Posts

Showing posts from September, 2017

Deliberate Practice

Practice can be defined as the repeated exercise of an activity or skill to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. The purpose of practice is to improve your skills. More scientifically, athletic practice adds myelin to your neurons, which helps you execute your motor skills with more precision and consistency and with less effort. So if practice improves skills, is there a certain way to practice that maximizes improvement? Yes. It’s called deliberate practice. You can’t just mindlessly practice however you want to and expect great results. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. The closest thing to “perfect practice” is called deliberate practice. The best athletes are very skilled because they have mastered deliberate practice.

The Process

“The process”. It’s a popular term today in sports and coaching. You may have heard it mentioned in post-game interviews: “I’m not too worried about next week’s game. I’m just focused on the process. I’m taking it one day at a time.” The term is popular because it is simple and is a great philosophy. More and more coaches are adopting it. At the highest levels, emphasizing the process is a necessity. Coach John Wooden, winner of 11 NCAA championships, is probably the most famous advocate of the process. Today, coaches such as Nick Saban and Pete Carroll are known for their obsession with the process.

Confidence

Confidence is very important for a couple of reasons. First, confidence is a big component of motivation.  Confidence, or the belief in your ability to accomplish a task, can affect motivation in four ways:

Motivation 101

Similar to beliefs/attitudes, motivation is very important because it is a root cause of actions and outcomes. Motivation is the fuel to your behavior. Everything you do has a motive, or reason behind it. You eat because you want to end your hunger. You sleep because you feel tired. There are many different kinds of motives for playing sports. Some motives provide more “fuel” than others. Some motives have negative side effects. There is an art and a science to motivating yourself. As an athlete, you need to not only know how to motivate yourself, but also know which kinds of motives are best for the situation at hand.

Most people are reactive when it comes to motivation. They think motivation is something you can't control. They think that you are just lucky when you get it, and unlucky if you don’t get it. Some even think people are born motivated and some are not. The truth is, anyone who has a mind can control their motivation to a certain extent. The best athletes actively m…