Ep. #007: Join Evan and Shea Hillenbrand, 2X MLB All Star, Founder of Against All Odds Foundation and 2V’s Apparel, Realtor and Peak Performance Coach.
In this interview, Shea’s energy shines through as he shares insight into his determination and practice routine on the road to the Bigs, his Four Step Focus Formula to take your hitting game consistently to the next level, and offers advice to players on dreaming big, taking responsibility and living on purpose.
01:15- Shea’s Journey
03:28- Tips on making your dream tangible
04:26- His dream of owning a zoo
05:16- The role being a multi sport athlete played in his development
09:35- Learning to play multiple positions as a Pro
12:03- Key advice he received from Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez
14:10- The Four Step Focus Formula
16:22- Advice for youth players managing distractions & responsibilities
20:20- Being part of the 1%
26:11- 1st Major League All-Star Game experience
32:40- Staying relaxed & focused while hitting
39:20- Failing your way to success
Thank you for being here with us! Evan and the Born To Baseball Team are looking forward to celebrating your success and sharing this journey together.
If you enjoyed this episode please consider leaving a rating or review on Apple or wherever you’re listening here. This will help other ball players find the Born To Baseball Podcast and give us more chances to shout out our listeners!
Now, let’s play ball!
Read show notes here.
Facebook: @Shea Hillenbrand @Shea Hillenbrand – Rewrite Your Story
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Episode 007_SHEA HILLENBRAND 2X MLB ALL STAR FOUNDER OF AGAINST ALL ODDS FOUNDATION AND 2V APPAREL REALTOR PEAK PERFORMANCE COACH
The transcription below was provided for your convenience through an automated service. Please excuse any unintended errors made in the process.Evan 0:00
This episode of born baseball is sponsored by the BTB Travel team and training tracker. Are you a parent or player searching for travel teams or training facilities in your area? Or are you a coach looking to expand your reach? Than you have to check out the BTB triple T tracker at borntobaseball.com. Make sure your team is represented. Let's go.
This episode of Born To Baseball is sponsored by the BTB travel team and training tracker. Are you a parent or player searching for travel teams or training facilities in your area? Or are you a coach looking to expand your reach? And you have to check out the BTB triple T tracker at borntobaseball.com Make sure your team is represented. Let's go.
Calling all ball players. Are you ready to take your game to the next level? Were you born to baseball? Then bring it in? it's game time.
Hey guys, welcome to the born to baseball podcast. Today we're excited to have Shay Hillenbrand with us. Shea played seven years in the major leagues is a two time All Star and was Player of the Year three out of five years in the minor leagues. Some of his career highlights include hitting a game winning home run off of Mariano Rivera at Fenway Park, and hitting three home runs in three consecutive innings. Amazing. Shea, thank you so much for coming on.
My pleasure. Thanks for having me, buddy.
Would you like to start us off by sharing your baseball journey?
My baseball journey, I think that would take about an hour, hour and a half to share that. But a lot like you what you shared to me, shared with me before we started the show is that ever since I can remember since five years old, six years old, seven years old, I had a baseball in one hand and a glove on the other hand, pursuing my dream of becoming a major league baseball player. So I have two older brothers, and they never did anything. They didn't do the extra work. They didn't go outside and play and put in the extra work to get themselves advanced at whatever they were doing. So they had the same opportunities I did, but they didn't take advantage of that. So I want to share that with all your listeners out there that baseball is something that's different than most sports is you have to have a hunger inside yourself with baseball. For the game, you have to love the game in order to go out there and work outside of practice outside of games outside of tournaments, outside of the rings, outside of the bats, all that stuff, you have to work so starting in middle school and high school, I'd eat supper real quick outside inside with the family and I run back outside and I hit the ball off the tee in the backyard. My father didn't buy me a tee or a net or any of that stuff. So I made a contraption a net out of PVC piping, which is what your irrigation piping is for your sprinkler systems for the frame and then I had a bed sheet and boy was that bed sheet loud man I hit that ball so hard just to wake up a neighbor's and make her neighbors let him know that the hearing Shea Hillenbrand is going to be a major league baseball player. So I worked harder than everybody else and I grew up in LA area. And I was a die hard Dodger fan when I grew up. And my mom had season tickets to the Dodgers games and my mom My best friend and myself would sit in the third deck and the top of the stadium, and I sit there with my chocolate malt in one hand, my nachos on the other hand, and I would just say, I'm going to be out there someday I'm going to be out there someday, I am going to be a major league baseball player starting at 7,8,9 years old. And that's what I want to convey to your listeners as well is that everybody has to have a dream. Everybody has a dream, they have a purpose, and they have a mission to accomplish here on earth. And I wanted to become a major league baseball player ever since just like yourself, and I think you can relate to that. So I would engage my senses and you got to make your dream become tangible by engaging the senses that you have. You got to touch it, you got to feel it, you got to smell it, you got to taste it, and you got to visualize it. Okay, so I said at the top of the deck, a third deck at Dodger Stadium, and I'd say you know, I'd hear the crack of the bat. I'd hear the roar of the crowd. I smell the grass. And I'd always imagined the announcer announcing My name now batting number 29. Shay Hillenbrand, everybody thought I was crazy. Because the chances of becoming a major leaguer is so insanely difficult, but I didn't care because I made my dream become tangible. And it was nobody else's dream but myself. So you can't compare yourself to other people's dreams because some people at your age, young lads at your age are playing baseball because your dad wants them to their mom wants to. That's what the cool thing is my friends, you have to have your own dream. And I did that. So when I was a kid, I had two dreams. I want to become a major league baseball player. And I wanted to own a zoo. Yes, you heard me correctly. So when I left Major League Baseball in the prime of my career, at 32 years old, I bought a zoo I think I'm the only major league baseball player to ever do this ever. Major League Baseball buying a zoo. Why? Because I loved animals. And I love helping out kids just like yourself with the animals. So I purchased the farm 38 acres at a 300 farm and exotic animals, camels, kangaroos, llamas, alpacas, monkeys, raccoons, everything up to the moon. permanent position to help kids out like yourself and impact your life. So I'm kind of a unique individual, and how it's kind of like, do my own thing. So, but you got to follow your dreams.
