Growing up playing baseball, basketball, football, and other team sports was an absolute blast and an experience I would never change. There is no question in my mind that team sports are the most popular amongst the majority of kids involved in social activities. There are many benefits and positive aspects we know of and maybe even some we don’t know of playing organized team sports, but what about individual sports? As great as being part of a team can be for a kid growing up, I think of all the ways playing an individual sport benefitted me and taught me invaluable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I will never forget the first tournament match I ever played. I was eleven years old and signed up for the D’s at a local tournament in Lombard, Illinois. It was a Friday night match that lasted roughly twenty minutes and ended in me losing 15-1, 15-0. Of course, like most eleven year-old kids would do, I said I was done playing racquetball for good. And of course, like every eleven year-old kid would do after they made a statement like that, I was back playing racquetball the next day. As I continued to progress as a player and get some wins under my belt I began to become more confident in my game and myself in general. The rest is history.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned through playing the best individual sport out there, racquetball, was the lesson of hard work and the direct impact it has on one’s performance. One aspect of playing racquetball that I’ve always loved is the amount of training involved, and how you can see the results from the hard work you’ve put in. If you don’t work hard and put in the necessary time the chances are you will never reach your full potential. That was a lesson that I embraced very early in life and it was one of the most important life lessons of all. Embracing this concept is critical to succeeding in life and an individual sport because contrary to every team sport you don’t have teammates to pull you out of a hole or to win for you. You can’t have the worst match of your life and fall back on a teammate to pick up the slack. At the end of the day I learned you have one person to blame if you didn’t prepare enough and lost, and one person to pat on the back if you put the time and hard work in, and that’s yourself. Aside from work ethic and dedication to the pursuit of perfection, the most important lesson I’ve taken from growing up training and competing in racquetball is self-confidence and the belief in myself. Nobody but you can get the job done, and if you want something bad enough you have to spend the time to achieve it. That confidence in myself was so valuable in so many aspects of my life.
Other than confidence, self-belief and a solid work ethic there are countless positive aspects and benefits of playing an individual sport that can change a kid’s life. I think a mixture of team and individual activities can be very beneficial to the success of a young person early on that will continue throughout life. In the past sixteen years of playing racquetball I’ve had my ups and downs, my highs and lows but I have learned lessons that only an individual sport could’ve taught me. Well into adulthood racquetball continues to teach and help me grow as a person, and that’s one of the many reasons I love the sport so much. So although this day has not come yet, when it comes time for a Ben Croft Jr. to be introduced to the world, you can bet that he will be raised with a racquet in hand.
Looking to put in the work to achieve your maximum racquetball potential? Check out a wide variety of instructional videos: