Is Talent Enough?

Is Talent Enough?

For the past 3 years I have been sold out to the sport of Pickleball. From the first day I picked up a paddle to now, I have been completely hooked. On day one I developed a desire to become a great player and eventually found a greater passion for teaching the game...but pickleball wasn't my first love when it comes to the world of sports. 

I started playing baseball at a very early age and loved every aspect of it. I was naturally a good hitter and I excelled at fielding and pitching. I was always one of the more talented players on my little league teams and found myself making all star teams and winning MVP awards. While most of my success came through the things that came naturally to me, I never made it to an elite level because I hated practice and I didn't have what it takes to keep up with the players around me who were working hard. I became irrelevant on my high school team and that's where my baseball journey ended. I had the talent, but I lacked the discipline to be great. 

I know it has been said before, but talent is never enough. John Maxwell actually wrote a book about this and it is spot on! I want to give you 3 things that kill our ability to succeed, no matter how talented we might be. 

FYI, these don't just apply to our pickleball goals, they apply to any area in our lives where we want to be great. 

Lack of Discipline - Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle knows that discipline plays a huge role in reaching our goals. You can run or lift as many weights as you want, but if you don't have the discipline to lay off Krispy Kreme Donuts and Coca-Cola, you aren't going to get very far. When it comes to a sport like pickleball or baseball, we must obtain some discipline to reach our goals. Something will only be easy or come natural to a certain extent. You will eventually reach a point where you have to put in practice time and sacrifice doing something you enjoy to improve your skills. Remember, if you aren't grinding, and your competition is, they will eventually leave you in the dust! Doing the hard work to get better is usually something that we don't want to do. But being disciplined and doing them anyway will give you an edge over the ones who decide to sit on the couch instead. Make a list of the things that you don't want to do that will help you succeed, knock em' out, and cross them off!

The Inability to Be Taught - With anything that I've ever done in my life I have always desired to have a mentor of some sort. There have been some ventures that I have embarked upon where I didn't seek help from someone who had been there before and ended up falling flat. When it comes to an area where you feel that you have natural talent and ability, make it a priority to find someone who can help you see different perspectives and adjust things that aren't in alignment with your goals. As a pickleball instructor, I have come across many talented athletes who have a lot of potential to be great players, but they will never reach their goals because they aren't willing to ask for help and be a student of the game. Thinking you know everything or believing you can figure it out all by yourself will be detrimental to reaching any goal that you set for yourself. Find a mentor or teacher and feed off of their wisdom to help you succeed. 

Failure to Network - I actually hate the word "network." It sounds too inorganic for my taste, but I will use it because most understand what I mean by it. We must be able to take advantage of the resources around us to achieve our goals. Most of the time, these resources come in the form of people. As with the student/teacher dynamic mentioned above, we can't reach maximum success on our own. It's important to find others who share similar goals or who have knowledge/access to things that we don't and form mutual relationships with them. My biggest word of advice on this, don't "use" them. Find ways that you can benefit each other. Be ready to return favors and help them however you can. Find a genuine interest in them and make them feel appreciated for any help they give. In the game of pickleball, I often find players that will be beneficial for me to drill with. While they can help me, I also want to help them. So when we practice, I make sure we work on things they want to work on as well. Just be a decent person here and make sure you aren't mooching off of someone and taking advantage of them. Keep a running list of people you can work with and begin making connections. Take them out to lunch and come up with ways you can genuinely help each other. Get people in your corner that can help you succeed; You will never be able to maximize your potential on your own. 

At all costs, don't let your talent go to waste. If you are exceptionally good at something and want to progress to be better and achieve higher goals, be a student in your area, find people that can help you, and be willing to put in the work that others may not be willing to do. These are the things that make good players into great players, or good accountants into great accountants, or good managers into great managers. You'll never be great on talent alone!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any pickleball questions or if you are interested in taking pickleball lessons in Augusta, Georgia!

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