I think I could do infield drills in my sleep. Seriously, if someone propped me up and told me to play “wall ball,” I could do it without waking up. At every level of baseball, I did infield drills just like that. The outside wall of our garage served as the first opportunity, then the wall on the outside of the high school baseball locker room, then the inside of gymnasiums, and so on. I’ve always done infield drills.
Something odd happened along the way with all those infield drills. They worked, and I began to like them. I enjoy the fact that those drills gave me the freedom to be a better fielder. And it was fun, albeit repetitive, to just get back to basics from time to time.
Check out Proverbs 6:22–“When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you.”
“They” in this verse are the various instructions and words of godly counsel given by parents to a son. Over and over, like doing infield drills, the son had learned the same, repetitive things from his parents. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. You shall have no other gods before him. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy…” The lessons taught to a young Jewish child way back then would have been taught by repetition, just like playing wall ball.
Like all of us, I’m sure there were times when the child got tired of hearing the same things from his parents, but they repeated it all for a purpose: they wanted him to be free to become the man God wanted him to be.
They wanted him to know what to do, regardless of the situation. Baseball has a way of throwing things at you that you aren’t prepared for. Life is even better at that. Only those who have repeated the same drills over and over can instinctively react to something unusual. Only those who have repeatedly internalized the word of God can respond appropriately when life takes a bad hop.
They wanted him to have peace when he slept. There’s nothing that makes me more nervous as a coach than knowing my players are likely unprepared for a game. There’s nothing worse as a dad than thinking my children are unprepared for life. Baseball drills and practice go a long way in preparing a team for a game. Repeated instruction from godly mentors and from the Scripture do the same for us in life.
They wanted him to have voices in his head. I’ve seen it happen with players on the field. During a play, they make an adjustment, almost as if a voice in their head told them to do so. It’s the voice of the coach, the voice that has instructed them, the voice that speaks at just the right time. I’ve seen it happen in life, too. A choice is made or not made, an action is taken or not taken, almost as if a voice from inside spoke very loudly. Godly instruction from mentors and the Bible has a way of speaking to us, even when we are all alone.
It would be foolish to give up on or dismiss infield drills as merely elementary or superfluous. They free us up to be better fielders. Likewise, it would be even more foolish to dismiss instruction from godly mentors and the Scripture just because “I’ve heard all that before.” That instruction is the path to freedom and joy in this life with Christ.
Lord Jesus, send me people who will repeat your words over and over. Drill it into me so that I can be the person you’ve created me to be. Amen.