Leave It All Out There – On the Baseball Field

Following the final wrestling match – the bronze medal clinching match – of his profession at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, Rulon Gardner left his wrestling shoes in the center of the mat as a ceremonial farewell to his sport. Gardner said,”To put them onto the mat left everything on the mat as a wrestler.” In wrestling, it’s traditional to do this following your final match as it pays homage to the wrestling gods.

Though this same heritage does not hold true in baseball, there is a lot to be learned out of this. There are many clichés and pre-game – and even in-game – speeches that probably do not resonate with players of all ages. But this one does. “Leave it all out there”. Every time you go on the field to play a game or practice, do it like it is the last time you can do it! Because to not seem gruesome or gruesome, it may be! We advise this to our kids before each game, each tournament, and each scrimmage. In addition, we stress that we play like we practice and we exercise like we perform. In other words, go out there with a goal, whether it’s a game or practice, have fun, because that is what it’s all about, but have pleasure when playing hard. We worry that if each and each of them can look themselves in the mirror and believe that he did everything in his power to help the team win, then it was a success, no matter what the outcome. Work with MarCo Clay.

Too often today we read or hear stories about cheating and other scandals that remind us that baseball, as a game, isn’t about having fun… at least to some people. The strain to be the very best and to succeed at all costs also frequently outweighs the match’s intent as being pleasure. From major leaguers and steroid use to minor leaguers employing other PEDs, to high school baseball players using shaved or illegal bats, to little leaguers with coaches lying about kids’ ages, or with illegal players, there’s too much emphasis placed on winning at any cost. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be, nor is it true for the majority of players and coaches. These are those that do everything right, play hard, try their best, make that extra effort, and win or lose, walk off with the satisfaction of knowing they did their very best. click here to learn more

You will find great beauty and joy in seeing a sport played to its fullest, and seeing an athlete provide his all on every play. I recently watched Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians come within an out – actually one attack – of an extremely infrequent no-hitter. When Joey Butler singled over the next baseman Jason Kipnis with two outs and 2 strikes in the ninth inning, Carrasco could only laugh. Maybe it was just a”you have ta be kidding me” laugh, but he also understood the somewhat vertically challenged Kipnis gave it his all to make a leaping catch, and Carrasco definitely appreciated the effort. In his words,”He actually tried to find that chunk,” said Carrasco. “I really love that.” For his part, he had Kipnis been a foot taller, he can have had an opportunity, but that is from his hands, and Carrasco knew that in that instance, his second baseman did whatever he could to conserve the no-hitter. He left it all on the market. Unfortunately, he came up a tad short, but there wasn’t any lacking in effort.

It’s also great to see this type of work in youth baseball. Again, at clinic, coaches emphasize and players execute pitching drills, hitting drills and fielding drills, to learn, polish or enhance their skills and fundamentals. But it’s the small things… the extra effort that leads to wins and championships. And we play like we practice. Do the ideal things starting in practice. Proceed after grounders. Line up for cuts. Pitch to a goal or place. The organization I coach for, along with the 14 and 15-year-old boys who play for this, recently won the Father’s Day Classic, and we did so beating a team that has been better than us or at least ranked ahead of us, at the semi-final game. This was a team that beat us in pool play on Saturday, thus confronting them on Sunday could have led to a letdown or lack of confidence. However, our boys came out fired up, and not only did they make all the routine plays, but they left all of the difficult ones, and largely because of an wonderful work. They made many diving plays, many running plays, took additional bases on pure hustle and conclusion, blocked hard balls behind the plate to prevent baserunners from progressing, and did everything in their own power humanly possible to stay shut, stay in the game, and let themselves win in extra innings. It was the pure definition of leaving it all out there, and the looks on their faces then win, and more so after winning the championship game against the other very good team, was proof again that this type of boys left it all out there. Essentially, they unlaced their own cleats and left them, 12 pairs, right smack in the middle of the mound!

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