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  • Writer's pictureCoach Hueser

Getting Better @ Getting Better

We are talking about practice! Everytime I watch this video it makes me laugh. Many of us are quick to point the finger at Allen Iverson and judge, at least I know I am; but if we are honest with ourselves we probably all harbor these feelings to some degree. Hence, the importance of my own practice rant! Like it or not, developing great practice habits are absolutely necessary in becoming the best we can become. And isn't that our quest? To maximize our potential.

1. Preparation

Let's start here and ask this question: Do you wait for practice or prepare for practice? Think about it. I know I am often guilty of merely waiting for practice, but the great ones prepare. They understand every workout is an opportunity to get better. Just going through the motions doesn't cut it. Often this is the by-product of an unprepared mindset. The legendary Coach John Wooden reminds us not to mistake activity for achievement. Simply showing up and being busy can distract us from accomplishment. We must be intentional about everything we do. As you prepare for practice identify your weaknesses and set daily objectives. Have a plan.

2. 10,000 Hour Rule

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. If you do the math that is the equivalent of practicing for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week for 20 years! With this said, the great ones are humble. They understand the road is long and there is always room for improvement. Unlike A.I., the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan says, “The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.” M.J. relentlessly pursued mastery!

3. Automaticity

I will never forget my freshman year in college when I got my first taste of varsity action. The minutes were a whirlwind. My teammates, the opponent, the ball, my heart - all seemed to be moving at the speed of light! This experience is in contrast to the stories you hear from the great ones when they refer to the game being in "slow motion". Due to their high volume of credible reps and experiences, their mind has elevated to a new processing capacity. All of a sudden they are free to let their minds wander and make special plays. Wooden says, "Drilling creates a foundation on which individual initiative and imagination can flourish." Take driving for example, many of you are able effortlessly execute a series of complex, life-threatening tasks while your mind is able to creatively roam all over the place. How is this possible? Automaticity is the key (a.k.a. muscle memory). Creativity is often practice in disguise. So what appears to be mundane and not important, is actually the key to success under pressure. The goal is to do complex tasks without actively thinking about them. It takes .04 seconds for a serious fastball to reach the plate. Conscious awareness takes longer than that, about a half of second. The entire process happens before the batter becomes aware of it! Even for me personally, it was only a matter of time and reps before the varsity court slowed down and the game was again manageable.

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