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Swing Smarter's The Dugout, Issue #016 -- For winning games, this works like CRAZY!!
March 18, 2010

Welcome to The Dugout, "Hitting Baseballs from the Neck Up." Here's what to expect from this month's issue...

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction to this Month's Issue
  2. On Deck for Next Month's The Dugout
  3. Please Share the Wealth
  4. This Issue's Heart of the Line-Up
  5. Surprise BONUS Thought of the Day
  6. Heads Up! Concern of the Month


Issue #016 begins our 3-Part Series on WINNING. Think of it like a Best-Of so far of the last year-in-a-half of The Dugout. Discover what 15-20% of players are doing to get them to the top of their game, and that the remaining 80-85% of players find a way NOT to succeed by cutting corners and taking the shorter path because they're lazy and don't want to put in the work necessary to make "it" happen.

This month, we'll draw from Bob Bennett's priceless kernels of knowledge, and of course, our own experiences. Here's a little snip-et of Coach Bennett's resume:

What if you could learn from a coach who would run 4-7 miles everyday (in his 70's BTW), write poetry, coached at the Division 1 college level for 34 years and won over 1,300 of those games, which is an average of over 38 wins per season out of about 55-60 games, he was a NCAA Coach of the Year, U.S.A. National Team head coach, his 1988 team played in the College World Series, he coached the likes of Mark Gardner, Bobby Jones, Jeff Weaver, Tom Goodwin, Steve Hosey, and guys I played with signing multi million dollar contracts still playing in the minor league system, former scout with 3 Major League teams, former all-star catcher at Fresno State, AND coached high school baseball? Whew...what a mouth full, and I didn't take a breath the whole time!

Some of the topics we discuss in this issue:

  • Are you a person with a lot of intent, or are you a "Do-er"
  • How to reset a game when things aren't going the way you've planned,
  • Discover the secret to unclogging blocked mental/physical energies,
  • Learn the Jedi Mind Trick to getting rid of excess game anxieties or lethargy.

Don't miss it!

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We're going to build upon what it takes to be a WINNER next month when we revisit more of Coach Bennett's baseball wisdom in part 2 of our 3-Part Series on WINNING...some of the topics up for tackling:

  • Focusing on the possibilities of success,
  • Learning to identify distractions,
  • Using energy only on the priorities which achieve success,
  • Consistent and systematic evaluations,
  • Paying attention to details,
  • Correcting even slight drops in interest,
  • Avoiding alibis,
  • Killing lazy thoughts and habits with extra effort,
  • Simplifying procedures,
  • Taking charge of the game's rhythm, and
  • Playing the NOW.

Coach Bennett is one of the best when it comes to WINNING, so stay tuned to April's issue, it's going to be powerful.

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Let's get started with this month's issue, shall we...

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Bob Bennett Winning
Coach is pictured with the red fungo nicknamed "Luther," and rightly so ;)

When I played under Coach, we were ranked in the Top 25 my Frosh and Sophomore years, and even with mediocre talent my Junior year we still finished 5 games over .500. Coach has a knack for making men out of boys, he's NOT one of those coaches who seeks already developed players, so he could just sit back, put baseball on autopilot, and be a Lazy Coach. Absolutely NOT...he recruits boys he can develop into baseball men, because he loves the challenge, which is how the game is suppose to be for all young men...for 34 years he did this!

Whenever I'm around my former Fresno State Coach Bob Bennett, I feel like a newborn baby with the knowledge I have yet to learn from him. I worked at a camp last fall with him, Jack Clark, and the rest of the crew at Team Avenue, and I picked up so many new things being around Coach again. He is such a wealth of knowledge, and come to find out if you want a pitching, catching, or hitting lesson with him, it'll cost you $100/hour!

It's definitely worth the investment though, just make sure you bring a tape recorder because you don't want Johnny missing a thing ;)

If there's one thing Coach is an expert at, it's WINNING.

Here are some of the Coach Bennett-isms I took from his leaflet titled, "Championship Play," I received during one of our pre-season triple days my Freshman year at State. I'm paraphrasing most of it and adding in a few things I picked up from him along the way, so the following article is a hodge-podge of quotations and regurgitated in-our-own-words.

Cruel Intentions

Every team starts the season with aspirations of "winning-it-all," but often times hit pothole after pothole along the enters Coach Bennett...

Teams fall short from their early season "championship" goals because:

  • Times get tough,
  • Slow start,
  • Disappointments,
  • Complacency,
  • Egos,
  • Selfishness,
  • Pressure,
  • Loss of direction,
  • Laziness,
  • Poor concentration,
  • Procrastination,
  • Lack of responsibility,
  • Poor discipline, and/or
  • A combination of all.

"Intentions" are wonderful but only mean something when they're joined with conviction, persistence, and perseverance.

Did you notice we boldened and underlined those three words? This was the epitome of Coach Bennett's winning other words: you have to believe, with all your heart, you can reach your goal(s), you have to push through any obstacles, NOT cut corners by going around them, and you have to keep giving the "second effort," because most players and teams give up when the seas get choppy.

The reality is, there's less competition at the top...although, the competition waiting for you is REALLY good, so you have to "look your best!"

People talk about a higher state of play, being "in the zone." There are ways, according to Coach Bennett, you can achieve that state on a regular basis, a lot of it has to do with what he always says, "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect," and being aware of your emotional state every game.

