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Why Hustle On & Off the Field? - Our First Blog
Well here we are, the beginning of an era: Bush League Baseball’s first blog. We’re going to post roughly every week with a new topic that we will be discussing. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and talk about these ideas with your teammates!
Hustle. It’s probably the most common word on any sports team, but what does it really mean? What purpose does it serve? We’ll dig a little deeper into these questions throughout this freshman blog.
First, as most readers will already understand, hustling is when you put all of your effort into accomplishing a task to the best of your ability. In baseball that often means running as fast as you can when you hit a chopper to the shortstop or sprinting on and off the field in between innings.
It’s a relatively simple concept, however, when it comes time to put it in practice, your body will try to convince your mind that it’s not worth it. So, the question arises, what’s the point of hustling? I mean, if I’ve already hit a ground ball to the shortstop, he’s going to get me out whether I sprint or jog to first base, right? Well, that might be the case 95% of the time, but there are a few other benefits that you must remind yourself.
One of the most tangible impacts is that hustle keeps your head in the game. For example, by sprinting to first after hitting a pop fly, you give yourself a better chance of maintaining a winning mindset. If you dog it halfway down the line and peel off to the dugout, you’re accepting defeat and taking on the practice of giving up. Furthermore, by running hard on and off the diamond in between innings, you are creating a habit of giving it your all. This habit will leak into all areas of your training and life. When you’re exhausted but you know you should hit the gym, if you have consistently practiced pushing through the pain by running on the field, you are undoubtedly more likely to go pump the iron. Becoming a slacker doesn’t happen overnight; it occurs over a period of time in which you start to form negative habits, or when you allow your positive habits to deteriorate. Choose to hustle on the field where everyone will see and you will be better equipped to hustle when nobody is watching.
One of the most notable cases of a successful player who hustles on and off the field is Dustin Pedroia. Although this guy makes millions of dollars a year, has won the MVP award and is consistently one of the best middle infielders in the world, he still gives it everything he’s got. I’m sure that nobody would blame the guy for dogging it after having two knee surgeries, but he’s one of the most committed players in the game and everyone knows it. How do they know it? Because he puts his full effort into the aspects of the game that many choose to ignore: running out a ground ball & hustling on and off the field.
When it comes time to run onto the field, your achy legs may start to ridicule your brain with questions, asking if it’s even a smart idea to sprint on and off the diamond; after all, won’t it just tire you out more than if you were to jog? My answer to that question is… No. If Dustin Pedroia, an MLB veteran with major knee issues, is able to hustle to and from his position 9 times a day, then so can you. Plus, a little extra conditioning never hurt anyone in the long run.
Finally, if you’re still not convinced that hustle is beneficial to your baseball development and habits in general, then you should at least take into account the fact that coaches and scouts will be watching every aspect of your game. For instance, the scout for your dream university could be sitting in the stands on a game where you happen to go 0 for 4. If that was all he saw of you, then he certainly wouldn’t care to remember your name, however, if he also saw you sprinting around the bases on your groundouts and hustling to and from your position, you stand the chance of getting a second look.
Whether you’re the star of your team or you play left bench, hustle is what will allow you to elevate your game to the next level and achieve your baseball dreams. Take notes on Pedroia and you will see what sets him apart from the rest of the baseball community.
Thanks for reading!
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