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Deliberate Practice

Two Things to Know About Practice


“Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.” ~ Unknown

Happy Birthday to hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky, who turns 48 today.

For many years, Gretzky was the best player in the National Hockey League, and some people say he is the best to ever play in that league.

However, today we’d like to speak not of Wayne Gretzky, but of his father, Walter.

Like many fathers, Walter Gretzky encouraged his son to excel and provided whatever help he could. He created a skating rink in the back yard of their home in Brantford, Ontario, allowing Wayne to play hockey whenever he wanted to — which was a lot!

Many years later, when Wayne was the best player on the best team in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers, Walter Gretzky watched the team practice one day. Afterward, the father was not happy.

“You just wasted two hours,” said Walter Gretzky, who went on to say that if his son did not want to practice to the best of his ability, he should not even bother.

Walter Gretzky thus summarized the most important things to know about excellence. By building the rink in the back yard, he gave Wayne access to thousands of hours of practice time. Those hours were what enabled Wayne to play — and dominate — pro hockey.

But with his comments after the Edmonton practice, he affirmed that practice alone is not enough. To truly excel, you must put focus and energy and devotion into practice.

Remember, it’s not enough just to put in the practice time. You must put everything INTO the practice time.


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