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Former MLB Player

Ep. 43: On The Path with Slade Heathcott | A Baseball Podcast

Geoff Rottmayer March 16, 2020 2


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On The Path With Slade Heathcott

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development

Guest Bio:

Slade Heathcott, former Major League Baseball player and host of On the Path with Slade Heathcott Podcast.

Summary:

On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Slade Heathcott and we talk about his playing career and everything he learned along the way. .

Show Notes: In this conversation, Slade talks about:

  • His youtube days in baseball.
  • How playing multiple sports helped him in his development as a professional athlete.
  • Coaches that had an influence on him and his career.
  • How he learned to self-talk and the importance of self-talk.
  • How he developed competitiveness.
  • How he developed and the importance of confidence.
  • How and when he figured out himself as a hitter.
  • How and when he developed his routine.
  • How and when he developed a consistent approach.
  • What it was like getting called up to the big leagues.
  • What he learned about life from the guys on the New York Yankee roster.
  • and more.

Website: www.baseballawakening.com

Facebook: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Twitter: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Instagram: The Baseball Awakening Podcast

Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Geoffrey Rottmayer
On today’s show, we are talking with Slade he caught a former Major League Baseball player. We talked about his youth they know Palma how playing multiple sports helped him become a professional athlete. The important the competence, routines and approach as well talk about his podcast on the path.

Intro
Welcome to another episode of the baseball awakening podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host, Geoff Rottmayer

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, I am Geoff Rottmayer and I am sitting here with Slade Heath caught a former big league baseball player. Clay How are you sir?

Slade Heathcott
Hey, how are you doing? Good morning,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Slade man I appreciate you coming on you know you got to play in the big league know something that a very small percentage of guys who’ve ever played the game had an opportunity to step on the big league field my friend My friend you are pretty good. The legit kind of start this conversation off talking about you you date What was that? Like?

Slade Heathcott
You know, I think a lot like most people that chose professional baseball or even got into college, you know, you’re playing a young age so I started people a year after that until, I mean this year, honestly so but I also didn’t just play baseball. I was also football, soccer, basketball, wrestling. And then once I got into the older, private for high school in high school because it was basically football, baseball wrestling, so you know filled with a lot of traveling. Being from Pryor, Oklahoma is about a 45 minute drive to Tulsa. So, three to four days a week, we were driving an hour each way to do practice and games and things like that. So my life pretty much solely revolved around sports.Pretty much my whole life.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Now you nice so whenever you were playing all those different sports, do you feel that playing all those sports helped you in becoming a professional athlete?

Slade Heathcott
No question. I think one of the biggest things that I have the biggest mistakes that I see parents make nowadays and I think it’s leading to a lot of injuries. These kids have been on only playing one sport and they know from the age of 5678, whatever it might be, they, they end up just going to one sport that they’re better at. And I think that that’s detrimental for growth and everything. And I think it also teaches kids that really, whether you play 234 sports, you may not be as good and a lot of them and I think that to be good or to be able to hold your own. You You have to develop those tendencies and overcome adversity, kind of get creative on how you’re going to find success. And even if you don’t, I think it teaches us a lesson of pushing through by not giving up I think a lot of kids nowadays. You know, first time they face adversity, as well as anybody it’s not easy always but I think when we we we subject kids or kids to only doing one thing they never have or they miss out on the opportunity. push past adversity. And not only that you’re learning you’re playing baseball, whether you’re hiking, you know, I just did. I just did a run yesterday for nonprofit which I’ve never done. And I did 24 miles in 24 hours. And it’s using a totally different it’s using a totally different muscle groups than I’ve ever used before. So I think the more you know, Napoleon Hill talks about it, you know, thinking grow rich in its diversity. And I think that we forget that we think that that’s just for investment or we just think that’s for business or money, but it’s not a diversification in life. I think it leads to happiness. I don’t think it leads to growth. Hacking, when kids are only playing one sport, they miss out on a lot of those opportunities that you can start forming character and the things you’ll need to achieve success because especially in baseball, you’re just going to face a lot of failure. And you’ve got to be able to mentally stay prepared mentally stay up because it’s very easy to get down. So I think We we deprive kids of those opportunities of growth and betterment by not allowing them to face their adversity or making them face their adversity.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right. Yeah, I agree. So do you did you did you keep practicing these other sports or were you all in one sport during that time?

