How 10-Year-Old Pitchers Can Help Train Your Team


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trainingMy son’s baseball team was having trouble getting the ball over the plate when they pitched. The coach asked me to see if I could help.

When I asked the kids what their job was, they said, “To strike out the batters”. I asked them if the coach ever said that. They said, “No, but that is the pitcher’s job”.

I needed to get them away from this results only mindset and focus on a few basic things they could control. My golf coach’s training taught me to swing correctly by breaking the swing down into parts, so I did that for the kids.

I broke down the pitching motion into 4 parts. I showed them what I wanted them to do as I counted from 0 to 3.

  • Zero: meant stand still take a breath and look at catcher’s mitt.
  • One: meant pick up their front leg. Still watching the catcher’s mitt.
  • Two: meant to step towards the plate, extend their pitching arm back and point to catcher with their glove hand.
  • Three: meant throw the ball to catcher.

That was it.

I next had them get into each position when I called out the numbers to make sure they felt the difference. Some kids struggled getting settled, others with their stride, others losing focus on the mitt.

The point was they were focused on these four things instead of the result. I told them if they focused on these steps then the rest will take care of itself.

I told this story the other day as I was working with a BDC manager for a large auto group. When I asked him what his team would say their job was, he replied, “Selling Cars”. Now that may be admirable, but these employees do not sell the cars. Just as the 10 years olds did, they were not focused on what they controlled. They needed to break down their metrics in the same manner as I broke down the kids pitching motion

They need to focus on only 4 things.

  • Total leads
  • Contacting the lead
  • Setting the appointment
  • Getting appointment to show

That’s it.

By breaking their metrics down to these 4 things, we are able to target the training accordingly. This also allows the team members to have small wins because when we inspected their results, not everything was off the mark.

The goal for each metric is 60%.

Contact 60% of total leads. Of those contacts, 60% should be set for an appointment and 60% of the appointment should show.

What we found for this team was their appointment setting ratio was 40% but their show ratio was 82%. The focus now should be to set more appointments, even if the show ratio drops a bit but overall # of opportunities to sell a car increased overall.

I also mentioned that he should look at each person’s metrics to see if one person was skewing the numbers in any way or was the whole team bunched around the desired metric.

What we told the kids, which applies to this BDC team as well, is we want each step to be quality. One can answer a lead but are we taking the time to answer all the customers’ questions? We can set an appointment but are we doing quality follow up to confirm the appointment? Are we getting the customer excited about coming in to do business?

Remember when I asked the kids what their job was? They said to strike the batter out. What I explained to them was that their job was to throw the ball over the plate and let the other team hit it. You have a team behind you.

For the BDC team, they thought they were just answering emails. What I explained were they were the front line salespeople for the virtual showroom. Just like the sales team is front line if someone walks on the lot. Their attitude began to change once they understood their true role.

Getting people to understand their role is key. Breaking down their job into manageable pieces will improve performance. Evaluating each step’s performance will allow you as a leader to offer positive feedback and target the area that needs a little help.

All in all, you will have a more relaxed team who produces better. And by the way, the kids only walked one batter in the next game. They looked like completely different kids because as one of them said, “I now know Zero is the number I need to remember. It calmed me down”.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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