This article was written by Nick Millspaugh. Nick played D-1 Baseball at IPFW in Fort Wayne, IN. He finished his collegiate career at Indiana Wesleyan University alongside Atlanta Braves’ starting RHP Brandon Beachy.
Over the years, I have encountered a countless amount of kids who have a dream of playing professional baseball.
It is fascinating to see how that dream transforms over the years.
When a young boy can barely pick up a bat, all he wants to do is be like his favorite superstar, such as Albert Pujols. The young boy watches him play by night and by day emulates what Albert does on television.
By the time the boy, who is a stand out in his league, plays on the “big diamond” for the first time he begins to reach his first reality of his dream.
He then goes from emulating to simply dreaming of playing like Albert Pujols. Fast-forwarding to when the player is ending his high school career, he most likely has simply become a fan of watching Albert Pujols.
The essential question here is: How does this reality get diminished to an unreachable dream?
The answer is the power of influence.
Wait, is this not what society has taught us?
A good friend of mine named Ron Reynolds once told me that by the time I reach 30 years old I will have not only not reached my craziest dreams as a kid, but even worse I will have forgotten what they even were.
You see, this author is not claiming that every kid has the God given talent of Albert Pujols, but who are we as parents, coaches, friends, family members and society to tell him any different.
How often as coaches and parents do we crush a dream just because we did not achieve it?
We crush a dream slowly every day just because we do not believe it can happen.
This is truly unfair to a young athlete. He has his entire life ahead of him and has a clean slate to carve out an entirely new path or what I like to call a “new normal.”
Influence your young athlete. If you tell him every day that it is okay to receive a participation trophy that is exactly what he is going to expect. If you tell him he is a champion and he is the next superstar, I promise that is what he will expect.
There is an enormous difference between giving someone false hope and true vision.
False hope is when I tell someone I am going to be the best baseball player that ever lived and in response getting a pat on the back telling me, “you can do anything you put my mind to.”
True vision is taking that and showing what Albert Pujols had to do to get where he is today. Showing your player the commitment that is ahead of him. If you tell your son that if you are willing to do what Albert did, I’ll bet there won’t be much holding you back.
It is incredible how much of a gap there is between the realistic view of an 8-year-old and a 30-year-old.
This realistic view changes over time because of influence.
Carve out the path and research the best player in baseball. Read their auto-biography and see the trials and long workouts they had to go through.
If you were a doctor you would want to know what the top doctor in your field did to get where he/she is today. Treat your son’s or player’s reality like this and I bet it will not ever become an unreachable dream.
I bet it will become a “new normal.”