I have to admit that when my husband suggested that we take pickleball lessons last weekend, I kind of laughed it off at first. Pickleball, what was that? Apparently, he not only wasn't kidding, but he was super excited about doing this activity together. Trying to embrace my TRANSFORM mindset, I said sure and we signed up for Pickleball 101 for this past Saturday.

I didn't really know what to expect when we arrived on Saturday. For the first time in a while, I was truly a newbie. That's when the fear set in. Growing up, I was one of those kids who always got picked last for teams in PE. To say I was not a great athlete was an understatement and I accepted that I might have been a good student, but sports weren't for me. So as we started doing the drills, fear started taunting me- what if you miss? What if you aren't good enough?

Luckily, 46 year old Debbie recognized this as a limiting belief (teenage Debbie had no idea about them- thanks Lindsay!). I laughed it off and realized that I was in a beginner class. I was expected to be a beginner- I was here to learn. Just because teenage Debbie couldn't do something or thought she couldn't didn't mean that was the case now. It was a story that I had told myself for years and now it was time to face it.

Have you ever had an experience like this? An experience where you thought you couldn't do something well because you had struggled with something similar in the past? If you are human, which you are, I am guessing the answer is yes. Our inner thoughts become our outer reality. It is up to us to determine which inner thoughts to focus on.

You might wonder why I am sharing this pickleball story. That's easy- it's because it is a perfect example of what happens when we try something new or for the first time. We might not know what to expect at first and then all of the sudden, fear creeps in. The what ifs? They can truly either make or break you. What if we took a different approach? What if we paid attention and changed our inner reality. Hence, lessons from Pickleball.

Lesson 1: Beginners are supposed to make mistakes.

While at the first lesson, I was so afraid to make a mistake. What if the other participants judged me? I could definitely tell that I was overthinking things. I needed to make myself pause- this was Pickleball 101. It was meant for people who had little to no experience playing pickleball. Beginners are supposed to make mistakes.

This holds true for us as educators too. So many times when we try a new tech tool or teaching strategy, we expect it to be perfect. Too often, we forget that we are beginning new learning. Yes, we will make mistakes and that it is ok. Take a risk and try something new.

Lesson 2: When learning something new, seek help- don't do it alone.

My husband and I didn't decide to go to the Pickleball court and just start playing. He had done some research and had found a place that gave lessons on how to play pickleball. Together, we created an account and signed up for this first lesson together. We were both newbies, although my husband definitely has more background in playing tennis and racquetball from when he was young. All beginners come with different levels of experience and finding the right fit for seeking help is important.

Educators spend a lot of time behind closed doors, so for some, it can be hard to seek help. Using the example above, let's say you are trying a new tech tool or teaching strategy, see what resources are available to guide your learning. This is one of the reasons that I love being a tech coach. I love helping teachers discover new ways to amplify learning using technology and I am right by their side helping them in those beginning stages every step of the way.

Lesson 3: Practice, learn from your mistakes and move on.

You are going to make mistakes. What is most important is what you do after them. While practicing my serve, I aimed way too high and almost hit a light fixture (oops!), But afterwards, I realize what I had done incorrectly and my serves began to get better. When class ended, I had two choices: I could say that I tried pickleball and it wasn't my thing OR I could sign up for another lesson and continue to practice and learn.

We as educators need to do the same. If something doesn't work the first time, reflect and learn from your mistakes and move on. Don't try a new tech tool or strategy once and if it doesn't work the way you expect it automatically abandon it. Give it a chance and see how you can even make it 1% better next time.

Can I Help?

Maybe one day in the future, I will be offering help with learning how to play pickleball. After all, look at all the other things that I have learned in my TRANSFORM year. But for now, I am still a novice pickleballer. But I am committed to learning and becoming better at this. I can do hard things!

However, I would love to help you using technology to amplify student learning. I am so excited about the amazing ways the teachers at my school are working with me to reach this goal. Would you like to work on this goal as well? I offer a free tech consultation session to see how I can help you meet your tech goals. Interested, fill out the form to the right and let's get started. After all, you too can do hard things!