A special guest post from a former college baseball player who played his last pitch yesterday. Matt Morse has been a tremendous student of the mental game the last five years, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for you to hear what five years of college baseball can teach a young man about life.
I texted Matt with the idea shortly after yesterday’s game, knowing that he would be on a bus riding back home with his team and full of raw emotion having played his last pitch in a conference championship game. Below is what he had to offer.
5 LIFE LESSONS FROM 5 YEARS OF COLLEGE BASEBALL – MATT MORSE
After 5 years as a student-athlete at The University of Alabama, Birmingham, I just finished playing my final game of college baseball, which was a loss in the Conference USA Championship game against FIU 8-2. After saying goodbye to friends and family who traveled from all over the country to support the Blazers, we loaded up the bus to travel back to Birmingham.
When I checked my phone, I had a text message from someone I met just 4 years ago and who has since had one of the greatest impacts on my life. It began during my freshman year when I walked into our head coach’s office for a meeting and saw a packet of papers sitting on his desk titled “Brian Cain Peak Performance.”
I didn’t mention it during our meeting, but had become anxious to know if we would be bringing Brian in to work with our team. Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I had read some of Cain’s material and heard raving reviews from former teammates and coaches. Later that year, we began going through Cain’s PRIDE Program. During my sophomore year, our head coach Brian Shoop invested further to bring Cain on campus multiple times. I had always been intrigued by the mental game, but it was meeting Brian in person that really allowed me to see what the “mental game” is all about.
During my junior season, I had an opportunity to sit down with Cain in person for a one-on-one session. This conversation led to an internship with Cain in the spring, in which I executed many different tasks but also built a lifelong friendship. To me, Brian is much more than a “peak performance coach”; rather, he is someone who relentlessly pursues every opportunity to empower student-athletes to live a life of excellence. He has helped me tremendously both on and off the field over the past 5 years – and will also be a groomsmen in my wedding in August!
After exchanging a few texts following the game, he asked if I would be interested in guest writing this week’s Monday Message on what I have learned during my time as a student-athlete. After such an emotional post-game with my teammates, it was not something that I really felt like doing. But, one of my life’s missions is to inspire others and I knew this could be an opportunity to do just that…
Here are five of the key lessons I learned about life from playing college baseball:
- YOU MUST LIVE LIKE OTHERS WON’T TODAY, SO THAT YOU CAN LIVE LIKE OTHERS CAN’T TOMORROW. Throughout my 5 years in college, I have made some unbreakable friendships, met my future wife, experienced a ton of success and failure on the field, and have learned that dreams do come true with countless hours of blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes you must do what you do not want to do so that you can close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. If you condition your mind and body to be able to do this, there are no limits to what you can accomplish.
- BE ALL IN. When you can wholeheartedly commit your mind, body and soul to something bigger than yourself, great things happen! If you are not going to be all in, let someone else who is take your spot and get after it. This will be of much greater benefit to the whole. As difficult as it is to hang up the cleats for the last time, thankfully I can say that I gave the game everything I had, which makes it much easier to live with the outcomes.
- INVEST YOUR TIME WISELY. Cain often speaks of Investing Time vs. Spending Time, which is extremely applicable to collegiate student-athletes. There is no doubt that being a student-athlete is a grind. It is also a tremendous opportunity to play the game you love at a very high level, travel the country and meet some of the best friends you’ll ever have. When I received a medical redshirt during my third year, it would have been very easy to go through the motions and coast through rehab, but instead I chose to invest that time into becoming the best athlete, student, leader, mentor, and person I could possibly be. The college years can be some of the most pivotal in your personal and professional careers, so make the decision to invest your time wisely!
- BE A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELF. I believe I may be the only player in the country who was able to play all 5 years for the same coaching staff. A large part of that is because of our head coach Brian Shoop. He taught me so much about the game of baseball, but more importantly, he modeled how to live an uncommon life and to honor God through it all.
The core values of UAB Baseball are:
1) Honor God
2) Be Uncommon
3) Be Accountable
After being in the program for 5 years, I have really made an effort to take ownership of these core values, not just as a part of the team, but in my personal life. If you don’t have 3-5 defined core values for your team or in your personal life, I highly recommend doing so ASAP because values help drive the decisions you make on a daily basis and your decisions will ultimately determine your direction and destiny in life.
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY! I saved what I think is the most important for last. Cliché? But it is truly all about the journey. Enjoy the ride! Embrace the adversity that will most certainly come your way – you will become better because of it. Take pride in the way you do things. Focus on the process. Prepare to the best of your ability. Compete like crazy. Expect the unexpected. Enjoy the time with your teammates and coaches, because you will make memories that last a lifetime!
Thanks for taking the time to read this! I hope there is something that you can take with you that will help you or someone around you.
– Matt Morse
BE SURE TO FOLLOW MATT ON TWITTER @MATTMORSE_17 OR REACH OUT VIA
E-MAIL [email protected]
DOMINATE THE DAY!
Your Peak Performance Coach,