The importance of keeping things simple

My six year old son’s baseball coach sent the parents a list of things to work on with our boys at home. I initially copied the list to this post so you’d see I’m not exaggerating when I emphasize how long the list is, but that would have resulted in the longest post in the history of the Schedulefly blog. The email was broken down into three segments: Throwing & Catching; Defensive Mindset; and Batting. Just as an example, here’s item “G” in the Batting segment….

“g) if the above is done, the bat literally should fall right into the “line” that the ball is coming on; can’t dip / chop / drop then hands or the bat will only “cross the line that the ball is on”; we want the bat to be on the same plane / line that the ball is coming as long as possible, therefore if they swing fast the ball will go down the 3rd base line, if they swing medium the ball will go up the middle, and if they swing slow they still can hit the ball towards the 1st base side of the field.”

Again, these kids are six. Yet we’re talking about the swing plane for the bat and directional hitting. Really? I’ll just be happy if my son runs to first base instead of third base when he makes contact. What happened to just saying, “Keep your eye on the ball”?

Then, in the “Defensive Mindset” segment, he lists all of the many things the boys need to be thinking about before each pitch. Yes, it’s a list – a long list. Heck, when I was six and in the field I was thinking about stuff like, “This Big League Chew gum is good but I put waaaaay too much in my mouth and my jaw is sore from chewing it.” Or, “I really have to pee, could this kid just strike out already so I don’t wet my pants!!!”

Meanwhile, my nine year old daughter rides horses. She’s been riding two years, and two years into it all I hear her coach saying each practice are the same three things, over and over. “Keep your heels down.” “Look ahead.” “Shorten your reigns.” Heck, I almost feel like I could ride a horse now just by listening to those three things over and over. I know I couldn’t of course, but that coach keeps things so simple that I feel like I could, and that’s the point! My daughter has learned fifty other points about riding a horse that she couldn’t even articulate, but they’ve all come naturally from focusing on those three things.

And that’s why my daughter’s coach is a great coach – she has figured out how to keep it simple. It’s a philosophy we share at Schedulefly. We have focused relentlessly on keeping our app simple, our pricing simple, our support simple, and every aspect of how we run our business…simple!

For instance, within our app we focus more on cutting things out than on adding things. Trust me, it’s much easier to add than to cut – much easier to say, “Sure, let’s just add that feature, why not?” than to say “Yeah, some people use this tool but it’s not critical to solving the core problem our app was built to solve and in the interest of keeping things simple, let’s eliminate it.”

There’s still so much for me to learn about how to be successful in life, business, parenting, etc., but one thing I’m sure about: In any aspect of life, when you are able to see through the fog of details and focus on the critical aspects – “Heels down….look ahead…shorten your reigns” – the other stuff will fall into place naturally.

I’m about to head out to a field near my house with my son. We’ll take a bat, a few baseballs, and our gloves. My guess is the only thing I’ll say, whether he is catching or hitting, is “Keep your eye on the ball.”


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