Preparing for Opening Day – Adam Wainwright
By: Adam Wainwright
March 31, 2017
Being down here in Florida for Spring Training, I’m playing ball with the boys in the morning and having dinner in the evenings with my family. There’s nothing better than that.
Our guys are so excited for Opening Day because we all have something to prove. We didn’t play very well last year and ended up getting whooped by the Cubs. A lot of the guys know that they could have done something that would have helped put us over the edge and I’m no different—we know we have more in the tank.
This year it feels like we’ve really gelled and come together as a team. We also have some young guys who are new to the team who are coming up so it’s exciting to watch. For me, this is the first offseason that I’ve had in a long time where my body was healthy and I was able to train as hard as I wanted to. For the past two years I’ve been recovering from an injury after a long post-season but this year I’ve been able to train like I normally would train: With explosive lifts, jumps, and runs that I hadn’t been able to do in previous years. The extra month we had off (which was not ideal because it meant we didn’t make it to the end) I used for extra healing and rest, which was dramatically different for me.
This year I’ve felt so much better heading into Spring Training, today I feel stronger, more in control of my body, and more aware of where my arm is in space. it’s a good feeling and one that I haven’t felt in a while.
Our practices have been phenomenal; we’ve been really focusing on things that we weren’t great at last year. Strategically we know we have to hit better, pitch better, and play better defense. That’s what winning clubs do. That’s what we usually do but didn’t do so well last year. The talent that we have on the team allows for that, we just have to execute. Most of our pitchers are healthy, though we did lose one very talented player, Alex Reyes. Other than that, all the guys on the team are ready. We’re ready to play, ready to compete—ready to show to the world that we are what we weren’t last year.
You never can tell what the season’s challenges will be until you are in the thick of it. These baseball seasons are marathons at 162 games. As a starting pitcher, I won’t play every game but 33 times a year my team expects me to go out there and give them everything I’ve got, whether I’m feeling good or feeling bad, whether the team we are playing is great or not great—it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to go out there and be ready to rock from the first pitch on. The hardest part of baseball is doing that consistently through a really long season. You need to stay mentally sharp and you can lose that really quick if you give in to that voice that speaks when you’re tired: “You can relax—just take today off.” If you give in to that just a little bit, it will have huge effects on your season and your team.
Adam Wainwright is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Adam’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/adamwainwright/
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