In most athletic endeavors or any endeavor for that matter, mastering the fundamentals is probably the most important thing you can spend your time doing. The difficulty is that this isn't usually the most exciting activity. However, it does pay off in the end.
One of my favorite examples of this is Peyton Manning, and he is a legend here in East Tennessee so his story resonates well. You can find a video of Peyton practicing the same footwork drills in high school at Isidore Newman School, in college at the University of Tennessee, in the NFL while playing for the Indianapolis Colts, and at the end of his career before winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. He stayed committed to the basics throughout his whole career no matter how many records he had broken and understood the game as good or better than anyone to ever play.
Sometimes it's easy to look at someone that is at an elite level and assume that they got there because of luck or some natural talent. And while those things certainly help, you will often find a bunch of hard work and a commitment to basics as well.
You will experience difficulty with sticking to basics though because as you begin to master them and have success, there is a tendency to become overconfident. You may start to tell yourself that you have mastered them and don't need to work on them anymore. When it comes to physical movements, though, once you reach a level of mastery, you must maintain it.
Think back to the last time you saw an undefeated team or athlete come out, play sloppy, and have their first loss handed to them by someone who is obviously not as talented. How does this happen? Sometimes they just had a bad night, but often overconfidence has snuck in, and they may have stopped doing some of the things that helped them achieve their position in the first place.
Check out this video of one of the kids on my Youth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team. This particular student stays driven throughout the duration of every practice. If I tell him to practice the technique 100 times, then he will do it 100 times without question. In fact, he did just that with this basic armbar from the guard.
My student, Connor, is the one in the black gi. You will see him control the posture of the kid on top of him, using his arms and legs to keep his opponent close. Then he will pull one arm across the centerline, pivot his hips, and pass a leg over the head of his opponent. This movement puts him in a position to break/hyperextend his opponent's arm and the other kid taps out to avoid injury. I also love that he applies the submission carefully not to harm the other child, and immediately gets up to console his opponent afterward. The genuine spirit of a martial artist is demonstrated here.
He is a white belt in this video, and this is his first tournament, but he trained hard and stayed committed to practicing the basics during class every day. Now as he advances, I will be curious to see if I can keep him as committed to his foundation as he was before this first tournament.
The fun thing with kids is they believe in the technique right off the bat, whereas adults can often be skeptical. Adults tend to wonder if the move works or if the movement will work for them, and they hesitate, not trying or committing, and thus, failing.
So in your practice, seek to walk this line between confidence and overconfidence. Stay committed to the basics, and it will increase your confidence. Master the fundamentals! And hey, maybe even try to act like a kid sometimes!