In sports and management, there are basic skills to be learned. Discipline helps to develop and enhance skills.

In the last six months, I have invested a lot of time to develop and increase some of my basic skills as a tennis player. I have taken individual lessons, gone to group clinics, practiced with the ball machine and played tennis with friends and groups three to four times a week.

My forehand is improving, yet I have a long way to go with developing the “top spin” I desire to have as one of my stroke options. In the last few months I have changed my approach to serving and my learning curve with that basic skill continues.

There are some days when strokes are relatively smooth and other days when I feel like I am a beginner. I will continue on my improving basic skills journey as a tennis player.

There are many examples of basic skills to be learned in sports. In baseball there are hitting, throwing, catching, bunting, running, sliding, stealing and back-up skills to be learned. In basketball there are shooting, dribbling, passing, free-throw, covering, jumping and picking skills to achieve. In tennis there is forehand, backhand, volley, overhead, serving, receiving and drop shot skills to be developed.

Each sport has its own set of necessary basic skills to be mastered to some level.

In business and management there are common skills to be learned in most every industry. Yet, each line of business will have specific product or service knowledge to be acquired.

Time management, communication, teamwork and computer skills are some of the more common basic skills. Many industries will have specific and special tools and equipment and thus basic skills of those tools and pieces of equipment need to be learned.

In your line of business, what are the basic skills? What types of orientation, training and support do you have, to learn those skills? Are the approaches individual and specialized or “on the job” learning? Is the training you receive adequate? Is it on-going? Are there regular opportunities to increase your skill levels?

And how about discipline within your orientation and training? Is there a set process and standards by which you are measured? Are there practice opportunities?

Disciplines of learning skills are important. Instruction, focused training and coaching, practice, measurements, tweaking of techniques are critical to enhance individual and team skills. Sports teams typically will invest almost as much or more time in practice than time in games.

Consider what would happen if in business settings we took time to practice. Many businesses spend no time at practice. What are your thoughts and reasons regarding the lack of practice? And what about the discipline of a “game plan”? In your business, what is your game/work plan? What about huddles, “chalk talk,” reviewing video tapes and warm up calisthenics?

When we consider lessons to be learned from sports, there is a lot of food for thought!

Contact Bernie Linnartz at (575) 751-3777, (575) 770-4712 or email bernie@empowerment

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I agree with the author--there is so much to be learned through the action of sports. In working out, I've learned the value of persistence and self-discipline, delaying gratification, pushing through pain, the strength that occurs when we challeng ourselves, and more. Good article!