Why Failure Can Be Your Greatest Teacher

By Jonathan Massey-


How important is experience? One would assume that a doctor, teacher, or coach with over 20 years of experience would be better than one with 5 years of experience. Yet if you are familiar with the research in this area, you would know that this is often not the case. In fact, in the studies on physicians, doctors with more than 20 years of experience are not always better than doctors with 5 years of experience.


Why? First off, the education and training the less experienced doctor received could have been better than the education the more experienced doctor received. Secondly, and more important, simply doing the same activity over and over again does not guarantee continual improvement.


The music world understands this far better than the sports world ever has. Coach Wolforth’s famous analogy is, “If I wanted to get better at playing the piano, and all I did was bang on the keys every morning for an hour, would I become a world class pianist?” The answer is obviously no, you would just get better at banging on the keys. Well, I would like to add on to that wisdom by asking if all I do is play the same piece over and over again, would I become a world class pianist? In the beginning I would have more improvement over the person who simply bangs on keys for an hour. Eventually though, once I mastered that piece of music, my improvement would stall, and I would still not become a world class pianist.


Yet I see these two scenarios happen all the time in baseball, especially the second one. We at the Texas Baseball Ranch® see close to 1,000 young men every year through all of our events. Some of them think that being in the presence of The Ranch team will add 5mph to their fastball, and a vast majority of them believe that simply doing the drills we recommend will turn them into a future major leaguer. I ran across this quote from Denzel Washington the other day, he said, “If you are not failing. You are not even trying.” Growth only occurs along the edges of your comfort zone, which means finding the scenario in which failure occurs on a regular basis. For some, that is trying to make your throwing drills more mechanically efficient. For those who have mastered that level, it’s doing the throwing drill more efficiently while hitting a certain spot. The next level could be doing your drill work mechanically efficient while hitting a spot and changing the weighted ball every throw.


If you are not experiencing some kind of failure in your training every single day, you are either simply banging on the keyboard or playing a tune that you’ve already mastered. Failure is not a bad thing, failure leads to growth.


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At the Texas Baseball Ranch®, we challenge athletes slightly beyond their current capabilities. This is where real growth occurs. If you would like to experience this first hand, we invite you to join us this summer. We have 6 camp dates on the calendar between June and September and our “Extended Stay Summer Development Program” is a 2-10 week training opportunity at The Ranch. Those dates and more information are available at www.TexasBaseballRanch.com/events.


We are looking for 4 or 5 interns to work at the Texas Baseball Ranch® this summer.  If you or someone you know would be interested in one of these positions, please email info@texasbaseballranch.com or call (936) 588-6762 and we will follow-up with additional information.



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