What do you do when you are just not very good at something?

There are plenty of things that I know I am good at. I can design a nice spreadsheet, I can string a sentence together and I can make an excellent origami shrimp. Even things that lots of people struggle with, like public speaking and appearing on camera, aren’t especially daunting for me.

There are other things though that I recognise have never really been strengths. Cooking, cleaning, staying up past 10pm – none of these I have ever been great at. Sport is the other one. Some people just seem to be built for it – they have a natural grace and coordination that means they can just stick their hand out, without even looking, and catch a ball. I lack this. The last time I attempted to swim Belle said I looked like a sea lion having a fit.

I am OK with this. I accept that I can’t be perfect and that it doesn’t mean you can’t have a go.

I have been playing netball now for nearly two years and I really enjoy it. It proved to be a fantastic way for me to make friends when I was new to Bristol and in a bid not to be the slowest and sweatiest on the court it has even kickstarted what is sure to be a hugely successful running career. (I can now run for five whole minutes non-stop, a massive achievement for me.) 


So far so good.

The trouble is that after two years I’m not convinced I am any better than when I started. I play GA or GS so when it comes to league matches there is nowhere for my cackhandedness to hide – the number of goals we score is directly proportionate to how many times I trip over my own feet and drop the ball. In our first season we came bottom of the league and in an average match a score into double figures would be considered something to celebrate.

Last week I didn’t play because of my bronchitis and we won 22-8.


We have never scored anyway near that many goals before. I was pleased that my team won and that everyone played so well together – of course I was – but couldn’t help but feel a little sad too. It isn’t the first time it’s happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m OK with not being the best player or anything, I’m happy going along every week and enjoying myself, but it’s one thing to not be a night owl and so go to bed early, another to have a weakness that impacts a whole team. 

I know that I could practice and improve, and I hope that running will increase my fitness and so benefit my game, but I do suspect that partly I am just not a sportswoman and that I may simply have a limit to how good I will ever be. I am also only 5′ 4″ and don’t think I have a lot of growing left in me. I try to stay positive and do appreciate that three weeks of bronchitis have just put a bit of a downer on things, but the fact remains that I am never going to get picked for the England squad.

So what do you do when you are just not very good at something?



  1. Cas
    27 October, 2013 / 4:13 pm

    Actually it was 24/7, but Jo – that made me cry. You are a fantastic player. We had a lucky game and Lucy was like a machine! None of us are ever going to be picked for England and we mock the teams practising in the rain as we head to the pub for beer and crisps and that’s the sort of team I want to play for – yes one that can have a laugh at the end of the game, laugh all the way through our practice sessions and a laugh in the pub afterwards! You’re a fab shooter and its a team game – we need all 7 to be on form for it to work. Hurry up and get better – you are being missed xx

    • Nicky
      27 October, 2013 / 7:31 pm

      That made me sad too, Jo :-(
      Cas gave a great response, she’s right, we need you back, there’s so much more to being a Stinger than just winning

    • 27 October, 2013 / 8:02 pm

      Noooo!! 24 is even worse!! I think I might have been feeling a bit sorry for myself this morning. I know it’s not about winning but sometimes I just think it would be nice to be a bit taller and faster! I need to not be so competitive :-)

  2. 27 October, 2013 / 4:26 pm

    I’m quite good at quite a few things, but I never seem to have mastered any one particular thing. It doesn’t stop me from trying new things though. I think my poor husband gets fed up with my many unfinished projects!

    • 27 October, 2013 / 8:03 pm

      I am just like you Dawn – my partner is amazed I have stuck at netball so long as I am normally flitting from one thing to another!

  3. 27 October, 2013 / 8:26 pm

    I’m not too good at sticking at things. For example I used to play netball – did it for nearly two yrs then just gave up. I used to do Zumba twice a week also – then stopped going. Why? I don’t know. Stupid yes? I enjoyed both things and they got me fit and I felt good. Get better soon Jo x

    • admin
      31 October, 2013 / 8:40 am

      Start again Viv! Just because you stopped once doesn’t mean you can’t go back!

  4. 27 October, 2013 / 8:58 pm

    Whoops what happened to my comment, oer. Yes, I’m hopeless at throwing balls! Your post got me thinking…. and I linked to your post in my latest post at http://countryidyll.co.uk/?p=643 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • admin
      31 October, 2013 / 8:47 am

      We can’t all be perfect! Glad to have inspired you :-)

  5. 27 October, 2013 / 11:06 pm

    Oh god i’m terrible – i just can’t do stuff i’m not good at. It just makes me really bloody angry.

    I love dancing and would loved to have been a dancer (on music video’s – oh the glamour!) but i have absolutely no co-ordination. I have left every lesson i ever went to crying (i was a lot younger!) and never gone back.

    That’s not the right thing to do though……trying is apparently!

    • admin
      31 October, 2013 / 8:43 am

      I used to be awful for this at school, but am a bit better now. I can remember though what a horrible feeling it was to be in a lesson and just not GET something. Hated that!

  6. 31 October, 2013 / 8:04 am

    Success isn’t always about winning. It would be different if you were an Olympic netball team but a social team is about having fun, being active, and doing something you love. Maybe your role isn’t to shoot goals but to keep the team together, to boost them when they’re feeling like their lives are too busy for something as frivolous (tongue in cheek!) as doing something fun for themselves. Hope you feel better soon x

    • admin
      31 October, 2013 / 8:41 am

      You are absolutely right of course – it isn’t all about the winning at all, sometimes it would be nice to though!

  7. 31 October, 2013 / 12:38 pm

    When I am not good at something I usually have a bit of a sulk about it and then try to find ways to laugh at it and keep the fun in it, if not the talent I’d like. Then I just try harder, I ask for advice from people who are doing it better than me and, basically, I copy them til there’s some kind of improvement or feeling of satisfaction.

    From the comments you’ve recieved it sounds as though you’re very valued by your team tho, and the photo of you all looks lovely and happy. So stick with it I say. And well done with the running achievement, that’s brilliant too x

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