I was blessed with a dad who always wanted to help me get better at my sport. As my coach for many years, he did everything he could to help me get to the next level, again and again. He has, by far, been my favorite and most impactful coach throughout my career. The amount of love and effort he poured into me as both a player and a human being — it’s hard to beat that.
One of the greatest things my dad taught me was confidence. He taught me how to go out there every time and show what I’m made of, acting like I’m the best of the best. He never let me lose that confidence — something that has driven me to get better at every level of the game.
Especially in the major leagues, this is extremely important to success. When you step out at this level, every guy around you has a huge confidence in themselves; you have to outmatch that. But with that confidence there needs to be a humility and level-headedness present. Sometimes that much confidence can get your adrenaline going but you need to be able to slow things down and take a breath in the moment. The balance of these two things can be hard, but if you get it down, things will go much smoother.
Along the way, I was fortunate enough to have many great coaches, such as Mike Martin, the winningest coach in college baseball. He not only was extremely knowledgeable about the game and how to execute success, he was one of the most positive guys I’ve ever met. There was a lot to be learned from him and I tried to soak it all in just by listening to his advice.
I also had many pitching coaches who taught me a ton about the game and how to carry myself as a player. These coaches have changed my mindset along the way. At every level you have to learn something new or else you’ll be left behind in the dust. How you look at hitters, how you see and form pitches, how you compete at the next level — these are all things you need to continue to learn.
At each level the game becomes much more than it was. Lately, I’ve loved sitting down with players such as Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, just picking their brains and learning from their success. As they talk, I’m mind-blown. I realize this is all so much deeper and more complex than I could imagine, and I haven’t even tapped into most of what they’ve learned! When they speak, I’m in awe, trying to soak in all the tidbits I can. They have taken my thinking to a whole new level.
With every coach, you have to figure out how to take their advice and apply it to your game in the most strategic way. Not every coach’s or player’s advice will work for you, but more than anything I want to listen and understand where they are coming from. There is so much to be learned from these men — stories, strategies, success. If I’m around this game for years to come, I hope I can be in the same spot they’re in and pour into younger guys in this way. I want to pass along what I’m learning, not to smother people with facts but to be available when the younger generations are itching to learn more. It would be an honor to be able to go above and beyond to talk about the game and share life experience with others — to be a Carpenter, Wainwright or Lynn to the up-and-comers.
— Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.