Thank you for sharing your baseball journey.
You excelled as an all around athlete growing up baseball and soccer especially. What role did being a multi sport athlete play in your development?
That's a great question. When you're researching these questions, man who do these on your own?
that's awesome. Great job. So I always played multiple sports when I was a kid because I'm super competitive. And I'm pretty athletic. So I played baseball and baseball season basketball and basketball season and elementary school and junior high. And then I played football and football season soccer and soccer season. And what people don't understand is that you can't play baseball more than eight months out of the year. Because it drives your mind crazy. You have to let your mind relax. And I'm telling you as a major leaguer playing, playing every day in the major leagues, hitting 600 at bats, after six months of doing that, you're like, give me the heck out of here, even us as adults, even us as the best in the world at what we do. We deal with that because this is how we are as human beings as people. So you got to rest your mind. So I love soccer, soccer was a heck of a lot easier than baseball. I love slide tackling people. I love trying to be aggressive and doing that stuff and anticipate I was a forward and actually I was a number one soccer player in high school and Arizona had no options to play baseball anywhere out of high school. I had options to play soccer in Europe at options to play at a university division one university for soccer, but my childhood dream was to play Major League Baseball. So I walked on at the local community college, that's the only option I had. And I was the first guy there and the last guy to leave every single day. Why? Because I had a dream. Becoming a major league baseball player. And I made the team because of my work ethic. And after three years of playing at the junior college, some people might say, how'd you play the junior college three years because Junior College is two years. I'm medical redshirt in one year. So I was actually there for three years, I became the number one baseball player in Arizona, at the junior college level after three years, so it's just work ethic, but you have to play multiple sports. You have to you have to for development, and to be able to move and do different things and stimulate your mind. You have to be able to play multiple sports and it's challenging for you guys now, as kids because a lot of coaches like Oh, you got to play baseball year round. No, you don't. Here's a guy right here that didn't do it. And I made millions of millions of dollars in the major leagues, playing multiple sports and a lot of Major League Baseball players do the same thing. So I challenge people just enjoy being a kid because when you grow up, you have to deal with adult things. So enjoy playing multiple sports.
Yeah, that's great advice. You were drafted as a shortstop but played multiple positions in the MLB How were you able to adjust to that?
You weren't gonna stop me I don't care what anybody said. I was gonna become a major leaguer. Check this out. I was, first of all, I grew up a diehard Dodger fan like I told you. And in 1996, long, long, long, long, long time ago, I was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. And that was my childhood dream to get drafted by a major league baseball team, right to get drafted by a team to go professional baseball. And I told all my friends, check this out at 22 years, 20 years old. I told all my friends I got drafted by the White Sox. And they're like, What are you talking about? Man? You get drafted by the Red Sox, like the most prestigious team like Boston Red Sox, New York. And I was like, wait, I got drafted by the Red Sox. I don't even know what I got drafted by because I wanted to become a major leaguer. and my excuse? Every time or my answers every time I had two answers, I tell everybody because they thought it was kind of crazy. I didn't even know what to I got drafted by, I said for one, I'm a Dodger fan. All right, when you grew up a Dodger fan, you show up in the 3rd inning and leave in the seventh inning to beat traffic. So you'd never You don't know anything about baseball outside of Dodger Stadium in LA, as a West Coast Dodger fan quite different than New York. Let me tell you that much right there. But, so I said, I'm a Dodger fan. And for two, I told everybody this, mark my words, but I told him, I don't care what Sox it is White Sox, Red Sox, blue Sox, purple sock, pink socks. I'm going to the big leagues. So no matter what team you're on, he's going to have the opportunity and take advantage of that. So after I got drafted, I got drafted as a shortstop check this out. Number one shortstop in Arizona junior college, I went to play my first 10 games and professional baseball in Lowell, Massachusetts. I had no idea what I was doing. I knew how to hit I didn't know how to field. I made 14 errors. Check this out. I made 14 errors in my first 10 games at shortstop. I was up there wearing it, man. I was out there. Oh my gosh, this is horrible. And 4000 fans booing you because you're missing the ball all the time. And the manager came to me one day and he said, Hey, do you want to play like first base or something? Yes, please get me out of here, man, can I get the shortstop and then after my second year of playing professional baseball, the organization came up to me one of the members and organization the management said, Hey, you want to learn how to play catcher. They say if you learn how to catch, you can go to the big leagues pretty quick. So that offseason, after my second year of playing professional baseball, after a couple player of the year awards, I went to Australia and learned how to catch and with that I came to the big leagues as a catcher. And then and then after that, I started with third base on opening day with the Red Sox. See you have to do that song put me in coach. I'm ready to play today. You have to be able to do whatever the coach tells you to do, man because you never know what opportunity might arise.
