Baseball is summer. Whether it be sitting at your local park watching the kids play or taking in a game at your favorite MLB park, with a hot dog in hand and the roar of the crowds, there is no doubting, baseball IS summer.
With summer upon us, when I’m away from my office or not coaching it’s been difficult for me to watch my Colorado Rockies this season as they struggle through each game, but it has allowed me to recognize the coaching lessons that are apparent in the game.
Baseball is the source of numerous life and business coaching lessons. Some of our culture’s most popular business cliche’s (“You can’t win ‘em all,” “He knocked it out of the park,” “Batting a thousand,” and “Playing in the big leagues now” for example) all come from the diamond.
Filled with memorable characters and fantastic rags-to-riches stories, baseball is more than just a sport for millions of people. In the next few posts, I’ve pulled some of my favorite lessons I’ve learned through this magnificent activity.
Whether you’ve spent hours in the dugout or in the stands, of if you don’t know an RBI from TMI, I hope you’ll find a lot of great inspiration, a few good business lessons to consider and maybe even a smile or two.
Lessons from America’s Past Time, Number One: It’s a Long Season
The Major League Baseball season stretches from April to October (if your lucky), and includes over 160 regular league games. And that doesn’t include spring training or playoff match-ups. W
ith each game lasting an approximate 2.5 hours, that’s a lot of time on the diamond and a lot of statistic!
What happens in the first inning of the first game in the preseason has little bearing on who the pennant winner will be. The season lasts a long, long (and some say TOO long) time. By the time the season wraps up, the average batter has been in the box over 500 times. Sometimes they get a hit, but more often, they get out. But that first time up to bat doesn’t set the tone for their entire season – unless they let it.
Business is the same way. While any one “pitch,” phone call, customer interaction, or promotion may seem of the utmost importance — and it is, in that moment — in the overall scheme of things, it is only one piece of a larger mosaic. Yes, great players play hard every pitch, but they also know how to pace themselves and shake off a missed strike or an error and move ahead to the next pitch or play. Good players know that
In your business and in life, you need that perspective. Yes, you want to hit a home run each and every time you are at bat, and you want to make a play every time the ball comes your way, but chances are you are going to flub a few easy pop-ups, and miss a few easy strikes. That is just the nature of the game. That’s just the nature of life.
Sometimes, your perfectly crafted sales page does not convert. Sometimes, an unhappy customer remains unhappy no matter how hard you try to fix the situation. Sometimes, a great product doesn’t sell well. Sometimes you can figure out why, while other times you just have to let it go and move forward, realizing that you will have hundreds of other interactions and opportunities to make your season a winning one.
To put things in perspective, the best hitters in baseball typically have a batting average of around .300. That means every ten times they get up to bat, they fail to get on base seven times. And these are the best of the best! Even the venerable Babe Ruth had a lifetime batting average of only .342.
On a team level, most ball clubs are striving for a winning season — meaning they win more than they lose. That should be your goal, too — to win more than you lose. And when you do lose — clients, accounts, mailing list subscribers — dust your cleats off and try again.
Nobody remembers what Bobby Thompson did at any of his other at bat’s during the game, he is forever remembered for this 1 at bat. Each new “at bat” is a chance at history!