A Great Example of Using Strategy for Sport Success Instead of Brute Strength

I don’t know how many of you happened to see this, but a few days ago the Kobe 9 Cruise baseball team in one of Japan’s new baseball leagues just drafted a 16 year-old girl to pitch for them. This makes her the first girl to play against men in professional baseball. Not only did they sign her, they drafted her. That means that they went out and chose her.

Now how’s a 16 year-old girl, all 114 pounds of her, going to pitch against professional male baseball players? I can’t imagine that she has overwhelming heat, or even close to the fastball of a good male high school pitcher. Instead, she’s going to use what she does have: a wicked knuckleball.

For those of you who don’t know, the knuckleball is a very different, and very slow pitch. It doesn’t spin like a normal baseball pitch and thus it behaves very erratically. This makes it hard for hitters to track and make solid contact with. She mentions that her idol is Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who’s parlayed the knuckleball into a very successful career in the major leagues despite a high school-level fastball.

Now, I’m not going to say that this girl will be successful. I’ve never seen her pitch (or heard of her until now), but the fact remains that she has obviously done well enough to be drafted. Regardless of whether this is a publicity stunt by the team, she’s seen success in the past and if the knuckler is on target I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win some games.

So what does this have to do with you and your performance goals? It should inspire you to find success no matter what the adversity, and it should inspire you to look at how you can work smart, not hard. One of the best outside linebackers I’ve ever played with was about 5″ too short and 50 pounds too small to be “good”. Yet he was a great player because he utilized his quickness and learned how to mentally play the game and read defenses. He was always in the right position and was a master of holding people up (when he couldn’t tackle them himself) until another ‘backer came through to clean them up.

Maybe you don’t have a world class metabolism. If that’s the case then you’ll need to become strict and scientific with your diet and training to maximize what you do have. Think outside the box and look at achieving a goal rather than just going through the process.

And to Eri Yoshida, good luck and keep throwing the wobbleball.