Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport

I am a firm believer in team sports that there is a need to stress individual talents. I saw an interview with Stan Musial after he hit his 3,000 against the Cubs on May 13, 1958.  Stan was asked what he wanted to do next, and his reply was he wanted to finish his career as the all time hits leader for the national league.

I heard people say that Pete Rose knew exactly what his batting average was at all times. Before and after a hit he knew where he stood with his stats. He stated that he always wanted to see his name in the paper everyday among leading hitters. In them days he would have to be in the top ten in the league on batting average. He also had a goal to be the first singles hitter to make a $100, 000.00 a year and he succeeded!

Years ago an announcer would ask the hard hitting third baseman what he wanted to accomplish this year. His response would be something like I want to hit 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and to hit 300. This was typical for players to strive for their goals for the season. I am sure that when they reached these goals they would not all of a sudden quit trying for the rest of the year.  If they saw they were falling short, it is all the more reason push harder. That is not to say they shouldn’t be pushing hard every day. But MLB players are no different than the rest of us, they will have their good days and they also have some bad days.

I think it is very important to set your individual goals high and attainable. A good example is a hitter that is a career 275-280 hitter; he needs to set his goal to reach the 300 mark! Make this simple just one more hit a week and what do you need to do to reach your goal. This needs to be in the back of your mind.

This can just take some extra and smart work.  Get in the cage and work on a weakness, if it is bunting get to work. Here is some good information on how to improve your bunting skills. If you are pulling the ball and not using the whole field go to our hitting program. The most important thing to remember is there always needs to be a purpose when you are working on your hitting! Don’t ever go into the cage or hitting practice without a plan.

A base stealer needs to set his goals before the season starts and he needs to make sure that he is prepared to succeed. This may mean just doing the extra wind sprints or working on your jump. Push yourself to be quicker and have that explosion.

A goal for our pitchers is to hit 250 and that is why I would love to see a hitting coach just for the MLB pitchers.  Here is some good information to help the pitchers to hit in the major leagues.

A starting pitcher should start his season out by saying he wants to win so many games 15-20 whatever is a good goal for this particular pitcher. He needs to also set goals of complete games and innings per start.

Baseball is an individual sport played as a team. Check out these 2 links.

When I was coaching I would look at my players and say Brett I want you to be the best first baseman. Jeff you are going to be the best catcher and on offense I would push them individually to succeed!

Now what you don’t need is a selfish player that is totally consumed with himself. This is the guy that will not hit his cut off or relay man, and has no desire to play as a team.  The player needs to give 100% percent on sacrifices and hitting behind the runner to move him up a base. You don’t want to be known as a selfish player that only thinks of his own personal stats.

The game today is totally different if you ask a player what his goals are, they will only state team goals. We want to win our division and whatever contribution I can make is just fine. I see nothing wrong with a player stating that he has a goal to hit 300 and drive in 120 runs. A base stealer should be able to say he wants to pilfer 50 bases in a season.

How does a player get paid in the major leagues? He gets paid for what he does as an individual player. If the players is a star, he will be paid more that the utility player. This is only right and the money is an incentive for the player to do his best. I think Jim Leyland said I will take all of my players in the last year of their contract and we will win the World Series. Money talks and how do the players make more money, by individual stats.

My reason for writing this article is to stress at all levels more individual coaching. Small groups and keep the players moving and active at all times. Push individually for each player to be the best they can be. I have seen high school practices last 3- 4 hours and nothing being accomplished.  They are running scrimmages and standing around, and the players become bored.

If you are pushing your shortstop during infield practice, say to him, I want you to work to be All State! Each player has their strength and weakness and it is up to the coach to know how to push the player to be the best he can be!  The second baseman may be a glove man and you may push him to work extra hard on his fielding. If he needs to work on his hitting, give him extra individual work. High individual goals that are attainable and with a large coaching staff to help each player, is very important.

The MLB level tell your stud player he needs to work his rear off so he can be an MVP candidate! Look at the pitchers that are capable and say you have the ability to win 20 games and our staff is here to help you reach your goals. High individual goals and coaches that will work as hard as the players is the Goal of Big Dog Baseball USA!

Coaching Articles for Amateur Baseball–

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.