I've improved each year in the Majors and each half has been better than the half before, so I feel like I'm going in the right direction. But now I need to keep that momentum this season. This year I'll face new challenges, learn and try to make the appropriate adjustments.

You're always working on your swing and I was fortunate to find my power stroke in the second half last season, so I kind of ran with it.

Now I'd like to pick up where I left off, put two strong halves together and hopefully help our club do a little bit better in the standings -- the numbers that really count.

Fortunately I've been the type of players who's able to adapt pretty quickly to each new step in my career, except for my year in Double-A ball. Every year other than that I've hit .300.

That's not to make it sound like it's simple. You don't adjust year-to-year as much as you adjust day-to-day. Like most players, I'm always striving for consistency - the ability to come to the park prepared every day and perform at the highest level.

That doesn't mean you're going to have success every day. Sometimes you're going to hit balls at people or run into a tremendous pitching effort. But you can always be physically and mentally prepared to keep lapses to an absolute minimum.

Defensively, too. It was difficult at first making the transition to third base but I've been working on it every day and slowly it's been getting a little better. I still have my ups and downs, though, so there's plenty of room for improvement.

Just like with hitting, you need to be consistent in the field and make all of the routine plays that come your way. I'm still learning every day, though, and I'll keep learning every day as long as I play the game.

In 2006, his second full season, Garrett Atkins batted .329 with a .409 on-base average, 48 doubles, 29 homers, 120 RBIs and 117 runs scored. The former UCLA star, a fifth round pick by the Rockies in 2000, hit 18 of his home runs in the second half.