What Roy Halladay Can Teach Us About the Importance of Habits


Roy Halladay is a great pitcher. Of this there can be no doubt. While he played for my beloved Toronto Blue Jays, he was phenomenal. He won the Cy Young award (best pitcher of the year in the American League). He was our ace. Halladay is as close you can come to a 'sure thing' in baseball. This year, Halladay's first in the major leagues with another team, he was even better. I'm not bitter. Really, I'm not.

I'm in awe.

He pitched a perfect game. That means that Halladay faced the minimum number of hitters (27) with none of the opposing team getting on base. That's only happened 19 times before in major league history.

Fast forward to the playoffs, and Halladay pitched a no-hitter (he walked a guy, so it wasn't a perfect game).


How does Halladay do it? How does he distinguish himself like this? Remember, he's not playing against slouches. He is playing the best of the best.

Halladay is Halladay for all sorts of reasons. His intelligence, his ability to focus on the next pitch regardless of what is going on around him, and his physical stature and prowess.

But there's something else.

Roy Halladay has rock solid habits. The day after a (rare) loss, Halladay goes through his routine. The day after an okay start, he goes through his routine. The day after an amazing performance, he goes through his routine. Halladay is Halladay partly because he grinds it out. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. And there are distractions aplenty. After his no-hitter during the playoffs, for example, the invitations for media appearances were in abundance. He declined, politely I'm sure, and got back to work.

It's that kind of dedication that brought him back to the major leagues early in his career when he was having trouble with his game. It's that kind of hard work, I would argue, that made him able to come back from an appendectomy faster than anyone had thought possible.

There is only one Roy Halladay and his level of achievement is extreme. But we can all take away a fundamental lesson from this phenomenal athlete: People who are habitual about their habits, who keep on truckin regardless of what happened, is happening, or is going to happen, are the people who are more likely to succeed. I wish Halladay a restful off-season. I can't wait to see what he accomplishes in 2011!

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