Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Hitter of All Time

Now that your NCAA Final Four Bracket is busted – thank you University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers! – we can start talking baseball. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the lessons that can be found in baseball. I was not much of a baseball player growing up, but I did make the thirteen-year-old "All Star" Babe Ruth team (I didn’t make it because of skill – there were barely enough 13-year olds in my region to field a team).

Ted Williams

Ted Williams

A few valuable lessons can be learned from the late baseball legend Ted Williams, who is regarded as one of the greatest hitters who ever lived. He is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and was selected to 19 All-Star Games during his professional career. Here are four rules that Ted Williams lived by in the batter’s box that you can apply to your own success:

1. Be a student of your craft

Williams, throughout his professional career, was a meticulous student of hitting. He spent hours practicing, studying, and talking to others about how to hit a baseball. In fact, he wrote a book that is studied and read today by baseball players called The Science of Hitting.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.
— Anthony D’Angelo

2. Wait for a great ball to hit.

Williams felt that just because a pitch was in the strike zone did not mean he had to swing. In fact, he would let good pitches go by and wait for one he had a better chance of hitting. This rule is about being aware of our strengths and patiently waiting for the right opportunity. Otherwise we can find ourselves swinging at every opportunity, getting completely out of our strengths zone.

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.
— Chinese Proverb

3. Speak your goals into existence.

Williams was known to walk around swinging his baseball bat saying: "I am Ted Williams the greatest hitter to ever live." I am sure this was annoying to anyone who witnessed it, but this declaration undoubtedly helped him have the proper thinking and helped him have confidence to do his best to make the statement true.

Evidence is conclusive that your self-talk has a direct bearing on your performance.
— Zig Ziglar

4. Swing the bat.

After you know what your pitch is, and you have done your homework – Swing Away! Sure, you might miss, but if you are properly prepared, swing at pitches in your strength zone—you may find yourself in your own hall of fame.

You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.
— Diana Ross

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