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Bettering Others and the World You Live In

Playing Catch

Playing Catch

Playing catch can tell us more about leadership than one could ever imagine. There really isn’t anything in sports like a good old-fashioned game of catch. I have had the opportunity to experience the process as a player, coach, and now a father. Out of the three, the position of father is by far the best vantage point.

Yesterday, our family wrapped up our spring break vacation in St. George Island, Florida.  I believe whole heartedly that loading a vehicle for a trip is a craft. Everything is carefully placed, and every bit of space is accounted for. Whether we ended the trip with more or less stuff than we started with, everything magically fits, and barely fits! One of the last things to squeeze in the back of the truck was two baseball gloves and a ball. Grant and I had yet to play catch on the beach. So, we took the opportunity before we hit the road.

When it comes to playing catch, I cannot help but think of the movie Field of Dreams. To most, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner), had lost his mind to use his prime agricultural property to build a baseball field. He listened to a voice from the corn fields that said, “if you build it, he will come.” We find out at the end of the movie that “he” was his father, John Kinsella. In a classic moment in cinema history, Ray looks at his dad and says, “Hey dad, want to have a catch? John responds, “I’d like that.”

I firmly believe that there are two types of people in this world, those who cried during this scene and those who lied about not crying! A simple game of catch reunited a father and a son. Powerful!

This week, we share four leadership lessons that can be found in a simple game of playing catch:

Being Present

The great thing about a game of catch is that must be present in order to participate. Your attention cannot be on your phone, your mind cannot be in another world. You must be focused on the task at hand, throwing and receiving the baseball. If you are not present, you will either miss the ball or get hit by it. The latter hurts!

If we are being honest with ourselves, being present can be one of our greatest challenges as leaders. There are so many demands of our time and distractions during the day that impede our ability to be present. In fact, it can render our presence obsolete.

Leaders who fail to have a presence create distance.  Intentional or not, it doesn’t really matter.  Your presence promotes engagement.  Presence connects with people, it makes a leader relatable.  It shows that you care.  Be present in the moment.     

Casual Conversation

Some of the best conversations can be had over a game of catch. It doesn’t even have to be about the upcoming game. It can be asking how someone’s day went, how school is going, or some other random topic. The pace is perfect to catch up on conversation.

Too often, the busyness of our worlds disrupts our ability to engage in casual conversation. This can be a struggle for me. I am task driven and have had to learn through maturity and wisdom to create space for casual conversation.

Conversation connects with people. It makes us human. If the only communication our team receives from us is business, the amount of business that gets done will be limited.  Never underestimate the power of casual conversation.


There is an alarming rate of professional and amateurbaseball players requiring Tommy John surgery. The surgery is necessary when someone tears their Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) in their elbow. The cause is simple, overuse. Too many players today are suffering the consequences of being asked to play too much baseball with too little rest. Unfortunately, coaches and parents have turned American’s past time into a year-round activity that overuses young arms and the consequences do not show up for years to come.

As leaders, we carry heavy workloads and equally heavy burdens. Mobile devices have blurred the lines between eight to five and extended a five-day work week to seven. Customers and leadership expect quick responses, problems are to be handled yesterday.  Add to that, all of us have led through a pandemic and the impact of labor shortages.  We are OVERUSED!

We need to slow down and play catch.  If not, we will pay the price later in our career with burnout.  There is no surgical repair to that, time is the only healer.  We must prioritize taking time off and resting our minds, hearts, and souls.  There is an entire team depending on us to be able to pitch the big game tomorrow.   

Requires Time

Here is the most important thing about the process of playing catch. It requires your time. Time is the most valuable resource we can give to another person. It is also our most limited resource.  I will never regret the walk back out to that beach to play catch with Grant that day.  That was quality use of what limited time I have left.   

Spending our time being present with another human being can change the trajectory of careers and lives.  It can take an average employee and make them extraordinary, it can retain a critical employee, or it can mean the difference in life and death with someone walking through a difficult season.  You too, will never regret the time you spent on others.   


Baseball legend Ted Williams once said, “The hardest thing to do in baseball is hit a round ball with a round bat squarely.”  That is an extremely complicated part of baseball.  Playing catch is a simple and pure process.

If you get one thing out of this post, make it this. In a complicated world, never forget the beauty found within simplicity. Simple acts make the biggest impact because they are full of authenticity, love, care, and intentionality.

Maybe it’s not the act of throwing a baseball when it comes to leadership, but what if it is checking in on someone walking through a tough season, walking the hallways, stirring up casual conversation, genuinely listening, or expressing gratitude.  All these simple acts can and will inspire others to do more and be more.  It’s your turn to play catch.   

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