Deliberate practice…

Deliberate practice is not meant to be fun, it’s meant to improve your performance in something meaningful to you. The first step, and a biggish one it is, is to get outside your comfort zone and do it in a focused way. You must have clear goals, a plan for reaching toward them, and a means to monitor progress. For instance, if you are trying to improve your transition defense in basketball, you must come up with a plan and get every individual to buy into their piece of the plan. Simple, not easy.

The objective of deliberate practice is to put each participant outside the comfort zone, headed to the outer edge of the challenge zone, and every once in awhile venture into the panic zone. High performers never stop reaching, stretching, failing, processing the feedback, learning, and then back on the beam, court, mat, carpet, concrete, or company floor, because they want to. Here’s the BTL recipe for deliberate practice. Memorize this. Master this. Become disciplined in this. Remember, the recipe for becoming BTL is mastering your domain. There are no masters of everything. Mastery is always domain specific. Here are the steps.

1. Pick a target.
2. Reach for it.
3. Fail.
4. Evaluate the gap between your current level and your target.
5. Pick a target.
6. Reach for it.
7. Fail.
8. Evaluate the gap between your current level and your target.
9. Pick a target.
10. Reach for it.
11. Success!
12. Celebrate your success. Smile. Really smile. Let it in. You are growing. Gain confidence,conviction, and real competence. Get high on self. Get high on your teammates success. Get high together (naturally, please). You just leveled up.
13. Pick a tougher target. Hard on self, not high on self or down on self. Hard on self. Rinse and repeat…

Deliberate practice is the road to performance gains. There are plenty of other paths but none will make you do what you can. There are no ezpz routes to expertise. Deliberate practice is the precursor to my flow moments on the golf course, with the road bike, and in BTL team practice after practice after practice. Deliberate practice is the enabler to flow moments. Moments where you perform at your peak and can’t quite explain how, you just feel the freakin’ magic and it’s good. Want to taste some flow, friend? Remember a little wisdom from Benny Franklin – “There are no gains without pains.” Go find yourself some like minded men/women and stretch, reach, laugh, and love. Make each other do what you can. You will have some fights along the way as any high performance team does. Fight to improve performance, not to prove a point.

Last night, Miss and I watched our favorite women’s basketball team in the world – The OSU Women’s basketball team. Early in the year, this team was hard to watch as they hadn’t figured out how to play together. Last night, however, they were must see TV. They have learned to play together and they play hard. They are transforming together through hard, deliberate practice after practice. Their leader is harder on them, this year, than he was last. He is growing. They are too. They are becoming must see TV.

Are you and your team, “must see TV?” Are you, leader, making your team do what they can? Are you, coach, developing practice plans more intricate and fail oriented than your game plans? Are you making your team do what it can or settling for good enough? Are you challenging out of belief in your MOT (moments of truth) or waiting too long to give your team feedback it can use?

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

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