There is exercise and there is practice

By February 16, 2018Practising
The practice game. A layered pyramid with reducing numbers of people in the layers as you get to the top

When you go for a walk you are likely to be absorbing your surroundings, thinking something through, or just drifting, this is exercise not practice. Practice involves making choices about what you want to do, having routines and goals, and measuring performance against a benchmark.

Instinctive or rational?

Gary Player, one of the golfing elite famously said,” the harder I practice, the luckier I get”. This was in response to being told how lucky he was to consistently play difficult shots well.
Decisions are often characterised as instinctive or rational. Golf is a stationary ball game unlike football, tennis, and many other games, and it allows the player (no pun intended) to take a rational approach to the game. You do not have that luxury in moving ball sports with physical challenges from opponents: dwell on the shot in football and the scoring opportunity will be gone. Often, you will only have the benefit of peripheral vision to take your decision about how to play the ball.

What kind of practice?

In golf, you can practice specific shots and when you play you have time to consider your technique and application. In football, you practice extending your skills and application, but you cannot precisely replicate most of the shots that you play: you can, however, practise your response to situations that you anticipate. You must be creative in imagining likely scenarios and you must be mentally and physically adept at responding to them. Both the instinctive and rational skills are essential in life and in business as well as sport.

Imagine, then practice

You cannot rehearse your response to situations that you have not imagined, but you can anticipate some of the hurdles in life and business giving yourself a chance when faced with the real thing.
Develop the habit of consciously taking decisions. Test your reactions prior to Decision-Making with a tailor-made process that that works for you. Measure and audit your results, and progressively improve your process. It won’t turn you into Gary Player but it will cut down the number of bad decisions that you make.

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