Practice With A Purpose (Part I)

If you’re interested in reaching your goals or in finding out how good you can be in your sports, then you need to get the most out of each practice session. Contrary to popular belief, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. Getting the most out of practice-time means doing things with the same intensity and focus you would use in a game. It’s great when our coaches help us get the most out of practice, but don’t always expect them to do it for you – the quality of your training session is your responsibility.

Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of practice:
Pick a time or action that means “practice has started” for you (before practice actually starts). Decide on a moment – putting on your practice gear, parking your car at the practice field, walking onto the field – that you become focused on your sport and what you want to accomplish at practice. Leave your off-the-field concerns off-the-field – don’t worry, they’ll be waiting for you after practice is over. In the meantime, it’s important to be physically and mentally present at practice and not focused somewhere else.
Have a specific purpose or goal for each practice. This is a big one. You need to know exactly what you’re there to accomplish each day. Don’t go into a training session just to “see what happens.” Ask yourself: “what am I going to do today to get a little bit better than I was yesterday?” Remember to write down you goal for that day on a post-it note and bring it to practice with you.
Evaluate your effort each day after practice. Ask yourself at the end of the day, “how did I do today this practice?” Get specific feedback from a coach on how well you did at working toward your goal that day. This feedback will allow you to work smarter at the next day’s practice session.

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