When I was young I was passionate about sports. Playing sports, watching sports, reading about sports… it was all sports.
I was particularly a fan of baseball. While I enjoyed watching, I delighted in playing ball even more. I loved the games and even the practice. Then, without warning, something happened that took my joy from the game. I suddenly became deathly afraid of the ball.
I would stand petrified in the batter’s box, paralyzed with fear. I was certain every pitch was destined to hit me in the head, arm, leg, side, or any other part of the body that would result in a life-threatening injury! I would cower in the dugout before the game praying for rain so we wouldn’t play and I could avoid facing the hot-shot pitcher with the powerful fastball.
I had deteriorated from a pretty good ball player that contributed to the cause of winning, to a bystander who really didn’t get involved. I would strike out looking almost every at bat. I was demoted to a very small role on the team and when the season finished I walked away, never to play again.
I gave up something I loved for which God had given me talent. I grew to hate it, because I was terrified of something that might happen… but never did!
I was never hit by a pitch in a game. I never suffered a painful injury as a result of an inside fastball. On top of that, the pitchers weren’t that good and didn’t throw that hard. My angst was irrational and kept me from reaching my potential.
I still see characteristics of this in my life today. I don’t act when or how I should, because of what might happen. At times, if there is the potential for pain or failure, I pray that I be removed from the situation. I agonize over the unlikely disasters that may arise instead of focusing on the opportunity of the moment.
Does trepidation keep you from achieving in areas God has given you talent? Do you fail before you even begin? Here are 3 ways to Improve Your Batting Average.
1. Step up to the plate. Every at bat is an opportunity. No one ever got a hit or scored a run sitting on the bench. To contribute to the cause, to make a difference, you have to play in the game. Not to say there isn’t a place for cheerleaders. At times, that may be the role you need to fulfill, but a cheerleader doesn’t sit on their hands afraid of what the crowd will say. They jump, scream, and cheer for their team. Moral support is important, but it’s the players that really effect the outcome. Get in the game and give it your all. You may be a great cheerleader in the safety of the dugout, but there comes a time when you have to pick up a bat and get involved.
2. Stare down the pitcher. Boiled down, baseball is a game of intimidation. It’s a face-off between two people, the pitcher and the hitter. As a young ball player, I didn’t want to stand in the batters box and confidently stare down the pitcher, because I had no confidence. The pitcher had won the battle before I left the dugout and he knew it, so did my teammates and coaches. No one could depend on me to come through when all we needed was to put the ball in play. I wasn’t expected to hit a home run every at bat, but to try my best. Life is the same way. We can be intimidated by tasks at hand or strong personalities and lose the battle before it even begins. Confidence and purpose can propel you to greater success than talent and who knows, you may even hit it out of the park occasionally!
3. Take some good, hard swings. There will be plenty of times when you strike out. That’s baseball. Even the best hitters get out most of the time, but the good ones come through in the clutch. The team can depend on them. They relish coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two out. It’s the opportunity they dream of. No one wins by being afraid to swing. How about you? Do you look for challenges and test yourself to rise to the occasion or do you sit in the dugout and find excuses as to why you can’t step out of your comfort zone? Getting hit by a pitch is painful, but it isn’t failure, you get a free base. It’s part of the game. Don’t look at the beanballs of life as deficiencies, but opportunities. Pain propels you to a new level and keeps you in the game. If you aren’t getting hit occasionally it’s because you’re warming the bench.
So, stop watching and start playing. You’ll improve your batting average, put runs on the board, and contribute to winning the game.
How do you stay in the game?