You Can’t Get a Hit if the Bat Never Leaves Your Shoulder

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”         Babe Ruth

As a kid, I loved to play baseball. In the summertime, my sister, Nanette, and I would head down to the local ball fields and scare up a game of baseball. I was a lot younger than the rest of the players and at first it was intimidating. Out of all the players, Nanette was the best; adults would stop by the field just to watch her play. I wanted to be as good as she was. I especially wanted to hit like she did; and, I guess, truth be told, I wanted her to be proud of me and I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to her.

After the first few times at the plate where the bat never left my shoulder, Nanette came over to talk to me.  I told her that I was so afraid of swinging at a bad pitch or making a mistake and that I really wanted to get a base hit.  She looked at me and she said: “Listen, you cannot hit the ball if the bat never leaves your shoulder.  You have to find the courage to swing the bat.”  

I’ve thought of that advice many times over the years:  You cannot get a hit if the bat never leaves your shoulder.  I’ve made it my mission to not strike out looking.  I may not always get a hit when I swing the bat, but I still have a better chance at the base hit than if the bat never leaves my shoulder. 

Here’s how I’ve used it:  when I feel that little tug of fear in my stomach, I know right away that I’m about to do something that is important to me.  I tell myself:  I wouldn’t feel fear if I didn’t care about it.  And, since it is important to me, the most important thing is to swing the bat and give myself the chance to succeed.