Baseball Magazine

Do We Really Need More Discipline?

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
I think discipline is misunderstood. 
How many times have you heard someone say something like this:

  • If I had more discipline, I would _______.

  • What that kid/player needs is more discipline!

  • To lose weight, you need discipline.

  • You have to be disciplined at the plate.

All these comments and the million others that use the term "discipline" 
imply the same thing ... that the person needs to get out there and 
"find" some discipline. 
I think that's a mistake. 

Do we really need more discipline?

Better habits, not more discipline.

We have all the discipline we need.  Our body comes with "discipline
 software" already installed.  It's not something we need to find.
  Humans are incredible machines that are creatures of habit.  Look at 
your behavior over the past week and you'll likely find it to be the
 same behavior you are showing this week.  We are extremely disciplined,
 just not always in positive ways.
 Take a hitter that always swings at the curveball in the dirt.  His
 coach may say he is undisciplined but in reality, the player is very
 disciplined.  He swings at the same pitch all the time!  He's just not
 disciplined in the way the coach wants him to be.  The same thing goes 
for a pitcher who always falls behind in the count or the outfielder who
routinely misses the cutoff man.  They all have disciplined themselves 
to screw up over and over again.

The point is, we are all very disciplined.  We all have habits that are
 good for us and some that are not.  The key to improving as a player is
 not to go searching for discipline.  What players need are better 
"habits."  It's a copout for a player to say, "I'd be better if I had
 some discipline."  People don't use the word "habits" because a habit is 
under your control.  Saying I have a bad habit implies personal
 responsibility which for some is tough to admit.  Saying I don't have 
discipline implies the kid never had any in the first place.  He can 
then blame others for not "giving" it to him.

There has been much research in terms of how long it takes for a habit
 to become fully engrained in the body.  30 days seems to be the magic
 number I've seen from a variety of studies.  Do something for 30 days 
straight, whether it's eating right, exercising, reading, you name it, 
and it will probably continue as a habit.  

Of course, all this applies to practicing baseball as well.  30 days
 worth of tee work hitting the inside part of the ball will teach the
 habit of hitting the inside part of the ball.  30 days worth of hitting 
the outside corner with a first pitch fastball will create the habit of
 control on the outside part of the plate.

Don't be so concerned about discipline.  You already have all that you

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