We ended the last article, Are You Practicing or Rehearsing? Pt I with a look at some differences between music and sport as it comes to practice and rehearsal. However, there is one key similarity and it all starts in the mind. Those who want to perform at the highest standards fully understand the importance of practicing, and what it means to practice effectively. My daughter loves gymnastics, it has been known for her to spend half her time walking on her hands, and the other half doing three-way triple whammy overhead back-flips in the yard. My son has a soccer ball at his feet almost 24/7 and it isn’t uncommon to be walking through the dining room and get nutmegged in the process. This is practicing. They love what they do and they work hard to improve. It isn’t necessarily hardcore drills and activity, but it is constant. Practice is what they do to get better so when they meet their teams or get into the environment where we can apply new tricks they are ready to go.
It’s the same with musicians. They sit at home with a piano, guitar, or other instrument of choice and work to get better. They learn new ideas and techniques so that when they meet with their band they can introduce something new to improve the band. And there, in a nutshell is the differentiating factor – practice improves the individual, rehearsal improves the group. If an athlete waits until the team gets together to practice it not only presents a situation in which the individual could be left behind, but they will also be putting the team in a position where valuable time that should be spent on things that can only be worked on when the team is together is spent getting individuals up to standard to do those things.
It’s the same with any area requiring a certain standard of performance. You want a new job? Practice interviewing for the position, learn about the company, what they do, and understand the role they are asking for. You’re a soccer player? Go outside, find a small target and kick a ball at it, getting further and further away each time to perfect your passing or shooting. Watch videos of techniques (goalkeepers, may I recommend Lycan Goalkeeper Academy), emulate your heroes and learn what they do. You’re a gymnast? Go outside and work on your presentation and form for the moves you can do easily.
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – Whatever it is you need to work on ask yourself whether it requires practice or rehearsal. If ball control needs to improve, that’s practice. If you need to learn how to create a passing triangle that works its way up the field, that’s rehearsal. If you want to learn how to play a new scale, that’s practice. If you want to see how what you’ve just learned can be applied to a song your band is writing, that’s rehearsal. Practice is what you do to improve yourself, rehearsal is where you apply it.
2 – Christiano Ronaldo doesn’t win Ballon D’ors because on natural talent alone. Messi does. Ronaldo has to work harder than his competition to be at the top. Deco, who played with both players said this:
“They are completely different. Though Messi takes care of himself like a normal athlete, Ronaldo is unbelievable. It borders on sickness because he always wants to be the best at his job. He competes in everything.”
Ronaldo spends a ridiculous amount of time practicing.
3 – Think about what you want to achieve, and take a step towards that goal today. Just one step. You may need other people to help, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on the things you can work on now. You want to be in a band? Learn an instrument so you are ready to be in a band when a opportunity arises (or you are able to create the opportunity).
Take steps to be the person you want to be. Even if you don’t have a team, you can still work to become MVP ready for when you are on the team.
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