Accentuate the positive

During the last few years, in addition to my regular job, I've enjoyed being a volunteer baseball coach. Working year-round with junior high schoolers has taught me a lesson—an important one—that applies to all sports, and extends into many other areas of life. Whether it's been baseball, football, skiing, or cricket, I've noticed that players improve most quickly when they keep track not of what they are doing wrong, but of what they are doing right.

I know that's not always so easy to do. In most sports there's a lot of emphasis today on mistakes and failures. You may have noticed how, during the Summer Olympics, in many of the judged sports—such as gymnastics, equestrian events, or diving—the main concern was with deductions for faults. And if you go to a baseball game, you'II notice that the slot on the scoreboard for "errors" is just as large as the slots for good things like "hits" and "runs."

My journey back
October 4, 2004

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