The Learning Curve

((Long Read))

Sooooooooooo I had a terrible day. Not just a bad day hitting or couldn’t figure out a block move. Nope, a complete-and-total-no-good-rotten-terrible day. Everything was bad. My serve, terrible. My eye work, slow. Block moves, late. Attacking, soft. Mentality, tried to bounce back buttttttt to no avail. It was just an all around terrible day. The good news is, I think, I THINK this is just a part of the learning curve.

My interpretation of the learning curve goes as such:

  • There’s a skill you acquire. That’s step one.
  • Step two is trying to use the new skill. It feels awkward and uncomfortable, you’re aware that you’re trying something new because your body can tell that it isn’t doing what it’s used to.
  • Step three is kind of getting the hang of it. You’re realizing “Oh this is when I should do that” or “That felt great! I figured it out!” Your body is slowly, but surely getting the hang of it.
  • Step four, and this is where I’m at now, is failing miserably at it once again. This is a critical step because it’s in this step that the skill becomes cemented. Your body knows the skill now and can tell when you’re NOT doing it. You get caught up more because you’re more aware when you aren’t doing it.
  • Step five is having figured out the skill and continuing to develop it through hours and hours of repetition and hard work
  • Finally, that’s it. There’s no end step because we can always continue to learn and grow… but I digress, that’s a topic for another day….

Step Four is an important part of the process. Being able to realize when you aren’t doing the skill you’re trying to improve is critical for the development of said skill. What’s even more important and will eventually lead to the fifth and final step of the learning curve is to stay locked in on building the new habit. Don’t get discouraged! Continue to work on the skill.

Applying this thought process to what happened to me today shows that I am working on every skill in my volleyball arsenal. Hitting: the speed is fast, the transition footwork is different, the arm swing needs to be crisper. Blocking: the eye work has to be disciplined, the footwork has to be explosive, my arms need to be locked in and over. Etc.

I could break down every single one of the skills that I’m working on, but you get the idea. EVERY aspect of my game is being deconstructed and reconstructed which means when I get to Step Four, nothing is going to go according to plan. It’s inevitable that I’m going to have a day like today where everything feels off. That’s because everything is off. The key is making sure I attack tomorrow and STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHER PLAYERS. Everybody is at a different spot on the learning curve. We’re all trying to grow and improve our game.

So, what I’m going through right now is just as much a lesson in volleyball as it is a lesson in patience. Everything will come with time. The athlete I want to be won’t come to fruition overnight. Moving forward, I’ll be taking things step by step, staying patient, and continuing to work as hard as I possibly can everyday to get better. I’m right where I need to be. Let’s keep grinding.


2 thoughts on “The Learning Curve

  1. as long as you stay “Haleigh” it will all be good. if you try to be someone else, it will not be good. There is only one Haleigh Washington. I don’t care what google search says! Hang in there WW. awesome you are learning new things.


  2. I met you at a camp this summer and you have been my role model since. I love this article because I can relate. Far too often I compare myself to other players and then beat myself up. I just went through something like this where my serve was terrible for a few weeks, I was taken out as a server for two tournaments! Now, my serve is so much better than it was originally. I cannot wait to try out this new point of view that I love! Thank you💞


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