How We Learn through Failure and Baseball

Baseball Failure
With baseball, in particular, failure is a large part of the game. You fail more than you succeed and it is how you deal with failure that defines you.

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Bill Gates

Youth Baseball – sports in general – teach us many valuable lessons: teamwork, hard work, and dealing with success. But perhaps the biggest lesson to be learned is how to deal with failure. Even the best players fail. Even the best teams fail. That is just the reality of sports. When someone wins, someone else has to lose. It’s part of the game and no one is perfect. However, failure does not define us. It is how we deal with this failure that defines us as both a player and a person.

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

John Wooden

In fact, NBA legend Michael Jordan credits failure with his success. “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life,” explained Jordan. “And that is why I succeed.” It is by learning from our mistakes and our failures that we grow. With baseball, in particular, failure is a large part of the game. You actually fail more than you succeed. Just think about it. The current Major League Baseball (MLB) batting leader is Bryce Harper, with an average of .340. This means that Harper gets a hit 34% of the times he is up to bat. So, over 100 at bats, Harper will, on average, record 34 hits. Conversely, he will record an out the other 66 times – strikeout, ground out, fly out, or foul out.

The best hitter in baseball fails 66% of the time.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned was to accept failure — because in baseball you actually fail more than you succeed,” said Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds third baseman. “It’s the only sport where failure is the norm — that’s why baseball is the hardest sport in the world.”

As Babe Ruth once famously said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” What he was talking about was failure. Never let failure hold you back. Instead, use it as motivation. When you fail, figure out why you failed, and do your best to correct it.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”

Colin Powell

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