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The importance of the hard 90

“Give me a hard 90.”  Ninety feet is the distance between home plate and first base in a major league baseball game.  The trip from home to first can tell many stories.  It has seen many successes and many failures.  But if the base path could teach one thing – it would be – run hard all the way through the bag.

Four times a game – a baseball player’s job is to run hard to first.  There are no excuses for any player at any age to jog to first or not to run through the bag at full speed.

The measure of a player is never told by how they react when things are going well.  The true measure of a player is often seen in how they react when things do not go well.

A lot can be told about a player’s character when they ground out to the pitcher.  Our first instinct is to jog and be upset at the outcome but we must overcome that instinct.  Seeing a young player pout their way to first base deflates the emotion of everyone.  One of the most inspiring actions on a baseball field is to see a young man ground out to the pitcher and sprint as if their feet are on fire towards first base.  You are saying that performance will never affect my effort.  My effort and perseverance will always defeat the outcome.

Derek Jeter was praised for the way he played the game.  But as he said “all I do is run hard to first base.”

Even when you are four steps from the base and the first baseman already has the ball – do not let up.  Run through the bag.  You are sending a message that the outcome does not deter your process.  You are teaching your body the proper technique.

After you hit bag with your foot it is also important to break down as fast as possible and to look to the right.  By breaking down quickly after hitting the bag, it allows you to take a straight line to second base in case of an overthrow to first base.  We look to the right to pick up the overthrow with our eyes and then if our breakdown is quick then we can scamper to second base and turn a potential out into a RBI opportunity for the next hitter.

There is only one way to play this game and it is the right way.  The right way demands four hard 90’s a game and we should never allow ourselves to let the game, teammates or fans down.

Until Next time

 

 

 

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