Do you WANT it, or do you NEED it?


Little Johnny was 6 years old when he fell in love with the game of baseball. And to think it was a complete accident. His dad knew nothing about the game. In fact, since his Dad grew up in a military family that traveled a lot, his Dad was never able to participate in any type of organizational sports. But little Johnny knew the second he picked up a baseball that this was more than just a game. He knew after the first baseball game he watched on television. He knew something that many people don’t find out until their 30 years old. He KNEW what he wanted to do with his life.

He had a goal. A dream. A passion.

And this is where the journey begins.

Every goal is a vision. A vision of becoming a better version of ourselves. A vision of improvement, development, and eventually success. Its at the very core of us as human beings to succeed. We have an innate desire for self-improvement that no other species has. We crave it! Long for it! AND HAVE TO HAVE IT!

Goals allow us to chase that better version of ourselves. They allow us to see something we want in the future, and use that as motivation in the present. Not only are goals important, but they are necessary to living a fulfilling life.

Every goal is different. Even if two people have the same end goal, the reasons why are different.

For example, a kid who’s born into a wealthy family in New York City wants to play in the Big Leagues. So does a poor kid from the Dominican Republic. But the kid from New York wants it because his Dad played in the Minors for 4 years, and never had the chance to play in the Majors. He wants to achieve what his Dad came so close to achieving, and therefore he chases that dream with hard work and persistence.

The kid in the Dominican Republic however, is broke. His parents are split up and his mom barely has enough money to feed the family. She works two jobs for very little money just to provide for his 4 sisters and him. He wants to play in the Big Leagues in order to give his family the financial support they never had.

Although those are two extreme examples, there are thousands of different reasons “why” a kid wants to play in the Big Leagues.

Now the two kids above have the same goals, but different whys. Think about all the different combination of goals and the variety of “whys” in the world. They’re endless! But we all have them, even if we don’t actively seek them out or voice them out loud to ourselves and others. That’s the innate human in us.

Development with Goals in Mind:

The biggest mistake in coaching is failing to understand your player’s goals. You as a coach may have your own GREAT agenda, but if it doesn’t align with that individuals goal, they will be no closer to obtaining their goal, and you will have provided them with little value.

Furthermore, it’s not enough just to know their goal, you have to UNDERSTAND their goal. And that starts with understanding their “why”. Why do they want what they want? Or why do they need what they need?

Needs are more powerful than wants. As coaches we need (pun intended) to understand that as well. Because if we can shift our players thinking to something that’s a necessity rather than a mere “want”, we have provided them with a big secret to individual motivation. Motivation that will enhance all of their training sessions, practice time, and overall improvement almost immediately.

A need is powerful, and usually comes with a negative consequence if not obtained. Take this as an example:

A track star is running a 100 meter dash in the Olympics. The thing he’s dreamed of for a long time waits at the finish line: A gold medal. Ever since he was a little kid he’s had the goal to be a Gold Medalist in the Olympics. He WANTS it. He knows he’s one of the top 3 fastest men in the world, but will be pushed by the other two former champions for his Gold Medal.

Consequence if not obtained: Silver or Bronze medal, and a long 4 years until he can try again.

The same track star is put in an African Safari. He’s wandering around looking at the scenery he’s never seen before, and taking in the nature of a hot summer day. All of a sudden he hears a “ROAAARRRRRRR” from behind him. He turns around to see a Lion about 50 meters behind him. The Lion seems fixed on having this man as his lunch. 100 meters ahead is a ravine that the lion would never cross. As the lion takes off to “hunt” him down, the track star gets a burst of adrenaline he’s never felt before. He knows if he can reach that ravine 100 meters away he will be safe, and if not, he will certainly die. He NEEDS to get to that ravine as fast as possible.

Consequence if not obtained: Death.

There’s a big difference between the consequences of these two events. And although no one had a timing system on the 100 meters the man ran to escape the lion, its pretty safe to say that the man would likely run faster in that situation. Because the consequence was much, much worse if he didn’t.

Obviously those are extreme examples, and I’m not in any way suggesting that you use death or the example above as a motivating factor for success. Its merely an illustration of how the mind works to get things we want versus getting things we need. If we need to, we will find a way, and if we want to…well, it depends on the challenges we are presented throughout the process. If the challenges outweigh the “want”, the goal will not be achieved as the individual will choose failure instead of overcoming the challenge.

So as individuals, coaches, or players, we need to make our goals as “need” oriented as possible. If you can’t think of a reason why you “need” it, think of a reason you why “strongly want” it.

Below is a list of the Most Powerful Motivating Factors to getting things done

Family/friend death
Financial Situation for self/family
For others



Strong Needs


Strong Wants


As you can see above, Strong needs are life threatening to you or a person close to you. If I told you that you need to make a million dollars in the next year or your parents will die, how strong is your motivation to earn that million dollars?

The second category is needs, most commonly consisting of financial situations. Individuals or families who struggle to provide the basic needs for life have a strong need for change. And therefore are willing to do more to make that change happen. This is the case for the Dominican boy whose family is struggling to put food on the table. His motivation to make the Big Leagues is based on the fact that his consequences for not making it are significantly high. His family might not be able to provide for them much longer if he doesn’t make it.

Strong wants is doing what you’re doing for others. For people who do not have Strong needs or needs like the ones above, this is the most powerful motivation you can use to achieve your goals. For example, you are doing what you’re doing because you really want your Grandma who lives across the country to be able to see you play on TV. Or you want to prove to your little league coach that he was wrong about you never being good enough to make the Big Leagues. Lots of strong wants can come from wanting to prove people wrong.

Wants are all other motivating factors, usually having to do with satisfying yourself. You want to make the Big Leagues for your own pride. You want to be like a certain player in the Big Leagues. You want the lifestyle they have, etc. Although these can be used as daily motivating factors, they rely entirely on holding yourself accountable, whereas needs and strong wants have multiple levels of accountability.

The moral of the story:

Find a “why” that motivates you to chase your dream daily. Make that “why” as NEED oriented as possible. And make daily decisions with that need in mind.

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About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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