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Deliberate Practice

Daily Game Plan

If you want to beat your biggest rivals, then you must do a better job of preparing than they do.

That means getting the most out of practice.

Not everyone understands that. Some people think that just getting out on the gym floor and moving around for two hours qualifies as practice.

It doesn’t.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was always on the lookout against lazy, unfocused practice. “Never mistake activity for achievement,” he said.

To get the most out of practice, you must do at least two things:

1. You must set a goal before practice. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself how will you know if you’ve done it. You can’t go out there with some vague sense of “trying to get better.”
2. You must stay connected during practice. This is a phrase used by University of Washington volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin. He wants his players to see the connection between what they’re doing in practice and how it will help them be successful in games. When you stay connected, details take on a whole new aspect. Tasks that seemed mundane now come alive.

When you look at these two keys to practice, you see that they have nothing whatsoever to do with how big or strong or skilled you are. They are mental skills, and you can practice them every time you go into the gym.

You can reach Coach Tully at coachtully@totalgameplan.com


One comment for “Daily Game Plan”

  1. Mistaking activity for achievement is a huge trap that we all fall into some times. Nor is the need to train mindfully restricted to sport. I refer you to Madeline Bruser’s incredible “The Art of Practicing” which is designed for musicians but which sheds an equally important light on every kind of “practicing.” For example, in striving for speed, she says, don’t try to go faster consciously. Try to do it correctly ten times. It will automatically become faster.

    Posted by Peter Hirsch | January 8, 2009, 9:15 am

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