If you’ve seen any highlights of Spring Training so far, you may have noticed something that pitchers learn to hate. It’s called Pitchers’ Fielding Practice (PFP). In some way, that’s an oxymoron, because we all know pitchers can’t really field! I guess that’s why they need the practice.
Regardless, the drill goes like this. A coach hits a ground ball to the first baseman. He fields it and flips the ball to the pitcher, who has left the mound to cover first base. It’s simple, really. It seems so easy. All the pitcher has to do is run a simple route toward the first base foul line, then run parallel to the line, avoid the runner, catch the ball, and step on the base.
Simple, until it matters. It’s amazing to watch this play out in real time, at game speed. The batter hits a routine ground ball to the right of the first baseman. Fielded cleanly, the ball is now ready for the pitcher, who somehow has forgotten that it’s his responsibility to cover the base and is now scrambling toward first at an unhealthy angle. Soon, he will miss the ball, collide with the runner, and need medical attention. Why? All because he didn’t care about PFP.
Those drills in the early practice season can make or break you when a game is on the line. Pitchers and first basemen who take them seriously and work hard at them never have an “event” at the base. Instead, you hardly notice such a play when it’s executed properly. It can be performed under pressure because it was practiced in obscurity.
Life is no different. Don’t expect to suddenly “perform” when the pressure is on if your life in secret and obscurity is an undisciplined mess. Story after story in the Bible highlight this. The only way to be ready to handle “game time” is through a disciplined walk with Jesus each day. The “PFP” of Christianity involves prayer, Bible reading and study, involvement with people who help you grow, and a host of other things that, on the surface, seem obscure and meaningless.
Yet, so many people eventually crash into the runner at first base because they never learned that disciplined walk with the Savior.
PFP matters. So does your daily walk with Jesus.