Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Practice

Most everyone has heard "practice makes perfect".  If only it were that simple!  Some more accurate quotes:
  1. Practice makes permanent.
  2. They say 'practice makes perfect.' Of course, it doesn't. For the vast majority of golfers it merely consolidates imperfection. -- Henry Longhurst
  3. Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. -- Vince Lombardi
Through repetition we burn movements into our brains and bodies, making them easier to repeat (for good or bad).  It is difficult to unlearn one way of doing things and replace or augment it with a better way; but unlearning is an unavoidable part of learning, and worth getting good at.  If we practice to do one thing, we'll need to practice further to undo it or evolve it into something else.  In practicing a new way, I discover how deeply ingrained the old way was -- habits are hard to change!  So:
  1. Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.
  2. When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win -- Ed Macauley
  3. It's not necessarily the amount of time you spend at practice that counts; it's what you put into the practice. -- Eric Lindros
Finally, practice can be profound:
  1. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. -- Martha Graham
  2. We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. -- Martha Graham (again)
Now go (and get really good at) practice!

1 comments:

SueC said...

"They say 'practice makes perfect.' Of course, it doesn't. For the vast majority of golfers it merely consolidates imperfection. -- Henry Longhurst"

obviously the same applies to martial arts. I've made it a rule now that if I'm practising something at home, such as a kata, and I'm not quite sure of a segment then I stop until I can check out the correct moves. Like you say it's difficult to unlearn something that's not quite right and then relearn it the correct way.

Nice post - thank you