10,000 hours! This is the amount of time that it takes to become an expert in your field, according to Dr. Anders Ericsson, the world’s leading researcher on expertise. But not just any practice counts. The time needs to be spent doing quality practice.
Many of the best athletes in the world employ quality practice. Quality practice involves deliberate intention and effort, with full engagement in your activity. Quality practice is hard work; both physically and mentally demanding. The goal of quality practice is performance excellence.
Elements of quality practice:
Challenge – quality practice is hard on the body and the mind
Repetition – quality practice involves performing a behavior again and again
Consistency – quality practice is most useful when done regularly over the long-term
Feedback – quality practice involves critically examining your performance
Improvement – quality practice seeks to continually get better
- Choose a specific part of your game that you would like to improve (it can be physical or mental).
- At your next practice, intensely focus on this skill.
- Repeatedly train this part of your game by fully engaging your body and mind as you work hard to challenge yourself.
- Do this again in the following practice and continue to challenge yourself day after day.
- Evaluate yourself or get feedback from a teammate, coach or even video.
- Adjust or change your goals based on this evaluation and as you get better.
- Maintain this persistent effort and continually work to improve.