I am the oldest of four girls in my family. While my Mom taught us how to bake cookies, sew pillows and plant a garden, my Dad taught us how to play softball. In fact, my Dad was our Little League softball coach.
Coaching girls was a new concept for my Dad, who grew up in a household with four brothers. For instance, he certainly didn’t understand that girls cry when they get yelled at for screwing up on the field.
He might as well been Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own – “There’s no crying in baseball!”
My Dad slowly learned he had to employ a LOT of patience with us and our entire team. He spent a lot of time drilling the basics in our head and getting us to focus on the game instead of picking dandelions in the outfield or drawing in the dirt with our feet. (Of course, I certainly never did such things).
My Dad’s coaching advice from 20 years ago still sticks with me today. And in fact, I think his lessons go far beyond the game of softball and have taught me a lot about how to be a successful blogger. I think they might just help you too.
Lesson #1: Practice every day
I was a pitcher for our softball team and my Dad insisted that I get in at least 40 pitches every day. When he would come in from working, he would always ask if I had gotten my pitches in. If I hadn’t, he marched me to the backyard to practice.
Pitching was all about being on target, consistently. Sure, throwing a few strikes is good, but it’s even better if you can do it over and over again.
The same goes for blogging. It’s not enough to write a killer post once in a blue moon. To grow your readership and capture attention online, you have to deliver the goods each and every time to get your readers coming back for more.
Are you writing every day? If not, you should be.
The more you write, the more focused your posts will be and the quicker you’ll improve. You’ll be more likely to deliver blockbuster posts on a consistent basis if you spend a few minutes each day honing your craft.
Lesson #2: Master the fundamentals
In softball, like all sports, mastering the fundamentals is crucial. Games can be won or lost by how well you can execute the basics.
One of the skills my Dad always preached to us about was the importance of making sure our gloves hit the dirt when fielding balls. How many times have you seen a ground ball go between a kid’s legs? Yeah, my Dad worked hard to prevent that.
The best blogs in the world have spent a lot of time mastering the basics. They consistently write killer headlines, produce good content and masterfully engage readers.
If you don’t have those skills down pat, it’s time to start practicing instead of worrying about things like which plugins to install on your blog or changing your blog design yet again.
Focusing your energy on the blogging basics will help you continually improve the content of your blog and help you grow a loyal readership. Once you’ve mastered these things, you can spend time on the advanced stuff.
Lesson #3: Keep your eye on the ball
Although it’s one of the most cliche’ terms in baseball, it’s important advice – keep your eye on the ball.
I still remember images of girls spinning in full circles, blindly hoping the bat would make content with the ball. My Dad would spend a lot of time helping us watch the ball all the way until it made contact with the bat. It’s amazing how that simple little step made all the difference.
When in comes to blogging, it’s easy to be distracted at what other people are doing online and then swinging wildly for the fences in hopes you get noticed online. That’s a mistake.
If you want to knock it out of the park, you have to stay true to YOUR goals and YOUR strategy. Keep focused on what you do best and work hard to continue providing value to your readers. You’ll be much more likely to hit a home run that way.
What baseball lessons would you add that apply to blogging? What has your Dad taught you?
P.S. Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful Dad, who taught me about a whole lot more about life than baseball. I love you, Dad!