Slade Heathcott
You know, I talked about it right when I got drafted, I thought that I would go straight to training baseball all year round and he would become me being a better athlete and you know what I if I could go back I don’t think I would have ever stopped. I mean, obviously there’s, there’s ways to be smart and things like that you’re not going on, pat it up and paint and home jersey and shoulder pads and playing football but I think that honestly once I and I think this goes to each individual person, depending on who you are mentally and everything, but for me, I think it actually almost hurt me. I think that when I was only practicing so no, to answer your question, I did not solely focus on baseball. So when I was playing baseball in high school Yeah, there would be times that I would hit in pain, you know, whatever, but I would I’d pick it up and late December and early January when I’m playing football the rest of the month. So I think it actually hurt me and i think that you know, we have the you know, so many of our movements are turning to especially in baseball and things like that it’s it’s kind of natural and yes, you’re you’re working to perfect the trade and work on protecting things. But also things can be that overload where you’re doing too much and it’s almost detrimental. You know, but at the same quantity versus quality.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right, so so for the listeners that say, you know, I really love the game of baseball, baseball is all I want to do. And let’s say that they are 14 and this is all They want to do, though we say, okay, you know, listen, you know, I get it. You want to play baseball? That’s fine. But like you said, there are other things you can do to kind of say well rounded

Slade Heathcott
Well, I think who we are up silk directly correlate to who we are. I truly believe that. And when you start saying that you love the game and that’s awesome. Like you want to have that love you have to there’s no way to play through minor league baseball without having a love for the sport when you’re when you’re making 60 $500,000 for the entire year, and you’re playing to play the game you’re playing because you love the game. And I think that’s a lot of what kids I didn’t I didn’t understand that when I was drafted. I had no idea when my own I had no idea that I was gonna make 50 $600 in my very first year playing and things of that nature. So I think you have to love it. But for the kids it says they love it, watch, do you watch games, take notes. Like one of the greatest things that we have and the abilities we have is to be too, we have so much data at our hands. And that can be detrimental as well because it can make you almost like a robot. But if you love the game, keep doing it. Keep keep staying in it, but you don’t have to physically be in it. The success between goods and grades, the difference between those are the details. And it’s not necessarily details with the body but more so with the mind. I think that’s where you find the success and I think any CEO or any professional athlete, whatever the field is that have found that they will agree as well there’s the mental side of life is where you achieve greatness. The physical side follows behind what your mind says and your mind tells your body what to do and you tell your mind what to do. So one of the best things I ever learned how to do was to quit listening to myself and start talking to myself, because it’s very easy for us to listen to when it’s when we’re burning in that last rep or or trying to push through another 90 article class or whatever it might be. You can Get better mentally without physically running your body out once work. So shut up, get out and run training. I’m not saying you have to take days off because I don’t take too many. And now that I’m getting out of the game, I take more, but when I didn’t, I didn’t take any days. And you know, I don’t think any one thing is the answer. And it goes back to diversification, you know, a good diet is one part, routines, another part, sleeping is another your workout habits, everything, everything piled into greatness. So no one thing to do is to take a lot of, you have to find out where you can be best, and how you can better yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and along with it, bringing somebody else out. So just to get back to your question, I would tell kids, if you love the game, watch it. But don’t train your body to only do this for it. It’s going to do not lead to more injuries, it’s going to do nothing but lead to you getting burnout. I don’t care how much you love it, it’s going to lead to that. And when you do something for 162 days, it’s different for kids in high school and college where they’re playing 40, or they’re playing 70 games. It’s a totally different ballgame when you start playing 162 games. And that’s not including spring training, and you’re always on the road, you’re around the same 25 guys every day, you have to have those interstates, so you have to be able to get yourself out and have hobbies. So I would, I would always try to find hobbies that would make me better in the game. So one that I picked up into 14 or 15 that I think was huge is backpack. Because everything we do in return, we’re on stable ground and when you’re backpacking. You’re not getting the high impact. You’re not running and getting the impact that you get day to day so that that’s being smart and taking stress off your joints but you’re getting stability you’re getting, putting your foot on a rock that’s not stable and you’re having to stabilize them. To find hobbies that make you bet on the fields that make you more athletic, you’re never gonna hurt yourself by being more athletic.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. I love it. You hit a lot of points I’d like to dig deeper into. I heard you say that you got really good at talking to yourself and not listening, which is great advice. Where did that come from? Did did a did a coat tell you that? or How did you come about that and live by that?

