Most of the time, he has been called up to fill an injury void in the outfield. But he always takes one more thing away from his experience and gets that much closer to becoming a full-time big leaguer.
Each time a benchmark is achieved, whether it is something manifested in his statistics or just in his understanding of the game, Reddick can set his sights on the next goal. After his latest go-around with the Red Sox, he will aim to improve in the Dominican Winter Baseball League, which starts near the end of October.
“I’ll do that for a month, go out there and enjoy that and just try to keep working on stuff out there,” Reddick said of his goals for the offseason. “Hopefully, I’ll be playing every day and just doing it that way. I’ll also be trying to get a little more understanding of the strike zone and staying in the zone, which I’ve improved on so much this year. So that’s a continuation of what I need to do.”
The 23-year-old’s aggressiveness is what makes him a dangerous hitter, but it also has been his downfall at times. The organization has worked to keep him from swinging at too many pitches out of the strike zone.
Reddick feels as if he has made major strides in that department in 2010. What he wants to curb in 2011 is his tendency to get streaky. After a torrid spring training, he started out ice cold at Pawtucket before finding his groove after the All-Star break. In 2009, he started fast before hitting a wall in August.
“I need to find that median to where it’s all year, not just get red-hot and then get glacier cold,” he said. “I need to find that median and maintain it without getting cold.”
Reddick’s goals on the diamond are in place. He knows what he needs to do to find success and will take his lessons into the offseason and then back to Fort Myers in the spring.
This is a practical approach for a ballplayer, but translates well to all walks of life.
“Setting goals is as important to most of us in our everyday lives as it is to professional athletes,” said Dr. J. Jacques Carter, a primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Whether we are trying to lose a few pounds, improve our physical stamina, get that big promotion or kick a habit like smoking, carefully setting goals can help us get to where we want to be.”
When setting personal goals, we also should consider what "sacrifices" they will require, added Dr. Carter. That is, what will those goals cost us in terms of time, physical wear and tear, emotional stress, personal relationships and even finances?
He suggested goals should be set with incremental steps that are both realistic and attainable, based not only on desire and motivation, but building on our previous successes. Further, he suggested that for emotional stability, it may be healthy to enlist the support of friends, family and colleagues in such efforts.
“Setting goals can lead to success in many of our endeavors and can offer a healthy balance to our everyday existence,” he said.
When your goals are mapped out and organized, it can help to keep the head from becoming too scrambled. That result was clear to Reddick in an up-and-down 2010 campaign that saw him finally getting locked in.
“Once I started not caring so much and not worrying about everything, things started turning around for me,” he said. “So I just need to take that into consideration from spring training to September and October.”
With a plan in place, that task becomes much easier.