End Practice on a Make

Here is a training tip: end practice on a make. This means to end your practice on a good note. The easiest example of this is basketball practice. End your basketball practice on a made shot. Keep shooting until you make a desired shot, then end your practice. You can apply this to any other sport. If you're a QB, you can end on a good throw. If you're a tennis player, you can end on a good serve.

There are 2 points of doing this. First, it teaches persistence (don't give up until you make the shot). Second, it helps your confidence. You want to end on a positive note, with your confidence high. You want your last memory of your practice to be good. It also helps with closure. After a made shot at the end of practice, it is easier to move on and focus on the rest of your day.

However, there is an alternative way to end practice that I also like. I call it ending on "sudden death." You can also call it ending on "match point." There are 2 ways to do this. First, instead of ending on a made shot, you can end on one final shot, no matter if you make it or miss it. The other way to do this is to end only on a missed shot, meaning if you keep making the shot, keep shooting, but once you miss, you're done for the day. 

The point of ending practice in this way is to simulate pressure. It's like a real match point, or it's like a last second shot in a real game. In these real situations, there's no redo's. Whether you make it or miss it, the game is over, and you have to wait until the next game to play again. This is a lot of pressure. A good way to become more clutch under pressure is to simulate pressure situations in practice, so you get more used to them and develop better coping skills to deal with pressure. This is the point of ending practice on "sudden death" or "match point." After you miss a shot, practice is over, no matter what. This is a lot of pressure, since you'd obviously want to keep making the shot or end on a made shot. So this is a great way to simulate pressure in practice. 

Secondly, this way of ending practice helps you accept defeat. It doesn't feel good ending practice on a miss, but you have to learn how to accept defeat, stay composed, be a good sport, and move on with your day. If you can learn to do this after a practice, it'll help you accept defeat in a real game and not be emotionally crushed after missing the last shot (know that you'll be OK and you'll always have another opportunity). The key to ending practice on "sudden death" is to make sure you actually end practice after a miss. Athletes are often tempted to have "one more try," but this defeats the purpose of simulating pressure.

I personally like both of these ways to end practice. Each has its pros and cons. I suggest that sometimes you end practice on a make, to help your confidence, and sometimes you end practice "sudden death" style, to help simulate pressure. Let me know in the comments which way you like to end practice.

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