"You gotta believe" was the catchphrase of the New York Mets flamboyant, energetic reliever, Tug McGraw in 1973. Tug helped the underdog Mets emerge from a crowded field in their divisional race and was instrumental in helping his team win the National League pennant. Everyone was watching the competitive lefty as he would register an out, bang his glove on his right hip and storm back onto the mound. All Mets fans and most sports enthusiasts were quoting McGraw and saying, "You gotta believe."
College and most high school baseball teams are well in to their seasons. Major League teams are emerging from spring training and preparing to tackle a long, challenging campaign. No matter what level of competition, if individual players, coaches and managers don't believe, team goals will not be reached. Confidence is huge in competitive sports. The million-dollar question is, how do athletes grow in confidence and believe in themselves, their teammates and coaches? The answer is simple, practice with a purpose. If an athlete practices with a purpose each day (actually having a goal to improve in specific areas), the player will have more confidence in himself; his teammates will have more confidence in him; and his coaches will trust him in crucial situations. I don't fully understand the power of believing, but I do know that you will not win without it.
Coaches, my theme is "Believing;" almost every successful person who I have ever known can reflect on someone in their lives who really believed in them. In many cases it was a coach or teacher who encouraged, demanded excellence and extended a helping hand to the individual. You can be that person to someone on your team if you take the time to get to know your player as an individual instead of just an athlete with a number on his back.
Inside Pitch is all about helping baseball coaches and players. We want to help equip each and every one of you with information that you can take to the field for better practices and more success between the lines. We also want to inspire, encourage and even entertain you with cutting edge features and stories about our national pastime.
Features in this issue include the implementation of the "high strike" in college baseball, coaching tips and philosophies from three of college baseball's top coaches [Todd Butler, Wichita State; Rich Hill, San Diego and Sam Riggleman, Spring Arbor University], a very informative frame by frame piece on "The Leg Kick" and some hints on how baseball coaches and players can deal with winter weather when it rears its ugly head again next year.
Baseball people are busy this time of year! So, carry your issue of Inside Pitch on the bus with you and take one more step on the road to believing.