How Do Sports and Business Overlap?

Many people enjoy and follow sports.  What mind set can we learn on the field, court or arena that will translate into business success?

Basketball fans have heard of the full court press.  In sports, this would relate to an aggressive defensive strategy.  What could this mean for your business?  Basically, it would translate to giving it your all and “all hands-on deck” to solve a problem, accomplish a goal or satisfy a customer.  Two heads are better than one when brainstorming to solve a problem and finding the best solution to satisfy an important client.

Hail Mary is a common term used in football to describe a long pass with a small chance of completion or success.  Sounds risky for your business?  Consider a situation where you want to gain a new customer and it seems like a long shot.  Do you throw in the towel without trying because it’s unlikely?  Zero chance for success with that mindset. The only chance here, is to gather your team, put together a presentation with your best shot at success and take a chance!  Sometimes the only way to get into the end zone is to throw the long ball.

Taking advantage of the things in your wheelhouse can give your business a greater chance of success.  In baseball this refers to the area within a batter’s swing where they have the highest percentage of making contact with the ball.  Every business has a wheelhouse or area of expertise.  Chances are you know exactly what this expertise is and where your employees are most comfortable with their skills.  Don’t forget the skills your work team excels in and make sure you highlight them in your business interactions!

In tennis, the phrase the ball is in your court, refers to waiting for the return shot from your opponent.  In business, this means you are literally waiting for the customer or potential customer to reply with information, product, paperwork, questions or a signed contract.  During this waiting time, it’s important to keep open communication with your customers and a follow up to see if they need additional assistance may get the ball moving again!

Down for the count in boxing means one person is on the floor of the ring while the referee counts down to ten to see if they get back up.  In business, being down and out could apply to not having the intended outcome or success in a project.  It could mean you’ve lost an opportunity or any chance of recovery.  For a business, in this case, you need to dust off and find new ways to move forward and find success.

The bench in sports is where the players sit when they aren’t participating in an ongoing game.  They may need to rest or the skills needed on the court right now may not be in their wheelhouse.  Being on the bench in business may indicate that you don’t have the skills needed for the current project or tasks at hand. “Bench strength” in business can refer the team of employees who can step up or into a project at a moment’s notice.

Today in America, six in ten people identify themselves as sports fans.  Learning the lingo and understanding the impact of these terms in the business world is a great way to connect with employees and customers who do follow sports. By providing leadership that encourages growth, encouraging checks and balances between departments, maintaining strategic adaptations to changing business structures, and matching the ideal person for the ideal job, you are primed and ready to score and succeed in business.


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