Slade Heathcott
I think ultimately, and some people think I’m just one horse, but that’s what you have to be. Also it’s a choice. So what goes in is gonna come out. I don’t care whether you’re a purple, black, white, purple, female, male, whatever it might be. If you listen to rap music, all your life, you’re going to think one way or have a perception of life in one way. If you listen to country music, it’s going to be different. There’s Not a right or wrong, right? But what goes in is going to come out. So if you’re being negative quit listening to negative shit, if you’re if you’re, if you’re trying to be positive in your training, which to me, I found out job 14 when I was told I would never play again November 25, I think 2014 I had been listening to Zig Ziglar audio tape was like 17 hours long. And the first one about you know, like, your day is in your hands whereas you want to have a good day it’s your choice and I’m like, this is the biggest crock I’ve ever heard like at that point in my life and and where I was at I didn’t think about the mental side it was always physical To me it was always push past the pain or do this instead of slowing down and figuring out what do I need to fix mentally to make the difference? podcast are these audio tapes over and over again. Working out I think I had almost 200 sessions of of rehab API, which is Anders performance and, and are tested in Pensacola. And when he told me that he, you know, he’s like, you know, we’ve done everything camp, we’ve had two surgeries, bovine, I looked down, and I thought there’s nobody in the world that can tell me what I can and can’t do. And I think it would leave being stubborn. But I remember walking outside that day. Right after that, and I looked up, and it was one of the Blue Angels were flying actually, to the practice every day. It was a Wednesday, so we were angels flying and I just remember telling myself it finally clicked and registered in my head. Right? Whether it was from the people that I heard several times have talked about how you have to be positive and the player to talk about you have to be positive, but it finally clicked in my head. I was like, you’re right. Like, my day is my choice. And since then, I’ve not had another bad day and I have days that are better than others and bad things happen. That’s life like we’re gonna face that’s why Well, you know, the podcast is on the path. You know, I’ve turned on one bucket list. It’s to open an orphanage, and to climb Mount Everest, and I loved the reference of climbing in your summit, because we’re going to face trials, it’s an uphill climb. And we’re not taking and I’m not taking away from that appeal grind. It’s like people that talk about the grind. I hate that word. Yeah, just because I was around baseball every day. And I think by saying that grind I get it like you’re pushing past like, you’re gonna have to get that. But what why? Why grind why not thrive or not prosper Excel. You know, things like that. Why not use different words like that triggering your brain that there are patients with words. So when it when it came to just picking that up and wise it was, it was a combination of a lot of things, but then ultimately the choice don’t is. So instead of listening to me, when you get in the car, turn something positive on I think Harvard Business Journal said that or did a study that showed that there’s a positive reinforcement of video before you go out and perform is going to raise your performance over time. So you have to be willing to pay attention to those little details and do the little things that make you and have you have that allows you to have that take better mind frame or take better perspective that allows you to perform just a little bit better will push past adversity a little bit more. I think it’s a choice ultimately.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I love it. Was that something you develop younger or is this something over time as you’re going through the minor league process and getting hurt? So can you talk some talk about that a little bit?

Slade Heathcott
I think every sir I mean, at that point, I’ve had six when I when I was in high school. I didn’t have anything more than the game. And what I mean by that is, mentally my life revolved around baseball or sports. It always had it always did. And I didn’t have a sense of identity outside of the game. And I think it can work as a motivator for some people and I think that it can be a crippling Crux and kind of goes back to kids that love the game that are staying in it year round, right.But at the same time, maybe that’s that’s maybe they don’t have a sense of identity outside of game and if in the game of baseball, you have to have confidence. And if you only have confidence in who you are on the field, it’s definitely when times get tough. And you’re losing that sense and you know that or cover another poll that has like no matter who you are, you know that there’s ups and downs. It’s very hard to be consistent every single day and again, baseball some guys do and that’s But that’s not the reality for 99% of people. So if you don’t have a sense of identity outside of the game, and you start struggling, and then what happens when baseball isn’t there, like to me, and you know, like, I’m working on my nonprofit for my leaders to help raise money for them, and just to be a better, grounded person, and it’s called more than baseball, because life is more than baseball. This is a game and every day that we get to wake up, it’s an incredible opportunity to go out and do the thing we love. Never get away from that. But we have to be more rounded 99% more than 99% of high school kids will never make it to the big leagues, even though they signed contracts to play in the minor leagues. They’re never going to make it to the big leagues. That’s the truth. So if people always say like, Well, I’m not going to have a plan B because I’m selling out for Plan A. There’s no reason why you can’t have a plan B and still be sold out for planning. I think that’s ignorant. I say get lazy I think it’s people that have an ego that are just plain being lazy and think that they’re going to be the best and I want them and people have to think that you have to have confidence in yourself. But you don’t have to be dumb. Because there’s more than the game of baseball. There’s more than baseball. There’s there’s life. There’s how you influence people. There’s kids everywhere, whether you’re a stud high school kid or single, a double a big league, people are looking up to you not only that people are going to be reliant on you at some point, whether it’s family, whether it’s your family, your kids, your friends, whatever you got to do. It’s more than baseball, it’s about making. It’s about being the best you on a daily basis to influence the world and have the strongest impact.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I love it. So let me ask this, the whole finding your identity part. Obviously, you went through some injuries to get you to that point. What’s your advice to the young guy that’s listening that I identifies as a baseball player. How does one start the process of identifying, you know, who am I you know, I’m this guy that gets the play baseball,

