These are unprecedented times we’re living in right now. There’s a possibility there will be no American sports played during April for the first time in over 100 years.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo will take place in 2021, putting the dreams of many Olympic hopefuls on hold. Postponed or canceled competitive seasons, from Little League to the MLB, have left millions of athletes wondering, ‘What’s next?’
While there is still only limited information about when life may resume to “normal”, that doesn’t mean your life needs to be on standby. Throughout this article, we aim to give you tools you can use to be as prepared as possible for the next chapter of your playing career, whatever it may be.
Hope for the best, but expect the worst.
This is a piece of advice my grandfather gave me, having seen life flip upside-down at a moment’s notice during his life. Staying optimistic while having a plan for worst-possible scenarios will keep you moving forward when all else seems to have fallen into limbo. At the turn of the new decade, few would have predicted where we are at today.
No March Madness, no MLB, no Omaha, no sports of any kind for the foreseeable future. Life as we know it has changed substantially over the last few weeks. While it is important to heed the advice of experts and do your part to limit the spread of this virus, that doesn’t mean you have to stay idle while we wait for life to resume normalcy.
Right now, nobody seems to know when baseball, or sports in general, will be back in the States. But creating contingency plans for when it might be is paramount to giving yourself a heads up on the competition. Having foresight and planning for possible outcomes will give you more peace of mind, especially once you go through each and determine how you will respond if presented with each potential scenario.
One of the most important things you can do will be creating a list of possible outcomes and your plan of action for each. If Baseball resumes in mid-May? Good, you strategically worked in long toss and skill work at home so you’re prepared at a moment’s notice.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve made a video that can clarify how to structure training to keep yourself prepared for whatever opportunity may lie ahead:
Workload Management – 0:48
Throwing Progressions – 3:12
Throwing Programs – 4:40
No baseball until August? Great, you spend the spring and summer months with a development plan. When it’s time to suit up for games, you’re well ahead of where you would’ve been—and of those who did not take the time to plan. It’s almost human nature to ponder hypotheticals, but writing these down will be important, as you conceptualize and build out a plan that will have a solution for every hurdle or obstacle you may face.
Many gyms and facilities across the country closed their doors, including our own. Athletes have had to get creative with at-home workouts. Our TRAQ throwing programs include some at-home workout templates as athletes across the country have gotten creative to get their work in.
If you have limited equipment, some additional hacks could be using a green or black Plyo Ball ® as a shoulder tube to warm up the shoulder. You can also substitute upward tosses for rebounders if you don’t have access to a trampoline, or use Plyo Ball ® drills during long toss if you don’t have access to Plyo Ball ® at this time. Get creative; don’t let a lack of resources be an excuse to not get your work in.
We’re collectively in a bad situation right now, but with every tribulation comes opportunity. This is a time when you can take inventory. Nobody is playing games for the foreseeable future. Effectively everyone is in the same situation; we’re all starting on equal ground. How are you going to find a way to put yourself ahead when the smoke clears?
Well, here are some good places to start.
Be an Opportunist
Virtually everyone has more free time on their hands right now. With many states mandating lockdowns and issuing “shelter in place” orders, this could be seen either as a loss of freedom or as an opportunity to expand your skillset.
You’ve already found yourself reading this, meaning you’re well on your way to expanding your knowledge by reading free resources, like this blog. You’re probably already signed up for our newsletter to receive Sunday Thunder Nuggets, and have seen our free resources page. Some other great and free educational resources would include Baseball Savant, MLB’s new video library, as well as many other great free options, like podcasts and Youtube, for whatever your interests may be.
This could be the time where you’re finally able to teach yourself to code or to learn how to cook. The possibilities are almost endless. But where to start? Well, that entirely depends on where you want to go.
While it’s important to look ahead to build contingency plans, it is equally important to stay in the present moment. Be alert to the factors you can control given the current situation.
Carve out thirty minutes in a quiet place, with no distractions. Be present and visualize what you want your life to look like over the next month, six months, one year, and five years. As you begin visualizing these things, identify the roadblocks that may stand in your path. What skills or abilities are preventing you from having this life? How do you go about filling in those gaps? What habits do you currently have that are impeding your progress? There is no better time than now to start building new habits.
This should give you a much clearer idea of where to allocate your time to develop your chosen skills, while the world slows down.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the virus, its global impact, and when life may return to some sort of normalcy, it is very easy to get lost in the unknown and the uncontrollable. One of the hardest things about this shutdown and the loss of sports, business closures, etc., is our loss of purpose.
You had a team, a band of brothers, an identity—but this situation has stripped those away in an instant, leaving everyone with a massive void. With seasons being fully canceled, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. How do you find certainty in uncertain times?
Be present, but stay flexible. Preparing for multiple outcomes will always leave you with a plan so you can pivot at a moment’s notice. They say luck is when opportunity meets preparedness.
That college pitcher who needed a great senior season to get noticed for an opportunity in pro ball, guess what? You’ve got time to separate yourself from the pack now.
Whether you’re in high school or college, nobody is going to be scouting games any time soon. How are you going to establish yourself as a desirable prospect once the workouts ramp up and everyone is just a guy in a jersey, with limited stats to go off of?
Make the bad situation the other guy’s problem; don’t let it be your excuse.
By Spencer Medick