On the field for 10 years, MLB All-Star Mark Teixeira has been around long enough to know what baseball champions are made of. With the baseball season around the corner, we talked to the Yankees’ first baseman to find out how to achieve major-league success.
Knock It Out of the Park
● One of the secrets in baseball is hitting off of a tee. Most people think it’s for kids, but it’s the most valuable tool for any player, whether you’re six or sixty. You can set it up in your garage and hit balls into a net, or you can get Wiffle Balls. When I was a kid, I bought a tee and Wiffle Ball baseballs, and I would hit for hours in my garage.
● One of the things I hear from competitive athletes who work 50 hours a week is that they play so hard they hurt themselves. If you’re not able to train during the week, then you have to play at 75-80% on the weekends. If you can get some cardio and weight training in, and maybe go to the cages only once, it’ll make your performance that much better on the weekends in games.
Do the Legwork
● The number 1 thing defensively is your footwork. Your footwork puts you in position to use your hands, and the best fielders have very good footwork. I’m not the quickest guy, but I have pretty good range because I have long arms and I can put myself into a position to make plays. You don’t have to take 100 grounders a day.
● When I first came into the league, I could work out for hours—you can get away with it when you’re young. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ve had to fine-tune different parts of my training and nutrition. In a nutshell, I’ve had to train less and eat better. The collateral damage comes from training [too] hard. I’ve realized if I’m smarter about my training, I can make up for it with my nutrition.
Break Through a Batting Slump
● If you’re in a batting slump [as an amateur], you take up golf [laughs]. Baseball isn’t easy, and if you’re not able to play much, it’s probably not going to be very fun. [You have to] put in the work and put in the practice to be successful playing in a game or two on the weekends. Otherwise, you’re going to have a very difficult time at baseball.