Slade Heathcott
waking up looking in the mirror and figuring out how you can accept what you see. And it sounds so cheesy and so small and Oh, he looked in the mirror or whatever, but when you should really slow down and start looking at who you are, you have to be able to accept it and you know, the thing that it goes back to like being around and being like, if you want to be in the game 24 seven awesome and and you don’t have an identity outside of the game. Well then you’re putting pressure on yourself. If you don’t have a plan B and you’re selling app or plan a awesome that’s your motivator. You want Plan A but there’s gonna come a time when plan is not there and then who are you? So it’s just you by being able to have an identity outside of the game and me being sleepy Scott. I’m not a baseball player. Obviously, he’d got an I play baseball, there’s a difference. If I’m slightly down to my baseball player, that’s my only identity. So in baseball there, that’s when I think you see so many athletes that get out of the game or have an injury, whatever and struggle with so many things when they get out of the game, whether it’s getting into drugs or, or whatever, they don’t have a sense of identity. It’s kind of like our nation today. Like we don’t have a sense identity. We’re so worried about everyone else. And every every single group having power, let’s get rid of all the groups. Let’s get rid of all the BS, all the all the slurs, all the shit that everybody’s talking about. Everyone being equal, let’s be equal, let’s quit talking about it. It goes the same thing in the game, like you have to have that you have to have an identity outside of the game. So that way, you can take the pressure off yourself and allow yourself to step out in between the lines that you played when you were five years old or eight years old. You’re in the backyard and you were thinking, Oh, it’s the fireman nice tight out like you’re back to playing a game, instead of it being something you have to do is something you get to do. So when you have an identity outside of the game, you take pressure off yourself and allow yourself to perform at a better level. And there’s nobody that likes playing more under pressure than myself. But it’s different when having pressure because you want to do good and pressure because you think you have to do good.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice, I love it. So let me ask this, you know, you refer to competence. And with you being an athlete, that sign with LSU, getting drafted diamond for a nice little sum, then being able to play in the big leagues, you obviously has a level of competence that would need it. Where did that come from? Well, that’s something you develop or just you just clean you’d have had,

Slade Heathcott
you know, I think in 2014 till I hit that moment, I had a lot of our confidence which Looks like confidence in it leads to confidence but I think it’s very shaky confidence. Like when I say confidence I’m not saying cocky, like Jeter had more confidence, anybody I know but you never heard anything. You have to have six. You have to have competence matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re you’re in front of 500 people or five people in your you’re reading a poem yourself or you’re knocking on doors and you’re trying to be us and sell windows, whatever it might be. You have to have confidence in what you’re doing, and what you have your product and yourself your deliverance is going to change when you have confidence. The only thing that changes for directly for baseball players since that’s what I know is, slumps occur when your confidence wavers but most of the time is not mechanical. 99% of the time it’s mental, which means you just lose confidence in yourself and and you have to have confidence And there’s a healthy competence. And ego goes into that ego is huge. There’s nothing wrong with an ego as long as you know, you have an ego and and you have it in check, like, I have bigger ego than anyone I know and I have to keep it in check on a daily basis. And to this day, I still catch myself having too big of an ego to and realizing that I’m making things about me and not about the bigger picture. And you have to have confidence in yourself. You’re not going to mount to anything that are mounted near what your potential can be. If you don’t have competence. Everything goes back to competence.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? So let’s go back to your younger plane days. Did you have a big a big influencer, like like what their coach that really took you in because I did a little reading on you and you may have had a little bit of a tougher upbringing. So with their code that really helped you become help you become the best version of yourself,

Slade Heathcott
man, I don’t think my I don’t think my path was near as hard or a lot of people but, you know, my, my parents fought a lot they, you know, we’re always getting to the point where I pretty much would start fights with him to so that they would fight with me and not against each other and things of this nature, but to say one person, it’d be impossible. I’ve had so many people, you know, my high school days when I’m leaving out of my truck, at the baseball field, I have family that didn’t really know that I was doing that but they knew that I was on my own that that my mother had moved away for a marriage and some other things that just didn’t she wasn’t able to stay. But I had so many people stand up to influence whether it was dining gifts and my very first t ball coach that you know, taught me the game of baseball, my grandfather’s probably the largest, just throughout the course of my entire Life, because he was my dad growing up. I didn’t have a super close relationship with my father. I don’t know he wasn’t my biological father, but my grandfather was the guy that I would hang out in the cold a sack and we’re playing football and we’re playing catch and doing all the things that that I would do. In high school, I had a guy named Brett Swan and you know, we, he always made himself available. I don’t know how many times whether in the middle of the week, whatever it might be, we’d be at the cages at this little indoor facility with music on and just hidden. And, you know, we just take for two hours. That was my escape when all of this stuff was going on. I think I just pushed it under the rubble and hit it and I covered it with baseball and so breast Walker was a huge one. That is a very big fatherly figure to me and somebody that is very close to my heart and that I care about a lot who I am We close High School and making sure that I had things good. The halter family that gave me money to drive to Dr. Andrew to get my ACL surgery that I needed my senior year, and made sure that I had somewhere to be on all holidays and always invited me to dinner. I mean, the list goes on and on. And there’s so many that I did you know, that I just am not able to think of or it would take too long to say it but I don’t believe we ever like one of the biggest flaws I think in that I see in the game, especially today and in the world is everybody thinks that. I have a saying, you know, I talk about the summit’s a lot. So I would say that if you get to your summit, and you’re alone. You’re not at your summit, you’re a mirage in the middle of the desert. Nobody gets to the top without people around. And you know, it’s one of my biggest flaws is asking for help is such a hard thing because of my ego. Like having to ask for help is hard and I think asking for help. One of the biggest influencers to success, like we don’t know everything, we’re not going to know everything, but we have to have the people around us that are gonna allow us to do that. And to have success and who we are. Just like our moms always told us like, Who you are is going to become that’s so true. Like to some facet to some degree, no matter how long you’ve been around somebody, if you spend your time around that they influence your day, they influence your day they influence your path. And the people you surround yourself by aremaybe one of the biggest factors of success.iron sharpens iron.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree. So whenever you were in the cages during this time, were you were you just swinging away and getting wraps or did you have a sense of purpose? At what point did you say you know what I got to make every Rep count,

