Fitness guru Dan John has a famous saying: “I said it was simple. Not easy.”
Dan means that it’s not difficult to know what you need to do to succeed in your craft – but it’s not easy. The popular nonfiction books like Outliers and Talent is Overrated talk about the 10,000 hour rule – the requirement that you must put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in to succeed in a given field.
Everyone at the Driveline Baseball / Driveline Athletics facility works very hard, and it’s not for everyone. Many have quit, and some have been asked to leave – our facility is meant for the athlete who is serious about putting in the work to become the best athlete they can be. We’re not a babysitting service.
For those who have trained here, they’ve seen their fastball velocities jump, their bat speed rocket, overall fitness increase, and skill improve across the board.
And so it is with great pleasure that I can say that one of our hardest workers has been rewarded for his dedication: Jack Scheideman has been offered and will accept a scholarship to throw the shot put, discus, and hammer at the University of Washington!
Jack started throwing the shot put when he decided baseball wasn’t the sport for him. He threw for the first time in competition in his junior year at Roosevelt HS in early 2011. Jack has been throwing the shot put and discus for about 14 months, and he started throwing in the high 30’s, which is just north of absolutely terrible.
He knew he’d have to put on some weight, so he started eating a ton: He went from 170 pounds to 240 pounds in 12 months.
In the ring, he took a grueling throwing program his uncle (an accomplished throws coach from the Midwest) gave him and executed it perfectly. His uncle asked him to throw six times per week; Jack would make it an everyday affair, not missing a day for 6+ months (when I forced him to take a few days off here and there – he wasn’t pleased with it). Roosevelt HS does not have a throwing ring, so he would take the bus to a school a few miles away – Nathan Hale HS – where he’d jump the 10 foot fence and throw in the rain, snow, wind, and terrible conditions in the winter, day in and day out. He would soon video tape all of his throwing sessions for later analysis. His uncle forced him to throw a 16 pound shot for months because Jack was unnecessarily focusing on distance with a regulation shot put – and Jack complied. He focused on throwing mechanics while throwing a college-level shot put that frustrated him to no end.
In the gym, Jack knew he had to get stronger. He went from a 185 pound back squat to a 485 pound back squat in that timeframe too – adding on a 540 deadlift, 280 power clean, 290 pound bench press, and many other strength/power markers – coming to the gym after his daily throwing workouts miles away.
Jack made these gains in about 14 months.
Rewarded for His Dedication
Jack would throw 53 and 54 feet in the shot and 145-150 in the discus to kick off 2012, which was solid but not great. However, Jack then went to a local invitational, where he threw 57’8″ in the shot and threw the discus past the measuring field, giving him a distance of at least 160 feet. When the UW throws coach contacted him, he asked Jack to send in transcripts to see if they could get him into the school (he was denied admission from simply applying) – and then Jack told him about his performance at the invitational. The coach had extremely positive things to say, and asked Jack if he could get a commitment to the program. After calling the necessary people and considering his options (having a few other offers out there), Jack decided to take the scholarship at UW and fulfill his life’s dream: Becoming a student-athlete at the school he grew up worshipping.
Simple, But Not Easy: What Jack Did
Jack was not a genetically gifted athlete – he didn’t pick up the shot put and immediately throw it 50 feet. Jack was a decent but not amazing baseball player; he’s not naturally fast and does not display a freakish vertical leap.
What Jack did was very simple: Trained every single day in the ring, every single day in the weight room (until overtraining set in months later, where we put him on a 4-day split), and consumed a ton of calories. He cut out excessive partying and didn’t go out much with friends, preferring to focus on his schoolwork and his training program.
Lots of people say they want to play varsity sports, play for a college team, or play pro sports – but few are willing to do the work that is required to even sniff their dreams.
It’s not difficult to understand: You just have to train constantly and watch everything you eat. People want to make excuses that they didn’t get to the upper levels of their sport because they didn’t know how to train or they were beat by people who were simply more gifted, but they almost always don’t make it because they didn’t work hard enough. Simple as that.
And we want to glorify the person who works very hard and achieves his dream, like Jack did. However, to focus on the end goal is useless and vain. You will never succeed if you think about the end goal – you must take pleasure in the hard work and deliberate practice that you will grow to hate. You have to understand that you will hate training and that there will be a huge number of setbacks and that you will fail over and over again – and not only do you need to understand this, but you need to embrace it. You must learn to accept – and even love – failure.
You can watch all the motivational speeches you want on YouTube and get that fire inside you – but the real elite athlete forges on when that flame is extinguished early on and stays dark for months on end.
Deliberate practice is hopeless, boring, and agonizing – but it’s the only way to achieve your goals. If you don’t like that, I completely understand: 24 hour fitness is always looking for new members, and so are the local rec leagues.