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Fundamentals – learning the basics for the first time!

I am about to tell you something about ADHD that will blow your mind! You will think about it and just go … Dang, that’s true! Then again, you might go… that’s ridiculous, Bryan’s lost his mind!

One thing I have always been known for is that I am a very fast learner. No, I am not necessarily a fast runner, unless I am being chased, then I can get my run on pretty good. In the past being fast made me feel like I was better than everyone else, because, they were slow and then eventually and unfortunately, they would pass me for reasons I just couldn’t understand. I hadn’t gotten any worse, I was still pretty darn good at what I was doing, so, why were these people passing me?! It was confounding I tell you! To make matters worse, these folks passing me could not do what I was doing better – what I could do was superior in every way! So, I have to slip this in here, please excuse me – WTH? (What The Heck?) That’s what would run through my head and I couldn’t solve the question. It was the most perplexing thing, it puzzled me to tears.

I received an email a while ago from someone who had read my book (“One Boy’s Struggle”) several times and for the very first time, someone was talking to me about something written in my book which no one had yet to mention to me! He wrote that I had solved his biggest, most difficult problem, it has driven him up the wall for years and then, seemingly out of the blue, he discovered a major problem in his life that was solvable! I am going to write the gist of it here for you.

In my book I talk about my pool/billiard career. I write about how good I became and how quickly I excelled to a high level, but, for some reason I stopped excelling, going forward and I even started losing to those I used to utterly vanquish without a thought. There are a few reasons for this, but, nothing was more important than one thing:

Fundamentals, the Basics!

I had never taken the time and consideration to learn the fundamentals of billiard play. The stance, the aim, the setup – I had always done all of this from ‘feeling’ and my gut instincts. Those feelings and gut instincts took me far, but, only so far. It came to the point that others who could not play at my level were eventually passing me in tournaments and in match play. They could not make many of the shots that I could, or, set up position with the accuracy that I could, but, what they could do was more important down the stretch. They had consistency through learned and practiced fundamentals. They rarely had the need for the ‘spectacular’ shots or pin point accuracy, which I had actually needed to compensate for my lack of fundamental basics in my play!

Once I got myself a champion ‘mentor’ or coach, rather, he took me back to the basics. Once I mastered a consistent stance, aim and stroke for my shots, it was, well, all over but the crying!

That’s the short of it. How many of us with ADHD are impatient and impulsive and skip steps in the learning process? We want to get there yesterday. And sometimes we get where we want to go fast, and yet have no real grip to stay there… ever wondered why? Perhaps, just maybe, some of the great fantastical things we learn to do are actually compensations for the things we haven’t taken the time to learn, or, didn’t know we needed to learn? Just imagine what you could do with those ‘great and fantastical’ things you’ve mastered, if you go back to the drawing board and learn the basics, if you haven’t already.

Consider the basics, fundamentals in what you are doing… how well have you mastered them?


PS: Even with learning the fundamentals, please don't forget what else I clearly explained in my book about the mental aspect too, which, as we all know, is vital to succeeding at anything - however, skipping fundamentals, even with a healthy mental state, will not lead to consistency.

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Tags: ADD, ADHD, Basics, fundamentals, game, mental


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Comment by Bryan Hutchinson on March 19, 2009 at 4:52am
Sounds like she already knows everything better. Ah, being a teenage... the hardway can be so painful sometimes, it just breaks your heart when you can't seem to get through to them.
Comment by lilly on March 18, 2009 at 3:54pm
Bryan, my teenager wont even listen or even try any tips anybody gives her. So i decided to let her be and find out the "hard way".
Comment by Bryan Hutchinson on March 8, 2009 at 2:12pm
Riri, that pretty much describes my experiences with Guitar lessons back in Junior High School!

Gary, are you sure it’s useful at very nerdy parties? I noticed that when I tried harder, I also skipped more steps as my frustration built and, as we know, the more steps we skip, the harder it gets and becomes nearly impossible to succeed.
Comment by Gary on March 5, 2009 at 10:44pm
Yup, Bryan rides again. Why learn all that tedious stuff when Nike tells you that you can Just Do It?