Do you think it's important for youth baseball player to learn and play multiple positions?
Absolutely, because you never know what's going to happen because there's only nine guys on the field at one time, right? The pitcher at eight position players, I was no good at pitching. So I said, Don't give me that baseball. I'm not a good pitcher, I like to I like to crush pitchers hitting so you have to be able to be ready. And you can't you never know, you never know what's going to happen. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I would have been a catcher in professional baseball. But I said, Yes, I'll do it and learn it. And it gives you more opportunities. But the most important thing I want to convey to you bud is that and your listeners is that you have to learn the game of baseball, baseball is like chess. There's so many parts of the game, whether you're hitting or running situations, whether it's a 1-2 count or 2-2 count or 2-0 count or 3-1 count. Or if there's a guy in first base, we're going to throw the ball. There's so many different parts of the game that we got to learn. And so many players are so worried about how their swing is how they're launch angle is. How pretty is that ball? How far did I hit it? How hard did I throw it? There's so many more things involved. Baseball than that, and I want to convey that to you guys quick you learn the information. Better, Faster, get there. That's what Pedro Martinez told me. I don't know if you remember Pedro Martinez with it with the Red Sox. He was a he's a Hall of Famer now. But he told me one day when I was in spring training as a rookie, a minor leaguer, he said, Shea, let me tell you one thing. It's not how much you learn. It's how quickly you're learning is what gets you the big leagues. And that's the number one thing that stuck with me the whole time is that it's not how much you know, it's how much you implement it. It's how much you put it to play, how much you get it to work. You can have all the information in the world, but if you don't apply it, you're not gonna have success on a consistent basis.
Wow, that's great. So you didn't just practice for the sake of practicing you practice with a purpose? What was your practice routine and hitting process like leading up to the bigs?
Oh my gosh, that's a you have to have an obsession for the game. So when you start getting when you start getting paid Play the game, you have to have an obsession. Check this out. I've swung a baseball bat over a million times. Think about that. You guys might understand how many times a million swings i'd swing the bat 60,000 times every offseason in three months. 60,000 times 60,000 divided by three what is 20,000 swings a month. So you have to learn how to have a process to swing the bat. I take it I take pride in teaching young guys like you how to work. See what happens is the mechanics of your swing has 20% (2,0) to do with the success of your swing. And what I don't understand is so many coaches talk about the mechanics of your swing, it didn't matter. What it is, is 80% of the success of your swing guys has to deal with psychology. Psychology is not with a psychologist sitting in a couch and whatever. What psychology is, is what are you focusing on? See I have a four step focus for me a million focus formula that all guys do in the major leagues that hit over 300 in the big leagues, I was fortunate to be able to do that. I'm not really that great, but I know how to work and outwork everybody else. And I thought about what can I help people out with not mechanics, not teaching guys, pitch counts. This is I want to teach guys how to work. So I have a four step focus probably when you get off the batting tee I have a 4 step focus formula. When you get a when you hit soft toss, when you throw a coach pitch, when you have the machine thrown. Whether you're building a ground ball, whether you're the catcher, Fly ball, whether you're thrown, you always have to have a system and a process in place with what you do a four step focus formula real quick for you guys. And if you want the information, y'all can reach out to me after this. But the first step in it when you're hitting the ball off the tee, is you're gonna have direction in the batting cage, we're gonna hit the ball, where am I gonna hit this ball, I'm gonna hit it off the screen. Step number two, I'm going to look at the ball, and I'm going to tell myself hit the ball off the screen. In my mind, I'm going to tell my mind what to do. Step number three is going to be boom. I'm going to achieve my load my loading mechanism step number one where am I going to hit it Step number two, I'm going to look at the ball. Step number three, I will achieve my load. And step number four, I'm going to feel my swing, I'm going to 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. Because if you have a specific thoughts, one specific focus guys, you're going to be able to have extreme confidence and achieve what you want to achieve on a consistent basis. If you have generalized focus, I'm gonna think about this and this and this and that and that and this and this, this generalized focus causes confusion. And when you're confused, the hundred percent byproduct of that is no self confidence. I want self confidence when I go to the plate to hit a home run off Mario Rivera, oh my gosh, the next day, throw it in my head. So you have to understand how to work. It's not about being pretty. It's about grinding it and have an understanding. If you have that specific focus. If we know what to do is step 1,2,3,4. It's going to stir up a hunger inside you and you're going to want to go out to work because you're going to have success. You're going to be consistent with your success. You want to go hit right now. I tell you what
Yeah, that's great advice. For us youth baseball players, and especially that four step process, we can definitely implement that in our game. Strong worth work ethic has been one of your keys to success. What drives you? And what advice would you give to youth baseball players who may be managing with distractions and other responsibilities?