Slade Heathcott
I think I think it was probably meant your bowl sometimes it was a stress reliever. Sometimes it was clear my head getting away from the shit that was going on, you know, whatever it might be going, or whatever I might have been going through at that time, which was all kinds of different things. And I think it was a release. And I think I always had a purpose and I think I made it very simple but not go back to the whole data and having an overload of one thing that was different always was a fill guy, like, just go out, get the feel and get the result. I kept it very simple. And you know, there’s one thing when I started when I started playing is I started over complicating a lot of things which then for me, made me like a robot and I don’t play well like that I had to react and I think that in high school I kept it really simple. They got me there like so much time so many times and when i right after I sign you know, you get As a coach for whatever you’d say, Yankees, and that’s where I went, and you have this any coaching and rookie ball and he’s telling you all this, like everybody’s trying to put their name on you and their title on you and you need to change this, you need to change that. And yes, there’s always adjustments. But like all my surgeries and everything if I could do one thing that I could change in the nine years that I play, was when I got there, not being so open to change. And, you know, that’s a tricky line because I’m in life. I think it’s really great to have an open mind to the possibilities and what’s going on. But when it came to just baseball, one of the things I wish I would have not done was listen as much. I don’t change I got there for a reason. So every kid that’s out there and they’re having success that you might need to make adjustments. Don’t change who you are. You are great because of who you are. You can always improve Proving you do have to have that open mentality for improvement. But you also have to have a very stubborn aspect and a very clear understanding of what you’re trying to adjust and why? Because you don’t want to get away from who you are you I moved one way for 15 years, or for 13 years and played that way. Why did away from it so it’s, it’s just a fine line of you know, when I was hitting in cages in high school, I was having fun still, like you got to have fun. And keep it simple.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, every single person that I’ve talked to, that had the opportunity to play the big leagues have said that. So if I’m listening to this, and I’m getting ready to head down that path. How does one have this conversation? Now say, Hey, listen, now I’m open to listening. But this is what got me here.

Slade Heathcott
You use the technology to your advantage. We have video on every hitter. Use it. Every hitter is different. Like, it’s so crazy because everybody tries to have a cookie cutter method to hit. There’s no swinging the same. The biggest change is in your head, like what you’re trying to do your approach and everything. And knowing that sometimes in your approach and in your routine or your your game plan, you got to understand that you’re not going to be the best. And if you are going to make the change in the video shows that everything lines up and you believe in it, you have to be willing to stick with it. You have to be able to stick with it when you’re going over 16 or, or one for 40 whatever it might be, you have to have the grit to say I’m going to stick with this. This is my plan. I believe that up and down because it’s so easy to go to the field every day and change what you’re going to do and change your routine or change this Cuz it feels like this we’re gonna feel different. And you know, it’s like that it’s tricky because I say that I used to be just a bill guy. And I think Bill is what you need to remember like, get back to that bill, You cheater or a rod talk about finding that male car. Beltran was big on it, like, every day, I don’t care i’m working on I want to feel. But in order to be consistent, and to be consistent, you can’t change your approach. You have to stick with it. And I think that, over time, gives you long term success and not just a small inkling of success. And I think that’s one of the biggest things that I lacked. And that I needed to work on was the ability to stick with an approach and a plant and let’s not change from day to day. Look. Let’s go and get it no matter how much I’m gonna fail. I’m gonna stick with it until I find a way to succeed and I think it was the thing is every day, I was trying to something different I think that hurt me in the long run, was not having that integrity to just stick with the insights and know that this is a journey and a process. And, you know, just be the best you’re going to be biggest thing was I was a perfectionist baseball players, I’m telling you right now, you’re never you’re never gonna be a perfectionist. So just know that.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, that’s something we see a lot, you know, with the Internet, and there’s so much access to information. If you know if this isn’t working, we’re so quick to jump over here and try this and we never really see the benefit. Because we’re not consistent in implementing something long enough to see if it’s even working. Right.I agree. I agree. So at what point did you figure out who you were at the hipAnd how did you develop your approach?

