How to Make the Most of Your Practice

How to Make the Most of Your Practice

How to Make the Most of Your Practice

Whether you’re a swimmer or a sprinter, an Olympic powerlifter or a high school football player, you need to be making the most of your practice time if you want to reach your goals in performance.

Practice

One of the biggest mistakes many athletes make is practicing without intention. When you practice, you need to have specific goals in mind. Before your next practice, or gym session, or run, sit down with a pen and paper. Think about what you want out of this practice. Start vague. Are you working out to lose weight? Do you want to be a better player? Do you want to be stronger? Once you have a primary goal, you can set more specific goals that will help you get there.

Once you have your primary goal in mind, you can set your smaller goals from there. Before you start writing things like “I want to be faster”, you have to define what faster is for you. To do that, you have to know where you’re at. If you can afford it I highly recommend buying a fitness tracker.

Track Your Progress

These activity trackers can help you gather data on your current performance and help you identify where to improve. If you’re a runner, you probably already know your fastest times on each event. But do you know how many steps you take in that time?

Buying a fitness tracker is a great investment that will help you track your progress and reach your goals. If you’re involved in any sort of contact sport, you’ll want to look for a more durable tracker as most will break if struck hard enough. It’s also important to look for a waterproof activity tracker because it’s likely it will be coming into contact with sweat and water during hot days and rigorous practice.

Once you have the data on your current performance, you can start to set effective short-term goals. Start by finding areas that clearly need improvement. If your goal is to be faster, you should determine how many steps you take to cover a set distance. Play around with longer and shorter strides, but keep focusing on making your overall times faster.

If you want to be stronger, track your max weight. Focus on building up to higher and higher weights on complex lifts like squats and bench press. Remember to set specific goals, not just weekly, but per practice. This means that if you’re practicing twice a day, you should have two specific areas of improvement in mind per day.

Performance

Of course, all of this practice means nothing if you can’t replicate the results on game day or at an event. When it comes time to perform, you no longer need to think of your goals for improvement. Clear your mind and focus instead on what you do well. Now is the time to support your strengths, not emphasize your flaws.

The more information you have, the better. If possible, have someone record you while you play, run, lift, or swim. Now that you have information on how you practice, looking at these recordings will give you much more insight than before.

Review

As you reflect on your performance, think about what went wrong and what went right. It can be helpful to list these out like a pros and cons list. Don’t stop at listing them out though, once you’ve identified areas of strength and areas that need improvement you need to think about the “why”. Why did I do so well in that event? What caused me to miss that pass? These questions will help you determine what skills and abilities you need to develop next.

Now it’s time to practice again. Set your goals, track your progress, and accomplish what you’ve set out to do. It’s the only good fight there is.

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