One of the greatest rites of passage is sharing the love of the sport with someone else, whether it be a child, a family member, or a friend. For me, that sport that I’ve always held closest to my heart is baseball.
We already know how valuable learning a new sport can be for a child and the benefits that can come with running and playing, but it doesn't stop there—not with baseball. This sport has more to offer than just stronger muscles. Whether you're planning to teach the sport to your child or learn it yourself, here are four invaluable life lessons that are taught through baseball.
Trust in Your Team
No matter how far you go in baseball, it always starts the same: two mitts, a ball—two people, a connection. We learn the art of catching, which in a way is like an exercise in faith. Trusting in the other to put the ball where you can reach; Trusting that the other will catch it.
As you move from the backyard to the diamond, the trust grows to include others: your teammates, your coaches, and most importantly, yourself. Trust is one of the first lessons learned in baseball and one you never stop learning in life.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Between the boom of smartphone technology and the constant buzz happening on social media, it can be hard to center your focus. The world has changed a lot since I was a kid. Everything is faster, more intense, more in your face. One of the reasons I love coming back to baseball is the simplicity of the sport.
When you step up to the plate, the world melts away. It's just you and the ball. The roar of the crowd, the shouts from the other team's dugout—it's all just noise. A noise that the sport teaches you to tune out. Because if you want to hit the ball, then it’s got to be the only thing on your mind that matters.
Take Things One Pitch at a Time
Another important lesson we learn from baseball is to take things one pitch at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture and lose sight of the task at hand. You learn that big accomplishments are only made after those small, moment-to-moment victories. It takes patience and perseverance to grow as an individual truly.
I’ll never forget growing up and learning how to pitch with my father. He would hold the radar gun up as I threw pitch after pitch, and it would seem like I could never cruise above 70. He told me to keep pushing, and whenever I improved even just 1 MPH, he made me feel like I was the greatest pitcher in the world.
Finally, baseball teaches us to swing hard because you might not always know when you're going to make contact with the ball, but you gotta make it count for something when you do. Baseball teaches that no matter what you do in life, do it 100% and give just a little more.
So, there you have it, four lessons from baseball that go over the fence and out of the park. All of these lessons I have learned through baseball have shaped who I am and helped me find my place in the world. Now that I am a parent myself, I cannot think of a better way to give thanks than by passing these lessons on to those looking to learn the ins and outs of baseball themselves.