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7 Ways Being a Catcher in Pro Ball Prepared Me for Management in Business

April 11th, 2018

By Drew Beuerlein

1.      You Are the Only Position On the Field That Everyone is Looking At

Everyone is looking to you. All of the action happens around home plate. Regardless of how good or bad of a game you are having, your actions are seen every single pitch. Management is no different. You will have great days and horrible days, but consistency in your actions and how you carry yourself and treat others will always be seen by your team and those around you because, “You are the only position on the field that everyone is looking at.”

2.      You Make the Calls and Have to Live With Them

I called every single pitch during a game. Many people don’t realize how much time the pitchers and catchers spend together studying the opposition, watching video, developing a game plan and carrying that plan into the game. There are times when you feel like you made the right decision based on the information you gathered, but the result wasn’t what you wanted, and that’s ok. As long as I was prepared and made a decision based on our preparation, I could live with the end result. Management is no different. You gather as much information as possible and try to make decisions that will benefit your entire team. Sometimes the result is exactly what you want and sometimes it’s not, but at the end of the day, “You make the calls and have to live with them.”

3.      Each Pitcher is Different

For those who have played baseball, you know that pitchers are a little…different. Each pitcher beats to his own drum and it was my job to understand what made each individual tick. If you use a blanket approach and try to talk and treat each pitcher the same, you will never last. I had to understand which guys I could be stern with in certain situations and know that’s what they needed to fire them up and motivate them. I also had to understand the ones that I had to talk to like I do my 3 year old and make sure they didn’t melt down out on the mound. With that being said, in management you have to understand your personnel and know how to make each one tick to ultimately benefit the entire team because at the end of the day, “Each pitcher is different.”

4.      You Deal With the Decision Makers

Catchers are involved in many crucial decisions throughout the year. Managers will often ask catchers their input about certain pitchers. Pitching coaches rely on the catchers to share their thoughts on how the pitchers handle certain situations. They value your input and you have to be honest and not sugarcoat anything. As a catcher, you also have to deal with another important decision maker, the umpire. You might not always agree with certain calls, but during the length of a game you are constantly negotiating and trying to win that umpire over in hopes that you get a borderline call in a crucial situation. You have to learn how to negotiate under pressure because as a catcher, “You deal with the decision makers.”

5.      Nobody Notices You Until You Screw Up

Catchers have a very thankless job. Thousands of bullpens and getting bruised and broken throughout the year with only a few people thanking you for those tireless hours. During the game, catchers could call a wonderful game and guide a pitcher to a 2 hit shutout and only those who truly know baseball will give credit to the catcher as well. As soon as a run scores because of a passed ball or you throw the ball away into the outfield, everyone chimes in and points fingers towards you. Often times in management, there are many behind the scenes actions that we carry out that aren’t regularly recognized. Once something goes wrong, we are the first ones that people go to in order to find out why there are problems. That is part of the territory and good managers understand how to handle these situations and that many times, “Nobody notices you until you screw up.”

6.       You Are Involved in Every Single Pitch

You can’t take a break as a catcher. If you get lazy or aren’t 100% focused each pitch, you will be exposed. Infielders and outfielders can get away with not being dialed in each play because they may get lucky and the ball might not get hit their direction. In management, your decisions and the systems that you implement can’t lack focus at any point, otherwise your entire team will suffer. In management each day, “You are involved in every single pitch.”

7.      You Have to Protect Your Teammates

There are many unwritten rules in baseball. When those rules are crossed by the other team, there is a certain way that baseball players take care of those. Many times it will be a pitcher throwing at a hitter never trying to intentionally hurt him, but proving a point. Obviously most hitters don’t take lightly to this and will start heading towards the pitcher to settle things once and for all. As a catcher, you are the first one to prevent that hitter from getting to your teammate. There are times that you have to put yourself in the line of fire in order to make sure your teammate doesn’t take the hit. Good managers will protect their employees even in some situations where they take the punch for something they didn’t do because in management, “You have to protect your teammates.”

To connect with Drew on LinkedIn, click here.

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