So many people have heard the old saw “practice makes perfect.”
Just. Plain. Wrong.
I was watching a Tim Ferriss Four Hour Life video and he quoted a top chef who says: “practice makes permanent.”
Absolutely 100% true.
What you train, you ingrain.
Whatever you practice creates muscle memory and neural pathways that support future repetition of the exact same movements.
As we become more aware of the importance of practice and many hours or work (read: 10,000 hours to mastery), we must also be conscious of the need to practice well.
We must practice what we want to learn.
For me a great example is hitting golf balls at the driving range.
Whatever I practice there is what I groove into my body. If I am making a swing mistake (even if it sometimes yields a decent result) I am making a practice mistake.
Another example is hitting the same club over and over. That never happens on the course, so why would I do it at the range? (I don’t . . . ).
And, do I hit a ball every 15-20 seconds on the course?
What I do instead is:
1) take a few seconds to think about what I did mentally and physically and what the ball did as a result.
2) I imagine what my next shot would be and what club I would need.
3) walk behind my “stall,” visualize my desired shot and then approach the ball and repeat my (basic and short) pre-shot routine.
Because practice makes permanent. And I want to practice skills I need to have.*
* * *
* Because practicing the wrong movement (or whatever . . . ) won’t make “perfect” – ever.