My Why - Gavin Hartman
It wasn’t long after he moved from T-Ball to Little League that Gavin Hartman realized baseball was the pastime for him.
“I just loved the game,” he says. “I just knew that's what I wanted to play.”
He was about 8-years-old. It was also about that time that Gavin started donning the mask and padding and taking up the position behind the plate; his becoming a catcher has a lot to do with his love of the game.
“As catcher, you're in the game every pitch,” he says. “The game is not going to work if you’re not there, if you don’t catch.”
As Gavin got older, he enjoyed the challenges, like making the throw to second to catch stealing baserunner. And building his strengths at the plate on the diamond.
“He’s very fast,” said Gavin’s mother, Julie Hartman. “His on base percentage is really good.”
“I lay down a bunt a lot,” he adds.
But as Gavin has gotten older — he’s now a sophomore at Brunswick High School — he began running more and more into a new challenge: with a late birthday, a lot of his competitors were just growing bigger and faster than he was. His natural talents helped him keep up, but he began to realize he needed to work harder and growing stronger in order to make up for the age gap.
“My friends have always been bigger than me,” Gavin says. “I just felt that I needed to get stronger, especially my arm strength.”
And so, in August of 2018, the Hartmans decided to give Player’s Fitness and Performance, in Frederick, Maryland a try. Not only was it, as Gavin puts it, a “crazy positive” environment, PFP and the trainers there gave him his first taste of a really focused program designed to actually take him closer to his goals.
“I had worked out occasionally, but I never really had a consistent workout that I would use,” he says. “At PFP, instead of just lifting weights, I would have the proper form and have a purpose for what I was doing.”
It was a big change, and it took Gavin awhile to get dialed in, according to PFP Coach Ben Johnson.
“I asked him, ‘what do you want out of PFP? What do you want out of sports? What are you trying to accomplish?’” Johnson says. “Because it’s not about what we want as coaches, it’s about what the athlete wants.”
Gavin wanted to get bigger and stronger, better on the baseball diamond, and he did. But it’s been over the past five months or so, Johnson says, that Gavin has really locked it in. Something just switched in on him and hasn’t shut off.
“It was really him coming to us as the coaches and saying, ‘coach, I need to get bigger. I need to get stronger; I need to get faster. What do you suggest?” Johnson says. “I think he’s put on about 10 pounds over the past two or three months, so that’s huge.”
And it hasn’t been all physical growth Gavin has experienced either. He’s been working with the PFP trainers to sharpen his mindset as well.
“One big thing that I've worked on and improved on a ton is my mentality and the way I can come off with a strikeout or bad play,” Gavin says. “It used to really affect me, but now it doesn't it doesn't carry over into my next play.”
For the month of February, PFP is honoring Gavin’s progress in all dimensions by naming him Athlete of the Month. He just recently found out.
“It was pretty cool to be honored like that,” he says. “There’s so many people they could have picked, and something stood out enough for them to pick me.”
What stood out, Johnson says, is Gavin’s relentless commitment to improvement over the past four months.
“Four months ago, he started clicking and his consistency and his drive at the gym, we noticed it month one. We were like, ‘Oh man, Gavin is really making strides, that’s awesome,” Johnson says. “Then month two, he ramped it up even farther.”
By month three, Johnson said, Gavin was still ramping up at PFP, giving him an Athlete Spotlight shout out for all his handwork.
“When he came in his fourth month and continued to push harder than he ever had before, even in month three, month two, month one,” Johnson says, “we were like, ‘This kid is doing big things!’”
All that, and Gavin has remained, even grown into being just a nice guy, according to Johnson.
“Gavin wants to have a positive impact on the people around him. You can just see that with the way he works out and interacts with other athletes,” Johnson says. “He works hard, but that kid just lights up a room when he walks in.”
In the long term, Gavin certainly has some big things planned. To play collegiate level baseball is his dream.
“I will always strive to play division one,” he says, “but if that doesn’t pan out for me, just to have the experience of playing at the collegiate level would be awesome.”
In the meantime, Gavin’s focus is on the more immediate goal of making varsity at the Brunswick high school try outs in March.
“I’m feeling good about it. I’m getting into the batting cage and getting loose,” he says. “After all the work I’ve done in the off season, I feel like I have a good chance.”
Gavin plans to get there the same way he’ll get to all his goals, working to become the best he can be on and off the field.
“If I can put my mind to it, I can find the best mindset possible to accomplish my goal,” he says.
That’s Gavin Hartman’s why. What’s