What Baseball (and Softball) Taught Me about Being a Counselor

images (5)By Christie Hyland — With baseball season underway, I thought it would be fun to do a post about America’s pastime and how it shaped me as a future counselor.

Of course, all of our experiences in life can shape us, but my years of playing softball have been particularly salient for me.

1)      Dealing with a loss is difficult
Losing a big game can be devastating. I have had my share of tough losses, and they taught me a lot about coping and keeping my head up. While a softball game is petty in comparison to the tough losses of life, it really does help you in preparing for those tougher losses of the future. Having dealt with defeat in the past, I have the coping mechanisms in place to help myself get past the sorrow of a loss. Hopefully this experience can help me in working with my clients who are going through losses in their life, big or small.

2)      My teammates were my best friends
My teammates on the softball team were some of my greatest friends. There’s something about practicing for hours every day, traveling to away games together, sharing the joy of victory and sorrow of defeat that can bring people together. In counseling, I understand how important athletics and friendships are to many youth. I would encourage my child and adolescent clients to try a sport or extra-curricular activity. They are a fantastic way to flourish and make lifelong friends.

3)      Staying strong despite stress and tough times
I’ve been in a lot of high-stress situations as a pitcher. Some situations brought a lot of pressure, especially when the game is close. Those times have taught me to keep my cool and focus on my goals. My experiences dealing with the stress and pressure can certainly add to my counseling skills. I can help clients manage their stress to get through their difficult time. My clients may want to throw in the towel, and it will be my job to support them, encourage them to walk it off and get back out there.

4)      Hard work can make your goals possible
I’ve endured many long hours of practice, in both freezing and scorching temperatures. I’ve been so sore where I didn’t think I could move. I’ve been injured, once so bad that I needed surgery. But every sacrifice and setback made me stronger and helped me accomplish my goals of being a better player and helping my team succeed. I can use these experiences to better empathize with clients who are working toward a goal. Sometimes a goal can seem out of reach or too difficult to accomplish. As a counselor, I can help clients develop strategies to accomplish their goals.

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