Batting .300

Raun's Blog

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in just a couple of weeks.  When talking baseball, it seems inevitable that someone will say “If I was successful only 30 percent of the time, I’d be fired!”

A batter is generally considered good if they get a hit 3 out of 10 at bats.  That is true.  What is missing is all the other elements that go into the success of a batter.  It’s short-sighted to only look at those 3 hits to determine that person’s effectiveness.

I don’t want to turn this into some giant statistical analysis, but stay with me here.  Batting average is determined by taking total number of base hits divided by total number of at-bats.  150 hits in 500 at bats is a .300 average.  Here’s the problem.  You can help your team when you don’t get a hit.  You can also reach base without recording an at bat.

On to the real topic…  I posit that it may be of value for your goal to be successful closer to 30% of the time than 100%.  If you’re not failing and failing often, chances are you aren’t stretching yourself enough.  You aren’t far enough out on that limb.

Most of the battles we face at work and at home are against unnamed enemies.  Sometimes it’s the clock, sometimes it’s our own motivation.  Baseball players know the enemy and choose to face him repeatedly, knowing success isn’t guaranteed.  They keep trying.  Swing the bat and see what happens.

We are surrounded by other people doing other jobs that all need to get done, but most of us aren’t on the edge.  We’re somewhere behind the front lines with protection all around.  Move to the edge.  Impact happens, both positive and negative, on the edge.

Sports is one of the few arenas where people are literally pushed to their limit.  We all know how well someone performed by the headline in the sports section.  We talk about who is past their prime.  Who to cut, who to send down to the minors.  We can see potential.  We can see rising stars.

Are you a rising star in your life or are you stuck in your own little bubble?  You’ll never know how far you can go until you step up to the plate and swing the bat.  Sure, you’ll swing and miss sometimes.  You’ll foul some pitches off.  You’ll even strike out once in a while.  You’ll also get some hits.  Maybe you’ll get out, but at the same time help a teammate score.  Get back up there and take your pitches again.  It’s just another at bat.  You’re bound to hit one out of the park at some point, right?

What do you think?  Are you playing it too safe?

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • James Dibben

    Really good post, Raun!

    It makes me think of the guy who strikes out but forced the pitcher to throw 20 pitches in the process. He created a lot of damage without ever reaching base.

  • Raun Lauterbach

    Good example, James! After I wrote this post, I pondered for a while a bunch of different scenarios in which someone could help their team without getting a hit.

    It’s conceivable that someone, through a series of incredibly unlikely events win a game for his team without an at bat. There are actually several ways.

    Here’s one: A hitter steps up to the plate and gets hit by a pitch. No at bat. He steals second base. Advances to third on a wild pitch. Then scores on a balk. No at bat, no hit, no RBI, 1 run scored.

    Here’s another. Bottom of the ninth inning, tie game. Runners on first and third. Batter grounds into a double play. Run scores. No hit, 2 outs created, no RBI awarded. Game won.

    Successful or not? Pretty obvious that batting average isn’t always the correct measure.

  • James Dibben

    If it wasn’t for the fact that I live in Kansas City you almost have me convinced to watch baseball this summer!