Baseball is both team and individual sports because any great baseball team is built upon considerable skills of individual players. It appears that players with a strong character are celebrated these days, whereas players who simply followed the instructions of a coach earned more respect in the past.
Players who are nice are not necessarily good players because they tend to follow instructions as opposed to developing their own analytical and decision-making skills and become passive. Batting and pitching skills are especially difficult to hone if you are passive. It requires a great deal of creativity, and following orders someone else gives you is not particularly the best way to foster creativity.
I used to teach a junior baseball player who was a middle school student. I suggested adopting new batting strategies that were different from the more proven and prevailing ones, and it took a lot of courage for both of us. Fortunately, we started seeing improvement, and he became a professional baseball player this season after years of hard work.
Coaches can always give advice. However, it is the player who takes the advice and makes it work through perseverance. Change comes with pain, but the pain helps us learn about and cherish our own value.
Challenges can be overcome if you change your mind-set. I have gone through many ups and downs throughout my 19-year career as a baseball player playing for one team, and, in the process, I realized there is nothing more important than becoming the owner of my life. Life is full of hopes and fears, and anyone can be the owner of their own lives