“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” Bruce Lee
This quote stuck with me over the last month or so. My goal was to become like water, and be whatever my team needed me to be in order to succeed. I didn’t realise however, quite how much I’d grow as a player by doing this.
Over the past few years of my ‘derby career’, since coming back from my injury in particular, I have been a part of our Jammer rotation – sometimes not overly successfully, but that has been what my role was – I have struggled mentally with being able to wear two hats and had to have simply one focus, otherwise my brain became absolute mush.
I’ve always wanted to be a blocker – Blockers are to me the most integral part of our game play, and need more credit for it – they have to be able to remember so many things and a great team is held up by it’s blocker rotation. Jammers may get the good pictures, but a great team of blockers to me win the team the game #loveyourblockers
To me personally, being able to only be one role on game day made me a weaker player overall, I wanted to be able to be adaptable and be useful in every scenario. I have team mates who can be both, so why wouldn’t my brain let me?
We’ve all witnessed what can happen when even the best Jammers in the world star pass, and then are less able to block, it happens, at every level and I wanted to be able to be equally good at both. I’ve also watched the top blockers in one team then excel as a Jammer when transferring to another league and vice versa – I wanted to be like them, I wanted to be like water
Anyway, since January I have been in training to fill the role of a Jammer and Offence, and in actual fact I’ve been a little bit resistant, my mentally was stuck in the ‘I can’t do that?’ phase. Most definitely for our first two games of this season where I stuck with my comfort zone – but then I did a bit of reading after our most recent defeat, to sort out my brain, because a lot of my development is brain based…. and I came accross the quote and started to change my mindset.
After any loss you learn more, but the most recent one was hard – I felt that I had played my best game. I had the best scoring passes of my career, and was able to perform things that usually I wouldn’t have even attempted, but it didn’t represent in the score, and that hurt my mental game. I knew I had work to do, we all did, but I needed to better fill the role the team needed of me, not the role I was most comfortable with.
In our most recent game I played as both, I wore both hats, and I was relatively successful at both. Come our next game I will go into it confident that I can, I will stay calm and consistent, and I will continue to be like water.
The team did a win, which was amazing, but my personal success was that I could do it, I could be both. It felt great to have the weeks of training and crushing loss bring us together as a unit and do all the things we’d been working on for the four weeks between our games – and I was so proud to be a part of that team – the times I was on track with them I was effective, did the thing, and most importantly I didn’t have a freak out about it!