Just swing the bat

From Mike Brescia:

When I was 11 years old and playing Little League baseball, I would get up to bat and freeze. The pictures that were in my mind were of swinging the ball and missing and of being embarrassed looking stupid swinging and missing. I literally could not imagine hitting the ball in a game.

In my backyard playing with the neighborhood kids I smacked the crap out of the ball. I was, truthfully, the best player in the neighborhood. The home-run king.

But when it came to playing in an actual league game, my mental pictures were completely different. It was bizarre.

Result? I struck out every single time I got to bat. I never even swung the bat!

So before one game, my coach told me that I was to swing at every pitch no matter what. He said to me if I’m going to strike out, I might as well strike out swinging. He got me to commit to swinging on every pitch unless it was WAAAAAY out of the strike zone.

So during that game in my first at-bat instead of standing there watching the ball whiz by, I swung. I got my first hit of the season… a double.

Next at-bat: Coach again reminded me to swing at every pitch so I did. I missed getting a home run by just 2 feet. Yeah, it hit the fence! A double.

I’ll never forget the screams of the crowd as that ball was sailing toward the fence.

Next at-bat: I hit it into the outfield again for single.

For the game, in 3 at-bats, 3 hits.

The rest of the story?

Coach stopped working with me and I went back to my old ways of
striking out the rest of the season.

For years, I wondered why, with the success I had in one game, he stopped pushing me, and why I stopped swinging even without the encouragement.

Now, I don’t know why the encouragement stopped. That’s always puzzled me.

But I know for my part, it was because one game did not change the habitual images of failure I had in my mind. That one game didn’t change how I felt about myself, it did not take the fear away.

Those things only happen over time…

All you need to do is do what I did during that one game, swing the bat… and keep swinging.

Nothing could be simpler.

Just swing the bat.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?