Adversity can be the best thing that ever happened to you. And baseball has a lot of it.
Our natural instinct is to avoid confrontation in our own lives. We often are quick to give up and resort to excuses. Reversing this natural instinct takes practice. Practice that I feel can be simulated in sports. Specifically baseball, because you are destined to strike out or make an error.
Baseball can be a phenomenal way to reverse think instinct because of the repeated failure you are guaranteed to face. This game was designed by failure and is one of the reason so many players enjoy playing and don’t enjoy watching the game.
The best recorded batting average in history was by Ty Cobb. His career ended in 1928 and he held a batting average of .366 during his 24 seasons. Meaning if he had three at bats in a game, he statistically would get one hit.
This is much different then other sports because the best athletes fail majority of the time. As a young athlete trying to find out what you are good at, baseball can be very intimidating. A coach or parent can be very crucial, whether this young athlete chooses to invest in baseball or choose a different hobby.
With the proper encouragement a young athlete can develop the confidence not only to face diversity in baseball but also in other areas of his life. Simple lesson like not striking out looking can transfer into the real world. As a young baseball player I learned this was a cardinal sin of baseball. If you were going to strike out, you better be swinging. Because every swing would get you closer and closer to hitting that pitcher later in the game. Effort is something we can always control and was not optional during my baseball career.
Mistakes and errors happen. All baseball players have let a ball go through their legs, stroke out looking, thrown a ball over the middle of the plate for a hitter to smash, not backed up a base, and many other common baseball blunders. The ability to regroup and take on the next pitch or ground ball was a great lesson. And as a coach, the ability to keep your cool, teach lasting lessons versus reacting with anger, was an even greater lesson.
Baseball truly molds us to deal with failure. The lesson to step back, take a deep breath, and step back in and give it your all. That is a lesson to take with you to all aspects of life.