“Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, full count.”
This is the time most kids dream up for the perfect “pressure” situation for a pitcher to show their best stuff and perform.
But to be honest, all of the work that you put in before that moment is what is going to determine your success during big moments like this for any player.
This is actually the time where you just lean on your past work ethic and let the chips fall where they may.
Growing up in Anderson, South Carolina, this was the mentality I had when I set the goal of playing ball at the next level.
Even before high school, I dedicated every hour not spent in school or with my family getting better on the diamond.
And for me, it wasn’t just anywhere I wanted to play college ball. For a long time, I had one place in mind.
After all, I grew up watching the Gamecocks win back to back National Championships a few hours down the road, so there wasn’t really another place I saw myself.
By my sophomore year, that extra effort I was putting towards my goal of getting to the next level was paying off. Contacted by a few coaches around the area, I was overwhelmed when I finally got some attention from the staff down in Columbia.
I honestly couldn’t really grasp the concept that I was no longer just a fan, I would be taking my next visit it to Columbia as an official recruit.
But for me, Carolina was much more than a program with a winning tradition. It was all about family for me.
Not only would I get the chance to play for the program I had grown up watching, but also one that my three sisters and parents could come and be part of the experience as well.
So it wasn’t long after that first visit that I knew I’d be fulfilling my lifelong dream of playing at the next level, by wearing South Carolina across my chest.
When I first got on campus, all I could think of was I needed to put in the work to let me have success when the team needed me most. I knew I couldn’t just fall back on what I had done in high school, this was a whole new level of competition.
Honestly, I think that same work ethic that helped me have some success during my freshman campaign, was exactly how I managed this past offseason.
Coming off an up and down season for our team, we were all informed that Coach Holbrook would be leaving and there would be a coaching change for our group.
Sitting at home when I got the call, I was definitely shocked, but all I could think of was this just called for us to get back to work earlier, a necessity to set us up for success in the next season.
Also, stepping into this season as one of our upperclassmen, I wanted to help lead our team in the transition, ensuring that we were all staying mentally together and fighting towards the same goal.
Obviously, it’s never easy to lead through uncertain times, but with guys like Wil Crowe and Clarke Schmidt who showed me the way before, I knew we could get back to our winning transition.
Now, whether it’s looking to our next game or the next exam that I need to ace ensuring Mom stays happy, I’m putting in the work long before the pressure sets in and I need to perform.
That’s really the only way I know how to set myself up for success.
So if you’re struggling on how to get recruited or just how to ace that next algebra exam you have on Friday, just remember, its the work that you put in before the big day that will help you achieve the goal you’re working towards.
And once you’re confident you put in all the work you need, all you can do is sit back and let the chips fall where they may.
Adam Hill | Contributor