The ability to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses is a very important attribute to have in order to be successful in baseball or in any aspect of life. Self-evaluation has two parts. The first part is the ability to look at whatever area of life you are performing in (in our case baseball) and be able to HONESTLY look at your performance and skill set and judge what you are able to do well and what you struggle with. The second part of being a great self-evaluator is taking those current strengths and weaknesses and comparing them, as well as your overall ability, to your competition. If you have no idea where you are in comparison to everyone else in your organization, city, state, region, and country, you are either underachieving yourself or setting yourself up for big disappointment.
Why is Self-Evaluation Important?
Being able to self-evaluate is critical because without a realistic picture (positive or negative) of where you stand against your competition, how can you possibly have a realistic picture of where your ability may be taking you. If you are unable to look at your current skill set and say, “I want to play Division 1 baseball. The average D-1 shortstop’s arm strength is 85 mph across the diamond and I throw 78. I really need to improve this if I want to play at that level.” That is a very realistic statement as to where I stand now and where I need to be close to in order to reach my goal. You can do this with EVERY aspect of your skill set. Baseball is an easy sport to self-evaluate in because the scouting of players relies heavily on the 5 tangible “tools”. Either you can run, throw, hit for average, hit for power, and field or you can’t. With three of these tools (running, throwing, and hitting for power), you have the ability to be timed (either with a stopwatch or radar gun). Hitting for average and fielding are a little tougher to evaluate, but not much harder. (Do you consistently square up baseballs? Do you bobble a lot of baseballs or do you always get the true hop? Does it look and “feel” easy for you to field ground balls?
Self-Evaluation is something that needs to be done on a consistent basis in order to re-evaluate yourself. If you are working hard on something and are improving, that item could go from a weakness to “playable” to a strength. You need to re-evaluate weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. so you know how far you have come towards your long-term goals!