Progress Takes Time
In racquetball, levels progress from Pro to Open, A, B, C, D, and Novice. In 2009, I entered the C and age 25+ C divisions of the US Racquetball National Championship where I finished second in both divisions. It was my first major tournament.
Last week, eight years later almost to the day, I was able to compete (and do a little coaching) in my second National Championship. This time I entered age 35+ Open as well as both the Centurion Doubles Open and A divisions with two different partners (partners must be a combined minimum age of 100). I came home with a gold, silver, and bronze. It was a great honor to compete in front racquetball legend and a mentor of mine Dr. Bud Muehleisen (see picture below).
Now there are days when I hate training, hate playing, and wish I could stop and just be a sports fan. There are days where I don’t feel I’m improving, my body hurts, and my mind quits. However, a reflection on what skill level I played in 2017 compared to 2009 is a reminder that although I have my bad days, I continue to improve. It’s encouraging and motivating!
Coaching Makes a Difference
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is not about the bronze medal I earned in 35+ Open singles but why it wasn’t a better color. I lost two matches, one in which I was outclassed by a much better player (for now…), and one in which I was close, but couldn’t seem to put it all together. It was very frustrating to be on the court knowing that I had the skills, fitness, and mental strength to match my opponent, yet feeling the match slowly slip away.
On reflection, I lost because I didn’t have a coach in my corner. I had the arrogance to think that my coaching education and knowledge would be good enough. And, unlike most players, I did have a game plan that I developed from speaking to his other opponents (I actually beat one opponent quite comfortably because I was able to watch one of his matches on YouTube before the tournament began and the game plan worked superbly).
But it didn’t work the way it was supposed to, and I needed a coach to help me change my tactics. On the court, I couldn’t see what they would have seen. Tactically, I got it all wrong, and a good coach would have seen the small things that I now recognize on reflection.
Too many of us, including me, make the foolish decision to rely on our own intuition and ability to carry us through a performance. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. I prefer it working out! There is value in coaching. I’ve learned my lesson. Will you learn from my mistake?
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