A grinder—this is a person who succeeds through hard work and determination. A grinder often possesses a great deal of “grit,” which is a combination of perseverance and passion. The majority of individuals in this world are not blessed with immense innate talent. Successful individuals in all sports and industries generally must work their butt off in order to achieve their goals.

I know I am a grinder. I have always taken the approach that nobody is going to outwork me. When I was 17 years old I topped out at 83 mph, yet I was determined to hit 90 mph and play professional baseball. I did both. After baseball, I attended law school. I didn’t have the highest LSAT score, but I was determined to finish at the top of my class. I graduated second in my law school class. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but there is a point: a grinder can outwork others to achieve their goals.

The reality though is that in every industry people are grinding. Especially the higher up you go in that field. For example, it is easy to be the hardest worker in little league or even the lower levels of high school as there are fewer people who are taking the game seriously. But as you move to your high school varsity team, or college, or professional baseball, you are going to encounter more individuals who are also grinding every day to get better. Soon you will find yourself competing against teams of other grinders. Sure, you can still out grind many of them by putting in long sessions in the batting cage, bullpen, or in your strength and conditioning work. However, at some point the margin at which you are out grinding the competition slims to a point that you no longer have a competitive advantage. This is why the way you grind is so important!

“Work smarter, not harder.” This is a phrase that many of us are familiar with and it somewhat encompasses my point. If you are grinding away by utilizing conditioning methods that are subpar, you are wasting a great deal of your energy. Sure, it may be better than sitting on the couch, but you are not going to gain an advantage against others who are grinding smarter than you. For example, I can’t tell you how many baseball athletes, pitchers especially, who train so hard by running long distance. These athletes are running 3-5 miles at 7 minute paces leaving them gassed and feeling productive. But they haven’t done anything to improve their baseball-specific conditioning.

In order to grind smarter, I encourage you to try “Khaos” training. This type of training helps prepare athletes for the many movements they will ask of their bodies come game day. This training teaches athletes how to make adjustments and adapt to ever-changing situations that they are sure to encounter on the field during a game. Additionally, this type of training never becomes stale. Many exercises remain the same every time the athlete performs them, which will over time dimnish the returns for the athlete as the body adjustments and becomes custom to the movement. Khaos training remains unique, new, and challenging to the athlete every time they are performed, which is key.

Oates Specialties has recognized the importance of this type of unpredictability training and has created a line of equipment to allow athletes to training accordingly. Oates Specialties has labeled this as its “Khaos” line. I encourage you to read Gunnar Thompson’s posts (here and here) about “Khaos” or unpredictable training. His latest blog (here) demonstrates how Khaos training can be incorporated into a workout and includes videos of some of the equipment in this line being used. A few of these products include the Pummel Ball, Khaos Water Ball, Strength and Stability Trainer, and Khaos Pivoter.

The bottom line is this: you need to be a grinder to accomplish your goals in any area of your life. Yet, merely grinding is not enough. You need to be able to grind smarter and more efficiently in order to truly put distance between yourself and the rest of the competition. In athletics, by taking your strength and conditioning grind and making it elite, it will transform you into a more elite athlete. Oates Specialties is proud to be able to assist you in that journey.

Until next time,

Brian Oates