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Deliberate Practice

Practicing Day and Night

Ted Williams, a Hall of Fame baseball player, liked to dream big.

In his book “My Turn at Bat,” he said, “A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'”

Baseball historians can argue over whether his dream came true. But what’s really important to coaches and athletes is that Williams did more than dream. He worked on his craft with a passion. He made the connection between what he DID and what he GOT.

According to an article on mlb.com, Williams once said, “When I grew up in San Diego, I played baseball every day. I hit day and night. People said, ‘Look, he’s a natural.’ It wasn’t that. You’ve got to practice!”

Practice for Williams was different than it was to most people. It wasn’t a matter of just going out and taking lots of swings.

For instance, Williams once was talking to a teammate who had just struck out. He asked the player, “When you swung and missed the ball, did the ball go over your bat or under your bat?”

The player was astonished. The question had never occurred to him. In his mind, all that mattered was that he missed the ball. Who cared if it went under the bat or over it?

Williams cared. To him, knowing the result was the beginning of analysis. It was important feedback that helped him improve.

Williams lived his life like that, looking for ways to get better. Just as in the early days in San Diego, he worked on his passion day and night. In trying to be the best who ever lived, he worked on hitting, thought about hitting, and talked about hitting.

He even wrote a book about it, called “The Science of Hitting.”

Imagine what you could accomplish if you worked on your career with as much passion as Williams worked on his.


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