In The Trenches

Lessons from Little League

Published on October 26, 2020 Back to blog

This weekend was an exciting one, as my son’s Little League team won their Fall Ball league championship. Going into the playoffs as the sixth seed (out of 8), we honestly thought that chances were a bit slim. But through some hard work, perseverance (and, truth be told, one semi-finals COVID forfeiture from another team), they overcame and conquered.

While sitting on the sidelines of the games, I had the opportunity to watch the team grow throughout the season, and couldn’t help but pick up a few tips from the coaches (who generously volunteer their time, talent and patience for these kids). And, given the “Champion” status of the team, I thought that they merit sharing with you.

  1. Focus on where you’re going. Let others guide you. Early in the season, the kids couldn’t help but watch the ball moving across the field as they ran the bases. In doing so, they often lost sight of where they were going, either causing them to get thrown out or not go as far as they could have. Once they learned to focus on running, and let the voices of the screaming base coaches guide them, they made much greater progress. 
  2. Take (Calculated) Risks. In Little League, it’s not easy to throw someone out stealing a base. If you have a good lead and decent amount of speed, you’re chances of advancing to second and third base on a steal are pretty good – and often can be the difference between winning or losing. If you see a good opportunity, take the risk.
  3. Change it up a bit. Hitting a baseball can be difficult, but if every pitch comes in at around the same speed, it becomes a bit easier to connect. Throwing a curve ball (or, more often, just a simple “change up”) can throw off a batter and cause a swing and miss. Use your agility to your advantage.
  4. Be all in, or get out. In the first inning of the championship game, two runners on my son’s team got thrown out trying to steal home. They took a risk, but were hesitant in their execution. They waited just a bit too long before taking the leap and, as a result, got thrown out at the plate. If you’re going to go for something, make the decision early and go all in. 
  5. A little pep talk goes a long way. These kids were the clear underdogs against the #1 seed. But, with a bit of a pep talk from their coaches (and parents), they gained the confidence they needed to know that they had a chance. When you believe you can, you can. And they did!

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners