Revisiting the Harada Method: Lessons from Shohei Ohtani and Norman Bodek


It's a Throwback Thursday…

As I watched the MLB Home Run Derby last night, I really enjoyed watching the Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In fact, he's the only reason I tuned in.

He's often compared to the great Babe Ruth (who is not too distantly related to my wife and one side of her family), because Ohtani both pitches and hits (he's leading MLB in home runs, with 33). I saw someone say the other day that he's not “the second Babe Ruth,” he's “the first Shohei Ohtani.”

Angels Star Shohei Ohtani Isn't the Best Two-Way Player Since Babe Ruth. He's Better.

Tonight, I'll be watching the All-Star Game with an interest I haven't felt for years, if not decades. He'll be the starting pitcher for the American League AND he'll be batting first in the order as the Designated Hitter. That's never been done. To be fair to Babe Ruth, by the time the All Star game started, he was no longer pitching (and he couldn't be a designated hitter).

Why am I writing here about Ohtani? I'm writing about him because I probably heard of him well before most readers of this blog… thanks to the late Norman Bodek.

Embed from Getty Images

I heard of Ohtani well before he came to play in the U.S. Norman told me about Ohtani, and wrote about him, in the context of the “Harada Method” as I blogged about in 2018:

Embed from Getty Images

“Ohtani was a student of Mr. Sasaki, who was a student of Harada. Ohtani sketched out his plan for becoming a professional player in the Japanese league in Harada Method style (PDF link). How much did the Harada Method contribute to Ohtani's success?”

Here is a podcast that I did with Norman about the Harada Method:

Ohtani and the Harada Method were mentioned in a 2018 Wall Street Journal article, as I blogged about here:

I'm really enjoying watching Ohtani play. I hope to see him play in person with the Angels this summer. Watching him brings a smile to my face… and it makes me think of Bodek and Harada, which means even more to me personally.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleWhen It’s Easier to Distort the System Than it is to Improve It: Baseball Attendance
Next articleKatie Anderson: One Year of “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn” and the New Audiobook
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.