Lessons Learned on the Diamond

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Baseball YblogIt is an incredible time to be a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers. Whether you are a die-hard fan or a casual observer caught up in the excitement, there is no denying the energy surrounding this team. Baseball is fun to watch this time of year, and also offers some great lessons that can be applied to health and fitness.

Use the lessons learned from baseball to improve your mindset towards setting and achieving your health and fitness goals.

“Bloop and a blast”

“Bloop and a blast” refers to a base hit followed by a homerun. In baseball, putting more runners on base gives you a better chance to score more runs. In health and fitness, taking care of small but meaningful tasks can add up to bigger successes down the road. “Singles” in life can include putting workouts into your calendar and setting SMART goals, which make it more likely that you will hit a personal “homerun.” Prioritize these small efforts before trying to make significant fitness improvements all at once.

Year round endeavor

Major League Baseball has a 162 game season. Include the playoffs, off-season workouts, and spring training, and baseball may seem like a never-ending sport. This is not unlike reality, in which the process of reaching goals seems never-ending. Break your long-term plans into shorter seasons, and separate that into individual games and at-bats. Setting short term goals makes the process of working towards long term goals much more manageable.

Even professionals need coaches

The best players in the world have coaches correcting the smallest details of their performance. At the top level, athletes rely on others to help them perform at their best. Find greater success along your fitness journey by having a coach and support team. An extra set of eyes to help with goal setting, exercise technique, or nutrition habits may be what you need to achieve what you once thought was impossible.

Short term memory

The Brewers’ Christian Yelich is a top candidate for the Most Valuable Player award this year. Yet as great as he has played, he still goes through rough stretches at the plate and has committed errors on defense. This does not stop him from showing up the next day to try his best. In pursuing health and fitness goals, we must expect challenges and short-comings. Accepting this fact allows us to have a short-term memory, learn from mistakes, and move on to our next opportunity. Step by step, even with setbacks, goals will be achieved.

Don’t be afraid to strikeout

If the fear of striking out kept a batter from stepping up to the plate, they would never have a chance to get a hit. If fear of missing a workout or struggling through a fitness class means you never attend, you may be holding yourself back from realizing your true potential. Baseball reminds us to never be afraid to try again.

There is more than one way to get on base

A soft bunt can get you on base just the same as a hard line drive. In a similar sense, the steps you take towards your fitness goals should be unique to you. Not every workout has to be perfect, or your best, or as challenging as anyone else’s. Rather, you can make progress at your own rate and on your own terms. Do what works best for you and the goals you have set.

Celebrate along the way

If there is one thing the Brewers have been great at this year, it is finding reasons to celebrate. They celebrated after beating the Cubs to win the Central Division and the Rockies to win the Divisional Series. Neither of these accomplishments are the team’s biggest goal. The Brewers’ ultimate goal is to win the World Series. Though they are not there quite yet, they have celebrated the milestones along the way. No matter your ultimate goal, find reasons to take pride in your efforts. Hitting improvement on the scale or number of workouts in a month are reasons to acknowledge the outcomes of your hard work.

You do not have to be a baseball fanatic to gain insight from the sport. Life lessons are everywhere if you are open to them. Step up to the plate, take a swing, and knock your health and fitness goals out of the park.

Nick Rozek Greater Green Bay YMCA
East Side Healthy Living Director & Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist