4 Ways That Entrepreneurship Is Like Hitting a Major League Fastball


4 Ways That Entrepreneurship Is Like Hitting a Major League Fastball – article 1 of 4

David Moody, Staff Writer & Business Consultant at Jacksson David, LLC

Major league baseball and entrepreneurship.  Two things you don’t usually think of as being comparable. However, working with many first or second-time startup founders, and having played baseball in college, I’ve begun to compare entrepreneurial success in hitting a baseball in the major leagues.

In the time it takes a human to blink, .4 seconds, a 95 MPH fastball will travel 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitcher’s mound to home plate.  The batter has to determine the rotation of the ball and velocity in the first 12 feet. From 12 to 30 feet, .14 seconds, the batter must decide if the pitch is hittable.  This leaves him approximately .2 seconds, near the limit of human reaction time, to swing the bat. A variance of a fraction of a second or a fraction of an inch can be the difference between a hit, a called strike, foul ball or grounding out.  In addition, an errant pitch can cause serious injury if it hits the batter.

Many sports pundits have stated that hitting major league pitching (90 + mph fastballs) is possibly the most difficult feat in all of the sports.  I can attest to that. In high school and in college I stepped into the batter’s box against pitchers who eventually had long pro careers. Their fastballs were clocked at 87-90 mph at the time.  The ball was coming so fast that I had to guess at what pitch was coming and start my swing soon enough to even have a chance of hitting the ball. I didn’t guess right very often. So what does this have to do with entrepreneurship?    

  1. Major league batters expect a hit every time they go to the plate – Every young entrepreneur aspires to hit it out of the park their first time at bat.  Like baseball players, it takes that kind of bold, confidence mindset to even have a chance of success.  That belief, despite the odds, is what gives both major league batters and entrepreneurs the courage and confidence to be successful.  One can have this belief when they have spent many hours practicing their craft and developing their skills. Successful knowledge acquisition and skill development can give you great confidence in being successful, even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

THE TAKEAWAY – Young Entrepreneurs – Expect to hit a home run your first time at bat as a startup founder, but don’t be too disappointed when it doesn’t happen.  Remember, businesses fail, but people only fail when they quit. Keep learning and stay confident. You get a turn at bat every few innings.