“I think to be a great quarterback, you have to have a great leadership, great attention to detail, and a relentless competitive nature.” – Russell Wilson
Hey everyone! I hope to find all of you in exciting spirits as college softball season is upon us! We at Ball State have been working very hard in preparation for our 2015 season. We will kick things off this weekend in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, on February 6th.
In one of my previous blogs, “Facing the Fear of Failure”, I wrote about how to conquer the fear of failing, and how to handle the unnecessary pressure one puts on oneself to succeed. In this blog, I am going to explain the next step, how to perform once you have risen above your fears, and how to become RELENTLESS.
The word relentless as it relates to sports refers to the most intense competitors and achievers. They are those who stop at nothing to get the end result. In sports, relentlessness in measured by the number of trophies, championships, and rings.
In life, being relentless is a state of mind that gives you the strength and determination to achieve, survive, overcome, and be strong when others are not. You desire the end result so much that the work needed to get you there becomes irrelevant. You could put in all 24 hours of the day to get you there. You wouldn’t care. You are relentless.
The ability to be relentless is in all of us. However, someone cannot teach or even tell you “Hey, you need to be relentless.” It HAS to come from within YOU! You want a championship? Cool. You want that big ring to show off? Terrific. But NOBODY is going to tell you how to be successful. YOU have to go out and take it YOURSELF!
When I was growing up — I knew from the age of eight that I wanted to play ball in college, and professionally someday — nobody was there telling me what I would have to do to get there. Sure, my parents and coaches were there to guide me, but I was the one practicing on my own in the garage. I was the one watching videos of the greatest hitters, pitchers and fielders and trying to mimic their movements in my practices. I had a vision and I never stopped until I got there. I was relentless.
If you have a great game, awesome. If you have a great season, fantastic. You are supposed to play well, that is your responsibility as a competitive athlete. It is the ability to repeat that result over and over, season after season, never satisfied, never giving in, that makes someone truly relentless.
In a few months, at the Women’s College World Series and at various high school state championships, we will see a lot of athletes competing for their respective softball championship titles. These athletes will exhibit relentless behavior. The teams that make it to the championship level of play have been relentless all year long in their preparation, as well as play leading up to those championship games. Those players did not just become relentless when they arrived at the championship game. They got to the big stage by working as a team and being relentless in their goal to achieve the common interest— the championship! The teams left standing will have the attitude and synergy of being relentless day in and day out.
Tim Grover, Author of Relentless, and trainer of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and many others, says there are three types of athletes: the good, the great, and the unstoppable. For example, our Ball State Softball team received their third consecutive Mid-American Conference (MAC) title ring this past October. We are now trying for a fourth championship this season which will make our senior class the winningest class in program history. We call it our Dynasty. This team is relentless in getting the fourth MAC Championship that it doesn’t care about past accomplishments. All the team cares about is NOW. THIS season, THIS year, THIS team. Past accolades do not matter. So our program has four conference rings in the past 5 years. Whoop. Whoop. But this 2015 team is not satisfied. We want more. We will always want more.
Physical talents will only get you so far. Mental training will elevate your game. But how you really become the best in this game or in other parts of life is by being relentless. You have to want to be the best so bad you don’t need to be told how to. You find it out for yourself. You have your own vision, and only YOU can get yourself there. IT’S YOUR VISION! You have to put in the time, you have to surround yourself with the best, and then beat them! If you can’t see the end result, how can anyone else see it for you? Tell yourself what to do, stop waiting for others to lay it out for you.
Tim Grover says, “To be the best, whether in sports or business or any other aspect of life, it’s never enough to just get to the top; you have to stay there, and then you have to climb higher, because there is always someone right behind you trying to catch up.”
Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else. The second your mind says “Done” your relentless instincts say “More.” As I said before, talent can only get you so far. Never be content with “pretty good”. You want to be unstoppable! Being relentless is not a science. It’s a raw instinct.
From this moment forward, make your plan to make everyone rise to meet your level. You don’t compete with anyone. They compete with YOU. You don’t let your opponent take up shop in your head. When everything comes undone in a game, remain calm. Remember, you are the best at what you do. YOU are prepared and your team is prepared. You know the game. Everyone else may be panicking and choking. But never you. You step up, and finish the fight. The way great teams lose: the leaders don’t show up. But not you. You always show up to play. You are relentless.