Major league hitter

The story goes that the best hitters in Major League Baseball were put up against the best fast pitch softball pitchers.  The batting average of the major leaguers sunk to near zero.  What’s the scoop?  

It turns out that these hitters are outstanding not only because they have excellent technical skills.  They do have quick reflexes, but the reflexes are not enough to make them great hitters.  What makes them a great hitter is the less comprehensible, less measurable capacity to anticipate the subtle cues of their opponent, the pitcher.  These batters are able to see the arm stroke, the release and the seams of the baseball.  All of this, combined with speed of reflex makes them a great hitter.  Amazingly, the batters cannot articulate what they are looking for that will help them hit the ball better.  They just do.  It’s automatic.  Conversely, most pitchers have no idea what the batter is watching for in order to be better able to hit the ball.  The opponent bodies are using brute force to battle one another–but the opponent brains are doing a more subtle battle.  

If we continue to the competitive analogy-imagine a persuasive conversation in which you are “pitching” an idea.  A good batter is watching you give that pitch.  The gross evaluation of your pitch occurs on one level.  The more subtle evaluation occurs without you knowing or them knowing.  Their brain may be judging the pitch based upon your word choice, body posture, space between the words, body twitches.   You too may be sensitive to their body language (or not).  Some body language may throw you off (so you need to learn to ignore it).  Some body language would help you (so you need to respond to it.)  

To increase your batting average, you need to do more than build muscle–to practice the same swing all of the time.  The key to success is to learn what you are actually looking for that would make you a better batter.

Jonathan Shaver