I played my fair share of baseball as a child, but I am not a big fan. Each spring, as many of my friends get excited about spring training, I am left scratching my head. That said, I have a few interests that may perplex others, so I am not judging. Though not a baseball fan, I am a fan of sports analogies and an even bigger fan of getting stuff done. While reading The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry, I came across a baseball analogy that struck a chord with me, the concept of “bunting for singles”.
Those of us familiar with baseball are well aware that there are scenarios where bunting for a single is the right call. Though, the idea of giving one batter after the next the bunt sign, or asking the same batter to bunt at each at-bat, makes absolutely no sense. At the same time, a batter who decides to take the bat out of his own hands despite coach’s direction is disheartening. As a young Sailor, there were many times when I would come up to the plate knowing that all I wanted to do was make contact (e.g., not make a mistake) and would square to bunt. I wasn’t worried about making ground, my objective was merely to not lose any. I did not have confidence in my ability to swing away and therefore rarely did. With that approach, my swing never got better and my batting average was dismal. But, I made contact and, at the time, that was good enough for me. Looking back, I am disappointed by the fact that I wasted growth opportunity after growth opportunity.
Fortunately, I reached a point where I became less concerned about making contact and more interested in learning to hit the ball beyond the infield. I also made it a point to spend time with people who took pride in their swing and were committed to not bunt unless specifically directed to do so (and even then tried to convince “the coach” otherwise). The concept of “bunting for singles” quickly became foreign to me and my batting average slowly went up and the pace of progress across the team increased.
As a leader, I refuse to give any member of our team the bunt sign. In fact, I become extremely disappointed when I see a teammate square to bunt. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the tendency to be more concerned with not losing than being interested in winning, but the sooner in life we get over it, the more likely we are to reach our potential. I’d rather go down swinging away (and watch others do the same) than fouling off bunt attempts or even outrunning the throw to first base.
- How often do you square to bunt?
- What are you going to improve your swing and batting average?
- How will you find out how far you can hit the ball?