Once upon a time there was a farmer. He lived in a farming community and had farmed, like his neighbors… for all of his life. As time passed by he became bored with farming traditional crops, he still loved farming but felt unchallenged. So he set about the business of researching alternative crops. Making a living and supporting his family was critical, so he wanted to make sure he made a wise choice. Therefore, he began reading, researching and speaking with experts with more knowledge, before making his final decision.
After studying a variety of options, he decided on Bamboo. The climate, soil conditions, and equipment at his disposal could make growing and harvesting bamboo a profitable business. He was convinced he was making the wisest choice and began making the changes needed to become a Bamboo Farmer.
Now remember, our farmer lived in a farming community. For generations his neighbors had all grown traditional crops like corn and wheat. You can only imagine how the idea of growing bamboo was received. Upon telling his fellow farmers his idea, they mocked him, calling him foolish, all the time warning him of his impending peril. They were unwilling to accept change or progress. However, the farmer was unshaken; he had done extensive research and was confident of his knowledge. Despite the ridicule of others, he remained firm in his belief that he could not only grow bamboo, but acquire great wealth, through this endeavor.
Well, if you know anything about bamboo, you know that the first year it’s been planted…nothing happens. You don’t get so much as a twig or a leaf! His neighbors were ruthless. They had all harvested their crops while he had nothing at all to show for his efforts. He was undaunted and confident in his knowledge. But wait, there’s more bad news. The second year nothing happens either, not a sign of a bamboo tree anywhere. Again he was forced to endure a second year of ridicule by his heartless neighbors. Still, he was unshaken in his confidence.
The third year came…and guess what? Bamboo. Everywhere bamboo. His crop grew a foot a day! By the end of the summer he had a virtual bamboo forest. He harvested his crop and sold it for a huge profit. His neighbors were astonished. In fact, several who had once ridiculed him began to show interest in becoming bamboo farmers as well.
The farmer went on for many years enjoying the benefits of his new crop, bamboo. He and his family enjoyed a very happy and successful life, unafraid of growth, progress or change, confident and determined when facing challenges.
What can you, as a player, learn from the bamboo farmer?
One of the main lessons that you can take away from the story is that having extensive knowledge about your work is necessary for success. You cannot expect to play your best if you only know how to kick the ball. Good players understand that knowing how to kick the ball is simply one skill among many that a player must master in order to achieve optimum performance; they understand that they need to study all positions on the field and practice all aspects of their skills to succeed. The more you train and study plays, match films, and each position’s responsibilities, the more likely it is that your confidence in your ability to transfer that knowledge into game situations will grow. Knowledge is power, and when you take the time to focus on learning the fundamentals, such as what the plays are and awareness of where other players are, you improve your ability to make good decisions on the field.
The second lesson is that failing to see immediate progress, or facing obstacles or ridicule from others, doesn’t mean that you should give up. Not every performance is going to be your best, and sometimes progress can seem slow. As a player, it is important to realize that success takes time. Stay confident, patient, and focused on obtaining your goals. Think about the bamboo farmer: he kept his confidence and nurtured his crops every day, even though they did not grow immediately and even though other farmers criticized him and told him to give up. Because he studied all there was to know about bamboo, he knew that he had to put in two seasons of work without seeing any results because his dedication was helping the bamboo grow deep roots that gave it a good foundation to grow tall. Like the bamboo progressively building its roots through constant nurturing, you too are “growing roots” each session. If you give 100% effort each practice and stay positive and patient, you are nurturing your talent and will grow the “deep roots” that are necessary for a prosperous season. Understanding and believing in the connection between constantly nurturing your talent and attaining performance success will help your confidence stay high.