When I started playing the game of Pickleball it was initially for just the fun of it. As my game naturally progressed I found that after a few months I had peaked out and wasn’t sure why. Little did I know that the next level players where watching and taking notice of my play and decided it was “Time” for me to move up.
When I moved to the next courts the very first thing they decided to teach me was the third shot drop. I will have a story on the third shot drop in a future blog but for now just know that I was terrible at it when I first started. Of course they added new skills to my game each week to every two weeks to bring me up to speed and prepare me to play games against them and the other opponents who showed up weekly.
I remember a former high school coach tell me one day that he was going to start working with me and running me through drills about 3 times in the morning each week. He would explain the drill to me and then tell me why it was important before we ran the drill. Then he would start off slow and then amp it up to give me real game situations so I could see how this skill could really translate to the game.
During this time I came home a lot between playing sessions feeling overwhelmed, beaten and a lot of times discouraged. How was I supposed to get all of these skills down? How was I going to remember to use this in a real game? What if people don’t want to play with me because I just can’t get it? Then one day I turned to something that I have done for a long time and still do this day and that is search YouTube for inspirational videos and speeches. I had it set on motivational videos and then just let them play as I sat back and just tried to get lost in the words. I remember in one video Bruce Lee was talking during an interview and he had some really good things to say that resonated with me but the one quote that he said that really hit home was “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
WOW! Just wow! That was a real game changer for me. I decided that instead of trying to practice every skill that I learned but instead work on one skill until I had it down before moving on to the next. Now let me say this to be completely transparent here. Doing this will for the most part not be fun. You will do this while everyone else is playing and you will do this when no one else is around. There is no glory in doing this while you are practicing and usually no one is around to tell you how good a job you are doing. So in the end…..you have to do this for yourself. That being said I showed up and worked on that one skill until I had it consistent then moved to the next. It doesn’t happen overnight and if you have ever tried hitting one shot 10,000 times you will know it usually doesn’t happen in a day or a week. It happens over time. But guess what? That time is going to pass anyway so why not practice?
Thank you Bruce Lee! That was one of the most defining moments of my Pickleball career early on. There have been many more since then and I am sure as you continue to follow along you will read more. For now just remember practice that shot 10,000 times and I promise you it will be worth it in the end.
See you on the courts!