“It never feels good, but I’ve had a couple of heartbreakers where I could have won the game, but instead ended the season. You learn from that.”
—Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves, 3B
By now, you know that you can’t win every game. Dealing with a loss is always difficult; however, as an athlete, you mustn’t let your emotions get the better of you and destroy your game. There is always something to learn from a loss.
Baseball is unique in that a player can win only 30 percent of the time in the batter’s box and still be considered a success. Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones Jr. has crafted a successful 17-year career in the Majors (and it’s not over yet) by knocking off hits at the box, learning from his mistakes, and trying his best not to repeat them.
His nickname, “Chipper,” was coined after a family friend referred to him as a “chip-off-the-old-block” from his father, Larry Jones Sr., a retired high school teacher/coach who now also happens to be Chipper’s personal batting coach.
Until suffering a recent injury, which placed him on the reserves, Chipper had a nightly phone conversation with his father about his batting performance, highlighting the good things and covering the key points he needed to improve.
One of Larry’s first batting tips to the six-time All-Star was, “don’t be afraid of the ball,” which Chipper took to heart. He is the only switch hitter to have a .300-plus career batting average (.306 at the end of 2010) and more than 400 home runs (436). With more than 2,480 hits, Chipper is one of the top three switch hitters of all time, sharing the spotlight with hall-of-famers Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray.