In baseball, home runs are the most celebrated part of the game. Just by swinging your bat with your maximum effort you can score and hopefully win the game. While there is another strategy that baseball teams use to score home runs which is “small ball” - an offensive plan to get a lot of singles, placing runners on a base and then advancing them into scoring position for a run. This tactic is used by baseball teams because it is more efficient, less risk and requires a collective effort. This metaphor has been used by other sports as well as professional basketball and football teams when their opponent is ahead of them in the scoreboard.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens loves to use this metaphor when his team is down by a considerable margin. His players understand that to win a basketball game you need stops, take efficient shots, play team ball and avoid turnovers. This is a reason why his team is called “comeback kids” of the NBA. They don’t stop playing until the clock hits 00:00. They aim for singles, not home runs.
It’s time to move on from sports.
Great companies, leaders, and investors use this metaphor as well. Why? Because it’s less the risk, provides discipline, group effort and it takes a team to accomplish your specific goals. Unlike when they aim for home runs, one decision can change everything immediately, and they produce more risks. It depends on the organization because some teams won by hitting home runs and hitting singles. These organizations decide what strategy suits them.
Keep in mind that as a team - you win together, you lose together.
So what about in our personal life?
How can we aim for singles?
In our current society, most of us want to win immediately because of the instant gratification, impatience, and pressure from our circle that’s why we always aim for home runs. A great example of this is fitness we thought that working out every day is enough to reach our goal, but it’s not. We need to eat the right foods, discipline, sleep early, take a day off to fully recover and so on. Those are singles, and the home run is accomplishing your fitness goal for the next months and even years.
In life, it’s always about the big picture of you achieving success which is your home run. Your home run is the byproduct of your hard work, sacrifices, effort, and discipline.
What can you do today to hit your “singles”?
Remember that the future is unknown and uncertain.
Aim for singles, not home runs.