Slade Heathcott
I don’t know if I ever figured out who I was, I think 2017 between double and triple A was by far my best hitting season. Even if I wasn’t 15 when I was up, I was making a lot of changes. And I think I found that but I still like that ability to really lock in and stay there I still wanted to change are still trying to be a perfectionist. I was but it was really routine, that I had great people around me and I had the mindset that I was going to be great. Like there was no question online when I was building 2014. When I plug in, there was no doubt in my mind that I would have to bid against all the hard times of trial, everything that was said that I was done. I knew that it was you have to have faith in yourself. Like being a good hitter, being good person being a good businessman. It all has goes back to that confidence. having faith in yourself in a job needing a process in your work, control the things you can control. So the hitter when I was good in when I was taking it out, was that I knew that no matter where I was at, no matter what I was doing probably the best thing to do the 15 that I did and learned was I work every day in the cage, three, four or five hours before the game on the field, everything I’m doing my work in, okay, and I’m working on specific things. But then when I get into the game, I’ve got to completely clear my head. Like when I in that box, I’m just going to compete, I’m not going to think about what my leg is doing. I’m not gonna think about my, where my arm is or where my knuckles are. I’m not gonna do any of that. I’m not gonna think about swinging down. I’m not gonna think about swinging up. I’m just gonna get in the box and trust in myself and have faith in myself that the work that I did, is going to result in the long run to give me the Results are positive. So it goes back to like, when I was the best I had faith in who I was in the process. And I was able to completely clear my mind once I stepped in the box and just compete.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice and how long you know at what point did you feel like you had a routine that you stuck to because we take it takes time for one to figure that out. But at what point or did you ever

Slade Heathcott
I don’t know if I ever had a locked in everyday routine I had a variety of hitting throws that I would work on. So I did have a routine I did I can’t say that I went in and hit five key here, five key there five, two there. Now Robins like no Mookie Betts, those guys who are some of the great traders that I’ve ever seen pretty much the same routine every single day. And maybe that’s where I lacked and maybe I should have done the exact same thing. Every single day. But at the time, that’s not what I believe like my deal was. Let’s just get let’s do our work, let’s work on thing. And boom, let’s go out and kept keep me there was definitely five or 10 drills that I would work on and some days it was the exact same thing. And sometimes it wasn’t. You know, I think the biggest thing is, you know, mileage is about getting to mileage is about getting to the big leagues. As bad as it sucks, very few guys are playing to go out and win. Just not like teams aren’t even going out to play the wind. You’re not putting your lineup out there every day that will give you the best chance to win. That’s just the truth. And I think that’s where I was so comfortable. In the beginning it was it was away from all the BS, all for the first six years I was called Oh, this is what the major league is like this. It was this and this is what you’re gonna have to do and it doesn’t have to be. That’s such a crock of crap. Like all the myrlie guys and front office people that tell you this and tell you all that now we get to the big leagues. All they want to do is that 7057 way you take the field and you’re the best player you can be they do not give a rat’s ass what you do. So it got away from trying to be better, better, better every day. And then it was just then when I got up, it was I’m gonna step on this field is the same game that I played when I was eight years old. I’m fine because it’s about winning. So it got back to the mentality of winning, instead of everybody being about themselves. So that’s one of the main reasons why I’ve I wanted not main reasons, but definitely an influencing factor was in the highly selfish or an athlete that I’m about being on a team that’s ready to go out and win. And I think that’s why I had so much stuff and would have so much more success in the real opportunities because I’m comfortable with going out and winning as a team, instead of going out and being the best sleep.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. So how do you think you develop the ability to compete? We could we look at the the time today and we’re not playing wiffle ball in the backyard. We’re not trying to beat our bodies and our friends and stuff. And we’re just not seen a lot of that. So how did you develop this competitiveness?

Slade Heathcott
Well, you go it goes back to the same thing we’re talking about earlier. We have kids that play one sport, or they pick one thing that they’re actually good as they consider they may not be the best but they’re good at what they never want to compete. If you want to have that fire. You want to have kids that haven’t been a kid that spills 1000 times and still going, Yeah.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
You can’t like that’s the whole thing behind everyone gets a trophy.

