When my son first started playing youth baseball, he was fortunate to have an awesome coach early on — he had the nickname Tank, because he was built like a tank. Tank played Division I baseball in his college years, and he really understood the kids and the game. Tank was more about teaching the boys baseball and life lessons, rather than winning. Remember, though, we’re talking about 10 or 11 year old boys. When they would strike out, some would find themselves crying at the end of the bench as though the world ended. I was one of those kids when I was that age — I thought every at-bat should be a home run, and I was crushed when it did not work out.
Back to my son’s experience. After one of the early games of the season, the coach sent out an email to the parents, asking us to play this video for our boys. Unfortunately, it is too old to find on YouTube, so I will have to describe it. It was an internal video to the Kansas State Baseball team from their coaches, and was driving home the message about controlling the things each player can themselves control — their attitude and effort. It went on to say why those things were important. The intention they had was to “Win This Pitch!” The punchline is to build the habit of controlling your “controllables” so that when you’re in the batter’s box you can win the battle with the pitcher each pitch. Sometimes it works out (you get a hit, take a ball, etc.), sometimes it doesn’t (you strike out or otherwise make an out), but this simple mini-framework helps with focus and perspective to keep moving forward (getting back in the batter’s box the next time). Kind of like Agile Best Self Principle #10.
Agile Best Self Principle #10: Simplicity – focusing on what energizes your best self — is paramount.
The “controllables” on a baseball team are really the same in life. Controlling our own attitude and effort are the simplest things we can do all the time, so that we can be our best self and pursue our intention. It takes tremendous discipline, and maybe it’s a little much to expect from a pre-teen boy. But, I can say that my son and I still refer to this video (wish I still had access to it) as a reminder to one another to stay in the moment and control our “controllables” and we increase our chances for success the next time and beyond.
Tomorrow I have a major event I am leading at work, so today I reminded myself to stay focused on that which I can fully control and trust the rest will work out. A very simple thought but not so easy to implement with the barrage of information and demands coming at me. Here I am now at the end of the day, and I am ready. All I need to do tomorrow is show up with a positive attitude and bring my very best, trusting my preparation and training, good things are quite likely to happen.
What does “Win This Pitch!” mean to you? How can you control your attitude and effort to “Win Your Pitch” tomorrow?
Thanks for the lesson, Tank. This parent was paying attention, too.
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