Friday, August 14, 2009

Breaking Free - Lessons from the Loser's Bracket

At the end of July 2009, I had the honor of umpiring the 10 year-old bracket of the Texas East State Little League Championships. I know, you may be thinking (as did one of the 10 year-old participants), "I never saw a girl umpire before." But it's really true. See, there's a picture of me with the rest of my crew. --->

One of the things about umpiring is you learn something new every game. In this newsletter, I wanted to share some of the wisdom that I learned from the coaches and managers in the loser's bracket of the tournament. Now, this isn't going to be just about baseball, but the wisdom and lessons that can be applied to your leadership skills.

But first let me explain the "loser's bracket". At Texas East State, the tournament is run as a double elimination between four sectional champions... that means that you have to lose twice before you are eliminated and have to go home. If your team happens to lose one game, you are placed in what is called the "loser's bracket" until you lose a second time. Got it?

One of the unique aspects of being an umpire is that you always have one of the best seats in the house for observing the game. I take advantage of this opportunity to see how the coaches coach and lead their teams. Below are just a few of the "words of wisdom" that I heard a couple of weekends ago.

"Don't Swing at Nothin' Ugly"

Ok, in baseball, that means don't chase any bad pitches. Have you swung at something ugly? Have you chased any bad pitches lately? These could be bad pitches or offers from others or just bad ideas or expectations that you come up with on your own. In my work, I often find folks who are chasing bad pitches over and over again. They are either always trying to please others or trying to be perfect. Which 'bad pitch' do you often swing at?

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