Back in my days as a young adult, I took a job as a manager trainee at a sporting goods chain. My division supervisor, Jay, was a tall, dark, handsome man who'd graduated UC Berkeley and was the backup QB on the Bears.
He was my mentor for nearly 7 years. Loved the guy.
He was a voracious reader and could quote seemingly every influential person from the last 200 years.
One of his favorite sayings was, “Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Which brings me to this story about Derek Jeter, the all-star shortstop of the New York Yankees.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was always as professional off the field as he was on the field.
He lived in New York City, where reporters will dig for any sex scandals, drug scandals, or anything on a sports celebrity.
And Derek Jeter had no bad reports.
He was the last hero with no baggage.
When he started out, he was almost cut by the Yankees his first season as shortstop.
He made many errors.
But Derek Jeter persisted.
Every once in a while, he’d make an amazing play.
The papers would interview him the next day and say, “How did you do that?”
Derek Jeter said, “I practice that all the time.
“That wasn’t the first time I did that.”
Practice until you find your success.
Play your best every day, miss some, and keep practicing perfectly until you make those plays.
Perfect practice will make success your routine.
Sometimes, when you practice (i.e., do “drills”), your form or technique may be off. So practicing incorrectly only reinforces the bad form or technique.
This is why sometimes it's a good idea to bring in a coach or mentor. Somebody who can observe what you're doing and help you make corrections.
THEN, once your form is down, you practice that over and over again.
You perfect the practice until it becomes second nature.
Here's a great book on Perfect Practice.