Thursday, June 28, 2018

Relearning an Old Skill

The saying goes that you never forget how to ride a bicycle. Not so for all skills. I’ve had two experiences in the last six months with relearning old skills.

The first case: tennis. I played competitive tennis as a kid and in college. As I aged and my joints began to suffer from arthritis, I gave up tennis to play similar sports on smaller courts, first platform tennis and most recently pickleball. I learned to play these sports, but I didn’t return to tennis. Recently, I went out to hit some tennis balls with a neighbor. The court seemed huge and the longer racquet presented problems for me. I improved a little over an hour’s time, but realized my skill level was abysmal. To regain a reasonable skill level I would have to really practice.

The second example: juggling. Thirty-five years ago I taught myself to juggle. I got fairly proficient, but then life intervened, and I didn’t continue. Recently, I decided to see if I could still juggle. The answer was a swift, no. Since then I have been practicing. I have been making very slow progress. The muscle memory isn’t there, and I have to revive it. With aging, my timing isn’t what it used to be and I get tired. Still, I’m going to stick with it. I have to see if I can get good enough to entertain my almost three-year-old grandson.

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