What do you mean deal with the cell phone? What do you mean social media? What do you mean Twitter? What do you mean? IG? what do you mean Tik Tok. All that stuff, right? Check it out. You have to have a hunger. It all starts with your why why am I doing what I am doing? That why has to come in from within you, but it has to come from you. Like you said, you have to want to be able to go and throw the ball in the house. You want to be able to go outside. You want to be able to have that hunger and the love for the game. You need to have love for baseball. I always tell people, baseball's Like relationships, I'm married. So I understand that. All right, baseball is like relationships of love has to be unconditional. Why? Because in a relationship, there's a lot of failure. There's a lot of confliction. There's love. There's arguments, there's a lot of misunderstandings, because you're dealing with two separate people trying to become one person. That's like me as a baseball player. And baseball, baseball will eat you up, baseball will tear you down. Check this out, but I had 600 at bats in the major leagues, and I had success 180 times out of 600. Think about that. 180 times I had success out of 600 over six months, you know, how many how much failure that is? It's 70% failure. And it's just like, Oh my gosh, I suck. Oh my gosh, I'm gonna do good. Oh my gosh, what I'm trying to say is I hit 310. That year for the D backs. When I went 180 for 600 is 300. So I have 185 or 188 190. They're like, This is crazy. How How much failure there is a baseball? You have to have hunger for the baseball. Why are you doing what you're doing? Dude? Are you doing it for the love of the game? Are you doing it because your dad wants you to do it? Are you doing it because you wanna get a college scholarship? You want to make the high school varsity baseball team? Or do you want to play professional, you have to understand clearly what you want to do. And then two, you have to have that work ethic you have to seek somebody out, seek somebody out like myself that's been there and done it and ask them, How do I do it? So you seek someone out and you have them lay out a plan for you. Alright, let's do this. This This isn't this. Okay? So you did sought me out as kind of hit the batting cage, right? I said simple. Let's do 1,2,3,4 direction, ball, achive your load feel, direction, ball achieving load field, direction, ball achieve load field. I just gave you a million dollar formula. And step number three is a hardest thing. hardest thing for so many people. The hardest thing and step number three is you have to go implement it. You have to go do it. There's no secret formula to it. Success other than you've got to go. So whenever my friends were whether they were sick, I was working. Whenever my friends were partying hanging out with their friends, playing video games. I was outside working. When they say it's too hot. Yes, it gets hot in Arizona like 122 degrees. I don't. I was outside working. I was out there too cold, I was out working. And that's what it is. You have to have that consistency. So check it out. 4% of high school players in the United States play professional baseball 4% don't see the 0.05% percent 0.05%. And others 0.05 of high school played baseball players 4% go to the major leagues, or the point 05 that make it and then 13% of the 4% of the point 05 percent, become an all star. I did all that. So if I tell you right now, you have you have a 3% chance of living your dream What would you think? I've 3% chance of living my dream? If I tell you that, what would you do? You probably think that I have a 97% chance. I'm not going to do it. So why would I go fulfill my dream? Why would I go chase my dream? And for if only 3% of people make it? What are say like 1% 99% of a chance? I'm not going to make it. Why would I go do it? Let me tell you the secret right now. And this is the secret potion right here. What it means if I tell you have 1% chance of making it, what it means is that whenever you come to confliction whenever you come into failure whenever you come into a bump in the road, what that means is 99% of people give up 99% of people when they're chasing their dream, when they get oh my gosh, I had a bad game. Oh my gosh, like coach told me I'm no good. Oh my gosh, I didn't make the varsity baseball team. What it means is 99% of people give up 1% of people keep going. I told At the beginning that I walked on at a junior college, I didn't have a chance to go anywhere after high school. I couldn't give up. But I said, No, I want to be a one percenter. What the one percenters are, is that they take no, there's no such thing as no in their vocabulary. There's no such thing. You tell me. No. I'll find another way. You told me No. You told me I'm no good. I can't tell you how many times I've been told I suck. Of course, I played as a Red Sox player in Yankee Stadium. The only times I was told I suck in Yankee Stadium. How many times I told I was no good. Boo Hillenbrand you suck, I don't care. I'm gonna go work in the batting cage afterwards. And I want to figure this stuff out. And you're gonna see me on TV in front of millions, man. That's what it's about right there.
Yeah. three home runs in three consecutive innings. That doesn't happen by accident. What are some of the things you did behind the scenes to lead up to a moment like that?
