Chicks dig singles…wait, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe that’s not how the old saying goes, but it should be.
In baseball, the chopper up the middle or the line-drive to right-field is not as glamorous as a towering moonshot deep into the upper deck. The reality, though, is that hitting a single is one of the most important parts of the game.
Look at Pete Rose: the guy played 24 years in the Major Leagues and amassed just 160 home runs in his career, a far cry from the gaudy numbers you see these days, steroids or not. Yet, Pete is known as one of the greatest hitters of all time, if not the greatest, as he is MLB’s all-time leader with 4256 career hits. How did he do it? Singles—a lot of singles.
So how does that translate to you and me? Pete Rose’s success in the batter’s box shows a lot about how we should be trying to achieve success in our own lives. Unfortunately, there is a fundamental flaw in the way most people approach trying to accomplish something.
I’ll give you an example: remember when you were a little kid and you wanted to grow up to be a professional athlete? Let’s say you wanted to be the next Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose or even Derek Jeter, so you decided to spend your time taking swings at the local batting cage. “A couple hours every day and I’ll make it to the Show,” you may have thought to yourself. If you’re reading this, odds are that you probably don’t play baseball for a living. Even so, how do you accomplish a seemingly impossible task?
HAVE A VISION
Forgetting the fact that you have to be blessed with insane talent to be able to make it as a professional athlete, the fundamental flaw is that too often people try to “swing for the fences” both literally and figuratively. As a young kid you might develop an upper-cut swing trying to hit a home run on every pitch. You don’t bother learning how to hit a curve ball and you neglects practicing defense. Whether you want to make it to the Major Leagues or succeed at a desk job, it’s important to have that long-term goal of where you want to be, but it’s equally important to understand how you’re going to get there. Concentrate on the fundamentals. Instead of, “I’m going to take 100 hacks every morning for two hours every morning until I make it to the Major Leagues,” the goal should be along the lines of, “I’m going to work on my opposite field hitting today, my bunting tomorrow and my defense the next day for two hours every morning, which will help me make the high school team.” When you make the high school team, focus on new goals. Do the same when you make the college team, etc.
ANTICIPATE THE NEXT STEP
You don’t go from high school bench-warmer to professional All-Star overnight, nor are you going to wake up one day at the peak of your profession. There is no, “That’s it, I’m done,” moment and there is always room to improve. At Steiner Sports I talk a lot about preparing to be prepared. The concept is clear: work on completing seemingly “smaller” tasks—like hitting singles—which will add up to achieving something much greater down the road. We should approach everything in our lives this way.
If you’re on a hitting streak, ask yourself, “What am I doing well right now?” If you’re in a slump ask, “How can I do things differently?” Whether you’re trying to hit .400, building a business or working on an important project, it’s important to stay focused. When something happens as a result of your work, whether good or bad, recognize how it can be a springboard toward accomplishing your long-term goals.
About Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner is Founder & CEO of Steiner Sports Memorabilia, the leading producer of hand-signed collectibles.
In 1987, Brandon started Steiner Associates (which later became Steiner Sports) with $4,000, a Mac computer, a one-room office and an intern. He has grown Steiner Sports into a $45 million company and now holds partnerships with some of the most prominent brands in sports, including the New York Yankees, Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn Nets, Notre Dame University and Syracuse University, among others.
Brandon is the author of two books, The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started from Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire. He is a renowned motivational speaker and he frequently appears on national news networks including, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN. He is a regular on ESPN Radio and co-hosts the YES Network’s Yankees-Steiner: Memories of the Game.
Brandon is a 1981 graduate of Syracuse University, where he has since helped create the David Falk Sports Management Program and sits on the Board of Directors for Syracuse Athletics.
To learn more about Brandon and to follow his blog, visit www.brandonsteiner.com.