I was playing basketball with a friend during my summer after 6th grade. I was getting ready to transfer from a small, private school to the big public schools, and I lived in Indiana…where basketball is king.
My friend was someone who I had grown up with playing Little League with for the past 4 years. We knew each other well and we had gained a lot of success together.
After one of my shots, he looked up at me and said, “You know you may not make the “A” basketball team, let alone be a starter.”
Being young, my initial reaction was, “Of course I’ll start…I’m really good.”
He just kept talking about how the school was so big and how they had such good players. On and on he went telling me how I wasn’t good enough.
Honestly, I was a little shocked. After all of these years growing up together, why would he now start telling me I wasn’t good enough for something?
Before I give you my thoughts, I want to fast-forward about 10 years.
I was 23 years old and had just “hung up” my spikes after 6 surgeries in 4 years had left me unable to compete at the level I once could. I was now the assistant coach at West Virginia University and was most likely the youngest full-time assistant coach in a major D1 conference.
The same friend of mine from above ran into an acquaintance of mine one night back in Indiana and my name was brought up. The same kid who I grew up with asked what I was doing now.
When he heard I was done playing baseball and now coaching at WVU, his response was, “Reida is a has-been wash up. I knew he’d never amount to anything.”
Why would that guy say that? I’m not saying I reached my goals, but I had definitely accomplished quite a bit in my athletic career and was still accomplishing after…
If you are like me and had big goals growing up, I am sure you have heard other people doubt you.
I heard things like, “You’ll never start varsity as a freshman.”
Then when I did, “You’ll never play at Wichita State.”
Then when I signed my NLI, “You’ll never be drafted. Do you know how good you have to be?”
The list goes on and on and on…
Have you ever heard people tell you similar things before?
Why do some people tear you down?
After thinking about this long and hard, I know it has NOTHING to do with you.
People have to tear other people down because they are TOO afraid to chase their own dreams.
No one really knows what you are capable of. The kid who said those things about me knew me really well and had seen me succeed at a high level.
He was just so afraid to fail himself and afraid of the humiliation of failure that he had to “put me in my place” for not being afraid to fail.
It was not my lack of ability, but his lack of confidence in himself that caused him to say those things. He didn’t want to “put himself out there” and then be embarrassed when/if he failed. He worried more about what other people thought of him than he did about his own success.
Don’t just talk the talk; walk the walk
The issue many kids have these days is they say something like “I’m going to become a ________.” After they make the statement, they just sit around and play video games or hang out with friends or do whatever the “average” kid does.
When someone told me I couldn’t do something, IT MOTIVATED ME.
It more than motivated me; it honestly made me mad. I knew what I was capable of and it only made the fire inside of me burn that much hotter.
However, I didn’t just get mad and then tell them they were wrong. I heard what they said, smirked and then went out and did everything I possibly could to make it happen.
No one in this world is going to hand you ANYTHING. People WANT to see you fail.
Life is hard. People are mean. Outside of a select group of close friends and relatives, people like watching other people crash and burn.
You have to be able to have the maturity and confidence in yourself to know what you are capable of and then have the self-discipline and perseverance to put in the work EVERY SINGLE DAY, EVERY SINGLE HOUR to make your goals a reality.
If you do that, I can GUARANTEE that when you are done, whether or not you reached your lofty goal, you will be satisfied with yourself. You will be able to look yourself in the mirror and smile.
You will also have the tools in your belt to succeed at whatever else you choose to do with your life.
I never made it to the Major Leagues. Was I good enough? Maybe. However, that’s not what I was meant to do with my life.
Instead, all of the work that I put in over the years prepared me for something else that I love to do: Coach and develop other people.
On Friday, I am going to expand on this and discuss the difference between criticism (haters as defined above) and productive feedback. You have to understand that every high school or college coach who turns you down isn’t trying to crush your dream….
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