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Deliberate Practice

Three Magic Words for Effective Practice

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” ~ Chinese Proverb

How do you even approach the question of reaching the zone?

We get wonderful clues in the book “The Game Before the Game,” by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson. It’s a golf book but, as my friend Peter indicated over a cup of coffee, it can help anyone with the mental game.

In the introduction the authors discuss the proper way to practice. The process begins with a three-word question: “Am I here?”

Specifically, the question makes you pause and ask yourself:

Am I here physically?
Am I here mentally?
Am I here emotionally?

The more often the answer to all three questions is yes, the more productive your practices will be. The best practices take place when the mental, physical and emotional are integrated.

So often, people rush from one experience to another. For instance, students and teachers end a hectic and demanding day at school by rushing down to the gym and diving into warmups. Effective practice can’t be like that. Effective practice must begin with a conscious wish to improve, and that’s where the three magic words come in.

By asking “Am I here?” you build in that little pause that enables you to focus on improvement and to get you in a state of total involvement. It’s a little pause that can bring great benefit.


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