Friday, March 9, 2012

Playing Catch & Catching-Up

Playing catch is an American game of casual baseball, where mitt-wearing throwers toss balls to each other and catch. It is a useful practice for developing speed and accuracy of both throw and receive. Having played softball as a child, and having a broken small finger (on my right hand), I have learnt to appreciate the relevance of simple drills.

When I was a child, I had to play catch up on some of my least favourite topics in schools. At one point, physical education (PE) was one of my prejudices, as compared to recess (which I naturally excelled in). Playing catch up in subjects and procrastinated homework was painfully boring, and I had to resort to the All Or Nothing principle: either do it, or not. Lag behind, or play laggard and you may never attain your results.

In swimming, we use Catch Up Drills to learn how to synchronise our swim stroke. For the Front Crawl (Free-Style), this drill helps develop our timing for complete strokes (stretch, glide, pull, and recovery). It is performed with one out-stretched arm (with or without a kick-board) at a time, so as to appreciate the ‘time lag’ between strokes and an optimized momentum. It is akin to maximizing ‘hang time’ in a basketball, or in the long-jump trajectory. The 'catch' phase is an important component for efficient and effective swim strokes.

Leadership Lessons: How do you respond to playing ‘catch up’? Does playing ‘second fiddle’ make you feel inadequate? How do you move from ‘catching up’ to ‘taking the lead’? Learning can seem slow, until you develop ‘muscle memory’, coordination, agility and strength. Turn your weakness into a potential strength.

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