Freestyle Always Follows Fundamentals — #GrowthBestToldBy

When you are young (whether in age or experience), you are drilled over and over on the fundamentals. The muscle memory begins to develop when there is limited resistance and the foundation is laid. Many would like to bypass this step but in doing so, you limit your potential to an imitator at best, as opposed to an innovator.

Jocko Willink (to my knowledge) coined the phrase “Discipline Equals Freedom” and claimed that once you have discipline, that’s where true freedom is found. Anyone you consider to be innovative or a pioneer either in their field or with their craft first had to learn the fundamentals.

The ones who seem to create on the fly understand the pocket they have to move within. Every artist knows that the pocket isn’t necessarily something you see or hear but rather something you feel.

One person’s pocket presence may translate differently to another persons but it’s all a part of the rhythm. For example, consider the rhythms of both Kyrie Irving and QuestLove in this Nike commercial:

Everyone wants to find their voice and their own rhythm so they can create with their own signature style. Here’s 3 quick takeaways to help you along the journey of freestyle:

Those tasks that seem to be mundane are meant to mature you

Repetition is key. When you isolate certain skills and you do them the right way rather than just trying to do them fast at first, then you lay the foundation to give yourself a buffer when obstacles are presented in front of you. Daniel in the Karate Kid had no idea the tasks that Mr. Miyagi had him doing was actually going to help him in the long run

Become self-aware enough to know when you are in YOUR pocket

I’ll reiterate that repetition is key and the more you do, the less you have to think about and it becomes second-nature. Your pocket will find you as you continue to grind and be advised that the pocket looks different for everyone. What makes your speed unique and can you shift gears within it while still staying in pocket? Pocket presence is predicated on maintaining focus on your path and maneuvering through the obstacles as efficiently as possible.

Combinations are created in the lab, the execution is in the preparation

Finding a lab (or just a space to create) is key because there are an insane amount of hours dedicated simply for trying new things and there needs to be an environment where it is okay to fail. If you’ve never been pushed to the point of failure then you’ll never reach a point of true success. Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of unless you try new things. If you simply just rest on what other perceive of you then you will not be innovative.

To be the person who is admired for his freestyle ability, it takes hours upon hours of both fundamentals and creativity. Don’t neglect the baby steps that allow you to eventually run the race you were called to win.