Over the past 3 months I have been coaching a Jr. Jazz team of boys in our neighborhood along with another dedicated Dad, Jeff Hyer.
Jr. Jazz is a youth program to teach kids basketball. We decided to start a team among our boys in cub scouts.
Last Saturday’s game we only lost by 40 points.
You see, these boys, most of them, have never touched a ball, let alone know how to catch one, dribble, pass, or play the game, it just hasn’t been a part of their young lives yet.
Equally, me as a first-time coach, I didn’t know what I was doing either.
The first game I was asking the other team to score on our basket to help us get a point.
I’m kidding, but not too far off.
What does this have to do with your performing and speaking career?
Your game day is the event date. Stage time. All shots are off once you are introduced. You’d better be practiced or you’re going to get slaughtered.
I originally set up practices with this little team we volunteered to coach to be twice a week. We needed it! And the point wasn’t to win some championship, it was to get the boys to become closer as friends, to get outside and do something fun, and maybe, just maybe, a wish upon a star, to be able to score once per game.
Pretty soon the chorus was this is too much to practice twice a week!
The weeks we did that we won. Actually 2 in a row!
So I heard enough complaints about too much practice, being that it was taking up ample amounts of my volunteer time, I listened and lessened practice to one per week.
And because we won 2 games against new teams like ours, we were placed in the higher league with Super League teams of 5th grade boys who have played ball before they could walk, and probably should start for the Utah Jazz.
That next game was a blood bath.
And so it continued. We lost every game from then on.
Practice would have made a huge difference for our sweet, wonderful, inexperienced boys if it would have been allowed and encouraged, we may not have won any more games despite the effort, but we would have competed much better!
The season proved to me the importance of practice in all things we decide to take serious in life and business.
And perhaps sometimes you just need a different coach…I mean, I’m the first to admit it, I had no idea what I was doing, but I too, like the boys, gave it my best shot.
Last night, in my absence (as I was speaking at an event), a few of the dads stepped in and guided the boys to the best game of the year! We scored 27 points!?! I was getting texts from my wife who was freaking out with joy, saying she’d never seen them play so well. They almost beat one of the best teams in the league!
Luckily, these boys found their strength, which was practice hard, help each other, smile and have a good attitude even if being blown out of the water in the games, or giving their all to almost win a close one. I’m proud of these boys and admire their Never-Say-Die perspective.
And so I ask you, professional speaker – how much are you practicing? Do you set up a camera and go for it, pretending to be in front of the crowd?
How about donating your time to a worthy cause and trying out a new speech?
I have some friends that swear by writing out your entire speech and memorizing it so every word counts.
I know for me that would never work, so I have general ideas of what I’m going to say, where I’m going to go, within a presentation, and then I work like heck on PowerPoint/Keynote, music cues, stories, to get it right.
Some use cue cards, others need a teleprompter, and many refer to, and look at, and even READ, their PowerPoint during the message (annoying!).
However you do it, choose to commit to practice. Daily if possible. But especially the day before and day of your performance.
Imagine a professional basketball player saying, “Practice? We talking about practice? Not the game? I’m a professional, come on, are we talking about practice?” (actually someone DID say this named Allen Iverson!)
He has a point. The reporters wanted to talk about his effort in practice, not the game, but this was classic AI.
And my point is, he was great because of practice. He was a Hall of Famer because his game time performances were so incredible, due to what he did during practice through thousands of hours of work.
So yes, today we talkin’ ’bout practice, man!
How serious are you about becoming all you think you already are, and what kind of practice are you willing to do before the big game?
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.