Slade Heathcott
And I hope it doesn’t. That’s just so much bullshit. It’s so Terrible. Yeah, that everybody. And you know, it bugs me because then you have people that are like, Oh, that’s so mean like flattered, and every kid everybody deserves what you want to know. Why is my argument to them? Why are you telling your kid that he has to be a baseball player? Why are you telling your kid he has to be a soccer player? Why? So he has to win a trophy because he has to be good at this. No, he doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with not being a baseball player. I saw one time when I was in Charlotte mathlete that that bugs me like why do we? Why do we put so much emphasis on athletes there’s nothing wrong with not being an athlete. It takes all of us whether, whether it’s the janitor, whether it’s for an author for this person to open the door, we all have our important roles. But it doesn’t mean you have to be an athlete. That doesn’t mean you have to succeed all the time, because that’s not life. Anybody who’s lived life knows we’re not going to sit all the time we’re going to fail more than not Like how many times is Jordan shoot Miss game room shot? There’s some statistic on it. It’s crazy. Not even close and Thomas Edison, you know, like 5000 filaments you check 5000 different filaments before he found a filament that would burn long enough and hold to be a light bulb like we were so as a sight in the fact that we have to have everything right now now now. And greatness isn’t over earned overnight. We have so many overnight success. That’s the there is nobody in the world that has that overnight success. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care anything. Anybody says they had overnight success is not successful. Because I don’t care how many years you have in the bank success is a lot more than zero.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? So when you got to the big leagues, what was that like? Oh no, because the minor leagues are top and you’ve had some injuries along the way. So what was it like to finally get there?

Slade Heathcott
The most exists? During filming you could ever have in lifeI debut in I debuted in Washington DC I will never consider in my head that might that being my debut I came in to pinch Ron for to share in the night. Awesome like don’t take away from the fact that I was able to finally get there but the next day I started in centerfield and that will always be my debut. So for me to to plane the next day after I get called up in pinstripes in New York and hear roll call. And I’m the first name they start were there. I mean, it’s as a kid and maybe I didn’t I don’t think I had dreamed of being a pinstripe because I didn’t grow up a Yankees fan and didn’t understand what pinstripes meant until well after being signed and, and the legacy behind the culture behind the norm was amazing but, but to be able to go through everything whether I had not gone through half What I’ve gone through in life or not, it was something that I had dreamed up my entire life. And I knew at that moment when I heard roll call probably the fourth time through, I knew that that was, what my life was meant, like, that was the moment that I knew that I had an identity outside of the game because when I went to Turner, Phil Knight was sitting out there and I started getting my name didn’t call the amount. That was the moment that I knew that my life was going to be about serving others and making as many people better as possible so that they have the best chance they possibly can be achieving their dreams, that everybody deserves a chance to, to obtain their dreams. And that’s when I knew that my life was dedicated to that, and why I had identity and and that time up that was when it just clicked like, I mean, bro, go out and just play for fun. Because I know in the grand scheme of things, I don’t need everything one you don’t need baseball. That’s when it became a a. Back to just getting out and playing as a kid like this game is fun. So why not have fun playing?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. It’s so who you know, obviously the the team was full of talent and wisdom. You know, and you got to be around them every single day and learn from them. Who was the guy that took you in? Who did you learn the most from? And what did you learn,

man that that’s such a great question. I

Slade Heathcott
fortunate that that locker room was for veterans that wanted to just give back to kids. And 15 out wasn’t out but starting in 1413 and 14 hours locker makes it next to Jesus spring training, and just watching him go about his day and how consistent he was. It was one of those like, being around those guys helped me more off the field than it did on the field and that says a lot because whether it was a rod whether it was guardi or Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, who is Carlos and Alex might be the two smartest people I’ve ever seen in the game baseball, including baseball, intelligence. And just life in general. They’re both incredible people. But Donald Trump was really open to helping a lot of people and he was very, very good at getting it across like the fact that the I know that he was in contention for whoever learned from as a manager is got to go mine and I can see him doing that. Alex is a little different, have a lot of great, great knowledge and, and love giving back. Trying to think there’s so many good guys in that that club FCC don’t the Kansas State that was one thing that we’re about that locker room is different than Nino and Really enjoyed the Oakland locker room this year to talk about a group of guys that were just awesome. Well, it was the Oakland locker room but a little bit different of atmosphere and you know, the Yankees are a lot different than other organizations put hands up, hands down. There wasn’t too many people on that job and 15 team that didn’t contribute and make themselves readily available to rookies and, and young players. So what I would be the things I learned was consistency. Cuz everything revolves around this consistency.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
And with that, we’re talking about performance routines in approach, right?

