Ahead in the Count

4th inning….Reality Check Continued

posted by Matt Whiteside
Ted Sullivan, another contributor on this blog wrote a comment to my last post that I’d like to respond to. Here is what he wrote:

“Whitey – another great post. This brings up an often overlooked fact that nearly everyone who plays sports long enough will be cut at some point. What is your advice to young athletes who get cut by a youth or high school team but still love the game and want to play? Did you use the release as motivation? Did you try to forget about it all together? How did you keep your confidence at a high enough level to continue competing in Triple A and the big leagues?”

Great questions that our esteemed leader poses.  For me perosnally, and I think for most athletes who have a competitive drive, being rejected, cut, released, told no, doubted, or having your abilities questioned causes a burning desire to prove people wrong.  I think the difference between successful people and others, is that they DO NOT TAKE NO for an answer.  I was constantly finding things that someone in the media, a fan, or a former organization said negatively about me to use as motivation to push through tough workouts or tough times.( I had no shortage of comments to choose from).  Terry Francona, the manager in Philidelphia,when sending me down to Triple A Scranton in 1998, told me that the team was in a worse situation when I left the game than they were when I came into the game.  I spent my whole winter spelling out his name in my head when I was working out instead of counting reps.  I knew that his name had 13 letters, so I did sets of 12 that winter, and the 13 rep was for him.  It may sound corny, but it worked for me.  I have never let that instance out of my mind. Along with other comments and situations, to this day, I use them as fuel to burn my inner fire to succeed.
It is easy to lose sight of the successes you have had in the past, thus losing some of your self confidence.  To be able to use these setbacks as motivation,  you must have the utmost confidence in your approach and abilities.  That is something that I tried to never lose focus on.  The mind is a powerful tool.  If you have it in your heart to play a sport, or achieve a certain grade in class, there is a way. A quote I like to use in these situations is, ” You do not lose the fight when you get knocked down. You lose the fight when you don’t get back up!!!”


December 9, 2008 - Posted by | On the Field, written by Matt Whiteside

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