Making Connections Outside of ENG 110

Growing up, I was an avid basketball player. I fell in love with the game in third grade and continued to play, nearly year round, until I was a senior in high school. Initially, many aspects of the game came naturally to me; however, as I got older and began to play against tougher competition, I realized that I did not have a strong left hand. In basketball, in order to be considered a well rounded, successful player, it is essential for one to be able to execute all skills with both their dominant and nondominant hand. Similarly, for one to be considered a good writer, it is essential that they draw on and integrate multiple types of rhetorical tools throughout their writing. Therefore, in order to develop a stronger left hand, I began a practice regimen that shares many similarities with the recursive writing process.

First, I had to be self aware and acknowledge the fact that my left hand was not as strong as it needed to be in order to successfully compete at a high level. I was able to reach this realization when I noticed that I was struggling to perform at the same level as the other players around me. I was falling behind. In order to catch up, I turned to my coaches and asked for help. Just like when a writing professor makes suggestions and gives feedback on how to strengthen a paper, my coaches made suggestions on how to strengthen my hand. I was attentive to what they had to say, and turned many of their suggestions into actions. For example, I began performing mundane, everyday tasks with my left hand. I would brush my teeth, open door knobs, and eat with my left hand. In addition, I would dribble a basketball up and down my street everyday, only using my left hand. To solidify my muscle memory, I would begin and end each practice with left handed layups, holding my right hand behind my back to isolate my left hand completely.

After weeks of repeatedly practicing the above mentioned actions, my left hand began to get stronger; however, it was still not where it needed to be. I began to get frustrated as I was not completely open to changing my habits, especially when I was not seeing immediate, far reaching results. When my coaches continued to criticize my game, I felt as though they were criticizing me as a person. It took me some time to realize that, just like when a professor offers criticism on a paper, my coaches were only trying to help me improve.

Finally, I realized I would have to  revise my practice regimen to help me reach my ultimate goal. I began changing the habits I was executing incorrectly and performing more intense drills to really push my left hand to get stronger. For example, I would  dribble two balls full speed using both of my hands and, upon reaching the basket, hold one of the balls in my right hand as I shot a layup using my left hand. I began to see a real change in not only the strength of my left hand but also in my confidence when using it.  As a result, my performance against high level competition greatly improved.  Being open to consistently changing and revising my basketball habits helped me become a better player and, in turn, earned me more playing time. 


  1. Elisha M Emerson

    Wow! This is so inspiring. I am glad you stuck with basketball and continued to strengthen your left hand. Your experience really gets at how difficult some challenges can prove. I enjoyed reading all of the connections you made with the writing process. Fantastic work.

  2. cgray8

    Bri – I really loved reading about the ways you decided to become stronger through out this journey of bettering yourself for basketball. You related the ways of the recursive process to drubbing a basketball in an understanding way. I enjoyed reading about the ways you challenged yourself by changing some daily habits such as brushing your teeth and eating with your left hand. I found myself relating to this because I also did these things in high school when I played lacrosse. I knew that in order to not far behind I would need to be able to use both hands and not just my right. I gave myself a challenge using small tasks just like you did at home or even on the court, in my case it was on the field. I really loved reading about your perseverance because it reminds me of when I went through and made it even more interesting to read. Thank you for sharing your story, I loved it!

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