Slade Heathcott
Everything life, like I said, who we are off the field. The biggest reason I had success in 2015, more so than I had anything was that was the moment in my life where I realize I’ve been a negative influence my whole life. I have done nothing but be selfish. I’ve finally worked on the person that I looked at and saw on the mirror. And in 2015, that was the biggest change was I finally accepted the person in there. And when I accepted the person in the mirror I wasn’t I wasn’t walking around worried what every person thought I wasn’t worried about, like my life revolve around what he or she thought of me, instead of just being the best me possible. I think that’s what I learned from Gina. And probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned in life was you don’t have like, you’re not going to make everyone happy. And you’re not going to be liked by everyone. But if you’re being the best you and you know that and only you know that, you’re being the best you are, and you lay down at night and you put your head on your pillow and you know, that you’ve done everything you possibly can to be better, mentally, physically and emotionally, and you’ve tried to bring people along with you. You’ve done everything you can so you can sleep well at night. And I think that was the biggest lesson I learned in life was from A to B Consistent because no matter whether he was over 40 or 40, or 40, you could never tell a difference.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. So let’s end with this. You know, we’re talking a little bit earlier about you are starting your own podcast. So tell us a little bit about your podcast.

Slade Heathcott
Yeah, it’s on the path. So then I’m working on a lot of things that me I’m kind of going for that jack of all trades title. So I’m working on my pilot’s license I’m working on a media company and have in with deviate existence, which is deviate x. Calm, which is my hat and clothing company that I’m in on now. But the podcast is kind of tying it all. You know, it’s kind of like a brand. Really, the podcast, everything kind of ties in together and it’s about a lifestyle, like a couple things like life is short. We never know when the last second is going to be. And, you know, we live so much of us live our lives. Worried about next year and five years from now or 10 years from now. And that’s fine. There’s also a purpose for that. But we have to realize we cannot change the past. And we can’t control the future. But we can do is we can control right now. And right now is all we have this second right now and being fully involved in that situation. And I think that that is a trait that you hear a lot of successful people talk about. And, you know, I told you when we first got on, like, I’ve listened to successful people all the time, one of my favorite things to do is to listen to people that have had success because whether they’re in traveling or blogging or flying, or baseball, they have traits that they figured out how to be successful. And it may be that story might be another one, but each story is going to resonate with a different person and who knows when they figure out what that key is, but my objective with a podcast is to have the have six So people on that will share stories and advice. Let me like lessons to show people that we there are. There’s not a one cure all. But there are a lot of things that you can work on to find success. And I want to do that not only that I want in society, we have too much division. And we have too many people saying, well, because you do this, I can’t associate with you, or because this is what you like, I can’t be associated with you. And obviously, we’re not talking about the extremes. But if I like pineapple on my pizza, that’s the same to me is somebody thinking that it’s okay or not okay to be gay. But just because we agree with something or disagree with something doesn’t mean that we have to lose respect for people. And that’s one thing I really want to I want to relay in on the podcast is just because we’re all different, and we’re all going to be different. My path is different than yours. And for us to act like we should all be the same as ignorant to me because we’re all unique, and we were all created for that uniqueness. And it’s a Beautiful Thing, but we spend too much time telling people what is right and wrong. Instead of just supporting them. Like, for me, I’m a believer. So if you look at Jesus’s path, who did he hang around tax collectors, prostitutes? I mean, look at Paul, who was Saul who killed Christians, like, we, you know, so many believers and so many Christians are spending so much their time judging people instead of just accepting people accept them, love them. Do you want to have an influence about life, love them, because you’re not going to have influence by telling them what’s right and wrong. So I have a big like a big picture of that, like, we were all different. I want to bring people from everywhere and through different fields just so that we can have respect for each other. We can make this world better even though we all believe in something different. And you know, on the athlete side of it, there’s so many athletes that are able to do a lot of great things off the field. And I don’t think the light is shed on that enough. Especially me getting out in I see people all the time. Like put a box around what is possible for me, like what I’m able to do because I’m just a baseball player. Well, there’s a lot of guys that have a lot of nonprofits and, and doing great things like Matt Sergey with deviate existence and Phoebe’s Assistance Project where he’s trying to send athletes on missions trips. And you have these athletes that run businesses like we’re all more than where we are, whether you’re selling real estate, whether you’re an athlete, whether you’re a pilot, we’re all more than what we do. That’s just what we do. Doesn’t mean we have to be defined by we’re defined by who we are and what our character is. And I just want to shed light on people’s character and not so much what exactly they’ve done, but the bigger picture of how they’ve been able to achieve it. And I think we all have kind of that a true success comes from people being the best and to having a something that is more important than themselves in life. And I want to shed light on that to realize the bigger picture. So yeah, I will be launching that in the next couple days.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I love it. So I look forward to listening to that man slate man, this has been a great conversation. I’ve learned a lot. Thanks a lot for coming on.

Slade Heathcott
I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I’m Jeff brahmer. Thank you for listening to our conversation on the baseball awakening podcast. Stay tuned for a recap show tomorrow.

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Download now: Ep. 43: On The Path with Slade Heathcott | A Baseball Podcast

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Geoff Rottmayer

Geoff Rottmayer is the owner of Athletic Mission Baseball Academy, a training facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. Geoff also host The Baseball Awakening Podcast, which was developed to provide content to the baseball community straight from the source. In addition that that, Geoff, is helping coaches and professional start their own podcast and find their own voice.

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