Insights From Our Editors

What Basketball Taught Me About Winning at Practice Ownership

Dr. Sorrenson in her junior year of high school during the state finals playing basketball with a broken nose. She says succeeding as a good player on a good team, and also having the experience of struggling on a team that was not so good, taught her a lot about how to succeed as a practice owner.

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

May 3, 2023

It may surprise you to know that I was a basketball player. Growing up in Oklahoma, I played in grade school, junior high, high school and even college. Our high school was a basketball school, so our team was very competitive and successful on the state level, and I worked hard to excel on that team.

As a team, we went to the state finals my junior year and the quarter finals when I was a senior. Side note: Back then, in high school, if you were a female, you played six-on-six basketball. I was a defensive player, which was called a “guard,” which meant I never crossed the half-court line AND I never took a shot. Crazy right?!

Turns out, I was good enough to be recruited to play basketball at the local junior college in Oklahoma on an athletic scholarship. Well, guess what, they didn’t play six-on-six at the college level, and, since I never crossed the mid-line, I didn’t really know how to shoot a basketball!

So, my Dad spent the summer teaching me a set-shot and a jump-shot and I got pretty good at shooting…as long as I didn’t have a defender on me, lol.

Needless to say, I went from being a pretty good player on a pretty good team in high school to being a not-so-good player on a not-so-good team in college. I quit college ball after one year.

Are You Focused Enough on Your Practice to Make It a Success?
How did playing basketball prepare me for taking on the business of optometry? I learned, and now teach, that anyone who has ever achieved greatness at anything has likely learned that mastery comes only through intense focus, repetition and obsession about a particular subject for an extended period of time. However, many people are so perpetually distracted by all of the opportunities that we’re now fortunate enough to have that they never become great at any one thing. They spread themselves too thin, and lose their focus.

The number one thing I did when I was a “good” player on a “good” team was to implement this same amount of FOCUS, repetition and obsession required of me in practice and games to be good. We practiced two times a day Monday through Friday, once on Saturday for 2.5 hours and had “optional” Sunday practice that I never missed, not even once, in my three years of high school. I practiced my dribbling in my driveway in the few hours I had left each week.

Not all that dissimilar from my high school basketball career, embracing that same ethic, I have had a strong focus throughout most of my career toward finding ways for our practice to become incrementally bigger, better and more efficient. The passion and work ethic I had for basketball is now strangely similar to the passion and work ethic I have for optometry.  Albert Einstein said: “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”

I don’t think becoming better at business requires 100 percent of your strength and soul, as Einstein said, or even working as hard at it as I did at basketball, but engaging your passion and fully focusing on your business will lead to success. It will definitely make you and your business better and enable you to provide the best patient care.

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:


To Top
Subscribe Today for Free...
And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.