I recently reached out to a high school baseball teammate of mine, Mike Koplove. I played two years of high school baseball with Mike at Chestnut Hill Academy. He was fun and always ready to play. He especially loved warmups, especially peppering the infield with his signature ‘red-hot grounders’. He went on to have to a heck of a professional career as a member of the World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, a AAA World Series ring with the Tuscon Sidewinders in 2006, and an Olympic Bronze Medal in 2008. He was the only American pitcher not to give up a hit in the games. Looking back, most said he didn’t have a shot of making it that far! At 6’0, Mike’s drive for success is a lesson for us all.
I asked him recently about his experience growing up, being coached by his father and what it took for his success.
“I think the one thing that I would say to parents and kids about how I made it to professional baseball is that there are no short cuts. Obviously it takes talent and some level of natural ability but every kid has the ability to get the absolute most out of themselves and it is usually much more than either they or their parents realize. My father realized this from when I was very little and to his credit he was incredibly determined in his effort to make me the best baseball player I could be. From a parental standpoint it took a lot of sacrifice and effort to make sure that I practiced every single day. I literally worked out 360 days a year from the time I was probably six years old. And that was my father pushing me to do it. Because honestly there were times that I hated doing it and didn’t like him very much either as a result. On the flip side my mother was also there to be at the opposite end of the spectrum and keep me sane. She knew when I needed time to get away from it and that balance was huge. No matter how it comes about that balance between hard work and also relaxation and enjoyment is crucial. Because you don’t want to end up really hating the sport that you are playing.
For me personally I had to give up a lot of things that other kids were able to do. Instead of hanging with friends a lot of times I would go to the field and work out. It isn’t always the easiest path but if you really want something then you have to be willing to make sacrifices somewhere. Not every kid is going to be a professional athlete but every kid can get the most out of themselves if they really want it, and that’s the most important thing I think.”
We hear a lot of kid who say they want success. We, at Matt Paul Sports, take on the challenge of helping kids realize the daily steps that are required for success. There are no shortcuts to success. Helping kids to develop that daily mindset is what we aim for in our programs.
Success is a Choice!