|Baseball Teaches the Game of Life
This article is inspired by the thousands we talk to every year, parents, coaches and baseball players both professional and amateur and those interested in the game of baseball in some way or another.
Often times you will hear both active and retired professional players young and old, as well as college players and coaches refer to the game of baseball as a great teacher of life. But what does that mean?
Simply put LIFE stands for "Learning Is For Everyone."
Baseball teaches us so much about ourselves as people with qualities such as consistency, perseverance and focus and teaches us about those people who surround us, such as how they support, encourage and inspire us. The focus of this article is geared toward that up and coming player.
There really are only two types of players metaphorically speaking, those who are on the field and those who are not.
A player is surrounded by teammates, coaches, parents as well as opposing players, their coaches and parents. If you were quiet on the bleachers at the next game what do you think you would observe?
Maybe a very supportive and positive group of parents, who cheer the efforts of the players. Perhaps a coach who is so motivating and encouraging that no matter what outcome a player had on the field, that player having had so much fun, couldn't help but want to be there, coming back again and again to get better with practice. Remember, this is the game of baseball which is also teaching the game of life and like most athletes at an young impressionable age they observe subconsciously and consciously both the coaches and parents on both sides of the diamond, and mimic their actions, character and communication skills simply because this is who they may look up to but certainly do see and hear.
How do you think this translates into life learning? Maybe when a player faced with a curveball in life like a bad grade, will have developed the intangible skills on the field, such as determination, focus, heart, hustle, patience, practice, perseverance, sportsmanship, respect, appreciation and love of self, that these characteristics will help them in the classroom, at home and in life in general.
Maintaining a positive fun atmosphere on and off the field is essential for continued growth and development. Teaching a player any age through the game of baseball can have its rewards or conversely lead to demise. A player will only succeed over a period of time if he wants to, if he alone truly desires to. So if a player is motivated, inspired, appreciated and valued and feels that love inside, it will perhaps be the emotional catalyst that he or she needs to reap the rewards of learning on the field and applying these skills off the field to become great players in the game of life.
Can parents and coaches learn from players?
Bill Bowerman, a very famous track and field coach at the University of Oregon and Co-Founder of Nike, Inc., was quoted saying, 'A teacher is never too smart to learn from his pupils. But while runners differ, basic principles never change. So it's a matter of fitting your current practices to fit the event and the individual. See, what's good for you might not be worth a darn for the next guy."
This is a very powerful quote from a Coach who certainly left his ego at the door. It was chosen here for the simple reason that learning is for everyone even coaches and parents alike, regardless of diplomas and experience. It was chosen to enlighten us.
Bill Bowerman although not a baseball force on the field, is one of the most successful 'Coaches' in the world, as well as with developing one of most successful sporting goods companies, which has impacted so many sports worldwide. Perhaps this is a gentleman and a coach who could see vision in the invisible, who could see the possibility in the impossible or who just listens and learns.
Appreciation and Gratitude - Players be thankful that you have a field to play on, a uniform to wear, some leather and wood to catch and hit the ball with and friends to play with. With gratitude players learn to be thankful for all that has been provided for them by someone else in their life. In the game of Life we give appreciation for the roof over our head, the clothes on our back, the food in our belly and give thanks that we have a school, family and friends to go to. Tell someone today, "Thank You."
Determination - “You just can't beat the person who never gives
up.” - Babe Ruth
There is a sense of hunger and drive that a player feels inside when trying to fine tune his craft on the field and become the best with his abilities. Maybe its hitting an inside pitch, improving his conditioning or learning how to improve his fielding skills. Whatever the task the player is fuelled with determination to meet the demands. This determination that shows up in baseball can be applied in the classroom.
Staying Humble - "I don't care how long you've been around, you'll never see it all."
- Bob Lemon
Wow, Bob Lemon, a Hall of Famer said the above quote. Baseball is an amazing, mysterious and unique sport that is in continuous motion worldwide. The game has been kicked, slammed, battered, rewarded, privileged, honoured and through it all, baseball continues to adapt and evolve like a stream going around jagged rocks an remain here for you. Baseball teaches us to stay humble and treat everyone and everything we meet with respect!
Risk - "Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." - Frederick B. Wilcox
Many young baseball players often ask do I have what it takes to be a college or professional baseball player? If you really look at the quote above what does it tell you? You won't know unless you go for it, risk it, don't ever look back! When you steal a base you do so with all your effort, when you make that decision to run there is no looking back or you're out. The same goes with the things in life, when you commit to great things, stick it out and go for it. If current players listened to those who said they would never make it then they wouldn't be where they are as great players. You will surely not lose anything by trying in fact you will gain wisdom and experience that will be sure to help you in other endeavours of life.
Of course this list could go on and on. How do think baseball teaches these key characteristics that do translate into the game of life? Hustle, Heart, Work Ethic, Perseverance, Planning, Patience, Respect, Adversity, Mistakes, Love of Self, Communication, Attitude so fourth and so on.
If you are a high school baseball player in need of assistance, guidance and a plan to meet your goals please read about our WBP High School to College Baseball Recruiting Program.
Coaches may contact us if you would like one of our Mentors to speak at your event.