A player’s responsibility: SBA’s tips on succeeding as a ball player


How does a player get better?  Lessons, the latest gear, move to a supposedly better team or organization? Those might be good ideas but the bulk of the answer comes from a player’s responsiblity to him or her self.  In chapter 8 of the book “The Mental Game of Baseball” the focus is on personal responsibility.  

In this day and age a lot of parents step in and “hover” over their children and their choices…these are known as helicopter parents.  They do everything for their kids in a hope of furthering their abilities and giving the young ball player his best chance at succeeding. At one point, the young ball player needs to step up and take charge of his own responsibilities and supply his own motivation and set his own goals if he is going to take his career to the highest level his body and mind will allow him.  WITHOUT THIS INNER DRIVE IT WILL BE HARD TO COMPETE AT THE HIGHER LEVELS.

-Our responsibility begins with the willingness to acknowledge who we are and what we are and what we want to become.   A player must realize that his/ her good skills need continued refinement to make the jump for the next season.  Secondly, a player must look at the other parts of his game that need reconstruction: hitting to the opposite field, bunting, strength training, losing weight, building muscle or reading books about baseball to gain knowledge about the game to build overall awareness.  Those are just a few examples.

-The Best performers separate themselves from others by knowing it, accepting it AND liking it.  A player must be confident in what he does and doesn’t know.  Once a player accepts responsibility for everything,  the growth as a person and in this case baseball skills can flourish.  Taking responsibility for successes and failures must be equal.  To quote  former Mariner Bill Caudill ” My shoes aren’t so big that I can go out and, just because of who I am, get people out.”  Baseball is a game filled with failures and those who can accept this and move on and focus on their successes will in the long run become better ball players.

How a player Accepts Responsibility:

1. Player knows he is in control of his own fate

2. Player recognizes choices

3. Player learns from mistakes

4. Player feels in charge

5. Player feels enthusiastic and aware of personal power

6. Player “wants to, is free to, loves to” approach activity and pressure

7. Player feels he has caused his own success, which reinforces confidence in future successes.


How a player Rejects Responsibility

1. Player is controlled by luck, fate, or the breaks of life or the game.

2. Player doesn’t recognize available choices

3. Player doesn’t learn from mistakes

4. Player feels threatened

5. Player feels pressure, frustration, resentment

6. Player feels ” I have to, I should; I must” get things done to satisfy “others” and not themselves

7. Player uses excuses as a defense against failure.


Some Common Reasons for Rejecting Responsibility

1. To immediately reduce or avoid the pain after a mistake or poor performance

2. To protect self image

3. To protect reputation

4. To get sympathy and/or attention (poor guy; it wasn’t all his fault)

5. To maintain a sense of superiority (I’m too good to make a mistake like that)

Everyone is imperfect, we’ve got to learn to live with our failures; to accept the fact that some of our attempts to succeed will become either failures or successes. Understanding this concept will lead to personal responsibility and growth both on and off the field. 


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