So, You Want to Good. How Good?
There is no doubt that deliberate, directed practice will give you a chance to get better. But you still have to have the tools.
Training endless hours, however, is not the answer. It can be part of the answer, but if all you had to do was put in the time, anybody could be an All-Star.
After all a Suma wrestler is an unlikely 100-meter dash medalist but can become quicker afoot with practice.
Regardless of how you've built your goal is to maximize your potential through practice. That popular 10,000 hours road to success has been proven bunk, but mindful, purposeful and directed quality practices is a proven road to great performance.
You can get by on talent and skill for a while. Work smart and you'll achieve success and extend your career. To ensure success, limit the time spent in activities not directly related to your development. Surround yourself only with people vital to your success. Avoid those with no goals and negative attitudes. They'll drain your energy and bring you down to their level.
Given the choice between work and play, choose work. You'll have the rest of your life to play when you retire. Take charge of your future. Start closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
One great teacher I know actually made a good point when he advised his students to think of practice as fun. He advised them to stop calling practice work. “Call it rehearsal or pre-fun, but not work,” he advised, adding “after all you play the game because you love it…all of it and that includes getting better at it.”
How you train will affect your success and future. If you're in shape, you can give better effort, avoid injuries and accomplish more. There are many factors that you can't control, but you can control how you prepare. There is no reason that you should ever get beat because the opposition was better prepared.
To compete for a Championship, you must give 100% from start to finish. Preparation separates the successful from the "could have been." Look around. You know most of the guys at your position. How hard have they prepared? If you're competing for the same prize but putting in less effort, something is wrong. Adjust your priorities.
The choice is really up to you. You can make the effort and be the best you can be or you can enjoy the moment and do just enough to get by. If you take the easier path, however, someday you might regret what you didn’t accomplish.
Baseball’s Cal “Iron Man” Ripkin doesn’t have any regrets. He says:
“Along the way, I’ve watched a number of players retire. And they’ve always told me, I wish I had played more, taken better care of myself and taken it more seriously. I wanted to be able to say that I took full advantage of the opportunity. I didn’t want to have any regrets.”
Ripkin’s approach was relatively simple – “when you come to the gym or ballpark, be ready.”
The only form of discipline that lasts is self-discipline.