It's the same thing. That's a great question. Dude your questions are awesome. Man, I appreciate those good questions cuz a lot of times people ask crazy questions, but you're doing an amazing job. But I do this all the time and with people all around the world, so awesome. It's the same thing, but it's the exact same thing I know exactly the same as a double negative. So you can't say that. So it's the exact thing, the same thing as I was talking about. It's work and work and work and work. If I work with a process, and if I work with a system, like when I'm playing catch, I think about the same thing when I'm fielding a ground ball. I'm a two time All Star a third baseman in the major leagues, I have no clue how to feel the ground ball. I am no bueno. You're probably like, Why? What are you talking about? I know how to have systems. I know how to have processes. I know how to implement them. And I know how the brain works. I know how confidence works. I know how to get things done. And that's what super super successful people do. When I go to field a ground ball. I do four steps. I read the ground ball. I read the ground ball. Step one, I read it for speed, location hop, where is it hit? How hard is it, hit? Get? Hot. Step number two I set up for the ground ball, I go right left, and I pick it and then go right left, pick up my target, throw, read the ground ball, right left, pick it right left, pick up my target, throw, read the ground ball, right, left, pick it right, left, pick and do that over and over specific focus on one thing, and you're going to be able to have success and consistency, and go and tap into all the talents that you've been blessed with all the ability that you've been given. Everybody's so worried about the external things, what does this coach gonna say, with this parent gonna say? What's it, who cares what they say? It's what you say to yourself. And the way you get confidence is two things, work and work and work and work. And the second thing is self talk. There's 60,000 thoughts that go through our head every day, subconsciously 40,000 of those 60 are negative. So it's what are you saying to yourself to go out there to give you an opportunity to hit three home runs in three consecutive innings? Let me tell you what, I didn't even know that was going on. Intuition kicks in the game, you go out there and compete. And when I'm competing in the batter's box, only think about two things that's it, have to focus is what am I going to start and read the pitch? What am I going to start read the pitch at what point in time in the pitches wind up Am I going to start my my load. And then second thing I focus on read the pitch. And those pitches, so happen to be in a spot that lets me jack some home runs upon I put on a show for the crowd of 40,000 people. But my teammates didn't tell me until my last at bat was my fifth at bat that I'm going for all time record of the most homeruns consecutively of Major League history of four times in four consecutive bats. They told me right before my last at bat, and then when I went to the plate for my last at bat, everybody who was watching the Yankees game, everybody's watching any of the game, they'll switch to my bat. So I had millions and millions of millions of millions of people watching me at my bat, and my knees were shaking. I was nervous. I was like, Oh my gosh, what's going on? Because we're humans too, right? So I was nervous, and I took the first Pitch because I wasn't focused, because sometimes things get overwhelming and, and things happen, and it could darn and pitcher threw me a curveball first pitch. I couldn't get it out of the stadium. But I ended up hitting a double to centerfield. I went five for five with three home runs, and seven RBI. So, and I'm no better than you, you're probably better than me right now, at your age when I was your age, but you have to work hard. Whatever you do, whether it's your schoolwork, whether it's your chores, whether it's being a good son, or being a good friend, or whatever you do. You have to work hard, and it's the biggest thing. A lot of people don't do that.
Yeah, that's a big part of life in general.
5-5 isn't that bad
It's not bad, but you gotta go home the next day and do it again. So it's crazy in the major leagues because you play every single night so yeah, you got to enjoy those little wins, but you got to stay focused now.
So what was your reaction when you learn that you made it to the All Star team for the first Time
was crazy as my second year in the major leagues, I was with the Red Sox and I was having a really good start of the season. And this one day, and your questions are awesome and they get exciting. One day I was sitting on the couch in the afternoon, before I went to the ballpark and I turned on ESPN, I never watch ESPN. I never watch any of that stuff because I just I don't watch TV. I don't listen to music till I was 14 years old. I was always outside pursue my dream. I was always like, different. So I just turned on the TV. And it happened to be like showing like the all star balloting for the third basements in America league. So it's an all American League like like the players that are in a position that lead it, and I was leading all the third basements. Oh my gosh, man and I was beating Robin Ventura. Here's what the Yankees and I was with the Red Sox. I'm like, the fans are actually voting for me. Like five years ago, I was I was I was in junior college, and I'm in the major leagues and I like these people. Love me that much. And it's just it's the most amazing feeling ever and then being able to play the all star game that first game I started at third base. I started Alex Rodriguez was at shortstop. Ichiro Sazuki. Like, it was crazy man, all these guys. I don't I don't mean High School in college was Mike Piazza because I came up as a catcher. And he was like the best hitting catcher ever like, Oh my gosh, man, and like, all I ever wanted to do was meet Mike Piazza So my first at bat Ichiro Suzuki lead after that, I hit second. My first at bat, I went to home plate, because I was playing an American League and Mike Piazza was playing for the Mets so I've ever played against him, because we didn't have interleague at that time. So I went to home plate and it might be outside. I said, how you doing Mike? Like, he's like, hey, shea, congratulate he's talking to me. Like, like, we're friends. And he's like, I couldn't believe it. But it was it was the most amazing experience ever. The All Star games. absolutely absolutely crazy. They have a parade. They have a media day like you go to your hotel room for the all star game. And your whole bed is full of bags of equipment, and just stuff that give you all this stuff. And when you're in the major leagues, you fly on airplanes, like your private planes for the team, and they give you all the snacks you want. All you got, like, you get to choose between four or five different meals, whether it's steak or lobster or spaghetti or chicken, or they treat you like kings, man, and you have ice cream, and you have like popsicles. And you have like, like everything in the clubhouse is like a little room, like a like a convenience store, to where they have all the candies. You want hotdogs not to do it. It's crazy, man. And then like you don't even touch your bags, like to pack your bags in the major leagues like they pack it for you even touch your bags, and it's like, it's just amazing. It's like you stay in five star hotels like the state of the Ritz Carlton. In Houston. I had a doorbell in my room because the room was so big. And it was my first time in the major leagues. And I was you know, have you seen the movie at home alone with Macaulay Culkin? The movie home alone, like I was jumping up on top of my bed like Oh my gosh, no dude is crazy that I'm telling you playing in the major leagues and living your dream is the coolest experience ever.
