TAMPA, Fla.—Growing up, Cole Perry was an athlete who happened to play baseball.
But in the last few years, his focus has been becoming a baseball player.
After deciding where his passion lay the former fullback and shooting guard trained and practiced nearly everyday to improve his baseball skills, which he believes is an ongoing effort.
For Perry, he’s learned that the most important aspect of the sport is the mentality behind sticking with and getting better at his craft.
“If you have a good day or bad day you have to come to the ball field with a positive mentality,” he said prior to batting practice at the Tampa baseball facility. “And if you come with that, you can trust your abilities that you’ve been practicing and just play your game.”
The Jacksonville native also noted the resources he used to turn his mental focus onto himself. Nonfiction, informational and self-help books have helped motivate him to stay on track.
“I definitely like to improve and learn more about the world around me and I think those help improve me as a person overall.”
His ability to take what he learned from his favorite books is what he thinks not only elevates his game, but benefits his personal life as well.
Perry started out playing football, basketball and baseball — a generational trend that he continued and enjoyed until he reached high school.
“Football was extremely fun,” he said. “I just wasn’t a big fan of practicing for a week and playing one game at the end.”
The men in his family also played three sports when they were young, but choosing one paid off for his father, Paul, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1983.
That influence is what inspired the utility infielder to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“There’s nobody more influential than my dad. It was just a great experience growing up with him.”
Perry’s career decisions have been in tune with his philosophies. Since transferring from St. John’s River State College, the junior has made strides in developing his own identity.
In his first year with the University of Tampa, he is batting .400 and has eight runs and one homerun in 15 games played. He has come a long way from the teenager who admired his father’s career and dabbled athletically.
As far as his career aspirations go, Perry likes to study his favorite professionals but strives to keep developing as a unique individual.
“I don’t want to try to hit like Robinson Cano because that might not work for me,” he said.
“I’m not a big believer of watching a certain person and trying to mimic what they do because Cole Perry hits like Cole Perry. Whatever benefits me, that’s what I go towards.”