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Monday, August 2, 2010

What You Need to Become a Great Baseball Player

What Your Son Needs to Become a Great Baseball Player
By Guest Author Jack Perconte

I am not sure that I can write anything about how to become a great baseball player that you do not already know or that is not stating the obvious. Having played major league baseball though, I will discuss some of the ingredients that I believe helped me make it to the major leagues. I will not go so far to say that I was a great baseball player, but I believe I reached my potential using the attributes listed below.

First of all, it is important that a player develops a "Love of the Game." This may not happen at a young age but develops somewhere along the way. Many young athletes are like I was, where they are in love with all sports at a young age and developed a love of baseball when greater success came at baseball. Love of the game often leads to the next ingredient, which is necessary to become a great baseball player - a never give up attitude.

I often tell people that if all the current major league players quit playing baseball when they were told, at sometime in their life, that they were not good enough, there would be a whole set of different major league players. Just like in every aspect of life, a never give up attitude is essential to make it to the top. I always had the thought process that no one would make the decision when I would hang up the spikes but me.

The next ingredient that is necessary to reach potential is focus. Players, who stay focused on the goal, have the edge when it comes to competition. Many talented players play to prove something, where as the great players play with the idea of constantly "improving." Obviously, the players with this latter attitude are the ones who usually go the furthest. Even though there were times that I lacked confidence when playing, I remained focused so that, in the end, I reached my goal of becoming a major league player.

All of the mentioned ingredients allow players to have the next ingredient necessary for development into a great baseball player - a solid work ethic. Baseball, not unlike many sports but maybe even more so, requires fundamentals that need to be repeated over and over. It has often been stated that, "hitting a baseball may be the hardest thing to do in sports," so great fundamentals are needed. Pitching and fielding a baseball are equally tough, so players must combine the dedication and motivation into a great work ethic if they hope to have success. One thing that I am proud of was the work ethic I applied to playing baseball, and even to the point of over-working, which became detrimental to good performance at times.

The next ingredient is similar to focus but is an added characteristic of great players. Great baseball players have the ability to "calm the mind." Many players have talent and qualities to be good baseball players but lack the ability to tune out distractions, which come either during games or in their everyday lives. Many a great athlete had their career end because of off the field distractions that did not allow them to keep a clear mind during play. Many players become distracted easily and lack the intense mental focus necessary to excel under game pressure. When I first made it to the big leagues, I had a difficult time believing it was still just a baseball game. This led to a lack of a calm mind, leading to many misplays and wasted at-bats. Eventually, I overcame this and was able to keep the mind calm and play baseball like in the "back yard" when growing up.

All of the above ingredients lead to confidence. All great athletes play with self-confidence in their abilities, believing they belong where they are at the top level of sport. The intense pressure packed game moments or the major league atmosphere does not overwhelm them. As mentioned earlier about a calm mind, it took me a while to gain the confidence necessary to be a somewhat successful major league player. Playing with confidence leads to a long successful career for many, whereas a lack of confidence often leads to an abbreviated career.

Finally, there is another ingredient that leads to greatness and that is the overall physical attributes that players are genetically given. This is not to say that all of the other ingredients are not necessary to become great, but players who are more physically gifted than most, obviously have a higher athletic ceiling than those less gifted. When they apply the above characteristics with their physical abilities, a great baseball player is the result.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick