Make the pitch, then play the field

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Earlier today, I was out in my front yard doing my best Johnny Bench imitation.

It wasn’t a very good impersonation, but first my son and later my daughter needed someone to help practice pitching. I managed to keep the ball in front of me most of the time and give each pointers along the way.

I Play Catch A Lot
Creative Commons License photo credit: Bee Skutch

One thing I noticed is that my son’s baseball pitching and my daughter’s fastpitch softball pitching both got better when they focused on my glove. When they kept their eyes on the target, the chances of hitting it greatly increased.

There is an obvious lesson that in our lives and in our business we should focus on the goals we want to achieve — the targets we want to hit.

But less obvious is what happens after the pitch. During a game, once a pitcher has let go of the ball, he or she must immediately prepare in case the ball is hit.

Of all the players on the field, the pitcher has the least time to react to a hit ball. The ball often comes back toward the pitcher as fast or faster than he or she pitched it.

What can we learn from that?

First, concentrate on one thing at a time. When the pitcher is pitching, that’s what requires focus. If he or she starts thinking about fielding while pitching, a strike is not a likely result.

In our lives and in our businesses, we often get ahead of ourselves. We waste time by focusing on things that might or might not happen.

Similarly, we get often spend too much time worrying about what we did in the past. While we need to learn from our mistakes, dwelling on them unnecessarily drags us down.

Second, know when to change your focus. Once the pitch is away, the pitcher has to immediately get ready to field the ball if it is hit.

In life and business, we often run around from one unfinished task to the other. We’re often lured by the latest, greatest strategy, when mastering earlier tasks would gain us more ground on the road to success.

Steve DeVane

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