“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” – Ted Williams

by Andrew Pryor

It’s April and we’re in the midst of baseball season, where men strike out on a regular basis in front of millions of people…and step right back up to the plate minutes later.  Take your inspiration from them when preparing for a crucial first date and know that there will always be another fastball headed your way.  With that said, here are seven tips to increase your odds of getting onto the base path – and steer clear of the dugout:

1. Control your appearance: First impressions are key in any situation, so make sure you look the way you want to be seen.  Trim your facial hair, tuck in your shirt, shine your shoes; look as flawless as you have to.  They’re called impressions for a reason – you want to give your date a reason to be impressed.

2. Be polite: You don’t have to show up at her front door with a bouquet of roses to prove that chivalry isn’t dead.  Just stick to the basics.  Hold the door open.  Say please and thank you.  Compliment her on her looks.  Be nice to the waiter.  And by all means, please pay for the check.

3. Be positive: The great Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  Don’t get down on yourself if you think the date isn’t going well.  Just remember to keep your chin up and be someone she wants to be around.  Focus on the runs you score, rather than the errors you commit.

4. Be yourself: As soon as you have tips one, two and three locked down, you can let the rest all hang out.  You want to dazzle your date, but you also need to look like a human being.  Let your own interests play a role.  Find out her hobbies, what she does for a living and what she aspires to do and see if you have common ground.

5. Know when to talk…and when to listen: Conversations should be like tides, not tidal waves: they should ebb and flow.  If you feel like you’re dominating the table talk, ask her a question and give her the opportunity to speak.  By the same token, don’t be a brick wall – if she’s the only one talking, tell her a few things about yourself.

6. Have confidence: They say that few batters go for a home run on every swing, but you should at least be able to go into a first date planning for a second date. Walk up to her knowing that she needs you in her life. And if you feel a first kiss coming on at the end of the night, go for it.

7. Don’t go to a baseball game for your first date: Seriously – watch the game from your favorite bar if you really want, but the ballpark is a grand old disaster of a first date.  Peanut shells and spilled beer, nasty bathrooms, screaming fans, lethal line-drives, and a date that might be more interested in the pitcher’s perfect game than your perfect evening.  No thanks.