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Deliberate Practice

Levels of Practice


“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice is perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.” — Winston Churchill

“Energy flows where attention goes.” — quoted by Gary Pritchard

This week, spring training begins for big-league ballclubs, and soon all of them will be practicing one of the most basic plays in the game — pitcher covers first base on a ball hit to the right side.

Four years ago, an American League playoff series ended on exactly this play. The Angels executed it perfectly and defeated the Yankees.

That simple play helps explain why some people become stars and others never seem to reach their potential. At least 600 pitchers will be practicing it this week (30 big-league teams, and a a minimum of 20 pitchers in camp.)

Every one of those pitchers will practice this drill in his own way:

Some will do it only because they are supposed to.
Others will give adequate effort.
And then the very few will be connected. That is, they see the connection between what they’re doing on the first day of spring training and how it might help them win a ballgame one day.

This ability to ‘connect’ can make them great. Connected players practice with more energy and concentration, and so they wind up with more skill.

No matter what your sport, you can practice at various levels:

You can do it only because you’re supposed it.
You can do it at an adequate level.
Or you can stay connected.

The choice is up to you.


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