Game Resets

If you feel "in the zone" during a game, then go with the flow, don't think too much. When you notice the flow is being hindered or blocked, then be relentless until you bring the game up to standard.

By this Coach means using physical or mental other words, doing something totally out of your team's normal routine, "shocking" the players into resetting their mindset.

For example, if I was feeling lethargic, I would sprint as fast as I could out to my position, which was center-field, so quite a run, sending a message to my body I mean business.

Coaches meetings can also shock the players into resetting mentally if done the right way and not overdone...using inspirational quotes, stories, and anecdotes.

One time we were playing San Jose State at their place, and we had to win at least one game out of 3 to get a regional berth, one of Coach Bennett's proteges Coach Pearse, ex-player of Coach, and one of our more personable coaches told a story of a lady entering the ballpark that day using a walker. He told us with a quivering lip, how this lady would kill to be where we were right then, running around on a lovely day playing baseball, so you should all be grateful your bodies still let you do that.

We went on to win that game and getting our regional berth, in addition to finishing strong that season. Might I mention, we had our lion's share of negative challenges that season too, so we definitely needed those brain and body resets along the way.

Blocked Arteries

Everyone knows blocked, or clogged, arteries restrict blood flow, resulting in life threatening heart attacks because the poor red muscle in our chest gets worked up too much, it eventually crashes out. We get the same results when we have mental or physical blocks in performance.

We have to remove these blocks immediately...and how you might ask??

Mental blocks mostly come in the form of overwhelm, so we have to utilize the KISS method of playing, Keep It Simple Stupid. We have to dumb down the game by:

  • Making sure you know what you're doing next, moments before you have to do it (like where to throw if a ground ball gets hit your way),
  • Playing in the present moment,
  • Simplifying with,
  • Thinking in the now,
  • 12-Count deep breaths (try and get to a 6 second inhale, 6 second exhale), and
  • Playing one pitch at a time.

Physical blocks take the form of inability of warming up correctly, eating the right things before practice or games, stretching the day before--after the last workout, doing recovery cardio after long workouts, the right core training, etc. A general progressive core training routine that will increase bat speed can be seen in the Swing Smarter Increase Your Bat Speed in 30 Days Challenge.

One of the biggest regrets I have was not educating myself on nutrition when I was in high school and college, which would have definitely optimized my performance for all those 6-hour long practices and games. Invest in your nutritional education now...probably around the summer-time, Swing Smarter is going to come out with a nutritional informational program that will be a HUGE help to those seeking this kind of invaluable information, so stay tuned...

Jedi Mind Tricks

Coach Bennett was BIG into learning how to control your moods as a player/coach. This tactic kind of goes along with "Game Reset" above, but gets a little more specific.

The number one most important aspect to controlling our mood is to recognize which mood we're currently in. If we're not conscience of our mood, then it's impossible to change. It's easier said than done because when we're in the heat of battle that's typically the last thing on our mind. We have to make it a habit of constantly checking in with our moods...

As was said above, if we're already "in the zone," then go with the flow, but more times than not, we'll either have too much energy or too little.

If we're hopped up, feeling anxious, jittery, or over-zealous, then we can:

  • Go run some sprints,
  • Take extra batting practice,
  • Play a few games of Pepper, or a
  • Ball Toss game.

In other words, do something that will be an outlet for extra energy.

Do NOT stretch it out because you'll make your body tired...static stretching is only good for after games or workouts, NOT before.

If you're feeling lethargic, lazy, or depressed because maybe you're in a slump, then we can:

  • Do ten 30 yard sprints (90 feet, or the length of your baselines),
  • Do a set or two of 15 jump squats,
  • Run six 1 minute foul poles.

Do things in short bursts...notice sprints can lower energy levels OR increase them? They are one of the best mood controllers in a ball players arsenal, and they cost nothing, so utilize them!

There's a whole lot more to come in our 3-Part Series on Winning, so stay tuned next month, when we go over more Bob Bennett theology to being the best you can be. I assure you, YOU won't be disappointed...

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We're building on another Bob Bennett-ism...

Game Clocks

Setting and resetting our game clock serves two purposes...

  1. Think about every throw or swing you make/take as ticking down on an imaginary clock hanging over your only have a certain amount in your playing lifetime, so make every one count. In other words, don't waste anything, every action you do should serve a purpose towards contributing to a winning performance.
  2. Feel for the game: if the game is speeding up too fast, slow it down by stepping out of the box or calling timeout. If it's dragging on, then speed it up...sprint up to the plate, or hustle out every ball you connect with, whether a can-of-corn or not.

Know your competition's speed of play and use it against them.

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This is kind of random, but something I've been thinking on over the past week...

If you or someone you know is thinking about taking steroids or any banned performance enhancing drug(s), then we urge you to please contact us and we'll get you the needed information on healthy alternatives, nutrition, or what not. We don't judge those who feel they need to take it to get an edge over their competition, it's understandable, but we know there are other ways to get similar benefits without the side effects.

No, we're not selling a stupid pyramid scheme product...there are certain aspects to training, nutrition, and supplementation everyone needs to know.


We just watched the documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger, highly recommended BTW, just the other day and we'd like to be there for those young players who feel they need to give steroids any consideration. Think of us like a informational mentor to one of the biggest decisions you can make about your career, having lasting consequences on your life. We're here if you need us :)

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Swing Smarter NOT Harder,
Joey Myers
Swing Smarter Baseball Hitting

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