Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Baseball players are among the most superstitious people in the world and that oftentimes causes them to stick to the same schedule every day.
Los Angeles Dodgers free agent Clayton Kershaw was among the most stubborn players in the game with a strict routine he followed every day, which he believes was important to have. But he has also recognized some of the downsides to being stuck in a specific routine.
The right balance, as with most things, is likely somewhere in between being set into a specific routine but also being open to some changes.
This is what has worked for Will Smith, who discussed the importance of his routine without allowing it to control everything he does on the “Unfinished podcast with Anderson Miller”:
“I think with anything — not just baseball — but I think it really works in baseball, is just having a good routine. I’ve got my routine, it’s not down to the T every day. I like to change it up a little bit and be flexible so you’re to relying on it, but whatever you can do to feel comfortable, knowing you’ve checked each box that needs to be checked. Whether that’s at home relaxing before the game, waking up at a decent time, getting a good breakfast, getting to the field around the same time each day and early enough to get your work in.
“One of the things I like to do, if you’re struggling or doing well, you’re not spending more time in the cage when you’re doing bad. You’re spending the same amount of time in the cage each day. I’ve got my few drills, they work. It’s obviously not going to work every day. That’s just baseball. So why go 0-for-4 and the next day show up to take 200 swings? Your body is fatigued, you go 0-for-4 again and then you snowball. It’s just keep doing the same thing, know what works and roll with it.”
The 2020 World Series champion is now entering his third full season as the Dodgers catcher and has become one of the best hitters on their team.
In his 221 game career, Smith has hit .262/.365/.527 with a 135 wRC+ and 48 home runs. Smith is fourth all-time in wRC+ among catchers with at least 800 plate appearances and while it is a very small sample, it does show how great he has been since his debut.
Smith was finalist for Silver Slugger Award
Smith’s hitting during the 2021 season made him a finalist for the 2021 National League Silver Slugger Award, which was voted on by each manager and three coaches of his choosing.
Smith ultimately fell short of winning the award for the catcher position to former San Francisco Giants’ backstop Buster Posey.
Posey had a bounce-back campaign and led all NL catchers with an .889 on-base plus slugging percentage in what wound up being his final season.
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