Sounds amazing, What was your favorite All Star game memory? Was it when you met Mike Piazza and you guys were talking? Or was it in like those experiences where you got to see people like Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro and all those type of guys
it's uh it's it's pretty overwhelming because even when you get into major leagues, it's so hard to get the Major Leagues but to be like they're like all star players at 13% of all major leaguers. So it's like 60 guys at 55 guys out of 700 that do that each year so it's the whole experience is crazy, man. It's so cool to be able to see all the guys that are superstars and you're in a clubhouse with them. And like Jason Giambi was a first baseman for the Yankees and he was hitting the Home Run Derby. I think that was pretty darn cool to sit on the field. During The Home Run Derby or the all star game because you always watch it on TV, all that stuff a beat on the field like right there next to watch them launch the balls, man like it's just crazy as this. But the whole thing like the managers like it's just It's such an honor. And it's such an experience. It's just It's hard to explain it's really overwhelming for your senses. It's, it's such a good I never thought I'd ever do it. But I've never focused on becoming an all star. I focused on how can I be the very best I am right now. So you're 12 years old? Right? How can you like say you want to play high school baseball and you want to play varsity? Like that's your next major milestone or whatever, the freshman team or whatever. Like what can you do right now with that vision in sight of I want to play varsity baseball, I want to play freshman baseball, or whatever it is, or I want to play in college or I want to play professional Major League. I always want to become a major league baseball player, but I never thought about that under focused on that. I kept that in the back of my mind. But I focused where I was right there. I'm going to be the very best I can today, I'm going to be the very, very best I can in this at bat or for my team right now, or whatever it is. And tomorrow, I'm gonna do everything I can tomorrow, right now, because the next day is not guaranteed. But if you if you do the very best and focus where you're at now, you never know where you're going to be. So you can be on top of the world have become a two time All Star make millions like myself, it's it's just you got to be focused where you're at doesn't matter what anybody else says, you got to do that and force people to make a decision to play you. And they'll do that by being a good teammate. They'll do that by producing and they'll do that by seeing you work hard coaches love that.
So you said like you said it earlier. And you also you've also said it in a YouTube video. 80% of hitting is psychology and 20% is mechanics. What can youth baseball players do to make sure they're training their mental muscles just as much as their physical ones.
That's a great question. But it's a great question. The biggest thing is you got to go work, you got to work. Swing is like zebra stripes. I like animals, I use zebra stripes, or you can use a fingerprint. Everybody, your swing is different than mine. And my swing is different than the next person, everybody has their own swing. And you're trying to get a result of hitting a line drive, or hitting a home run, or whatever you're trying to achieve, have a good quality at bat, you got to go out there and learn how to work. And you'll figure it out yourself. And that's the thing is, is like, you have to understand that you can't think about so many different things. You just got to focus on the ball. And when you focus in the ball, I got to figure out what I'm going to start my swing, When you start your swing is when the pitcher breaks his hands. Alright, so when the ball comes out of the pitchers glove, and he's starting to come up, he's winding up and you're ready to throw. I'm winding up and getting ready to hit. It's all timing and rhythm with the pitcher. But you have to be focused on one specific thing. It's a soft focus, which is like relaxed and chill. So I can react. Right. So a swing is a reaction. It's not a swing, it's a reaction. And two things have to happen for me to react to something which is I want to react to the pitch, right? two things. The first thing is you have to be 100% focused on what you're reacting to. The second thing is so darn hard to do in Yankee Stadium. You have to be relaxed, your muscles have to relax, you can't be tense, it can't be going crazy. It can't be I'm going to crush you gotta be relaxed, like a cobra, like a tiger in the weeds getting ready to pounce on his prey. So what I got to do is relax, then focused on the pitcher, his arm. It's like a smaller area I'm focusing on, right. And then the second thing I focus on is read the pitch, or when I'm working focus where you're at right there. When you're in a batting cage, focus exactly where you're at off the tee. Where am I going to hit it? Focus on the ball to my load, feel, I can't think about talking to my teammates. I can't think about girls. I can't think about school. I can't think about all this stuff. be focused right where I'm at. And I think that's what I was really, really good at, to where it allowed me to excel at a rapid pace. Because of that, I'm telling you, your focus is 80% of the daily success, everything. And then 20% is mechanics, because I'm telling you like everybody's mechanics different in the major leagues, everybody's swings differ, but coaches are trying to teach the same thing. You can't really do that. But in order for you to understand what you need to do, you have to go out there and work.
Wow. Faith plays a big role in your life. How does it impact your self confidence and the work you do to support young kids through baseball?
Yeah, absolutely, buddy. It is it is. So we're made up of three parts you have to admit you're made up of your spirit you made up your mind you made up your body, and whether I don't matter if you believe in God doesn't matter if you believe in the universe, or Buddha or, or whatever. It doesn't matter. We are spiritual beings. So there's six human needs that we have every few human being, right, the first spirit that the first need is for the body, which is certainty. Second, uncertainty, love and connection and significance. And those are the body to the Spirit are you going to grow and you got to give, you got to grow, you got to give you got to work on yourself. You got to grow as a person. You got to continue to grow and you have to give to other people. I've made millions of dollars. I've lived my dreams. 98% of people don't get to live any of their dreams. I live to my dreams, Major League Baseball, owning a zoo at three. Three mansions, six cars 300 pairs of shoes. I love flying private jets. I flew the fastest jet in the world civilian jet in the world. The President's hung out with movie stars. I've been in front of everybody living my dreams. I'd had little girls in the stands, holding up sign See, will you marry me? I do autograph signings for $10,000 an hour and girls are coming to the table crying and shaking. Like I'm Justin Bieber. But what happens is that doesn't mean anything. You have to be able to grow yourself. You have to be able to give. And that's what it's about is giving back and my faith is, is I thought I was supposed to be a major league baseball player. As you can see, my my purpose is to motivate my purpose is to inspire a purpose to tell someone like you, you could do a bud. And that's my clothing line right here 2 V's aparell. It's two V's voice to the voiceless. So what we want to do is we want to inspire people like you to use your voice to impact the world, just what you're doing right now. So thank you, because you are impacting so many people that you don't even understand at this time of your life because it's amazing. There's not many kids that do it. But you're having people on that have a voice to help impact players. So my dream ultimate dream is to inspire major leaguers inspire people that are superstars to use your voice to impact the world because there's no greater feeling than to help somebody else out.
