Ten Tips for Life That I Learned Coaching Softball
As a softball coach and parent, I give softball advice to parents, coaches and players in person and on my Softball Journey blog. In my recent article, “Top Ten Tips for Players at Tryouts,” I noticed the parallel between softball and life in general.
Proponents of youth sports have always suggested that players learn valuable life lessons from sports. However, many do not elaborate what those lessons might be. Using the softball points from the blog, I’ll show how they relate to tips for success in life.
1. Dress Like a Ball Player
– Present yourself professionally and appropriately for all occasions. Look sharp at your day job. Working at home in your pajamas is fine, but when the time comes to meet with a client, dress accordingly. Know whether a suit of business casual is necessary. People tend to show more respect for you when you’re well dressed.
– Smiling not only makes you feel better, but it makes those around you feel good too. People will assume you are happy to be there and likely a pleasant person. Smiling is a big part of your body language. It puts others at ease
– Communication skills are critical to your success. There are numerous books written on this topic alone. You need to be able to discuss and sell your ideas, products and services throughout your life. Another big part of being an effective communicator is being a good listener. Take a minute and think about some of the most successful people you know or know of. Are they good communicators?
– Work efficiently, not hastily. Find a happy medium that balances the speed and the quality of your work. People appreciate your efforts and will give you the benefit of the doubt when something takes you longer than expected to deliver.
– Take control, be responsible and motivate others to be there best. Most people are followers. It’s easy to stand out by being more assertive than others. Being a leader does not mean being bossy. It means taking charge, persuading others to follow and getting results. Having effective communications skills is critical to being a good leader.
6. Take Risks
– Often we must take chances in life to get what we want. This includes putting yourself out there, while disregarding the fear of rejection, ridicule or failure. Most people trap themselves in their comfort zones, afraid to step outside. They often look at those who live with fewer boundaries as if they’re crazy or reckless. They are the followers. History’s greatest inventors, authors, artists, scientists, etc. became so because they were willing to take risks.
7. Be Self-Sufficient
– The less you must depend upon others, the better off you’ll be. There will be times to delegate tasks and responsibilities in some projects. But, sometimes you have to do things yourself to get them done correctly or timely. Your manager or client will look at you as a self-starter with the initiative to get the job done efficiently. This is critical when you’re an entrepreneur or own contractor.
8. Look Good Failing
– Have you ever seen somebody fail at something, but had no doubt in your mind that they would eventually succeed? People notice when someone is confident in their abilities. I’m not talking about arrogance, but having self-confidence. People will believe in you when you exude confidence.
9. Ask Questions
– Have you ever seen somebody struggle for awhile on something at work or at a client’s site? And how often was there a simple and quick solution to their problem? Simply asking the right person a question could have saved hours or more time, not to mention a lot of frustration. Successful people know when to carry on with something and when to ask for help.
10. Have Fun
– I tell the softball players I coach and their parents, enjoy the journey. The same is true in life. You have to find a way to embrace the low points and failures as lessons to better appreciate the achievements and success. Try not to take yourself so seriously, lighten up, breathe, smile and believe in yourself. And it’s okay to laugh at yourself now and then.
There may be 100 teams in a softball tournament, but only one will win their last game. My team finished 7th out of 64 once and we saw it as a success. You should spend some time getting a clear picture of how you define success. It is different for everybody. Maybe it’s being a good parent, earning a six figure income, selling a painting, volunteering, owning a business or any combination of these? Regardless, you define it, not somebody else.