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From Namibia to Galway: Progress

The latest update from Johan as he gets to grips with shooting and turning his kitchen into a training ground.

Progress, as defined by Google, is the “forward or onward movement towards a destination”. This quite eloquently puts into words what I am trying to achieve on this journey. Of course there are those unrealistic desires simply to be great at something right off the bat. It would be inhuman not have those, but for now all I can do is focus on making a little bit of progress every day.

I am very glad to report that my enthusiasm has not yet faded. I am still more and more excited as every Thursday approaches and I kind of wish my weekends by so I can get out on the field on a Sunday. To be able to work on the goal of progress, I am now the proud owner of my own Gaelic football. Seeing as I do not have a backyard, I have turned the kitchen into a training ground. I will probably have to replace some glasses or plates before the end of the month but, hey, as long as progress is made.

We have our first league fixtures coming up in the first weekend in March which means I have five weeks to get to a place where I will not be a liability in a game situation. I have never been a glory sportsman, however, I pride myself on always being able to do my job and leaving it all out on the field. If you come off with gas left in the tank you have not done right by your team in my book.

Staying positive during the training sessions is proving somewhat difficult as frustration threatens to creep into my psyche. This is because we are starting to run more and more group drills and my shortcomings are taking their toll on the quality of practice time for the rest of the group. That does not feel right to me, so I will be putting the ball to good use in my state of the art training ground.

I have to show some appreciation and respect to the coaching team and guys at the club. The amount of patience and effort they put into my development is quite impressive. They could quite easily have left me to my own devices, dropped me in the Junior C group, and walked away, but no, they take the time to run me through the techniques. It is no wonder the club has had the amount of success they have in the recent past.

The biggest thing for me to work on at the moment is the confidence factor that I lack. I could really have done with some childlike inhibition to just go out there and try all kinds of weird and wonderful tricks no matter the outcome. Or at the very least to get out of my own head.

We had our first shooting drills today and I have to say I am now convinced all this sitting around in an office all day has made my feet soft. I caught a few balls off the toes and I am now the not‑so‑proud owner of what seems to be three sprained toes… ouch. Who would have thought that kicking a round ball straight and in‑between a pair of uprights could be so hard? If I managed to achieve a conversion rate of 10% that would be a generous estimate. Another area to add to that little progress book, although I doubt I will be able to work on that one in the kitchen.

On to next week we go. One step at a time towards the destination.

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