3 Smart Lessons I’ve Learned from Dumb Mistakes

As I spoke to our player on first, “Watch the pitcher,” the pitcher he was supposed to watch picked him off.


Because the first-base coach (that would be me) distracted his own base runner.

Sheesh! I’ve got a lot to learn about coaching this game.

And I am learning.

A lot.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.

1) Making mistakes isn’t a mistake unless you don’t learn from them. I’ve made three egregious errors as a coach (actually more but who’s counting?)—overestimating my player’s speed while underestimating their outfielder’s arm, distracting my own base runner while he’s off the base, and yelling “Go, go, go!” when a player missed a steal sign (that tips off the opponents, not a good idea).

I pencil the mistakes into my memory and then don’t repeat them.

I want to note something important here. My mistakes become lessons to better me, not batter me. I don’t say, “Oh, stupid me!” Instead, I say, “Well, Tom, lesson learned. Don’t do that again.”

2) Seek out the wise and skilled. I don’t know much about coaching baseball, but I know those who do. Some are older. Some are younger. All of them are wiser and more skilled than I. If I want to improve (and I do), I find those guys.

3) Listen and learn. In a post-game bus trip, the four coaches, including me, sat up front. The other three talked baseball. I listened.

On occasion I asked a question but, for the most part, I kept my mouth shut and my ears open.

Kari Scare wrote a comment after my previous post, “2 Sentences You Don’t Want to Hear … Together!” that lines up well with this post. She said, “I’m in a group of people regularly who can teach me about being more welcoming. So, I might not be great at welcoming others, but I am learning and getting better at it by watching those who do it so well.

Her statement highlights a great reason why I love community. We can learn from one another and live better lives for Christ.

I’m curious. What are you learning and who helps you with the lessons?

Recommended reading:

Jeff Goins’ “How to Find Your Life’s Treasure”

Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz Box Office Update” (note: I check rottentomatoes.com when I evaluate movies. Often the critics and the general populace agree, but sometimes they are world’s apart. In Blue Like Jazz‘s case, a major disparity exists between the critics and the public.)

My top 3 posts in the last 7 days:

“2 Sentences You Don’t Want to Hear … Together!”

“I Bet You Stop the Story Too Soon”

“Can Angels Be Christian?”

You can find my novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, at:

WestBow Press


Barnes & Noble

"Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes" in the dugout with Coach Shaun Ruhland.

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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4 Responses to 3 Smart Lessons I’ve Learned from Dumb Mistakes

  1. Kari Scare says:

    First, thank you for the mention. I am honored and humbled by it. Second, in addition to learning how to be better socially, I am also learning to be less critical as well as to loosen up. All related, I realize, but specifically I am thinking of how I interact with my kids. I am too critical of them too often, and I think I am stifling who they are at times. So, I am searching for ways to help them flourish in who God made them to be while at the same time teaching them the critical importance of obedience and respect. I look to others for how they parent their kids, not just the ones I feel are doing things right (getting harder to find these days) but also to the ones who are looking back on what is already done and who have lessons to offer from that as well as to those who are not doing so well in that area. I think I can learn from every, yes every single one, parent that I see interacting with their kids.

  2. tnealtarver says:

    Our kids are a challenge. We won’t them to be better than we were at their age. We have anxious moments because we want them to succeed and we’re afraid they’ll fail. Both with them and us, we need to allow room for failure, to not bang on them or batter our own selves for the inevitable mistakes (seems I make that point somewhere in some writing or other).

  3. Pingback: Buddha’s 3 Essentials for Happiness | A Curious Band of Others

  4. Pingback: 3 Helpful Hints to Doing Your Job Well | A Curious Band of Others

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