“Sixteen years feels like my first year. The only difference is, now my knowledge of the game is like ‘The Matrix.’ Everything is slowed down. Everything for me is just mastery.
When you’re younger, you’re just runnin’. Trust me. You’re just runnin’ around. But when you get older, you really start to pick your spots and say, ‘Okay, I don’t have to overrun like that.’ Now you take what most people say is a lack of speed and you add wisdom to it, I’ll trade that any day of the week. Any day of the week.” – Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis is one of the greatest players in NFL history. He won a Super Bowl in 2001. For most players, that would be enough. But he still plays today. He still leads today. He still motivates his teammates today. And he’s still a hell of a player.
As your improv career progresses, pre-show butterflies give way to a sense of calm. You know it’s silly to worry about a show that hasn’t started in an artform you can’t control.
The best improvisers pick their spots. Yes, there’s a time to scream. Yes, there’s a time to be aggressively physical. But there’s also a time to be patient. And a time to be still. And when you know when to turn those things on and off, you will be a superior improviser.
If you’re a younger improviser, are you watching the older players? Are you studying when and why they play the way they do? And if you’re an older player, are you checking in with the younger players to remember how much fun this is supposed to be?
Find the balance. Then attack every show like it could be your last.
Got an improv question? E-mail me at boilingpointimprov[at]gmail.com