Baseball is a sport of chess… but, if you’re not a fan of the game that will never really matter.
I would venture to say, even if you don’t understand the sport, you will at least resonate with the life lessons I mention in this article.
Now… as I write this article, The Chicago Cubs have earned their way to the World Series for the first time in 71 years! I will admit that this team has always had my support in the playoffs because of how severe an underdog they have been. Plus, it has been over 100 years since the Cubs won the championship.
All that aside, with baseball season coming to an end, what can baseball teach you about life, even if you’ve never played?
Life Lessons from Baseball
The apparent lesson from the history I shared above would be patience, but that is too easy. And while sports in general are filled with principle takeaways we can use in life, I have gathered just a few to celebrate the start of the major league championship rounds.
It is incredibly easy to lose focus
If you have never really been interested in baseball then you know this really well. You probably don’t pay attention for more than 10 pitches (secret tip: the time when the one guy throws the ball for the other guy to hit). If you have played the game, then you know how easy it is to start kicking the dirt, or swatting bugs, or staring off in a daze when those pitches are being thrown.
Because there isn’t always a lot of action for every one on the field in baseball, it is really easy to lose focus and then not be prepared when opportunity comes your way.
Sometimes, the feeling of standing around waiting for this to happen can be pretty boring and cause you to become complacent. The challenge is to stay motivated and pay attention. Find ways to participate even when you aren’t in the position to show everything you’ve got.
Limit emotional decisions
Those videos where the umpire is yelling with the player or coach, and they are throwing their hats on the ground, and exchanging a little spit from talking to close… yeah that’s bad. The likelihood is the player or coach is getting thrown out of the game and can no longer be effective because of their emotional outburst.
If you have ever seen kids play baseball, you will see them throwing the ball everywhere trying to get somebody out. Those are emotional decisions too. They feel rushed. The kids feel the pressure of making the play. And, they know what is expected and they don’t want to let anyone down. In most of those situations, the coaches are yelling, “Don’t throw! Hold the ball!”
It’s easy to make an emotional decision when the pace picks up quickly and you feel like you have to make it happen. In that time, just take a moment to make sure you’re making the right decision.
You can use this example every day in some situation; it doesn’t have to be a full on tantrum or outburst. Just take a moment and collect yourself before you respond.
Just make contact
Before you ever swing for the fences, you have got to settle in and make contact with the ball. You have to learn to hit before you can hit home runs. In the off chance you hit a homerun on your first swing, you got lucky. You can’t put your stock in getting lucky every time either. Focus on getting good and learn the little things that will give you longevity. #lifelessons
It’s okay to strikeout
Maybe you don’t hit the first pitch but you get 3 strikes before you’re out. Perhaps you strike out, you will probably get another at bat. Even when you don’t hit all game, there will be more games; and still another season. Get up there and try but don’t feel defeated if you don’t get a hit because there will be another chance.
“Mr November” also know as Derek Jeter, had 3,465 hits in his major league career. Jeter also had 1,840 strike outs. For almost every 2 hits he had one strikeout. That doesn’t even include the time when he hit the ball but the other team got him out… Get in there and don’t be afraid of striking out.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned but it isn’t the end.
We really thrive on the pressure situations
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
It’s the bottom of the 9th inning, 2 strikes with the bases loaded and you’re down by one. If you get a hit, you win the championship…
Isn’t it crazy that of all the scenarios we fantasize about, it is the one with absolutely the most pressure a player can feel. If you’re the pitcher in that situation, you have to make the out to win everything; the batter has to get a hit or you lose.
It’s interesting that when we feel those pressure situations in life, a little bit of doubt and fear starts to creep in. That’s okay though. Let your palms get sweaty and your heart beat pick up a little. Then, turn on your laser focus, put a smile on your face, and get motivated to do what you know you’re capable of.
Bonus since it’s football season
The punt is a magically wise play in american football. When you know that you are running out of chances to be successful, you kick the ball to the other team with the intention of stopping the opposition and getting closer to your goal.
There are plenty of times in life when we need to punt. Maybe you’re in your 20’s and you have chance to chill or work hard; I punt my chill and work hard to chill later. You may find yourself ready to buy a house but you haven’t stamped your passport yet; I punt the house and go see the world. It could just be that you are studying for an exam and your friends want to go out tonight; punt.
There are lessons in every sport
You can find an incredible lesson in almost anything if you’re looking for it.
If you’re paying attention, you can echo the sentiment of Nelson Mandela; “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
Let’s be better; together.