Yeah, that that's really strong. thank you for sharing that. If we want to be successful in baseball and in life, we can't make excuses. So what is against all odds mean for you?
Against All Odds me that I was drive around one day in my Hummer, h2 Hummer yellow, all chromed out zebra headliner pimpin stereo system, I put $100,000 in this car, and a voice came to my head, which I correlated to the Holy Spirit says, start of foundation and call it against all odds against all odds is just doing everything and having success against all odds. That's my journey. That's my life. That's my story. There's no reason why I should have made it to where I was because I wasn't the best player. I just, it's crazy. But I was blessed to have the opportunity to play Major League Baseball, to get a name to utilize a platform to leverage that to help other people make their lives better. So between against all odds and voice to the voiceless 2 V's aparell, we're teaming up and utilizing baseball as a platform to be able to teach and give back and utilize baseball to teach life skills. Because there's so many skills in baseball, that transfer to life. Because at some point in time, baseball is going to be over for everybody. You can't play forever, right? So at 32 years old, I walked away from baseball. At some point in time baseball is going to be over, but I learned so many life lessons, whether it's failure, navigating failure, whether it's performing under pressure, or whether it's being a good teammate, or whether it's, we call it pivoting, whether it's okay, I got to do this to this. You got to find a way to have success success. And that's what's the beauty about baseball and I think, my heart grieves, I get sad, because I think the coaches I think, the leaders, I think the parents, a lot of parents are taking that love of baseball out of the game for guys like you, because of the pressure they put on. We're going to have success or whatever. The game will beat you up enough. I have to as a coach, I have to as a mentor after you as a dad, I have to as a person. That's been there. that motivate you to inspire you. Because again, telling you there's so much failure, the game will beat you up enough. I have to lift you up and pick you back up and say, dude, you could do it. Let's go you might have went 0-4 today. But tomorrow's a new day. And you can go out there and rocket.
Yeah. So sometimes our biggest wins come after tough failures. What advice would you give to youth baseball players on bouncing back after a mistake of bad at bat or a slump?
Don't get from me and my friends. And you is I failed more than everybody else. every successful person fails. If you talk about anybody out there right now all the billionaires all the millionaires, all the superstars, or whether it's Mike trout or whether it's whomever it is the pitcher you just got I don't even watch baseball. I'm sorry, dude.
It was a pitcher, Cole that you guys
Yeah, Gerrit Cole. Like we have failed. So much. It's understanding about don't allow failure to define who you are. Failure is a part of the process. And you will not learn I'm telling you right now I can give you all the secrets, I just gave you the million dollar formula four step folks more formula direction, ball, load feel. I just gave it to you. But if until you go out there and try to implement it until you go out there and try to fail and fail at it and fail at it and fail at it. And you figure it out, and you implement it, and you tweak it, and you put it in your language and you apply it to where you need to apply it. That's when you can be able to have major success, but you have to learn how to fail. And so many people want to live inside their little bubble right here. They want to live inside their bubble like my head's in my bubble right now. You want to live in this bubble right here. I got to step outside that circle, allow myself to be vulnerable, allow myself to put myself in a position for all my friends to laugh at me. Oh, you suck. But people tell me I'm not going to do good after allow myself to get outside this circle, to go out there and fail and be vulnerable and that's where all the growth happens. That's where the learning happens. That's where all you flourish is outside of that. I'm the most introverted person you'll ever meet. introverted means shy. I'm the most shy person you would never believe it. I would play I was a third highest active batting average in Yankee Stadium. Number one Paul Konerco number two Ichiro Suzuki. Number three, Shea Hillenbrand, meaning that I had the third highest batting average of all major leaguers in Yankee Stadium. I love performing on stage. In the Big Apple, I don't know why. I just love it because I've worked so hard at it. But when I left the game, and after the game that night, I want to run a fancy restaurant, and I couldn't get up at the table the restaurant or walk across the restaurant to use the restroom. Because that fear of everybody staring at me, and they're going to make me think I'm stupid. That's how crazy it is, is you have to understand that that's where success happens is when you stand outside and step outside. The comfort zone and go, there's no such thing as failure. Failure is part of the process is the biggest learning you could do is when you fail.
Wow, that's great information. So thinking back to the days where you're a kid dreaming of playing in the MLB, what advice to you would you give to your younger self?
