How Youth Baseball Players Can Develop Their Motor
If it takes no talent to hustle, why aren’t we seeing more of it? I am beginning to praise players too often for “hustling” and playing the game “hard” when that should be the norm. Baseball is a sport that requires effort to succeed and a “grind” mentality has to exist in each player.
But if this mentality does not already live inside a young player, can it be created and developed? The Navy Seals seem to think that it is possible. They train to go beyond what they think are the limits of their body. We don’t need to go to that extreme, but there are ways that coaches can raise the awareness of—and improve—a player’s motor.
Here are some ways to flip the switch in your players:
- Shift the practice focus to the process over the result. Praise hustle, communication and being in the right spot, even if the final outcome isn’t perfect.
- Get to know your players. This will enable you to diagnose if it is fearfulness or a tentative makeup that is holding your players back from playing at full intensity—or if it is just laziness.
- Give your players the freedom to make aggressive mistakes in practice and games and let them learn from it. Allow them to take some risks as they learn their limits.
- Get your players’ times while running full tilt to hold them accountable to that standard.
- During scrimmages or live scenarios, play without base coaches. The feel for the game they develop will instill confidence, allowing them to go full tilt in games.
- Come up with stats that can be kept during games that reward high-motor plays. It can be hard 90s, aggressive baserunning reads, first guy on and off the field each inning, best communicator throughout the game, or any number of categories.
- Practice what you preach! Reward the player who exhibits these characteristics of hustle and intensity. Give them more playing time, praise them in front of the rest of the team.
When confidence, experience and high effort collide, we are left with growing baseball instincts that will stick with the player forever. They develop the “grind” mentality to push their limits and maximize their potential at each stage of their career.
Developing of team of these “high-motor” players will lead to a baseball culture that everyone wants to be a part of.