Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sport by the book...

I play a sport on a regular basis and have done so for a few years now, but have never had any formal coaching. I've always known that playing in this manner would never lead to a high level of play, because this is rarely possible without proper technique, training, and strategies. I didn't mind this because the fun was in playing the sport and competing with people of similar skill levels while also maintaining some modicum of fitness. Besides, despite lacking coaching my game has improved in its own inelegant way over the years.

My satisfaction with the status quo recently changed, however, when I witnessed well trained players competing. I guess over time you somehow convince yourself subconsciously that you're becoming pretty good, that you've somehow 'learned' to play well on your own even though you know at an intellectual level that you haven't. This illusion was shattered when I watched skilled players in action; I saw just how far below par I actually was. This fact was reinforced in my mind when I later played against a skilled opponent and had my ass handed to me in short-order. I learned that I had even the most basic fundamentals wrong.

Now my feeling of contentment has been replaced with a feeling of immense dissatisfaction. Sure it makes no sense feeling that way when the whole point is to have a bit of fun and play as well as I can, but there's a part of me that simply can't rest knowing that I'm doing something in completely the wrong way. It's not a question of being a perfectionist either, it's that I've realized that doing something in a proper, efficient, elegant manner (regardless of how well you stack up against your peers) is immensely more satisfying than winging it, even when it comes to something trivial like playing a sport for recreation.

I've received my wakeup call, and it's time to improve!

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