Steps of goal setting: set goal, make plan, get to work, stick to it, reach goal

Or more fully stated: ‘effective practice is a learnable skillset’. It may sound like heresy, but not all practice is good practice or at least effective. Mindless repetition does not move your ability higher; purposeful, focused, systematic practice does. Effective practice starts with a clearly defined purpose that is focused much, much tighter than simply ‘get better’ or ‘win more games’. Effective practice requires we break the path to our desired result into as small parts as possible and create a process to improve each specific part.

For example, in tennis we might wish to work on our serve; that in turn breaks down into the ball toss, the foot work, arm swing, the related body mechanics, the angle of the racquet and the micro techniques will vary according to type of serve, the desired ball placement, 1st or 2nd serve and whether we wish to be aggressive or conservative with this particular serve. Oh, yes, throw in adjusting for where a particular opponent is choosing to receive the serve and their overall tendencies.

Effective practice requires continuous, ongoing feedback: measurement and coaching, together providing invaluable, immediate assessment against an acknowledged standard or benchmark. It is through measurement that we track our progress. Effective practice is not necessarily fun or comfortable; it requires intense focus and deep commitment, sustained effort and extraordinary concentration, but the rewards are great and the sense of achievement as we approach mastery is exhilarating.

Closing Quotes:

“It’s not about the number of hours you practice, it’s about the number of hours your mind is present during the practice.” – Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020

“Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, and in an environment where there’s feedback.” – Malcolm Gladwell, ‘David and Goliath’

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jeffery Jordan, b. 1963, 6x NBA Champion

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier