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Beating the Odds

Three Qualities of a Big-Leaguer

In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept destructive criticism. Without 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.” ~ Willie Mays

A few days from now, big-league baseball teams will be selecting the top high school and college players in the country.

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, here’s what’s important for you to know about the draft: Of every 10 players signed to a professional contract, only one will ever make it to the major leagues.

Why? Is it talent?

No. It’s not unusual for players selected in the first round — the ones considered to have the most talent — never to reach the big leagues. And on the other hand, some players drafted very low — those deemed to have less talent — became major league stars. Albert Pujols, possibly the best player in the world right now, was drafted in the 13th round. That means that the best baseball minds thought that at least 350 players were more talented than Pujols.

So if it’s not talent, then what makes the difference between the players who reach the major leagues and those who don’t?

Let’s look at three factors.

One is coachability. Every big-league organization provides a variety of instructors. But not every young player will accept criticism and feedback. Some player think they know it all. Generally speaking, a coachable player will go further than one who does not accept instruction.

Two is focus. For young players away from home for the first time, the world is full of distractions. There will be free time, adoring fans, and night life all competing for the attention of the player. The prospects who do the best job of keeping their mind on the right thing will go further than those who don’t.

Three is the ability to handle adversity. Baseball is a difficult game where batters will fail much more often than they succeed. It’s a game where you can be a star one day and then go into a slump for a week. People who can handle the adversity, and the inevitable bad days, are the ones who will make it to the majors.

Try for a moment to measure these three factors in your own life. Are you coachable? Do you focus on the right thing? How do you handle adversity?

Anyone who scores high in these three areas has a chance to be very successful, no matter what their field.


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