The other side of this is that it's very easy for me to pick something up to a professional level but then I can't validate it. Very few people care if you can do something well if you admit that you picked it up in a week by watching an expert and then intuiting the rest. They want to see the you-suffered-through-a-tedious-class-for-four-years piece of paper that says nothing about how good you are, just that you took a long time to learn.

What confuses me is the unevenness of my learning. Some things I pick up instantly. Others resist being pounded into my head with a hammer. It doesn't seem to be specific to a subject either. I don't, for example, always pick up physical actions well or fail to memorise words.

The only thing that seems to be consistent is extremely frustrating: The more it matters to me, the worse I do. For example, I glanced at a poster on my high school math class room wall and instantly memorised pi to 27 decimals. That was 37 years ago and I still remember it because it's useless except at VERY nerdy parties. On the other hand, though I've looked up the next few digits several times I just can't retain them.
Comment by Cyndie on March 5, 2009 at 9:39pm
well - aha moment of the day!!!
Comment by Riri on March 5, 2009 at 6:28am
Another dang for Bryan. That has been my problem, too. Let's take a case in my piano lesson. I took the lesson when I was 26, so it has been nine years since. I did very well at first. My teacher told me that I was one of very few who could do staccato and legato at the same time on the first try. But, then, I got bored with the repetitive exercises, especially learn to read the notes. So I skipped a lot of the basic lessons and jumped immediately to Bach. Yes, I could play the songs once I got to know how to play it, but the problem arise. I could hardly come to it again once I started a new song, because I can't sight read fluently. Then progress got even slower because I decided to teach myself. I went to pursue my master degree and didn't have time to attend to a class. After this long, I still can't play as good as I thought I could, simply because I'm no good in sight reading. Off course, I can always blame my courses for this, but if I could've used my first two years really taking the steps of the lesson, I could have played better, or at least learned a song faster. It took three years for me to finally be able to play Fur Elise. But then again, my friend told me that I played well. So, I guess I shouldn't be too sorry. Afterall, I don't intend to become a pro. I just want (and need) to do it.

Now, I'm going back to the basic: learning to sight read. Hopefully one day I could play piano well in front of you, guys.

Comment by Bryan Hutchinson on March 4, 2009 at 3:02am
Hi Lilly, have you been able to find ways to help your daughter in this respect of learning fundamentals?
Comment by lilly on March 3, 2009 at 9:01am
This describes my teenage daughter perfectly!!!
Comment by Bryan Hutchinson on March 3, 2009 at 7:17am
Dana, Dana... you haven't read my book have you? lol

When hyper focused I learn very, very fast and take it all in. Mostly though, as a child, and to an extent now, I learn through osmosis. I have better control over what and how I learn at this age and through my understanding of ADHD. That's a good reason why it is so critical to learn as much as we can about ADHD in order to improve.

I know where you are coming from Voodoo, but, I think you will be surprised by how much information you usually retain. Unfortunately, it often becomes realized down the road... you will be wondering "How did I know that" having forgotten that you learned about it years ago :-)
Comment by Dana Arcuri on March 3, 2009 at 6:04am
Voodoo, you are so fortunate that you are a FAST learner! Does this mean that you are comprehending the information that you are learning quickly?

I am not a fast learner. I need to practice, practice & practice to learn something to allow it to literally sink in and understand what I am learning. As an adult, when I went back to school, this was very much work, time, studying, memorizing, reviewing flashcards, verbally studying out loud to get the information that I needed to learn to sink in and stay there. It consumed my life while I was an adult going back to school, but it really paid off because I accomplished something for the first time in my life that I never accomplished as a child or teenager; I received HIGH HONORS!

Bryan, are you a fast learner, too? Did you learn quickly when you were a young boy in school or were you challenged with the learning process? How does this effect you as an adult?

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