How To Hit a Home Run

Reggie Jackson Sports_Illustrated

Everyone wants to hit a home run. Everyone wants to hit it out of the park and over the fence and further and higher than everyone else. And everyone wants to have everyone cheer for them. It’s part of our DNA. No one wants to strike out and leave runners stranded on base. No one. But the question is, “how do you hit a home run?” or more importantly, “how do you consistently hit home runs?” A simple web search produced this answer:

“I would say the main factors that go into hitting distance are:

A) Batter’s Strength

When the ball hits the bat, the force is applied the opposite direction of the swing, trying to push the bat backwards. A stronger batter can apply more forward force and resist the ball’s force.

B) Pitch Velocity

The faster the pitch, the farther it will soar. This is because the ball picks up kinetic energy, which is then used when sending it over the fence. You will sometimes see contests where fans are chosen to try to hit a homerun off a tee for a car or some big prize- in reality, almost all of the players wouldn’t be able to because there is no kinetic energy to add to the hit that the pitch provides.

C) Bat Speed

Kind of takes a back seat to the batter’s strength, because obviously if you’re stronger you’ll be able to swing faster- however certain technique can help improve bat speed

D) Connection (hitting the ball at the right angle and on the optimal spot “sweet spot” on the bat).”

So, what is the spiritual tie in?  How to you translate this sports analogy to life?

Batter’s strength is number one.  You first have to be strong enough.  And strength comes through endurance and perseverance and patience and tolerance. It doesn’t come overnight but time is not the answer either.

Strength comes through training and practice and preparation and correct application. It’s not that simple, but then again, it’s really a factor of willpower and backbone and drive and determination.  It’s about overcoming and obstacles and sticking to it and hanging in there and going the distance.

“Dealing with and overcoming setbacks and stumbling blocks is what builds your character and ability to grow. Remember, don’t take things personally. People do things to other people because it makes them feel better. They try to get you to feel as bad as they do about themselves. You need to be careful with emotions. They can be a very negative force in your life that can direct you on paths better not travelled. We all experience bad things from other people. It’s how and what we do with those experiences that define who we ultimately become.”

Pitch Velocity is number 2. In other words, the harder and faster the ball or “the situation” comes at you, the higher the chance of you hitting it farther. In other words, if we want to hit home runs, we should get excited when it’s hard and it’s difficult and it’s challenging. Because the darker the night, and the fiercer the fight, the sweeter the victory.

Bat speed and Connection are factors of practice, practice, practice. “Practice? We talkin’ bout practice?”  (Where is Allen Iverson when you need him?)

So, as you watch this year’s Home Run Derby (note that you’re watching, not me, because it’s just not my cup of tea), let’s remember one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October.” In the 1977 World Series, Reggie hit three home runs in Game Six against the Dodgers on three consecutive at bats. Not too shabby.

Reggie Jackson Card

So, here’s to the home runs in life that you and I will hit.

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