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coachnow how to practice like a pro

How to Practice Like a Pro

At the end of the day, every athlete dreams of becoming a pro.

In my many years of coaching both amateurs and pros, I’ve noticed some key distinctions between how they approach practice and training.. And as a result I’ve also seen the patterns of where amateurs fall short.

And, after thinking about this topic, I’ve narrowed down what I see to be 2 main categories that these differences fall under: Intention & Retention.

My goal here is to help you identify areas to improve your practice and training.

Let’s jump in.

intention

Intention

What’s the main difference between a pro and an amateur when it comes to practice and/or training?

Amateurs just do things. They show up and practice.. something. They go through the motions and hope to improve incrementally.

In contrast, pros (and their Coaches) make a practice plan… and they stick to it! They know exactly WHAT they’re going to do and WHY. Then they do what they set out to do, and REFLECT on how it went.

Pros intentionally push their body to the limits, plan for recovery time, always have a clear goal in mind, and are always asking what they can do to improve and build upon what they’ve done.

Pros understand that innate ability and/or raw talent can only get you so far. They focus their energy on improving areas of their game where they fall short, rather than focus on what they are already good at to boost their ego.

From day 1 of training, your goal should be to create this INTENTION.

Don’t be content with vague goals and aspirations – I challenge you to create an action plan with clear, quantifiable and aspirational goals with accompanying deadlines.

And then, once these are set, STICK TO THEM.

Make sure you establish a clear WHAT, WHY, and HOW.

Then, from there, be purposeful and organized with every step of your training journey. Store everything in one, easy-to-access place (ideally CoachNow) so that you (and potentially your coach) know exactly where to post, review, and communicate.

Once you’ve met your goals, reflect on how it felt to set a target and meet it. Analyze what you learned in the process and how you can ensure that their progress is retained and built upon.

When you miss your goals, take some time to reflect on what you could have done differently. I.e.

Who or what was the cause of the “failure” – was the goal itself unrealistic, execution lacking, or was the plan insufficient? How can you restructure the goal-setting process to avoid that mistake in the future?

And remember, failure isn’t a bad thing – it sows the seeds of future success!

In short, set their intentions and implement planning, reflection, journaling, and open communication. These skills will serve you well in all areas of your life.

Taking control of your own development will give you greater context and more encouragement as you progress along your athletic journey.

Retention

Retention is key to your success as an athlete.

Here’s why:

If you don’t retain information from a practice session, you’ll waste time reviewing and repeating, instead of progressing.

As a fun turn of phrase, I often say "Retention = Retention".

Essentially, the more you can remember, the more you’ll practice effectively, getting better faster.

People often think that some just retain information better than others.

That’s not the case.

Memory and information retention is a skill.

And, like any skill, it can be trained.

Make it as easy on yourself as you can - ensure that EVERYTHING that you need is in your CoachNow Space.

This will likely be challenging initially, but trust me; you’ll retain more and always have what you need to review with the click of a button with CoachNow.

Psychologically, BOTH the learning moment AND rationale for WHY it’s important makes the memory MUCH more accessible down the line.

In closing, this post is not about whether or not you PERFORM like a pro… or amateur for that matter.

It's about instilling vital life skills, confidence, and a proven framework to practice, think, and train like a pro, regardless of your results.

That said, I can’t wait to hear about your results when you prioritize the value of intention and reflection in your training.

Here’s to the importance of intention and retention!