You can control your emotions and how you react. The choice is yours. Game readiness entails being prepared for all potential scenarios. The dedicated ball players continue to work at their craft and wait for that moment when they are called upon. Part-time players play an integral role on the team. They are often referred to as role-players. As a member of the team, their services are valued in the same manner as all other players, coaches and team personnel. No one is bigger than the game.

Similarly, students may excel in one subject and struggle in another. However, school-day readiness will enable students to know how to work through slumps and tougher moments. The self-control and discipline to manage whatever comes his/her way needs to be ingrained at an early age so that the child knows nothing else. Then the habit becomes automatic. This discipline will make the child ready and wanting to tackle difficult situations.

The ball player being called upon to pinch hit will attack this assignment with vigor and a healthy intensity, assuming parents consistently encourage a positive effort and demand a standard of excellence in their work. Hiccups will occur; however, a dependable work ethic will be evident, provided that the effort exists. The choice will be the choice of a winning attitude.

This way, whatever the assignment, the approach will be the same. The consummate professional will assume the challenge and make something positive out of the opportunity at hand.

Pinch-hitting is a specialty that endears managers and coaches alike. Accepting the importance of every role removes any stigma and allows for incredible moments. Imagine, for example, Rich, 16 years old, gets the call from his coach to pinch-hit with the game on the line. The positive Rich will have taken practice swings, hit off the tee throughout the game, been a vocal supporter on the bench, studied the pitchers and been there every step with his teammates. Rich will be eager to step into the batter’s box with the goal of putting a good swing on the baseball. While a base hit would be welcomed and celebrated, no matter the outcome, Rich will be embraced as a key member of the team. More importantly, the good feelings of being called upon will resonate and stay with Rich.

Parents must encourage an attitude of “sticking with it” at all costs. Otherwise, the work will get harder and options will become more limited. The “can do” approach is what needs to be emphasized. This will promote healthier choices and constructive risk-taking.