It’s all in the follow through — The one lesson I should have learned

I was just ten, but I vividly remember Coach Dan. I never cared for him and I think the feeling was mutual. Unlike his superstar son, I was slow footed and less than athletic. I was a little joker. He was all business. For me, it was just Little League, a chance to play ball with my friends and mimic my heroes. For him, it was life.

Although I was bigger and stronger than many of the other kids, I just couldn’t hit the ball for distance. It often plopped right in front of the second baseman who would casually toss it over to first base to cut down my lumbering dash.

He tried to work on my swing to give me a little pop.  “It’s all in the follow through!” he would repeat like a pull-me-doll, over and again. I never got it right.

Eventually, his words rang true with all my future “athletic endeavors,” –baseball, football, golf, tennis, bowling. They all required a finishing motion, a follow through. Technique, concentration, commitment, conditioning and ability are worthless under the specter of a bad follow through.

The journey of life suffers under a similar dilemma. Good people of every ilk fail to deliver after the initial energy. Empty promises made on emotional appeals lie hollow when don’t carry them onward. We have all wept at the appeal to help the poor or disadvantaged — only to fail to deliver. We all know that good intentions do not substitute for sustained performance.

I live the consequence of failing to follow through on my early efforts. I started well, but I finished poorly and that’s all people will remember.

Red Letter Believers are people who don’t just think about good things and talk about them — we do them. 

How’s your follow through? Comment here.

About David Rupert

Newsletter Editor for the High Calling Find me over at
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13 Responses to It’s all in the follow through — The one lesson I should have learned

  1. I want my life to be a holy follow through clear to the end.

  2. Nancy says:

    Something about growing weary in doing good. I think we're told not to, but I so often do. That's where my follow-through stops.

  3. Clint says:

    All I know is that it is easy to talk about being a Christian, but then when I think about all that entails and how little I really do in my faith, it is pretty darn humbling. Great post!

  4. Bummer, I had a great Little League coach, who also taught the importance of follow through. I still remember from his 'ten rules of baseball' – if you start to slide, slide. Otherwise you break bones. I write about my coach and my journey back to my Little League days in my book.

  5. I am so incredibly grateful that Jesus followed through for me. His perfect obedience stood in the gap for my failed obedience. Thank God for grace.

  6. The follow through . . . that is the kicker, isn't it? Just today, I persevered through a project at work that had been baffling me for days. When I finally figured it out, I was amazed that I had stuck with it. I want to be the kind of person who sticks with it every time, and am, too, thankful that the Lord sticks with me, every time.

  7. Sam Van Eman says:

    Well said, David. I've heard that some contractors now create two building contracts – one for the initial construction crew led by folks who start well and finish poorly; the other for a team of finishers who tidy up the last 10%. If only my mom had done this with me, I wouldn't feel bad at all about not finishing. 😉

  8. Donna says:

    Ouch….afraid you got me on this one. I'm a great starter! I'm full of ideas, energy, zeal – but I've always had a bit of trouble with the finish. Actually, not sure I make it far enough to talk about the finish…it's the middle that gets to me!I want to learn to live life like I run…strong at the start, determined to not give up in the middle, and one good final burst of energy at the end. Sounds like a plan – now if I can just pull it

  9. Bob Gorinski says:

    I like this David, and it makes me think of my work. Sometimes treating painful conditions and getting athletes back to full capacity involves (literally) getting them to follow through. The poor follow through rarely happens in isolation. There's often something going on all the while, like a weak or tight body segment or habitual movement pattern that leads to it. The analogy certainly applies…the poor follow through doesn't happen in isolation.

  10. Not long ago I buried my friend, my brother in law. He was a "ready, shoot, aim" type guy. Life full of blunders, but the last few years he pulled it together and the words spoken over him were great words of comfort and joy to us, "He finished well." Lord, help us to follow through and finish well, with that in mind keep us from sitting on the bench for fear of not being able to finish, to swing, to hit-a-homer. Courage to try and tenacity to not quit. Thanks.

  11. Connie Mace says:

    One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa. When asked once how she could possibly hope to have any impact on the massive numbers of poor…her response? "I don't focus on the masses, just on the one in front of me and I help that one"…and then she helped the next one…Sometimes a task seems so immense, so I focus on what GOD has me do in that moment…and then the next…

  12. Larry Hehn says:

    I had the follow through talk with my youngest son this past year when he started playing baseball. It's such a good analogy, simple and memorable.I'm reminded of Ecclesiastes 7:8 – "The end of a matter is better than its beginning…"Great post, David!

  13. I just read and commented on your previous post.Again, this post is ministering to me in a profound way—helping me with something with which I struggle. Thank you.

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