You know why I'm laughing because people ask me this question all the time, because they want me to give some knowledge, some wisdom. You know, my answer is every time I wouldn't give myself any advice, I wouldn't say one word to me. You know why? Because I wouldn't listen. So I wouldn't waste my time talking to my younger self, and wasting my breath. Because I wouldn't have listened. I didn't listen to nobody. I just went out there. I had tenacity. I had drive. I had work ethic I was going to get there and whether you're in a part of it or not, I'm going to the big league. So I'm kind of different in that way to where I wouldn't do that. What I would give you because I'm sure you might listen to me with the wisdom that I have, and this experience i have is enjoy the process. And this is sad. Like we got paid every two weeks. Like you go to your locker in the major leagues in the clubhouse, there's a check. Like, we get paid lots and lots of money. We get we get it, I pull up my check stub through my I see my check. And I would get paid $340,000 every two weeks after taxes, like mega money, like mega money. And I never once sat there and said, Wow, I'm a millionaire. Now one time in the major leagues that I say that, nor did that say, Oh my gosh, I'm living my dream. I was so worried about performing. I was so worried about the pressure of succeeding. Because the pressure to see is so great that you lose yourself. And when you lose yourself, you begin playing the pain driven game. It's hard when you get to the major leagues. It's challenging because if you get disconnected from who you are, you lose yourself man and you get wrapped up with Through identity of being a major league baseball player, that's the hardest thing for major league baseball players, when they leave baseball leave the game is that identity? What do I do now? I'm a major league baseball player. What do I do with this next chapter in my life? So that's challenging. So you have to enjoy it, because your life's a journey. And it's a process. And I never really enjoyed the process. I fell in solitude, I found comfort, I found confidence through the process because I worked so hard. And I had systems and processes in place, and all that to be able to achieve success. But it never was able to sit there like oh, this is cool. I'm in the major league. So you have to enjoy.
Wow. You've shared some great information with us today. And I really appreciate it.
Now I want to move into the rapid fire questions.
Yes, sir. So
favorite MLB field you've played on?
so hard to answer. I would have to say Fenway Park
favorite postgame meal.
I would have it at the hotel. I would never eat at the stadium. I'm crazy. All the time I'd be in a five star hotel. I'd order a grilled cheese, French onion soup and a picture of it and it would cost me $80 for a grilled cheese French onion soup a picture of it. Wow.
So your first major purchase as a major leaguer?
Awesome, great question. But people buy my car, a house, but if you buy themselves a house, a lot of people buy themselves a pimping car. I bought a horse. I bought a horse. I always wanted a horse when I was your age. I wanted a horse. I grew up in Southern California, and I wanted to get a horse. I love animals. So my mom would never let me get horses or big, big animals like that. So I always told myself the first purchase I'm going to have is a horse I bought a quarter horse and named CL
you Favorite motivational or baseball quote.
I have my own quote. And my own quote that I came up with is for coaches because I like to train the trainer's. I like to train coaches, I like to train people, and the more people I could train up, they could help a lot of kids like you. So what it is, is it's not about the technique. It's how you teach a technique that stimulates growth and creates transformation. That's what it is. It's not about the technique. It's how you teach it. It's how you energize people. It's how you motivate people. It's how you go out there right now. I guarantee you, you and your listeners, you want to go learn you want to go hit, because the motivation and the energy and the passion that I bring, you'll be passionate about what you're doing.
You're working on multiple projects right now. Can you share a little bit about them with the listeners?
Yeah, I'm a real estate agent in Arizona. I love doing real estate. It's the passion I had for a long time. So I do that I have five kids. I have three girls and competitive All Star cheerleading. So I'm a cheer dad. I'm not a baseball player anymore. I have the Against All Odds foundation. But the biggest thing that I like doing is I like doing motivational speaking. And I like doing coaching programs to where I bring coaches in, I bring people in, and I put them through like a four or five, six steps, and teach them how to find fulfilment. I love teaching people simple steps to create to sustain peak performance. I was able to be a peak performer for a long time in the major leagues, and be able to master that aspect. So I like teach people that and my pride and joy is my hat. I love doing videos. I love being I'm editing right now, we're creating a video called an identity. For two V's, I'll send it to you whenever we get that done. But I love doing that and two V's apparel voice to the voiceless. We want to inspire people like you to use your voice to impact the world. So living on purpose. Understanding your gifts and talents is extremely important. But you have to understand your gifts and your talents. And the best thing to do is utilize those talents that makes somebody else's life better. That's what the true meaning of fulfillment and life is about.
That's amazing. And where can listeners go to follow you or learn about more learn more about you
on Instagram? It's Shea_Hillenbrand. I don't know why anybody want to do this stuff but there's been people that like, if somebody has Shea Hillenbrand because like a fan because I think it's cool to have like to be me. I don't know why anybody would think it'd be cool to be me. So Instagram is Shea_Hillenbrand. On Facebook. It's SheaHillenbrand. I have ShayHillenbrand.TV that we're getting ready to launch but I love teaching guys how to work. I love motivating, inspiring and mentoring young lads like yourself. So that's where I'm at. And that's my happy space.
Thank you so much for coming on and sharing some great knowledge with the Born To Baseball community.
Absolutely. Thank you so much. I feel super honored to have this opportunity. I love your smile, man. I love your charisma. You do an amazing job and it's super super thank you so much for Allow me to share a little bit of what I know and experience that may be able to maybe be able to help maybe one person that listens to what you got going on. Anything I can do for you just let me know bud
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