion. The word “just” does not fit with success.
The other commonality in the statements above is the seemingly opposite relationship between “fun” and “hard work”. This is also very dangerous.
The dialogue above is why the Gamers program is structured the way that it is. Our program was well thought out, not a random collection of ideas and buzzwords. It was never meant to be “just” baseball. It was never meant for players that have “fun” being mediocre.
Over the years, we have made some adjustments and changes to the program and will continue to do so. And, we make some mistakes, like all passionate, hard working people do.
A youth sports program that has the courage to follow and teach these principles can have a profound impact on young men, on the field and off.
But, it takes courage and conviction to follow these principle — anything else is “just” a compromise.